Saturday, December 02, 2006

A taste of summer amidst the snow

A week ago today, I was perched on the back of a motorcycle speeding along Lake Shore Drive. The wind was whipping through my hair, there were sailboats on the lake, I was not wearing a coat. Today I have icicles hanging from my windows. I am still trying to figure out what we did to piss off Mother Nature. Must have been something pretty bad for this kind of about face.

Ironically, my local fruit and vegetable market (Stanley's) seems to think it is still summer. Blackberries were 98cents a pack. Big, plump, juicy blackberries. Ok, so they are a tad on the tart side. It is to be expected. What is the problem with that? Nothing, I say. They sat there taunting me.

"Shannon, come eat us."

"No!" I say, "I am saving you for something special."

"Oh really" They lift their little blackberry eyebrows in disbelief. "I heard you said that about the acorn squash you bought and we all know he ended up a shrively mess in the bottom of your garbage can."

"Well...I got busy. I don't always have time to cook." (Ok, really, I meant to cook him, I just kept finding other must-make recipes that he could have no part in.)

I decided to prove them wrong. I would cook them up. They would not go to waste. I trolled the Internet. What should I make? What recipe could withstand GF modifications, yet still be worthy of these delightful berries? Epicurious is such a great site. There were so many options. Cakes, pies, buckle, sauces for meats of all kinds. I decided it should be simple. I was going out to eat so I did not want to make a meal. (We went to The Cheesecake Factory where we had a waiter who was very helpful. This was really the first time I had gone out to eat with friends since diagnosis. He made the experience as low stress as possible. Sadly, no cheesecake could be eaten.) Anyhow, I picked my recipe. Partly the choice was made due to the fact that I had all ingredients on hand. I also chose it because it was straight forward and not fussy. I wanted to highlight the berries. I used my Pamela's Mix (love it!) and got the whole thing together in about 10 minutes. I did not have an 8 inch round pan. I had to use my 9 inch, but it still turned out just fine, if a bit shallower than usual. The result was an oh-so-moist, slightly sweet cake. Delicious!

2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (12 oz)
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line bottom of a buttered 8- by 2-inch round cake pan with 2 rounds of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Dust pan with some flour, knocking out excess.
Arrange blackberries in 1 layer in cake pan. Sprinkle berries with 11/2 tablespoons sugar and shake pan to help distribute sugar.
Beat together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Alternately add baking mix and buttermilk in 3 batches, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.
Spoon batter evenly over berries, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until top is golden and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes (mine took 45 min).
Run a thin knife around edge of pan, then invert a large plate over pan and, using pot holders to hold plate and pan together tightly, flip cake onto plate. Peel off parchment and serve cake with ice cream.

I did not have any buttermilk so I improvised by mixing 1 cup milk and 1 T apple cider vinegar (let it stand for 10 minutes to thicken) and measuring out 1/2 cup. (anyone who wants this recipe in the non-GF version can click on the title of the recipe.)

I ate a piece (or three) yesterday and had a bit more for breakfast this morning. This cake will not last the weekend. It was still amazingly moist this morning. I skipped the ice cream and ate it plain. Quite good as is.

Today I am being lazy and have been online shopping. I may need to run to the grocery store to pick up some more cornmeal, but that is it. The Gluten Free Pantry and Kinnikinnick websites have sucked up enough of my money this afternoon, thankyouverymuch! I will have quite the stash heading my way. Tons of different baking mixes to try, pretzels, snack bars...yum.

Now I think I am going to try out that box of GF mac n cheese I have sitting in the cupboard. I have to admit to loving Kraft Mac n Cheese. Gross and over-processed as it is, it is comfort food. Well, it was comfort food.


Sheri said...

I am not diagnosed CD but am waiting for my test results back from Enterolab. I am GF and slightly southwest of Joliet.

I have red pears and apples mocking me from the counter as I type. The plan is there. The motivation is not.

Lynn Barry said...

I agree with you that I spent enough money on GF products over the past two years and I am hellbent on making my own baked goods now. GOOD FOR US!

ByTheBay said...

Holy crap Shannon, that is spectacular! I will definitely include this recipe in my weekly GF recipe roundup this week.

Shannon said...

Sheri- Good luck with the motivation. I know how it feels to want to cook, but not have the drive (that is me right now.)

Lynn- They're enroute!!! I am going to be checking the UPS and DHL tracking sites obsessivly.

Bythebay- Cool! Thanks!