The room temperature cake tasted surprisingly like the inexpensive, yet delicious, Cristalino Brut Cava. This Spanish sparkling wine is actually a really great match for many different food types. (I once memorably served it with a Portuguese fish stew.) It has aggressive bubbles, and a semi-sweet flavor that believe it or not actually makes a simple butter cake recipe taste beautifully like champagne.
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 c. granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c. champagne or sparking wine
- 1 1/2 c. plus 3/8 c. (6 T.) AP flour
- 1 1/8 t. baking powder
- 1 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. salt
In a medium sized bowl, sift (or stir) together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter together with sugar until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating a full minutes after each. Beat in vanilla.
Add flour alternately with champagne (or sparkling wine). (Add flour in three additions and the wine in two, beginning and ending with the flour.) Mix until well incorporated, but do not over mix.
Portion batter into 18 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.
Cool completely before topping with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. (recipe follows)
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Epicurious)
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
- grated peel of 1 orange (preferably organic, about 2 t.)
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 - 3 c. powdered sugar
- 1/3 c. sour cream, cold from fridge
My Bread for yourself!
Gumbo (adapted from Paula Deen, via Food Network)
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 12 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices on the bias
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 1/4 c. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 smallish bunch of parsley (flat leaf)
- 1 c. shrimp stock (could use chicken or beef stock to equal the 4 cups of liquid, we agreed that 4 cups of the shrimp stock may have been too "shrimpy".)
- 3 c. water
- 14 oz. "stewed tomatoes" (1 can, or equivalent home-canned)
- 2 cups frozen, sliced okra
- 4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
- 1/2 pound small shrimp (25-30 size), peeled and deveined
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a non-reactive (enameled) dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool slightly.
Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste and 1/4 bunch chopped parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Add 4 cups liquid (shrimp stock/water or other stock), whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions and shrimp. Cover and cook until shrimp is opaque and cooked through about 3 minutes. Add additional chopped parsley, and serve over rice.
The days seem immediately to lengthen, and the circle of seasons and life continue on. Being the homebody I am, I wonder what I can get myself into for the next few months before all I want to do is be outside, and I have a few ideas. If you have any suggestions, send them my way. Meanwhile, I'm off to read about sprouting grains...