On Friday (after working all morning on the conference paper still hanging over my head), I decided to cook. My brother Kevin was coming over on Saturday to hang out and have dinner, and I’d been craving a real meal. One in which I know every ingredient we’re eating. I landed on golden splitpea soup (from one of the Moosewood cookbooks), bread machine whole wheat, and spinach salad with home made peanut dressing. My meal looked like this:
Now, I am of course a “betwixt and between gal” with regard to slow versus prepared food, as I am with just about everything else. Almost every meal we eat includes home made food, often things that we have done completely from scratch. I make my own soups, we buy fresh (non-antibiotic) meats and fresh or frozen vegetables. (How I managed to be a vegetable lover after suffering canned vegetables as a child, I do not know.) But, we also use prepared breadcrumbs in our meatloaf and meatballs, canned tomato soup in our American chop suey—you get the idea. So the “complete slow food meal” doesn’t happen all the time, just sometimes. Saturday was one of those times.
Making foods from scratch was also the perfect way to spend my Friday afternoon, which is after all a period of segue between work week and weekend. And the sights and smells of cooking or baking are so lovely. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to music (or the radio) and cook at a leisurely pace. One of my least favorite things to do is to rush in order to get dinner on the table.
Of course, it helped that I was wearing cat ears while cooking.
Attitude is everything, after all.
I even made dessert which, since it was for Kevin, had to be sponge cake. I didn’t take a photo of it—and really, sponge cake looks pretty bland even though it’s tasty. So, in lieu an image, I’ll share the recipe. It’s very easy, and very good.
June Sullivan’s Sponge Cake**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour an 8x8 inch square baking pan.
With an electric mixer, beat together (for about 3-4 min):
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
Add wet and dry mixtures alternately into egg-sugar mixture, beating for about a minute in-between each addition.
Bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, until the top springs back upon touch and a knife or toothpick comes out of the center clean
You can put on powdered sugar, or glaze, if you want. But really, this simple cake is good just the way it is. This cake is also easy to double, in which case you should use a 13x9 inch pan.
**The Sullivan family in Rockport was almost as big as ours—7 kids. Not only did we get this sponge cake recipe from their matriarch, but I was named after one of their daughters. (After seven other kids, my parents were running out of names. I was almost stuck with the name Donna, which in MA would have made me "Donnah O'Connah" my entire life. Eesh.)
What is your favorite home made food? Where/when in your life does it come from?