Monday, September 17, 2012

The Honeycake secret is out....

 Sept. 17th,  Oakland  
Happy  Rosh Ha Shonah
      hold tight,  more pictures and commentary still to come.

......and the Honeycake secret is------:   Whiskey!

All these years, I had it wrong. 
Apparently the whiskey goes in the cake... 

So this time, it tasted just like Ma's
Ma's Honeycake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teasponn baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm strong coffee
1/4 cup rye or whiskey

Preheat oven to 350°F. (325°F. for glass pans).

 Generously grease pan(s) with cooking spray.

For flat pyrex, tube or angel food pans, line the bottom of the pan with lightly sprayed parchment paper, cut to fit.   Lightly oil bundt pans and then dust with sugar.

Sift into a large bowl:
 flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Mix in blender:
oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee and whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

 Pour wet ingredients into center of dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on slow speed, or just stir together to make a well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom and there are no pockets of dry ingredients.  

The batter will be wet.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). 

TIP: Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center.  Hopefully the edges and the center will all be done at the same time, but better to let the center be moist than the edges too done. 

For angel, bundt and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, minimum;
loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes.

For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.  Or don't remove it from the pan.

--> I have followed and re-followed my Grandmother’s hand written recipe for years (coffee, honey, sugars, eggs, spices and vanilla).  But mine never had the depth of flavor hers had had.    I remembered once that she had added jam, so I tried that (fig, apricot, marmalade), or more oil.   This year, still hopeful,  I found one just like hers---- except for one additional ingredient: whiskey. This recipe comes from SmittenKitchen .  I followed it exactly except that I forgot to put in thfe 1/2 cup orange juice she called for.  It was so good, though, I won't do it next time, either.  

But just like Smitten's, mine sank in the middle.  We decided that the crater was symbolic of the volcanoes that the clever Jews managed to avoid in the desert.   

Next time: After several tries, it's clear that smaller pans do best.  Otherwise the center stays raw. SO:  smaller pans, and, since I used pyrex, 325 instead of 350 degrees.  

Make it a day or so in advance if you can.  It improves with age… I think. 

Speaking of AGE...  the honeycake doubled as a birthday cake

What else was on the menu?  and who ate it?

Heather and Danny, my son-outlaw and his side-kick.  Aren't they cute? Paola took the photo.

Also there my MoM: Manya/Noni;  My kids: Alanya, Mikej, Selim & Naveed; Rumeli and Sandrees (Cyrus was in Madrid, Howlin with Howlin' Rain, but his folks were here from Florida: Annie and Smiles;  My cousins: Paola, Steve & Marco.

Carel’s Zatarlives (that’s Zatar plus Olives)
 Steve loved these--said they were worth a trade of his version of Rosalie's pickles.

This is actually a "studio shot."
Steve (or Paola?) photographed the olives after they had made it to his house because I had forgotten to archive them.

Carel’s Zatarlives (that’s Zatar plus Olives)

1 cup green olives with pits
1 cup black oil-cured olives
(I used market olives in jars … the green were called Cracked Green Olives, but they weren’t cracked so I made slices in them; the others were the dark, small, shiny oil cured ones.)

Rinse and dry the olives.

Toast in dry skillet for 45 seconds or until fragrant
2 TB zatar
1 TB sesame seeds
add to olives in bowl

¼ cup olive oil
    heat till very hot
4 really large (or equivalent) cloves of garlic,  smashed
   Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute to soften. Do not brown.
add to olives

Mix in:
3 Tb peel of Moroccan preserved lemons
3 TB fresh lemon juice

Mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. Serve at room temperature.

Next timemore sumac in the zatar mix.

[[  Curried Vegetables from HERE.   You'll see photos of this in my slow cooker. They were very easy, but still not worth the work.  So no recipe here. ]]]

The Eggplant, on the other hand, was a hands-down winner.  Totally exotic.  Totally simple.   Yes, I always have Pomegranate Syrup on hand. 

Eggplant with Pomegranate Glaze.

I used Kirsten Lindquist's Recipe, which I am sure is perfect, but I decided not to use cumin seeds as I was not feeling cumulative.  Also, this got me out of mortar and pestling.   It's sour, heady, herby and remarkable.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl, whisk into a glaze:
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup good olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 large eggplants
Cut ends off eggplants and cut into 1/2 inch slices and then cube into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add to glaze.  (I let mine sit in a glass bowl most of the day, till I was ready to cook)
Spread eggplant on parchment or foile lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or so until soft and edges of eggplant begin to brown and crisp. Remove (carefully!) from baking sheet and toss with

1/3 cup fresh mint, loosely packed, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, minced
sprinkle with
3 TB toasted sesame seeds

Serve immediately or at room temperature.  I let mine sit on the counter for at least an hour and it was just lovely.

Carel’s Ginger Coconut Rice 
(in the rice cooker at the top)

I have been making this for ev-er.  It’s always wonderful (umm, note first ingredient…)

1/4 lb butter
2 med white onions, sliced
2” pc of ginger, grated (about 1 heaping TB)
            sauté till onion is transparent
3 C white basmati
            add and sauté till rice is opaque
4 ½ c chicken or vegetable stock
¾ c fresh or unsweetened coconut --actually, sweetened is quite good here, too_
        add to rest and put in rice cooker or cook on stove top till done

can top with crushed black ilachi
(PS. this makes a TON.  Half would have been perfect.)

Peanut, Carrot, and Cabbage Slaw
it's on the right in the photo.. .   A simple and crunchy side.

Fresh, Asian and Crunchy. 
The original is HERE.

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons peanut butter
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
 Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously.

For the salad:
3 cups napa cabbage, shredded (from one head of a cabbage)
4 large carrots, grated
6 green onions, sliced thinly
6 large radishes, sliced thinly

I prepped the above the night before and put in plastic (sorry, Alanya) in the frig.  Then tossed the salad at the last minute. But it stands well; in fact it's fine the next day.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with the dressing.  

Decorate the top wih, or mix in
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (fry in a dry pan. Still waiting for the electric sesame-seed pop-up toaster..)
1/2 cup finely chopped (or blitzed) roasted and salted peanuts

Next time: More dressing, but a little less vinegar and perhaps a touch of sugar.

Apples, Honey, and Nazar Boncuklar.   Our Ducks are all in a row for the new year.

Everyone left with charms for their napkins.  (Huh?) The idea is to have guests put an identifying charm on their cloth napkins.  Selim put the charms on evil-eye/nazarlik pins.  The nazarlik magnetically attracts the soup to your napkin, keeping it off your white shirt.   

 Noni and Marco

Rumeli, Heather, and Annie
Annie's Smiles!

 Steve and Paola
Mikej and Alanya

Smiles, Rumeli, Danny and Heather

Birthday girl and Nephew (1st cousin twice removed?)  Marco
SELIM in Baseball Cap

Meanwhile, OUTSIDE on the porches..
Rumeli, Dreese and Marco

THE ROCKET SHIP... Naveed and Marco

The ROCKET with Naveed and Selim


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