I took an anti-Valentine's Day cooking class at, where else?, the Brooklyn Kitchen. Our teachers were the inimitable Tamara Reynolds and Zora O'Neill, authors of Forking Fantastic.¹ I had earlier met them at Word's "Sunday night dinner" potluck and appreciated their devil-may-care approach to cooking. Their philosophy is all about having fun when you cook even in the face of disaster, and their enthusiasm didn't wane during class. Every dish is simple and, dare I say, fantastic in its own way: easy to prepare with a touch gourmet. I even searched for miso after Zora encouraged its use.
They welcomed the class with pork hearts as an appetizer before dessert. Yes, dessert, as the class promised dessert first. And it was delicious. And, if you skip the glaze, which I'm not including and is chocolate overload in my opinion, vegan.
I'm not vegan by any means. In fact, nothing would make me happier than spending the rest of my days carnivorously glutting myself at Peter Luger, but I doubt my arteries, waistline, and wallet would be similarly glad. So I attempt to eat healthfully as often as possible: my snacks consist of fruit, protein-rich quinoa has replaced brown rice in meals, and my go-to at-work lunch, which had been roasted broccoli and a serving of ravioli, is now the best salad ever (blog post of the recipe to come).
Anyways, I've been becoming more veggie-conscious, culminating in my mostly vegetarian Super Bowl party, for which I made kick-ass vegan (if you skip the cheese) chili (blog post of the recipe to come), and I make note of the ingredients of every recipe that comes into view in case it's something I can make for my herbivorous pals. When Zora introduced this chocolate cake as "depression cake," all the girls giggled; yeah, we've all been there with a comfort food, stuffing ourselves aimlessly on a bad day or during that time of the month. However, depression cake was invented during the Great Depression, when most families could not afford eggs and dairy.
By definition it's vegan. That doesn't mean it's healthful,² but it beats Entenmann's for special occasions. Just try not to eat the whole thing.
Six-Minute Chocolate Cake (anything in bold is a spin or my preference)
1.5 cups of flour
1/3 cup of cocoa (or substitute flour and cocoa with Bob's Red Mill chocolate cake mix)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or walnut oil [Zora's suggestion])
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and gather ingredients:
Grease eight-inch square or nine-inch round cake pan with oil (I used grapeseed) and coat with cocoa (or cake mix):
Sift together all dry ingredients:
Mix together all liquid ingredients EXCEPT VINEGAR in a measuring cup:
Pour liquids into dry mixture and mix:
Pop batter into the pan and ready the vinegar:
Pour vinegar in -- do not be alarmed at the chemical reaction:
And combine until all the discoloration is gone; work fast:
Bake twenty-five to thirty minutes. Muffin is impatient:
Perform the toothpick test and let cool. Do not let Muffin nor roommate eat:
Enjoy during Buffy night³:
Even men like depression cake!
¹ The full title is Forking Fantastic! Put the Party Back in Dinner Party. Order it from your friendly neighborhood indie.
² Bitchcakes has excellent posts about cutting out artificial ingredients from your diet, which I mention because people think "It's sugar/fat/calorie free! It must be good for me!" Well, most likely it's not.
³ Shout-out to Jessica, the best hostess in Williamsburg!
Friday, February 12, 2010
out of service for the past few weekends and replaced by shuttle buses. Because trackwork was suspended last weekend, the last weekend of no G, Brooklynites get to enjoy a three-day weekend without the predictably crappy G and with the unpredictably disastrous shuttles. Briana of Unemployed Brooklyn contributed her horror story to Greenpointers. Originally I was not going to write up my experience for this blog but decided to share it here after sending it to Briana's friend Chris, leader of the Skint. He wanted to visit Greenpoint this weekend but was dismayed on this goal after discovering the G was yet again out of commission.
I wouldn't recommend the G shuttle buses because the drivers don't know where they're going and can't help the hysterics who are lost. I was taking the shuttle into LIC, having just missed the B62, and both the driver and a passenger were oblivious to the elevated 7 train. "Where's the 7?" she kept asking anxiously. "I don't know," the bus driver said, "I just stop where I see yellow signs." So I had to step in and point out: "Um, guys, look at the train tracks down the block. The 7 is right in front of you."People of Brooklyn: don't be like that hipster girl; do some investigating about alternative routes and plan on what to do if something goes wrong. This includes seeing if another bus or train can take you to where you're going, and you need not deal with airheads like people who can't see the 7 when it's right in front of them since it has its regular passengers and drivers.
To make matters worse, the driver completely missed the Court Square stop (it had a yellow sign) -- after stopping at Court House Square for the 7 -- and this hipster woman in a cropped fur coat and huge-ass sunglasses (at night, in the rain) came down on him like a shit storm and gave it to me when I said she could take whatever came in at Queens Plaza for the same service plus the R.