I know it's crazy, but I go into a mad cooking and baking frenzy just before nearly every trip I take. I can't bear to throw out containers of half full sour cream, or two stalks of rhubarb or a bunch of broccoli. Invariably, I have too much produce in my refrigerator and I know it will spoil before I get back. So with that in mind, I made this cake recently, trying to use up the three stalks of rhubarb I bought at a farmer's market a while ago. The recipe comes from "Food 52" and it's a winner - even if you're not a rhubarb fan, or can't find it, make it with blueberries - or apples - or peaches - or whatever you like. It's a buttery cake with a crispy brown-sugar and almond flavored topping.
Mix the batter and fold the raw rhubarb into it. Spread it into a buttered 8-inch springform pan. (My pan was 9 inch, which meant a slightly squatter cake.)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour2 tablespoons slivered almonds2 tablespoons rolled oats1/4 cup brown sugar1/4 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Butter for greasing the pan2 large eggs1 1/4 cup granulated sugar1/2 t. salt1 t. almond extract6 T. unsalted butter, melted1 1/4 cup all purpose flour1 t. baking powder2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch, deep, fluted tart pan or an 8-inch round cake pan.
For the crumb, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork or your fingers, gently work in the butter until pea-sized lumps are formed.
Combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat on high until the mixture triples in volume, about five minutes. Fold in the melted butter, flour, and rhubarb. Evenly spread the thick batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top.
Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the topping is deeply golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the pan when it’s completely cool.
The device you see in the slides above is a "torchio," a hollow brass tube attached to a bench or a wall. Different metal "dies" can be inserted in the torchio for different shapes of pasta. The torchio belonged to my mother's family in Italy. After decades of collecting dust in my basement, the torchio was recently resurrected when my father offered to make a bench for it. The torchio is screwed to the bench, semolina pasta dough is fed into the tube, the crank is turned, (in this case by my son Michael) and with a lot of elbow grease, pasta is extruded through the die. What comes out below is a tubular pasta - anything from thin spaghetti to bucatini, similar to a hollow straw.
In my last life, I was a journalist in NYC, but left the rat race to live in Italy for a year. I created this blog upon my return to combine my interests of writing and photography with my love of food and travel. My mother was from the region of Emilia-Romagna, my father's family was from Calabria and my late husband's family is Abruzzese. Is it any wonder then, that Italian art, music, food and the country's beautiful landscape are among my passions? I hope you will try some of the recipes and post comments. Buon Appetito. Linda