Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chocolate Chili Squash Cake- Grow Your Own 2007

"Grow Your Own 2007” is Andrea’s invitation to develop a recipe from produce of my own garden. My garden consisted of 6 plants: 3 different tomatoes, one pumpkin and one squash. Why just six plants? I didn’t have ground to grow in until late in June—everyone told me nothing would “make,” but all of my seeds came up, even with a late start. My yield for the year was one pumpkin and one squash—but I had many blossoms which I stuffed and fried, but my tomatoes were very prolific—the Black Krim were amazingly tasty.

I have chosen to make a Chocolate, Chili and Squash Pound Cake, an adaptation of a recipe found here:

(Makes 12 servings)

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 pinch red chili powder
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
• 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
• 4 eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 cups shredded squash
• Confectioners' sugar

In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, chili and salt, if desired. Set aside. In large mixing bowl at medium speed, beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in reserved flour mixture. Gently stir in squash. Pour into lightly greased 9-cup fluted tube pan.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes [start checking at 45 minutes]. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. With narrow spatula or knife, loosen cake from pan and gently shake onto serving plate. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

The cake is moist and packs a punch—chocolate and chili are a very old fashioned taste, at least from the 16th Century. Next year my garden will expand dramatically. Check back next year!

Friday, November 23, 2007

SHF - Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Leslie of "Definitely Not Martha" has chosen a November Beta-Carotene Harvest as this month's theme for Sugar High Friday, the brainchild of Jennifer, who is, indeed, a Domestic Goddess. Since it was just my husband and I this Thanksgiving, I tried this for dessert instead of pie--it was a hit! I cannot describe to you the incredible unctuousness of this frosting--this frosting is light, not heavy and it's over the edge with pumpkin bars or cake. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and cream and whip until light. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Bars Recipe courtesy Patty Ronning as adapted by Paula Deen from Paula's Home Cooking Episode: Southern Thanksgiving Leftovers as seen on

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just Make It On the Counter ...

Many years ago my roommate, "Charlie" Buck [Charlene], asked me how to make biscuits. She was in the kitchen, and I was calling the ingredient list from the other room while working on an art project for a college class. All of a sudden, Charlie called for help. Once she got to the liquid ingredients, she knew she had a problem. She had literally placed all of the dry ingredients on the counter surface [not in a bowl on the counter as I would have done]--thankfully she had stopped prior to pouring the milk into the dry ingredients. For years I smurked privately about her lack of expertise in the kitchen, that is until recently.

It's amazing what one can learn from watching the Food Network or from reading old and new cookbooks from different cultures and foodways than one grew up in. Somewhere in Charlie's background she had seen cooks making biscuits and other dough products using the well-method instead of a bowl. Now I am the one with egg on my hands!

Join me in my culinary adventures--it's like being a kid again …
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