Vanilla Strawberries with Lemon Ricotta from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013

Seven years ago today I wasn’t in my cozy house or sleeping in my comfy bed. I was in Ukraine, eating borscht (every day) and lamenting about how sore every muscle in my body was.

You see, there was an an old Communist kids’ camp there that was being renovated into a home for Kiev’s street children, little ones who are abandoned while as young as four years because the parents just can’t care for them.

We were one of the many teams that volunteered a week of time in order to do whatever needed to be done to turn a worn out, broken down camp into homes, playgrounds, and so much more. I spent a good part of the week digging the footings for the foundation of one of the homes. It was hard and yes, painful, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Little did I know that the last-minute decision to join the team in Ukraine would mean that I’d be on the European continent on June 1. A date that held no significance. For the last time.

Eight hundred miles away, as close as Winston Salem is from Chicago, an Armenian woman was giving birth to a little girl.

I was on the same island of earth as this woman when she made decision that the little girl would have a better chance of having a good life apart from her and signed paperwork that made the child an official orphan. I had no clue.

Twelve days later, we received an e-mail, a photo and a referral. June 1 would never be the same.

Even though Dudette will get the presents, cake and special treatment, this day is the the day that her father and I received the most awesome gift; her.

Happy birthday, Sophie!

The Process

When a recipe uses just a few ingredients, it’s really important that they are the highest quality ingredients possible. In this case, I used strawberries that we had picked from a local field. And I a bit of my precious stash of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Bean Paste.

Remember that stuff? I received a box of goodies from Nielsen-Massey back in January and made a crazy-good Yellow Vanilla Pound Cake with it. I’ve been using the vanillas sparingly ever since, trying to make them last as long as possible.

For this dish, I used a teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste, which is basically thick vanilla extract with vanilla bean seeds in it. I whisked my vanilla with honey, lemon juice and salt and then gently folded in the sliced strawberries.

Since I really don’t like ricotta (it’s a texture thing), I put ice cream in a bowl, sprinkled lemon zest over it and spooned the vanilla strawberries over that. Then I waited for Dudette to get home from school so she could eat it.

The Verdict

My birthday girl’s first word was, ‘Awesome.’ Then she dove right back into the dish. She got it right too. These strawberries are way awesome. It’s hard to believe that such a simple combination of ingredients can have such a high-impact flavor profile, but they do.

I have all sorts of plans for this recipe this summer. That Vanilla Pound Cake? Next time we have company, it’s getting baked, whipped cream plopped on top and a healthy spoonful of vanilla strawberries over everything. Waffles for breakfast? Who needs maple syrup as long as the strawberries are in season and I can make a batch of vanilla strawberries.

Yeah, we like this.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Nothing.

Vanilla Strawberries with Lemon Ricotta from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. If using vanilla bean, halve lengthwise. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the pod into a medium bowl. Add honey, lemon juice and salt (and vanilla extract if not using a vanilla bean); whisk until well combined. Add strawberries and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Just before serving, combine ricotta and lemon zest in another bowl.
  3. Taste the strawberry mixture; if it’s too tart, add a little more honey. To serve, spoon ½ cup of the ricotta into each of 4 dessert bowls and top each with about ⅓ cup of the strawberries. Serve immediately.

 

I’m off to spend my day doing whatever (to a point) my 7 year-old wants to do. I hope your weekend is fantastic!

Frozen Peanut Butter-Pretzel Pie from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013

It runs like clockwork.

How’s that for an almost-obsolete idiom?

The old-fashioned gear-run clocks and watches seem to be headed the way of dinosaurs, don’t they. Even though I still have several, including both of my grandmothers’ watches, I never wear them.

In fact, nine times out of ten, when I ask someone what time it is, they don’t look at their wrist. Instead, they pull out a smart phone and check the digital numbers that flash on the screen. The days of clockwork are just about at an end.

For those who don’t quite get the meaning of the term, it doesn’t apply to the fact that a clock ticks off the minutes and hours regularly and without fail, especially not the digital variety.  It applies to the insides of an old-fashioned, regular, wind-it-up clock.

