Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Quinoa Cake, Carnivorous Again, and a Blogiversary"

Is it a tacky internet faux pas to have multiple sappy posts in a row? 
Yes? Well... ugh... I'll be fast!

Today (October the 5th) is my blogaversay! My blogirthday! The Full Woman (previously Vanilla Black Cherry) turns one year old today (another Libra in the family! woop!) and looking back at my first few posts I'm so proud to see how far I've come and how much my photography has improved (woo for stuff on tastespotting!).

I bought myself a giant cast iron skillet as a blogirthday-versary present. In a way it's kind of a challenge for my savory side. In the past year I've learned pretty well how to bake ( I even made up with cake!) but I'm still pretty limited when it comes to dinner time. And by "limited" I mean terrible. Like "God is it supposed to smell like that?!" kind of terrible. The current theory is that  because I don't love on raw meat like I do butter and sugar the end product isn't as good, but mostly I think it has to do with being inexperienced and (pun, pun) chicken.

However, WE WILL BEAT THIS! I am determined to improve on my savory cooking by my next blogaversary. AS GOD IS MY WITNESS I'LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN!

As a start I tried out this recipe for Rosemary Skillet chicken ( to break in my lovely cast iron). I tried to picture myself as Nigella Lawson, completely unconcerned with the idea of meat having any kind of germs, lovingly massaging oils and herbs into the skin with carefree bare hands. But I still wasn't quite getting it, and I was kinda sorta still making the church lady face.

I think the visualization did actually help a little the end product turned much out better than usual (actually edible! what?!) the cooking process though, still came with my usual brand of savory food hijinks, (mysterious funk anyone?) which could have been avoided if I'd bothered to use my brain.

Pro tip, if you ever roast stuff with rosemary, use some common sense and nestle those pretty sprigs down there in the juices. Don't sit them on top and let them burn up/ make your house smell like a Pine Sol breathing dragon just crashed though. Don't be like me (your boyfriend will thank you).

Baby steps, baby steps.

Anyway, on a positive note, I also baked my little blog a blogirthday cake (that didn't smell like dragons), and not just your average regular old blogirthday cake. A crazy quinoa upside down cake! 

Quinoa! Upside Down!

What's the point of a quinoa cake you ask?  Where's your sense of whimsy!?  Honestly, I'm thinking from  just a few indicators (applesauce, whole wheat pastry flour) that this was intended to be sort of a novelty-wheat grass-Birkenstock type of baked good, but once I got a hold of it... it sort of wasn't anymore. There seemed to be delicious amounts of brown sugar and butter in there that weren't around before. So, that healthy idea? We're not talking about that.

Other subjects we won't be discussing :
1)  Funky asymmetrical apple patterns in the center of cakes 
2)  Shouting "KEEEN-WAH!" while you're baking (that's between you and your oven)
3)  Eating an entire cake by yourself in a single afternoon (that's between you and your zumba teacher)

Happy Blogerthday- versary Blog!  
Enjoy the cake(I left you some crumbs)! 
And I promise that once I figure it out, I'll cook you a night fancy dinner too. One day...

You can find the Skillet Rosemary Chicken recipe I used here

Quinoa Apple Upside Down Cake
Original Recipe Here

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1-2 Golden Delicious apples (depending on size. I used only one because it was HUGE) -peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 cup cooked white quinoa
2 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain, low fat yogurt
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or regular cake flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375° and line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, blend the butter with the brown sugar and salt. Spread the mixture evenly in the lined cake pan. Arrange the apples wedges in the pan in 2 concentric circles. Place cake pan in oven and bake the topping for 20 minutes (watch closely to make sure it doesn't burn). Remove from oven when the apples look lightly golden (we're going for a halfway roast here) and let cool slightly while you get the cake batter together.

To make cake:
 In a food processor, process cooked quinoa, egg yolks, sugar, yogurt, apple sauce, and vanilla until very smooth. About 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add quinoa mixture to flour mixture and stir until no flour streaks remain. With a spatula, gently fold egg whites into quinoa batter until just incorporated. Gently spoon batter over the baked apple layer in the cake pan.

Bake in centre of oven for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan, for about 10 minutes, before running a thin knife around edges and inverting cake onto a plate. 

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