Yesterday afternoon I was delighted to attend a gathering of foodies and food bloggers from the area. We convened on Shayne's home in Livonia, ten "lady food bloggers" and assorted husbands and children, for an afternoon of homemade goodies and lively conversation.
I had been unable to attend the previous gathering due to being on vacation so I was looking forward to this one. I managed to snag a quick catnap on the car ride from Ann Arbor; the 20-mile training run I had done that morning was weighing heavily on my body. I didn't want to nod off at the table once we arrived!
We talked, drank, ate (and ate, and ate), laughed, and had a grand time.
I'm so glad I was able to attend this gathering and I look forward to the next one!
I brought two items: chocolate beet cake and sauteed summer squash pasta salad.
CHOCOLATE BEET CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 cups pureed beets (can be more or less; it really doesn’t affect the taste. 3-5 beets depending on size will work.)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or a mixture depending on your preference)
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting (if desired)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt cake pan (other baking pans will work as well).
To make beet puree, trim stems and roots off beets and quarter them. Place in heavy sauce pan filled with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 50 mins or until the beets are tender. Drain off remaining liquid and rinse beets in cold water. Slide skins off and place beets in blender. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Let cool slightly before using in cake.
SAUTEED SUMMER SQUASH WITH RED PEPPER AND ONION
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
I cooked a batch of whole-wheat penne pasta and tossed it with the squash mixture while it was still in my big braising pan. I also added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to boost the taste because I thought it was kind of bland the first time I had it. I confess I am not a huge fan of squash and this, I feel, is the least "squashy"-tasting squash dish I have ever had. I thought it was delicious, in fact. I've eaten it both hot off the stove and cool as a pasta salad and loved it both times.