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Friday, April 11th, 2008
1:59 pm - Brown Sugar Poundcake

Thinking about cake recently (as I am wont to do), I realized that a lot of people don't make cakes anymore, not the way they used to. Used to be, every housewife had a cake ready for company, should some arrive, as well as cakes of all kinds for snacking and dessert. I still know older women who follow this practice, and I recall noting the phenomenon in my extensive reading of children's literature (see LM Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott). Why is that? I'd guess that there is nowadays a perception that cakes are somehow difficult, when they are actually so simple that children can become accomplished cake bakers (let's not discuss my failed spongecake at age twelve; no really, let's not). After all, cakes are mixed together, then left in the oven for a half an hour or longer. Many don't need frosting, or get by with a glaze or dusting of confectioner's sugar. What's so hard about that?
In recognition of cake and its ease, I aim to bake at least a cake a week this term. That's right, I will juggle thirty-two hours of work, full-time school, and a social calendar, and still have time to bake cakes! When one runs out, I'll bake another! And most of the recipes will be entirely new to me! So there, I have thrown down the gauntlet.
To begin with, here's my mom's favorite of my poundcakes, a Brown Sugar Poundcake we found in Cooking Light all of eight years ago. The brown sugar gives it a subtle caramel flavor, and the breadcrumbs make a crisp crust enclosing a finely-crumbed interior. This time, I used half dark brown sugar and half light brown sugar, due to being low on the latter, which intensified the flavor. And since my sister asked, yes, you always pack brown sugar!

Brown Sugar PoundcakeCollapse )

all that was left after two days

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1:39 pm - Nutella Cupcakes

Last summer, while cruising Slashfood for cupcake recipes, I came across Bakingsheet's recipe for Self-Frosting Nutella Cupcakes. Since Nutella is one of the single greatest accomplishments of mankind, I couldn't help but try them out.
Though their adaptation cuts butter to ten tablespoons, I found that a bit dry, and would keep it at the original twelve. Otherwise, the recipe is perfect, and the finished product is delectable and apt to be gobbled up in no time.

Nutella CupcakesCollapse )

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Saturday, January 5th, 2008
4:50 pm - Mission House Framehouse Gingerbread

There are few things better in the holiday season than some freshly baked gingerbread. Not the cookies, but the cake variety. Served hot plain or with cream, it is a delicious, spicy, not to sweet treat with an old-fashioned, cozy flavor. This is the recipe my mother made every year, and it's just not Christmas without it. The spice amounts are very forgiving; you can easily alter them to your preferences. I always use full-flavored molasses rather than mild, but that's a matter of taste. The only thing I did differently here was to use decaf coffee, because my sister is allergic to caffeine.

Mission House Framehouse GingerbreadCollapse )

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Friday, January 4th, 2008
9:06 pm - Fruitcake Brownies

So I came across the original of this recipe while idly paging through a Real Simple from last year, and was immediately intrigued. After all, I do love fruitcake, and I also am fond of variations on the brownie (which we all know is a bar cookie, right?). In fact, the original version of this recipe closely resembles early brownie recipes from the nineteenth century (see Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cook Book). As a "fruitcake brownie," though, it was distinctly lacking. One cup of cranberries and one cup of nuts? The cranberries are a nice touch, but those proportions hardly make it fruity! Since I already had extra fixings from the Fruitcake Cookies, I decided to experiment a little. I added golden raisins and slightly decimated the amount of cranberries, and I also added the glaceed fruits that are the trademark of the modern American fruitcake. I think if those types of fruit are just too unbearable, one could make a delicious variation on this recipe with just dried fruits: cranberries, raisins, currants, dates, cherries, blueberries, apricots, etc. In fact, I may have to try that next year! I also added a dash of spice because it seemed a little bland, otherwise. The end results were surprisingly delicious and popular--even with a few people who don't care for fruitcake. I think I'll add even more fruit the next time around, a full cup each of cranberries, raisins, and mixed fruits.
Note: be sure to use a good dark rum to really enhance the flavor.

