A cooking weekend!

May 1, 2017

Strawberries and pound cake. Can I hear a big ol’ YUM?

After a full week or more of not cooking, I made up for it Saturday. I was, in fact, a “cooking fool” much of the weekend.

Felt good.

The final toll:

  • A shrimp boil dinner Saturday night
  • Pickled asparagus
  • A loaf of apple fritter quick bread
  • A butter loaf pound cake, and macerated strawberries to go on top
  • Pre-cooks for Sunday dinner (see previous post) including getting the potatoes and beans ready to bake and the pork roast rubbed down and in the fridge

I meant to make granola, as I’m out, but I forgot. That’s for today.

Because, it seems I will actually have more mornings to eat breakfast than I had anticipated, as one of my two trips for this week is cancelled. A work gig on Tuesday and Wednesday has fallen victim to the weekend rainfall and flooding up in Missouri. Very sorry for my Missouri friends, and others who’re dealing with water in their homes. Wish I could cook for all of them and make it all better.

I detailed the potatoes and the beans in yesterday’s post, so I won’t go into that again. The apple fritter quick bread is from a mix that was in a gift box of bread mixes and preserves, jams and jellies that my daughter got me for Christmas. The other mix was a cheddar bread, and it was OK, but this apple stuff was GOOD. You make it with a bottle of hard apple cider, which I had on hand. A piece of it warm was quite excellent; a second piece, toasted this morning with butter, proved that the first one was no fluke.

The website is here. I doubt I’ll be ordering any, as $8.95 is pretty pricy for a loaf of quickbread, and I have a good quickbread recipe anyway, but I will not dispute that they are good. I think you could do the sundried tomato pesto one and add cubed up salami or pepperoni and have really good pizza muffins. Next time I have a notion for quickbread, I may use my recipe and try beer instead of milk for the liquid; there’s something in their mix that reacts quite aggressively with the beer, giving you a batter that very nearly foams. Must look at what that might be.

The other bread/sweet thing I cooked was a butter loaf pound cake, because I had strawberries I’d forgotten about in the auxiliary fridge and needed to use before they went south. I didn’t want a big cake; my 8 x 4 loaf pan would be perfect.

This recipe is all over the internet, but it’s so simple I’ll just repeat it here (and it’ll be all over more of the internet).

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, at room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp or so heavy cream

Cream the butter until it’s light; add the sugar and cream thorougly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla (or other flavoring, if you have such a notion).

Whisk flour together with baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture and mix just until combined. Add, if needed, part or all of the cream to bring the batter to pound cake consistency.

Grease only the bottom of the loaf pan. (I don’t know why this is a thing. But I did it, and it worked.) Pour batter into pan, and bake at 350F for 50 minutes. (I baked it in my CSO, convection, for 40.) Cool in pan (which also felt counterintuitive). I had to use a small flexible spatula to loosen it, but it popped right out.

This makes a classic, dense, smooth pound cake. You could dress it up any kind of way, but my choice this weekend was to slice off a slab, cover it with strawberries macerated in sugar and white balsamic vinegar, being sure to add enough juice to well-soak the cake, and top the whole thing with sweetened creme fraiche.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em give this a try while strawberries are in season. Once they’re done, you can use just about any fruit you’ve a notion (peaches work just MARVELOUSLY). If you’re using a harder fruit, like blackberries or blueberries, you may want to mash a few to provide the juice, which the fruit compote absolutely needs in this application.

I b’lieve I may have to have a dish of that, right now. Y’all come on and join me.

 

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