Friday, April 30, 2010

Stone Soup (Barley, Beans, & Vegetable Soup)

Stone Soup
It is fun to make Stone Soup especially for a gathering. Everyone brings their favorite ingredient to add to the pot and shares the resulting soup. There is abundant soup for everyone to enjoy and lots for taking home too; win-win!

I have made this "group soup" several times involving from about 15 to 30 individuals and although it varied, the soup turned out amazingly wonderful every time. I used every container that I could spare and once some people even went home to bring more containers so they could take home their share!

Everyone was asked to bring about two cups of prepared vegetables, cooked beans, etc ready to add to the pot. If it was a small group, each one was asked to bring two ingredients; if it was a large group one was sufficient. Each brought their favorite, root, leaf, or above ground vegetables or those that started with the same initials as their first, middle, or last names, etc, etc. Make it as challenging or easy on your guests - the whole point being sharing and having fun :D. Some of the uncommon veggies my ingenious guests brought are endive (both Belgian and heading type), edamame (green soy beans), kohlrabi, turnip greens, or cooked dried beans. The common vegetables included carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, corn, green beans, zucchinis, etc.

I usually start the soup before the guests arrive - by making the base with the barley. When the guests arrive, I bring the soup to a boil, add their contributions in the order of their cooking times and finish it off.

A word on using noodles: typically cooking them directly in the soup will result in overcooked or soggy noodles; but adding them (cooked 'al dente') at the time of serving instead will prevent that. Do plan on serving some as it is fun for the children of all ages in your party ;D.

CAUTION: If you are actually going to use stones, do use large hard ones without any cracks in them such as smooth quartz so they do not fall apart during cooking and are easy to remove at the end of cooking and no one would accidentally chomp on one and break a tooth - ouch! The beautiful stones actually do look magical! But if stones seem too crazy or weird to pop into a soup, just leave them out; beautiful many-hued beans, potatoes, other vegetable chunks, etc can stand in for them.

12 Servings

Ingredients:

Magical Soup Stones - Optional (well-scrubbed of course)
2 Onions, diced
1 Stalk Celery, diced
1 pinch of ground red pepper
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup Barley
1 Bay Leaf
2 to 3 quarts Vegetable Stock or Water
2 cups dried beans (Pinto, Garbanzo, Kidney, Lima, etc), cooked
2 large Potatoes, diced
3 Carrots, diced
2 cups Corn, fresh/frozen
2 cups Green Beans, 1" pieces
2-3 cups Cabbage (1 small head), diced
1 large head Broccoli, cut into florets
2 Zucchinis, diced
4 Tomatoes, chopped
2 cups Sprouts (Peas, Lentils, Mung Beans)
2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
4-5 Each Fresh Thyme, parsley and sage Sprigs
1 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 lb. Small Noodles, cooked al dente (Optional) - to serve

Method:

Make the base :

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and cook the onions and the herb sprigs with a pinch of salt and the red pepper gently until translucent.

Add the celery and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften slightly.

Stir in the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the barley, turmeric, about 2 quarts of the stock, and the magical soup stones if using and bring to a boil. Simmer until barley is tender - about 40 minutes.

Finish making the soup when the guests arrive with their contributions:

Stir in the carrots, potatoes and corn and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the veggies, cooked dried beans with their cooking liquid and cook until just tender.

Add more stock or water to thin the soup to desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the bay leaf; stir in the chopped herbs.

Place a spoonful of the noodles in bowls and fill with soup.

Serve hot. Enjoy!!

Lemon/Lime Pickles With Ginger & Green Chile (Preserved Lemons/Limes)

Simple Lemon Pickles

These simple pickles are delicious with the wonderful flavors of hot green chilies and ginger. Young ginger is especially delightful and turns a lovely pink in the pickle. If you are not a ginger fan, just leave it out. Make it with just a couple of lemons or more, it takes just a few minutes to prepare and keeps well in the fridge.

Once you taste these pickles, you'll want to keep a constant supply ready to serve. Just from my description of these pickles, one of my colleagues (who had never tasted Indian food until last year) was inspired to make them. Now you should see Nancy's snack/lunch - crackers spread with cream cheese with a healthy serving of lemon pickles on top :P!