Fruitcake BrowniesCollapse )

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2:06 am - Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake: One either loves it or hates it. Well, count me among the former, because I could maow fruitcake all the livelong day. I actually haven't had any in years because no one seems it make it anymore, it has such a bad reputation and an old-fashioned cache. However, I can satisfy my cravings for liquor-soaked, nutty-fruity deliciousness with these Fruitcake Cookies, a Christmas staple in my mother's household for as long as I can remember. I use both red and green glace cherries to top them with for a more festive approach, but you could stick with just one color. I also have adapted her recipe slightly to fit my currently tight budget, but these are delicious either way. And as you can see on her original recipe card below the cut, a half batch is pretty large. I used Meyer's Rum this time, and don't think I'll use anything else ever again, because they were so delicious, rich, and boozy! After they cool, store them for a few weeks to ripen for the best flavor.

Fruitcake CookiesCollapse )

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
4:44 pm - What you don't know about sushi

by Andrea Dickson

Think you know a thing or two about sushi, eh? Yeah, I thought the same thing until today. Today is when Trevor Corson, author of The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket made a guest appearance on my local radio station to dispel some commonly held myths about sushi.

Now, I've traveled to Japan, and I've eaten at some good sushi establishments. I'm not an expert by a long shot, but I thought I knew a thing or two about raw fish (sashimi) and the rice beneath it (sushi). But alas, 'twas not the case.

What you don't know about sushiCollapse )

found at: http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-dont-know-about-sushi

current mood: nerdy

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Tuesday, June 19th, 2007
2:40 am - Mexican Meatball Soup

My mom used to make this soup every few months, and I'd gobble it down. I don't know where she found the recipe, but I came across her tattered Xerox copy and decided on a whim to make it. I used canned jalapeños because I had none fresh (if using fresh, it calls for 2, seeded and ribbed, chopped). I also used the juice from the canned tomatoes because it seemed wasteful not to, and added a 1/2 cup of corn, because I like a lot of veggies. I'd probly use more zucchini next time, too. In fact, I'd double the recipe so as to have a lot on hand, but triple the meatballs portion. Maybe. Speaking of meatballs, it's easy to make 'em big, but no worries. I cut down the amount of breadcrumbs so they wouldn't overtake the flavor. After whipping this up (in a ridiculously short amount of time, it's so easy), I remembered how much I loved this and promptly consumed two bowls. I ate another two when I got off work. It's going fast!

Mexican Meatball SoupCollapse )

current mood: chipper

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
3:34 am - simple coq au vin

A simple recipe for classic French bistro fare. Anyone can make this with ease, and it's delicious. Originally, the recipe called for a 14.5 oz can of chicken broth, plus 1.5 cups of red wine, but I used just the wine, and it came out tender, moist, and intensely flavorful. For the potatoes, I used leftover flat-leaf parsley rather than buy more, and they were fucking fantastic. Like delicious little potato orgasms. I could eat them off sticks like potato pops.
Each recipe serves six.

Coq au VinCollapse )

Steamed New PotatoesCollapse )

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Thursday, January 25th, 2007
4:32 am - the meat of the matter

Is meat good or bad for us?
It's the best natural source of iron and protein - but it has also been linked to cancer. Maxine Frith investigates the pros and cons
Published: 21 November 2006

The benefits of red meat...Collapse )

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Saturday, January 20th, 2007
3:09 am - Cardamom Citrus Cake

I found this cake in the 2004 December Cooking Light and was immediately intrigued. Mom and I went out and bought cardamom just so I could make it, but in the wake of some crappy shit that went down (like Naes deciding to assault and batter me), I kind of never got around to it. Til now. Embracing my Jewiness this year, I looked at some Chanukah recipes, and came across this again in the saved issue I had tucked amongst my holiday recipe mags. I stocked up on cardamom and citrus, and I went to town. I used an excess of zest and cardamom, but the flavors were absolutely perfect, as is the texture--silken with a velvety crumb. I am debating whether to go get another piece right now, but I desperately want to share it with everyone I know. "F**king good cake, Sara," as Bruce McCullough might say.

Cardamom Citrus CakeCollapse )

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Friday, January 19th, 2007
3:30 am - oysters, the love shellfish. or sex shellfish. whatever.

I don't really care for oysters, not by themselves. As in, on the half shell, because I wouldn't eat another of those for anything.* (I'll admit to enjoying them in paella or a delicious frutti di mare cannelloni, however.) But I recognize their popularity and historical relevance, so here's Esquire's handy guide to oysters.

