A cake for consenting adults

caek 015Bluebarry and I like almost any foodstuff one is likely to happen upon in day to day Western life. No fruit or vegetable makes us go “ick”, and we’ll pretty much try anything you make for us. But we have one common dislike that is awkward and that can cause hurt feelings: We hate cake. Not cake per se, but bad cake with icing. Not that there isn’t good icing out there. We just don’t care to look for it. Our family and friends know enough to not bring us sweet cakes. We call it being caek’d, and we are perfectly comfortable saying to our friends: Don’t cake me, bro.

So what do we love? Anything MC’s sister Dory makes, and this  clementine cake recipe from Nigella Lawson.

Clementine cake – made primarily with whole braised clementines and ground almonds – is not very sweet, it is densely moist but very light on the palate, and it keeps for almost a week. We always make it for Bluebarry’s mom (MC’s mother-in-sin), and any guests who happen upon us in clementine season.

It’s dead easy to make (google will translate amounts if you use the ‘= ‘sign), but I suggest beating the sugar and egg well and then adding the pulp and a generous, heaping spoon of baking powder.

Happy  Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, and bon appétit!

Dish of the Week: 2013 Week One

Let’s see if we can stick to this New Year’s resolution: a weekly post, highlighting the best thing we cooked and/or ate, and listing other noteworthy meals.

This week’s pick was a Rick Bayless recipe for Potato and Chorizo Tacos with Simple Avocado Salsa.

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Despite the link to Her Royal Marthaness, we actually stumbled across this recipe in a new (to us) video cooking app-zine, Panna, that features some very cool chefs: Bayless, Anita Lo, Jonathan Waxman, et al. It has some bizarro interface issues, but it’s well worth checking out.

Since our butcher du jour didn’t have any Mexican chorizo sausage, but did have unseasoned sausage meat, we went with Ruhlman’s chorizo recipe (scaled down to a pound of meat). We had to almost double the chipotle and ancho to give it that nice brick-red tint that finds its way into the pork lipids and stains everything it’s cooked with so, so appealingly…

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We also used Bayless’s recipe for tortillas, which involves two pans at different temperatures.

tacos 010There’s a tortilla, mid-press. And here it is getting all puffy-like in the hot cast-iron pan:

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The salsa that accompanied the dish is pure awesome sorcery: tomatillo, jalapeño, avocado, garlic, and salt. The acid in the tomatillo keeps the avocado from oxidizing, which means you can enjoy this salsa for a good couple of days.

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This week’s other dinners:

Kabocha Pumpkin Hot Pot, from Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat’s Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals. Some substitutions: We added some tofu, and made a quick pressure-cooker chicken stock rather than the five-hour mushroom infusion.

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Scallops Grenobloise, eliminating the veggies but adding Thomas Keller’s asparagus coulis. (To be honest, this was kind of a shit-show: terrible croutons courtesy of lame white bread from these hacks, which I forgot to add anyway because of  too much of this week’s wine pick, which also made me forget to season the asparagus coulis. However, substituting meyer lemon in place of regular lemon was sort of genius.)

Poulet au Riesling, from the foodporny The Country Cooking of France. Delicious made with a big old capon and a hefty dollop of crème fraîche. As usual, Willan’s recipe needed some tweaking: some cornstarch at the end to thicken the sauce.

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And finally: take-out pizza from Il Fornello. Not as good as Pizzeria Libretto, but better than it used to be.

The next two weeks’ DOTW posts will be delayed, but for good reason: we’re taking the show on the road to Oaxaca, Mexico. Among other things, look forward to stories from our cooking lessons with Nora.