June may be one of my favorite months of the year. Summer has arrived, but it hasn’t reached terribly high temperatures with terribly high humidity. Perhaps my favorite part of the month is that those horrible plastic-tasting strawberries you buy at the grocery store are, for ever so briefly, replaced by wonderfully tart-sweet strawberries at the farmers’ market. Read more…
I know it has been a million years since I’ve updated this blog, and I have started several posts (back in February!) but failed to complete them. I’m not promising that I’m returning with a vengeance (if I ever had a vengeance with this blog), but I hope to add posts more often than once every five months going forward.
Last weekend, TheBoyfriend and I made a mad dash to Kansas/Kansas City for a little more than 24 hours. He went to see Chelsea Handler with my sister (my mom’s birthday present to him); I went to spend (the day before) Mother’s Day with my mom. Three of her children made lunch – grilled kabobs of shrimp, chicken, and steak. The other two (my brothers) sorta helped clean up.
My mom’s favorite cake is Angel Food, and I had just received an issue of Cook’s Country which had an interesting adaption. So I made it. And orange sherbet. I liked this cake more than plain Angel Food. I’m sure it had something to do with the icing. (My mom isn’t a big frosting/icing person, but she liked the cake too.)
Daffodil Cake from Cook’s Country
Note: I would increase the orange extract to 1 teaspoon for a more distinct difference next time.
- 1 angel food cake recipe (for a limited time, probably)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
For the cake
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle position
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Reserve three cups of cake batter in a medium bowl
- Scrape remaining batter in at 12-cup ungreased tube pan
- Lightly beat egg yolks
- Add egg yolks and extract to the reserved cake batter and gently fold to incorporate (without deflating)
- Scrape into tube pan on top of plain batter
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean
- Cool, inverted in cake pan, until cake reaches room temperature (approximately 3 hours)
- Remove cake and place on a serving platter
For the glaze
- Whisk cream cheese and orange juice in a medium bowl until smooth
- Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth
- Drizzle over top of cooled cake
- Let glaze set for 30 minutes
- Garnish with orange slices
This fall I’ve made two excellent apple cakes, the recipes taken from two different food blogs (Smitten Kitchen and The Traveler’s Lunchbox). I was also fortunate to buy my apples at a local orchard. I think orchard apples look so much more vulnerable than glossy supermarket apples. But they are so pretty and taste so good. Especially surrounded by baked sugar, flour, and butter (lots of butter).
Well butter might not be exactly honest, because the fat in the first cake is actually vegetable oil. But hey, there is something about certain cakes – especially cakes baked in tube pans or bundt pans – that are so moist when vegetable oil is included. I’m not a scientist; I don’t understand these things; I just taste them.
If only you knew the troubles I went to acquire this seasoning. (Don’t worry, you’re about to.) At the biggest grocery store in town (or the biggest non-Wal-mart Super Center grocery store in town), I asked an employee in the spices/baking aisle if they had Old Bay seasoning. The 2nd assistant manager told me that if it wasn’t where I was looking, “probably not.” I then asked a person at the seafood counter, and he told me to look in the spice aisle. I don’t understand why with all their computers they couldn’t tell me “yes” or “no.” I then went a fancier grocery store only to learn that they were out and didn’t know when they would be getting any more. Fortunately, there was one more fancy grocery store in town that did have Old Bay Seasoning. For less than four dollars. Why was I so desperate for the spices contained in the yellow box? Because I planned to adapt this recipe into a stir-fry.
Every stir-fry needs great vegetables, so I started my slicing the ends off of some beautiful organic green beans I had bought at my food co-op. These green beans would soon join some sliced mushrooms as the vegetable base for dinner.
Here are the main ingredients for my stir-fry. Yes, I was lazy and bought pre-sliced mushrooms. But I was also cheap, because they were on sale and less expensive than non-pre-sliced mushrooms. I typically like to slice my own mushrooms because I like them thinner than the pre-sliced kind (why I am writing so much about mushrooms? because I love them!). Read more…
Recently we hosted an engagement party for one of my boyfriend’s best friends. Because my boyfriend is so meticulous with his party throwing and so environmentally conscious, he decided to have only finger foods so he wouldn’t have either non-matching silverware or have to rent silverware. So I was in charge of desserts and it needed to not require a fork. I turned to a fail-safe source: Cooks Illustrated. I found an interesting recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes. And quadrupled it.
The dark chocolate part of the cupcakes would be achieved with cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. Hidden behind the eggs and under the butter (yes, that is TWO STICKS of butter, but again, I quadrupled the recipe) is my arch nemesis: sour cream. I hate few things as much as I hate sour cream. It grosses me out. Along with pickle relish and mayonnaise, it is my least favorite food. I usually substitute plain yogurt for sour cream in all my recipes (and it works like a charm), but I didn’t want to risk anything for the party, plus once the recipe was quadrupled, the cupcakes needed exactly the amount of sour cream that was in the cartoon. No measuring. No suffering one of my innocent measuring cups to the evils of sour cream. Just a quick flip of the rubber scraper around the sides of the carton and out popped the congealed disgustingness (sorry, now I’m just ranting) into my batter.