Thanksgiving is over. (Check) One holiday down, more to follow. Take a deep breath, buckle up and grab whatever gaiety you can muster to make December happen. The goal here is to find a reason to pull your Joy lever everyday.
Alone for Thanksgiving, first time ever, I was determined to flip my favorite holiday from the anticipated sad to happy. Needing to save the Ski Season, our Colorado governor and Aspen mayor issued Stay-At-Home-orders. So for days prior to the holiday I did just that. Baking was my comfort buffer.
Remember that ravishing Triple-Layer Parsnip and Cranberry cake from my Thanksgiving post? Using that recipe, I pulled out my favorite mold and baked mini-bundt desserts for friends who were also going to be alone for the holiday. I already had an inventory of Pandemic-proof Window Cake Boxes and Weck jars for the sauce.
Thanksgiving morning I put together my cargo and first headed down valley to deliver some of my 18 dessert packages. By noon, feeling quite pleased at having surprised everyone, I’d finished all my doorstep deliveries. Waiting for me, I already knew, was a traditional Thanksgiving feast dropped off by my friends, the Overeynder’s.
After justifying those extra calories by taking a not-at-all strenuous hike, catching up with far-away family and friends and watching “Holidate” on Netflix (Yes, it was cheesy. Yes, I loved it.), the holiday was in the rear-view mirror. Not the best Thanksgiving ever but it was fine.
Wait, it gets better. On the next day my down valley buddies who had included me in an elaborately orchestrated and safe tailgating food exchange on Thanksgiving, brought my portion to Aspen. What can I say? There was enough food to feed a family of four!
TIME TO MAKE A LIST
My Thanksgiving story is not to minimize the suffering in the world or America’s pain. Yes, we’ve experienced a rock-hard eight months with a horrendous winter forecasted. This past month I’ve seen (Thank God for Zoom.) the agonizing inner courage of a childhood friend whose daughter is doing battle with this virus and another Manchester friend who recently received a disheartening diagnosis.
With everything reeling-out of-control I began to feel helpless again, reminiscent of trying to get home from Paris last March and being quarantined for two weeks. Full stop. I’m not returning to that dark place again. Time to Makea List. For whatever reason, Lists work for me. I cross out the uncontrollable and am always left with what I call a Plan Possible forward.
After getting through Thanksgiving, packing up, driving and getting settled in Boulder, I need to plan how to live, work, study, and entertain myself in an impermanent, unfamiliar location as safely as possible. Just having received a library card, for example, and meeting neighbors who, if they see The New York Times’ piling up on my doorstep, will come calling, helps. Decided to forego gift giving and donate to organizations feeding the hungry this year. A feel-good idea.
MOLASSES COFFEE CAKE.
After my last post’s cake, a triple-layer showstopper, it seems unfair to feature this Molasses Coffee Cake now. It’s like comparing Plain Jane to Cinderella. Don’t be fooled. While not particularly photogenic or even splashy, it’s dense, moist, flavorful and complex. As a colleague wrote, ‘It has a whole lotta zing.’
Here’s some additional thoughts because this is not only a perfect holiday coffee cake but, gussied up with ice cream or whipped cream, it will be refreshing at tea time, as a fancy dessert or the best midnight snack Santa has ever tasted. It’s all about the coffee and the spices. And, that glaze? Oh My, you must.
MOLASSES COFFEE CAKE from “Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook,” by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup uncultured molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot coffee (can be made with instant coffee or espresso powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, plus more (optional) for decoration
1 teaspoon boiling water
5 ounces best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, at room temperature
Whipped cream, for topping
This cake is even better on the second day — the spices have more time to ripen.
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan that’s at least 2 inches high (use a springform if you don’t have a regular cake pan that’s tall enough), fit a round of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan, butter the paper and dust the interior with flour; tap out the excess.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt ginger, five -spice powder, cinnamon and pepper.
3. Working in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the molasses and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes, then beat in the vanilla.
