Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Today I bring you a Guest Blogger:

Please give a warm welcome to Shelly Butcher, winner of the Ferry Building Bonanza in last December's Menu For Hope prize draw that raised over $17,000 to send to earthquake-stricken areas of Pakistan and India via Unicef, who today shares a couple of her prize experiences with you. Over to you, Shelly...

photograph picture of san francisco ferry building on farmers market day

I went down to the Ferry Building last Saturday to pick up part of my prize, namely some cheeses from the Cowgirl Creamery and some yogurt from St. Benoit. For me, part of the fun of receiving all this great food is the chance to play with it in the kitchen. The cheeses were a no-brainer. A good cheese just needs some good bread, maybe a bit of wine, and you're set. Our lunch included Cypress Grove's Humboldt Fog and two hard cheeses called Coolea and Panache d'Aramits which were all eaten with great gusto on sourdough bread.

But what does one do with six crocks of yogurt? Don't get me wrong, St. Benoit's yogurt is lovely. It's rich, with a pleasant sourness to it. My favorite part is the layer of cream that forms on top. Still, six large crocks of yogurt is a lot to eat. (Benoit kindly offered to split my prize of a dozen crocks over 2 weeks.) Aside from eating it straight, Benoit suggested mixing it with granola, fruit, or brown sugar. All good suggestions but, of course, I immediately set to work thinking of how to mess around my kitchen by creating yogurt-centric foods. My first thought was Clotilde's Yogurt cake.

Ever since I had a slice of orange cardamom coconut cake at Ananda Fuara, I've been thinking about recreating my own version of the recipe, without coconut. With this goal and Clotilde's recipe in mind, I did a little tinkering and came up with my own improvisation which I would like to share.

Orange Blossom Cardamom St. Benoit Yogurt Cake

1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt (1 crock plus 1 TBSP St. Benoit)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (1 cup for a sweeter cake)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp water
1/2 cup melted butter
zest of 1 orange (I used a microplane zester, for a very fine zest)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 & 3/4 tsp ground cardamom seed

- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Grease a round ten inch cake pan with butter and line the bottom with
parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the first nine ingredients.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and ground cardamom
- Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture, mixing gently, and being careful
not to overwork the batter. The batter may be a little thick.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is
golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Let stand for ten minutes, run a knife around to loosen, and turn out on a
rack to cool.
Note: I rather preferred the taste of the cake after it aged a day or two.

A Blood Orange Syrup, with ground cardamom to taste, compliments this cake well. Drizzle on or around each slice.

Would you believe? It was my first taste of blood orange! I picked up some whilst I was at the Ferry Building farmer's market on Saturday. Slicing open a blood orange, you realize just how beautiful they are. The bright orange peel belies the deep redness of the flesh. They smell nice enough, but juicing them is intoxicating. The crimson liquid tastes of oranges, pomegranates and the sun. The whole experience is positively sexy. Pardon the food porn, but it's true. If you can get them in your area, pick up a few blood oranges while they're still in season and you'll see what I mean. Juice and drink them straight, or in a cocktail. I saved the pulp and zest for mixing into St. Benoit yogurt. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Sam, for helping put together Menu for Hope II and arranging prizes that are simply a food lover's dream. And many thanks to the local Artisans who produced and donated the wonderful goods in the Ferry Building Bonanza!

Shelly Butcher

Thanks to Shelly for the report. I thought it would be fun to catch up with out Menu for Hope prize winners, none of whom were food bloggers, and see what they thought of their prizes. Hopefully I'll have one or two more reports in the future from other winners. Shelly informs me she is going to be starting her own food blog soon, so I'll let you all knowwhen it is up and running. Two wonderful bloggers were missed out of yesterday's SHF roundup and so I'll give them a mention here today. Andrew from Spittoon made a Four Fruit Salad and the ever-inventive McCauliflower from Brownie Points experimented with Deconstructed Gelled Chai. Get a mouthful of that one!

Daily weight loss, weightwatchers and diet notes:
The reason I chose Weightwatchers # 4: They encourage you to eat dairy to get that much needed calcium for your bones. Although I have upped my intake of St Benoit yoghurt from half to a whole pot a day, dairy is another thing I am not always good at, so if I dont get my three portions a day, I know that I should be taking a calcium supplement as well.

Archive Alert! On this date in 2005: Chaat Cafe.

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Today I bring you a Guest Blogger:


  • At 31/1/06 09:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shelly said "whilst"!! Is she English?? What a small world!

  • At 31/1/06 10:08, Blogger Sam said…

    erhmm. I had no idea. Umm, no she isn't english, but her "editor" obviously is.
    Do Americans really not use that word? I had never noticed - I even use it in my blog header title description. It's a lovely word, don't you think, it helps you do more than one thing at once.

  • At 31/1/06 10:43, Blogger Barbara Fisher said…

    I use "whilst," and am American, however, I am whatcha call an "Anglophile," who has read the classic literature and watches Britcoms, and grew up on "Upstairs, Downstairs."

    So, I am not a good example, perhaps.

    Anyway--blood oranges ROCK! We had them at Morganna's birthday party.

    The best way I have had them, though, is as a sorbet when I was at Johnson & Wales culinary. That was not only amazing in flavor, but gorgeous in hue.

  • At 31/1/06 11:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whilst my "editor" is indeed British, I'm American :).

    Just noticed an error in the list of ingredients. Rather than "1/2 melted butter" it should read "1/2 cup melted butter." Sorry about that!

  • At 31/1/06 11:45, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love "whilst"... I just feel like a fraud when I use it, b/c I think of it as such a distinctly "English" word. It really is SO lovely, though, and much more delicate and elegant sounding than "while"!

  • At 31/1/06 23:25, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Watch out, Sam. Your guest blogger is even posting recipes!! Adorable.
    OK, as for "whilst" (which I also noticed, as a Yank): Yeah, it's Britty, but for those of us who grew up on English children's literature, it's charming.
    Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!
    Sam on "whilst": "it helps you do more than one thing at once." LOL!! You've solved the time-space continuum situation.

  • At 1/2/06 07:47, Blogger Sam said…

    huh! I knew I was smart, but I didn't think for one second I was clever as well.


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