Lemons with their sweet, soft and thick succulent rinds do not require a long period of curing - Paji can attest to that as he is known to more than just sample the pickles on the day of preparation - he takes his job of testing very seriously :D! Limes - regular and Key limes - make flavorful pickles but their tougher rinds take a little longer to soften. Hot green chilies such as Thai birds' eye, Jalapeno or Serrano, etc may be used.

For those who want quicker results there are two methods you can follow. 1. Freeze the lemons overnight before making pickles. 2. Drop the lemons/limes in boiling water to cover, remove with a slotted spoon after 3 minutes, cool and prepare the pickles.

There are many ways of making this pickle: All are delicious but just a bit different.

I - make the pickles without the optional ingredients.
II - add the raw fenugreek seeds.
III - toast the fenugreek seeds lightly
and grind coarsely instead of adding raw.
IV - add a carrot or two cut into small sticks or slices.
V - add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds toasted in a small quantity of oil with a tiny pinch of asafoetida to any of the variations above.

The amounts given below are for the large lemons/limes; if you are using key limes, use more of them or adjust the other ingredients.

Ingredients:


4 Lemons/Limes
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds (optional)
2 - 4 Hot Green Chilies or to taste
1" long piece of fresh Ginger

Method:

Scrub the lemons well, wash and dry. Cut them into small pieces.

Wash, dry and cut the chilies into slivers or slices; remove the core with the seeds if you prefer mild pickles. Peel and cut the ginger into thin slices and then julienne into matchstick like pieces.

Combine all the ingredients in a clean, dry, non-reactive bowl and mix well.

Store in a clean, dry, sterile glass jar.

Place in strong sun for 3-4 days to a week and shake to mix thoroughly each day.

If placing in the sun is not an option, keep the jar on the counter-top and mix well daily.

When the rinds/fenugreek seeds soften and the juices have thickened somewhat, the pickle is ready to eat.

Store the pickles in the refrigerator.

Serve the pickles with simple meals such as rice/bread and dals, Upma, Yogurt rice, etc. It is delicious finely chopped in sandwiches and in salad dressings. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kidney Bean and Whole Mung Dal (Bean Stew)

It seems that I just cannot get enough Mung beans these days! When I made this stew/dal it got rave reviews from everyone. What's not to like - the wholesome beans packed with protein, vitamins and minerals are as tasty as they are nutritious. Whether you make it spicy or mild, it is sure to be a winner. Serve it over plain rice, jeera rice, pulav or with Indian flat breads and chopped salad. Delish!

Cook the beans in a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time or use the quick-soak method: bring the beans to a boil, cover and set aside for 2 hours to soak. Proceed to cook the beans until soft after soaking is complete.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole Mung Beans
1/4 cup Kidney Beans
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp whole Cumin seeds
1 Tbsp grated fresh Ginger
1 hot green chili, cored and minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp each Ground Cumin and Coriander
1/2 tsp ground Red Chili (cayenne)
1 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1/2 cup loosely packed Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Lime/lemon wedges for garnish

Method:

Sort, wash and drain the beans. Combine and cook with fresh water to cover until soft. This step can be done up to one or two days ahead.

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the cumin seeds; when they brown slightly, add the ginger and green chili and cook until fragrant - a minute or two.

Add all the spices and stir well.

Pour the cooked beans along with their cooking liquid and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes stirring occasionally and adding hot water if necessary to adjust the consistency. The dal should be thick and creamy.

Turn off the heat and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the coriander leaves and serve hot. Pass the lime/lemon wedges to squeeze over the dal as desired. Enjoy!

This dal freezes well if you have more than what you need for a meal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Whole Mung Kuzhambu (Chettinad Style Mung Bean Stew)

Chettinad is a region in South India famous for their art and architecture as well as delectably spicy but wholesome cuisine. Simple ingredients like beans and vegetables are transformed into heavenly tasting treats with the addition of a few spices. This kuzhambu/stew made in the Chettinad style is utterly delicious, hearty, and nutritious. The mung beans cook up succulent and delectable. I knew it was a winner when Paji asked for leftovers!