4. Turn the mixer off, add the flour mixture and pulse to begin incorporating it. Then beat on low speed only until the dry ingredients disappear into the batter. With the mixer on low, add the hot coffee, again mixing only until it is incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan and swivel the pan to even it.
5. Bake for 28 to 33 minutes, until the cake is beautifully browned and has risen uniformly. It will pull away from the sides of the pan if gently tugged and a tester inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean.
6. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake rest for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the sides of the cake. Turn the cake out onto the rack, gently peel off the parchment, invert onto another rack and cool to room temperature; or, if you are using a springform, simply remove the ring. The cake may develop a little dip in the center — that’s its personality.
7. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the boiling water. Put the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
8. Bring the cream to a boil (you can do this the microwave oven), stir in the espresso extract that you make and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds and then, using a whisk or the small heatproof spatula, stir until the mixture is smooth. /add the butter one piece at a time, stirring until it is melted and incorporated.
9. Set the cake on the rack on a piece of of foil to catch drips. Pour as much of the glaze as you want over the cake and use a long spatula or a table knife to spread it. I like it when the glaze drips down the sides of the cake unevenly; if you want to smooth it, you can, of course.
10. Sprinkle with a little instant espresso powder to decorate, if you like.
11. Put the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set the glaze, then return it to room temperature for serving. Pass any remaining glaze a the table.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake can keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Wrapped airtight, it can be frozen for up to 2 months, glaze and all.
Thanksgiving is next week. In normal times I would be loading my car with suitcases and handing my condo’s keys to The Gant. Thanksgiving is Aspen’s ski season kick-off day. Being a retired-skier, I’m happily not here for it. But these times are not normal. I won’t be spending the holidays with my family in California nor my friends in Nevada. Spending the winter in Paris is off the table. Let’s not talk about that.
Rather, let’s talk about this celebratory, full-on-flavorful triple-layer cake which I’m going to help you build and bake, layer by layer. Shout-out to all you bakers: Make this cake. Recipe below.
Let’s talk about my escaping Aspen’s hearty winter. I’ve opted for a gentler one in Boulder. Yes, it’s still Colorado. Yes, it still snows there. Yes, it’s been a hot spot. Yes. Yes. Yes. Luckily the university’s holiday break coincides with my first five weeks so I’ll be able to settle in and find my way before the student deluge begins. Right now, closer to home suits me.
When this began last March, and quite honestly I was thinking about 3-5 months, I shelved what I couldn’t do and gave more thought to what I could and would do. Why not tinker with my lifestyle, smooth out the rough spots. Readers, do you know how much tinkering you can do in eight months?
REIMAGINE, REINVENT AND SIMPLIFY
Since returning to Aspen, to my accountant’s annoyance, I still rent a storage space 30 miles from Aspen loaded with boxes of ‘precious objects.’ What I’ve found over the years is that they are only precious to me. “If not now, when?” asked Mary to Mary. It took three months but I emptied that space. Several times a week I’d drive to Carbondale and load up my Subaru with boxes. One by one, I unpacked those babies and donated, tossed and dispersed with everything. I cannot pat myself on the back enough for doing that.
It felt good. Less baggage. A lighter load. But it was June 1st and Covid was still hanging around. Why not simplify my Life more? How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk? *** Readers, just know this. The longer I’ve sheltered-in-place, the more simplified my Life’s become.
I decided to turn my office back into a second bedroom. A project, for sure. My beautiful office furniture found a home with a friend’s wife who’d just moved her office/business home. That felt good. Next I attacked my closets and drawers, whittled down my cookbook collection and God only knows if I tossed and shredded papers that may be needed if the government comes calling. Once you’re in the mood and time is your friend (think eight long months), one can r-e-a-l-l-y edit and purge.
Happy Thanksgiving, Readers. Take care. Be safe.
