Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever!

Print this post
vegan chocolate cake with ganache frosting

My mother used to make a variety of this easy delicious chocolate cake,  and it's definitely a no fail recipe and creates the most moist cake ever!  I had some friends coming into town for the day, and I just whipped it up before they came over.

Easiest Cake Recipe Ever:
preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together in large measuring cup or medium bowl:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup warm water

In a large bowl sift together:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Pour contents of measuring cup into the large bowl of wet ingredients and stir/whisk until there are no large lumps.  Small lumps are okay.  You don't want to over stir cake batter, or it will get gummy. Pour into an 8x8 round or square tin, smoothing it out on top. NO JUMPING!
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
For the ganache, just make your favorite ganache recipe, or follow what I did. I just heated soy milk (enough to almost cover 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate) over medium heat in a double boiler until the chocolate is just over half way melted, whisking and keeping an eye on it. Put in a dash of vanilla, take it off the heat, and continue to whisk until the whole thing is melted. If it hasn't quite melted yet, hold it over the steamy heat and whisk some more. You can finish it off by stirring a teaspoon of margarine in at the end, until melted, and it will make it nice and shiny.  
Then when the cake was cool, I poured the ganache over the cake, and wait for it to all set. Refrigerate if you somehow don't eat all the cake within the hour!  
SIDENOTE:    You can also melt chocolate in a microwave!  Just watch that informative video.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Culinary Intervention

Print this post
meeting fellow gamers at the Noodle Ranch

Oh Noodle Ranch...I want to like you again.  I really really do.  But you leave me no choice, with your reheated and earlier prepared ingredients, that I can no longer see you anymore.  I remember when we first met, your grilled meat atop freshly prepared Vermicelli noodles accompanied with pickled Daikon and carrots made me throw back my head in ecstasy!  I bragged about you to all my friends how you had one of the best curries in town, cool decor, the best wonton soup in Belltown, and noodle bowls that rivaled the International District.  But no more...the honeymoon is over. I can appreciate your new smaller menu but it doesn't seem to be helping you in making your way back into our hearts.

Despite the friendly accommodating waiter, who was able to seat all 10 of us, I sure wish our food reflected the good intentions I'm sure the owner and chefs have there.  The shrimp in my Mekong Grill noodle bowl was so rubbery it was as if it was pre-cooked, skewered, and then reheated for 2 seconds on a grill.  The noodles were completely overdone and too soft.  Vermicelli should have a nice bite to it and remain super thin.  Not get as thick as spaghetti and mushy!  Note to Noodle Ranch:  It takes 2 minutes to cook Vermicelli.  Have a pot of boiling water on the stove at all times, throw in the pasta, wait for it to boil again, take it out to drain, and put it on the plate.  The supposed time you might save pre-making ingredients is worth nothing when people won't go back because the food tastes like it's out of a box!  So, being that it was called a "noodle bowl" I also expected way more noodles than I received.  I swear 3/4 of the bowl was shredded lettuce, 1/4 vermicelli and just smothered in an onion and peanut topping.  I said "topping" people, not the main ingredient!  It's all I tasted the whole night, just lingering and hanging around like a  third-cousin-once-removed who's overstayed their welcome.  OUT, I SAY OUT!  Oh, and I can't forget the sauce they had for dipping.  It was SO hot, SOOOOO HOT, it was inedible.  Is anyone tasting anything back there in the kitchen??  Something this hot should have a warning on the menu, but the ratio of rice vinegar and fish sauce to chili's was astronomical.  Vinegar 1: Chili 100.  It really isn't supposed to be THAT hot...trust me.

Anyway, I thought maybe it was just my dish that was bad, but I looked over at the other table's Fresh Roll appetizer and it was barely touched.  You could see the rice wrappers used to roll the ingredients inside were so thick they didn't even look real.  It was like the rolls were wrapped in a calamari casing.  No, seriously.  I don't see how the wrappers could have been "fresh" in any way.  Note to Noodle Ranch:  Before rolling the ingredients (yes I mean right when someone orders it) dip the wrapper in hot water for 30 seconds, remove, and voila!  Instant freshness!  People will love you!  They will come back, giving praise to the noodle gods!

I think the only real positive thing I heard about the food was for the dumpling soup (I believe it had such ingredients as pork, green onion and mild Kimchi), which one of our Chinese friends said was petty good.  The curries looked okay, a bit on the thick side (not in a good way), but nothing too special.

So what can we take from this experience, Noodle Ranch?  I almost want to call Gordon Ramsay of Kitchen Nightmares to swoop in and save you!  Belltown needs a place like yours, where a person can go for a bowl of authentic Asian dishes.  But if you continue on your current Shortcut Path, you probably won't be seeing very many please faces on your journey.

*sniff...goodbye.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies

Print this post
vegan & gluten free chocolate chip oatmeal nut cookies

Using the recipe on the back of these Sunspire chocolate chips!  They had a real nice crunchy outside, and chewy center, just the way I like them!

24 servings

1/3 cup Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Tropical Source Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Oil a large baking sheet; set aside.

Whisk together first five ingredients until very smooth.  Combine flour, oats, soda and lat separately.  Then add dry ingredients to the mixture with chocolate chips and nuts.  Sir to combine.  Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 8 minutes, or until tops just begin to crack.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring cookies to a plate or wire rack.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blueberry Blizzard Cake!

Print this post
Blueberry Blizzard Cake

My in-laws on Darren's dad's side, both gave us Gift of the Month subscriptions, he got Beer of the Month, and I got Dessert of the Month.  All from here: http://www.amazingclubs.com/

So this month the dessert was "Blueberry Blizzard Cake".  Absolutely delicious, moist, and of the best quality!  Who says cake has to have frosting!  This was truly a treat, and was gone instantly when I brought it to work to share with co-workers. :)

Flag Counter