Thursday, January 8, 2009

YUM-YUM-YUM! I heart cake!

Hey all!

I am so-so-so excited!!!! I'll not go too far into the history of why, but the Nino decided that a cake for the neighbor's little 6 year old girl would be perfect. One thing led to another, and somehow, we ended up with a red velvet cake with the most amazing yummy, whippy fluffy light frosting EVER! And I have never been a whippy frosting fan... but it's AMAZING!!!!

And I am a frosting expert. I used to eat it out of the bowl like salsa.... so I should know.



So the Red Velvet recipe is delish... I will post the link *here* when I am at a reliable internet connection. I am *this* close to plunking down the cash for an AT&T modem... at which time my soul will be owned by wireless.

Anyhoo, you wouldn't know it, since you can't see me, but I am covered with splotches of this lovely frosting, some of which is appropriately located on my belt. Another splotch is located on my thigh :) If anything, this jobless-ness will be good for you (especially if you live close by- more on that later) since I have a new resolve to explore lotsa yummy-nums while I have the time.

This cake recipe had lots of alterations. Almost every Red Velvet cake recipe I saw involved 2 ounces of food coloring and shortening. Then someone had the idea to mess with tradition subbed in oil... WAIT! It's coming to me... the RECIPE!!!

1 cup buttermilk or (scant cup of milk plus 1 Tablespoon white vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 ounces of food coloring
2.5 cups flour all purpose flour (sift *after* measuring)
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare two 9" round pans by greasing them and putting rounds of parchment at the bottom. Then grease that parchment. those cakes will pop out perfectly once you run a knife around the edges... trust me.

2. Put your cocoa in a cup. Dump in 2 oz. of food coloring... you can buy a single color in an extra large bottle at the grocery store. mix into a paste. If t ends up a dry mix, feel free to add a spoonful of water at a time untl it makes a nice, thick, paste.

3. Pour the oil and 2 cups of sugar into your final mixing bowl, and beat together. Add both eggs and mix until shiny and thick. Then put the food coloring paste in, and mix throughly, scraping down the bowl once and awhile.

4. Mix together your buttermilk or milk mixture, the vanilla and the salt together in a small bowl

5. Sift the flour with the baking powder in a medium bowl.

OK... about the flour thing... there is a magic flour out there that is WHOLE WHEAT and light enough to make brioche out of! King Arthur Whole Wheat White Flour is a godsend for folks that love the idea of whole wheat and the light fluffy-ness of their fave cinnamon roll. Another suggestion is whole wheat pastry flour... again, less gluten. Basically winter wheat has more gluten, spring wheat is better for pastries.

6. Alternating, add the milk and flour mixtures a little at a time until it's all incorporated.

7. Pour into your prepared 9" pans (I filled mine about halway, and it was perfect... mine were 9"x2" pans) and bake for a good half hour. Test with a knife or toothpick... it'll come out clean when it's done.

8. Set cakes on a wire rack to cool and get to work on the frosting.




And that frosting using milk and flour? YUM! Here it is...



It only *looks* like pink mayonnaise :)

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of butter

9. Whisk flour in milk in a saucepan. Put over heat and cook until it thickens. It'll be kind of like pudding.

10. While it's cooling, cream the butter and sugar together. Cream the dickens out of it. Like forever. Until you think it's just about as creamy as creamy gets. Seriously... beating the living daylight out f this is key. I think I whipped mine for over 5 minutes.

11. Once you get it so it's soft-soft-soft, you'll need to wait for the milk. make sure it's 100% cooled. I tucked mine in the freezer for just a bit to make sure. Once cooled, whip it into the butter mixture, until you can't taste the sugar granules. It'll look like whippy frosting.

YUM-YUM-YUM!!!!! This stuff is gold!

12. When you are done making the frosting, the very first thing you want to do is brush all extra crumbs off of the cake. This cake has enough sugar that it's easy to get the boogs off the cake (plus they taste like BROWNIES!)

13. When that's done, take a good 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of frosting and frost your "bottom" cake. Set the other cake on top of it.

14. Now it's time for the crumb layer of frosting. This is kind of like sanding down a piece of furniture and priming it. Do a final brush-off of those crumbs. Take a butter knife and run a *very* thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake. don't worry about it if some seeps over the edges... Then put a thin layer around the edges, and neaten up all the edges so that you can see the base shape of the cake. Don't worry about slight dips and wobbles... we'll take care of that in a half hour.



15. Put the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 15-30 minutes.


"And it's done!"

16. Pull it out again, and put a nice, 1/4 layer of frosting on the top. Then work your way around the sides of your cake. Go back and spread a little more along the bottom of the cake. The frosting recipe above had enough left over to do a bit of decorating too :)

17. Eat, or refrigerate or freeze for later (I prefer mine a little chilled)

The final product of our efforts...



