German chocolate madness

My dad turned 75 this year, and he specifically requested a German chocolate cake to celebrate. I kinda ho-hummed at the thought, but of course I was game to make my dad a special organic treat from scratch, even though I didn’t care for it myself… or so I thought.

Turns out I only hate crappy fake-ass German chocolate cake. The thing that really grossed me out as a kid was the frosting, but I think I had only ever tried the hydrogenated-tastic Betty Crocker type before. REAL German chocolate cake is essentially frosted with a mixture of homemade caramel, toasted pecans and toasted coconut — and it is AMAZING.

I found this recipe online which was clearly written by a German woman, as evidenced by some of her adorable grammar quirks. But another quirk was that she didn’t lay out all the steps ahead of time like most American recipes do — things like greasing the pans, preheating the ovens, and roasting the pecans were all interspersed with the other information. So it took a good couple reads to get organized.

Plus, as always, I added some of my own twists. Amongst other alterations, I used chocolate ganache to stick between the three layers, since I needed some anyway for the decoration. And I think it helped glue it all together better, plus it added an extra kick. And I toasted the coconut and pecans more exactly than the recipe called for, just to bring out their flavor.

And it was EXCELLENT. Man, am I excited to have a new cake recipe to enjoy! It’s not a *pretty* cake, by any means, but what it lacks in glamor, it makes up for in flavor.

Orange Chocolate Mousse…

With orange bourbon vanilla whipped cream, garnished with orange zest and shaved bittersweet chocolate.

This is what follows the awesome meal I cooked for Grant’s folks, which also includes:

  • Goat cheese wrapped in black sesame seeds, to nibble while I finish cooking
  • Organic spring green salad with raspberry cumin poppyseed Dijon vinaigrette and toasted almonds
  • Organic pork chops with balsamic-roasted pears
  • Roasted garlic tarragon mashed potatoes
  • Steamed broccoli (hey, something’s gotta be simple!)
  • A nice 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Man, I love a good excuse to cook!

Touchdown Colts!!!!

The Colts are going to the SuperBowl! The Colts are going to the SuperBowl! One exclamation point in the title for each touchdown they scored against the Patriots.

It’s funny, I’ve always *wanted* to give a damn about the SuperBowl, because it seems like a fun thing to get all riled up and rowdy about, but I’ve just never really felt it before. I never really understood football, or had a team I was rooting for, and when I was a kid I remember the Seahaws being a really crappy team so even though that has changed since then, I still can’t get over that first impression and root for my local team by defaut. So I’ve always been apathetic about the football.

But now, with a boyfriend from back east who was a fan of the Colts back when they were a Baltimore team, I’ve been getting football lessons and have developed something of a team spirit for the Colts. Peyton Manning rules. Addai Is Awesome. Go Reggie Wayne. I like those guys. But more than anything, I like an excuse to get all hardcore about sports – I sometimes feel like a fraud, since I rarely grasp what’s actually happening during any given play, but I still manage to cheer “touchdown” at appropriate times.

And the confections; oh, the confections. I made cupcakes with little Colts horseshoes on them for a previous game, complete with white nails on the blue frosted shoes. It’s time to step it up a notch. This is, after all, the SuperBowl. So I’ve been racking my brain about how to make fabulous, Colts-themed snacks. I have a few ideas, but I wouldn’t turn up my nose at more assistance. So if anyone out there has amazing SuperBowl-appropriate food ideas that can be made either blue and white or horseshoe-themed, bring ’em on! GO COLTS!!!!

The true mark of age

So I just heard a strange, music-like noise in the background as I was half-watching the Simpsons, half-reading the mail. It sounded like someone else’s cell phone ringing in another room, but I’m home alone so it couldn’t be. And then I realized – it’s the ICE CREAM TRUCK!!! For a minute I had this giddy childish excitement and I poked my head out to look, and I even considered buying something for a brief second, but I promptly realized it would “spoil my appetite for dinner”.

Yep, I’m a Quarter of a Century Old now, all right.