Saturday, September 1, 2012
What's the best recipe for a party? One that you know is going to work. One that doesn't leave you so exhausted and broke that you can't enjoy yourself. One that doesn't have odd ingredients that may put off intrepid guests, i.e. anise. One that can be transported and left on a table. Obviously, the best recipe for a party is bundt cake.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
We've been on vacation for five days, and I've made a version of this cake four times, once just after we unloaded the car.
Popularized by the smitten kitchen blog, this recipe for an easy buttermilk sponge from Gourmet magazine 2009 makes something that you can serve for either breakfast or dessert. This spicy version with crystallized ginger is my husband's favorite.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
On the fourth day of vacation, my mother finally managed to push me out of the kitchen and made waffles for breakfast. She says the kids like them, and I should take a break or something. Wow, does she have control issues or what!
The iron wasn't the traditional four squares with deep grooves, but a small model that makes something closer to a round pancake with lots of nipples. I was just going through my regular morning script, "Stop touching your brother", "No, you can't get up until you finish your milk," "Use a fork!" when I realized that you could use that waffle iron to make potato latkes!
Have you ever made potato pancakes? I generally spend one whole day before Chanukah frying latkes. It is such a horrendous pain in the neck that I can only bear to do it once. The house reeks of fry oil for a week, grease splatters everywhere, you go through rolls of paper towels, and you usually end up with a burn somewhere. But if you just ladled the potato mixture onto a waffle iron and went about your business until it was done, it would be totally worth it for just one batch.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Did your mother put dessert in your lunchbag? One day a week? What, never? Yeah, me neither. NEVER. I'm totally over it though. Any resemblance to a jolly treat from other kids' lunches is coincidental. Of course.
Friday, July 6, 2012
I had planned to make my regular pound cake from the Silver Palate Cookbook, but we were out of butter.
"How can my fridge be so empty," I thought. (Cue the music from Jaws.) And then, we all learned that a derecho is a freaky thunderstorm that can knock down trees from Ohio to Maryland. So, after four days without power in July, my fridge was really empty.
So, Lemon Yogurt Cake.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
This plate makes me happy. Meat, starch and vegetables in equal proportions. Nothing that looks like a side of brontosaurus. No puddles of gravy/grease/glop. You can eat it all and still have dessert. Why can't you order this? Why do American, sit-down restaurants insist that a meal consists of a pound of meat, french fries and two ounces of vegetables? I know they must be serving what people want, but it grosses me out.
Did I mention that most of my date nights involve Chipotle and Netflix?
Sumac is not gross at all - it's fabulous! Are you thinking of poison sumac? Same genus, different species. Sumac is a red berry which is dried and ground into a powdered spice that shows up in lots of different Middle Eastern foods. The flavor is similar to lemon, but milder and more savory. You can find it in any Middle Eastern market, or some larger grocery stores. It works when you need an acidic solid, as in this spice rub.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
For a long time I thought I hated cole slaw. Actually, it turns out I just don't like mayonnaise. Does anyone eat that sweet, gloppy stuff that fills out every deli tray? I have my doubts. Since I'd rather chop cabbage than wash lettuce (or throw away an overpriced bag of the pre-washed stuff that's turned to slime), cabbage salads have all but replaced tossed ones at my table.
Slaw = Veggies + Vinegar + Salt + Oil.Some days Japanese with soy sauce, some days Central American with lime, some days Middle Eastern with tahina, some days Thai with fish sauce, etc. I usually wing it, but writing down the proportions does save time tossing as you readjust the seasonings.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
recipe on the inside of the box of Baker's chocolate. You know why Kraft prints it there? Because it ALWAYS works and it takes less than ten minutes to get into the oven. Steer clear of any gooey, fudgy recipes here - you're going to put two layers of frosting on top. So, whip up a 9x13 batch of whatever brownies you like, omitting the nuts and lining the pan with foil.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Honey, I have just the recipe. And it won't even kill you!
The traditional Cola Cake, a mainstay of Junior League cookbooks and potlucks, has a ton of sugar and mini-marshmallows stirred in, to promote dental health and cultural stereotypes. I made it once, but it gave me that queasy feeling adults get from eating cotton candy. It was pretty good, though, so I tinkered a bit to keep the cola flavor and lose the Pepto Bismol. It goes without saying that kids think it is hilarious to eat a cake made from soda. (Does it also go without saying that you can't use diet soda? Because you definitely can't.) One of my kids requests it with Coke, one likes it with Pepsi - because, obviously. The same batter works for a sheet or bundt cake, with only minor variation in the frosting.
1 stick (8 T) butter
1 C vegetable oil
3 T cocoa powder
1 C cola
1 1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 C flour
1/4 t table salt
1 t baking soda
(scant) 1/2 C buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
1-2 C powdered sugar
1 T cocoa powder
3 T butter
4-5 T cola
1-2 T milk
In a large saucepan, bring to a boil 1 stick butter, 1 C vegetable oil, 3 T cocoa powder and 1 C cola.
-OR-Bake in a greased and floured bundt or tube pan for about 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for five minutes, then tip the cake out onto a rack to cool. I usually leave mine to cool overnight in the microwave to stop it drying out.
Extra points will be awarded for anyone who makes this recipe with Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb or RC.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
So I chopped up a shallot.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Babka is a traditional, Jewish sweet bread, made with a rich, egg dough and chocolate-cinnamon filling. It is awesome, but it takes for-freaking-ever to make. Once I woke up at 4AM to roll it out, so we could have it hot for breakfast. But only once. These rolls are a decent substitute, and you can do all the prep work the night before. You just have to get your mind around the yeast.
I get that yeast is a little freaky. You may remember it like those Sea Monkies from the 80s - little packets of powder that bloomed when you added water. You'd stand over the foamy bowl, wondering if they were still alive. All distant memories, because it's 2012, no one has Sea Monkies any more, and we all use instant yeast now. You don't have to proof the stuff in warm water to check if it's still alive - just add it in like any other ingredient. Not freaky, not complicated, and no longer expensive, since they sell it at the wholesale clubs for like $4.50 a pound.
|I promise, these rolls are way easier than Sea Monkies.|
(The plural of Monkey is . . .?)
Then divide each quarter in thirds.
Monday, May 21, 2012
6 tablespoons butter
12 oz chocolate
5 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 - 5 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons chocolate syrup
pinch baking soda, if needed
1) To counteract an acid, you need a ___________?
2) What basic substance (other than soap) do you always have in your kitchen?
3) If you use more than a tiny pinch of baking soda, will the children hear you swearing from the other room when you have to throw out an entire batch of frosting?
Okay, pencils down. If you want to cut the acidity of the frosting, sprinkle a pinch of baking soda over the top and whisk it in. Add a little bit more milk to achieve an appetizingly gloppy, pudding consistency. This frosting will harden pretty fast, so have your cake ready to go.
Two thirds of a batch will cover 24 cupcakes.
Sometimes they make it to the fridge to set up for an hour.
Sometimes they don't. What the fudge?