Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Bean's First Cake

Move over, Christina Tosi, there's a new baker in town!

It'll be a few year before we know if the Boy is really into baking, but his first attempt went pretty well! I have been wanting to give him a more hands on baking experience, and the rainy, gray weather earlier this week was perfect timing. Sadly, every recipe I found for a "dump cake" as they are often unappealingly dubbed, required canned fruit fillings, pudding mixes, or boxes of cake powder. Not quite what I had in mind.

Leave it to the French to have exactly what I was looking for. French yogurt cakes are very popular, and kids there learn to make them very young. Now I'm only half French,as is E, so that makes the Bean half French, too. Maybe he channeled a bit of his French roots while we put this cake together, because he really didn't need much help. He also, in a stunning turn of events, didn't even make a mess. That bit of spilled flour on the floor by his bowl? That was it. He's keeps a cleaner kitchen than I do.

I adapted a recipe from Montessori Works and got to work. I intended to spread a plastic tablecloth on the floor, fully prepared for the upcoming flour and sugar hoo-rah, but I decided to skip it last minute. Half the fun is the mess, right? I set out all of the ingredients, a wooden spoon, large bowl, scoop and spoon. Our "scoop" was a small yogurt cup, which measures approximately 6 oz. and our "spoon" was a measuring teaspoon. The recipe is very forgiving, unlike most cakes, so if your little goes over or under on the measuring, it won't make a huge difference! I cracked the eggs and poured the oil into the scoop while he held it, but Jude did the rest! He even mixed it pretty well with a big wooden spoon, but I did scrape the bowl into the pan and put the cake into the oven while he hung onto the freezer door handle (that's his 'spot' when the oven is open). He kept running into the kitchen to watch the cake through the glass, and yelling, "It's readyyyy!"

His favorite part was drizzling the icing over the cake once it cooled, and he couldn't wait to tell E about it when he came home. He even had to call my mother to tell her about it this morning. He wanted to make another. Maybe I do have a kid with a sweet tooth after all.

French Yogurt Cake 

3 scoops whole wheat flour
2 scoops sugar
1 scoop plain, whole milk yogurt
1 scoop vegetable oil
1 spoon salt
3 spoons baking powder
1 spoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

For icing:
1 scoop powdered sugar
1/2 spoon almond extract
2-3 spoons water

Grease a 9 inch round cake pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Allow your kiddo to do as much of the scooping and dumping as possible into a large bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon and pour into the pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

With a whisk, mix sugar, almond extract and water to make the icing and drizzle over cooled cake.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One Bad-Ass BLT

Seriously. I'm such a slacker. It's pretty fricking hot here, so I don't want to do anything. Cook, work, clean, sleep, eat, it's all on the "it's too hot for this shit" list. The boy starts sweating the moment he emerges from the bathtub, and he's starting to actually look like a Jersey Greaser. His hair is so big he's channeling Bob Dylan circa '66. All I'm doing is laying around in my basement and trying to figure out how ice cream can qualify as dinner. It can't really.

But I can make a BLT. It does actually require cooking bacon on the stove top (unless you have some left over from breakfast, but who ever has leftover bacon?). Sorry about that. But if you can manage it, whip up some of this awesome spicy herbed sandwich spread and you'll wanna eat BLTs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until this heat wave breaks.

Bad-ass BLTs for 3:

1 lb. bacon, cooked
2 large, heirloom tomatoes, sliced
a handful of green leaf lettuce
6 Slices of  fresh sourdough bread
3 Tbls olive oil
a large handful of fresh herbs, parsley and cilantro work nicely!
2 Tbls mayo
1 Tbls. dijon mustard
1 - 2 tsp. hot sauce, depending on taste
salt and pepper

In a blender or mini food processor, pulse the herbs and olive oil until well chopped. Add mayo, dijon, and hot sauce and pulse until combined. Spread 3 slices of bread with a generous portion. Top with sliced tomato, season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon and lettuce, another smear of spread, and the last slices of bread.

While you eat, check this out. It's uncanny.