Esquire's Handy Oyster GuideCollapse )

what i look like when i eat an oyster.

*That is a lie: I would definitely eat one for a million dollars. Or a thousand dollars. Maybe ten.

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Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
4:00 pm - 15 Foods You Shouldn't Not Eat

ApplesCollapse )

FlaxseedCollapse )

CarrotsCollapse )

TomatoesCollapse )

OnionsCollapse )

GarlicCollapse )

CauliflowerCollapse )

PlumsCollapse )

Green TeaCollapse )

CranberriesCollapse )

YamsCollapse )

CeleryCollapse )

OlivesCollapse )

StrawberriesCollapse )

HoneyCollapse )


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Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007
7:53 pm - Cranberry, Orange & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe on Slashfood (my new favorite site!), and the combination sounded like so much win that I couldn't not make them. Plus, I already had cranberries for my Eggnog Poundcake (which is also made of win and delicious; check that recipe out, too. Or perhaps I'll repost it with pictures? I tried a diff'rent combo of fruits and liquors this time.). I made them, and they were all that the recipe promised: "bright, buttery, and sweet." And fucking yum! They're definitely staying in my repertoire of Christmas cookies. Except the yield was more like thirty-six cookies than forty-eight. I didn't have parchment paper, but they were fine on my excellent non-stick cookie sheets.

Cranberry, Orange & Dark Chocolate Chip CookiesCollapse )

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Monday, December 4th, 2006
3:25 am - Pear Upside-Down Spice Cake

I had a large sack of pears this fall, which my sister Malia had given me (she, in turn, had picked them from her neighbor's tree). At a loss for what to do with my fall bounty, I came across this recipe in Cooking Light and knew I had to try it. I am inordinately fond of upside down cakes, remembering the heady days when they'd be served at Marriot, and how I would feverishly scrape up all the bottom goo and eat it. Mmmm, goo. I haven't had one since leaving Cornell, much to my detriment. Anyways, I did this cake up and enjoyed it. The flavor was slightly flat, and I didn't care for the glaze, but on the whole it was an excellent breakfast cake. I fed it to two of my co-workers, both of whom enjoyed it immensely. They both commented that it was much less sweet than most of the desserts they were used to, but that it was very flavorful and that they could "really taste everything." So in that, i would judge it successful. I'd like to try a do-over sometime, however, but with a more traditional upside down cake bottom (top?).

Pear Upside-Down Spice CakeCollapse )

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2:26 am - Buttermilk Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

Stuffing (or dressing, as you will) was my responsibility for Thanksgiving this year. My little sister Maiya hostessed a dinner for fourteen; all I had to do was show up with stuffing in hand. Being a mild sort of over-achiever on occasion, I ended up making two stuffings and an Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake. (The latter, by the by, was pronounced a new favorite; not that my stuffings garnerd no praise, but the OGPBC is a force with which to reckon.) I culled my mother's old magazines and cookbooks for recipes and settled on these two. As a firm believer in multiple stuffings, I knew I needed two, and I decided the best option was to compliment a cornbread stuffing with a white bread stuffing. Chestnuts being a recent discovery (see last Thanksgiving), I was all about including those somewhere, preferably with something fruity.

Buttermilk Cornbread and Sausage StuffingCollapse )

Apple-Chestnut StuffingCollapse )

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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006
1:30 pm - Pass the Drumstick and an Olive Branch

Read more...Collapse )

COOKS can control the Thanksgiving menu, but when the dishes leave the kitchen, things can unravel fast.

Family grudges buried by time and distance resurface. New girlfriends meet ex-husbands. Prius drivers make small talk with S.U.V. owners. And vegans spend the meal defending themselves.

It's enough to break a cook's heart. We seek the culture of the table as much as a well-made stuffing. We want the pace of the meal to be dreamy, the conversation indelible. Nirvana is a table trimmed with our best platters and a room brimming with friends, family and warm feelings.

The problem: Americans, as a whole, have lost touch with the ritual of the shared homemade meal. Although we eat at home a lot, the food often is from restaurants or the prepared foods section of the grocery store. Families eat in shifts and leave the television on. The sandwich has become the most popular dinner entree.

No wonder we have no idea how to behave at Thanksgiving.Collapse )

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Thursday, November 9th, 2006
5:09 pm - the secret of great bread; let time do the work

I plan to try this as soon as I have a minute.