P.S. Thank you dozens of times over for that artichoke dip, Lauren.... It came in handy when the munchies hit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Victory Gardens for We, The People!



Hey all,

We may not be asked to ration our food with coupons at the grocery store... for that I guess we can be grateful, even in this dearth of the economy. But with many folks on unemployment there are a ton of people with just enough income to pay bills and little else. Therefore, if you have the room, may I strongly encourage you to grow a Victory Garden?



Only this time we'd be growing them for a true victory, our victory at overcoming adversity by creatively coming together to help each other. Even a 10' by10' space can contribute a ton to your monthly budget, allow you to cheerily bring something over to a friend in need... Somehow it doesn't seem like charity if it's presented as a home-grown gift of stuff you "can't use" or grew "just for you" instead of "I know times are tough." Who knows, maybe you'll inspire someone to put out a couple of container pots with some potatoes on their fire escape? Beauty AND the Feast!

Many community gardens run a coop program... if several folks on your block are interested in pooling together, you can each concentrate on one or two plants, and rotate them every year to keep the ground fresh. Thisis especially useful for corn, which like growing in large plantings, or squash varieties that tend to ramble

The following heirloom site has a Victory Garden Package, with 75 plant types (two of some types of veg) for a large garden, for $95. It sounds like a lot of money at first, but these seed packets typically plant quite a bit. 4 people could easily split a pre-planned victory garden, with delicious and very pretty veg, for $25 each. For 75 types of veg, that is quite the deal (average seed package is around $1.50 per package, and heirlooms typically run $2 or more, so it's a steal of a deal) They also have a basic chart on what to plant when based on out frost date (I typically pick early May for mine, but you can adjust the calendar if you want to get fancy with it and use the local cooperative exchange date for your elevation and area.)

If anyone would like help designing a garden, whether traditional, space saving, or a container garden (if you only have a patio) I would be more than happy to lend my knowledge and help you design it. I have a few seeds I can swap as well :) There is also a program in the Denver area that gives out free seeds for those in need. Deadline for applications is Feb 2nd, and no exceptions are made for late arrivals! Check out the Denver Urban Gardens site for more info on community garden sites as well their Delaney Farm Shareholder Program. Yep, for less than $30 a week, you and three others can eat a bounty of fresh, sustainably grown veg, free of pesticides and other crud put in our regular food supply. Plus you can also go and pick your own herbs and flowers, and there are a ton of volunteer acitivies and classes (free for shareholders, suggested $5 donation for non-members) .

So check it out, and gimme a holler if you'd like to know more about any of this stuff.

Ciao Loves!

-e

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tamal Love...
















OK, so I mentioned tamales on someone's blog, and then I remembered... I bought everything I need to make tamales over a month ago!

Oh joy, oh joy!

Tamales are one of my fave pocket foods, right up there with gyoza (fried please) and BBQ pork buns (baked with an egg glaze please)

So I'm gonna fire up that crock pot, get that pork a-roastin' and make a go at my first ever batch o' tamales!

Since I can't find a published savory version by Diana Kennedy (author of The Art of Mexican Cooking) I settled on Grandma Salazar's Tamales recipe...

Whoopy-woo-woo!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Have your egg pie and eat it too...

Hey loves!

Eating well does not mean eating tons of fat and other things that are bad for your body. Here are a couple of tasty things I came up with this morning that are also good for you! All nutritional information is from the Sparkpeople.com recipe site. It's pretty neat, you enter in your ingredients, choose how many servings it makes and VOILA! Instant gratification! The best part? It's ALL FREE! No more wondering what that extra half cup of cream will cost ya!

First, breakfast- this is kind of like a pizza, but you use shredded potatoes, and then topped with egg, onion, and cheese. To drastically cut the fat calories, skip the cheese.... Remember that, though tasty, cheese is basically butter fat- That's right- Just like eating butter. Yum, huh? I still eat it, but I remember what it is :) It'll reduce the calories to 140 and halve the fat.

Nutrition info:
Potato and Egg White Pie

8 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 197.3
Total Fat 8.4 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 99.3 mg
Sodium 288.1 mg
Potassium 450.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 1.5 g
Protein 11.8 g
Vitamin A 9.4 %
Vitamin B-12 6.9 %
Vitamin B-6 16.1 %
Vitamin C 28.5 %
Vitamin D 2.9 %
Vitamin E 1.6 %
Calcium 14.9 %
Copper 5.4 %
Folate 7.0 %
Iron 6.3 %
Magnesium 7.5 %
Manganese 8.0 %
Niacin 4.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.5 %
Phosphorus 18.9 %
Riboflavin 13.5 %
Selenium 12.6 %
Thiamin 6.7 %
Zinc 7.2 %



Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
3 medium potatoes
12 eggs
1 red onion
1/2 cup non-fat half and half
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the potatoes, and grate. Squeeze out the excess water. Squeeze the potatoes as hard as you can... Add in paprika and pepper. Crack and separate 1 egg and add to the potatoes, reserving the egg yolk for something else, or throw the yolks away.

