Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Food Network, I love you

When I was a kid, before most of my extended family moved to Florida (as all good new Yorkers eventually do, it seems), we used to visit my mom's Aunt Lily and Uncle Joe pretty regularly.  Aunt Lily always had pickles and olives for me, a fabulous doll collection in china cabinets -- I could look, but not touch -- and pound cake.  We never could visit without Aunt Lily having a freshly baked pound cake at the ready.

As you can imagine, there's a soft spot in my heart for pound cake.

Well, Uncle Joe left us a few years ago, but Aunt Lily is still doing great down in Florida, and my sister Courtney had a chance to visit her a few weeks ago.  For some reason, we texted instead of just calling, but in any case, I got to "talk" to Aunt Lily.  I asked Courtney if she'd had any pound cake, and Aunt Lily couldn't believe I remembered it.  (As if it would be possible to forget?!)

Ever since, I've had a hankerin' for some homemade pound cake.

I had no real reference to go on (and why I didn't just ask Aunt Lily, I have no idea ...) so I went to and searched.  I settled on this recipe from Paula Deen.  When in doubt, if you want a good old-fashioned Southern recipe, Paula never fails.  Also it helped that it had 500-something ratings and was still 5 stars. I figured this was pretty well vetted.

The recipe, like a lot of older recipes, calls for vegetable shortening.  I decided to use the equivalent in butter and take my chances.  So, instead of two sticks of butter and a stick of shortening, I used three sticks of butter.  It seemed to bake fine, and it is not overly buttery.  (I don't know if that makes sense, but you know how sometimes you can have a "butter pound cake" and really taste the butter?  Lord only knows how much butter that must take -- because here with three sticks, it's just a moist, dense pound cake but distinctly not a "buttery" cake.)

Even so, with three sticks of butter let the record show that I never said this cake was good for you!

We have been enjoying that for two days now (well, three, now that today's Wednesday), and yesterday CAM and I were watching Food Network (shocking, I know) and Trisha's Southern Kitchen ... and she and her college roommate made a chocolate gravy.

You read that right.  C-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e g-r-a-v-y.

They were serving it over fresh, hot biscuits but mentioned how it would also be good on ice cream or pound cake.


Guess what we had for breakfast today, my friends.

Go ahead and be jealous -- it was totally worth it!

Don't judge my decorating skills.  Also, I took this picture about 30 minutes after we'd all eaten, so the gravy was even thicker and drizzling it all pretty-like was all not-happening-like (mostly because I was too impatient to reheat it).    

But don't be jealous of my food styling.  It looks awful, I know.  But trust me:  deeeeelicious.

I followed the (very simple) recipe and made it with the plain old Nestle baking cocoa I had on hand, but I imagine you could dress it up with a darker chocolate cocoa, or add in some raspberry ... I can think of a bunch of ways to start with this and keep going, but the truth is that it was absolutely delicious just the way I made it -- not too rich, not too sweet -- and I might not change a thing.

Whenever I read a recipe that says calls for "good cocoa," I feel guilty that this is what I have in my pantry.  I am sure need to get whatever the good stuff is ... but in the meantime, this has never failed me.

Not a bad way to start a summer morning!


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