Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Floured and flowering

Word of the Day: Flower
noun (but I prefer the verb -- flowering!)
Middle English flour flower, best of anything, flour, from Anglo-French flur, flour, flaur, from Latin flor-, flos — more at blow
13th century
1 a: the part of a seed plant that normally bears reproductive organs : blossom, inflorescence b: a shoot of the sporophyte of a higher plant that is modified for reproduction and consists of a shortened axis bearing modified leaves ; especially : one of a seed plant differentiated into a calyx, corolla, stamens, and carpels c: a plant cultivated for its blossoms a: the best part or example b: the finest most vigorous period c: a state of blooming or flourishing


May 8 is almost here -- the Full Flower Moon. It's also called the Milk Moon and the Hare Moon, but I like flower best. And blossom. And flowering. And blossoming.
Look up and feel the moonglow on your face. There must be health properties to moonlight -- Vitamin G maybe -- for glow!

I love that the Etymology for Flower is Flour. "Best of anything." How cool is that?

Here's a great cake recipe that's easy to whip up and contains two fine incredients -- flour and flowers. It will fill the kitchen with all the right smells. Think of the moon while you bake & sparkle the blossoms with a little egg white and superfine sugar for an extra special effect. The buttermilk is good for love, the rich bittersweet chocolate ganache good for everything.

Photo: Flour? Flower? at Deviant Art

Giant Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and Edible Flowers
(I prefer wild violets)

Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2009

Olive Oil (for coating pan)
2 C. Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder (Dagoba is da bomb)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs (don't accidentally put them in the freezer overnight like I did yesterday!)
3/4 cup butter, cut into cute little cubes
1 cup creamy, yummy, room-temp buttermilk
1 tsp PURE vanilla extract (no imitation crap, I'm begging you, please!)

5 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped with love
1/4 cup BUTTER!!! cut into, yes, cute little cubes
1 tsp. PURE vanilla
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar

Edible flowers for decoration -- pansies, violets, rose petals -- just make sure there are no insecticides involved -- or the bees will die before they can enjoy their crack high (see below)

1 12-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides.

Serves 24! Paaaarrrtayyy!

Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pan. Sift the dry stuff except cocoa into one bowl. Sift cocoa into another bowl. Pour boiling water over cocoa. Cackle or giggle or make some sort of fun noise while it bubbles wildly. Whisk. Beat sugar and eggs until creamy (books always say fluffy, but it never seems fluffy to me, just creamy and creamy is good). Add butter to egg stuff, beat in cocoa mixture (not to be confused with beating the cocoa). That would be mean. Add buttermilk & vanilla, ad dry increadients, mix until just blended, pour into the pan.

Ganache -- put chocolate, butter & vanilla in a w. Bring sugar and cream to a boil. Pour hot stuff over cold stuff to make it all melty. Whisk. Chill about one hour. Pour onto cooked cake. Let set for about one hour. Decorate with pretty sparkly flowers!


Speaking of flowers -- this funny little piece in this week's New Yorker is a hoot. Made me smile. Bees on crack! Hmmm....reminds of someone I know! The difference is, this is her mind completely sober. Scary!
Buzzed, Shouts & Murmurs
by Noah Baumbach
The New Yorker
An Excerpt

"Oh, my God, you gotta try this pollen. It’s so fucking . . . it’s better than the nectar, even. This is the best fucking pollen I’ve ever had. God, I so badly wanna just go sting the fuck out of someone, you know? Just land on their ass and sting. . . . I’m so fucking jazzed right now. And then I hope they’re allergic and they just blow up! We gotta get out of this hive, we gotta get mobile . . . “Going Mobile”! The Who was a good band. Let’s go find a picnic or some sunbathers or something. . . . I’d love some coconut suntan lotion or a . . . beer. Wouldn’t you love a six-pack of Stella Artois right now? That’s the best beer. Stel-la!"


Jeremy Edwards said...

You're the best parentheses-wrangling cook ever!!

neve black said...

This full moon should be something...Mercury retrogrades just before too. Take cover.

Great post, chica.

Donna said...

Luscious all over as always, KM. So Dagoba is the way to go? I like Callebaut, but they sell it in 5 lb. bags and it expires in less than a year. That's too many flower flour cakes at the price.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Jeremy,Thanks! Nothing like a litle wrangling to get the blood flowing.

Neve -- yikes, more info! Take cover???

Hi Donna,
I like Dagoba a lot, but I've only used the unsweetened powder. I checked out Callebaut & read that Dagoba was recently bought by Hershey. Erg. Then I read about a small Italian chocolate company called Amadei that roads & grinds it's own imported chocolate beans in it's factory in Tuscany. Oh wow!

Donna said...

Yes, I've had Amadei chocolate bars--they're pricey, but delicious.

But wow, thanks for that link. The hazelnut chocolate drink mix looks...irresistible. Seriously, this might be my mother's day gift!

Craig Sorensen said...

Delicious post as always, Kirsten.

BTW, what is the photo that you are currently featuring in your masthead?

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Donna, anything with chocolate and hazelnut is irrestistable in my book! Happy Mother's Day to you!

Craig, thank you -- ah, that photo was taken near Antelope in Central Oregon at the site of the old Rashneesh cult ranch. I did an orienteering race out there recently. Beautiful country! I love it so much out there that for days afterward when I closed my eyes I could still see all of that earth and sky spread out before me.

Erobintica said...

Oh, Kirsten, that cake sounds to die for! I love using edible flowers. And that bee piece was so funny I'm sending the link to all sorts of folks - it just made my day!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Hi Robin,

It would be fun to bring that beauty out to the picnic table, wouldn't it? What kinds of flowers to you use? Have you ever used egg white and superfine to candy them? I think they will preserve for quite awhile in an airtite container once they are dried.

Glad you like the drugged out bees humor piece -- had me laughing like crazy too.

Erobintica said...

we get these tiny violets in our yard every spring - I've used those (also made violet sugar and violet vinegar with them) and I've used rose petals (old rugosa type) and lilacs, scarlet bee balm, borage, nasturtiums (of course). I've used other flowers in the past - mainly things I grow myself so I can be assured they've not been sprayed.

Erobintica said...

oh, and yeah, I've used the egg white and superfine sugar thing - tasty, but they don't last long at all

(just remembered I didn't answer this part)