Thursday, June 24, 2010

three delicious things

All of my best ideas are rooted in food. I sometimes wonder if I had kids just so I could feed them weird things, or use them as the excuse for buying goldfish crackers, the occasional box of Lucky Charms, or magic shell. Who cares - they're fed and I'm happy so we're all winners, right?

Last September (or August? I don't remember now) I had a bread night where people came with their favorite spreads. Then in November I did a soup night where everyone had to bring, uh, soup. It was cozy and delicious and I still can't get over the fact that someone brought a dessert soup. Around February I had pie night and I don't think that needs any explanation. I am unashamed to admit that I tried 12 of the 15 pies (only because the other three had pecans). So, months have gone by and I figured it was time for a new night: Salad. Salads can be amazing and my friends totally surpassed my expectations. I made the stipulation that Jell-o was NOT a salad no matter how many carrots your shredded into it, or cans of fruit cocktail you added. They complied. We had delicious salads of all types including one with apples and SNICKERS bars and mixed with pudding and whipped cream and holy cow it sounds ridiculous but if loving that is wrong then I don't want to be right.

I made a recipe I had printed MONTHS ago but hadn't had the chance to make yet, though there it sat patiently in my recipe binder, awaiting its big moment. I must say that I was extremely pleased with the results. It was (drumroll) Zucchini and Corn Taco Seasoned Quinoa Salad. I actually used 2 ears of corn because I figured it was just as easy as 1 ear and twice as delicious. I also used only half of the jalapeno. And instead of using his recipe for taco seasoning, I just dumped in about 3 T of the taco seasoning I get from my spice store. Oh, and I didn't want to buy a giant wedges of cotija cheese (since my store only seems to sell giant wedges), so I shredded in some Muenster Enchilado cheese (makes fab quesadillas, btw). But I swear those are tiny adjustments to a fabulous recipe that, besides the corn, took all of 20 minutes to assemble. I do furrow my brow at his suggestion that it is "2 light meal or 4 side dish size servings" because it seemed to make a LOT, but I'm not complaining. Let's just say that I bought the big bag of quinoa at Costco today solely for this recipe (but I imagine it will be used elsewhere as well).

Oh, and I also made Meringue Cups with Strawberries and Lemon Curd and guess what? Meringues are just as easy as people have been telling me! The recipe calls for Meyer Lemons, but I only had regular lemons (how gauche) so I used them. And loved them. I was delighted when, the morning after making the meringues (they sit in the oven overnight), I peeked into the ovens and saw them sitting so prettily on the pans - just like they were supposed to look! Whee!

And I would be remiss if I did not share with you the most recent addition to my cake file: Oatmeal Cake. A month or so ago I was at a going-away party for some friends where we all brought a dessert. I heard murmurs of appreciation about a particular cake. "Annie brought it," and "Have you had Annie's cake?" and "I'm going to go eat another piece of Annie's cake" and by the time I made it there, oh woe, it was all gone. So I requested the recipe and when she gave it to me on Father's Day, I knew that would be our dessert that night. It is, in a word, deceptively luscious. Oh wait, that was two words. Maybe that's where the deceptive comes in. The ingredients are fairly simple (I had them all) and the cake is relatively plain-looking, but the five of us ate more than half of the 9x13 pan and with oatmeal being an ingredient, I totally rationalized that it was breakfast food (for me) the next morning and by that evening it was all gone. So without further ado, here is Oatmeal Cake by Annie. Or, as I will now call it:

Annie's Cake
1 1/4 C boiling water
1 C oatmeal
1/2 C butter melted
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional - I omitted)
1 C brown sugar
1 1/3 C flour (I added a little more to compensate for the lack of nuts)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine first three ingredients in bowl and let stand 20 mins. Add remaining ingredients and mix altogether. Bake in a greased 9x13 pan at 350 for 35-40 mins. Let it cool for a little while and then pour this on top:

3/4 C butter
1/2 C milk
1 C brown sugar
1 C coconut (optional)
4 T flour
1 C nuts (I omitted)
Melt everything except nuts together over medium heat. Then sprinkle on nuts. Try not to eat the entire pan in one night.

It makes almost a caramel-y top and I might have licked the pan a little bit.


Lisa said...

Okay, I would usually totally pass up a recipe for Oatmeal Cake, but if you say it's awesome, I think I have to try it.

GWACK said...

That oatmeal cake sounds amazing!

It's funny that you wrote this post today because at work, a group of us talked about different foods we loved for about a half an hour this afternoon. The conversation ended with me calling my sister to give me the recipe for the boneless BBQ pork ribs I'd made for Father's Day because someone wanted it. I might not be as adventurous as you are with it, but I LOVE FOOD, too! :)

OneTiredEma said...

What's wrong with pecans? :(

I had the biggest craving for chocolate pecan pie the other night. And pie? (any kind)? Is not a popular thing here. Sad.