Friday, May 21, 2010

Adventures in Entertaining

Our neighbors, Jill and Wally, are wonderful entertainers.

We've been to several parties at their house and had dinner there, too. A while back I asked Jill if I could be her sous chef while she prepped for a dinner party. I could be helpful and learn, too. We tried to sync calendars and it didn't work very well. Finally Jill suggested we co-host a dinner party.

That was Saturday night.

We served David Lebovitz's Fresh Ginger Cake with berries, Caesar salad with grilled romaine, fish tacos, guacamole and chips, and margaritas. Note that I led with dessert!

On Friday Jill and I set the table, arranged flowers and baked. Saturday I did the Farmer's Market run, made the whipped cream and Caesar salad dressing, and chopped tomatoes, cilantro and scallions to go in the guac. Then Jill and I assembled everything. I'm not much of a fish taco girl as Rubio's is really my only comparison point. However, these were really good and I'll make them again in a heartbeat. Jill insisted we get the tortillas and chips from a Mexican restaurant instead of the grocery store; I'd highly recommend this approach.

My ever-thoughtful husband got off a plane from Chicago on time and made it to dinner just as our friends from Mountain View arrived.

It was a really nice evening -- the four couples had much in common and I was surprised how late it was when we got home.

David Lebovitz's Fresh Ginger Cake
  • 4 ounces fresh ginger
  • 1 cup mild molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, preferably peanut
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 3-inch round cake pan or a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.

Peel, slice and chop the ginger very fine with a knife (or use a grater). Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and then mix the hot water into the molasses mixture. Stir in the ginger.

Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. Add the eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before the cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.

Cool the cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Serve with whipped cream and fruit.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

That cake sounds so good!