Coat a large, over proof frying pan with the butter, and turn up heat to medium high. When it is very hot, ad the potatoes in an even layer across the bottom. Fry for 2 minutes, and then turn heat down to medium.

Meanwhile crack and separate 8 more egs, reserving the yolks for another recipe (or discard) and put in a mixing bowl. Add three whole eggs, the half and half, milk, salt and garlic powder, and beat well. Add to the frying pan, making sure that it is distributed evenly over the potatoes. Slice the red onion thinly, and spread over the top. Put the whole thing in the oven, and bake until the egg is just about set. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, and bake until brown.

Serve with a fresh tomato and green tea, and you have an excellent low calorie, nutrient rich breakfast.


Steak sandwiches:

Nutrition Facts

8 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 235.2
Total Fat 6.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 32.3 mg
Sodium 481.2 mg
Potassium 397.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 17.1 g
Vitamin A 0.0 %
Vitamin B-12 26.9 %
Vitamin B-6 19.6 %
Vitamin C 1.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.6 %
Calcium 2.1 %
Copper 8.8 %
Folate 8.4 %
Iron 15.2 %
Magnesium 13.6 %
Manganese 48.4 %
Niacin 21.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.7 %
Phosphorus 21.7 %
Riboflavin 12.5 %
Selenium 43.0 %
Thiamin 12.2 %
Zinc 15.8 %

Ingredients

Beef, round steak, 1 lb
Onions, raw, 1 medium (2-1/2" dia)
Canola Oil, 1 tbsp
Bread, whole wheat 8 slice
Salt, 1 tsp
Red Wine, 3 fl oz
Flour, white, 1 tbsp

How to:

Put the oil in a frying pan, and saute the onion until soft. Slice the steak thinly and cook until done. Add 2 servings of veggie boullion and a cup of water. Let simmer for a bit. Mix the wine with the flour, and add to the mix. Stir well and cook until thickened.

Spoon over a piece of bread and eat. I like to eat this with celery or a nice salad. You could use chicken or pork too, I just used beef since it has the most fat.


There you go... two things that can be the base of a great meal.... add however many veggies or fruits you'd like and you'll have a great day!

Ciao loves!

-e
I'm on a mission. For a number of reasons:

1. One of my MySpace friends regularly posts about the effects of what we eat, and helpful articles about beer guts and the hidden smell of our immune system. THANKS!!! It's very cool that you put that stuf out there.

2. MY own personal use. I am ALWAYS looking for the cheat... Because, well, I love to eat.Getting older, and it doesn't come off as fast as it used to... The more efficient I am about structuring my macro-nutrients... the more I get to eat. Hence the non-fat mocha with WHIPPED CREAM!!! I can take it *in* the drink, or on top. I like it better on top. Go figure.

3. I've known more than one person with an eating disorder, whether they eat too much or too little. It is a small hope that posts about food here will help people to have a more positive relationship about food instead of a mere lack/overabundance of control over it.

SO, if any of you fine friends out there just love a dish, and would like to see if you too can have your cake and eat it too, feel free to send me the general recipe, and I'll see what I can do so you can:

1. Eat more of it
2. Make it less regrettable post-holiday

*DISCLAIMER*

This does NOT apply to holiday treats. Discipline yourself, but do not mess with tradition. That's what the repentance of the New Year is for, and I'm not about to mess with that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vegetarians, BEWARE!!!!

Though I know how to cook for the most discerning vegetarian, I am most decidedly an omnivore...

This is what I call "funny"



This makes more sense if you know that I ablsolutely adore wild game... well... and sheep. I will freely admit that there are many times when moose is much yummier than foie gras.

Annndddd... this pretty much sums it up....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squash....

Today, I finally cooked up the remainder of all the pumpkin I peeled on Monday. Impressive, how well this stuff will keep in a cold room. Were it not quite the end of November, I'd pull in the rest of the pumpkins on my porch. Yes... I actually eat them.

I have seen pumpkins being thrown out as soon as Halloween's done... whole pumpkins, ones that weren't even carved into jack-o-lanterns. It's as if folks in this country can't think of anything to do with them besides soup and pie. Don't get me wrong, pumpkin soup is good, and the pumpkin-tomato type popular in Europe is really tasty. There are so many ways to eat this wonderful winter squash, however, and it baffles me that one of the most economical sources of beta-carotenes is overlooked like this.

This is what goes through my mind looking at the remaining 25 pounds of pumpkin on the deck...

Pie!!!!!!!!!
Au Gratin
Ravioli
Pumpkin Bread!!!
Pancakes!
Pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies!
Croquettes
Roasted with potatoes and garlic
Plain, pureed

This is just what comes off the top of my head. This is a very flexible fruit, and more people should take advantage of it. If anyone has a pumpkin recipe I should know about, please send it my way.