Friday, July 18, 2008
For all of you in the food blogisphere who have ever had a mother (so I'm talking to everybody here), you've probably experienced the power of guilt.
Note to Psychgrad - you are not allowed to say or type one word of response about the guilting mothers ... and I mean that in the very sweetest of Mommy Dearest ways.
If you've been hanging out with us for a while, you will have heard stories about Baba (check right sidebar of the home page for people details). Sometimes she's baba, sometimes she's The Babster, sometimes she's The Queen (no disrespect Elizabeth) and sometimes she can really be "pain in the butt". Baba had some challenges walking and at the tender age of 86 (almost) she had to have a hip replacement. She's still recovering and she's fine but what a manipulative bonus she has going for her. Here's basically how it goes:
Giz: Hi mom, how are you feeling
Baba: Oy, I didn't sleep all night - I had to take a pill (between you and me I think she's liking those percocets just a little too much)
Giz: I'm sorry mom. How's everything else?
Baba: Slowly, slowly but I have to be careful not to harm myself.
Giz: Are you hungry?
Baba: Not so much. I have very little appetite.
Giz's sister walks in with Swiss Chalet soup...
Baba: What a wonderful daughter...you thought of your mother.
Okay, I'm getting it.
Giz: Mom, would you like me to bring you something.
Baba: (here's the killer)...No, I don't want to bother you, I know you're busy.
That translates into - you didn't even think to do it already so here, here's the knife to the heart.
Giz: No mom, it's not a problem, if I cook for me, I can make a little more.
Baba: If you have extra - I don't want to take your food, it would be nice.
It goes on, but I think you get the drift. So, today I put together a home made t.v. type dinner and now I have a Dutch Apple Bundt Cake in the oven so she can have something with her tea.
Finding something that would work for baba was a challenge - very fussy, hates cinnamon, doesn't like things that are too sweet, no chocolate, nothing sour. I found this near perfect recipe in Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking from my home to Yours".
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (she won't even know it's there)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup store-bought apple-butter spiced or plain
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated (I used granny smith apples
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden - I soaked them in passion fruit juice for about 1/2 hour and then drained them)
Confectioners' sugar, for dustng (optional)
For the Icing (optional) (I didn't do this)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
About 2 Tbsp fresh orange or lemon juice
1. Centre rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Butter a 9-to-10 inch (12-cup) Bundt pan. If your pan is not nonstick, dust the interior of the pan with flour, then tap out the excess (If you have a silicone Bundt pan, there's no need to butter or flour it.) Don't place the pan on a baking sheet - you want the oven's heat to circulate through the Bundt's inner tube.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
4. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition; you'll have a light, fluffy batter.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the apple butter - don't worry if it curdles the batter.
7. Still on low, add the grated apples and mix to completely blend.
8. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only ntil they disappear into the batter.
9. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins. Turn the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with the rubber spatula.
10. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes (50 minutes worked for me - 40 minutes for the small bundt pans), or until a thin knife instered deep into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
11. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and cooling the cake to room temperature. If possible, once the cake is completely cool, wrap well in plastic and let it stand overnight at room temperature before serving.
To Make the Optional Icing:
Put the sugar in a small bowl and stir in a squirt or two or either orange or lemon juice. Keep adding the juice a little at a time until you have an icing that falls easily from the tip of a spoon. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, letting it slide down the curves of the cake in whatever pattern it makes. Let the cake stand until the icing dries, a matter of minutes, before slicing.
Verdict: Of course I didn't wait the day to taste it. I figured I best try it before I take it to baba. She loved it and now has a supply in her freezer.
P.S. Her new bionic part is great and she's doing marathons down the hallways of her condo building.
We would also like to acknowledge some recent awards we've been given.
Recently, we found out the Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Cupcakes tied for 3rd place in Peanut Butter Boy and Foodaphilia's 3rd Peanut Butter Exhibition.