It can be prepared using young sponge gourd (tori or loofah), zucchini, bottle gourd aka lauki/dudhi/cucuzzi/opo squash; any greens like turnip greens, spinach, or Malabar spinach (Basella alba), etc. Tangy sorrel or Gongura leaves may be used instead of and/or in combination with the tamarind.

I used red Swiss chard and a couple of French sorrel leaves this time. Just because the stems of the chard/sorrel look tough, don't discard them as looks can be deceiving! Do include the stems - the finely chopped stems need a little longer cooking than the leaves.

4 - 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Cup Whole Mung beans
1 bunch Swiss Chard
2 or 3 large sorrel leaves
2 hot green chilies
1 small Onion
1 clove Garlic (optional)
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves
2 tsp Tamarind concentrate
1 Tbsp Sambar Powder or to taste
11/2 tsp Sea Salt
2-4 Tbsp fresh Coriander leaves (Cilantro) - for garnish

Thalippu/Tadka:

1 Tbsp Oil
1 dry Red chili
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 or 2 pinches asafoetida
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Sort the mung beans, wash well, and cook with water to cover with a pinch of turmeric until soft. Stir in 1/2 tsp of the salt and set aside until needed. This can be done up to a day or two ahead of time.

Meanwhile, prepare the veggies: finely chop onions and garlic. Strip the leaves from the chard and sorrel; chop the stems and leaves coarsely and keep them separate. Halve the green chilies, remove the cores with the seeds, and mince. Finely chop the curry leaves.

Prepare thalippu: heat the oil in a large sauce pan and add the mustard, fenugreek, and red chili; when the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the asafoetida and the black pepper.

Add the curry leaves, onions, and garlic with the rest of the salt and the turmeric; cook stirring often until the onions are softened.

Stir in the chard stems and cook for a couple of minutes.

Sprinkle the Sambar Powder and then 1 cup of water and the tamarind paste; bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked beans and hot water to get the right consistency. bring to a boil stirring often. Simmer the kuzhambu for 15 minutes on low heat.

Increase the heat, stir in the chopped chard and sorrel leaves and cook until the leaves wilt and soften.

Remove from heat, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the red chili and discard if you wish.

Serve hot garnished with cilantro if you wish.

Delicious on its own, served with chapatis, or other Indian flat breads, or over rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shobha's Spicy Green Chutney

This green chutney is lovely to serve with meals as well as snacks. Shobha adds the extra ingredients for an extra delicious chutney :D.

Ingredients:

1 bunch Fresh Cilantro (Coriander Leaves or Dhania)
1 small bunch Fresh Mint (Spearmint or Pudina)
3 or 4 Green Onions, white and green parts
2 hot green chili (JalapeƱo or Serrano) or more to taste
1 tsp whole Cumin seeds, toasted
1 clove fresh Garlic
1/2 " piece Fresh Ginger
1 ripe Tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1 Lime or Lemon
1 pinch Sugar

Method:

Sort out weeds and yellow leaves from mint and cilantro and discard. Strip the leaves and tender tips of the mint and cilantro; discard the stems. Wash the herbs well in several changes of fresh water to get rid of sand and grit. Spin dry in a salad spinner or gently blot dry with paper/kitchen towels.

Wash well the green onion and trim the ends and any yellow leaves. Chop coarsely.

Wear gloves before processing the chiles: cut off the stems from the green chilies and cut in half. If you like a mild chutney, remove the seeds from the chilies. Chop the chilies coarsely.

Chop the ginger and the tomato coarsely.

Squeeze the lime/lemon and discard the rinds.

Place the lime/lemon juice and the rest of the ingredients in a blender container and process into a smooth puree adding a little water if necessary.

Taste and adjust lime juice and salt until they are well balanced.

