Okay, seriously, the writing practice has waned for too long. I'll just write about food here, since I'm never bored with that. When I get around to it, I'll post the scans from my old cookbooks and magazines, as well, and comment on those. Annoyingly, that became a sort of "thing to do," over the past few years. I got the idea from James Lileks some years ago, realizing I had my own collection to share. But I never made it into a very consistent project, because I was always having computer problems or moving. So I'm starting over, yet again, but I still won't be consistent. Now it will seem like a lame copy of what others are doing, but it's just me enjoying myself as I have all along.
CJ's Pistachio Birthday Cake
This isn't exactly a homemade recipe, but it's what I used to make for my mom for her birthday. Sometimes I still make it on her birthday, to share with my family.
Make two layers of a good, moist, white cake. If you use a cake mix, replace two tablespoons of the water with a favorite liqueur such as Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or Frangelico--even my kids bake with liqueurs; they think of them the same as vanilla extract, and know better than to taste them uncooked. If you make the cake from scratch, don't change the milk volume, but add a tablespoon of liqueur. Split each layer in two, and when they are cool, spread the inside of two of them with prepared instant pistachio pudding. Assemble one set of the layers carefully on your serving plate, and frost the top and sides with this recipe, then assemble the second set of layers on top of that, and repeat:
6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
1 pound powdered sugar sifted with
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon liqueur (if you just use a flavoring extract, use 1 tsp, and slightly increase milk volume)
3-5 tablespoons milk (put some in a cup and measure from that)
Sift powdered sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl, add cooled melted butter and blend; add liqueur, then milk, one tablespoon at a time until you reach a spreading consistency; beat until smooth and creamy. Spread this carefully over the cake, and then garnish it with some crushed pistachios, or sifted powdered sugar.
If you cut it in half, it would look something like this:
Unlike most cakes, this one should be stored in the refrigerator, but wrap it very carefully. Breads dry out quickly when refrigerated.