Friday, November 28, 2008

Pumpkin Roll

Last year I tried this recipe for the first time. My mother always made it and I have always loved it. The funny thing about this recipe is that it is printed on the inside of the Libby's pure pumpkin. I have always thought that it was a recpie that was passed down through the family. I guess some of the best kept secrets are the ones that are not really too secret. As for for pumpkin I have tired many canned varieties and even tried to make it myself by scratch but the Libby's 100% pure pumpkin is one of the best. It has the most pumpkin flavor that I have ever had, and what is even nicer is that when you look at the list of ingredients there is only one ingredient. That makes me very happy. I have a big issue about things that are in storage that have additives to it. I know that they are there to preserve the ingredients but not a big fan of putting too many un-natural chemicals into my body that i really don't know what they are. The recipe is is pretty simple and can be made in a little more than an hour with cooling time.


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 tsp of ground ginger (not in recipe but a nice additive)
1/4 tsp of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups of Libby's Pure Pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts (not something I use)

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 Tbsp butter (unsalted is what i use)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use a vanilla paste from Williams and Sanoma- really good)

For cake:
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Grease 15x10-inch jelly roll pan, line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a Small bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. It will get creamy. Beat in the pumpkin, stir in flour mixture. spread evenly in jelly roll pan and sprinkle with nuts if you like.

Bake for 13-15 min. the edges will start to brown and the cake will spring back when touched. The cake should be about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. You want to feel like it is a very think cake. When you take it out of the oven sift powdered sugar on the top and drape a thin cotton kitchen towel over the top. You want to flip it out of the jelly roll pan right away. By putting the towel on the pan I can then use a cookie pan on top and flip it over onto the cookie pan. Roll up cake and towel together. You can roll it either way, I roll it so that i have a longer roll so it is a nice personal slice in the end. Let cool rolled up on rack.

For the filling:
Beat cream cheese butter and vanilla extract until creamy, add sifted powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll cake, remove towel. spread cream cheese filling over cake. Re-roll cake, gently squeeze cake to make sure there is a smooth and no major air pockets. Refrigerate to firm up filling. Before serving cut off edges and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Its really a pretty easy recipe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Woe that is Filene's take 3

My concerns of downtown are starting to manifest again. I read this article about the financing of the One Franklin project and how that there is trouble with it (see link below). With the market the way that it is now, has probably put quite a bit of stress on projects throughout the city. Keeping an optimistic outlook towards this is one of the best things that i can do, even though it is a little sad to walk by the project and see no work going on. I understand that it is hard to finance such a huge project. Can you imagine someone coming up to you and says, by the way I'm trying to build a skyscraper and do you have a couple mil handy for me to do so. It does make me wonder how solid of a budget plan the city requires a project in an economy like this. The bigger question is, what is the city going to do about this? Well this reader is going to be waiting to hear from the city that's for sure. Is it their place to bail out this project? We will have to wait and see. All I can hope for is that whatever happens the design stays strong. If we compromise design then we are settling for second best and this city should not settle.

Simple but elegant cheesecake

Cheesecake has always been an intimidating dessert for me. Every year we would always make small cheesecake tarts but the larger cakes are a whole different ball game. so when my father was on the east coast and we were taking care of some family I took advantage of his knowledge of cheesecakes. Everyone is always talking about all the different cheesecakes that he makes, peanut butter, chocolate etc. Though I do love a unique cheesecake that has a mix of flavors in it, the one that I always prefer is the simple one, just a plain cheesecake with fresh fruit topping. So my father and I set out to make a simple elegant cheesecake.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 TBL unsalted butter
1-1/2 TBL granulated sugar

Variants:Lorna dune shortbread cookies, Ginger snaps (use 2-1/2 TBL granulated sugar), Oreo Cookies (1 TBL granulated sugar)

2-1/2 lbs cream cheese (room temp)
1-1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
3 TBL flour (not fully necessary but does help if you want to make it gluten free)
5 eggs (room temp)
2 egg yolks (room temp)
½ cup of sour cream (room temp)
1 TBL lemon Zest
please note that if you are making gluten free you will have to use something else other than graham crackers, something i will defiantly look into for my gluten free friends.

Get cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350*
Put 1 pkg. Graham crackers (about 12) into food processor and process to a fine consistency. Pour into small mixing bowl. Add 4 tbl. Melted butter and 1 ½ tbl. of sugar. Mix well and then pour mixture into 9” spring form pan. Press crumb mixture evenly over bottom and about 1” up side of pan. Place in oven and bake for about 9 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Turn oven up to 425*.

Place cream cheese in large mixing bowl with the sugar. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream and flour and continue to mix. Make sure you scrape the sides of bowl often so that all the cream cheese gets incorporated into mixture or you will have a lumpy cheesecake. You now add the eggs into the mixture one at a time and mix at low setting. Next fold in the vanilla and the lemon zest.

Pour mixture into cooled crust and place in oven. Bake at 425* for 15 minutes and then turn heat down to 225* and bake for an additional 65 minutes. Cake will be set on the outer edges and will shake slightly in the center when done. Turn heat off in oven, open oven door, and let cake remain in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven and cool for 15 minutes on cooling rack. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to free it from the sides and then cool completely. Remove side of spring form pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Woe that was Filene's take 2

So I have started to become the paparazzi of the building community. Being an architect and interested in the Government Center debates I have started to become interested in the documentation of the building process that is going on around me. Documenting what is going on in our environment lets people know the history and life that happened in a place that is ever changing. The other day I was in my print shop picking up a set of drawings and on their walls was a before, during construction, and after shot of Government Center in Boston. It was amazing to see the changes that happened, and how the space was recreated and redeveloped. The old Filene's building is also a very integral and important landmark in the Boston area. The good news is that there was still work happening at the site. I heard through the grapevine that there may be some money issues for this project. I really hope that this is not true, it can be devastating to the economy and the life around Downtown Crossing. Its bad enough that my favorite burrito place was a casualty of the building war. If this building does not get built or gets put on hold its going to send a message to all that see that gaping hole every day they walk by it. But I don't want to go to far off course, so I bring you some photos that I took today as I walked by. The excavator is actually being used to transport a cementitious material in this photo. It extends its long neck so that its bucket can be filled up by the cement truck. It would then rotate around and fill the hole that it is lying next to. Pretty interesting, and the big question is what is that large hole for, the cement that is being poured looks a little darker than what i have seen in the past, but that may not mean much. Only time will tell, enjoy the photos.