Monday, May 05, 2008


My dinners have resumed in Oregon. Jen and I made spaghetti for a few friends.

A few things I love to add to spaghetti sauce:

1. Butter (everything is better with butter!)
2. Fresh olives (not the cheap canned one)
3. Fresh basil and oregano
4. Garden tomatoes (hand-crushed)
5. Balsamic vinegar

And it helps to listen to Miles Davis while cooking

Making Spaghetti using the "massage the tomato" method though some call it a desecration of the tomato, I feel it's the ONLY way to make fresh spaghetti sauce. If your tomatoes aren't ripe enough to smush, then maybe you ought to make some alfredo. Video requires you to turn your laptop on its side or krink your neck- sorry!

Speaking of upside down things (like my upside down video). . .

For dessert, I made a pineapple upside down cake and I made it all wrong, more like a Pineapple Inside Out Cake, but it was still pretty tasty. I also subbed the white sugar with raw sugar. I liked this recipe, it smelled and tasted like dutch oven cobbler.

I put the pineapples on the top accidently, then threw on the runny brown sugar, butter sauce over the top and realized the pineapples were supposed to be on the BOTTOM- whoops! To get it upside down your supposed to flip it AFTER you cook it.

Trying to remedy my mistake, I found another baking pan and flipped the cake upside down while still in the batter phase. My friend Todd called it a "Pineapple inside-out Cake." But I liked the effect of flipping it. What happened was that goey sweet carmel stuff ran not just on one side of the cake, but on the edges too, which made it even yummier.

I didn't cook it in a skillet as the recipe asked. Here's what it looked like. Not pretty, really, but tasty.

The pineapple was upside down twice.
First off, I bought the pineapple in Ashland at Harry and Davids. It was a wonderful juicy thing.

Fruit Tip:The guy in the produce told me to cut off the stems the day before I served it and turn it upside down in my fridge, that way all the fruit sugar would run down through the pineapple.

I used this recipe from Gourmet, Feb 2000

For topping
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake
Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping:
Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make batter:
Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

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