While I was still young and stupid (as opposed to now being old and stupid), I decided to see what made my watch tick. So, in the privacy of my bedroom, with the door shut, locked and barricaded, I took the small screwdriver I had ‘borrowed’ from my dad’s workbench and carefully performed surgery on the timepiece that my parents had bought me for Christmas.

I carefully pried open the back, marveling at my skill and steady hand. Then I lifted the back off. The back that held all the gears, gizmos and springs in place.

Did I say springs? Yes, springs. Springs that sprung the minute the thing holding them down was gone. Watch innards flew all over my bedroom. Do you know that sick-to-your-stomach feeling of horror and dread you get when something goes horribly wrong? That was me in spades.

Since there was no way to recover all the tiny pieces that were already burrowing themselves deep into my room’s carpet, I shoved the watch’s back back in place and put the non-functioning timepiece on my wrist. My friends, I wore that thing that way for a long time, hoping and praying my parents never asked me what time it was (they didn’t).

I tell you that story because my house runs like clockwork right now. Our schedule is set and it works well. From the moment my alarm goes off, everyone knows what happens throughout the day.

Hubby leaves for work, carpool whisks Dudette away, I work, Dudette’s bus returns her home, she has a snack, does homework, plays/goes to Taekwondo, Hubby returns home, we eat dinner, have family time, Dudette goes to bed. Such is life.

In eleven days, Forsyth County Schools are going to take the back off my watch of a life and the pieces are going to fly all over. They’re sending Dudette home for the summer. No more schedule. No more planning.

The days of having a slice of Frozen Peanut Butter-Pretzel Pie waiting on the table for her when she gets off the bus will soon be over.

For 76 days (but who’s counting).

The Process

Easy. So very easy.

Frozen yogurt. Peanut butter. Pretzels. Stir them together. Plop the mixture in a shell. Freeze it.

The Verdict

Wow, that was one happy school girl. Dudette loved the pie. She enjoyed it while she ate it and the glow of contentment made for a pleasant rest of the day for both of us. For that reason alone, this is worth making and keeping on hand, trust me.

Hubby also really liked the pie, mentioning that it was very rich (which it is). I enjoyed it, but I’m not as big a peanut butter fan as the two of them are. I liked the fact that the frozen yogurt makes this something that I can eat without too much guilt. Since it’s so rich, a thin sliver does the job.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’d melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the pie.

Frozen Peanut Butter-Pretzel Pie from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, softened
  • ⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup broken thin pretzel sticks, plus more for garnish
  • 1 9-inch chocolate-cookie pie crust
Instructions
  1. Combine frozen yogurt and peanut butter in a medium bowl. Stir in ¼ cup pretzel pieces. Spread into crust. Freeze until very firm, at least 3 hours. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Top with more pretzel pieces, if desired.
Notes
I'd melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the pie.

 

This is a pie that will probably be made a lot this summer. I’m already thinking of different things that can be mixed in instead of pretzels. M&Ms, chopped strawberries, so many things.

Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013

Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with friends about diet and exercise. You know those chats; the ones where you pretend that you’ve fully embraced a disciplined regime of early morning treadmill bonding and lunchtime celery stalk eating. You compare schedules, menus and accomplishments from the past week of self-sacrifice.

I admit that I’m not so adept at it. Not only am I not good at pretending anything (ask my mom; I was never able to put anything by her because my face was/is too honest), but even more to the point, discipline has always been my enemy.

Ever since the day my mother passed the task of putting my folded laundry in my own dresser on to me, discipline and I have been at each others’ throats. I was grounded more often for wadded drawers of shirts and shorts than I can count or want to admit.

As time went on, the battle with my foe carried over to school. Homework was done at the last minute, and sometimes not at all. I crammed, unsuccessfully, for tests. Again, I was grounded and punished, this time for grades that weren’t up to par.

Even after I moved out on my own, the war went on, through the decades, in every area of my life.

The breakfast dishes in the sink? I really should do them now . . . but they can wait until after I write about discipline.

I’m going to get at least three loads of laundry done today . . . I’ll start as soon as I’m done with the dishes.

