Tuesday, August 19, 2008

With a Whimper

For seven days, I have committed to chronicling all of my meals here. This is Day Seven.

I would have liked to end this little project on a high note, maybe with a wondrously-cooked meal of tofu or seaweed, possibly with a complex recipe for sushi at-home or a vegetarian turducken. But who am I kidding? The seventh and final day, due to some poor advance planning, landed flatly on a Sunday, and as I very well know, Sundays are No-Cook Days at my house. So it is not with a bang, but a whimper, that this experiment finally ends.
It kind of goes without saying then that our most virtuous meals are not eaten on Sundays. In fact, I tend to graze all day long, eating pastries at church, followed by leftovers for lunch and then an absurd amount of snacks all afternoon long. On the best of days, I might melt some cheese on top of a plate of tortilla chips and call it nachos for dinner.
Don't get me wrong. This is how Sundays should be. We spend the afternoon in our pajamas, reading the newspaper, playing on the floor with the kids and watching G-rated movies or Planet Earth. Most weeks, I stock the fridge with homemade dips for our afternoon snacking, but I have been known to heat up some frozen, packaged vegetable egg rolls and serve it with prepared sweet and sour sauce (complete with high-fructose corn syrup). Rules are made to be broken, right?
Lucky for me, and your opinion of me, it was my week to bring food to Sunday School so on Saturday afternoon, I baked The Best Blueberry Coffeecake, one of my all-time favorites. It is a crowd-pleaser, to be sure, rich with cream cheese, topped with cinnamon and sugar, and virtually studded with an abundance of blueberries. I have made copies of this recipe for countless people now, and finally have the chance to share it here as well.
Anyhow, I said I would be completely honest, so here goes. Sunday's food diary follows:
BREAKFAST: 2 cups of Cafe Choco Andes coffee with organic vanilla soymilk; bowl of organic Heritage Heirloom Whole Grains cereal with unsweetened organic soymilk
MID-MORNING SNACK: one entirely too-small slice of The Best Blueberry Coffeecake (recipe below, made with organic, crazy-expensive ingredients); a few polite sips of a very feet-tasting homemade latte that my sixth-grade brother delivered to me at church (Mom, please take your espresso machine back to the store and explain to the clerk that it makes your lattes taste like feet - I'm sure they will understand)
LUNCH: finally, the last of that leftover Orzo with Tuna, Garbanzos and Herbs; a few slices of Marinated Cucumbers
EARLY AFTERNOON ADDICTION: very large, homemade cappuccino made with Cafe Choco Andes coffee and organic vanilla soymilk
MID-AFTERNOON MADNESS: slice of birthday cake baked by Tommy's mom
EARLY ABORTED DINNER: three very unsatisfying bites of cheese sandwich made with sprouted whole wheat bread, swiss cheese, whole grain Dijon, organic baby spinach trucked in from who-knows-where, and marinated cucumbers (before sandwich was tucked into a container in the refrigerator after realizing 'twas not at all what I was craving)
SECOND, MORE SUCCESSFUL, DINNER ATTEMPT: organic yellow corn tortilla chips topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, lustily dipped into fresh salsa made with organic tomatoes given to us by The Carnivore's clients, jalopenos from my mother's garden, onions and garlic from the farmer's market and store-bought limes and cilantro
PREDICTABLE EVENING SNACK: stove-popped popcorn
THE BEST BLUEBERRY COFFEECAKE (serves 10 self-controlled people or 4 more realistic eaters, adapted from the AJC Food Section)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese together in an electric mixer on medium speed for a couple of minutes, until creamy.
  2. To the mixer, gradually add 1 cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add egg to the mixer, beating well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to mixer, stirring just until incorporated.
  6. Stir vanilla into mixture.
  7. Carefully fold berries into mixture.
  8. Pour batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan.
  9. Combine remaining 2 Tbs sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.


Cindy said...

This totally IS the best ever Blueberry cake...The Best.

Maia said...

Thanks for sharing Sarah - I've enjoyed all of your posts and recipes this week!

Sarah Beam said...

Maia - thank you for listening. It is a very bizarre feeling to publicly keep a food diary. Interestingly, I find that I am much more aware of every single bite that goes into my mouth now - the diary became second nature by the time it was over. Now on to some other topics, like the incredible dinner I had last night at a restaurant headed by a James Beard nominated chef...

Jenny said...

Sarah, I was going to write to you today to see if you had a salsa recipe. Ever since David and I have moved to MD, we have been craving fresh salsa. We used to buy it from an awesome Mexican restaurant in Richmond, but no such luck here. The only Mexican restaurant in our area has the poorest salsa I have ever tasted. I was very pleased to find the salsa recipe linked here, and I can't wait to try it. Thanks! I keep trying to imagine how good that coffee cake tastes too.

Sarah Beam said...

Jenny - I am deeply, madly in love with that salsa recipe. Matter of fact, now I'm wanting to whip up a batch. I wish we could make it together (while letting Ray and Holland and Hazel get into some trouble on their own).