Classic Angel Food Cake

Classic Angel Food Cake with BerriesTaking The Cake

Over the weekend, my sister found herself with a bunch of leftover egg whites. That’s the dilemma when you have a recipe that calls for just the yolks. What do you do with the egg whites? Throwing them out is such a waste. There’s the option of making an egg white omelet, but to me that is the flavor equivalent of the color beige…

My sister apparently agrees, since she showed up at my door with half of a freshly baked angel food cake. Angel food cake is my favorite because I am a dessert carb junkie, and it is just so darn versatile.

Serve it plain with fresh berries and whipped cream, shortcake style, for the perfect summer dessert, or use it in layers with lemon curd and berries for a gorgeous trifle which looks great on any 4th of July picnic table. My sister’s version arrived with a decadent chocolate icing…too hard to resist. How can you go wrong? Angel food cake is even great left plain and toasted for breakfast, cause’ you only live once (and there is little to no fat in angel food cake). Yee Haw!

So, separate your eggs with wild abandon—just don’t throw out those whites. Use them for a higher purpose instead!

Classic Angel Food Cake
Yields about 16 servings Read more…

Plancha Salmon with Chimicurri

Plancha SalmonThe North American Female

When it comes to the Dad lottery, I hit the jackpot twice. I was lucky enough to have a father who thought my sister and I could do anything we wanted, and did everything he could to make sure we had the opportunities to try. We have no greater champion than our Dad (except Mom). That was my first Jackpot.

Because of his example, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a husband and father for my own kids—and I found him. My second jackpot. Our kids are very lucky because they have someone who loves them beyond measure, and especially just loves to hang out with them. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the same thing, but it’s just a different bond. Of course, it helps that he is still a child himself. In fact I am very sure that in some ways he never progressed past the age of thirteen…his mind works like theirs does. The stuff that they do that drives me bananas, he is equally skilled at, and most of what he does to get the kids laughing comes at my expense. It’s their favorite sport…

Case in point, my husband does these voices that crack the kids up. He’s got a whole battery of personalities. He even has a “Rocket” voice that imitates our Basset Hound. Of course, now we all use it…

The best voice was created out of boredom when we went on our trip to Yellowstone. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you The North American Female.

I was getting ready to go out, and I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and the rest of them were sitting on the bed opposite the bathroom door watching me get ready, like I was part of a zoo. As I was going about my routine, I heard this questionable British accent coming from the other room…and a lot of giggling.

I remember as a kid watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Sunday nights at my grandmothers. There was always a narrator explaining what was happening on the screen usually a lioness stalking a gazelle. (Strangely, that is how my husband explains our courtship. Go figure.) Turns out my husband was  a Wild Kingdom fan as well; this voice was a cross between the Wild Kingdom guy and the guys who do color commentary for the British Premier league…(GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!)

By the time all was said and done we had pee-ed our pants laughing, and I had mascara running down my face—because it’s just plain difficult to apply anything to your face with a running color commentary. It remains to this day one of my favorite memories of the four of them.

In honor of Father’s day and childlike fathers everywhere, I picked this week’s recipe from the cookbook I bought while we were in Yellowstone. It’s called Open Range by Jay Bentley and Patrick Dillon, and it includes a great group of recipes from Big Sky country. We ate well on that trip including some fantastic Salmon….

Plancha Salmon with Chimicurri
Serves 4
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Grilled Cheese BLT

Grilled Cheese SandwichNo More Pencils, No More Books…
This week marks the last week of school for a lot of folks, and for those of us who have been experiencing end of school year burn out, it can’t come too soon. It’s not just the kids who get burned out, it is also the parents, and I’ve reached my limit.

For the next 10 weeks there will be no lunch-making, no did you do your homework?, no why aren’t you ready to go?, no why didn’t you tell me about this project sooner?,  no what time is practice? and no can you pick up this kid, because I need to pick up the other kid halfway across town, in afternoon commute traffic?.

For the next 10 weeks I might actually get to enjoy a cup of coffee before I get to work. For the next 10 weeks there is a better than average chance that someone will do a load of laundry (folding optional). And I know without question, that for the next 10 weeks my sons (and most likely their cousin) will be eating a legitimate lunch (meaning not just cereal straight from the box), only because their younger sister will make it for them. She has been known to encourage their couch potato/sloth-like habits by making up a “Summer Menu” for them. This helps me out because I now have a ready-made list of shopping items to have on hand for Zee Chef. See? Win-win for everyone. It will be dark times though, when she is at camp…

Although the menu has not yet been set, one item that will certainly be on there is grilled cheese. We’re all grilled cheese fans. How can you not be? It’s bread and cheese. (Word!) So it would not surprise me if this is the most popular meal, whether it be the traditionally grilled version or hot off the Panini press.

I like to experiment with my grilled cheeses. Use different cheeses or adding veggies and spreads to them. Irish Dubliner and some thin sliced green apple is one of my favorites…Brie works too.

So here’s to the start of Summer and to a quick grilled cheese meal to get you out and enjoying the most fun time of the year!

Making a Great Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, right? You need bread, you need butter, and you need cheese. Then you cook it in a flat, oiled pan until brown on both sides. Here are a few tips to make yours extra-delicious—and also a few of the infinite variations for customizing this favorite comfort food.

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Peach Hand Pies

Peach Hand PieEasy As Pie

This Sunday I will be hosting a half dozen nine and ten-year-olds for a baking workshop that I donated to our school fundraising auction, and I am actually looking forward to it.

One of my missions in life is to get kids cooking, and being creative in the kitchen. The good news is that these kids want to learn to make their own treats, so I am hoping for minimal batter on the ceiling. That being said, I’m hedging my bets…which means we’re going to make it easy this time around. There will be nothing involving hot sugar or hot oil. Just the thought turns my hair white!

The kids will make use of the gorgeous, seasonal fruit—we will make some mini fruit tarts and a lemon cake, as well as peach hand pies (‘cause nothing is better than pie that travels). Of course, no baking class would be complete without chocolate, so we will be doing something with chocolate, though I haven’t found the perfect option yet…decisions, decisions. All of this in only four hours? No problem.

Although the fresh peaches that are available are just starting to get good, I am going to use frozen for the hand pies to make life easier. Peeling and slicing peaches will take too long. The good thing is we just got some beautiful frozen peaches in from Oregon that will do the trick nicely.

Peach Hand Pies
Makes 6 6-inch circular pies Read more…