Angel food cake

Some things are born of necessity.  Here's how the story goes for me today.
I just happen to have made a lot of ice cream lately.  I make ice cream regularly because it tastes a whole lot better than store bought and it's a lot better for you.  Yeah, I did just say that.  I know exactly what's in it.  AND, once you kinda got the whole custard thing down you can pretty much do anything ice cream related from there very easily.  Thing is though,  ice cream uses a lot of egg yolks.  That leaves me with a lot of egg whites.
Note:  I keep egg whites in the freezer.  I just add the new egg whites to the container for that rainy day when I want to make meringues or who knows what.
Note:  I am slowly whittling down my freezer to make room for the organic lamb that we are going to buy soon from a local farm.
Note:  I need to bake something for the week (we do our best to eat homemade rather than store bought) and in searching out what to make simultaneously decided that it would be cool to get rid of the egg whites container... I'm left with.... Angel food cake.

Please notice the little bite on the left... thanks kid #2!
I have fond memories of this kind of cake.  The packaged stuff that we used to buy when I was a kid.  It had this weird, almost cotton-candy like texture to it.  It was yummy... but weird.  I didn't know at the time that it was low-cal, nor would I have cared... still don't.  Tasting it now brings me right back though.  It's that same weird texture.  It must be the egg whites that gives it that stickyish texture.  Your fingers feel just a little sticky after holding a piece.  I happen to know that because I found myself slicing off a lot of 'little' pieces during the day today.  It's amazing though... you have to be careful though, you could eat a lot of this stuff.  Light and just the right sweetness.  I was using a little hand held mixer to make it and I ran it for a long time to get the egg whites just right.  Longer than I thought I would need to... about 15 minutes I would say.  This is definitely worth another round for me... I would love to use lemon or lime, chocolate.  Think of the possibilities.  Here's to necessity and cleaning out the freezer.

Angel Food Cake adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup cake and pastry flour
1 1/2 cup sugar (divided into 2 bowls, 3/4 cup each)
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 10 lg)
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla

Get a tube pan ready.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, make sure that the rack is in the lower 1/3 of the oven.
Sift together the cake and pastry flour and 3/4 cup of sugar.  Sift the mixture 4 times in total.
Beat egg whites and warm water together using low speed.  Once the mixture gets foamy all through and white, add in the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla.  Continue to beat raising the speed just a little.  When the mixture soft peaks then gradually add in the other 3/4 cups of sugar.  Continue to beat, again raising the speed just a little until the mixture forms stiff peaks but isn't dry yet.

Add the flour/sugar mixture to the egg mixture in 6 separate portions.  Fold gently with either a large whisk or a large rubber spatula with each addition.
Once everything is mixed together, gently pour the batter into the tube pan (I didn't grease it or anything).  Run a knife through the batter once it's in the pan to help eliminate any air bubbles.

Bake for 40 - 45 min.  until golden on the top.
Cool for about an hour without removing from the pan.

Run a knife around the sides, etc. to loosen as much as possible and then remove from the pan and place on a serving dish.

Parsnip Pancakes

I know that I've said it here before but I think that parsnips are weird.

I think that 'Family Day' is awesome.  the only problem that I have with it is that it's in the middle of winter.  However, if we were in California or something it would be totally awesome.  I know that the point of family day is to do something with your family.  To take them somewhere, to go skating, to go to one of the many events scheduled around the city, toboggan, whatever... i'm just not that motivated when it comes to kids and winter right now.  I hate to be the winter downer here.  I'm just tired of it.
What we did for 'Family Day' today went something like this:
a.  Getting up way too early to make breakfast for a very awake kid #2.
b.  Yoga for an hour with kid #1
c.  Make Angel Food cake
d.  Roast squash
e.  Make Squash soup (post soon to come)
f.  Make black bean and squash chili (post coming soon)
g.  Shower
h.  Wrangle kid #1 to get into the shower
i.  Lunch for Kids #1 and #2
j.  Do kid #1's hair (that takes me a while)
k.  Watch 'The Matrix' with kid #1 (her request)....

And so on.... I still haven't eaten lunch and it's 6pm.  Not gonna happen.
I want an away day.  A day when kids go to school and everyone else gets to stay home... what could that day be called though?  Some ideas:
Adult Fun Day (that could get misinterpreted though)
Quiet Day
Free Babysitting Day

Let me know what your ideas are...

