dude fude, food, mommies, recipes, Uncategorized

The Big Cake

Tiara Cake

I like to use birthdays as an excuse to make a new cake. Or make an tried and true cake that challenges my decorating abilities. Thus, the Tiara Cake came to be. It’s in honor of M’s 5th birthday, which is today.

Having a child turn 5 is one of those milestones, where you say to yourself, “Five years have already passed! I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years.”  And 5 is big, because your child is playing iphone games, has decided to be an astronaut, and uses the word awesome. You may have even seen a glimpse of the teenage years to come and the accompanying fashion and attitude, and yet, you still have a little girl who likes her princesses.

And so, in honor of the occasion (and for the party), we decided that the cake would not be shaped like a tiara itself but have a tiara (image) on it. (I wasn’t about to start drawing Ariel herself, in frosting). A tiara, which M will likely be wearing today, seems a solid symbol of both princesshood and birthdayness, and it’s not too complicated to represent in sugar products. It had to pink, of course, although I started out thinking it would be silver, only to find that frosting doesn’t come in silver, not at any local store anyway. M had also requested that I write, I love you and put some hearts on the cake.

For her party, we are also having a pinata, which has all six princesses (I guess Repunzel hasn’t made it into the hallowed center six for good yet) hanging out at their castle. I am expecting that by next year the princess interest will have waned, and we’ll be onto something else. I think we’ll be ready.

The cake is devil’s food cake with white chocolate chunks (again, for surprise) and a cream cheese lemon frosting.

The frosting is easy and reliable and delicious:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened

8 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 pieces, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

I mix up the first two in the kitchen aid, add the second two, sift in the sugar. Mix but not too much. And it keeps in the fridge for week.

I’ll post the cake recipe if it turns out to be very delicious. Now, I’m just hoping my fairy godmother prevents it from raining…

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dude fude, food, Uncategorized

dude fude-French green beans and shallots

Since I just wrote the blog post that cannot yet be published, I thought I’d share, instead, an excellent and easy way to prepare veggies, although I mostly do it with French green beans, broccoli, or asparagus.

Shallots are small onions that carmelize easily and delisiously.

Slice several shallots.  Cut up veggies in the size you want.  I usually cut the ends off the beans and cut them once or twice.

Put olive oil (or butter) in a 12 inch skillet (and let me just confess now, that once I got the 12 incher, I stopped using the 10 or 8, even to cook small things.  12 is my go to skillet.)

Throw in shallots, medium heat, let them cook until they are brown.  Put in vegetables and cook until it tastes good and they get very green.  Add salt.

The crazy thing is, the next day, there are good to the third power–like candy–and never enough left over.

food, Uncategorized

Dude Fude-Lentil Soup

When I finally purchased my iphone, I felt, and I say this without irony, that I had acquired a new best friend.  And while that may reflect a bit (just a bit) on my current life situation, I think many of us have a long history of deep love and admiration for our tools.  Good design cannot be underrated in its affect on quality of life.  I touch, countless times, that little iphone and enjoy in the doing the task much more than I might.

All this is to say that the immersion blender makes the lentil soup and most soups for that matter.  Ah, and the joy of the blend…

However, needing or having to buy an immersion blender flies in the face of the concept for Dude Fude and the ease of making. I assume most people do not, and should not,  have this tool.

AND you can wait for your lentil soup to cool and dump it into your regular blender (in stages) or you can eat lentil soup unblended, in which case chop everything very small.

In any case, Lentil soup is easy and delicious.  I do these steps fairly casually with imperfect measurements and it always works.

In a big pot, saute 1 large onion with chopped fresh parsley and thyme (or dried if you don’t have fresh) in olive oil or butter.

After about 7 minutes (stirring occasionally), add 1 or 2 chopped carrot (s) and 1 chopped stalk of celery (chop finely if you won’t be blending), and 3 cloves of garlic.

Add 15 oz (1 can of diced tomatoes)

Cook for another 5 or so minutes, scrap up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan

Add 5 cups of water  (or chicken broth) and 1 1/2 cups of French (smaller and browner) lentils (wash and check for stones), 1 teaspoon of salt, a couple of bay leaves if you have them.

Cover partially and let cook for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are cooked.