Refrigerate in a covered jar until ready to serve. The chutney will stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature with snacks or as desired.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hema's Black Currant Sponge Cake

I had been wanting to try this recipe out when I finally got it -Yes! Only problem was, I could not find the black currants although I searched far and wide. Not to be stymied by a bit of fruit, I substituted other dried fruit (a mixture of dried blueberries, strawberries, and cherries) and also made it egg-less! I used a 9" round pan and it was just barely big enough to hold all of the batter. Although there were no spills with the 9" pan, a bigger pan such as a 9"x13" pan might be better.

All said and done, the cake turned out great. The lovely surprise was the almost crispy golden crust it developed!

If the proof of the cake is in the eating, then this cake definitely is a keeper as it disappeared rather quickly. The chunks of dried fruit contrasts deliciously with the sweet cake. It is a yummy cake and needs no topping or icing; besides, why would one want to hide the beautiful golden crust? But if you must have a topping, I would either just give it a light dusting of snowy powdered sugar or drizzle a little of the powdered sugar and lemon/orange juice icing. Enjoy :P!

Here is Hema's original recipe (+ the additions/substitutions).

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, 2 sticks or Vegan Substitute
1 cup Sugar
3 large Eggs (I used 3 T cornstarch + 6 T water)
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 cup milk, any kind (I used 1/2 cup)
2 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder (I used 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Black Currants (I used 1/2 cup dried fruits)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt (if using unsalted butter) together twice to mix thoroughly.

Cream the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.

Beat the corn starch and water (or the eggs) separately until frothy and add to the butter mix; beat well.

Add the flour little by little alternating with the essence and milk, ending with flour (if the batter seems too thick add a little more milk before adding the last of the flour). Beat for 2 minutes.

Coat the currants/dried fruit with a little flour and add to the batter. Mix lightly.

Pour the batter into a greased 8 by 8" or 9" round pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or till done. (I had to bake the cake 10 more minutes, for a total of 50 minutes.)

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack after removing the cake from the pan. (Add icing when completely cool.)

Cut the cake when completely cool.

Good & Good For You Red Velvet Cake

I have wanted to make Red Velvet Cake ever since I heard the name - it sounds so luxurious and the color looked so lovely! But even the vegan recipes contained a huge amount of red dye much to my disappointment and when I found out that some of the dyes are made from crushed beetles (yikes!), I just could not stomach the idea of eating beetle juice any more than eggs. Until ............ I had the "Eureka" moment to make a healthy one with - Yes, Beets!

I kept buying beets to make the cake but kept eating them up in salad or as thoran :P. Finally, I saved a few for the cake and decided to test out my theory by adapting an old zucchini cake recipe from King Arthur Flour with the beets standing in for the zucchini; I used 6 small beets. I also tweaked the ingredients to make it a vegan cake. To my pleasant surprise, the cake turned out quite successful. Although Keeshu insisted that he could taste the beets a little, it did not in the least discourage him from gobbling up a lion's portion of the cake ;D.

Although I am not a fan of icing, I have included it here as it gives the cake a nice finish and also gives it a bit more orange flavor. If you use the Tofutti cream cheese instead of the regular, it will still be vegan fare.

Using a microplane for zesting the orange makes it a breeze; use only the colored top layer.

Ingredients:

2 cups Unbleached Flour
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Freshly grated Nutmeg
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Soy/Rice Milk
Zest and Juice (1/2 cup) from 1 Orange
2 cups grated peeled Beets
1 cup Almond meal/ground almonds
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Icing: 8 oz. Tofutti or regular cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 1 Tbsp orange zest, about 1 Tbsp fresh Orange juice without any pulp

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9x13" pan by oiling lightly or spraying with cooking oil spray.

Puree the grated beets with the orange juice until smooth using a blender.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl; stir to mix well and make a well in the center.

Add the pureed beets, the rest of the liquid ingredients, and zest.

Stir well to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool.

Prepare the icing: Place the tofutti/cream cheese to soften in a bowl. Sift the confectioner's sugar into the bowl. Add the zest and beat until fluffy with a tsp of the juice at a time to help mix- there should be no lumps.

