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Friday, November 30, 2012

November Foodie Penpals

Wow!  I can't believe it's time for Foodie Penpals reveal day again.  Can I just say how much fun I've had doing this over the last four months?  I love picking out what to send to my penpal, but I'd be lying if I didn't say the best part is getting a box of goodies from a different part of the country every month.  If you're interested in participating or learning more, head over to the Lean Green Bean.

This month's box was courtesy of Leigh Ann in Florida, a/k/a the state with the climate least like the one I inhabit.  Imagine my delight when I opened up my box and saw these:

A gorgeous ripe avocado (no, a slimcado, which is apparently an avocado with less fat) and a Florida orange.  I can't tell you how ripe, colorful produce in the middle of our long spell of 10-as-a-high weather makes me feel.  The orange juice and zest went into the Thanksgiving bread pudding (really), and David devoured that avocado in sandwiches.

The box also contained fun mango chewy candies, honey, and post-workout supplements.  There was also a granola-type bar made out of quinoa--I'm packing that sucker in my purse when I leave for another business trip this weekend.

Thanks, Leigh Ann, for the fabulous treats!

On another note, is anyone else still working on their Thanksgiving leftovers?  We've turned the turkey carcass into broth and made turkey udon soup, and tonight I'm trying a recipe I saw on another website:  leftover cranberry sauce and brie panini with coarse mustard.  It sounds pretty fabulous to me--will report back next week on the results.

Which leads me to this question:  what is the most creative thing you've made out of Thanksgiving leftovers?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Taking the Cake

Where has November gone?

No, seriously, that wasn't a totally rhetorical question.  Where has November gone?  Granted, yes, I've been traveling for work.  Granted also that my two best friends from law school trundled all the way up here for four days.  But aside from that, why haven't I had time to post?

Le sigh.

David turned the cake out of the pan while I was at the airport picking up my friends. 
He apparently didn't get the memo that the streusel goes on top.
The good news is that this month's Cake Slice pick, Shoo-fly Cake, was a kind recipe for those on a time budget.  It took less than fifteen minutes to whip up, less than an hour to bake and stayed moist for four days in a cake keeper.  It's simple, and perhaps not the prettiest cake ever (it initially looked burned when turned out of the pan), but is delicious and spicy.  I served a warm slice to my friends when they arrived, and trust me when I said they looked very happy.

This cake is redolent of dark molasses and is wonderfully old-fashioned.  My father-in-law loves molasses, so when David travels to Cleveland next month, I'm contemplating sending one of these babies with him.  I'm not sure David will consent to carrying a cake carrier through the airport, but what he doesn't know now won't hurt him.

I changed the spices in the original recipe slightly to accommodate what was currently in my pantry, but another point in this cake's favor is that most of this items are likely to exist in a well-stocked pantry already.

On another note, wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Shoo-fly Cake

For the streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

For the cake:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/12 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup warm coffee (I used a Starbucks Via packet dissolved in 8 oz. warm water)

Spritz a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick baking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

First, make the streusel by whisking together the flour and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Add the butter cubes and pinch the mixture together with your fingers until it forms crumbs.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the cake.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, butter, molasses and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in each egg separately.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt until well combined.  Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture in three additions, alternating with the coffee, folding the mixture together with a spatula.  The batter will be somewhat thin--don't worry about that.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, then smooth the top.  Sprinkle the crumb topping liberally over it and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer through the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool partially on a wire rack, but this cake is absolutely delicious warm!  Keeps for at least four days in a cake keeper.

Makes eight generous slices.