TRIPLE-LAYER PARSNIP & CRANBERRY CAKE by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook
NOTE: You can make the filling up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate it. You can make the cake layers a day ahead and keep them wrapped airtight. The cake slices better if it is refrigerated for an hour or two. (I did all three)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange or 1 tangerine
1 cup neutral oil, such as canola
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled and grated (3 cups)
1 cup (120 grams) chopped pecans or other nuts, toasted or not
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
One 12-ounce bag cranberries (if frozen, don’t defrost)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or water)
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 pound cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
6 1/4 cups (750 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To make the cake, center a rack or evenly position 2 racks in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F.
Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, dust the interiors with flour and tap out the excess; or use baker’s spray.
3. Whisk the flour, coriander, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Put 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a small bowl and stir in the minced ginger and zest.
4. Working in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the oil, the remaining 1 cup sugar and the brown sugar together on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture might look grainy, but that’s fine.
5. One by one, beat in the eggs and then continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the ginger-zest mixture and any syrup that might be in the bowl.
6. Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture all at once. Pulse the mixer to start incorporating the flour, then mix on low just until the dry ingredients almost disappear. Add the parsnips and nuts and mix to incorporate. Switch to a flexible spatula and gently fold in the cranberries. 7. Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and smooth the tops.
8. Bake for 33 to 37 minutes, until the cakes are golden and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pans. The tops will feel springy to the touch and a tester inserted in the center will come out clean.
9. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides of the pans and turn the cakes out onto racks to cool to room temperature.
10. To make the filling: Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture bubbles, many of the cranberries pop and the sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. The filling will thicken more as it cools. Scrape the filling into a bowl and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate if you’re not using immediately.
11.To make the frosting, working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt together on medium speed until very smooth; scrape the beater and bowl down frequently. Add the vanilla and beat to blend.
12. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: If the tops of the cakes have mounded (these usually bake pretty at), you can slice away the crowns to even them. Place one layer bottom side down on a cake plate. Using an off set spatula or a table knife, generously cover the top of the layer with frosting. Spoon half of the cranberry filling into the center of the frosting and spread it so that it comes to about an inch or two shy of the edges of the cake. Place the second layer on the cake, top side down. Cover with frosting and spread the remaining filling over it. Finish by placing the last layer on the cake, bottom side up. Cover the top layer with frosting, adding some swirls and whorls, if you’d like.
NOTE: If some of the cranberry filling oozed to the edges or maybe even spilled over a little, celebrate it! I love the casual look of this cake.You’ll have frosting left over, so you can frost the sides of the cake, if you’d like. I like to leave the sides bare or run just a very thin layer of frosting around them, a layer that looks almost sheer, kind of naked, but not quite. The cake can be served as soon as it’s assembled, but it’s easier to slice if you give it an hour or two in the fridge.
For an even more festive cake, crown it with sugared cranberries — finishing it like this is beautiful for the holidays. Make a simple syrup by boiling 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water together, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drop in as many fresh cranberries as you’d like and roll them around to coat with syrup, then lift them out with a slotted spoon or mesh spider and transfer them to a rack. Let them set for about 1 hour — they’ll be sticky and tacky, and that’s what you want. Roll the cranberries around in a cup of sugar and then let them dry on a clean rack for another hour. Sugared berries are meant for the last minute — they’ll get syrupy in the refrigerator and won’t survive freezing.
STORING: You can keep the cake at room temperature (not hot or humid) for a couple of days or, wrapped, in the refrigerator for at least 5 days. You can also freeze the cake. Freeze it, then wrap airtight; if you can manage it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.
+++Tongue-twister created by a Martha Beck-wannabe
“Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White
My sentiments exactly…
SAVE & SAVOR
Unlike Oprah, I’ve experienced very few AHA moments but have approached Enlightenment, those lightbulb moments, gradually. Call me a Slow Learner. I plead guilty. But about 20 years ago as we moved into the 21st Century, I AHA’ed bigly. I decided that Joy is a choice with resilience and attitude, the survival tools. But, most importantly, I realized women must be Brave.
