Monday, July 20, 2009

Finally, Tomatoes

Monday: Tomato Salad; Corn on the Cob; bread; Cherry Buttermilk Cake

When we went to the farmer's market yesterday, it was obvious that summer had finally arrived: peaches, corn, AND tomatoes! Very exciting. We ate all our peaches yesterday, but didn't end up having the corn and tomatoes.

The corn I just microwaved (if I'm not going to be grilling, this is my favorite way to make corn): you don't need to shuck it - just put the corn (silk, husks, and all) into the microwave. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes/ear. Use oven mitts when peeling the husks off - you will find that the silk just comes off with the husk.

We had two gorgeous but slightly bruised heirloom tomatoes (the exact variety escapes me right now). They were "seconds," so half-price and really ripe. I cut them up and (gently) tossed them with salt, pepper, fresh basil (chopped), and a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Today was cool enough that I finally decided it was worth using the oven to bake a cake I've been meaning to try for a while, the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake that Deb of the Smitten Kitchen recently adapted from Gourmet magazine's recipe. We have had the most luscious cherries recently, and I wanted to give them a try with this recipe. She apparently had to adjust the cooking time downward, but it took the very upper end of the time range for my cake to even begin to look done. I think this may have been because the cherries added some extra moisture. Anyway, this recipe is definitely a keeper. I think you could get away with serving it as part of a brunch in lieu of coffee cake, even. Excuse me while I dash downstairs for another piece.

Cherry Buttermilk Cake
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large (57 grams) egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved (about 5 oz)
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) turbinado sugar (aka "Sugar in the Raw")

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter cherries evenly over top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

Serves about 6

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