Friday, March 29, 2013

Westhaven Cake - My Druga Baba's Mysterious Prune Cake (Week 14)

For years, I heard my Mom and her sisters talk of this really moist, insanely delicious prune and chocolate cake (yes....prune!). I have been the "kitchen crash test dummy" for her many failed attempts as my saintly great grandmother took that recipe to her grave (and, if you know old Croatian women....they take those recipes very, very seriously!) My cousin Diane actually followed her Teta Franka around the kitchen with a glass so she could "eyeball" the approximation of her "just a little of this" or "just a little of that." My sister and I never got around to tailing my Baka Maria and her sponge cake went to the great kitchen in the sky!

Last weekend, my pal Genny and I were talking about her grandmother's cake and it sounded similar to the mysterious prune cake (except it had dates). Well.....dried fruit is dried fruit in my book so here is my attempt at the mysterious prune cake (Genny's grandmother's Westhaven cake).

1 c chopped prunes
1 c boiling water (pour it over the prunes)
1/2 lb butter (1 stick) added to the water. Stir till dissolved and let cool.

1 c chopped nuts
1c sugar
2 eggs beaten. Mix in to the prune stuff. I ran this trough the food processor so that the consistency was a bit more smooth.

Sift 1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pour into a eased and floured 9x13 and sprinkle, with 1 c chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (I omitted the nuts on the top since I knew my great grandmothers was "nutlets" on top) Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. Dust with powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mizuna and Roasted Potato Salad (Week 13)

This lovely little recipe is a total "keeper". It offers a new and unique twist on potato salad.

This all started with a mid week trip to the Vineyard Farmers Market and Mr. Thao (sp?). He puts up with my poking and's my typical "what's this?" "Do I cook it or eat it raw?" This time is was a bright green bunch of what looked like field grass..... It was called "Mizuna".

1 1/2 fingerling potatoes, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
7 T olive oil
1 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/3 T sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 chopped mizuna
1 c chopped yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 c grated parmigiano reggiano

Preheat oven to 450. Roast potatoes with garlic and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and shallots. Chop mizuna, remove and discard the stems.

Whisk the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard and seasonings. Take warm potatoes and place on top of the mizuna to let them wilt. Toss with dressing and cheese.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ooooops, I did it again! Genny's Salsa (Week 13)

Genny, Genny......who can I turn to? (are you singing the song with me?)

My pal Genny makes the most outstanding salsa! As promised for those who literally vacuumed up the stuff last Saturday night, here is the amazing recipe (but .....ooooops, I did it photo! It was GONE!)

1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
1 onion quartered
3 green onions halved
3 jalapeños halved and 1/2 of them seeded
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only
1 T salt
3 T white vinegar

Put it all in the blend and pulse until desired consistency.

Comment: If you are lucky enough to have a tablespoon left, it is killer on scrambled eggs or anything else for that matter!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Whole Orange Cake (Week 11)

Oranges and more oranges! Leesa and I (the orange picking crew) decided to try a fun and easy recipe from this months Sunset Magazine.... To be clear..... We called it bread last night because both Hubby and I gave up sweets for Lent (amazing how creative you can get with your justifications!). Very yummy, dense and not icky sweet.

1 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
2 large oranges (or 4 medium) a lb., ends trimmed and seeded, cut in chunks
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp each salt and baking soda
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tap baking powder
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tsp orange juice

Preheat over to 325. Coat bundt pan with cooking oil spray.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs.

In food processor whirl orange chunks till mostly smooth but not puréed. Add 1 1/2 c orange mixture to the batter and beat till blended. Add flour, salt, soda, cardamom and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Spread in to bundt pan.

Bake until tooth pick inserted comes out only with a crumbs, about 55 minutes.

Whisk juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over cooled cake and let set.