|Now that's a workhorse cookbook.|
Yesterday, I pulled out my copy of San Francisco a La Carte to make yet another batch of Nanaimo bars (I will link to the story when it runs, which will probably not happen until I write it) and the book almost fell apart in my hands.
Way back in 1979 my mother gave me a copy of San Francisco A La Carte and she inscribed it, as she inscribed all the cookbooks she gave me. One day I will write about those books, but not today. This post already rambles enough, as you will see.
|Can you read that?|
But here's a sad/sweet/strange little story. When I was 42 and sitting at my desk one August afternoon, decades after I had last called my mother "Mommy," the phone rang. It was my mother, weeping, phoning from a doctor's office, and she said, "Jen, I have a tumor." And I cried out, "Mommy!"
That was definitely the last time.
I cooked compulsively from San Francisco A La Carte when I was 13, 14, 15. Do you think maybe I was a nerd? I just counted: I made 82 recipes from the book, including the cold peach soup and the molded cucumber mousse, and I know this because, as I've mentioned before, I write in cookbooks. My copy of San Francisco a la Carte contains 82 stilted and sometimes funny notations. Unintentionally funny.
|No, rancid butter is never a good idea.|
|And I thought I was such a good speller.|
Isabel asked me why I would ever make a cake that I had once deemed "average." I told her I didn't know anything about carrot cake when I was 13, which clearly I didn't.
My one carrot cake wish is that it would look as odd, orange, and wonderful after it is baked as it does before.
The recipe is at the end of the post. It's really good and really easy.
Our love for The Homesick Texan continues to grow. No pictures because I've given up flash photos after dark as the results are always dismal. New Year's night I made Lisa Fain's barbecued brisket (slab of beef robustly seasoned, tightly wrapped in foil, baked for 6 hours) which I served with her coffee-chipotle barbecue sauce (recipe here) and terrific string beans with cilantro pesto (recipe here.) I couldn't have been happier.
No, I could have been happier. The next night I made her Frito pie and I was happier. Do you all know about Frito pie? Chili poured over Fritos. I didn't grow up with this, but have eaten it on a handful of occasions, including straight out of a cut-open Frito bag. You need to make Fain's Frito pie. A non-pharmacological mood enhancer for glum January. Forget the diet, and while you're forgetting, try Fain's Dr. Pepper ribs. I'd give them 45 extra minutes in the oven to ensure melting tenderness. Recipe is here. With the ribs I served Fain's cornbread, which is of the unsweetened Southern variety. This upset Owen, but no one else. I've never used bacon fat in cornbread before and highly recommend it as the crust positively crackled.
Yes, I have willfully forgotten the diet. I have not even told you about the nightly milk punch experiments. Milk punch = warm, alcoholic milkshake. But the new year doesn't really start for a parent until the kids go back to school and that is next week.
I changed this only slightly, reducing the cinnamon, omitting lemon extract from the icing, and using parchment in the pans.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
heaping 4 cups grated raw carrots (9-10)
8 ounces softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
2. Whisk together the the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs until frothy in another bowl, then beat in the oil. Add the dry ingredients and stir well. Stir in the carrots. Pour into the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean. Cool completely and turn out on to a cake rack.
3. Put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and beat until thoroughly creamy and smooth. It's very easy to under-do this and end up with lumps of cream cheese, so beat hard and long.
4. Ice the cake, using just a little frosting between the layers. Frost the top and sides. I thought this might not be enough icing, but it is. I think as a culture we sometimes overfrost cakes. Serves 12-16.