In the meantime, at least I know that lunches are covered this week.  I spied this recipe in the latest BBC mag and I loved the idea.  Always, good to try something new with a veg like parsnip (even the name is funny).  The flaves work and if you can serve it with some curried chick peas as the recipe suggested then even better.  Me, I'm servin' it for school lunches this week... ok I gotta go and finish up some laundry.

Parsnip Pancakes  adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine
(makes about 8 or 9 smallish pancakes)

6 oz (2 cups) grated parsnip
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seed (I didn't have any though)
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ginger (grated)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (ideally swap this for chickpea flour)
1 egg
200 ml water

Combine all the ingredients except the egg and the water together in a large bowl.  Stir together until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Add in the egg and half the water.  Mix well.  Add enough more water to get the pancake batter to a consistency that you are happy with.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add about 2 tbsp of oil to the pan.  Place as many pancakes in as you can and cook each side for 4 - 5 minutes or until nicely browned on each side.

Remove from the pan and place on a paper bag to allow any extra grease to absorb.
Serve while nice and crisp.  Or let them cool and serve them for lunches at room temperature.

Soy Sauce braised Cabbage and Sausage

I've been finding myself increasingly disorganised lately.  It's an odd thing.  I compartmentalize my organisation quite successfully... I'm organised at work and in the kitchen and not terribly organised in anything else.  Lately though it just hasn't been working out for me.  I'm distracted, unmotivated and throwing things together at the last minute.
I think that I need more vitamin D in my life... via a trip somewhere warm and sunny for about 21 days... that should do it.
That's not gonna happen right now (our credit card is going to get paid off instead... I'm happy with that) so I think that I'll just have to wait another 4 or 5 weeks for this fuzzy winter brain to disappear in favour of distracted, excited, over-energized brain...
It was just such a winter fuzzy brain situation that I found myself in the other night.  Starring into the fridge and going to my happy place.   I think that I just put my hand to the largest thing in there and as a result hauled out a partially used cabbage.

Now cabbage gets a bad wrap I think.  It's really good for you but everybody thinks that it makes you fart too much... like farting is the worst thing ever!  It's kinda easy to cook with but it looks pretty boring (not as 'I'm-falling-asleep-while-taking-these-pictures' boring soup that I made last week though) so it tends to get over-looked.  So pretty much the only thing that it really has going for it is it's size - unless we're talking about red cabbage... and I'm not, 'cause that's not what I grabbed.  It's a big mother and when kept in your fridge it'll last for a LONG time.  I remember having cabbage rolls occasionally when I was a kid AND I remember my Mom going on the 'Cabbage Soup Diet'.  That was cool.  When the soup was cooking it smelled great, so for the first day or so I wanted to eat the soup too.  By day 5 of the same soup churning out over and over, it smelled disgusting and kinda turned me off cabbage for a while.   Hopefully the cabbage soup diet is long gone because cabbage soup is kinda good and very good for you... but I'm not making that stuff.

This braised cabbage gets to cook nice and long, over low heat with carmelized onions and sausages.  Adding in the soy sauce just brings everything up a notch or two.  Beautiful on it's own or with rice or potato... it's a beautiful thing... who knows, maybe you'll lose some weight if you eat it for a week straight!

Soy Sauce braised Cabbage and Sausage
serves 6

2 cups onion, sliced
1 rib celery, diced
5 - 6 cups cabbage, sliced about 1 inch thick
3 cups sausages, cut into chunks
1 bouillion cube (I used organic low salt chicken), crumbled
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 - 1/3 cup Soy Sauce (I used Tamari)
dash of red wine vinegar (no more than a tsp)
dash of pepper sauce (optional)
a little water (if needed during the cooking)
salt to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Turn the heat down a bit and add in some oil for the vegetables (enough to cover the bottom of the pot with a little extra - think about 3 tbsp or so).  Add in the onions and the celery.  Let that carmelise for about 10 min. over the med/low heat, stir as needed.
Add in the cabbage.  Continue to cook with the onion/celery mixture.  Stir as needed and let the cabbage begin to soften, about another 10 minutes.
Add the bouillion cube, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix in well to the vegetables.
Add in the cubed sausage.
Add in the Soy Sauce, red wine vinegar , pepper sauce and water (if needed to make a little more liquid).
Let everything cook, uncovered for another 45 minutes over low heat.  Stir when needed and if it gets too dry add in a little water.
Serve once most of the liquid has been absorbed or cooked off and the cabbage is soft and nicely browned.
Serve over rice or mash.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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