It’s raining outside and it finally feels like winter here in Southern California. Cooking is one of things my husband and I love to do together and today felt like the perfect day for that. So this morning, after having homemade toast with jam and coffee for breakfast, I put my apron on and got busy.
Couple of days ago, he requested a plain butter cake with mandarin oranges in it. I came across this recipe for Madeira Cake. It sounded really appetizing and I had everything I needed to make this cake. I took out the butter and eggs last night so they would be at room temperature by this morning. I made two changes to the recipe: I reduced the sugar to 175g/6.2oz and replaced the lemon juice and zest with a can of good mandarin oranges. I baked it at 350F for 50 minutes. Right now as I am writing this, I am enjoying a little slice of this heavenly cake with a cup of cappuccino that dear hubby made for me.
It had to be comfort food for lunch today, I don’t have a name for this yet. I use Bavarian seasoning and English Prime Rib Rub from The Spice House for the seasoning. I love their spices so much, I don’t buy spices from retail stores anymore. I believe they were mentioned on an Alton Brown show. It is a good idea to buy your spices in big batches from them so you save on shipping. I usually end up placing an order twice per year.
4 small potatoes – diced
1 small onion – diced
1 jalapeno pepper – diced
4 strips of bacon – cut with scissors into 1″ pieces
English Prime Rib Rub
Salt to taste
A tiny bit of oil to coat everything
5 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400F. Put potatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper and bacon on a baking dish. Sprinkle the two spices, salt and just enough oil to coat. Mix everything together. Once the oven is at 400F, put the baking dish in and turn the temperature down to 375F. After 30 minutes of cooking it at 375F, I like to take the dish out, have my husband gently tilt it and I drain the bacon grease out with a spoon. This way it’s not cloying and it doesn’t feel too heavy either. Then turn the temperature back up to 400F again and cook it for another 20 minutes until the potatoes are almost done.
In the meantime, beat the eggs with a little bit of salt. After the additional 20 minutes of cooking the potatoes at 400F, take the dish out of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375F again. Pour the eggs all over the potatoes and cook the whole thing again for 20 more minutes until the eggs are done.
Let it cool a tiny bit, cut and serve with gratings of your favorite cheese on top. I like smoked cheddar. This makes for a modest amount of lunch for the two of us over two days.
The whole reason for the temperature juggling is to keep the onions and the bacon from burning while the potatoes get perfectly done. Total cook time is about 70 minutes but prep time is only as long as it takes you to dice the potatoes and the onion.
While waiting for lunch to get done in the oven, I worked on dinner: a light Vietnamese pork noodle soup. I don’t really follow the recipe as far as the vegetables go. I pick out what seems appetizing at the moment while I am at the grocery store; therefore, what vegetables I put in there varies constantly. I also didn’t have any garlic oil at home. So I just chopped up some garlic and added that while I was frying up the spring onions and ginger.
We are going out to watch a movie tonight after dinner. Now all I have left to do at dinner time is to make the noodles and heat up the soup. This soup is so light and refreshing and you get a bunch of warm veggies in a pot along with pork and noodles. Nothing can be more comforting!