Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post #12 - Gingerbread yogurt bread

Thinking of cream means one thing leads to another.  Well - I suppose it doesn't have to but it did.  When I play word association football with cream I immediately say "gingerbread".  Can you say gingerbread?  I knew you could.  Well, let me tell you about my little gingerbread experiment.

I searched the cookbooks and didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but in Fannie Farmer I found a sour cream gingerbread recipe I used as my baseline.  I subbed yogurt for sour cream, added some currants as an inspiration via Lafayette's favorite gingerbread cake, and voila, out of the oven came a wonderfully tasty and moist little gingerbread cake.

Recipe, with notes:
1/4 pound butter (I used salted)
1/2 cup sugar (recipe called for a cup, hahaha)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup yogurt
2 eggs
1.5 cups flour (I used .5 cup of cake flour and 1 cup organic whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup currants (would have used raisins if we had them)

Took about a few minutes shy of 40 at 350 degrees to completely bake.  And here it is, with it's lil' buddy sitting right beside it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Post #11 - Why I Love Cream

I just whipped up some heavy cream to put on a slice of rhubarb-strawberry pie.  It only took a few minutes to whip it up using the trusty old hand beater. And boy, was it good.  Just cream, a touch of sugar and a drop of vanilla.  I mixed up only a small amount, so I ended up eating the rest out of the bowl.  Yumm.

That got me started thinking about cream and how it really is almost a super food.  When you eat or drink cream you get full and then you can eat no more.  Isn't it almost impossible to binge on cream?  Personally, it doesn't take a lot to fill me up, and when I am full I am sated.  End of story.

There used to be a Lay's potato chip ad, the tag line was "bet you can't eat just one".  And they are right.  A bag of potato chips is another world of food.  Crispy salty fatty carbs can be almost impossible to stop eating.  I have spent more than one gluttonous occasion with a large bag of Doritos in my lap, stuffing my face until...wait, why is that bag empty? Something drives you on even though you know you should stop.

Can the "French paradox" be the result of eating healthy foods that happen to have healthy fats in them?  Does the fat act as a satiety trigger that shuts down your appetite in a timely fashion, so you won't eat and eat and eat trying to get full?  My little episode with the whipped cream makes me think this just might be so.

And now back to cream...for some reason my Mom never bought cream when I was growing up, so we never had real whipped cream.  We did however use Cool Whip.  The Wikipedia entry for Cool Whip is pretty interesting.  It was created by a food chemist and is "made of water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil (CPKO), sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60 (glycosperse), and beta carotene".  None of those ingredients except for water will be found in your typical non-food engineering chemistry lab kitchen.

Never having had cream as a kid, it always seemed quite exotic to me.  I remember the first time I whipped cream, it was exciting in its way, a bit of a little miracle.  Stirring in air can make a liquid into a semi-solid, not a bad little chemistry experiment.

So boys and girls, throw away the Cool Whip and buy some heavy cream.  In a few minutes you can have the real thing.  It will make you happy and contented.  And you will never go back.  I promise :-).