Spread the icing over the completely cooked cake. Cut the cake into desired size pieces and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vegan Lemony Soda Bread With Poppy Seeds

Lemony Soda Bread is a delicious addition to one's quick bread repertoire. It is vegan, easy to make, and healthy too; I have incorporated whole wheat flour to increase the nutrients. It is luscious with dried blueberries, strawberries, cherries or any combination; cranberries, raisins or currants may also be used. Since Soda Bread A l'Orange has been such a success, I have been wanting to try my hand at one using lemons. And on a spur of the moment I added some poppy seeds......... needless to say, I am pleased with the results :D!

Fragrant and juicy Meyer lemons are perfect for this recipe; but if Meyer lemons are not available, other lemons will work also. Regular lemons are tarter than Meyer lemons which are on the sweet side - so soda bread using a regular lemon will have a more pronounced tart lemony taste. I have made this recipe using both types of lemons and love the tangy taste of regular lemon; but if you prefer, you could decrease the tartness by substituting water for 1-2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Or try Soda Bread A l'Orange if you are partial to orange flavor rather than lemon; these are probably the easiest and tastiest recipes for making soda bread.

I love making these in muffin tins for neat individual servings. Made in small loaf pans or fancy molds, these are great at tea time and make great gifts too :D. When using other molds or pans, the baking time will need to be adjusted.

Ingredients:


1 cup each Unbleached Flour and Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice (1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp Oil
1 cup Milk (any type)
1 Tbsp Corn Starch + 2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup dried fruits, your choice

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a standard 8 inch square cake pan: coat with oil or a cooking oil spray.

Stir the flours in their containers/bags before measuring.

Measure the flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl; stir gently to mix and make a well in the center.

Add the lemon zest, poppy seeds and the dried fruits to the bowl; if the dried fruit pieces are large, chop them to desired size.

Pour all of the liquid ingredients into the well in the flour mixture.

Combine all the ingredients gently but thoroughly but do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and the bread pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan.

Cool and serve warm with Lime Curd, Lemon/Lime Honey spread, or other preserves. It is good at room temperature also but can be warmed or toasted. Enjoy!

Fried Rice With Fresh Tomato Coulis

Fried rice does not have a specific recipe nor does it need one; it is a great way of using up cold rice that might otherwise end up chucked into the compost bin. Amma made it Indian style - transforming plain leftovers into delicious dinners with just a few ingredients. Use leftover cold rice and whatever bits and pieces of veggies you might have on hand - that's it, really quite simple!

The basic ingredients needed to make good fried rice are: a large seasoned wok (overcrowding will not do - will result in messy as well as mushy results), leftover cold rice, a selection of vegetables, and some oil. The recipe below gives an idea of the types of suitable veggies for fried rice; use some, all, or others according to your taste. Your favorite cooked beans and/or tofu are welcome additions to boost the protein content. I often make browned tofu seasoned with a bit of garlic and soy sauce separately and either serve it alongside the fried rice or add to it.

I generally try to use a combination of veggies to please the eye as well as the palate - use what your family would like. Children especially enjoy choosing and chopping the veggies. As you probably know, children tend to eat what they prepare - a great device to help them enjoy their 5 servings of veggies a day! And it provides them with training for life-long healthy eating - as Amma would say, "if they don't learn by 5 they aren't going to at 50".

We particularly like warm fried rice with the cool, juicy, fresh tomato coulis (pronounced coo-lee) - a delicious combination! I got the idea of serving coulis because Amma always served Pulav/Indian fried rice with chopped salad and Keeshu wanted chopped tomatoes on his portion of fried rice. The coulis can be prepared with cherry tomatoes also.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Rice, preferably Brown (about 3 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Peanut Oil
8 oz. fresh Mushrooms
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, finely grated
1 small Red Onion/Leek
1 small head Broccoli/Cauliflower
1 small Zucchini
1 Red Bell Pepper (capsicum)
1 Carrot
1 cup Sprouts or Corn kernels/Peas, fresh/frozen
2 cups Cabbage, shredded
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
A couple of pinches Sea Salt
Soy sauce to taste
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
Chili-Tomato Sauce to serve
Tomato Coulis to serve: 4 ripe Tomatoes, 1/2 lime, 4 Tbsp Fresh chopped Cilantro, 1 Tbsp Chili-Tomato Sauce or to taste

Method:

Cook the rice according to manufacturer's directions and leave to cool several hours or overnight.

