My amusing commentary switch is still off, but I'm cooking like a maniac in the meantime. I hope it comes back soon--I'm finding myself boring. Still, at least we're well fed. Fat and boring. Oh dear.
Company dinner from last weekend: STEAK AND CAKE (Why not stake and ceak? English is so random.)
To start, my friend Keri called to say we should have dinner this weekend, at my house, kids included. They would bring something, only they had soccer/horse shows/etc all day, so nothing complicated, EVEN THOUGH her husband is justifiably renowned as an incredible cook.
Well we had a comparatively simple weekend of just soccer and a little canvassing to pass the local school tax, so I said yes, absolutely you must come. I will cook something. All I ask is that you make a fuss over my garden, which is kicking ASS right now. Ask Ruby what I should make for dessert (Ruby is 5). Ruby's reply was unequivocal: Chocolate Cake.
Huh, I was thinking strawberry rhubarb pie, but ok, Chocolate cake. I told Keri to just bring lots of red wine, for the steak. We would have Steak and Cake--isn't there a chain of restaruants in the South called Steak-n-cake?
The menu was as follows:
Olives, Cheese, crackers and white wine. ( Ruby kept biting the crackers, trying to make her tooth come loose. It remains stubbornly embedded.) Steak, rubbed with garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, grilled medium rare-rare. French bread, and shaved asparagus salad. Triple chocolate cake.
Besides the cake, the salad was the best part: Here's what you do:
Use a vegetable peeler to shave large asparagus spears into a bowl. You may have to julienne the last bit with a sharp knife. There is probably a gadget to do this more easily, but I don't have it. As long as you're not in a hurry, it's easy enough with a peeler.
Make a vinaigrette: 3 cloves mashed or minced garlic, salt, pepper, juice of two lemons and the zest of one lemon, 1/4th teaspoon mustard and olive oil.
Toss the shredded asparagus in the vinaigrette and let it marinate for an hour or two before you serve it.
Finish with curls of hard salty cheese--manchego, parm, whatever. And a few leaves of baby arugula--which I have growing in abundance in my garden. I could eat this 3x/day. It's my new favorite food group.
As to the cake: It's the Triple chocolate cake from Sky High--my new favorite sweets cookbook. I got rid of the incredibly huge and annoying Cake Bible by the excessively exacting Rose Levy Birenbaum, because I like Sky High (by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne) so much better. My father-in-law Mike gave it to me. It is so good I am not going to give you the recipe. You should go buy the book because those authors deserve their royalty checks. I also bought really good cake pans, which make a huge difference in the layers rising evenly and popping out easily.
I have a very early memory of my mother cussing up a storm as the cake layers broke and crumbled. We always had to fill the holes with lots of extra frosting.