Now, with a 2nd and 3rd place placing, you know we're going to be working extra hard to take home first prize.
We also received awards from Dee at Choos & Chews and Val at More Than Burnt Toast
So by accident, as it often happens, I stumbled upon Dee's blog. A dedicated mom, Dee also puts together some extremely interesting dishes and I can't even begin to tell you how many I have in my del.icio.us file. Thank you Dee.
Val, I seriously don't know how this slipped through the cracks for me. Val awarded us a while ago and Psychgrad asked "did you acknowledge this award?"...oops...I screwed up... I'm so sorry Val. It's not at all an indication of lack of appreciation - more an indication of my "sometimers". Thank you Val.
All of you just make us want to come back and get better and better.
For the "I Love you This Much" award:
Glamah at Coco Cooks Glamah, in my impression is one who loves to schmooze and will try anything at least once. I remember asking Glamah for a favour and even though she was literally walking out the door and had already said she was gone, she took care of it just like that. Now that's the kind of A type that I get along with.
Ohio Mom at Cooking in Cleveland has and is a loyal visitor to our blog. You can always tell that when OM comments, she's read what you've written.
Ricki from Diet Dessert and Dogs
who became my old old friend the first time I met her. That's something special and now we're even planning mysterious things. Stay tuned for that one.
Anne who hails from Cooking with Anne has to have one of the biggest hearts around. She has such a strong sense of fairness and when things don't seem right, she makes them right. With a football team for a family, she inspires me when I think I'm the one who's overwhelmed. She helps me put things into perspective.
Nicisme, from Cherrapeno is one of the UK connections whose blog I love to visit. Visually, the pictures are stimulating and the recipes entirely accessible. Love the blog - love the person.
Dear Nuria from Spanish Recipes honours us with an award on the same page as her recipe Hummus Magnificus. Imagine - being on the same page as something that is Magnificus - like how inflated do you think my ego is going to be. It's something to get the Blogging With a Purpose award. Thank you Nuria. And oh....I know you didn't like the hummus too much but I'm sure you'll tweak it until it's perfect.
We'd like to share the "Blogging with a Purpose" award with:
Biscuit Pusher The Biscuit Pusher whose recipes seem to be fool proof and inspire me to try them every time I visit her blog.
Ferdzy from Seasonal Ontario Food. A local Toronto blogger, Ferdzy likes to keep it seasonal and always has very interesting information that I always end up saying "I didn't know that" to. She makes me feel like a visitor in my own city and I'm waiting for her to pick me up and take me with her on one of her escapades. As my nephew would say "she's a cool dude".
Anne from Pink Cake Box who's in New Jersey baking up some of the most interesting cakes. We've come to appreciate the work that goes into these cakes. They're beautiful, they're creative and I think it takes special people to do this work day in and day out.
Jen at Cake Wrecks has the most unusual blog. If you've never visited, take the time to look through the blog. I only found it recently and I'm ever fascinated by the not only the creativity but lack of same found in the cake decorating world. And Jen has a style that's so refreshing - I laugh out loud every time I read her descriptions.
Anna from Cookie Madness is a sound blogger whose recipes are just so good. Anna's tips are great and I've tried some of her recipes and found they've never failed me. She's my go to blogger when I need something quick and it's not going to be a chore to make it in short order.
And last ....but certainly not least - this is the final weekend for submissions to Tried Tested and True Two. 3 days to go! I picked up the prizes from Christine Cushing and I have to tell you - the cookbook is a good one. Lots of good recipes and love the pictures. After the 21st, we'll arrange for the roundup to be posted so all can see the entries. A copy is being sent over to Christine Cushing, each recipe numbered with a picture and the recipe. I'm very interested to see a professional's take on the recipes that we do. Once Christine has gone through the submissions, she will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners.
I say in advance - a heartfelt thank you to all who took the time and gave your energy to submit to this event. Each blog that displays the organ donation symbol even if it's for a day, helps. You make a difference!