Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solsticelebration 2014

I can't believe it's already the Summer Solstice! Sheesh...time sure flies, especially at this time of year. But solstice time is celebration time at Woven Meadows Farm in Saranac. There was another amazing gathering and potluck today, and LOTS of good eats--beyond the main stage pig roast.

Because pork requires an awesome slaw to go with it, I made a batch of that fabulous Alabama Hot Slaw that I love so much, figuring that the only kind of cole slaw there would be the mayonnaise-y kind. I was wrong. Someone brought a fermented slaw that looked exactly like mine. UGH! This happened to me last year, too, when I took a lovely volcano rice and quinoa salad with sugar snap peas, and there were half a dozen other grainy salads in the same vein. *sigh*

Continuing my Southern theme, I made a cake that I was quite certain that no one else would bring, a Hummingbird Cake. It's a traditional layer cake with bananas, crushed pineapple, and spices. Some believe that it's called a Hummingbird Cake because it's so sweet with all the fruit and sugar, but apparently, the inventor of the cake liked to decorate the cake with pecans sliced width-wise, making them look like little hummingbirds in flight. Of course, for an informal, outdoor party, I just baked the batter in a half sheet pan for about 30 minutes, cooled it, plopped the icing on top, sprinkled it with some toasted pecans, and called it good. Easy-peasy! And it was well-received by the partygoers. I just had one corner piece to take home to my invalid roommate.

Hummingbird Cake
(Source: Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, January 1999 via My Recipes)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
2 cups chopped bananas
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, one cup pecans, and bananas.

Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

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