Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lemon Almond Ginger Upside Down Cake: Tasty but major clean-up

From Debi's Kitchen
My Lemon Almond Ginger Upside Down Cake

I love the light clean taste of lemons and homemade lemonade. Lemons are tart and zingy and I believe just right for desserts.  I decided it was time to try a new recipe and bake an upside down cake because I was impressed with the recipe photo.

My finished cake turned out similar to the sample and tastes wonderful, but I had one problem with the recipe--major clean-up.  I was warned and heeded the suggestion to enclose my spring-form pan with aluminum foil.  However, massive spillage occurred during baking causing the smoke alarm to sound and requiring me to clean the oven.  I don't dare use the self clean cycle as I don't want to set off the alarm a second time! 

Would I make this recipe again?  Doubtful.  In addition to the messy oven, the instructions called for use of my Cuisinart food processor, electric mixer, zester and numerous bowls. Basically my kitchen was turned upside down! 

Nonetheless, if you want to try and impress your guests with a lemony delight, here is the recipe.
Zesting Lemons
Read this and other food blog stories on Wanderfood Wednesdays.

Lemon Almond Ginger Upside Down Cake

•    2  lemons
•    Cooking spray
•    3  tablespoons butter, melted
•    2/3  cup firmly packed light brown sugar
•    1/2  cup slivered almonds
•    1/2  cup whole almonds
•    1  piece (1 1/2-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
•    —  Cake:
•    1/3  cup butter, softened
•    2/3  cup sugar
•    1  egg
•    1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract
•    1/2  teaspoon almond extract
•    1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
•    1/2  teaspoon baking soda
•    1  teaspoon baking powder
•    1/4  teaspoon salt
•    1  cup buttermilk
•    Prep Time - 20
•    Cook Time - 45

1.    Preheat oven to 350F.

2.    To prepare topping, finely grate lemons; set zest aside. With a sharp knife, remove white pith from lemons. Thinly slice, discarding seeds.

3.    Coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray (wrap bottom with foil to prevent leaks). Pour in melted butter. Arrange lemon slices in a concentric pattern over butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar,  slivered almonds and ginger.

Arrange Lemons in the pan

4.    To prepare cake, place whole almonds, reserved lemon zest and ginger in a food processor; pulse until slightly moist and combined.

5.    Place butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and extracts; beat until blended.

6.    Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed after each addition. Stir in almond mixture.

7.    Pour batter on top of lemons. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8.    Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes, and invert onto a serving plate.

Note: Use a Microplane zester to make quick work of grating the ginger and the lemon rinds.

Recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon.
Upside Down Cake

Nutritional Info (per serving)
•    Calories 450
•    Fat 21g
•    Saturated Fat 9g
•    Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5g
•    Monounsaturated Fat 8g
•    Cholesterol 55mg
•    Sodium 370mg
•    Potassium 260mg
•    Carbohydrates 61g
•    Fiber 4g
•    Sugars 37g
•    Protein 8g

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meals Fit for a King or Prince

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort rests on the shores of St. Simons Island, one of Georgia's famed Golden Isles. The name comes from the colorful reflection of the sun on lowland Spartina or marsh grass. If you're lucky to catch the view at sunrise and sunset, the amber glow sparkles like a chest of jewels.

AOL Travel ranked St. Simons one of the ten best US islands and the King and Prince is considered the island's finest lodging choice and only beachfront hotel. Multi-generational families have been returning to vacation here for decades. 

While the resort, build in 1935, is listed on the Historic Hotels of America registry, a hotel can't rest on its laurels. So, just like the shifting tides on the barrier island, the King and Prince rolls with change. About a year ago Vinny D’Agostino became the resort's new Food and Beverage Director and shall we say he rocked the boat.  His passion for top of the line local ingredients resulted in significant improvements to the menu. Only Wild Georgia shrimp (which are far healthier and sweeter than imported shrimp) are used in the new rendition of Shrimp and Grits with Tasso sauce. The difference in taste is truly notable.

Another example of D'Agostino's love of Georgia culinary fare are the seasonally produced cheeses like Aztec Cheddar, a Canadian style layered cheddar, Colby cheese laced with Vidalia onions, chives, and red pepper from Flat Creek Lodge, a Swainsboro Georgia creamery. Then, there are peaches From Lane Southern Orchards and honey from Savannah Bee Company and chocolates from Sugar Marsh Cottage.

D'Agostino shook up the drink menu as well. New coffee machines were placed in guest rooms and Prohibition style cocktails are now stirred at the bar. These libations incorporate fresh juice (from King and Prince fruit trees when possible) plus Southern Corn Whiskey, Plantation Vodka, or Southern Gin by Thirteenth Colony Distilleries in Americus Georgia. In addition, you may ask and perhaps be lucky enough to taste Vinny D'Agostino's house made Limoncello.

Recently, another step in the culinary renaissance at the King and Prince took place. Jeff Kaplan arrived as the new Executive Chef. His career spans many renowned hotels, restaurant and resorts from New York to Miami. He grew up in family catering and deli restaurants, so his transition into the kitchen was his destiny. One of his first positions was under the direction and watchful eye of Chef Joe Eisenbuchner (formerly of Le Cirque, NYC). The twenty-five year journey took him to highly respected establishments that included The Inn at Great Neck (Long Island), The White Elephant Resort (Nantucket), and Sawgrass Marriot Golf Resort and Spa (Ponte Vedra Beach).

Kaplan’s philosophy and passion combine ‘nature and nurture’ embracing the Farm to Table Movement. This strong connection only enhances D'Agostino's insistence on fresh local foods. Together this team will truly deliver meals fit for a king, prince and princess.  But, you don't have to be royalty to dine at the King and Prince, however, you will be treated that way.