My AHA moment has successfully guided me through the past 20 years but it’s been a total lifesaver the last 7 months – a time like no other, bouncing between status quo to terrifying. And yet, despite the barriers, restrictions and mis-managed Pandemic, I have been not joyful exactly, but very content. Admittedly, some days I’ve had to pull on my big girl pants and just be Brave.
Here’s to sharing some of the past month’s joyful moments and hoping you’ve had some of your own. It’s chilly in the Colorado High County so soup is on the menu. Need comfort food? This Bean & Tortilla Soup smells heavenly and carries some heat (or not, your choice.)
OUR HILLS ARE STILL ALIVE
By mid-September it’s always a quiet time in the mountains.
The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long battle to win voting rights in this country. It took 100 years to make that happen for white women and longer for black women. Suffragettes were brave. Other brave Americans have fought and died so we can vote but only 56% of us cast votes in 2016. Don’t ask me to understand that.
In 1893 Colorado was the first state to grant white women the right to vote although the Wyoming Territory granted voting rights in 1864.
Since our Emma is a first-time presidential election voter, this is an exciting time for our family. (Well honestly, I’m the one who’s most excited.) Although Clara is a not-yet-eligible 17, she’s was a Poll Watcher in California’s last election. She wrote an extensively-researched paper on our Women’s Suffrage Movement last year which she shared chapter by chapter with her Grandmother. They both definitely needed VOTE necklaces.
BREAKING MY RULES
As you Readers know, I’m a Fauci follower. Realizing no one is immune to this virus, I still listen to Dr. Fauci’s suggestions, trying to stay safe and not harm others. In late September, I was asked to join six others at a dinner party to celebrate a very special birthday and another friend’s becoming an American citizen.
It took a few days of discussion and our knowing we’d all been like-minded with our safety protocol to make it a Go. Realizing we faced a predicted surge as well as winter (it’s already snowed in Aspen), if not now, When?
It was a perfect evening albeit making us realize even more how much we missed being around a dinner table with old friends. These are strange times when we are hoping for the best, planning for the worst and staying focused on what’s most important to us. That was important. No regrets.
THE LAST WORDS
This week I received the Roaring Fork Audubon newsletter written by our president, Mary Harris, who is an expert birder and passionate about protecting our Valley. What I loved most was the advice she shared from her son who has a PhD in Microbiology focusing on tuberculosis. It dittos the reminders I often receive from my daughter. Ya gotta love our kiddos.
“Mom, Please stay safe. Don’t cave. Wear your mask outdoors when others get close, and don’t go visiting the people you miss. Hang in there.”
COOK THE BOOK FRIDAYS
It’s such a windfall to be cooking through Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook right now. These are the easy, simple recipes Dorie cooks every day at home for her family. Right now the Greenspan family is +1. Dorie and her husband Michael are grandparents for the first time…to a lovely little girl. Mazel tov.
BEAN & TORTILLA SOUP
For the Soup
1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1½ tbsp olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of sugar
¾ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
3 cups vegetable, chicken or bean broth, adding more as desired
15 oz canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
11/2 cups cooked or canned pinto or red kidney beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed if canned
For the Add-Ins
Sour Cream or Greek yogurt
1-2 avocados, halved, pitted, cute into bite-sized chunks
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
Chopped fresh clilantro
1-2 fresh limes, Cut 1 lime into wedges and freshly squeeze lime juice from the other
Hot sauce (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, carrots, jalapenos, and garlic to the pan. Season with the salt and sugar and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 20 minutes.
2. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute.
3. Pour in the broth, canned tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and the lime juice from 1 lime.
4. Remove from the heat and divide into serving bowls. Top with suggested mix-ins above, as desired.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with sour cream or yogurt and the avocado, some cheese and a generous amount of cilantro. Pass the lime wedges and tortilla chips. If desired pass the hot sauce also.
TIP: The soup can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator up to four days or packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.