Hunger, I feel hunger. I should have some cottage cheese with fresh strawberries sliced on top (swimsuit season is upon us after all) . . . but then I’d dirty up a bowl, spoon, cutting board and knife and the sink’s already full of breakfast dishes . . . I’ll just eat a donut. And so it goes.

There is one time when I am amazingly, stupendously disciplined, where I win the skirmish, war and battle in one fell swoop. It’s when I’m in bed. Stop laughing; I’m serious.

Between the time when the alarm clock goes off and I start my day, I have all sorts of discipline. I’m oozing with it. I’m going to eat healthy and will stay out of the chip bag that’s there for Hubby and Dudette’s lunches. I am doing those loads of laundry and am even going to iron Hubby’s work shirts. The master bath will sparkle because of the amount of elbow grease I’ll throw into the job. I’m going to bake this, and that, and the other thing.

I am not going to wait until the last minute to think of dinner.

The Process

So, I waited until the last minute before thinking about dinner and had to find something that came together relatively quickly. Since I have a thing for Thai food and had a big pack of chicken thighs in the fridge, the decision was easy.

Dudette had homework to do, so I quickly mixed up the marinade with my mortar and pestle (a food processor/mill works too, but that would have just been one more item in the sink), threw it in a bowl with the thighs and tossed them in the fridge.

Once homework was done, it was time to heat the broiler. I was thankful that Eating Well included instructions for the broiler in addition to the grill because I had used up all my charcoal making the smoked turkey and frankly didn’t feel like smelling like smoke again quite yet.

The instructions say to remove the chicken from the marinade, put it on a roasting pan and broil it five inches from the heat for 8 minutes on each side. I found that my chicken was starting to burn being that close to the broiler for so long, so I lowered it to about eight inches and, as you can see, it broiled perfectly.

The other thing I did was to leave the skin on. We just really like the skin. I know it adds to the fat content, but I did say I have a problem with discipline.

The dipping sauce is just a simple syrup made with vinegar and a kick. Take the few minutes to throw it together as soon as the chicken goes in the fridge and it’ll be perfect by dinner time.

The Verdict

We found that the chicken on its own was bland. I would have loved to see some fresh ginger minced in the marinade as well as a little salt or soy sauce for a kick. It wasn’t bad; just bland.

When eaten with the dipping sauce, however, it was a different story. I’ll admit that it is an odd flavor combination, vinegar and sugar, but it grew on Hubby and me (it was too spicy for Dudette) with each bite. We ended up really enjoying the chicken.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I would add a tablespoon or two of minced fresh ginger as well as swapping out a tablespoon of the fish sauce with a tablespoon of soy sauce in the marinade.

Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Grilling
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
CHICKEN
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (see Tips)
  • ½ cup “lite” coconut milk
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs (about 12 pieces), skin removed, trimmed

DIPPING SAUCE
  • ½ cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. To prepare chicken: Combine garlic cloves, pepper, cilantro stems and pinch of salt in a large mortar or food processor or food mill and mash or pulse to a coarse paste. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in fish sauce and coconut milk. Add chicken and stir to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate, loosely covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. (No grill? See broiler variation, below.)
  3. To prepare sauce: Heat vinegar to a boil in a small nonreactive pan. Add sugar, stir to dissolve it, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and minced garlic; simmer for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in salt. Pour into a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade. (Discard marinade.) Oil the grill rack . Grill, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Serve the chicken with the dipping sauce.
  6. Broiler Variation: Preheat broiler to high. Place chicken in a roasting pan and broil about 5 inches from the heat, leaving the oven door ajar. Check after 8 minutes or so; the chicken pieces should be browning. Turn them over and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 165°F, about 8 minutes more.
Notes
I would add a tablespoon or two of minced fresh ginger as well as swapping out a tablespoon of the fish sauce with a tablespoon of soy sauce in the marinade.

 

Now that I’m done writing, I guess it’s time to head into the kitchen and clean those breakfast dishes. After I look through June’s Food & Wine Magazine . . .

Grilled Eggplant Salsa from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013

Nightshade.

What a fantastic word. Do you watch television shows like Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, or Merlin? Yes? Then you know what this evil, poisonous herb is. Right?

