Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My friends, I went to Canada: land of fabulous salads, tall mountains, and sub-zero temperatures. I am not even kidding. It was so cold it felt like your face would crack and fall off every time you stepped outside. For the first few days it was -30 C. Or even below that. I am still appreciative of the miracle that is long underwear. One day, the only place that was colder IN THE WORLD was Antarctica. I'm rather proud of that.

I thought I loved Canadians until I realized they're all ski bums from Australia. I laugh whenever I say this phrase. Nobody else laughs though. I'm the only one who thinks me is funny.

I thought I loved Canadians until I realized they're all ski bums Australia.

I am such a riot.

Honestly, I don't know where the Australians put all Canadians. Everyone in Canada is from somewhere else. I was taught to ice skate by a Hungarian, an African from a small country on the Ivory Coast, and of course, an Australian. A Brit taught me to ski.
So I loved Canada. What's not to love about mountains and friendly Australians, and other delicious things like Chocolate Zucchini Cake?

My friends, I have been missing out on this luxurious and moist miracle for my entire life. Until Canada that is. I had it at this tasty, tiny bakery in Banff, Canada called The Wild Flour. I think that name is rather clever. It's clever, but it's not funny. Nothing is as funny as "I thought I loved Canadians until I realized they're all ski bums from Australia."

My friends, the point is, this is one helluva cake. It's similar to carrot cake or banana bread. Only chocolate. And the zucchini makes the cake moist and delicious. And there's chocolate. And it dissappeared so fast I didn't even have time to take a picture or blink or anything. All that was left was crumbs.
So thank you Canada for introducing me to this culinary wonder. Amen.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

from Epicurious.com

  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. (NOTE: I made it in one 9x5 pan.) In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes (perhaps because, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

So here's what you do: you make a lemon meringue pie.

I've been dreaming about this for several days. Except in my head I kept calling it a "lemon cream pie."

I had a gorgeous time making this pie. I listened to Audra McDonald, who is now on top of my Music God Pyramid and took deep breaths and daydreamed.

It has been a very lovely afternoon.

Make this pie. It will make your afternoon gorgeous too.

Lemon Meringue Pie
from The Gourmet Cookbook

For Filling
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

For Meringue
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar

Make the Pie Shell: Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13 inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang, and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Put rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 F.
Lighly prick shell in several places with a fork. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights, raw rice, or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, 12 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.
Make the Filling: After you remove the foil and weights, whisk together egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Gradually add water and milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolbed. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking until mixture begins to thicken. Gradualy whisk about 1 cup milk mixture into yolks, then whisk yolk mixture into milk mixture. Simmer, whisking, for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, zest, and juice until butter is melted and filling is smooth. Cover witha round of wax paper to keep warm.
Make the Meringue: If pie shell has cooled, place it in oven just until warm. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until whites hold soft peaks. At high speed, beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until meringue just holds stiff peaks.
Assemble and Bake the Pie: Pour filling into warm shell. Spread meringue on top to very edge of pastry, covering filling completely. Draw meringue up into peaks witha spatula. Bake until meringue is golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer pie to rack to coll to room temperature, about 2 hours, then refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours more. Eat.

Pancakes for Marit

My Aunt Marit is pretty chill.

Except for the fact that she likes to live in countries with names I can't pronouce, let alone spell, i.e. TAJIKISTAN.

Marit sent me an email the other day, telling me that all of her friends in DUSHANBE have been laughing at her, beacause she's an inept when it come to pancakes. She's as bad at making pancakes as I am at spelling TAJIKISTAN. She blames it all on Betty Crocker.

I don't call pancakes, pancakes. I call them hotcakes, because that's what my dad calls him. Maybe it's because he's from Oklahoma. But I've never heard anyone else in Oklahoma call pancakes "hotcakes". Maybe calling pancakes "hotcakes" is his way of bastardizing the Queen's English. Or whatever. I call them hotcakes too. Because I'm contrary, which rhymes with my name: Contrary Mary.

Something else: I resent going out to breakfast and paying for pan/hot/cakes because hot/pan/cakes are simply to easy to make at home, and no restaurant can make them quite the way you want them. You can add specialness to a pan/hot/cake very easily, you can add:
-grated apple
-brown sugar
-pumpkin puree
-ground pistachios

All these options are limitless which is soooooo exciting. That's why you should never eat breakfast out again. Unless you take me with you of course.

These pan/hot/cakes will make you a kitchen goddess. Your friends in DUSHANBE will never laugh at you again.

SO. These are pancakes for Marit.

fact: pan/hot/cakes are best with raspberry jam.

Pancakes for Marit
from SmittenKitchen, who adapted them from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat an electric griddle to 375°F, or place a griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons melted butter, and whisk to combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.

Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough. Brush remaining melted butter onto skillet with fork/knife/heat-proof spatula.

Ladle 1/3 cups of batter onto pan, about two inches apart. Wait until bubbles begin to form and pop on surface of pancake, and edges begin to look dry and more cooked, about two minutes. Using a spatula, flip over to cook other side. The now-exposed side pancake should be golden brown. Allow bottom to cook until golden brown. About 1 minute.

Use a spatula to flip pan/hot/cake onto plate. Eat. Spell KYRGYZSTAN in your head. You have become a kitchen goddess.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What UP?

This is to say--
I have been disgustingly busy.
What is up with this whole applying to college thing?
It eats up time. Time that should be spent: luxuriating in the glory that is apple pie, reading Just Kids by PATTI SMITH (who is on my list of awesome people to someday invite to dinner), shopping, sleeping, NOT TAKING THE SAT, shopping, making glorious music, and further apple pie consumption.

This is also to say-- that I am insanely thrilled and excited, because I'm going to be speaking (albiet very briefly) about the glories of pie at the Austin Museum of Art this Thursday at 7 pm. You can check the event out here: http://www.amoa.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=107903
My mouth started watering when I read the pie slinging line up. So you should come. Yes. Please do. Because I am excited.

I'll post a recipe soon. Until then, besos. Hope you're luxuriating in the glory that is apple pie, reading Just Kids by PATTI SMITH, shopping, sleeping, NOT TAKING THE SAT, shopping, making glorious music, and consuming more apple pie.

Also, this time change makes me sad. It is so DARK so early.

For your pleasure you should read the following poem, by glorious genius Shel Silverstein. It reminds me of my brothers.

by Shel Silverstein

Milford Dupree, though he knew it was rude,
Talked with his mouth full of food.
He never would burp or walk out of in the nude,
But he talked with his mouth full of food.
His mother said, "Milford, it's crude and it's lewd
To talk with your mouth full of food.
Why, even the milk cow who moo'd as she chewed
Never talked with her mouth full of food
And the cuckoo would never have ever cuckoo'd
If he coo'd with his mouth full of food."
His dad said, "Get married or go get tattooed,
But don't talk with your mouth full of food.
And if it was a crime, you would surely get sued.
If you talked with your mouth full of food.
Why just like an animal you should be zoo'd
As you talk with your mouth full of food.
Cause you know we're all put in a terrible mood
When you talk with your mouth full of food."
They pleaded and begged. He just giggled and chewed.
He laughed with his mouth full of food.
And all they advised him he simply poo-poo'd
He poo-poo'd with his mouth full of food.
So they sent for the gluer to have his mouth glued
Cause he talked with his mouth full of food.
And now instead of "Good morning", he says,
"Gnu Murnood. I wun tuk win mny marf furu foog."