Prepare the veggies: Wash and drain all the veggies. Slice the mushrooms and leeks; separate the broccoli/cauliflower florets into small pieces and slice the peeled broccoli stems into small bite-sized pieces. Grate or shred the carrots coarsely. Dice all the other veggies into similar size pieces.

Prepare the coulis : cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and gently squeeze to remove seeds and excess moisture from the tomatoes, dice them and place in a bowl. Just before serving add the lime juice, cilantro and the chili-tomato sauce to taste. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and serve.

Heat the wok until very hot.

Pour the oil and carefully swirl to coat the wok; the hot oil covers the surface of the wok and this step insures that the wok will not get sticky during the cooking process.

Add the mushrooms and cook with a pinch of salt until their juices evaporate and they are slightly browned.

Stir in onions/leeks, garlic and broccoli/cauliflower and stir-cook until they are softened.

Mix in the bell pepper and the zucchini and stir-cook until hot.

Add sprouts/corn/peas and stir cook until softened and warmed through.

Now stir in the cabbage and grated carrots and cook stirring until the cabbage wilts slightly.

Stir in the rice (break up any lumps with wet hand - moistened with cold water) and cook stirring until hot.

Sprinkle soy sauce, the sesame oil, and the green onions; mix well.

Serve hot in shallow bowls with a spoonful or two of the tomato coulis and a dollop of the chili-tomato sauce if desired.

Children might prefer to enjoy their portions of fried rice with a plain or lightly seasoned tomato coulis. Enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Linola's Egg-less Apple Cherry Upside Down Cake

This is one delicious cake and how! It is essentially two cakes in one pan since Linola places apples on one half and cherries on the other. And even better, it is egg-less! It is Linola's adaptation of a recipe that she found on cookingclub.com. Absolutely to live for!

Linola loves to pile drained canned dark sweet cherries on one half of the pan and as many apples as needed to fill out the other side depending on their size. Other types of cherries or fruits may be used instead - about 4-5 cups total amount. Linola prefers a glass baking dish for baking this cake because she can see if the contents come out completely when the pan is turned upside down.

Without further ado, here is the much awaited recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9"x13" cake pan by oiling or spraying with cooking oil spray.

Fruit Layer:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 cups pitted sweet cherries (canned or fresh)
Chopped apples (about 4)

Heat the butter in a small pan until melted; stir in the brown sugar and keep heating until melted and bubbly - about a minute or so. Stir in the cinnamon and pour into the prepared pan to cover the bottom.

Arrange the fruit over the butter-brown sugar mixture; cover one half of the pan with cherries and the other with the apples.

Cake:

21/2 cups Unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Almond Extract
11/2 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Cornstarch + 1/3 cup milk or water
3/4 cup Sour Cream

Sift together the flour, salt, nutmeg and baking soda into a medium bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar with the almond extract until fluffy and light.

Beat in the cornstarch and milk mixing well.

Add the flour mixture and sour cream 1/3 rd at a time and beat until smooth.

Spoon the batter evenly over the fruit in the baking pan. Do not worry if it is not perfectly even; the batter will even out while baking.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until it is done - a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake should come out clean or the cake should spring back if pressed gently with a finger.

While the cake is still hot, run a thin spatula or a knife around the edges, and place a platter or tray over the cake, and carefully turn the whole thing upside down.

Let the cake cool and serve warm. Delicious served as is, with the optional whipped topping, or with Vanilla or Butter Pecan ice cream :P. Enjoy!

Topping:

11/2 cup Whipping Cream
3 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
OR
Ice cream to serve

Place the cream in a cold bowl and beat it until soft peaks form. Mix in the sugar and vanilla and beat well until the peaks hold when the beater is lifted out. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve the warm cake with the whipped topping or a la mode. Enjoy!