March 06, 2003
Best Coffee Cake
posted by Nadia

While this is certainly the best coffee cake I've made, flavor-wise, it is somewhat lacking in the presentation/appearance department. I've made it a bunch of times and always have trouble getting it out of the pan; this is probably due to the fact that I usually use a ridged Bundt pan, which holds onto its contents no matter how many times I smear it with butter/crisco/oil, freeze it, then smear it again. I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'd recommend to you readers that you try this recipe first in some sort of a normal pan. A well-lubricated, parchment-papered plain old cake pan. It may not have that classy Bundt shape, but at least it won't fall apart.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
from Bon Appetit

1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (you can also use plain yogurt)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan [or a plain old cake pan, says Nadia]; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Mix first 3 ingredients in small bowl; set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle half of brown sugar mixture over and swirl gently into batter, using small knife. Spoon remaining batter over. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn out cake onto rack and cool completely.

Rockfish with Green Sauce
posted by Carl

I had been thinking recently that we don't eat enough fish. When I was near Reading Terminal yesterday, I stopped in to have a look and to pick up some protein from the sea. I ended up getting a whole rockfish, which was on sale, but in hindsight, I should have gotten the red snapper. I had the fish monger scale and clean the fish but leave the head on. We baked the fish slathered in Mark Bittman's green sauce from yesterday's food section of the Times. The reason I say that I should've gotten the snapper was the taste. Nadia was quite happy with the fish, but I found that it had a taste that reminded me of dirt. This minerally taste was perhaps due to the rockfish being a bottom feeder. Eating whole fish is fun in a sort of primal way but I wish I'd been able to get the skin more crispy. Really, what good is eating skin if it's not all crispy?

Mark Bittman's Green Sauce

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup parsley, leaves and thin stems only
4 dried chilies or few pinches of red chile flakes (or jalapeños)
1/3 cup stock (shrimp, fish or chicken) or white wine or water
slat and pepper to taste

Combine garlic and oil in food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add scallions, parsley and jalapeños (if using) and pulse until mixture is minced. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.