June 18, 2014

Back and Baking.

I've actually been back in Portland now for several days, but before that, I spent almost a week at my parents' house. My littlest sister graduated from high school on the seventh, and her 18th birthday was a few days later, so I stayed for that, too.
The first full day I was there was actually my birthday. I made my own birthday cake, as I usually do. My mom has a lot of rhubarb, which we all like, in her garden, and in the past I've made lots of cobblers and crisps and the like. This time I decided to go with something new and made a rhubarb coffee cake (I love coffee cake) using this recipe. It's the first result that comes up when you google "rhubarb coffee cake," (I'm not that lazy; I looked at a bunch of others, too, and decided this would be the best one) and for good reason. It was easy to make and came out really well.
birthday cake
(And this picture really doesn't do it justice.)
I left out the ginger (didn't have any) and the powdered sugar dusting on top. If I make this again, I'll only do a half, or maybe two-thirds, batch of the crumb topping. It wasn't overpowering or not good--but there's so much of it. It was thicker than the cake part, and a lot of it wound up just falling off and not being eaten. So. But other than that, pretty excellent.

Aside from a brief trip to the local farmers' market (conveniently on Friday) I spent most of my birthday in the kitchen. I don't mind that. I'm not a very good cook--I'm not that bad, really, I just only ever make about four things--but I like to think I've wound up being a pretty good baker. And I like making food for other people. Five years ago, I did a bunch of stuff when little b graduated, and this year I made, I'm guessing, somewhere around a third of the food for Rat's graduation party.
Everything in this picture except the crackers, the fruit, and (obviously) the butter.
Yes. I even made the bread, which was especially popular. (The pita, I think, would've fared better if I'd cut rather than torn it. But I couldn't get a knife to work, and I realized only yesterday that a pizza cutter would've been ideal. Oh, well.)
I made four different dips for snacking: skordalia, baba ghanoush, hummus, and an almond-yogurt one that everyone thought was a fancy honey mustard. My favorites were the hummus (which I make all the time) and skordalia (new); the almond was too sweet for me, and the baba ghanoush, I think, suffered from the fact that I made it and saw what it looked like every step of the way. I had never cooked with eggplant before then, and frankly, I'm not really sure I will again.

The kale (and chickpea) salad, predictably, was more popular with the women. My grandfather (also, probably, predictably) referred to it as seaweed--as in, "I'm not eatin' that seaweed"--and refused to go near it, but my grandmother (on the other side, but still) actually wrote down the recipe.

And, in addition to the numerous other desserts we wound up with, I also made 48 miniature cheesecakes (with papers in her school colors) that Rat and I topped with little fresh berries. I thought they were incredibly cute, and had to really restrain myself to keep from squealing over them.
Oh and I also made cinnamon rolls for the pre-graduation breakfast. Forgot to take a picture, but rest assured they were awesome.

All in all, it was a nice little mini-vacation for me. I got to see lots of people without having to travel extensively (as is usually the case) and it was nice to get to help Ratty with her celebrations. Now I'm just kind of sad that there won't be any other high school graduations (at least not for quite a long while) to make food for...


  1. A lot of cooking!!
    Eggplants are very tasty!! You should give them second chance!!

    1. It was a lot. Fun, though. About the eggplants... I dunno. We'll see.