Thursday, May 19, 2011

Harvest Cake

In my continuing attempt to get my son to just eat a stinking vegetable, I made a cake. Yup. It has a zucchini, a carrot, and a parsnip in it. I was going to add mascarpone frosting, but the cake is so good that it doesn't need it! Crazy, I know.

I got the recipe in a funny place: a real estate magazine. Our realtor sends us a mag about the Seattle real estate and architectural world, which I quite enjoy, and it has recipes too. Funny because she was so taken with Sam while we were looking for houses that I do believe we inspired her to be ready to start her own family. Sure enough, about 10 or so months after we moved in, we received a birth announcement from her. I like to pat myself on the back and tout that as evidence that we're doing a pretty good job. Since you have to wait so long for results with these little people you create, it's nice to have some kind of feedback along the way.

Harvest Cake
2 large carrots, grated
1 large parsnip, grated
1 medium zuke, grated
1 tart apple, cored and grated
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
(next time I'm going to add cloves and nutmeg)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
1 tsp. vanilla
optional: 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 in. square pan.
2. Toss the grated veggies and apple together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until light and frothy. Add oil and vanilla and whisk until blended.
3. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until combined. Stir in shredded stuff and nuts, if using.
4. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 45-55 minutes until browned and set. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There is no turning back

I overhead a conversation about organics, which got me thinking about esoterics. You know when you start to head down a certain path of knowledge or study and you are moving along this path not realizing how far you are going. And then one day you overhear a conversation that has to do with the little world you joined, and you find yourself chiming in and then blathering on while others stare blankly.

The conversation was something like: If you want to buy organic food, but do not want to spend so much, you can save money by buying organic foods that "matter." The logic was that fruits like the banana do not have to be organic because you peel it and therefore do not ingest any pesticides. This led to a wider discussion about the woes of buying raspberries that cost $7 per pint. This conversation took place in March, by the way.

So I sat there, marveling first at the fact that no one seemed to get that organics is about more than just the pesticides that you may or may not ingest. And second that no one seemed conscious of seasons and fruit.

I have brought seasonality up before, in conversation. As a response I heard about the wonders of shipping, global trade, and living in the US. Yes, but ... other 1st world countries still do the seasonality thing. And raspberries out of season taste like crap. Furthermore, raspberries from the supermarket taste like crap. But people vigorously defend their food choices. If you have ever been a vegetarian, as I was for 5+ years, you surely know how people will defend their choice to eat meat, and they will defend it with gusto.
So this time I did not take part in the food conversation because I realized that I am on a, perhaps esoteric, path of knowledge about food. I guess that I have already walked a long way down it such that I can't see the fork in the road where I turned anymore. Instead of taking part I thought about how Josh and I went to a very popular steakhouse in Seattle and the waiter was so happy to announce that they serve "corn-fed beef." But ... cows eat grass. Do you know what happens to them and therefore all the medicine and crap you have to pump them full of when you feed them what they don't eat? Not to mention the corn that they are eating is GMO and covered with pesticides? What would the server have said to that diatribe?

There are several sayings associated with knowledge and the lack thereof. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is bliss. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Then there is that whole biblical metaphor. And I certainly do not claim to be a purist. I buy conventional foods; I ate a steak from a corn-fed steer at the aforementioned restaurant. What am I saying, then? I don't really know. Perhaps just that the difference is in the guilt because of the knowledge of sin, or what I am coming to define as a food sin.

This would be blathering on, I think.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baking Frenzy

I had a simultaneous hankering for chocolate, fruit bars, and cinnamon buns. And had to do something about it. I first made these raspberry-almond bars. Then, when I was in the froufrou Metropolitan Market, I saw ...
McVitie's Digestive cookies! I can't get enough of these things. I have been on the lookout for cookies like the Bixits J and I had while visiting friends in Norway. McVitie's are darned close. Americans really don't do digestives like they do in Britain or Norway or Canada. I prefer to do my own chocolate layer so I can avoid all the nasty bits that have to be added to stabilize for transport and packaging. Plus, the price for chocolate cookies was $3 more than for plain! Lame.

My favorite time of day for a chocolate digestive is in the morning with my tea. I like to dip it to melt the chocolate a little. Yum. After downing this container, I went back to the store, planning to buy the whole shelf, and they were totally gone! In their place was a digestive with a milk chocolate side or a white chocolate side. Disgusting! Yet another thing to bemoan about this country and its culture! White "chocolate" isn't even chocolate, people! It's disgusting is what it is!
These are the cinnamon bun fix. As you can see, I went the healthy(ish) route. These actually have wheat germ in them! I decided against the egg wash with sugar on top and I regretted it. They do not look like the photo in the cookbook. *sigh* I just can't bring myself to spend an egg on a wash.

The frenzy ended with cookies for the kiddo. Sam and I made the dough and cut out the cookies together. He loves to "scoop," and whenever I pull out the flour he goes for his stool so that he can stand at the counter with me and scoop whatever needs scooping. It's a little nerve-racking and you have to get out many more bowls just in case the kid does something like, oh, shove his hands in the flour and start throwing it back in the container ... or pour the carefully measured flour from such a distance as to get roughly half in the bowl and half on the counter and floor. The mess is fine because Sam "helps" to clean by sweeping all the detritus onto the floor, which then becomes a slippery biohazard. But scooping and measuring have got to be great skills. And then there is that time with Mommy in the kitchen, participation in meal (or sweets) prep, and all that other great stuff.

In the end, we had quite the selection of baked goods in the house. Since I am pregnant, I am totally fine with that because no one can really tell that I am putting on anything other than baby weight. It does look like I am on track to gain more this time around, however. Insert sad face emoticon. AND I was recently asked by the tiny Thai delivery guy if I was having twins. Sad emoticon times two.