First I know so many of our friends have been affected by this horrid storm, my heart goes out to all of you. We live in hurricane country down here so we are built to handle storms like that. Hurricane code causes us to have hurricane windows and shutters. Our houses are built to be able to withstand hurricane force winds. Our gas stations are required by law to have automatic generators so that trucks and emergency vehicles can still do their work in the wake of a storm. Almost every home has a generator. Well…that’s now.
A few years ago, hurricane Wilma came through here and tried to erase us off the map. We had seven trees down, no power and no water. We had a generator but none of the gas stations were on generators so once we ran out of gas that was it. There was no more to be had. Trucks would not come make deliveries because they could not refuel to go home. We were without power for a month we were without water for as long. At first the roads were impassable. Once we were able to drive more than a few blocks we made our way to the supermarket as we had used up our saved supply. The shelves were empty with people literally fist fighting over some scraps of cans whose labels had fallen off. They were fighting and didn’t know what was in the cans. It was surreal.
It was so hot our daughter developed heat rash that plagued her for weeks. We flushed toilets with the water we pulled out of our pond and then our neighbors pool when we had drained the pond (it was a small pond we enjoyed growing water plants and coy fish in). In case you’re wondering our neighbor went to her vacation home and gave us permission to use he pool water. Hubby works for a luxury hotel so he was able to keep us in small bottles of drinking water. There were two highlights to that period of time….the first was the smell of morning coffee being made over the coals of a charcoal grill. That smell is amazing to me. South Florida has mostly electric stoves so when there is no power there are few working stoves.
The second highlight was opening the door to find a UPS delivery man standing there. The entire area was a no fly zone so ordering food was not possible. However, my Cousin Eric who is much more my big Brother than a Cousin was not able to reach us (no phone service) but heard on the news that our area was in dire straights. He sent us all sorts of food. and even snacks! We had not seen snacks in weeks. You have no idea how good chips taste when you have been living on three meals a day made up of peanut butter on crackers. The delivery man was so excited I asked what he was all a flutter about…that’s when he showed me something my Cousin had sent. It was packed in a box all by itself. He sent us Authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. We were out of coffee by this point so I was thrilled beyond belief. But I had no idea what the UPS guy was so happy about. I was not parting with that coffee! I shared some cereal, milk and chips with him but the coffee was staying!!!! He said no Mam, I am not wanting to take your coffee…i’m proud of it. He explained that he was Jamaican and that coffee came from his homeland right near where he grew up. We had a good laugh about having real Jamaican coffee delivered by an actual Jamaican!!!!! I offered to brew some up right away and share with him but he had no time to wait. This was the first truck making deliveries in weeks…many people were waiting.
The misery of a major storms aftermath cannot be overstated. I hope those affected can get back to some form of normal as soon as possible.
Now, let’s bake shall we?
Swedish Tea Ring ~ adapted from King Arthur Flour
For the dough
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
To make the dough…
Add all of the ingredients to the work bowl of your standing mixer. If you are using instant yeast you can do this if you are not using instant you will need to proof the yeast in the milk.
Knead the dough until a nice dough forms. When the dough is formed and well kneaded rest the dough in a greased bowl for about an hour.
For the filling….
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
To make the filling….
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
To assemble the tea ring….
Roll the dough to 12″x18″ rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough leaving an inch at the top not covered. Roll the dough up, be sure you are rolling from the long side of the rectangle. Pinch the log closed. Form a ring that holds closed.
With a pair of very clean kitchen shears make cuts in the ring about 2 inches apart. Cut about 2/3 of the way through with each cut. Turn each cut section onto it’s side. Cover and allow to rise a second time for about 40 minutes. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the tea ring at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely and drizzle with confectioners sugar glaze.
Slice and enjoy!
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