BIRDS AND ANIMALS CAN’T VOTE BUT YOU CAN…AN INFORMED ELECTORATE IS THE FIRST REQUIREMENT FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRACY…THE SECOND IS TO VOTE.
Let’s catch up, loyal Readers. You good? Making it work? It’s been awhile. Where do I start?
Can we agree the Pandemic has been an unwelcome invitation to slow down and pay close attention? As for me, I prefer easing gently into novel or unique situations, don’t you? But this insidious Corona character wasn’t having it. It showed up unannounced as if to say, “Mother Earth, I’m here. Whatcha gonna do about it?”
As my food blogging colleague Joy the Baker recently wrote, “We’re just going to stay hydrated and vote and eat our salads and take our vitamins and keep it moving because the only way out is through.”
This is how I’ve kept it moving the past month:
My Hazmat Suit
I bought a Hazmat Suit. It’s hanging in my closet. Here’s the deal. The one goal I’ve made regarding this epidemic is not to miss Clara’s high school graduation in May 2021.
I recently read that singer Gloria Estefan in order to be at her grandson’s small family birthday dinner, bought a Hazmat Suit and wore it to the party. There were even pictures. Lightbulb Moment: I could wear a Hazmat Suit to Clara’s graduation. Problem Solved.
After receiving my Suit, I called Melissa, Clara’s mother, to give her the good news. The conversation went like this:
“I just bought a Hazmat Suit.”
“I thought if all else fails, I can wear it to Clara’s graduation and not miss it.”
Readers, the silence was deafening. Finally Melissa said something like ‘if you show up wearing a Hazmat Suit at graduation, Clara won’t be there.’
Since I expected some pushback, I had already prepared well-regarded, logical reasoning in response. Not even amused. Nothing took flight. In fact Melissa began using her most firm ‘Mom, don’t mess with me,’ voice so I cut my losses. It was a short conversation.
I’ve now moved on to Option 2. It’s peppy, as in Manchester Manhawks peppy: “Hey World. We’ve got the coaches, We’ve got the team, by Clara’s graduation, let’s have a vaccine.”
Rest In Power, Justice Ginsberg
Last Saturday night, before attending a memorial service for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I made this Salted Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundae (pictured above) and poured myself a glass of Sancerre. It was dinner.
Happily the two recipe choices my CookTheBookFridays group has made this month are thumbs-up winners. I don’t suggest SO-GOOD MISO CORNwith SQUID and SALTED CHOCOLATE HOT FUDGE SUNDAES pair together. Being so delicious and appealing, they both deserve their own performance.
If you’d prefer, make the So-Good Miso Corn as a side dish, that works also. As an Iowa girl I’d never cooked with Squid nor acquired a taste for Calamari until I was an adult. The important ingredient here, whether made as a side or main course, is Miso. It’s a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and kōji and sometimes other ingredients like rice, barley and seaweed. It’s a paste, either light or dark, and keeps in the refrigerator almost forever! There are so many uses for Miso. If your unfamiliar with this Japanese seasoning, educate yourself via the Internet.
What’s there to say about hot fudge sundaes. We’ve all enjoyed best-ever hot fudge sundae experiences at ice cream parlors, restaurants and even at home. This sundae recipe, invented by Dorie, brings its own twists of flavor to make it special. By separating its parts, the salted-chocolate bits or hot fudge sauce, even the toasted slivered almonds, you can raise the bar in other sundaes and desserts to make them even more special. Please do try the coffee/vanilla combo sometime. Can (and, must) be shared.
SO-GOOD MISO CORN by Dorie Grenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook
1 Tablespoon light (white or yellow) miso 3 Tablespoons hot water 4 Tablespoons olive oil 2 Cups of fresh, frozen or canned corn 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter 1 Teaspoon of Za’atar or a mixture of any or 1 of ground thyme, oregano or marjoram 1/2 Teaspoon of sea salt Pinch of cayenne pepper Snipped chives and/ir finely sliced scallions chopped cilantro Freshly ground pepper
Mix the miso and water together to sooth and loosen the miso. You’re unlikely to be completely successful, which is fine.
