Speaking of skipping...I can't believe a week has gone by since the last post. When I first started reading blogs, I was always annoyed when a blogger disappeared without any notice. I was all "Come on! Your public awaits and that includes me, so get to it, I have to see what you bought at the thrift shops in Astoria or wherever!" Now, I see it's easy to lose time. Not that I have a public who awaits, BUT there are a few of you out there. :) I'm sorry...I do have a few posts planned for this week and of course want to get over to your blogs and into my email to respond to your comments.
OK...lots to tell, and also a recipe, so here's the long story made short:
- Always a bride, never a bachelorette. Mark still hasn't made the full transition to his new place and I'm getting antsy...sorry babe, but I was looking forward to hosting a Christmas in July bash sooner rather than later.
- These are the latest item in the studio...look for lots made from maps this week.
- Golf courses at midnight. My friend Kelly and I celebrated her birthday and part of it was spent sneaking on a golf course at midnight after a thunderstorm and walking on perfectly soft grass in bare feet. The best reflexology ever and we didn't get arrested! Score! Really, I'll never forget it. Oh, and she also had us walking on a nature trail in the dark carrying sticks of sandalwood incense...heading back to the car and picking up the wisps of sandalwood we'd left behind was fairly incredible.
- The June Food Project was a flop. I didn't plan well and meals went haywire. Try and try again. Though eating local is going great.
- I have no idea what I did to earn the good favor of a vendor at Farmer's Market, but she heaps bags upon bags of produce on me and refuses to take any money. This week she gave me four heads of root-on butter lettuce, three bunches of green onions, three bunches of radishes, kale, beets and cilantro!
- In other news, my father in-law celebrated a birthday and we survived an unusual display of his fury over being seated close to the kitchen of the first restaurant we went to. Notice I said the first restaurant. Yikes! He's never made a scene in public before, so we cut him lots of slack. My brother and nephews are in town, my weight is up and I found some awesome paper to make wallets out of! Whew.
OK. I love the idea of red velvet cake, but not the food coloring....in fact, I've always been appalled by it, especially when it bleeds onto the traditional white frosting. A a few years ago when I was at the White Star Psychic Science Church, Reverend Mary Larson Taylor came in with a pretty heart shaped cake that was chocolate at first look, but kind of maroon at another. She explained it was a beet cake. A natural Red Velvet Cake? Be still my beeting heart. :)
I've been thinking of it for awhile and since I was recently gifted beets, I decided now was my chance. I did some Internet checking to see what recipes were out there because I needed to check my memory against them...Mary had told me, but I wanted to be sure. I found lots, but none seemed right, so improvisation works wonders.
Here we go:
Preheat oven to 325.
- 2 cups pureed beets (cook as you want-either boil, steam, roast or microwave...I peeled and roasted mine in a pan with some water. Or just puree two standard sized cans of beets-I had to use one in combination with my roasted baby beets in the pic above)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks melted butter
- 1.5 cups plus 2 tbsps sifted flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (do not use melted baking chocolate)
- 3 eggs
Combine sugar, eggs, water and cream of tartar...mix until smooth and creamy.
Combine rest of dry ingredients and slowly add them to wet ingredients...I used a food processor and the mix was so velvety smooth and rich that I was almost afraid to add the beets, it already seemed so perfect.
Add your pureed beets.
Notice the pretty maroon shade of the batter.
Remove from oven and cool.
I frosted one layer and gave the other away plain. I was out of cream cheese, so I just used confectioner's sugar, butter and milk. However, you could use any frosting or skip it all together.
If the next picture fails to turn you on, you must be a Taurus, like Mark. Taurus men and women are such sensualists that they think frosting ruins a good cake.
To be fair, the cake, when finished, was brown in natural light and only slightly maroon in bright light...but, let me tell you that this cake was the best cake ever! So moist and rich I almost fell on the floor twice! Plus, it contains almost two pounds of beets and you'd never know it!
It could be tweaked to get the sugar and butter content down and even though I used organic unbleached flour, wheat could work too. Intuition made me go with cocoa powder because it seemed like a better binding agent than melted chocolate, but who knows...just trust me...this was amazing. I wish I had a better picture of the color, but you can see how that little crumb on the top in the frosting is maroon-ish. Though, no one will exclaim over how red it is...which was OK with me.
You could mash your beets with a potato masher if you do not have a food processor, just add a little bit of water.
This cake is so moist that it does have a sticky top, so you could always dust it with confectioner's sugar before frosting if you want a flawless finish...I didn't.
I also wanted to make you all aware of an awesome project...Guerrilla Gardening. It started in the U.K. and is now happening in cities all over the world!
Take back vacant and untended city land and make it beautiful...it's against the law in some areas and this is ridiculous. Imagine having to creep out at midnight and have a lookout while you quickly try to get flowers in the ground in front of a crack house in the hopes you don't get arrested!
OK, most of it isn't that extreme and they've only been hassled by the police once. This is a rather non-serious segment on it, but you get this gist and check out the site if you want to be inspired.