Thursday, December 20, 2012

little chefs and foodie potlucks

We had a party a bit ago...having only Americans over  for a meal wasn't snobby enough for us so we narrowed the invite list to from just people from Seattle.  The little chefs made Jamie Oliver's Fish Cakes.  In Jamie's early days as the young phenom Naked Chef he was too cool for me and I resisted his siren call.  No I'm a total convert and have 4 of his cookbooks that I use regularly. Maybe Santa will bring me another?   For the fishcake recipe I just told them what to do -- they did everything but the frying. THIS recipe is easy in that there are no fancy steps but there are many ingredients and a LOT of steps -- cook the fish, boil and mash the potatoes, cut up the spices, zest and squeeze the lemons, mix the 'cake,s' form the cakes, (fry the cakes), plate them....make the dip/dressing (essential) and then EAT THEM.  Thing 2 did it all but didn't even eat a single fishcake.  The food everyone brought was incredible, including the goat cheese stuff dates wrapped in proscuttio with a warm brown sugar and butter glaze.  God Bless Sub-Saharan-Seattlites and their fancy potlucks. You guys ROCK.

For the christmas season, we can't stop making this easy, delish Pumpkin bread:


3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin (we usually use 3/4 of the big can -- because MORE is better, right? I think it makes and already moist bread SUPER moist)
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (we leave these out - we only have cloves from Zanzibar and they are WICKED fragrant...really too strong to use in most baking dishes)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (who has allspice?  we don't!)
1/2 cup water
In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves and allspice; add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves.
Today we made a glaze, too -- powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon...kinda noggy and festive and maybe a bit over the top.

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