Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

This is a great summer treat.  Quick and super easy to throw together.  Blackberry season is peaking right now, so fresh berries are ideal for this cake, but you can also use frozen berries.  Defrost and drain (I also gently pat them dry with paper towels) the frozen berries before placing in the bottom of the pan.  This is delicious served with vanilla ice cream.  Although I never tried using other berries in the recipe, I bet raspberries and other fruits (peaches, cherries, or plums) would be delicious as well

Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (12 oz)
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line bottom of a buttered 8- by 2-inch round cake pan with 2 rounds of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Dust pan with some flour, knocking out excess.

Arrange blackberries in 1 layer in cake pan. Sprinkle berries with 11/2 tablespoons sugar and shake pan to help distribute sugar.

Whisk together 1 cup flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 batches, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.  Spoon batter evenly over berries, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until top is golden and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edge of pan, then invert a large plate over pan and, using pot holders to hold plate and pan together tightly, flip cake onto plate. Peel off parchment and serve cake with ice cream.

Spicy Corn Soup

corn soup

I made this soup the other night and fell in love with it. It’s sweet, satisfying, and has a nice little kick. It’s also very easy to make, beautiful to look at, and quite impressive. I would assume you could substitute any vegetable you’d like for the corn in this recipe…..potato with rosemary……broccoli with basil.


Spicy Corn Soup

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 pounds corn (fresh or frozen)
1 T. butter
1 – 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
3 cups vegetable stock (or corn stock)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1 cup milk (or half and half)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat. add onions and saute until they start to turn golden brown. Add garlic, cumin, and cayenne and saute a few minutes more. Add corn, butter, jalapenos, and stock. bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. cook for 10 minutes. Add cilantro.
using an immersion blender, puree until very smooth. Strain soup through a colander and return to the pan. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper. Heat through and serve.

Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas)

IMG_5074 (640x480)

Saag Chole is a fast, easy, and nutritious dish. It’s a favorite at our house. I serve it with basmati rice for a simple meal. I also make it for a side dish (along with Samosas!) when I make big Indian meals for special occasions (Indian food is becoming tradition for our Christmas day meal) or when friends come for dinner. I always get requests for the recipe. Cooked, diced potatoes can be substituted for the chickpeas (to make Saag Aloo).

Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas)

2 medium onions
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium tomatoes, chopped coarsely
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
20 ounces (2 packages) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 cups cooked, drained chickpeas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Slice the onions into thin half rounds. Grate the ginger and garlic. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin. When
it darkens (1 to 2 seconds), add the grated ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the sliced onions and saute until lightly browned (about 8 minutes).
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Mix well, then add the spinach. mix again, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the chickpeas and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the garam masala and lemon juice and serve hot.

Recipe source: From Bengal to Punjab: The Cuisines of India by Smita Chandra (The Crossing Press, 1991).

saag chole