Monday, August 17, 2009

Swan Song

Okay, so nobody's dying...but my life here in Iowa is about to meet its end, at least for now. I can't begin to explain how amazing this summer has been: great new friends from the Farmers' Market, a new set of adoptive parents, eye-opening experiences through Buy Fresh, Buy Local, weekly Ultimate Frisbee, spelunking in the rain, lots of fests (Rhubarb, Sheep and Wool, Jazz, Tug), my first experience camping in a tent, lots of baseball (River Bandits, Iowa Cubs, and even a White Sox game!), free yoga every Friday, more coffee and sushi than should ever be consumed by one person (I'm the caffeine addict, Laura's the one who should probably be worried about too much mercury in her system), and many chances to hone my baking skills.

I haven't had a chance to feel too sad about my impending departure, because some amazing company arrived over the weekend! Laura's college buddy Joe is visiting from Minnesota and our cousin Trina drove down last night from Wisconsin. It's been an adventure-packed weekend involving the Farmers' Market, Tugfest, the aforementioned spelunking in the rain at Maquoketa caves, and River Bandits baseball. Today we're going to check out a local record store, maybe make spaghetti sauce with some gorgeous tomatoes from the Farmers' Market, and play Ultimate Frisbee--if the weather cooperates, that is.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and no, I haven't forgotten about posting my recipes. Friday was my last full-blown baking day, although I plan on making some caramels and caramel corn to sell after I'm gone...I need to preserve my legacy, after all.

What's a Midwest summer without at least one batch of baked goods laced with zucchini? I used half whole wheat flour in these, simply because I was running out of all-purpose, and I omitted the nuts. One more use for that cute mini loaf pan!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake

This recipe comes from a community cookbook produced back in my hometown in Wisconsin. It never ceases to amaze me that pouring boiling water over a pile of dry flour and sugar can actually be a good thing, but hey, that's the magic of dump cakes. Since there's no online link for this recipe, I'll post it here:

rhubarb and strawberries to line 13x9" pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together the sugar and butter. Add milk and blend well. Combine baking powder, flour, and 1/2 tsp. salt; add to wet ingredients and mix well. Pour over rhubarb and strawberries in pan.

Mix together sugar, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and cornstarch. Sprinkle over batter.

Pour boiling water over entire mixture. Bake 1 hour.

NOTE: A few drops of red food coloring may be added to the water to add color to the cake. (I didn't do this.)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

I had leftover marshmallow frosting from last week's Confetti Cupcakes, so I used it to top these chocolate beauties instead of using the semi-sweet chocolate frosting from the cake recipe. I used white rice flour instead of tapioca flour because I was out of tapioca flour.

This is a pretty wet batter, but worth the mess, because the scones come out fluffy and delicious.

I had some leftover butterscotch chips from a pan of Monkey Bars I made last week, so I baked them up into a batch of these oatmeal cinnamon cookies.

I used a combination of almonds and hazelnuts in these naturally-sweetened treats. The filling was comprised of dried currants, dried figs, and dried apricots. These aren't overly sweet; they're more of a snack than a dessert.

So that's all she wrote. At least as far as Farmers' Market posts are concerned. Thursday I go back home for about a week and a half, then it's back to good old UW-Stevens Point for another year of higher learning. I'll keep you posted about my adventures in dorm baking, and there will probably be more than a few instances where I use this blog as a sounding board to rant about how stressed I am about the upcoming midterm, etc. Hopefully I'll be back for Christmas and/or next summer, and the Farmers' Market baking madness can resume.

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