Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kirsti's Norwegian "Soggy Cake" (Blotekake)

My cousin Kirsti made this traditional marzipan-robed marvel of a layer cake for my cousin Erica's birthday yesterday. A blotekake consists of three layers of rich sponge cake (sukkerbrod), separated only by whipped cream and a filling of berries macerated in sugar. Once the layered tiers are covered in whipped cream, the entire cake is wrapped in a very thin sheet of marzipan and decorated with berries. SO good...

Kirsti's Eplekake

My cousin Kirsti, a talented baker, brought a version of this beautiful Norwegian Apple Cake to a family picnic up in Woodstock a few years ago. Its moist and sweet, and packed with twice as many apples as you normally find in an apple cake. The cake, which is completely satisfying, comes together in less than half an hour. Pretty amazing.

10 T butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t baking powder
1 cup flour
4-6 apples
1 t vanilla sugar
cinnamon to taste, sliced almonds to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time.
In another bowl, sift the flour and mix together with the cup of sugar and baking powder. Combine the dry ingredient mixture with the wet ingredients. Spray a cake pan with Wondra spray. Turn the cake batter into the greased pan.
Peel and core the apples, and cut each one into 8 wedges lengthwise. Working in a circular patter, submerge as many apple wedges as possible into the batter.
Mix together cinnamon and vanilla sugar and sprinkle on top of the cake. Decorate with almond slices if desired. Bake until fragrant and golden brown - perhaps 45 minutes to an hour.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Spicy Lemon Garlic Green Beans

1 pound of green beans, trimmed
Scant 1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Juice and minced zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Thai roasted red chili paste

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; stir for one minute, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add beans and toss. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest and chili paste. Saute for 3 - 4 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lebanese Tahini Dressing

Rich and lemony, with loads of flavor. This dressing (my attempt at using up the half empty jar of tahini in the fridge) brightens up everything from grilled chicken to vegetable salads to sandwich wraps. I like it best slathered all over a warm round of lavash...

4 garlic cloves, minced to a paste
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup tahini
1 T Ground cumin, or to taste
1 T Ground coriander, or to taste
1 T Spanish paprika, or to taste
2 T Ground sumac, or to taste
Pinch of cinammon
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley and/or cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 cups