Daily Archives: May 19, 2007

“Dogs need to breathe, too.”

Yesterday I struck out with my husband, sis, sister’s boyfriend, and his sis, on a lovely springtime hike. We didn’t leave Seattle until about 3:30, but thought a May weekday might be an appropriate time to introduce ourselves to Mount Si (or at least the first half of it), that Seattle cliche of a hike that everyone complains about being overcrowded.

Well, it was lovely, and not so crowded yet, and the people we met along the way were quite pleasant. Afterwards, we decided to head over to Snoqualmie Falls, where we hopped out for a quick trip to the loo and a peek at the falls. When we returned to our car, we found a most nasty note tucked under the windshield wipers:

Can you believe this?

Now, really. I understand that leaving my animal in a hot car for hours at a time is irresponsible and unsafe. But seriously. At 57 degrees and raining, and for a trip to look at the falls (which, I’m guessing, rarely takes more than 20 minutes, and in our case took about 15), is it crucial to leave the windows open?

Am I a dog abuser, or was this really quite unnecessary? Talk about uptight Seattleite.

Just wish they could have said it to our face, so they’d have heard my husband’s scientific calculation (based on scuba diving experience) of exactly HOW long a dog could survive on the oxygen provided by our wagon.


Filed under commentary, dog

Cake crazy

Enough with the cakes, Jess! I hear you. But I’m not really listening.

I think I’m developing a crush on one-layer cakes. They’re just so wonderful to me, everything about them – how easy they are to make, how I typically don’t frost them, so once they’re in the oven, they’re done, how they’re only really big enough to stick around for a day or two, so the bingeing normally implied by having a cake on one’s counter doesn’t last too long (unless, of course, you bake two in the same week). And oh! how exciting upside-down cakes are, I’d never ventured outside of pineapple. Et cetera. You are witness to my personal cake epiphany.

This one was extra tasty; the dense, sweet, soft apricots provided such a great tangy contrast to the fluffy cardamom-flavored cake. I cooked it in a regular 10″ skillet, and when it came out of the oven I gave into the temptation to give it a little extra color on the top, so I transfered it to a baking sheet and hit it under the broiler for a minute or two. No dice – it just tinged the edges of the apricots brown a bit, charred one bottom edge, and made the once-top-now-bottom of the cake stick to the foil I’d put it on, which meant a cake in no shape to make an appearance. I’ll just have to stop maiming my cakes if I want them red carpet-ready, that’s all. The recipe below skips the maiming, but if you’re feeling adventuresome, it might be interesting to see what happens if you shake a little sugar just on the apricots once you’ve inverted the cake and brown them with a creme brulee (or giant butane, whatever you have) torch. Let me know.

She’s a little camera shy, this one.

Apricot skillet cake

Recipe for Upside-Down Apricot Skillet Cake
Recipe 139 of 365

Make sure you use an ovenproof skillet for this cake, which makes a nice substitute for a cake pan.

TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 8 servings

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
8 small apricots (about 3/4 pound), halved along their natural line and pits removed
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the stick of butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, and set aside to cool.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a 10” ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When melted, swirl to coat the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. Arrange the apricots cut sides-down in the pan and cook for about a minute, or until the apricots begin to brown just a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and cardamom together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until combined. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk again, then add the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Add the melted stick of butter, and stir again until combined.

Pour the batter over the apricots, and use a spatula to smooth it evenly over the apricots (the batter will be thick). Bake on the bottom rack for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and just beginning to crack. Invert the cake directly onto a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Filed under Cakes, recipe