Seventy-five posts have been published since July 10, 2011. I couldn't believe I had written that many. The most read posts of the first year are:
Poppyseed Garden Pasta Salad
Chicken-Apple Salad with Candied Pecans
Why did I start this blog?
I recently answered this same question a post or two ago, when I was nominated for The Addictive Blogger award. I hope you don't mind if I use part of that post to answer this question. I started blogging for my three children. Like many women, I worked full-time when they were growing up and, for one reason or another, didn't take the time to really teach them how to cook. I wasn't able to share with them the recipes that are stored in my head. Or tell them why I choose one recipe over another. I realized I hadn't shared the super-secret techniques that make cooking and baking so much easier - things I started learning in Home Economics (which they no longer teach in many public schools) and tips I picked up as my own cooking skills matured. I wanted something for them that they could access forever (what happens on the internet stays on the internet, right?). Something that would help them learn. And help others, in the process.
I wanted my children and others to know cooking and baking should be fun. It doesn't matter if it doesn't look just like the picture. It doesn't matter if it doesn't look anything like the picture. I even found myself beating up on my creations because they didn't look like the picture and had to remind myself (many times) that it was OK. The legendary Julia Child famously noted, “It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” She also said, “I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make…. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile…then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile.”
I think that's pretty good advice. How about you?
Relax. Have fun. Be patient. We can't all be professionals. But we all CAN cook and learn to cook well. That's what I'd like people to take away from my blog.
I wish we could all be together to celebrate It's not just about the recipe . . . .'s first anniversary, enjoying our cake and coffee together. Since we can't, how about if I share a fantastic cake recipe with you?
A Genoise cake is an Italian sponge cake named for the city of Genoa. This type of cake uses no chemical leavening, but instead, uses air suspended in the batter during mixing to give the cake volume. Genoise cakes are lean on fat and are often soaked with flavored syrups or liqueurs and frosted with buttercream or whipped cream.
I made the simple syrup for my cake first, so it had plenty of time to cool. Next, I made the cake. Just prior to assembling the cake, I prepared the strawberries and whipped the cream. You can do the steps in whatever order works best for you, but be sure to completely cool the cake and syrup before assembling.
Strawberry-Basil Genoise with Whipped Cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar by hand until combined. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Gently whisk until the mixture registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Put the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale and almost tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour over the egg mixture in 2 additions and carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fold a large dollop into the melted butter, then fold back into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a work surface. Turn the cake right side up, leaving the parchment paper in place. Cut the cake into 2 equal layers. Put the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.
For the Basil Simple Syrup & Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
3 cups of fresh strawberries
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the basil leaves; stir gently. Steep until the syrup has cooled to room temperature. While the syrup is cooling, clean, hull and cut 2 1/2 cups of strawberries into small pieces. Place the strawberries in a bowl and set aside. Strain the syrup and discard the basil leaves.
Brush the cut sides of the cake with about half of the syrup. Make the whipped cream.
For the Whipped Cream:
3 cups cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
Whip the cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks.
Drain any accumulated liquid from the bowl of cut strawberries. Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the strawberries.
Place some of the whipped cream into a bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a border of whipped cream around the edge of the bottom layer, creating a dam. Spread the strawberry-whipped cream mixture evenly on top of the cake, inside the dam.
Position the remaining cake layer, cut side down, on top. Peel off the paper. Brush with the remaining basil simple syrup. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
Select one strawberry. Do not hull it and leave the cap in-tact. Thinly slice the strawberry, but take care not to cut all the way through. Position it on top of the cake (wherever you desire). Arrange the remaining strawberries (either cut into slices or in half) around the edge of the cake, if you like. If you reserved any of the whipped cream, you can pipe shells around the edge for a more decorative effect.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Thank you SO MUCH for a great year!
This post is linked with love to the following: