Thursday, January 29, 2009


I took this gingerbread in to the office just before Christmas and it was such a hit that I made it for the hosts of the two Christmas parties we went to. Its more like a cake than it is the usual cookies you find everywhere in the holiday season. The original recipe called for 2 eggs but I was running short so substituted it with 1/2 a ripe banana and it really didnt make much of a difference. Its taken me a while to put it up here but the recipe is delicious!


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/6 cup dark molasses

1/6 cup muscovado sugar

1 large egg, 1/2 very ripe banana mashed

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup whipping cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate,

chopped 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch square metal baking pan. I poured mine into a rectangular cake tin and baked a couple of cupcakes with the remaining batter. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment. Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
Mix warm water and baking soda in small bowl until baking soda dissolves. Using electric mixer, beat sugars, butter, molasses, egg and banana, and fresh ginger in large bowl until well blended. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with water mixture in 2 additions, beating until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool on rack 20 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto rack; cool. Peel off parchment.
For glaze:

Heat cream till small bubbles form on the side. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and vanilla; stir until smooth. Let stand until cool but still pourable, about 20 minutes.

Place cake on rack set atop baking sheet. Drizzle glaze over cake.

Bolognese sauce

I found and tried this Oregon times recipe (slightly modified) a good while ago. Whenever I've eaten this in restaurants I had no clue that there were carrots and celery in it...I thought it was the most unlikely combination in pasta sauce but really its not. Carrots and celery get cooked to oblivion and its absolutely delicious and just perfect on a cold winter day with a heaping bowl of pasta.

Bolognese Sauce -
4 tbs olive oil

1 large onion

2 carrots, finely chopped or shredded

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

3 lbs ground chicken

6 spicy chicken sausages (chopped)

2 tbs tomato paste

1 cup good red wine

3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes with their liquid (I used San Marzano)

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 bay leaves


1 half pint of heavy cream or half and half

1/4 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg

Heat olive oil in pan. Gently saute the carrots, onions and celery until translucent, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the ground meat one at a time, crumbling with your hands and not allowing to ball up into large pieces, brown until most of the moisture is evaporated. Add sausages. Add tomato paste. Heat meat and vegetables with paste. Add red wine, stir throughly, and simmer until most of the wine is absorbed or evaporated. Next add tomatoes, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Stir completely and reduce heat to simmer once bubbling. Stir about every 15-20 minutes, scraping the bottom with a flat spatula to prevent burning. Transfer to a slow cooker and simmer for 2-3 hours; If you plan on freezing, remove what you won't use and let cool before bagging in quart freezer bags, without the dairy and nutmeg. About five minutes prior to serving, or when you add the pasta to the boiling water, you can start to add some cream or half and half along with a few pinches of fresh nutmeg to taste. Always add the nutmeg a few minutes prior to serving. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese over pasta if you wish.