Monday, July 26, 2010

Out of Practice

I had a friend and his nephew over for dinner.  And I'm in about as good a shape at cooking meat as the Tin Man after a salt-water bath.  It was a great concept, pork loin stuffed with onions and apricots, topped with a mustard pan sauce.  I won't even bother to put the recipe down, because it turned out terrible.  Well, actually the sauce and the stuffing were pretty good.  But the pork was really really tough.  I think I mis-handled the braising.  However, I did have oven roasted potatoes with homemade aoli and a very good strawberry pudding cake to make up for the mediocre pork.

The farmer's market is one of my vices.  Now, you would think that a market with fresh fruits and vegetables would be the exact opposite of a vice.  But I tend to impulse buy.  And currently the impulse is strawberries.  Well, actually it is any type of berry.  Which is fine, as long as I practice moderation and only buy 1 container.  But of course I didn't, each booth seemed to have better and better strawberries......  So 4 cartons of strawberries later I can't figure out what to do with them.  Thus the pudding cake described below.  One of the cartons was a little bruised and didn't look very good, so this was the perfect solution to use them.

Strawberry Pudding Cake
(adapted from Rhubarb Strawberry Pudding Cake on Epicurious)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Butter an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.  Stir together water, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in strawberries.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.  Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.  Reserve 1/2 cup fruit mixture, then add remainder to baking dish and pour batter over it, spreading evenly. Drizzle reserved 1/2 cup fruit mixture over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes before serving.

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