Place a large skillet over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the corn and cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring. Then stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the kernels are charred here and there.
Reduce the heat to medium-low , add the butter and miso mixture and cook, stirring and scraping whatever gets stuck to the pan and until the butter and miso melt and eater evaporates.
Turn off the heat, add the spices and salt and stir to blend wel
Scrape the corn into a bowl and stir in the chives or scallions as well as the black pepper.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Tip: The corn mixture can be made a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature and reheat with a little water in a skillet until the corn is hot and water has evaporated. (Do not do this process in the microwave.)
FROM a SIDE DISH to a MAIN COURSE:
Cut 1/2 to 1 pound of squid into rings about 1/2-inch thick. Pat dry. (I also used tentacles which were already small and bite-sized.)
Pour 1 Tablespoon olive-oil into the skillet and place over high heat. Add the squid and cook for 1 minute until the pieces are almost opaque. Transfer Squid to a plate and season with salt, pepper and a pinch cayenne pepper. Wipe the pan clean.
Make the corn mixture (or, take it from the fridge). When the corn is ready, add and Squid and toss to reheat and finish cooking. Just before serving stir in some chopped sweet onion, halved cherry tomatoes and greens. Squeeze fresh lime juice on the salad mixture and toss once more.
Preparation: 1. Line a pie plate with plastic wrap.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or on low power in a microwave. Add the salt, stir to blend and then, using a spatula, spread the chocolate on the plastic, making a layer that’s 1/8-inch thick (shape doesn’t matter). Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and freeze for at least 45 minutes.
3. When you’re ready to make the sundaes, chop the chocolate into bite-size bits.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not chips), finely chopped 3/4 cup heavy cream 3 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 tablespoons sugar
PREPARATION: 1. Put the chocolate, cream, corn syrup and sugar in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts and comes to a light simmer, about 5 minutes. Still stirring, let it burble for a minute or two, then scrape it into a heatproof container. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed.
When you’re ready to make the sundaes, chop the chocolate into bite-size bits. For each sundae, sprinkle some salted-chocolate bits and almonds into the bottom of a bowl, snifter or sundae glass. Top with a scoop or two (I used a mini-scooper) of coffee ice cream some hot fudge sauce, almonds and bits. Finish with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream (again, mini scoops). more fudge sauce, whipped cream, almonds and chocolate bits. Serve immediately.
This post follows my progress cooking each recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook. Check out our online group which cooks together virtually at www.CookTheBookFridays.Wordpress.com
Do you remember that August 2020 is officially National Women’s Suffrage Month, a month-long celebration honoring the history of our fight for the vote? While mourning the loss of 180,000 American lives, with the country in a bit of a mess, it’s understandable if what began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 isn’t on your radar.
I am purposely writing this post the evening of Wednesday, August 26th, which is National Women’s Equality Day. It marks the day in 1920 when white women in the United States got the equal right to vote. (Most Black women waited 50 more years to gain that right.) August 26th was the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, giving women the constitutional right to vote.
Amusing myself with a theme week, every evening I’ve been raising a glass or two to honor and learn more about a suffragette. My picks are Anthony, Paul, Stanton, Stone, Wells, Lampkin, Truth, Tubman and the Iroquoiswomen. In a moment of serendipity, last Sunday the incomparable Dorie Greenspan featured Chocolate-Flake Raspberry Ice Cream in her NYT’s EAT column. Our CooktheBookFriday’s choice this week is her Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt Cake. With ice cream, cake and flags resurrected from July 4th it’s a week-long hen’s party for me and those stalwart suffragettes.
MENTALLY STRONG WOMEN DON’T…..
In the spirit of suffrage month (you all know I love Lists) this is worth a share. And to all you guys who receive my blog, please read this also. It’s from author Amy Morin’s book entitled “13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do.” Is counterintuitive the right word here?
1.They don’t compare themselves to others.
