Monday, December 13, 2010

Cranberry Yogurt Cake

There are many things that do not last at my house. Socks disappear. I can't find my olive green datebook. We never have clean towels in my bathroom. Never. Car keys vanish. I swear that the library books migrate.

This cake is the next Houdini. I can see the headlines already: Here one day! Gone the next!
Or maybe that just has something to do with the fact that I live with a 15 year old boy. His only state of being is starving.

The point is. This cake doesn't last long. You can make it with blueberries or cranberries (like I did), swirls of jam would be good. Chocolate would be interesting, because chocolate + lemon = heaven. You could add rosemary, for an unexpected touch, or maybe substitute olive oil for the canola if you're really getting adventurous.

And it will disappear, it will disappear. Because it is moist. And gorgeous. And cakey. And good. The good die young. Socks and datebooks vanish to the netherworld. Cakes get eaten by brothers. Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts.

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
from who adapted it loosely from
Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (if you’re skipping the fruit, you can also skip the last tablespoon of flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed (miniature wild blueberries are great for this, and pose the least risk of sinking) OR cranberries, which is more holidayish.
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair

(things are not always pretty in my kitchen)

You know what you do when there is nothing to eat and your mom won't take you out to lunch even though you asked really nicely four times?

You make this pasta.


It is so simple.
It is almost as good as that cheese burger you were craving.
It is light, but filling.
It is delicious and tangy and spicy and everything that pasta should be, but usually isn't.
I love love love it.

(So blissful and bodacious and beautiful.)

This recipe came from this book called The New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson. It has exceeeedingly beautiful pictures. However, with this book it was not love at first sight.
I believe in love at first sight.
My parents fell in love like that.
I am that way with cookbooks. And when I fall, I fall hard (see Dorie Greenspan.) But with this book...Things were...complicated. Marcus Samuelsson, who is a chef at somewhere important & prestigious, LOVES specialty ingredients, things like japanese spices and liquors only made in the Carribean. And much as I love grocery shopping and spending my mother's money, I just couldn't get enthused about buying so many random ingredients.
But this recipe caught my eye because of its beautiful clarity and gorgeous simplicity.

I am in love. Marcus and I on the road to wedded bliss because of this pasta.

I am not even kidding.
(too much cheese)

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair
from The New American Table by Marcus Samuelson

2 yellow tomatoes, diced
3 red tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped arugula
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped. NB: I used serrano peppers instead.
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes. Or not, if you're short on time.

2. Bring 4 cups salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 3-4 minutes. Please read the package. Strain and rinse. Set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles (or peppers or whatever) and heat until warmed through. Season with salt and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve immediately.