Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Know It's Good When....

I don't consider myself an "expert in the kitchen" by any means. In fact it has only been in the last 6 years or so that I've become comfortable, expanding my boundaries and trying foods/dishes that would have otherwise been only looked at as scanned through recipe books and mags.

I am not gracefull in the kitchen either. I've been known to start towels on fire and scorch counters. I've burned the hell out of my wrist. In the midst of any cooking creation, the kitchen looks like a bomb went off. There's no visible order or organization, try as I may to keep it neat.

There are a few meals that I cook with regularity. The predictability and ease are necessary during a week with two baseball games, golf night and rodeo practice. I am adamant about cleaning up leftovers and I very much dislike food waste. I do my best to cook around what I have in the pantry, so much to my childrens' dismay, we DO have food/dishes that are not their favorite. Those who have spent some time around my crew know of their complete distaste of soup. Soup of any kind is to them, "food of the devil". They seriously think I am trying to poison them when they see the big soup pot coming out of the bottom of the island. They instantly frown and voluntarily retreat to their rooms. They'd rather go hungry than eat soup. I don't get it. I love soup, their father does too. All of our friends and family love soup. What's not to love?!?! This is a mystery and one that I have yet to figure out.

I share this because my kids are my biggest "food critics". If they don't like something, they'll do little (at my house) to hide their absolute disgust. I'v made it clear that if they do this any anyone else's location...well we'll just say that I think they know what is expected of them (we're still working on the youngest one's bluntness.) I know what they like but I do not cook to their tastes. One doesn't like cheese, one will avoid ketchup at all costs, one changes her mind on a daily really would be impossible to please them all, all the time.

On Monday, I went on a cooking/baking marathon. I knew we'd be busy on Tuesday with Parker's birthday so I made the most of my time on Monday night.  The good were: Spinach Artichoke Dip, Magic Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Seafood Pea-Ista Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Angel Food Cake. The sweets went over well. The eggs are nearly eaten up (Pake's favorite) There's still plenty of salad (I think I'm the only one here that will eat crab meat). However, the cake is gone. How do you know a cake is REALLY GOOD? The answer: when you DON'T EVEN NEED FROSTING! I had strawberries and Cool-Whip ready to go on the cake for Parker's birthday, so I was utterly shocked when NONE of my offspring requested frosting! They gobbled down the cake and asked for seconds. I checked their temp (just kidding) and pondered this feat. If I made any other cake and didn't frost it, no one would touch it. They would have wondered was wrong! Pryce even mentioned how delicious it was....sans frosting. (Now THAT is impressive!)

If you'd like to have a taste, here are the directions.
No frosting is included. We do not use the stuff (kidding again!)

*this is adapated for KitchenAid mixers:
1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 &1/2 cups sugar, divided
1& 1/2 cups egg whites, about 12-15
1 &1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 &1/2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix flour and 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl.

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Gradually turn to Speed 6 and whip for 30-60 seconds, or until egg whites are frothy.

Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Turn to Speed 8 and whip 2 to 2 /2 minutes, or until whites are almost stiff but not dry. Try to Speed 2. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix about 1 mintue. Stop and scrape bowl.

Remove bowl from mixer. Spoon flour-sugar mixutre, one fourth at a time over egg whites. Fold in gently with spatula, just until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10" tube pan. With knife, gently cut through batter to remove large air bubbles. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cracks very dry. Immediately invert cake onto funnel or soft drink bottle. Cool completely. Remove from pan.

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