2.They don’t insist upon perfection.
3.They don’t see vulnerability as a weakness
4.They don’t let self-doubt stop them from reaching goals.
5.They don’t overthink everything.
6.They don’t avoid tough challenges.
7.They don’t fear breaking the rules.
8. They don’t put others down to lift themselves up.
9. They don’t let others limit their potential.
10.They don’t blame themselves when something goes wrong.
11.They don’t stay silent.
12. They don’t feel bad about reinventing themselves.
13. They don’t downplay their success.
WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?
I’ve been watching MasterClass which is an e-learning platform that features classes taught by well-known celebrities, industry leaders and masters of their crafts who give curated lessons. I just finished author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s excellent class on U.S. Presidential History and Leadership. I’ve moved on to NYC’s pâtissier Dominique Ansel’s French Pastry Fundamentals. It’s happy. and calorie-free. Fundamental to Dominique is professional to me! For more info, click on this Link.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
ICE CREAM SOLVES THE WHOLE SHEBANG
Pull out your ice cream maker (borrowing is good) and make this fabulous raspberry ice cream. Pour on Dorie’s version of Magic Shell, a glossy, glorious-tasting hard topping that works…..like magic. Now smile.
CHOCOLATE-FLAKE RASPBERRY ICE CREAM by Dorie Greenspan, EAT, The New York Times
The Chocolate Topping:
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1.Make the chocolate flake and topping: Mix together the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl fitted over a saucepan of simmering water. Gently heat and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is glossy and smooth.
2. Set aside 1/2 cup to use as the flake and the rest for the topping. You can make the flake and topping up to 5 days ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Warm to melt before using.
3. For the Ice Cream, working with a stand or immersion blender, blend all the ingredients, scraping the container occasionally, until smooth. (Pay attention to the powdered milk; it has a pesky way of clumping.)
4. Cover, and refrigerate the mixture for 6 hours or up to 1 day. When you’re ready, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.
4. Just before the ice cream is ready, open the top of the machine and, with the blade spinning, gradually drizzle in the reserved 1/2 cup of warmed chocolate flake. Churn for another 1 or 2 minutes to fully incorporate the flakes.
5. Pack the ice cream into a container, cover and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
6. Once the ice cream is ready to serve, take the container out 5 minutes before scooping. (Its texture is best after it’s had a few minutes on the counter.) Rewarm the remaining chocolate topping, and pour it over the individual servings of ice cream or the cone. It will immediately harden into a chocolate shell
COOK the BOOK FRIDAYS
This bundt can go plain with a powdered sugar dusting or fancy by drizzling a powdered sugar glaze on top. Ice cream? Whipped Cream? Your call. Not too sweet, this cake is summer goodness.
BLUEBERRY-BUTTERMILK BUNDT CAKE by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook
2 cups plus 1 TBS all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 pint blueberries (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 stick of butter at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
Confectioners sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350° Butter and flour your bundt pan – even if it is nonstick. This cake can stick. (Or coat with baker’s spray and then dust with flour.)
2. Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, the baking powder and baking soda
3. Mix the remaining TBS of flour with the berries and set aside
4. Add the sugar and zest to the bowl of stand mixer. Using your fingers rub the sugar and zest together until the oils are released and the fragrance is released.
5. Add the butter and salt. Using the paddle attachment set on medium, mix together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
6. Turn to low and add the eggs, one at a time for one minute each until well combined.
7. Beat in the vanilla and oil.
8. Mix in the buttermilk on low speed until combined. Turn the mixer off. Fold in the flour mixture until combined. Turn the mixer on and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are blended. Using a flexible spatula, fold in the blueberries.
9. Add the batter to the prepared pan. Drop the pan on your counter a 3-4 times to allow the batter to settle
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 – 60 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before unmolding.
