August Fare {CtBF} #EverydayDorie

I think it was January 2019 when Epicurious launched the Cook90 challenge, challenging home cooks to prepare 3 meals a day at home for an entire month.  I’m not one for that type of challenge so I never participated.  However, this morning, as I updated my kitchen chalkboard where I keep track of the day of the week, date, number of days/weeks/months “safer at home”, and the recently added election countdown, I realized that as a result of the pandemic, I’ve been doing that challenge unexpectedly.  As of yesterday, I’ve successfully completed Cook166 and will continue for the foreseeable future.

That’s almost 500 meals!  I’ve ordered takeout 5 times (our favorite BBQ restaurant in Boston, the local Thai and Chinese restaurants, lunch from the local Italian place, and a fancy dinner from a place in Cambridge), but Howard or I have prepared the rest.  Fortunately, we both enjoy cooking.  We started with a well-stocked pantry and freezer, and we haven’t experienced food shortages in our area.  Since June, we’ve been well supplied with fresh produce from our CSA share and our backyard garden.  Cooking is a great diversion: conversations about what to eat for the next few meals and creative substitutions to avoid shopping, togetherness as we prepare and eat the food, and the satisfaction of being able to take care of ourselves.

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows, Howard and I don’t always agree on what to eat.  He has lots of rules about what he does and does not consider edible combinations.  The zucchini and eggplant in our CSA share present a challenge because I enjoy them and he absolutely will not eat.  I’m running out of easy ways to prepare these vegetables that will last a while.  Suggestions anyone?

Fruit has its own set of rules that seem to change constantly.  Blueberries used to be on the “do not fly” list.  That started to relax when we had wild blueberries on our property in Maine.  And now that the bushes we planted in the backyard have started to produce, fresh blueberries have become acceptable for breakfast.  They also moved up a rung as an acceptable addition to a baked fruit tart, though not when featured as the main event.  However, I don’t see cake, such as this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt Cake, as ever passing muster.

I, on the other hand, enjoy cake with fruit.  I don’t make it often because, without an off-site occasion to share, I’d be eating the cake singlehandedly.  Some would find it hard to believe, but I like a cake with fruit much more than a chocolate cake.

I considered making a half-batch as mini-Bundts.  However, this recipe had an odd number of eggs, which is not an insurmountable problem, but a deterrent.  Also, Dorie mentioned that the cake is prone to sticking to the pan.  I didn’t really want to multiple that issue by six (for each mini cake).  So I made the whole thing.

I’m so glad I did.  Blueberry season is over in my yard, so I had to buy the berries, but everything else is always on hand.  This cake came together so easily.  I greased the pan VERY GENEROUSLY and had no issue with it sliding right out.  The crumb is tender and moist, and the underlying flavors (butter, vanilla, and lemon) along with the berries scream of summer.  I think this cake would be delicious made with other berries as well: raspberries, blackberries or a combination.  I still can’t eat the whole thing myself, but I’ll freeze some in chunks for later.

I also made the Ricotta Spoonable, the selected recipe for Cook the Book Fridays from earlier in the month.  I made it on time but didn’t get around to writing about it.  I need to remember to use Instagram for weeks like those.  This creamy spread reminded me of recipes I’ve made before, maybe even as part of this cooking group.  Ricotta is enhanced with lemon juice and zest, shallots, scallions, and fresh herbs.  It can be used as a spread for crostini.  I intended to dollop most of it on pasta I made with cherry tomatoes and corn and serve the rest as crostini the next day.  Unfortunately, the container dropped and cracked (OK, I admit that I dropped it), and I was only able to rescue enough for the pasta.  It was nice, but not a definite repeater (though maybe).

If you’d like to try either of these recipes, they can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Everyday Dorie.  The ricotta is on page 22 and the cake on page 254.  You can’t go wrong with either.  Impressions on the recipes from my Cook the Book Fridays friends can be found here for the ricotta and here for the cake.


Posted on 28 August 2020, in Cook The Book Fridays, Everyday Dorie and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I made 1/3 of the recipe for 7 mini cakes. I always (generally) divide by the number of eggs if I’m minfying. That said, everyone’s full-sized cakes look fab (I don’t have a full sized pan…). I definitely think it would work with other berries but was fab with wild blueberries in the mini pans! Also, that’s an impressive amount of cooking – 166 days! Bravo!

  2. Your post made me laugh. I am with you on the multiple days of cooking…rarely getting take-out. Thankfully I look upon it as a challenge to dream up new ways to entertain myself and also use what we have on hand. This cake was great and I am sure will freeze nicely!! I do have an easy and delicious recipe I just tried from NYTimes recipes. See if you can google it…called Zuchini with Shallots.

  3. Helvyn Benjamin

    Hi. Looks yummy. I make blueberry muffins a lot. I guess we all are cooking and baking more.. fun but getting tired of it. Miss eating out xoxoxo

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Thank you for posting the photo of the spilled Ricotta Spoonable. While I did feel your pain and commiserate with you, I do appreciate seeing other friend’s cooking mishaps. A very dramatic photo to be sure. Remember when making Dorie’s cake she says to pulse after adding the flour mixture? Well, when I pulsed, the flour went flying all over the kitchen. And, I mean “all over.” Then I had to decide how much flour to add to the bowl after. About a fourth of a cup (I decided) was on me, the floor and my cupboards. Nice job to clean up. I liked the cake. I didn’t think this was going to be a winner for Howard. I took a slice and then shared the rest with the front desk kids. Liked your post. Kinda caught up with your life.

  5. oh my– i can’t even imagine not liking this cake– his loss and your win! sorry about that spoonable splat!

  6. I used to make a cornbread with sliced zucchini in it, we ate it as a side dish for dinner. Ellie Krieger has a recipe for breaded zucchini slices that are baked in the oven which I liked. Do you have the Jerusalem cookbook? I am sure there are recipes in there for eggplant. Good luck with all your produce.

    We enjoyed this cake too.

  7. Diane is certainly on the right track to suggest Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, as well as Plenty More for zucchini and eggplant recipes. I love fruit dessert, this cake is a winner.

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