INNOVATIONS in bread baking are rare. In fact, the 6,000-year-old process hasn’t changed much since Pasteur made the commercial production of standardized yeast possible in 1859. The introduction of the gas stove, the electric mixer and the food processor made the process easier, faster and more reliable.

I’m not counting sliced bread as a positive step, but Jim Lahey’s method may be the greatest thing since.Collapse )

No-Knead BreadCollapse )

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Monday, September 25th, 2006
10:29 pm - Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

I tried this one in a fit of late night boredom during an egg drought. I had mayonnaise, so why not try one of those Depression-style cakes, I thought to myself. (Note: I loathe mayonnaise as a condiment, but it does have its place in my tuna sandwiches and devilled eggs.) This came out surprisingly like a boxed cake mix, though that shouldn't be so surprising, seeing as those typically require eggs and oil--and guess what mayonnaise is made from! I used Best Foods Real Mayonnaise here; none of that light shit or Miracle Whip crap. (Hey, I may hate the stuff, but I've got standards.) I didn't bother frosting mine--we ate it out of the pans like barbaroi--but I am sure it would be great with any standard frosting. I'm thinking Brown Sugar Cream Cheese just now . . . . Anyways, feel free to try this sometime for a very moist and tasty chocolate cake. (You can use regular cocoa, too; I just prefer the flavor of Dutch-process.)

Chocolate Mayonnaise CakeCollapse )

super-luscious batter

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Wednesday, June 14th, 2006
11:10 pm - does drinking coffee protect against alcohol's evils?

Could coffee protect your liver from alcohol?

Drinking coffee may shield the liver from the worst ravages of alcohol, a study of more than 125,000 people suggests. The risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver dropped with each cup of coffee they drank per day.

"Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalised or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," says Arthur Klatsky at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Programme in Oakland, California, US, who led the study.

His team identified people who had enrolled on a private health care plan in northern California between 1978 and 1985. On enrolment, the subjects had also completed health questionnaires on the amount of alcohol, tea and coffee they drank over the course of a year. Some had also had their blood tested for levels of certain liver enzymes which are released into the bloodstream when the liver is diseased or damaged.

The researchers identified how many of these people had gone on to develop cirrhosis – a total of 330 people, including 199 with alcoholic cirrhosis.

People drinking one cup of coffee per day were, on average, 20% less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two or three cups the reduction was 40%, and for those drinking four or more cups of coffee a day the reduction in risk was 80%.

No recommendation
Among those who had their blood drawn, liver enzyme levels were higher in individuals who drank more alcohol, indicating liver disease or damage. However, those who drank both alcohol and coffee had lower levels than those who drank alcohol but did not drink coffee.

"This is not a recommendation to drink coffee, nor is it a recommendation that the way to deal with heavy alcohol consumption is to drink more coffee," warns Klatsky, who adds that the observational nature of the data may limit its interpretation.

Exactly how coffee could protect the liver is also unknown. Klatsky speculates that caffeine could have a protective effect, although his study found no link between tea drinking and a decreased risk of cirrhosis.

"The value of this study is that it may offer us some clues as to the biochemical processes taking place inside liver cells that could help in finding new ways to protect the liver against injury," he says.

Journal reference: Archives of Internal Medicine (vol 166, p 1190)


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Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
4:01 pm - beer ingredient may fight prostate cancer

Beer Ingredient May Fight Prostate Cancer
Jun 12th - 4:18pm

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - For many men, a finding by Oregon researchers sounds too good to be true: an ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer, at least in lab experiments. The trouble is you'd theoretically have to drink about 17 beers a day for any potential benefit. And no one's advising that.

Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

Dr. Richard N. Atkins, CEO of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, said the experiments are encouraging and "perhaps men could take it in pill form someday."

He noted an ingredient in tomatoes, lycopene, has previously been linked to prostate cancer prevention.

"It's every man's dream to hear that beer and pizza can prevent cancer," he said. "However, the 17 beers and four large pizzas needed to get enough xanthohumol and lycopene to help prevent prostate cancer is unfortunately not advised."

Atkins noted that drinking 17 beers a day can lead to alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver, and overdoing it on pizza can lead to obesity and other health problems.

"Food, no matter how helpful it may be, is not a full preventive for prostate cancer," he said.


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