Nightshade conjures up images of cauldrons and crones, bats and bubbles. It sits in dusty glass jars next to mandrake, blood root and horehound. [Queue Vincent Price laugh.]

It’s entirely possible that I’m a fan of this kind of fantasy, that I’ve been known to recite Shakespeare’s Macbeth while stirring a simmering pot or two.

“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.”

Yeah, I love that stuff.

Wondering what nightshade has to do with anything? My friends, if you’ve served your family a potato, you’ve fed them nightshade. If you’re a fan of chiles, you’re a fan of nightshade. Tomatoes? Yup, they’re nightshades too. So are bell peppers.

Eggplant is another nightshade. So while you’re scraping the flesh from the skin (bwa-ha-ha-ha) and smashing the eggplant together with roasted shallots and garlic, let loose that evil laugh and recite some Macbeth in a cackley, witchy voice.

Then tell your family it’s time to eat.

The Process

When I was a child, my mother would make baba ganoush while we were at school. Upon walking into the house, we always asked who’d been smoking. Roasting eggplant smells bad.  That’s why it’s good to use the grill instead of the oven.

Whichever method you use, it does take just between 8-12 minutes for the vegetables to soften enough. If left much longer, the garlic will end up being lumps of coal. I know, I’ve seen me do it.

Once done, it’s easy enough to peel both garlic and shallots, to scrap the eggplant and to put them all in a food processor. A few whirls and that part’s done.

Dump the mixture into a bowl, add fish sauce and minced Thai bird chiles and the salsa is done.

The Verdict

Hubby and Dudette refused to try this and I didn’t press the issue. The only eggplant that Hubby likes is the color on a car. Dudette is a bit like I was at her age; saying she doesn’t like eggplant, yet enjoying dishes like moussaka. I have hope for her.

I am conflicted in how to rate this recipe. The concept is fantastic. The flavor profile is perfect. But I believe the execution is flawed. Grilling the garlic and shallots along with the eggplant is overkill and results in a bitter aftertaste (and beforetaste for that matter).

I didn’t enjoy the salsa as a salsa because of the burnt, bitter flavor from the over-grilled garlic, so I gave it a try as a condiment and made an adult grilled cheese sandwich with it.

Success. It was an excellent addition to the sandwich and confirmed my suspicions that with a small tweak in execution, the eggplant salsa is a total winner.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I would grill the eggplant, as instructed, but instead of adding the garlic and shallot to the grill, I would soften and caramelize them on the stove, in a skillet, which would give me more control over their degree of doneness and cut back on the charred flavor.

Grilled Eggplant Salsa from Eating Well Magazine, June 2013
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 whole shallots, unpeeled
  • 3 Asian eggplants (about 1 pound total), left whole, or one 1-pound eggplant, halved
  • 1-2 fresh bird chiles (see Tips) or cayenne chiles, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (see Tips)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves or chopped fresh mint
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium or preheat broiler to high.
  2. If grilling, skewer garlic. Place the garlic, whole shallots and eggplants on the grill rack. Grill, turning as necessary to expose all sides to the heat, until very soft: about 6 minutes for the garlic, 8 to 10 minutes for the shallots and about 12 minutes for the eggplant. If broiling, place garlic, shallots and eggplants on a lightly oiled baking sheet and broil about 4 inches from the heat; leaving the oven door ajar. Broil, turning a few times, until well softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Peel the garlic and shallots and place in a food processor. Pulse several times to chop, but leave it chunky. Scrape the eggplant flesh from the skin into the food processor. Pulse several more times to combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; stir in minced chile and fish sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with cilantro (or mint).
Notes
I would grill the eggplant, as instructed, but instead of adding the garlic and shallot to the grill, I would soften and caramelize them on the stove, in a skillet, which would give me more control over their degree of doneness and cut back on the charred flavor.

 

Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake from Eating Well Magazine, May-June 2013

Ok, so here is the big question for a Saturday morning.

Which do you prefer, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

If you’re looking at your monitor, a bit confused, I’ll expand.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is old, 42 years old. It stars Gene Wilder as the freaky factory owner. He yells throughout the whole movie and seems to be as high as he wants the kids to be as he encourages them to lick wallpaper, eat candy mushrooms and takes them on a psychedelic boat ride. Don’t even get me started on the song, ‘The Candy Man Can.’

