Saturday, September 25, 2010


The summer is dwindling to a tragic close, yet again.

But when Indian Summer (Native American Summer?) hits, you'd better be ready to make some red, white, and blue potato salad to celebrate the resurgence of warmth & joy.

Here is a sloppy recipe for you:


step one: chop up a bunch of stuff. potatoes. a few of each color. I would try out 3 yukons, 3 red-skinned or cranberry fingerlings, and 3 big old purple/all-blue potatoes. also chop up some red onion and fresh thyme if you've got it!

step two:
throw the potatoes into a pot of boiling water. cook 'em until they're soft. drain!

step three: put those taters in a bowl and add the wet stuff. about 3/4 a cup of veganaise (the purple jar is best) or mayo and a spoonful of stone ground mustard and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. stir in the red onion (use about 3/4 of chopped onion) and a whole bunch of thyme. I've been pretty enamored of thyme, lately. The more the merrier! Put in whatever else you fancy. I tend to be partial to some smoked paprika in my potato salad.

step four: eat. share with friends. this stuff only gets better as it sits in the fridge, so don't hesitate to make enough for leftovers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chocolate Beet Cake

Alright. It's time to unveil the long awaited recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake.

I used a piecemeal recipe for the root-y cakes for the past few years, until Eric shared his copy of The City Gardeners Cookbook with me. Their recipe for beetcake is totally fantastic. I made some changes but they still turned out super.

1 cups cooked & pureed beets
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs (substitute for 2 mashed bananas if baking for vegans)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

you know the drill:
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Melt the chocolate in a double
boiler (or a bowl resting precariously on top of a small pot of simmering water) and let it cool to the point where it wont cook yr eggs. Beat the 3 eggs (or banana substitute) lightly. Add oil, sugar, vanilla, cooled melted chocolate, the applesauce, and the beet mush. Stir it up & set it aside.

Next, sift together yr dry stuff in a different bowl - the two kinds of flour, baking soda & salt. Combine the dry ingredients with the chocolate-beet-goo, and beat until blended. Pour into greased & floured cake pans or muffin tins or cupcake wrappers - whatever you like. Bake for about 35 minutes if making a cake - less if making cupcakes. Use a toothpick to see if the cakes are cooked in the middle.

Set those suckers out to cook on a cooling rack or an overturned milk crate or some other cooling structure. You don't want them to be too warm for frosting, or it will run all over the place.


The recipe I've used recently is fun, hectic and composed primarily of guess-work. Thanks to Mrs. Megan Davis I also have enough frosting in my fridge to last until the apocalypse (2012!?). The idea is to mix together cream cheese, sour cream, butter, powdered sugar, and a little milk until you get frosting. There are lots of other ways to make frosting, this one is pretty dang delicious. Start with a lot of butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Mix 'em up.

Then start to balance out the taste and texture with the sour cream and milk. This is my best advice. I'm sure you can find a recipe with measurements elsewhere, if you're into that.

BEST PART: Add some of the leftover beet juice to the frosting to turn the white frosting pink. Just do it. Even if you don't like pink. Just don't add too much or it will mess with the consistency of the frosting.

Bring your beetcakes to a potluck in
the park!
Bring your beetcakes to a wedding in the forest and stack them high on a cupcake tree!
Bring your beetcakes with you to family reunions!
Bring your beetcakes into the office for stressed co-workers!
Bring your beetcakes into a community garden!
Bring your beetcakes into the world!

These little guys will make you instant friends, I guarantee it. I'm pretty sure these cakes made most of my friends for me last year.

TIP: Don't let beet-naysayers know what they're eating until they start spouting off about how awesome your cupcakes are.