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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Akron's Diamond Deli Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


















This is my favorite carrot cake. The texture and flavor are just right. A former proprietor of the popular Diamond Deli in downtown Akron shared the recipe with the Beacon Journal years ago, and I haven't tried a different recipe since. It's that good. The new owners kept the cake on the menu; otherwise, customers might have staged a mutiny.

I do often substitute applesauce for a third of the oil to cut down on fat a bit.  Sometimes I add 2 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate to the frosting. But that's it for changes.

Pat's Diamond Deli Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (or 1 cup plus 1/2 cup applesauce)
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 cups shredded carrots
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Beat eggs, sugar and oil till combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to egg mixture. Add carrots, nuts and drained pineapple.
Bake in 9-by-13-inch pan at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes (start checking at 40), till toothpick inserted an inch from center comes out clean.Cool and frost.

Cream cheese frosting:
16 oz. cream cheese (can substitute neufchatel to lower fat), at room temp
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temp
2 tsp. vanilla extract (pure preferred over imitation)
3 to 4 cups (about 1 lb). powdered sugar

Blend butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Blend in vanilla. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time till creamy and preferred consistency.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Asian Scallop Soup with Ginger, Coconut and Lime









This is a really nice, light soup for spring. I had printed this recipe from www.epicurious.com a while ago and finally decided to try it after finding a pound of sea scallops in the freezer. 

I wanted it to be more soupy than stew-like, so I added two cans of chicken broth along with additional vegetables (zucchini, baby corn and mushrooms). We like our veggies. Next time, though, I will use two cans of coconut milk and one can of broth to get a more pronounced coconut flavor. Here's a link to the original recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Asian-Scallop-Stew-with-Coconut-Ginger-and-Lime-4557

A salad makes a good accompaniment.


Asian Scallop Soup with Ginger, Coconut and Lime

1 lb. sea scallops, halved if very large
1 (14-oz). can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well before opening
2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
1 tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger*
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into small strips (I skipped this because I didn't have any)
1 small can sliced baby corn
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly across
8 oz. sliced mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Handful chopped fresh spinach
1 tomato, diced
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice (bottled would be fine)
1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla)

Combine coconut milk, broth and ginger in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring just to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add vegetables except tomato. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add scallops and simmer until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Mix in lime juice, fish sauce and tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve. Makes about four servings.

*I store peeled, sliced ginger in a jar of sherry in the fridge. That way I always have some; it keeps a long time. I've yet to encounter a problem with the little bit of sherry flavor that is added.