Texas Sheet Cake
So big and cocoa-y! 

So big and cocoa-y! 

Come to find out this a Great Lake region (what some might call the mid-west, but really let's call it what it is) pot-luck staple. It's big, like the size of Texas, hence the name. It's not like it makes more than 12 or 16 servings, like any other cake, it doesn't have big volume, but it's flat and has cocoay deliciousness. 

Ingredients

1 cup melted butter

1 cup water

0.25 cup cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

0.5 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

0.5 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting

0.5 cup melted butter

0.25 cup cocoa

6 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound powdered sugar

Oven 350 degrees. 

On a pot on the stove, melt the butter, add the water and cocoa. Bring to a simmer. Off the heat. In a bowl combine the sugar, flour, salt, and soda. Mix briefly. Add the cocoa mixture. Combine. Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into a well oiled, (but don't line the pan with parchment) 11x16 or 12x17 or half sheet pan or jelly roll pan- a pan bigger than 9x11 and bake 20 minutes. 

In the last minutes of baking start the frosting because you pour it onto a hot cake. 

Melt the butter, add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Pour over the hot cake. Spread evenly. Cool and serve. 

 

 

Juli Carvi
Kitchn Cure Day 3- I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

Today was organize drawers.

I think cupboards as well but I stopped at 7 drawers. A girl's got to save some organizing for another day.

Frankly since I'm at 100 square feet, with two windows and three doors, I keep it pretty tidy, but there's always room to improve.

Here is before:

In here are teas and miscellaneous packets of food stuffs.

Yikes! Are those take out forks? 

I have other drawers, but really? This is a little too selfie-possessed as it is, three is plenty. But honestly I want to look in other peoples refrigerators and drawers, too. I know I'm not alone. I'm havening a little,

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

I'll only silently judge. I'd never say anything out loud. I'd not even click my tongue or inhale sharply. Actually, I'd find something intriguing to comment on genuinely. Promise.

I did spend some time rubber banding things and things were pitched. I even flipped around where the spoons are stored. Again how much can you, gentle reader, really care? I know the GF will be happy about that only because she recently said, "When did we decide to store these here?" as if were a bad idea. (It was a bad idea.)

Here is the after:

Excuse the shadow. They do look better, no?

Again, the photo quality could be better, but you get the gist.

When I painted and replaced the floor two years ago, and removed EVERYTHING from the room, I was shocked at just how much it holds. My drawers are still chock full, but I absolutely need each item in them. Absolutely.

I'm going to check in on my Kitchn Cure buddies and the on line folks. I really do want to spy other people's progress. 

Kitchn Cure Days 1 & 2

I'm curing my kitchen.

I've signed up for a cleanse, 10 days, to deeply and thoroughly clean my kitchen.

It's fall and I do tend to cook more. The little pink kitchen needs some attention. I'm a bandwagon kind of gal, so I jumped.

Curiously and delightfully I have two cleanse sisters. My, not metaphorically but literally, oldest sister Lil, and my new favorite friend of 2013, QV, who I got to know doing a healthy clean-eating cleanse back in April at Vitality.

They spied my posting of Facebook signing up for the Kitchn Cure and opted to sign up too. I really do need to check in with them. I dare not ask before I get this posted. If they laugh at me for being a geeky Kitchn Cure following lemming I'll be so crushed. Nothing like a barb from an older sister or one of the cool girls to make you feel like you are in middle school all over again. But I digress.

Day 1 was clean your refrigerator.


Before-No judgment


I have to say I took a nap instead. I was just too tired to do much of anything after work yesterday.

Day 2 was clean your pantry.


Before- Just the top shelf. I'd worked on the other shelves earlier.
Knowing I was going to participate in The Cure -Oh Robert Smith and "Friday I'm in Love" playing in my head-this past weekend I decided to clean my pantry. I didn't know what day it was going to fall in the prescribed cleanse, but I was pretty sure it would be early. I did everything but my spices, which were just too much to contemplate for "pre-work". Can you spy geek girl clue #2 or #3? I do pre-work on assignments, you know because I'm getting a grade on this cleanse thing.

So today I cleaned my refrigerator and my spice shelf.

Can I say thankfully my freezer was pretty empty aside from shrimp, some stuff from the Asian grocery, frozen peas, and 6 pounds of butter? Oh and this Mango Freeze Thing.

