Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Plethora Of Plums

Last night I went to a girlfriend's house for dinner and finally got to ravage her Italian Plum trees. I've been waiting for weeks for these little beauties to ripen and finally, finally, I got to pick all the little black beauties my heart desired.

Since it was girls night and we all bring something to share for dinner, I decided to make dessert. While my favorite plum dessert is an upside down cake with sour cream from my idol: Ms. Martha Stewart. But while perusing Facebook yesterday afternoon (for work of course, I am the social media girl ya know) I found a great looking recipe from one of my favorite magazines: Coastal Living. Plum upside down pudding cake. Sounded fantastic, so I  ran off to the store to grab a few things and got to work on dessert.

I did make a couple mistakes. I used too large of a baking dish and not nearly enough plums - which is just plain silly since I had an entire bushel of plums at my disposal. duh. And I would also change a couple things in the recipe. I'd substitute brown sugar for the white refined sugar and I'd use way more butter and brown sugar. I mean why not? Everything's better with butter (and brown sugar)!

But even with my couple of mistakes, the dessert turned out fantastic and was completely gobbled up, with not a crumb leftover! So if you have some plums at your disposal, try this recipe for a quick weeknight dessert. It was fast, easy and very yummy! Thank you Coastal Living.

Plum Upside-Down Pudding Cake

small red or black plums, sliced

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Sweetened whipped cream
1. Combine plums, 1 tablespoon sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a bowl, tossing gently.

  • 2. Grease sides and bottom of a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or deep-dish pie pan. Cover bottom with plum slices, overlapping slightly.
  • 3. Whisk together eggs, remaining sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and butter until well blended.
  • 4. Combine flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; whisk into egg mixture. Pour batter over fruit. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan about 30 minutes.
  • 5. Run tip of knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert onto a platter, and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scanpan: the Danes make a great pan


Denmark is located on a peninsula bordered on the north and west by the North Sea, the east by the Baltic Sea and the south by Germany. Its largest city is Copenhagen, which is actually very close to Sweden (a bridge connects the two), and the entire population is right around 6 million. Humans have lived on this piece of land for around 12,000 years. Denmark is, according to the CIA, about the size of Massachusetts. 

Denmark has a high life expectancy, low unemployment and a high literacy rate*.  It has a gross domestic product of around $200 billion and is renowned for its pharmaceutical, green energy and shipping (by sea, etc.) industries. Denmark also produces a lot of steel, iron and nonferrous metals. 

9-1/2" fry pan
And that brings us to our subject: high quality pans. Specifically, Scanpans. These are pans made of titanium and aluminum** by happy, well-paid, literate workers in an incredible process that also happens to be environmentally friendly. 

For Chef Tools to sell these fine Danish pots and pans is a real coup. 

We added them to the site just a couple of days ago. We have Scanpan fry pans from 8 to 12-3/4 inches, a 10-inch crepe pan, a wok, a 5-1/2 quart saucepot and an 8-piece cookware set (which I desire). But let’s get back to why Scanpans are so special.

They*** start with titanium. They heat it to 30,000 degrees (F), they fuse it with liquid aluminum and then they compress into a pan shape. The result is ceramic titanium, a strong and non-leaky^ metal that’s ideal for cooking. But the process is not over. A layer of PFOA-and PFOS^^-free nonstick coating is applied, which is good for cooking, and a plus for you and the environment. 

Making a Scanpan (photo from Scanpan)

In sum: Scanpan makes durable pans coated with a futuristic nonstick coating that does not contain chemicals with unpronounceable names. Get a Scanpan and celebrate (even for one meal) the cultural and metallurgical miracle that allows you took cook a perfect omelet, salmon fillet or hash browns.

*78.63 years, 5.2 percent and 99 percent, respectively
**Titanium and aluminum are nonferrous; they do not contain iron
***”They” are the Scanpan makers; that gentleman in the photo above, for example
^”Non-leaky” is my phrase to describe a metal that will not leach into your food; your food will not taste like the pan, in other words
^^Perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, respectively, whose harm to mammals and Earth is not fully understood but generally thought to be very bad