During the stone age years of our marriage, Valentine Days were spent trying to create the perfect romantic day. Now we call them fodder for amusing blog posts.
- There was the embarrassing Joan Walsh Anglund year (look it up).
- There was the year of the trail of chocolate boxes, empty aside from clever notes on where to go next, eventually leading to a hotel 45 miles away in the middle of a blizzard.
- There was the year we learned to make a soufflé and never read the directions all the way to end to know you couldn’t wait 20 minutes to bring it to the table.
- There was another year when someone couldn’t figure out which size Godiva heart box I wanted so he bought them all and we ate chocolate until way past Easter.
- There was the year we went out to dinner at a place that charged just slightly less than the French Laundry and thought it was the French Laundry. It was not.
- And then there was the year when roses were too expensive so I got a blender instead, which if you are Captain Awesome, makes perfect sense.
As the years moved on, we settled for making Valentine’s Day all about the food, and not food from a restaurant. Who needed to dine with 80 other strangers and eat stuff that was over the top in looks and ordinary in taste? Continue reading
Mom baked tons of goodies, but none more frequently than her brownies. She was the entire welcome wagon for the growing neighborhood back in the mid 1950’s and would bring a plate of brownies to every new family. We loved when she made brownies because the crisp edges had to be carved off before being given away. Though the pan was square and she hacked off an edge for each of us, we still managed to fight over them.
Thankfully, the recipe made its way into print in the 1964 Syracuse Hadassah Cookbook, and was called Ada’s Brownies – a riff on Ate a Brownie (my dad’s odd sense of humor). Otherwise, none of us would have ever known what went into her recipe because she never bothered to write them down. The book is long out of print, but I still have a copy tucked away. Continue reading
Oh chiffon. How I love you. Some of you may have read my baking-wreck post, Fallen Angel, where I mentioned my beautiful disaster baking an angel cake. And where I learned the oh-so-not-so subtle difference between angel and chiffon cakes. Apparently I arrived tardy to home-ec class on angel v. chiffon day.
For almost, um, let’s say many years, I’ve wondered about those cakes my mother used to make that hung upside down to cool. They certainly weren’t as memorable as some of her other recipes and that’s undoubtedly because the chiffon cakes were for company consumption and not for greedy (hungry) children. The kids saw little of company cake.
But recently, a neighbor from the old childhood homestead mentioned my mother’s chiffon cake to me after we were reacquainted on Facebook. She was a young mom back then and apparently my mother would make her marble chiffon cakes to help bring about the birth of her babies when her due-date came and went. I’d almost forgotten those chiffon cakes until then. Sadly, she didn’t have the recipe. Continue reading
Jake’s Fudgy Pudding Cake
On our daughter’s first day of Suzuki music class she talked nonstop about getting her new violin. She skipped into class, dragging us by the hand. The teacher proudly presented the child with her first violin; a brand new 6-inch cigar box wrapped in wood-grain contact paper with a ruler sticking out of the end for the neck. The bow? A skinny little stick.
The child’s face was pinching into the look that happens right before she melts into tears. Oblivious, the teacher sealed the meltdown by giving her a cardboard circle with two feet drawn in marker – a diagram for her stand on to get into the correct form for playing the violin.
We traitors weren’t even worthy of her pitiful look anymore. Stifling a hiccup/sigh, she turned away and merely stared at the ground. Little tears fell on the floor. Continue reading
GF angel cake wreck; tunnel meets too much chocolate glaze
Like calculus, there are some things that defy staying cemented in my brain. Like the difference between chiffon and angel cake. I thought they were both of the sponge-ish variety and kind of the same – only different. If you want to read up on chiffon, Google a guy named Harry Baker. Seriously, that’s his name. He was the dude who developed the chiffon way back in the dark ages and guarded his top-dog secret ingredient until he met that siren called Betty Crocker. By the 1940s, chiffon was a cake that everyone was writing about.
The big obvious difference is that angel cake has no fat in it, just a boat-load of sugar. The chiffon has oil and yolks. Think hybrid – a sponge-ish cake that looks a lot like an angel cake, but has the flavor of a yellow cake.
Chiffon and angel were the dressy cakes in our house. Mom made those for parties, gifts, and Hadassah meetings or holidays. My mother taught me all kinds of baking, but never how to do the chiffon or an angel cake. Somehow I got the idea that they were complicated enough that I didn’t dare to try to make them. Continue reading
Posted in Baking Wrecks, Currently in the Gluten Free Canteen
Tagged baking, cake, cake wrecks, chiffon cake, chocolate, food, gluten free angel cake, gluten free cake, harry baker, ina garten