Chocolate Marble Cake

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I made this recipe was for a picnic with friends and family this afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised.  It was nice and moist, and really delicious.  I think it was the nutmeg that set it apart.  I modified the recipe for the Delicious Desserts Company’s Coming.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (or more.  I love nutmeg, so I was pretty generous)
  • 2 cups flour
  • Cocoa powder, to take (this varies depending on how dark you like your chocolate batter.  I’d estimate that I used about 4 tablespoons)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour a 10 cup Bundt pan (my family had a good time tossing around My Big Fat Greek Wedding quotes when I brought out the cake) and set it aside.  Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, OJ, and vanilla.  Next, stir in the nutmeg and baking powder and, when they’re well mixed in, add the flour.  (It’s a dish-saving trick I learned in university.  Instead of mixing dry ingredients in a separate bowl, simply add all but the flour to your butter mixture to make sure spices and leavens are well incorporated, then add the flour afterward.)  Transfer half the batter to a separate bowl and add cocoa.  Pour alternate spoonfuls of white and chocolate batter into your prepared Bundt pan, swirl with a knife, and bake for 40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting and removing to a serving plate or cooling rack.  If desired, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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Quick Chicken Quinoa Stew

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I hit a new culinary milestone today!  I cooked with quinoa for the first time.  I was a bit skeptical, but it turned out to be good and simple enough to prepare.  Plus, it is by all accounts a nutritionally and environmentally sound choice (the UN has deemed it a supercrop), so it is definitely worth adding to one’s repertoire.  The following recipe is a modified version of the one found in the Whole Grain Recipes Company’s Coming.  It was quite enjoyable, and very filling.  It could very easily be modified to make a vegetarian stew (quinoa is a good source of protein by itself) or pork or beef could be substituted for the chicken.

You’ll need

  • a splash of olive or other cooking oil
  • 3-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes (stews are great, because they let you reduce your overall meat consumption while keeping that great flavour)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • minced garlic or garlic powder, to taste
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped (and blanched and peeled, if desired, but I think that’s just extra work)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth, depending on the desired consistency of the stew
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • basil, oregano, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (do not omit this step, quinoa seeds are encased in a natural insect repellent which is a lovely feature on the field, but less of one in your supper)

Fry the chicken in your stew pot on medium-high heat, and set it aside.  In the drippings, fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes, until onion starts to soften.  Add chopped pepper and stir for another minute.  Add tomatoes and fry for another minute, then add broth, tomato paste, and spices.  Bring to a boil, add chicken and quinoa, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes, until quinoa is tender.