Month from Hell and Lemon Angel Food Cake
Well, after the month from hell, I’ve managed to sit down at my computer long enough to pop in with a quick post.
The last month has been one of the hardest I can remember having for a very long time. Two days before Thanksgiving, in the middle of my husband getting ready to leave for sea-duty in Japan, my sister-in-law’s dog, who has never seemingly had a mean bone in her body, bit my husband in the right hand, which of course became infected (cuz that’s the kind of month we were having). We spent 3 days in and out of the emergency room (we have to go to the one on the base, which is 28 miles away) because of course the regular doctor’s office at the base was closed for the holiday. When we finally got him on the mend I had to spend the next 4 days getting all of his stuff ready and packed since he’d been told not to use his hand at all and it turns out he is not even the smallest bit ambidextrous. My husband got on a plane for Japan Nov. 29th. Not a fun event for anyone in the family. We’ve lived through 4 deployments in 13 years, but this is the first time he’s ever gone to a duty station without all of us with him.
In the meantime we had made the decision, due to some family-dynamic issues, to switch 4 bedroom occupancies. I packed up my entire bedroom, including 400 lbs. of Navy paperwork and other misc. military stuff, all of my very heavy bedroom furniture, all of my clothes, my husbands clothes that he didn’t take to Japan with him (which was most of them) and my son-in-law (FSM bless him) and I and my boys hauled all of it from one end of the house to the other, down some very narrow basement stairs, all the way across the basement and moved it into the basement bedroom. We moved my nephew, who had been in the basement into an upstairs bedroom, my grandson into a different bedroom and my pregnant daughter and son-in-law into the larger bedroom that I had been in. This all took what seemed like forever due to the fact that 2 of my boys and I have all come down with a nasty cough that won’t go away.
I haven’t done much cooking lately that’s worth noting. I tried Turkey Tetrazzini with Thanksgiving leftovers and what I ended up with was pretty bland. My kids have been eating a lot of noodles, butter and parmesan, hot dogs, leftover spaghetti sauce, and grilled cheese.
My daughter’s birthday was Dec. 14th and she asked for Chicken Parmesan and Lemon Angel Food Cake. My family is pretty fond of my Chicken Parmesan, which is actually pretty simple. I puree Contadina diced tomatoes with Burgundy Wine and Olive Oil for the sauce, pound out chicken breasts, bread them with bread crumbs mixed with parmesan, brown them in a skillet, then pop them in the oven covered with mozzerella and parmesan and cook them until the chicken is done through and the cheese is melted. I serve it with the sauce and spaghetti.
The Lemon Angel Food Cake is a standard for my daughter’s birthday. She trades off every couple of years by requesting lemon bars instead. The recipe is pretty standard, but quite good if you’re a lemon fan.
Lemon Angel Food Cake
1 1/4 cup of cake flour (5 1/8 oz) of cake flour or 1 cup of all purpose flour (4 1/2 oz)
1 1/2 cups sugar (10 1/2 oz)
12 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract – optional
1 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix whisk 3/4 cup of sugar and the flour together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the 12 egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute. Add in the salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract and cream of tartar and continue to whip on med-high speed for several minutes until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium, gradually add in the other 3/4 cup of sugar, until it’s mixed in, then speed up the mixer and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Turn your mixer to low and gently add in the flour and sugar mixture and continue to mix until it’s completely incorporated.
Scrape your cake batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan and bake on the middle rack of your oven at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes until the top springs back when touched gently and it’s golden brown.
Cool your cake (the traditional way is to invert the pan and slip the tube over the neck of a bottle) for at least an hour. Loosen the cake by running a knife or offset spatula between the cake and the pan and gently remove the side piece of the pan and then do the same to separate the top of the cake from the remaining piece.
I serve this cake several ways – plain, with whipped cream or for extra lemony goodness you can top with lemon glaze.
Hope everyone is having a nice holiday season. I’ll try to catch up on all of the posts I’ve missed in the next couple days.