Thursday, August 6, 2020

Covid Cafe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake + More Squash Gone Wild


Hello, chefs, on a quintessential summer day. Here's hoping you can get out for a walk and also make something to eat that hits all the high notes. Bernie's pineapple upside down cake surely qualifies. 

Our morning trips to the Spirit Circle continue to inspire. Here a conflagration of goodness: at left a Row 7 flavorful cuke and at right their Tetra Squash, bred to be enjoyed in its immature state (lower center) and as a winter delicata (at right, developing).

Bernie in Indy writes:  This is the only baking I have done, a fabulous pineapple upside down cake this past weekend. First try. Doesn’t look the best but it was delicious. I wonder if I might need more butter in the pan to mix with the brown sugar, as some of the mixture was crusty when I got it out of the pan--I simply laid it on top. I was expecting it to “drip down” more onto the cake once I turned the pan upside down.

Recipe? Mais oui!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – Cast Iron Skillet

·      1 stick butter (salted)
·      1 ½ cup packed brown sugar
·      1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained
·      1 jar (6 oz) maraschino cherries without stems, drained

·      1 ½ cup flour (all purpose)
·      2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
·      ½ teaspoon salt
·      1 ½ cup granulated sugar
·      ½ cup butter, salted
·      2 eggs, large
·      1 cup milk
·      2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1.    Preheat oven to 375. Melt 1 stick butter in the bottom of a cast iron skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes.
2.    Remove from heat and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Gently press pineapple slices on brown sugar. Gently press a cherry in center of each pineapple slice. Arrange remaining cherries around slices.
3.    Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl
4.    Cream sugar and butter together in a bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla extract, then mix well.
5.    Add flour mixture and milk in an alternating fashion.
6.    Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.
7.    Bake about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake.
8.    Let cake cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.  Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto skillet; turn plate and skillet over. Leave skillet over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake. Allow to cool and enjoy!

 Green bean planted Wednesday
breaking through

We also visit Rudy and Karin's garden each morning. We leave fresh produce in their "beggars box" and yesterday we got slices of lemon cake in return...

This morning Rudy spoke to me from outside the fence: Heidi, there are a couple of squash in here I think you missed. 

This is the jungle to which he was referring, made up of perennials, a gorgeous bloom-laden Rose of Sharon tree, and tomato plants. I asked him to lift the squash since I couldn't see them.

You guessed it:
another monster lurking in the undergrowth
On a related note, this morning David sent me a link to a fascinating story about where loofahs come from. Click here for a short explainer

Spoiler alert:
there's a loofah in this gourd

To a Skylark
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of Heaven,
In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight,

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflow'd.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a Poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden
In a palace-tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its a{:e}real hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:

Like a rose embower'd
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower'd,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves:

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awaken'd flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus Hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Match'd with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest: but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

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