25 May 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes

So, I've been obsessed with breakfast foods recently (as I write--for instance--the smells of cooling granola ("let cool undisturbed"!) are wafting in enticingly from the kitchen). This obsession is a little ironic, because we rarely get up early enough to actually enjoy a nice, leisurely morning meal without being on-the-cusp-of-late to work. Maybe that's the thing--I'm subconsciously searching for that perfect, satisfying, quick breakfast food that will make mornings as smooth as cream (and let me get to work on time).

I tried making granola a few weeks ago. I even put in some fancy ingredients--dried cherries, cranberries, and slivered almonds. It was so-so in flavor and texture (I probably disturbed it too much while cooling) but did make a quick, satisfying breakfast paired with some plain yogurt and honey.

Of course, I've also done scrambled eggs for breakfast, which seems pretty quick except that I want them with warmed tortillas, salsa (which may take a while to hunt down) and coffee (read: "takes five minutes to grind the beans, dump the old grounds, find a new filter, measure out coffee, and then locate the carafe, which must be filled with fresh, cold water and dumped into the reservoir just to start the coffee!").

Of course, there's always the quickie grab-a-muffin breakfast, which is wonderful when you don't leave all your muffins at your parents-in-laws' house three hours north of here, and of course no bananas in the freezer to make them again.

I almost bought a bag of bagels at the grocery store today.

So, about those pancakes. The thing I like about them, besides the fact that they're mostly oats, is that you're supposed to soak the oats in buttermilk the night before. This dedicates you to finishing them in the morning, like it or not.

I didn't do much to alter the recipe for myself other than substitute about 1/2 plain yogurt and 1/2 milk for buttermilk (which I never have) and add a 1/2 tsp. salt. Also, cook them over medium-low heat as they will not cook in the middle before burning on the outside otherwise. You can guess how I know that.


Finally, a gratuitous display of one of the bridesmaid's bouquets I did for an out-of-state wedding two weeks ago (one of my excuses for not posting more during May) . . .

05 May 2010

Orange Coconut Cake

This is a result of poor planning. Or not thinking ahead. Fortunately, it turned out really, really yummy--a perfect summery cake!

I called the grocery store bakery at 4:00pm on Tuesday, wondering if they would be able to do a cake for me by 6:00pm. Of the same day. No they do not--you must call 24 hours ahead. Okay, then. Making a mental list of the ingredients I had on hand at home, I skipped the store altogether and hoped for the best. One yellow cake recipe with some modification, a quick trip out just for confectioners sugar, and an hour later the cake pictured above was party-ready.

It began with this recipe and morphed from there. I'll have to give just the cake recipe since I didn't really write down ingredients for the cream cheese filling and glaze. Just do your own thing. A generous sprinkling of toasted coconut and some orange zest accompanied the filling.

Anita's Orange Cake
(2 9-inch layers)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup milk

Instructions: Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Beat butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each to incorporate. Add vanilla and zest and beat in. Mix orange juice with milk and add to batter alternately with flour mixture. Batter will be light and fluffy. Spread into 2 greased and floured 9-inch pans and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. They will look very light in color when they are done, so test with a toothpick if you are unsure!

I filled the layers with a cream cheese/butter/o.j./confectioners sugar frosting and a generous sprinkling of coconut and more orange zest. I would recommend mixing the coconut into it, so that the two layers will hold together when cut. I thinned the filling and drizzled it as a glaze over the top layer, adding more orange zest and "YAY" in toasted coconut (the cake was for a graduation celebration party).

on the way to the party . . .

moist, light, summery-tasting!

and this is what we left behind . . . *sigh*