Cabin Fever! It’s been pouring in San Francisco. I know, I’m from Seattle and the rain shouldn’t bother me but, Seattle rain tends to be drizzly and constant. This is buckets, dumping sideways from the sky, with massive wind, thunder, and lightening to go along with it. And, since that Seattle-girl in me is absolutely opposed to umbrellas (hate the things), I’m staying inside. What better time to cook, right?
So you say you can’t bake? I know the type-I have students like you in my classes all the time. Last night I asked them who wanted to make the homemade doughnuts with homemade raspberry and hot fudge sauces and there was a long pause. Many looked away, hoping not to catch my eye. Finally, Ferdie stepped up and did a damn good job, I may add. It amazes me that anyone wouldn’t like to bake but I guess the fear of having to really follow directions scares people off. As I read today’s LA Times I thought of all of you. There is a recipe for something called “Crazy Cake“, and it is a bit unconventional, if I may say so myself! With no butter or eggs, the recipe calls for canola oil, used in cakes to keep them very, very moist without adding a strong flavor. I’m generally a butter girl but have had oil-based cakes before and been pleasantly surprised. Some say the cake evolved out of WWII rationing and others cling to its Kosher roots, having no dairy in the recipe. Either way, it’s an unusual method of adding all the ingredients right to the pan and stirring them together-hey, less dishes and a gorgeous end result. Try the Chocolate or Poppy Seed versions and you may just realize that, yes, you can bake!
You probably know I’ve been on a granola kick lately. After my recent post, friends were sharing all kinds of granola hints with me. Some of my favorite add ins to try: flax seed, pumpkin seeds, fresh ginger, cocoa nibs, agave syrup, and now peanut butter! In today’s Washington Post there is a very simple recipe for homemade Peanut Butter Granola. I’m sort of “ok” on peanut butter, don’t love it but will eat it in a pinch. However, I LOVE almond butter and am all over this recipe, using almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’ll throw in toasted almonds, try those cocoa nibs, and let you know how it goes. Any other ideas?
Ah, the snack conundrum. If you have kids, you know what I mean. Soccer snacks, school snacks, after school snacks, playdate snacks, ballet snacks, etc. Did we eat all these snacks when we were kids? There is a great article in today’s NY Times, written by Los Angeles mom and NYT bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer. I am definitely a proponent of the healthy snack and am often amazed at the junk people feed their kids between meals. The “grazing” effect of snacking all day has its pros and cons too. Do kids really need snacks after every sport and activity? If a kid eats so many snacks he can’t eat dinner, something’s not right. On the other hand, if my son is famished the hour before dinner I’ll give him a bowl of cut raw veggies and then he can bypass them at dinner, if he wants. When it comes to feeding kids and creating eating habits that serve them for life, parents have a big responsibility. It is up to us to guide our kids in the right direction, teaching them which foods are good for their bodies and which make their teeth fall out. What do you give your kids for snacks? I’d love to know.
Happy Reading, Happy Cooking, and Stay Dry!