The kids have been upgrading their cooking skills during the social isolation of COVID-19. Every week they produce a number of new recipes, almost invariably delicious. They focus primarily on baked goods—muffins, cupcakes, and full cakes—but they have also delved into savory options (the family potsticker assembly line involves all five of us).
This week, Griffin and Maggie looked through the May issue of Martha Stewart Living and cut out a number of recipes that they wanted to try. Yesterday, they chose this cake because we had all of the ingredients on hand. (We are trying to shop for groceries only once per week, which sometimes constrains our spontaneous cooking options.) We’re so glad they chose this one! It was delicious. Although they just baked it yesterday, there is only a little bit left, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone wolfs it down before I finish writing this post.
The recipe is available online, but I’m including it here in case it vanishes (or lands behind a paywall) at some point in the future.
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), whisked, plus more for pan 2/3 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs) 3/4 cup whole milk 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 3/4 teaspoons plus a pinch of kosher salt 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 4 tablespoons ground freeze-dried strawberries (1/2 ounce) 2 drops pink gel-paste food coloring 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (2 1/2 cups) 1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in center. Brush a 10–to–15-cup Bundt pan with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Beat butter with 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with egg-white mixture, and beginning and ending with flour. (You should have about 7 cups batter.) Separate 2 cups batter and stir in freeze-dried strawberries.
Transfer 1/4 cup strawberry batter to a small bowl; stir in pink gel paste until combined. Stir mixture back into remaining strawberry batter a little at a time, until you achieve desired color.
Spoon 2 1/2 cups vanilla batter into bottom of pan. Top with all of strawberry batter, then remaining vanilla. Run a butter knife through batter four times to swirl, then use to fold and swoop in a couple of places to further marble.
Place pan in oven; reduce temperature to 325°F. Bake until top of cake springs back when lightly touched, 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely.
Stir together strawberries, remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt; let stand until sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cream with confectioners’ sugar on high speed to soft peaks. Dust cake with more confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and macerated berries.
I really love putting the garden to bed for the winter: remembering the bounty, the warm humid days long passed, the delight of the first sprouts and flowers at the beginning of the summer. The passing of the seasons is a sacred time of reflection, being present in the best of each season, and looking ahead to the changes still to come. I love it when I am fortunate enough to slow down and savor it. So it was with great delight that I was able to uncover the last of our bounty in these tiny gems. Into the pot you go for carrot ginger soup! ❤️ 🍲 🥕
This recipe came with our CSA Newsletter a few weeks ago. Bun bowls are one of our favorite dishes at Vietnamese restaurants, but we had never tried making one ourselves. The recipe was easy and delicious (especially with a squirt of sriracha). You can easily substitute or add other vegetables (ours included some shredded kale).
8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
1 ½ cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2–3 medium carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 large or 2–3 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
16 ounces cooked tofu, chicken, or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
⅓ cup fish sauce
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup light brown sugar, plus more to taste
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ to 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and the jalapeño. Whisk well. Set aside. (Note: The dressing will store in the refrigerator for 3 days to a week.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (or according to package instructions), until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water to cool them. Shake the colander to drain away excess water.
When the noodles are well-drained, put them in a large bowl along with the vegetables, herbs and tofu or meat. Spoon dressing over the entire mixture and toss well to combine.
During dinner last night, we were discussing how messy babies are when they eat. In my customarily ridiculous fashion, I proposed that high chairs should be built inside large tubs. All the food detritus would fall into the tub. Then at the end of the meal, you pull a lever and a huge bucket of water dumps on baby, high chair, and tub, washing all the sticky, gooey, crumblies away. We laughed about this, agreeing that one of many problems with my proposal, was that the sudden deluge would be scary for the hapless filth monger in the midst of it.
I tried proposing heated dryers, but Griffin didn’t think that this would be enough. He suggested putting an umbrella over the baby. But this, I countered, would only clean the area around the high chair, without cleaning the baby himself (we were imagining Oliver as our first beneficiary). Griffin considered this, and responded, “What if we put some sort of water resistor over him?” I shook my head, misunderstanding, and pointed out that we need the baby to get wet. Griffin, in turn, shook his head, saying, “No, a water resistor.” I still didn’t get it, thinking he meant some sort of anti-water-force-field. He elaborated, “You know … an electrical resister doesn’t stop the electricity, it just kind of slows it down. So a water resistor would be like that, making it less strong.”
My jaw dropped. My nine-year-old just schooled me on electrical engineering, using the idea of a electrical resistance as a metaphor.