Saturday, September 27, 2008

My take on Marie Anoinette. The cake part, not the choppy head part.

So I promised I'd post the new cake recipe if you left enough comments at From Stage Dives to Station Wagons. You did your part, so I guess I have to keep up my end of the deal.
This recipe is lifted from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess. If you don't already have it, I'd heartily recommend it. It makes a single layered dense almost brownie-like cake. She calls for marmalade in her recipe, but I've made it with both apricot and raspberry jam, and they both rock.

Nigella Lawson's Pantry-Shelf Chocolate-Orange Cake
1/2 cup butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (I probably use closer to 6 oz, but that's just how I roll)
1 1/3 cup good quality marmalade (I subbed Trader Joe's Organic Reduced Sugar Apricot Jam the first time, and TJ's Organic Reduced Sugar Raspberry Jam the second, both with excellent results, so feel free to experiment)
1/2 cup bakers sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self rising cake flour (yeah, I'll tell you how to whip that up)

Preheat your oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8 inch springform pan.
Over medium heat, melt your butter in a medium saucepan. When the butter is melted, lower your heat and add your chocolate. Melt until smooth and combined completely. Add the sugar, jam and eggs then beat in the flour. Pour into your prepared cake pan.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until the pick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

You can top it with a dusting of powdered sugar, or slap on some barely sweetened whipped cream, or just eat it. Your choice.

Self Rising Flour (so you don't have to try to buy it)
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

So what are you waiting for? Go eat some cake already!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Cauliflower He Called "Potatoes"

There is magic in oven roasting vegetables. Something about the caramelized edges and concentration of their flavor through the magic of dry heat transforms even the most commonplace vegetable. Even more impressive, if you oven roast cauliflower, it becomes potatoes. Or at least it does for Little Dog because that's how he asks for more. And I can live with that. So, here's how you make that magic happen.

Cauliflower Potatoes
1 large head of cauliflower
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Wash and trim your cauliflower leaving the head in tact. Cut the entire head in slices about 3/4 inches thick and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add about 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss the cauliflower slices to coat. If you need more oil, add it slowly, you don't want to drown the cauliflower, but you also want it evenly coated. Once it is coated with oil, add a couple heavy pinches of salt and toss again.

Spread sliced cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. depending on the size of your cauliflower, you might need to use more than one baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in your oven under the broiler. Let cook until the edges of the cauliflower are golden, then turn the slices (and bits that have fallen off the slices) and cook the other side until golden on the edges. In our crappy oven this takes about 15 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less. You want the golden edges and you want the cauliflower to be nice and tender. If you don't get there in 15 minutes, keep on broiling. It is worth it.

In our house this is barely enough for 4 people. Especially once Little Dog gets going. "More potatoes, mama!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Giving it a second go

And it will probably turn out just as badly as the first, but here is another attempt at Meal Planning Monday (yes, I know it is Tuesday. I told you I suck at this stuff.)

Yesterday we had pasta and meatballs (lovingly crafted by Mr. Dog).

Tuesday: Broiled Salmon and steamed veggies.

Wednesday: Do it yourself (or have mama do it for you) Sushi with Auntie Chihuahua

Thursday: Bean Soup and homemade bread

Friday: CityMama's Veggie Stir Fry with Soba (yes, we love this stuff)

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Homemade Pizza.

If it sounds like a rut, it kind of is. But I'll cope with that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Now, thinking outside the box

When I was growing up, my mom took care of dessert cravings in a couple of ways. She pretty regularly brought Pepperidge Farms Fruit Turnovers, boxes of chocolate pudding mix and jello. I haven't had a turnover in years (though after typing that, I'm thinking they sound pretty good). I don't eat jello, it's too, um, hoofy. But pudding, that's a different story. I eat it frequently. Only twist on that classic is that I make it from scratch. Guess what. It's easy.

Lately I've been making it several times a week, because those are the weeks I've been having. The boys and Mr. Dog all seem to like it too. Although if you ask Little Dog, he might tell you it's mud, not pudding. He's just strange that way.

Chocolate Pudding, from scratch, for reals.
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Droste Cocoa Powder (my favorite brand, but Hershey's works as will any other)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk (I use skim milk because I have it on hand, but use whatever you like)
2 tbsp. butter

In a saucepan, whisk together your dry ingredients. Make sure you break up any lumps in your cornstarch, well, unless you like lumpy pudding, but I don't. Put saucepan over medium head and whisk in the milk, all at once. Heat over medium heat until the pudding thickens to a creamy, pudding-y consistency. Remove from the burner and stir in the vanilla and the butter.

At this point I start eating it right out of the pan. But if you have manners, or are serving others, feel free to put it into bowls and let it cool slightly.

Say you want a slightly more adult twist, omit the vanilla and add 2 Tbsp of brandy. Yum.

Trust me, you'll never go back to the box. Sorry Mr. Cosby.