Saturday, February 25, 2006

Upside-down Butterscotch Apple Sour Cream Cake

Had a large-ish family party last night. I made two desserts among other things. One was a poached pear and caramelized pistachio tart, the other was an upside-down butterscotch apple sour cream cake. Both turned out delicious. The tart had a little trouble holding together though. The Pastry cream wasn't quite thick enough and the crust was a little bit brittle. The upside-down cake turned out just about perfect. It was a lot simpler to make too. It was so easy and delicious I decided to make another one today. The recipe comes from the march 2006 issue of Bon appetit magazine.

Upside-Down Butterscotch Apple Sour Cream Cake


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup bakers sugar (superfine sugar) or regular sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Golden delicious apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped

Butterscotch caramel apples

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup butterscotch morsels
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

For cake

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture, then sour cream. Stir in chopped apple. Set aside while preparing butterscotch caramel apples.

For butterscotch caramel apples

Melt butter in 10 inch diameter nonstick skillet with an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar and butterscotch morsels and stir until melted and smooth and mixture is still bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add slices to skillet and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side (there will be lots of liquid in the skillet. Remove from heat and let cool for 3 minutes. Using tongs arrange apple slices in skillet into concentric circles or other pattern.

carefully spoon cake batter in small dollops atop apples in skillet. Using offset spatula, gently spread batter evenly to edges of skillet (batter will seem to float on top of apples and pan juices). Bake until cake is golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in skillet 10 minutes. Run knife edges of cake to loosen. Place large platter atop skillet. Using oven Mits or potholders, hold platter and skillet firmly together and invert, allowing cake to settle onto platter. Serve Warm.

To come: my improvized appetizer that everyone loved.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I feel adrift again

Little to report right now. I made cookies the other day. The recipe called for 20 minutes at 350 F.. They burned between when I checked them at 10 and 17. I've gotten sub standard results from The Colossal Cookie Cookbook several times before. Now I've decided that those instances might not be completely my fault. The people that reviewed it on Amazon seem to like it though. It does have lots of pretty pictures. My dad told me later that all cookie recipes call for to high a temperature but I'm not sure if I believe him.

I started working on my resume. The job hunt begins next week when I get home from a mini road trip to Portland.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Setback #1

I lost my job today. Things at Roxy's have been very slow in the evenings since they opened for dinner. I was hired mainly to work evenings. I guess that's just how life goes. At least mow I have a positive relevant reference. So I'll be looking for a new job immediately hopefully in a restaurant somewhere. If there happen to be any greater Seattle area, restaurant managers, owners, etc. who need an ambitious, enthusiastic, and hard working dishwasher/busboy/whatever reading this, it would be super if you contacted me.

edit: Peter did say that if business picks up enough to warrant, he would hire me back if I was available at that point. So that late night cooking job might still be a possibility in the future.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sigh, forbidden waitress fruit

The shift meal is one of the most beautiful and dangerous things ever invented. Every time I work I get a free meal. I can order anything on the menu, or stuff that's not on the menu, strange foods, secret foods, high calorie foods. Last week I tried this: You can have any sandwich as a wrap. Reuben spring rolls is one of the appetizers. I had a Reuben wrap, with Reuben spring rolls inside as well. It was pretty good, but I've just now realized that I have barely scratched the surface of what could be done. Next time I work (Wednesday, sad face) I'm going to take it to the next level. I'm going to get a pastrami melt, as a wrap, with potato and cheese pirogi inside. Next that wrap will be dipped in beer batter and deep fried. This is still only the beginning.

After a couple weeks of "Steely Dan's greatest hits" on repeat, I decided to start burning mix CD's to play in the dining room. I currently have 9 stashed in the huge 300 disc changer. That sort of thing is very typical of me. Lots of people ask about and compliment the music. Once someone asked that it be turned up. Those moments fill me with more pride than they should. I have nothing against Steely Dan.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I promise to update regularly

First my internet connection was down, then I went to Olympia for a couple days, then I was lazy, but I'm back. I've decided to scrap the "food of the week" idea for now. I don't want to post any recipes that I haven't tried before. So rather than try to find foods for which I already have several tried recipes close at hand, I'm just going to post recipes as I try them and deem them worthy.

Roxy's just opened for dinner a few weeks ago and at last there are appetizer, dinner, desert, and cocktail menus. So far it been pretty slow in the evenings but Peter (owner) has hired a P.R. person and he says it will probably take a couple months for word to sufficiently circulate. When that happens our hours will be extended from 10 pm to 2 am. I get to be the cook! It will be a limited menu, that is five or six staple items. The only ones I know for sure are the hot pastrami sandwich, the hot corned beef sandwich, and fries. I'm very excited about this.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Deli Slicers

It took me until I got home to notice that I have four new cuts on my hands today. The way my hands feel at the end of a shift is the more rewarding than anything else. I don't have any real caluses yet but my tolerance for handling hot things has increased slightly.

The deli slicer is a vicious machine, in case that wasn't already obvious to you. In essence its a large round razor blade that spins really fast. To clean it one has to remove the shielding from the blade and the sliding, food holding part. The removable parts can be cleaned separately in the dishwasher but the base and blade have to be thoroughly wiped down with a rag. This task requires intense focus in much the same way as that game where you put your hand on a table and stab the gaps between your fingers with a knife. Except if your lose at cleaning the deli slicer you need even more stitches. Today while I was cleaning it after slicing 30 pounds or so of corned beef, the tip of my fingernail grazed the motionless blade ever so slightly and it went straight through like it was nothing. A few millimeters farther and it would have gone straight through my finger. I know the loss of that shard of fingernail is very unimpressive but it could just as easily been any other part of my hand. Shut up, it was scary to me. 3 of the people working with me have gotten cuts requiring stitches, and that's 100% of the people I was talking about it with. It seems like everyone has grizzly stories about the things.
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