Saturday, July 25, 2009

kentucky butter cake

much like paula deen, i love butter. unlike paula deen, however, i am not from the south and have no old family recipes that keep cardiologists in business. so i have to turn elsewhere.

my mom started making kentucky butter cake years ago, and i have rediscovered the recipe recently. it's so easy and universally appealing, i have made it for four different events already this year. it can be served with whipped cream and fruit, but really it's quite stellar all on its own.

so, here it is, courtesy of nell lewis of platte city, missouri, winner of the 1963 pillsbury bake-off: kentucky butter cake.

3 cups all-purpose flour (i use king arthur organic)
2 cups sugar (domino!)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (you can substitute milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, but i always buy the buttermilk)
1 cup butter, softened (unsalted, of course)
2 tsp vanilla or rum extract (i use vanilla)
4 eggs (i've noticed since i started using cage-free organic "expensive" eggs, they have a much more vibrant color than regular)

butter sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
1-2 tsp vanilla or rum extract (again, i use vanilla. and the 2 tsp)

heat oven to 325. generously grease and lightly flour 12-cup bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan (and fingers). in large bowl, combine all cake ingredients; blend at low speed until moistened (inevitably, flour goes flying out of my kitchen-aid). beat 3 minutes at medium speed (the batter starts to get kind of light). pour batter into greased and floured pan.

bake at 325 for 55-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes clean.
while cake bakes, lick batter off paddle and bowl. does a lady ever reach a certain age when she should no longer lick the bowl? i submit, she does not.
in a small saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. do not boil. using long-tined fork (i use the grill utensil), pierce cake 10 to 12 times. (ok, since this is literally the most delectable part of the cake to eat, i pierce it many, many times to ensure maximum penetration) slowly pour hot sauce over warm cake. let stand 5-10 minutes or until sauce is absorbed. invert cake onto serving plate. just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar (meh, i never do that)

maybe this is on its way to becoming an old family recipe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the other cincinnati ice cream

it seems like cincinnati food bloggers spend a lot of type debating graeter's vs. aglamesis. hardly mentioned is that other cincinnati ice cream, udf.

started in norwood, ohio in 1940 by the eminent carl, sr. (you know who i mean), udfs can be found on street corners throughout the city. when i was a kid, i thought it would be awesome to work at udf because i loved ice cream and i thought gas smelled good.

i can's say much about aglamesis, but yes, homemade brand ice cream is less rich and creamy than graeter's. graeter's is a long, languid summer and homemade is a crisp, autumn friday afternoon. it doesn't have enormous candy bar sized chips. instead, it is peppered with splinters of chocolate that dissolve in the mouth and fill every bite with chocolately goodness. graeter's is for sundays and special occasions. homemade is for everyday after dinner.

plus, udf makes one of my all-time favorite ice cream flavors: cherry cordial. it's sweet, it's pink. ben and jerry's cherry garcia is no where near as enjoyable. i think it is because i grew up on homemade brand cherry cordial and a wealth of memories come along with it. birthdays when i got to pick the ice cream. my sister and i with kool-aid stained mouths, catching lightening bugs in my grandparents' backyard. watching star trek with my dad. homemade brand was there for it all.

yeah, this is what i had for breakfast today. i'm an adult. i can do what i want.

Friday, July 10, 2009

late breaking news

this was in my pharmacy newsletter this morning:

Caloric restriction may prevent disease, increase life span, researchers say.In a front-page story, the New York Times (7/10, A1, Wade) reports that, according to research published in the journal Science, "people could...fend off the usual diseases of old age and considerably extend their life span by following a special diet." The approach, "known as caloric restriction," contains "all the normal healthy ingredients, but" with "30 percent fewer calories than usual." Past research has shown that "mice kept on such a diet from birth" may "live up to 40 percent longer than comparison mice fed normally." To investigate whether the same would "be true in people," researchers began "two studies of rhesus monkeys" over "20 years ago."

The Wall Street Journal (7/10, Winstein) reports that findings from one of those studies "appear to validate" the " a way to live longer," providing "new impetus to researchers and companies" that "are searching for a drug to mimic the beneficial effects of a meager diet in humans without the feeling of near-starvation." The study "began in 1989 with 30 rhesus monkeys and added 46 more in 1994." Researchers restricted "half the monkeys' diets, reducing their calories by 30 percent, when the monkeys were fully grown, or about 10 years old."

The Los Angeles Times (7/10, Kaplan) reports, "Over the course of the study, the monkeys that ate the regular diet were three times more likely to die of an age-related disease than their counterparts on caloric restriction." These results were "welcomed by scientists who study the biological mechanisms of aging and longevity." Susan Robergs, of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, noted that "it adds to the evidence piling up that caloric a healthy way to stay alive and healthy longer."

But, Dr. David Finkelstein, of the National Institute on Aging, noted that "what we would really like is not so much that people should live longer, but that people should live healthier," the AP (7/10) reports.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

maury's tiny cove

maury's tiny cove was once voted by citybeat to be the restaurant you'd be most likely to find a member of the rat pack. it's easy to picture frank, late night, lounging in a vinyl booth under the low, red ceiling, a martini and a steak on the table.

maury's recently has come under new management, but all the things i've loved about it haven't changed. crackers and butter are still brought to every table, along with a bowl of generously sliced dill pickles. the cow with a martini is still out front, welcoming patrons to relax in the dark, wood paneled ambiance within.

we started out the meal with some cheesesticks. they were pretty typical.all the entrees are named after cincinnati teams - the bobcat, the bengal, the bearcat. i had the filet mignon and shrimp, with a side of garlic mushrooms. the steak was pretty decent, juicy and mellow, although their definition of medium is a bit more pink than mine. the shrimp were ok, nothing special.if i remember correctly, brian ordered the cavalier, the 12oz new york strip. his was also very pink.the desserts are homemade, and mine, a chocolate pie with candied orange peel, was a combination i totally would not expect from a westside establishment. it was delicious.brian had the basic chocolate cake.i'm glad this old westside favorite has survived through the years, and i'm looking forward to giving their happy hour a test run.

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