Monday, June 20, 2011

By Request:Cake & Casserole

I think me getting two recipes on my blog so soon after the show must be a first for me. (Let's hope it's not a "last.")
Taste-wise, I have to confess that this is not my favorite squash casserole. That place goes to the squash casserole that the old Aunt Fannie's Cabin in Smyrna, GA which, unfortunately closed. (I will post that recipe in an upcoming blog.) But this particular dish has a special place in my heart and was one of my Dad's favorite things to eat. For that reason I made it yesterday to celebrate Father's Day sort of like one would celebrate Dios de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is observed in some cultures and which is celebrated by making the favorite food of the departed souls. Whether or not this becomes a favorite, I hope you'll try it and perhaps add your own special touch.

Summer Squash and Sausage Casserole

1 pound sausage (sweet or spicy)
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 cups sliced summer squash
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Pinch salt
Several grindings of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 beaten eggs

Cook sausage and garlic til meat is brown, breaking it up with a fork.
Remove any excess fat
Cook squash covered in small amount of salted water until tender.
Drain well and mix in with the rest of the ingredients except the eggs.
Fold in beaten eggs and pour into greased baking dish.
Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I have come to over the past few years. Great for company but also as a little well-deserved reward at the end of the day with a teensy drop of brandy.

Apricot Upside-Down Cake

For the topping:
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
Enough apricots cut in half lengthwise and pitted to fit the bottom of a cast-iron (or other oven-safe)pan. (About 10 small or 5-6 large)

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup well-shaken butter milk

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375F.

Heat butter in 10-12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter cooking without stirring for 3 minutes. (Not all the sugar will melt.) Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut side down, close together on butter and sugar mixture. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment) beat together butter, sugar and extracts at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape down and beat until creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately beginning and ending with flour until just incorporated. (Do not over beat.)

Spoon batter over apricots evenly being careful not to disturb the distribution of the fruit.
Bake until brown and a wooden toothpick or skewer comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.
Cool on rack for 15 minutes.
Run a sharp thin knife around the edge of the skittle. Place a plate over the skillet and, using oven mits or pot holders, invert cake onto plate. Lift off skillet and, if necessary, replace any fruit that may have stuck to the bottom of the skillet.

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