Well, Christmas was awesome. Family, great friends, delicious food, a trip to Maine (with snow!!), and of course, lots of lovely gifts both given and received. Christmas dinner was simple- we’d had lasagna for Christmas Eve (and LOTS of Christmas cookies!). By the way, do make the Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats from Smitten Kitchen. Oh. my. deliciousness. Give them away quickly (to me is fine) or run the real risk of squirreling yourself away in a dark corner, eating the entire pan on your own. I won’t say I did that, exactly, but I will say this picture includes a lone treat from the second batch I made of those! Also included in this picture are “The Best” Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies from A Couple Cooks. And, yes, they are indeed the best!! All of us wanted something lighter for Christmas Day. Fish, broccoli, a fantastic raw cranberry-and-orange relish, and mashed potatoes fit the bill perfectly. And it was pretty!
My very first Apron In The Window cake post (and the second post overall) last January was for my friend Nicole’s red velvet birthday cake. It seems appropriate that the first blog post of 2013 include at least a reference to her red velvet cake for this year! Wanting to avoid the copious amounts of food dye required to make red velvet cake red, I found a recipe on Oprah.com, also by that grand cook Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen, that called for the use of red wine versus red dye. This merlot-and-shiraz-loving girl was very happy! Here is a slightly blurry picture of Red-Wine Velvet Cake:
The cake isn’t exactly red. It’s a deep and pretty, chocolate-y rich brown. Maybe with hints of red. Anyway, it’s pretty tasty. Dense. Rich. Cocoa-y. Despite the amount of sugar in it, it’s not super-sweet.
I used only half the frosting- and I knew I would probably do that going in. Just in case, I made the whole amount called for, and ended up throwing half of it away. It is a VERY rich frosting and we found that having it on top and between the layers was more than enough. It was not necessary to cover the sides as well.
Sadly, Nicole got sick and we ate the cake without her (but left her thick slices of cake on her porch!). I think I’d make the cake again, but I’d definitely go ahead and halve the frosting recipe.
On a (much) healthier note, this Vegetarian Thai Quinoa Chili is very nice. I found it a bit bland, so next time I’ll play with the spices and remember the green onions/cilantro/Greek yogurt/avocado for toppings. As my friend Andraea pointed out, it’s better in a day or two, because the flavors blend deliciously.