If you’ve got the immersion blender, you can just put that in the hot soup blend (if you are using your regular blender, you’ll need to let the soup cool.  I let mine cool, only barely, but hot soup can jump up, so be careful.

Then add more salt to taste and pepper.  You can add a 1 tablespoon of sherry (or red wine) vinegar  and 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard for kick (although often I leave this last step out.

I freeze what I don’t eat in small batches, because it reheats beautifully.

Enjoy!

food, Uncategorized

dude fude-the stir fry

dinner

You eat more stir fry, straight from the pan, standing up in the kitchen when you’re meant to be cleaning up.

Your daughter kisses your arm after getting up from the table.

She asks for more vegetables and eats two helpings of pasta.

She sucks at the little florets of oily, seasoned broccoli and picks out the onions to eat, when only last night she told you, she didn’t like onions.

You both eat in concentrated silence.

You grate just a little bit of parmesain on the pasta parts of both plates.

Your daughter claims she doesn’t want to eat dinner, but pulls up a chair anyway.

You put two plates down on the table, each filled; half with the freshest, most delicious stir fry and half with perfectly salted pasta.

You turn off the fan and leave the kitchen.

***

Boil water. Salt it more than you think you should.  Then add even more salt.  Cook pasta.

See what’s in your CSA box.  Today in mine:  onions, red peppers, zuccini, baby brocolli, garlic.  Herbs from my garden (basil, thyme, greek oregano).  Chop everything.

Put olive oil in a pan.  Add garlic and spices with a little salt and pepper.

Cook onions

Add peppers

Add zucchini and broccoli

Cook until everything is almost done.

Add more garlic and some of that extra salty reserved pasta water until your stir fry is perfect (like mine was tonight) or even if it’s just pretty good, it will still be delicious.  The pasta too. It will remind you to always salt your noodles.

food

Yep, that name’s taken…

Dude Food came to me in a moment, as many ideas often come. So obvious, yet so perfect.  Of course, a quick google search indicated there’s a cookbook with that name; and Food Dude looks like a radio show, blog, industry, etc.  

So, welcome to Dude Fude: a subblog (sublog?); a small but manageable number of recipes for people overwhelmed by cooking, finding and deciphering recipes, deciding just what the heck to cook, and in general, getting started with the whole thing.  I can help.  I might not have mentioned that along with my myriad other talents, I’m an excellent cook, and I say it–eyes lids lowered.

Laws of Dude Fude.

1.  The food will taste awesome.

2.  There will not be too many ingredients and they will not be too weird.

3.  I will tell you what are the crucial parts are.  Do that, and the rest will follow.

4.  There will not be too many recipes, thereby making it too difficult to decide what to make, resulting in food made from boxes.

5.  The food will seem dudish, meaning, it will make sense when you eat it; there will be balance and order, and all will be well.

First recipe coming soon.

Uncategorized

Yes, it’s bitter

At some point, I was going to have to voice my objection to the state of espresso in this country.  And it was the advent of a really good cup of coffee that finally prompted me.

So,  It’s bad.  It’s bitter.  You’re not supposed to have to dump sugar in coffee to make it palatable.  I’ve even tried some of the best SF places (to remain unnamed) and one tiny sip is all it takes for disappointment and resignation to set in.  Followed by enough sugar to counteract the bitterness.  I’ve sometimes wondered if the white sugar multi-nationals are plotting some world wide conspiracy to addict the world’s population and ultimately bend them to their sugary will.  But I digress.  People have written at length about the state of bad coffee, they’ve imported complicated and expensive systems from Italy, but I just decided to give it up.

But this morning, I found myself at a Starbucks in Seattle of all places (at 185th and Aurora, of all places) and instead of my usual tea, or chai tea latte, I thought, what the heck and ordered an Americano.  It took me a minute to articulate just how small a cup I wanted.

Me:  I’ll have a small.

Barista (pointing):  That’s tall.

Me:  Don’t you have a really, really small, child’s size cup?

Barista (digging deep under the counter):  Oh, you mean short.

Right short.  I mean six and maybe eight ounces.  And it was delicious.  Not bitter.  So, I just want to shout out to my new friends at Starbucks for doing it right and especially those Northern Seattle baristas.  You girls have got to go national.