Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dinner: Friends & Food

Last night FD and I met up with some new friends for a fabulous dinner. Nothing brings people together like a deep oak dinner table and some fantastic food.

They cooked:

Chicken Breasts marinated in Bourbon vinaigrette;

Zucchini boats stuffed with bread crumbs, spices, veggies, and cheese; and

Tasty pasta salad with pine nuts.

We contributed a vinaigrette-based coleslaw made with kolhrabi, carrots, radishes, red onion, green peppers, parsley and chives, and for dessert...

Stained Glass Cake, an old school cake from the 50's. One of our friends exclaimed, "This is great! Is it Jell-O? It reminds me of being a kid!"

(And I've served it to a 2 year-old who isn't all that fond of desserts and he loved it so much he asked to take a piece home with him when he and his parents left our house after a 4th of July dinner and fireworks party.

Needless to say, this cake appeals to all ages.)

Back to the story:

I claimed I don't bake, so this is the best dessert I can whip up.

To which FD replied, "You made great fruit crisps the other night."

I retorted, "I don't make cakes and shit like that." To which one of our friends laughed, "Let's pool our money and open a bakery called 'Cakes and Shit Like That.'"

I have no interest in opening a bakery.

I'm offering up the great name Cakes and Shit Like That to the public here on this blog. I only ask that anyone who uses it please make Stained Glass Cake in my honor.

Stained Glass Cake (recipe from Cook's Country by Cook's Illustrated)

12 graham crackers, crushed, 1 1/2 c.
3/4 c sugar
5 T unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 (3 oz) boxes of Jell-O (mix and match with flavors you see fit)
4 1/2 c boiling water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 c pineapple juice
2 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325. Stir cracker crumbs, 1/4 c sugar, and butter in bowl until crumbs resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of 9 in springform pan and bake until edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

For the filling: In 3 separate large bowls whisk each box Jell-O with 1 1/2 c boiling water until dissolved. Pour into 3 pie plates and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Once Jell-O has solidified, cut into 1/2 in cubes and keep chilled. Combine 1/4 c pineapple juice and unflavored gelatin in bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, until gelatin is dissolved, 1 to 3 min. With stand mixer set on medium-high speed, whip cream, vanilla, salt, and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add juice mixture until combined. Gently fold Jell-O cubes into cream mixture. Scrape into prepared pan and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Serve.

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