Wednesday, September 19, 2007

nothing to add

Nothing really to add today. Last night I just QAFfed, pet-sat (they're sweeties!) and did some chillaxin'. And, today I realized that I have to be downtown for the next two days for training (as part of my illustrious "career development"). Normally I'd be excited to be out of the office, but my supervisor is also going, and she's...a challenge. She means well, but still. Woah. But, that said, I probably won't have time to blog. So, try not to miss me too much! I will be thinking of you all while I'm brushing up on my (already exemplary) Excel skills. I do love a spreadsheet.

While I'm pet-sitting I won't be able to meet Kramer for our morning nature walks. Bummer. But, I did walk to work today (from Ellsworth and Spahr-ish to CMU), and that was nice. Especially 'cause I stopped for a latte and a bagel along the way--which probably didn't help to maximize the workout. But, on the up side, I weighed myself on the pet-sit house's scale, and I miraculously lost five pounds. Some may say that her scale's probably off, but just let me enjoy it for time being, k?

It's veggie day! That always makes me happy. And, there's apple cider, harbinger of autumn. Dig.

I haven't made this cake, but it's been all the rage on Alison Bechdel's blog for a while, so I just might give it a try soon. It sounds bomb!

The Maoist Orange Cake Recipe
(Courtesy of LondonBoy)

This works by starting with a simple cake, already moist because of the almonds instead of flour, and then makes it moister by adding moisture (in the form of a fruit syrup) after cooking. The one drawback is that you have to make it the day before you want it.

Cake Ingredients

1.5 oz breadcrumbs (a bit stale is good, or dry the bread slightly)

3.5 oz ground almonds

7 oz caster sugar

1.5 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

7 fl oz sunflower oil (or, if you’re rich, 1 fl oz almond oil and 6 fl oz sunflower oil)

Zest of 1 large orange

Zest of 0.5 standard/large lemon

Syrup Ingredients

Juice of 1 large orange

Juice of 0.5 standard/large lemon

3 oz caster sugar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick (optionally, 1-2 stars of star anise, if you like the taste, and a dash of orangeflower water)


First, invoke the goddess Rotunda, because she’ll surely be visiting you soon.

Mix the dry ingredients, beat in the oil and eggs, and then add the zest. Put the batter in a pre-oiled 8 inch cake tin. Put into a cold oven (not preheated) and turn the heat to 375 degrees, baking for about 45 minutes. Use a cake skewer to test that it’s done - if it’s not , it soon will be. Leave it in the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn it onto a high-rimmed plate (you’ll see why when you do this!). About 10 minutes before you take the cake out of the oven, mix the fruit syrup ingredients in a large saucepan (except the orangeflower water), and melt them together over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then allow to cool a little, while you test the cake and put it on the plate. If you’re adding orangeflower water to the syrup, do it now. Use a skewer to make holes in the cake, and, while cake and syrup are still warm, pour the syrup over and into the cake, aiming for the holes so the syrup permeates the cake. (Leave the cinnamon stick etc in the pan, of course.) As the cake cools it will start to leak a bit: baste it, so as much of the syrup is soaked up as possible. This can take ages, and you might be left with some syrup that just doesn’t get soaked up. Eat that, or add it to fruit salad. Finally, put foil over the top of the cake, and leave it in the fridge overnight, to let the flavours settle. It keeps well, too (provided you put it at the very back of the fridge behind an uninteresting salad and don’t let your boy/girlfriend see it). Serve still slightly cold, sprinkled with a little icing sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is caster sugar the same as granulated sugar?

A quick Google for caster sugar provided: "Also called superfine sugar. It is pulverized granulated sugar. It can be purchased or prepared at home by whizzing some granulated sugar in the blender."

Could you please translate what "ZEST of 1 large orange" means?

The zest is the outermost part of the peel of a citrus fruit -- just the orange part, not the bitter white pith underneath. You get it off with either a zester, a grater or vegetable peeler, in which case you would then mince it finely for a cake. Try to use an organic orange to avoid nasty chemicals.

Could you convert the recipe to U.S. measurements?

Here is a good Internet source for that:

Is the cake tin round or square? How deep should it be?

The recipe simply says to put the batter in a pre-oiled 8-inch cake tin. It does not mention a specific form of a tin so my guess is this to be a matter of taste.

just got this email (below) from Slow Food Pittsburgh. There are some great resources for local eating:


If you want to eat local, you’ll find plenty of company. Search these databases to locate everything from pastured eggs close to your home, to a beef farmer selling directly to the community, to a variety of farmers who can provide a reliable source of locally grown and often organic vegetables. And see what people in other areas are doing.

The FoodRoutes web site is a fantastic resource for those seeking information on our food system. It offers communications tools, technical support, networking and information resources to organizations and groups nationwide that are working to rebuild local, community-based food systems. Their website has a 'Find Good Food' searchable database powered by FoodRoutes Network has created partnerships with community-based nonprofit organizations across the country involved in nurturing strong regional markets for locally grown foods. Each organization is creating and implementing a "Buy Local" marketing campaign helps bridge gaps between community farmers and consumers.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture works with the farmers that grow our food, the consumers that eat the food, and those concerned with the ecological well-being of our environment and natural resources. PASA educates consumers about about local farms and where they are located. Marketing includes sponsorship of local food events and an online e-newsletter.

Buy Fresh Buy Local is the national initiative by FoodRoutes Network to promote locally grown foods. PASA is a regional partner with Food Routes. The Pennsylvania campaign is part of an even larger, nationwide BFBL initiative organized by FoodRoutes Network.

The web site allows farmer members to create an extensive custom entry including photos of the farm, and allows visitors to sign up for customized updates that are sent whenever a new listing is added or an existing listing is modified within a particular area. They also have a new calendar section and online store. LocalHarvest includes PASA as an option in their registration process so people who want to find PASA members in their area will get a complete list.

Traveling? The Eat Well Guide is the easiest and most comprehensive way to find wholesome, fresh, sustainable food in the U.S. and Canada. Find food in your neighborhood and when you travel that is healthful, raised humanely, better for the environment and that supports family farmers.

The local chapter of Slow Food USA promotes fresh, local and sustainably grown food. Special projects include support of Farmers@Firehouse Market and LapTop Butchershop, a quarterly opportunity for purchasing pastured foods by e-mail. Monthly events promote chefs, restaurants, ethnic diversity and the pleasures of the table.

These locavores (no “L” in the spelling) are a group of concerned culinary adventurers who are making an effort to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. “We recognize that the choices we make about what foods we choose to eat are important politically, environmentally, economically, and healthfully.”

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