Rolled Oat Cake; It is a sign of the times - LA Times that is...

I love cake. Yup. I do.  I really, really love cake. I especially love Black Forest Cake being that it is the perfect marriage of chocolate cake and whipped cream, real dairy whipped cream that is. I love carrot cake too as long as there are no dried fruit thingies in it, like currants or raisins. Oh I hate raisins. Let me count the ways.

Angel food cake, spice cake, devils food cake, sour cream chocolate cake are top drawer for me as well, mind you, I haven't had sour cream chocolate cake in many decades, since I stopped talking to the evil woman who used to make it for me that is. She Who Will Remain Nameless was at one time a favourite family friend of mine (she continues to be liked by my parents, why? I do not know), then she stomped on my youthful aspirations like the mean, prematurely grey-haired, black-hearted stewardess that she was. Come fly with me! I'll abuse your emotions little man!!!! I digress...

But back to cake.  I subscribe to the LA Times for one reason only - the Living Section and the Food Section in particular, well, other sections are good too, so that statement is a bit of a bullshit claim, however I mostly read it for the recipes and I am going to make it my mission to try to replicate as many of them as I can before I expire, that is, as long as the recipes don't include raisins.

So one evening this week, with the wife off doing wife things, and after having surfed all the internet porn I could stand for one evening, I decided to find some other activity to occupy my hands and making a cake came to mind.  It wasn't the FIRST thing that came to mind but as I whittled the list down, however it was the only socially acceptable thing available to me at the time.

So I fired up my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and went surfing through the Food Section of the Times and happened on to this recipe.  With the help and assistance of my youngest daughter we set to making this creation and hoped for the best as we did.

I followed the recipe exactly, well, almost exactly:

I messed up reading it given reading was never a strength of mine - too short an attention span, oh  look! A puppy!  I reversed the order of adding the flour, preferring or rather mistakenly, adding the oats to the butter sugar mixture instead of the flour first, but I soldiered on and finished it and baked it anyway. It was fantastic.

The original recipe calls for fresh figs and being that I live at the 54th parallel  and there is 3 frigging feet of snow on the lawn, fresh figs are a challenge to acquire, so I chose to use frozen blueberries and they were perfect for it.
I am posting the recipe almost verbatim except for the fruit I used, and also give the link to the web page here: LA Times Rolled Oat Cake recipe . The pictures are mine however and sorry, there is no cake left, but I plan on making it again the same way, only different.
Rolled Oat Cake

1 cup rolled oats (I used quick oats)
2 cups (16 ounces) hot milk (not boiling)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) butter
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons (2.8 ounces) honey (I used 4 tablespoons or a 1/4 cup if you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (I used large size eggs. Free range. Brown shells. From contented hens)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) spelt flour or all-purpose flour (I used AP and my scale to weigh it)
5 to 6 fresh figs, halved or quartered (I used 2 cups frozen blueberries)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (I used brown sugar and it was just fine)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine the oats and hot milk. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb most of the milk and to cool down the milk slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the honey and vanilla extract.

Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the baking powder and flour together, then fold into the butter mixture.

Drain any remaining liquid from the oats, then stir them into the mixing bowl.

Pour into a greased 9-inch-round cake pan and place the fig slices (or blueberries!) evenly on top. (Now I don't know what 9" pan they're using but mine was too shallow to hold all the batter so I switched up and used a 10" springform pan and it was perfect)
Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar. (Or brown sugar!!!)

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes depending on your oven (it took 70 minutes at 350 convection for me). If the cake browns too quickly, loosely cover the top with foil until the cake is done. Cool on a rack.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over it and serve with whatever the heck you want. Me? I like whipped cream.

Notes at the bottom of the page:

This is a dense cake, which is appropriate given the cook is quite dense himself.  The next time I make it, and I will, I am going to cut the flour down and increase the oats. I will report back with more pictures in that update. I'm thinking of using Saskatoon berries in the next cake as well.  Film at 11:00.

 Snowy Palms Resort

Roasted Potato Florets

6 medium/large red potatoes, washed and sliced about 1/8" thick
1/2 cup non salted butter
1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Wash and drain potato slices, place slices on a towel to dry

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat

Crush garlic but leave in large chunks, add to melted butter, and cook for 5 minutes to soften garlic

Find your muffin tins

Place potatoes into large bowl, pour hot garlic butter over them add garlic powder, both peppers toss well to coat all the potatoes

Place one slice of potato in bottom to cover

Begin to line the tins with potatoes, overlapping them as you do

Once florets are made place garlic chunks into the center of each floret

Cover with aluminum foil and place into oven using a lower rack. Bake covered for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and remove the foil then sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cheese onto the florets then return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the florets from the oven when the petals have reached the desired state of crispness and the cheeses is browned.

Garnish with minced parsley, chives or whatever else floats yer boat...

I have experimented with red, yellow and Idaho russet, potatoes. Cooked covered with foil and uncovered. Temperatures varying between 375F and 450F and have found red potatoes, covered per the instructions above worked best for me. The pictures below show 3 varieties cooked covered and uncovered.

Go heavy on the garlic as it gets so mellow and yummy as it slow bakes in the potatoes. Enjoy!!!

Snowy Palms Resort

Creamed Spinach - A Homage To Hy's

Please follow along with the recipe below and don't move your lips when you read, it's really annoying to watch...

1 1/2  pounds (750 grams) frozen or fresh spinach

2 Tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced fine

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced fine
1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half is fine too)

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese

Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat.

If using fresh spinach place into pot over medium heat with 1 Tbsp butter and cook, stirring often, until completely wilted, about 5 -8 minutes. If using frozen spinach, allow to thaw completely or hasten the process by placing in microwave for 2 minutes.   Place the spinach in a colander to drain, and then squeeze the spinach with a spoon or your hands against the side if the colander to get as much water out as you can. Chop the spinach, set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp butter in the saucepan. Add the shallot and garlic, saute for 2 minutes, until translucent. 

Add the cream, bring to a light boil, turn down heat to low-medium then to simmer. Add the nutmeg, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reduced by half.

Add the spinach and 1/4 cup cheese, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until the spinach, cheese and sauce are well incorporated and it thickens to a sauce consistency, about 5 minutes. 

Add the last 3 tablespoons of cheese to thicken, stir to incorporate, remove from heat.

Serve hot. Enjoy

Mémère's Cookies; The World's Finest Oatmeal Cookies

½ lb unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla (optional, not in her original recipe)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats (quick oats)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, not in her original recipe)
1 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (optional, not in her original recipe)

Preheat oven to 350° F

Cream together the eggs, butter, both sugars and vanilla (if using). Blend on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes.

In a separate bowl sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Once the butter and sugar mixture is uniformly blended, add the sifted flour ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes or until it is well incorporated.

Add oats and mix until fully blended in. If you are using the nuts, add them with the rolled oats.

Drop spoonful’s of cookie dough onto baking sheet.
Or use a mini ice cream scoop to make them uniform size and it is faster too!!!

Bake in preheated oven for 11 – 12 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges.
So, stopping here for a moment, when the cookies come out of the oven identify a few of them that you want to kick up a notch, then press down onto them with your thumb to make a small dent or dimple in the hot cookie.  Once dimpled thus, put a little dollop of jam into the hot cookie dimple then place on cooling rack to cool. This was a signature move for Mémère.

Remove cookies from oven and place on cooling rack until cooled. Serve with milk, tea, coffee or other beverage of choice.

Go ahead! Try to eat one without smiling!  It can’t be done….