October 20th, 2013


Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread by
Claudia Fleming who was once a chef there.

Just to note, this is no Starbucks gingerbread loaf. It is not mild or docile in any way; this is for that family member who loves old-school, intense gingerbread cakes and complains that they don’t make them like they use to. Or, it’s for people like me, who didn’t even know she liked gingerbread before trying it.

The only snafu I ran into with this recipe is that the cake sunk a bit. Since it was in a bundt pan (flipped upside-down for serving) no one will be the wiser, but I suspect if the problem is anything like the sinking honey cake, there might be too much baking powder in it. You’ll only want to consider dialing it back a pinch if you are subdividing it into a pan that you won’t serve upside down.

Speaking of, I have successfully divided bundt pan recipes into two full-sized loaves before, but haven’t tested it with this recipe yet. If you do, let us know.

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Accompaniment: Unsweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. (She is not kidding about this. I used a nonstick pan with a butter/flour spray and still lost a chunk of cake. I will be more generous next time.)

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Do ahead: This gingerbread is better if made a day ahead. It will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature. I am sure it will keep well-wrapped in the freezer even longer.

I think I got this recipe from the NY Times but I'm not sure any longer... I copied and pasted it from somewhere into my recipe file... it's great Gingerbread. I used only a teaspoon of baking powder and it did fine...

Abondigas (Meatball) Soup

Abondigas – Meatball Soup
1 ½ pound lean ground beef
¼ cup flour
2 eggs
48 oz. chicken stock
32 oz. beef stock or consommé
1 t. oregano leaves
2 medium sized onions, chopped
½ t. red pepper flakes
6 carrots
¼ cup rice
¼ to 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
¾ pound spinach
2 to 3 limes, cut into wedged

Combine beef, flour, eggs and ½ cup of the chicken stock.  In an 8 quart kettle, combine the rest of the chicken stock with the beef stock, onions, oregano, and red pepper flakes. 

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.  Quickly shape meat mixture into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter and drop into stock.

Simmer meatballs for about 5 minutes, then spoon off any fat.  Add carrots, rice, and cilantro/coriander.

Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until carrots and rice are tender to bite.

Meanwhile, clean spinach discarding the tough stems.  Wash leaves and chop the large ones in half.  Add to stock and cook, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and pass limes.

Makes 6 – 8 main-dish servings
not a happy camper

Closer I crept, inch by inch...

Okay, so we went to most boring presentation ceremony last night that was ever created.  Sadly, I had nominated the person who won the *big* award and it was presented last.  So many times in the course of the night, I looked longingly at the door, mentally wanted to make good my escape.  Alas, I was stuck.

So, what was the last thing you wish you could have sneaked out of or wiggled out of doing entirely? 

"Tarte à la Queurde" also known as Pumpkin Pie

In my area, people were used to make the "tarte à la queurde". In patois, "queurde" is  "squash" and eventually "pumpkin".  I tried to translate the French recipe...

    • Pie pastry

    • 200g pumpkin

    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    • 1 orange

    • 25 cl crème fraîche

    • 2 eggs

    • 100 g sugar

    • 1 tsp crystal sugar

    Squeeze juice from orange.

    Peel the pumpkin and dice it. Put it in a pan with 50g sugar. Add orange juice and water in order to just cover pumpkin.

    Cook on a low heat, stirring from time to time until the liquid (fluid?) is boiled off and pumpkin slightly golden.

    Take out of heat and let it cool down.

    Blend the pumpkin in order to get a puree.

    Pre-heat the oven (210°C)

    Put the pie pastry in a buttered mold. « Jab » it with a fork.

    In a bowl, beat cream with eggs, 50g sugar and cinnamon.

    Add the pumpkin puree and mix it

    Pour the mixture in the pie pastry.

    Put in oven for about 20/25 minutes.

    Remove it from the mold and let it cool down

    Before serving, powder crystal sugar.