Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pineapple-Ginger Cake, and The Golden Hour

I have recently discovered the beauty of the "Golden Hour", and I must say, it is quite......beautiful!

I see the sun during these times every single day, but for some reason seeing this gorgeous golden tint in a photograph makes me appreciate it much more . I always thought that photographers used special editing software to achieve a beautiful golden hue in their photos, but now I know the secret.

The Golden Hour.

This lovely golden sunlight put me in the best of moods. So good a mood that I actually decided to bake a cake. Yes. BAKE A CAKE. If you hadn't noticed, I have never included many, if not any, dessert recipes in this blog. This is not an accident.

I hate baking. I hate measuring, and with baking I feel like I have to measure everything exactly right, or else the entire dessert will be a catastrophe. But I figured that I needed to have at least one go-to cake recipe, you know?!

This recipe is actually an Olive Oil Cake recipe. I tried it with olive oil, and decided that I'm not too fond of the savory-sweet combination of this type of cake. I'm sorry to all of the Olive Oil Cake lovers out there. Please don't hate me!

So this time, instead of using olive oil, I used coconut oil. Coconut oil is a misunderstood oil. Many people think it is bad for you, but it is actually a great oil to include in your diet, and even in your skincare & haircare routine. So if you ever want to cook with a healthy oil, but you're tired of olive oil....try coconut oil.

I made a strawberry-pineapple-ginger sauce to go with the cake. Delicious!

Pineapple-Ginger Cake

1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot
1 cup pineapple, roughly chopped
a pinch of salt
1 cake pan, loaf pan, baking pan, whatever you have
1/2 tablespoon butter to grease baking pan

Strawberry-Pineapple-Ginger Sauce

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup strawberries, pureed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your baking pan. In one bowl, mix sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, and ginger. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk in the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Add the coconut oil. Fold in pineapple

Add cake batter to the greased pan. Bake in oven for about 1 hour. Serve with Strawberry Sauce and whipped cream.

Strawberry Sauce:

Heat a pan on medium heat. Add honey. Cook honey about 1 minute and add pineapple juice and strawberry puree. Add ginger.

Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lamb and Lentil Stew

Hello everyone, I hope all is well. It's 6 in the morning and I've been up all night. I just cannot sleep for some reason.

So I decided to write.

I feel like everyone should blog. It's a good know what I mean. Even if no one reads your posts.

It's very therapeutic.

I am really loving food photography. Actually, I'm really loving photography. Not just taking pictures of food.

Taking pictures of nature.

I saw the strangest looking bird in my backyard the other day. I tried to take a picture of it, but it saw me getting closer and flew away. I think I need one of those zoom lenses, so I can take pictures of things from far away.

It's really fun learning how to use my new DSLR.

It's also fun going to the farmers market without a grocery list. I did this the other day. I just walked around and looked at what was good. This is rare for me. Usually, I will type up a list in my Blackberry. Then I get to the farmers market before they open, sit in my car and go over my list. I buy everything on my list, and maybe 1 or 2 other things.

But this time, I just went with the flow. I felt like such a grocery-shopping rebel! Going to the store without a list. Yes, I know I'm weird.

I bought some local honey, organic rolled oats (for more granola!), mustard greens, freshly baked pita bread (made at the farmers market), red lentils, and lamb.

And then I went home and made a beautiful lamb and lentil stew, and ate it with the delicious pita bread.

It is a hearty, healthy, and tasty stew that even my 20 year old brother loved....and it was his first time eating lamb. You know how picky young people can be (although I'm not much older!), so I was excited that he tried the stew and enjoyed it. I hope you try.

Lamb and Lentil Stew
serves 4-6

2 pounds of lamb stew meat, with bone or without bone
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
10 allspice
1 tablespoon ginger powder
5 sprigs thyme
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 bunch mustard greens, cleaned and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 Basil leaves and 3 mint leaves, chopped (optional)

Season lamb with pepper and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Marinate overnight, or at least 1 hour.

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add oil. Cook lamb until brown on all sides. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add orange and lemon zest, and thyme. Cook 2 more minutes.

Add remaining curry powder, allspice, ginger powder, salt and pepper, lemon juice, orange juice, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until lamb is very tender.

Add lentils and mustard greens. Cook 20-30 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add herbs is using. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.


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