11. Let cool completely before dusting lightly with the powdered sugar.
This post follows my progress cooking each recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook. Check out our online group who cooks together virtually at www.CookTheBookFridays.Wordpress.com
Here we are together again. May I ask, on a scale of 1 to 10, how be you? Do you still stand tall at a strong, solid 7-8 or after a bumpy week, did you take a deep dive and are just now resurfacing? To date, August has sent my meter wagging between 5 and 8. That’s why I’ve tried especially hard to make this week’s Post a delicious one.
If every decision is a risk and every risk, a decision, I prefer to be savoring TART CHERRY PIE à la MODE to nourish my decisiveness. When I must make difficult choices and then own them, I’m fine with a glass of French Rosé and a dollop of RICOTTA SPOONABLE slathered on a toasted baguette slice. One night I grabbed a chunk of crusty artisan bread and carried my plate – a piping hot cast iron pan of SEARED PEACHES and SHISHITO PEPPERS with HONEY – straight to the table. Etiquette be damned. Spirits raised.
I’m still committed in my version of a ‘hard-core coronavirus stay-at-home quarantine mode.’ What I’ve needed most and received in this strange, uncomfortable time is for friends as well and family to support me so I can support myself. I hope you all have a support system in your corner.
And, Readers, I never underestimate, especially during this wildness, the joy I get from writing this blog for you. Stay safe. Please find something good in each day.
FARM to TABLE: YOU CAN TAKE the GIRL OUT of IOWA but YOU CAN’T TAKE IOWA OUT of THE GIRL
(NOTE: 2 pounds of sour cherries equals about 7 cups)
RICOTTA SPOONABLE by Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook
Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep, cow, or goat. Whey is leftover from the production of other cheeses.
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained if there’s liquid*** 1 large lemon, or more to taste 3 tablespoons minced shallots, rinsed and patted dry 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling About 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt Freshly ground pepper 1/3 cup minced mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, cilantro and/or basil
***If there’s liquid in the container it’s best to drain the cheese. Line a strainer with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth, place it over a bowl, spoon in the ricotta, pull the cheesecloth around the cheese and weight it with a plate or a can of something. Put it in the refrigerator and let it drain for at least 30 minutes or up to a day
Put the ricotta in a medium bowl. Finely grate the zest of lemon over it, then halve and squeeze the lemon and blend in the juice.
Stir in the shallots, scallions, olive oil, salt and a healthy pinch of pepper. Taste for salt and pepper, then stir in the herbs.
Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before adjusting for salt, pepper, and lemon juice and serving
Serving Options: A dollop of this on a cracker or sliced baguette makes a delicious appetizer. For a tartine (an open sandwich) spread the ricotta mixture on toasted dark bread and top with roasted tomatoes, sliced cucumbers or the topping of your choice. For dinner, add to your pasta, stirring and blending. I roasted some orphan veggies languishing in my fridge and added them to the pasta. With a green salad, a nice dinner. Spoonable Ricotta is even tasty being stirred into scrambled eggs.
Storing: Spoonable is best the day it is made, but you can keep it for up to 2-3 days, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.
Visit theBlue Heron Project by clicking this link. Environmentalist Rachel Kulchin’s blog spotlights a collection of unique seasonal recipes using ingredients currently being harvested from her garden or by wild harvesting in the Eastern Sierra area where she lives.
2 TBSP Butter Peaches, ( 3, if large and 5, if small), pitted and sliced 2 Cups Shishito Peppers (thin-skinned little green peppers) Juice of half a Lemon Honey, for drizzling
1 Get a cast-iron or frying pan hot, hot, hot hot on the stove. Add the butter and immediately add your slices of peaches and shishito peppers. 2. Spread around evenly. Leave untouched at least two minutes until nicely seared.
Flip your peaches and shishitos over to sear for another 2 minutes on second side to caramelize and darken.
When finished, immediately scoop your mixture into your serving dish. (I like to serve them right from the the cast-iron pan.)
To finish the dish, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and enjoy.
This post follows my progress cooking each recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s “Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook.” Check out our online group who cooks together virtually at www.CookTheBookFridays.Wordpress.com