A Man's A Man for A' That
By Robbie Burns
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.
A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
Celebrate the Ploughman's Poet and rediscover your inner Scot every January 25 with this new twist on an Old Country classic.
Rosemary Honey Shortbread
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
3/4 cups cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
Spray a 9.5-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
In a food processor, briefly pulse the flour, sugar and rosemary. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and add it to the dry ingredients. Pulse until the mixture is sandy and uniform.
Use your fingers to press the dough evenly into the prepared tart pan. (There will be some loose crumbs around the edges, but most of the dough should be solid and compact.) Refrigerate until chilled through (at least 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chilled shortbread from the fridge and pierce the surface evenly with a fork all over. Bake until golden (about 40-45 minutes).
Meanwhile, heat the honey until warm but not boiling. Quickly spread the liquid honey over the cooked shortbread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the salt and coarse sugar evenly on top. Return to the oven for 3 more minutes.
Transfer the pan to a rack and let the shortbread cool slightly (about 15 minutes). While still warm, remove the tart pan ring and cut the shortbread into wedges or diamonds using a sharp knife. Cool completely.
Store the cooled shortbread in a tin at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Source: Based on the recipe for "Honey Shortbread" in Fine Cooking, December 2008/January 2009, pp. 77.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
One of the reasons I was really looking forward to moving back to Canada and having a fixed address was the prospect of subscriptions. What could possibly be better than rolling out of bed on a Saturday morning and grabbing the paper from the front step while still in your PJs? Maybe coming home from a long day at work to find the latest edition of your favourite cooking magazine waiting in the mailbox. I speak from personal experience.
This Christmas, my Mom gave me a subscription to Fine Cooking. It's a great little magazine with solid technical advice to pump up your culinary knowledge and recipes that are delicious, but not daunting, for all skill levels. This is just one of the tasty morsels I've tried from my first edition.
My local grocery store was out of cake flour due to the Christmas baking rush, so I used all-purpose flour instead. While delicious, I think the cake flour would produce a finer crumb and more tender cake. Let me know if you give it a try.
Chocolate Ripple Coffee Cake
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted pecans
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 2/3 cups berry sugar (superfine)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and generously butter a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom.
To prepare the streusel topping, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from heat and cool to tepid. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pecans, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder and salt using a fork. Add the flour mixture to the butter and stir until evenly moistened and crumbly. Set aside.
To prepare the filling, pulse the pecans, chocolate, sugars and cocoa in a food processor until the chocolate is finely chopped (about 12-14 times). Take 1/2 cup of the finished filling and add it to the streusel topping mixture above. Set aside the rest.
To prepare the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar slowly, beating until combined and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well between each. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream in several parts, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing on low speed between each addition.
Spoon 2 generous cups of the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spoon. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of filling evenly over the batter. Cover the filling with about 2 cups of batter, dropping dollops around the pan and smoothing carefully with the spoon. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup filling evenly over the batter and cover with 2 more cups of batter. Layer on the remaining filling and the remaining batter. You'll end up with 4 layers of batter and 3 layers of filling. Insert a table knife 1" from the side of the pan straight into the batter almost to the bottom. Run the knife around the pan 2 times without lifting the blade, spacing the circles about 1" apart. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Take a handful of the streusel crumbs and squeeze firmly to form a large clump. Break into smaller pieces and distribute them evenly over the batter. Repeat with the remaining streusel.
Bake until the top of the cake is brown, the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan, and a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (about 70-75 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before removing from the pan.
Store at room temperature, well-wrapped or under a cake dome, for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Source: Fine Cooking, December 2008/January 2009, pp. 70-71.
Labels: Cakes and cupcakes
Monday, January 12, 2009
According to the Chinese, the Year of the Rat will soon give way to the Year of the Ox.
We, on the other hand, have declared 2009 to be the Year of the Home. As in cracking open that nest egg we've been squirreling away for a rainy day and seeing what it can buy. Fortunately every day's a rainy day here in Vancouver, so any day will do.
While we work on that, you can take a crack at these edible meringue nests. You can fill them with virtually anything your little heart desires, but the chocolate version proposed here has dual appeal. Not only is rich fudge the perfect foil for light-as-a-feather meringue, it puts those pesky yolks to good use.
Meringue Fudge Drops
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, almond extract, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. (Set aside the egg yolks to make the fudge filling later on.) Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.
Drop the meringue mixture by teaspoonful onto the prepared sheets. (Alternatively, use a piping bag with a large plain tip for smoother, marginally more uniform meringues). Use a small spoon to make a small indentation in the centre of each meringue.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
For the fudge filling, combine the chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and icing sugar in a small bowl.
Reduce the saucepan heat to low and gradually whisk in the egg yolk mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, whisking several times.
Once cool, spoon a bit of fudge into the centre of each meringue. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. My meringues became a bit chewy over time, but they're still delicious!
Yields 4-1/2 dozen.
Notes: The original recipe called for a sprinkling of finely chopped nuts over the fudge, but it completely slipped my mind. Much like those pepitas on last week's Polka Dot Pumpkin Muffins.
Monday, January 05, 2009
What better way to kick off the new year than with a new ingredient?
Millet refers to the small, round seeds produced by a variety of grasses. It's a hardy annual crop that thrives in intense heat and poor soil—conditions that would kill most other grains and cereals. All those little polka dots are not only hardy and cute, they're gluten-free and contain a high concentration of protein.
I first tasted these muffins several years ago while slaving over a project at work one weekend. A thoughtful colleague took pity on those of us in the office and brought these in as a treat. They make an excellent breakfast muffin, with or without spread. I personally enjoy a thin drizzle of honey.
Polka Dot Pumpkin Muffins
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup pepitas
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk and sugar. Blend in the vanilla and pumpkin. Stir in the oatmeal.
In a small dry skillet, toast the millet over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of pepitas and toast for 1 minute more. Cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture above.
In a medium bowl, mix the 2 flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Avoid overmixing or muffins will be dry and tough.
Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of pepitas. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
Yields 12 muffins.
Source: Originally from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz, 2001.
Labels: Muffins and quick breads