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the 2005 remake from Tim Burton and highlights Johnny Depp as yet another bizarre and fantastical character. In this version, the Oompa Loompas leave their cute Halloween costume copyable orange and green personalities behind and become freaky, swarthy midget look-alikes.

Dudette is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fan, in part because she’s a Johnny Depp characters junkie. She loves Willie Wonka, Jack Sparrow, Mad Hatter, Edward Scissorhands and Rango. But she also love the story line and cast of characters in general.

Of course, when we watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together, a lot of our conversation centers around the golden ticket winners. Those nasty, horrible children.

Dudette seems to forget about her own episodes of bad behavior while providing commentary around how Augustus doesn’t listen to Willie Wonka or his mother while he drinks from the chocolate lake. The fact that she asks us if she can buy something every time we’re in any kind of store is put aside as she rants over Veruca demanding her father purchase everything she sees.

And then there’s Violet. Violet is a special case. Dudette doesn’t talk about how driven the young lady is or about how many trophies and medals she has. Her own quest for the black belt is too close for comfort for her to do that. Instead, our little lady is concerned about whether it’s actually possible for a person to turn that spectacular shade of violet and expand into a massive, plump blueberry.

While I’ve wracked my brain to come up with some sort of object lesson for this one (e.g., if you don’t eat your fruit you’ll turn into one), nothing that would ever actually work comes to mind, so thus far I’ve simply told her no, people can’t turn into giant blueberries.

If you have any suggestion on how I can work this gem to good behavior’s benefit, please let me know.

The Process

I was drawn to this recipe because the creator, Julee Rosso is one of the authors of the Silver Palate Cookbook, which is in the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame and on my kitchen bookshelf. Being handed a gem like this is a wonderful treat and one I’ll take every time.

If you’ve made a coffee cake before, you know the drill on this one. The dry ingredients were whisked together in a small bowl and the wet were beaten in a bigger bowl. Dry goes into wet and it’s all mixed together until just combined.

The berries and apples were coated with flour to help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan while baking. As you can see, it worked marginally. I’ve just faced up to the fact that my berries are going to sink whether I want them to or not.

As for the crumb topping, it’s a simple mixture of butter, sugar and pecans, which I thought was a little different, but was easy to pull together.

Bake. Cool. Eat.

The Verdict

Dudette doesn’t like fruit cooked into food so she refused to try this, which isn’t a bad thing because Hubby and I both loved it. The flavor is fantastic and like Julee says, you’ll never guess there’s apple in the cake but it does add moistness and a unique, delicious taste.

I wasn’t sure I’d like the cornmeal that was added in, and the texture did take a little getting used to, especially since I used whole-wheat flour, but it was good. I’m pretty sure Hubby thought so too because he mentioned how fantastic he thought the coffeecake was after every piece he took (and he took a lot of them).

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Not a thing.

Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake from Eating Well Magazine, May-June 2013
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or white whole-wheat flour, plus 1½ teaspoons, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • ¾ cup finely chopped peeled apple
  • TOPPING
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare cake: Whisk 1 cup flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat softened butter and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add ¾ cup sugar and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, milk, lemon zest and vanilla and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated.
  3. Place berries and apple in a small bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 1½ teaspoons flour and toss very gently to coat. Sprinkle the fruit over the batter and very gently fold in until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  4. To prepare topping: Combine cold butter and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl. With two knives or a pastry blender, cut them together until the butter is in small pieces and uniform crumbles form. Add pecans and toss until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.
  5. Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the nuts are a deep brown, 50 to 55 minutes.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Lift it out of the pan, using the edges of the foil, onto a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Use a spatula to lift the cake from the foil.

 

Me? I prefer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I am also a Johnny Depp character fan and think he’s exceptional in this. The other does hold a spot in my heart because it’s the movie of my childhood, but even when I watched it as a grade schooler, I was bothered by how much Gene Wilder yelled. I’ve never been and still am not fond of people who yell, whether they be parents, public speakers or chocolate factory owners. I think I’ll go have a hunk of Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake.