Zucchini-Chai Tea Cake

Zucchini-Chai Tea Cake

I almost called this a coffee cake.  Silly me.  Of course this is not a coffee cake.

It’s made with tea and it goes best with tea.  Clearly, it has to be called a tea cake.

Once you’ve tried a bite, I think you’ll agree that this is an important statement – the chai tea makes all the difference in this cake, which might otherwise be called zucchini bread, or something more average-sounding.

And really, this tea cake is not to be called...

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100% Homemade Salmon Salad Sandwich

100% Homemade Salmon Salad Sandwich

 

The recipe du jour is basically the anthem of domesticity.  The epitome of what it means to be homemade.  The very essence of casual comfort food.

Okay, quite possibly, I am exaggerating.   You don’t need to listen to me declaim about the recipe’s epicness – especially when it does such a good job of being simple and straightforward.  The only thing that’s really different about this unassuming meal is that you can make it all yourself.  

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Oven-Fried Chicken 'n Jalapeño-Cornbread Waffles

Oven-Fried Chicken 'n Jalapeño-Cornbread Waffles

Fried chicken.  On top of waffles.  With real maple syrup.

What a concept!  I never even heard of such a thing until recently.  Can you believe that?  Yeah, I never had chicken on top of an actual waffle before – until a group of friends decided to go get some after a Race for the Cure 5k.  It was like breakfast and dinner had a scandalous affair – and then an illegitimate but beautiful baby – and I was the last to know.

Of course, I realize that this isn't health-food.  Not what you expect to find on a blog with “Fit” in the name.  Soul-food, yes; fit-food, no.  But my, the fried chicken and the waffles, they are tasty!

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Entwined Strawberry Cheese Cake

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Heads up before we get into this business:  the “cake” in this Strawberry Cheese Cake is playing a two-faced role here.   What you see is not all you get.

You see, the lovely dessert made with a graham cracker crust and a cream cheese filling, known as cheesecake, is really a cheese pie.  But cheese pie sounds ridiculous, which explains why no one calls it that.

This all makes sense, but when cake and cheesecake finally got together and made a new baked baby… it was difficult to come up with its name.  “Strawberry Cheesecake Cake” would just get the little guy beat up on the playground.

 

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The decision was ultimately made that there be only one “cake” in the name, and it gets to stand alone from the “cheese,” which makes the cake two times as special.

So now you know.  Neither a cake nor a cheesecake, you actually get the pair wrapped in one really delicious hug.  This, of course =

Entwined Strawberry Cheese Cake.

Strawberry Cake:

1 cup (130 g) whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup (70 g) all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature or softened

2.5 oz strawberries, pureed (makes about ½ cup puree)

½ cup Greek yogurt - low or non-fat and plain or vanilla or strawberry will work well

Zest of one orange and one lemon (you may save half of the zest from one for the cream cheese frosting)

¾ cup sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp. orange extract

Cheesecake filling:

1 8-oz package light cream cheese

2 oz strawberry jam – or about ¼ cup (I just used a little kitchen scale to measure)

2 T. flour

2 T. liquid egg whites (or egg whites from one egg)

½ orange or lemon zest

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine, in a small bowl, all ingredients for cheesecake filling with a whisk + set aside.

 

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Spray a 9 x 5” loaf pan with butter flavored cooking spray + set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk, in one bowl.  In a separate large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients thoroughly with a whisk, or with a whisk attachment in an electric mixer. 

Add dry ingredients all at once to wet ingredients, and combine with a rubber spatula until no lumps remain. 

Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Drop the cheesecake mixture, in spoonfuls, in various places on top of the cake batter.  Use a spoon to very gently swirl the cheesecake into the cake.  There should be ribbons of cheesecake throughout the whole cake.

Place the doubly cakey-cake into the oven for 50 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick.  If the toothpick is not clean and it seems like the cake is still sticky inside, you can bake it for up to 10 more minutes. 

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove gently to a wire rack to cool completely.

And that is how the cheese-cake baby is born.  Enjoy with coffee and a big smile!

 

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