Tuesday afternoon or Saturday morning, the Farmers Market is a wonderful place to buy those fresh vegetables and salad ingredients your post-Halloween treat tummy is craving. Stock up on a mix of oak leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach and tender baby kale, and experiment with different mixes of those healthy leafy greens. You can find excellent virgin olive oil and freshly made apple cider vinegar at several of the stands. Take two parts oil to one part vinegar, and add a little salt, pepper, dry mustard, and a pinch of herbs, whisk together and voila – your own home-made vinegrette dressing.
Fresh fruit is a wonderful antidote to a weekend diet of Halloween candy. You can find some wonderful scrumptious pluots for sale, and a wide selection of fresh-from-the-tree apples. Even though it is unseasonably hot during the days, the nights are cool and crisp. Thus, you will find fall fruits such as persimmons and pomegranates along with early oranges and grapefruit.
Win or lose, it’s an American thing to celebrate election day. A colonial tradition from the early 1700’s, Hartford Election Cake was baked in large quantities to serve residents and citizens who came into town from rural villages and farms to vote. The recipe has been adapted for 21st century cooks by Patricia Bunning Stevens. In 2006, the Washington Post featured her recipe from “Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes.”
2 packages active dry yeast
1⁄2 warm water (105-115 degrees)
1⁄2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
3 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (divided in two parts: 1 1⁄2 cups, then 1 3⁄4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon mace
1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in milk. Add 1 1⁄2 cups flour gradually, until mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30-45 minutes.
Mix together 1 3⁄4 cups flour, salt and spices and set aside. Chop raisins, mix with nuts and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in yeast mixture. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition Add raisin-pecan mixture and mix well.
Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1 1⁄2-2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cake until golden brown, 40-50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.
For glaze: in a mixing bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk, until desired spreading consistency. Glaze should cover top of cake and drizzle down the sides.
The Culver City Farmers Market is held on Tuesdays from 2 to 7 pm on Main Street between Culver and Venice Blvds. The Culver South Farmers Market is held on Saturdays from 8:30 – 11:30 at the corner of Slauson and Hannum Blvds., in the northeast corner of the Westfield Culver City parking lot.
Katie Malich will be in more of a cooking mood when the weather looks at the calendar and realizes it’s autumn already.