Boozy Ice Pack


I have to say that's older than a month, but I thought I've used it as an ice pack more than once and refroze it, it can refreeze again. Today  though, I consumed it, because the rules said consume things.

The other items are all less than a month old because one day in early September my daughter inadvertently left the freezer opened as we left the house for the day. I shudder to think of what I threw away.

I was really hopeful that cleaning out my refrigerated part would open up condiment space. It did a little but I can yet part with the bottle of rose water and pomegranate concentrate I bought at a Middle Eastern grocery and for which I've yet to find a use. I am open to suggestions. I can see further into my fridge though.

I can also see the back of the spice area of my pantry.


The spice shelf (the top one) I threw away so much!

After, the refrigerator!

So when is the last time you cleaned your refrigerator? What's the oldest spice in your cabinet? I found things I've had since before my 12 year old daughter was born. Really. I don't know why I bought a pound of white pepper over a decade ago. I did, but now it's gone. I have cleaned my spices before but I just couldn't part with it before now.

Whew.

Come on Day 3! Oh what will it be? Scrub the oven and range? Wash every plate in the cabinet? Wipe down walls? Sanitize garbage pails? Scrub windows and window sills? I'm just a little too excited.
Rice How To...
Photo by Lincolnian
I have 7 different kinds of rice in my cupboard this very minute, maybe more.

I used to stink at cooking rice. I actively sought how to cook it successfully without using a rice steamer. I understand half the world uses rice steamers but I didn't want to dedicate a piece of my countertop for something I make once or twice a week, especially when I have pots and a range that should be able to do it.

I learned to cook rice like it was my JOB. But who really cares but me, right?

Yesterday we potlucked with friends where I brought a curry with Basmati rice. The hostess was significantly impressed to start a conversation, twice, about how to cook rice. I didn't geek out the first time but the second time I was a little looser, and then I expounded. I'm sorry, Liz. Half way through I thought 'shut up' and then I thought I should put it in my blog. (I didn't shut up.)

This blog is becoming a catalogue of recipes that I love and new things that come across, which are interesting or that I know I'm going to love.

I do have The Rice Bible, Christian Teubner on my shelf. There are way more than 7 rices in the world. But who wants to pull out a book of everything when you only need to know a little?

My regulars are:

  • Long grain Amerian white rice you pick up for .89 cents a pound at the grocery. It's enriched and my daughter's comfort food.
  • Nashiki for Japanese rice balls and sushi.
  • Basmati for curries and food middle eastern
  • Jasmine for other Asian meals
  • Sona Masoori, Basmati's homely cousin, but great for filler.
  • Brown Rice, which needs a better definition if this wasn't just my humble blog, but it's the brown rice you buy in bulk at the natural foods groceries.
  • Arborio for risotto because that's delicious.

I also have rice flour for mochi and other Asian desserts. Oh and rice cereal because I was gluten free for a month and I kind of went a little rice wacko. But it's delicious for a change from oatmeal and cream of wheat.

For different rices you need to know if you rinse it, soak it, the water ratio, the length of time on direct heat, the length of time you leave it off heat.

Oh I feel a spread sheet coming. See below. Risotto is the exception to all the following:

  • If you rinse you rinse the rice with many changes of water until the water runs clear. Fill the pot with water and swish it around to remove as much starch as possible.
  • If you soak, soak in plenty of water. Pour off the water and measure fresh water for cooking.
  • Use a heavy bottomed pot, always.
  • Wrap the lid in the thinnest dish towel you have available.

Bring the rice and fresh water to a boil, about 3-5 minutes. Cover with the lid which is wrapped in the thin towel, turn the heat to low and set the timer. DO NOT LIFT THE LID. It's only rice. It's not dancing in the pot. They aren't having a party. DON'T look. When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and leave the pot for the prescribed amount of time to steam. No lid lifting yet. Set the timer for steaming. When that goes off you may look at the rice.

If you are fluffing now is the time. If you are making rice balls allow the rice to cool enough to handle then proceed.

Rice Rinse Soak  Ratio On Heat Steaming
Long grain American white  YES NO 1:2 30 0
Nashiki YES 10 MIN 1:1.25 15 20
Basmati YES 60 MIN 1:1.5 25 15
Jasmine YES NO 1:2 15 10
Sona Masoori YES 60 MIN 1:1.5 25 15
Brown Rice NO NO 1:2 45 0
Arborio NO NO 1:4 45 0