Tag Archives: fresh ginger

Ginger Half-Pound Cake

Because a whole pound of butter and two loaves is just too much for us.

This is the second pound cake I’ve posted here. The first was one from Michael Ruhlman, which we ate with a grilled peach compote. Very summery. On this cold, dry, winter day after 26″ of snow, a simpler cake, but one with a little zing of ginger, seemed like a better idea. Today’s recipe comes from Annie Somerville’s Fields of Greens. It makes a lighter-textured cake than Ruhlman’s, which has a more traditional dense crumb, even though the ingredients are not wildly different. Somerville uses fewer eggs and a little more sugar, plus some milk and baking powder—that doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a noticeable difference. The cake has a light, crisp crust, and the interior is very tender. Although Somerville suggests serving it with a fruit compote, it makes a nice midday snack on its own with a cup of tea.

I did use a couple of shortcuts—I didn’t have an orange, so I used dried orange peel, and I used ginger that is already grated in a convenient tube (I am in love with that stuff). I did use cake flour, but the recipe gives an option for regular flour, which might make a difference in the final texture.

Ginger Half-Pound Cake

  • Servings: 1 nine inch loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 300°; butter and lightly flour a 9″ loaf pan. If you double the recipe, which would be the original full recipe, you can use a tube pan or two loaves.

1 7/8 cups cake flour or 1 5/8 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

I used a stand mixer to make the batter. It is an incredibly fluffy batter that suggests the texture of the final cake.

  1. Cream the butter and zest at low to medium speed for about 5 minutes, until creamy.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  4. Mix in the ginger.
  5. Add in the flour-baking powder-salt mixture, alternating with the milk. The original recipe suggests beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Spread the batter in the buttered and floured pan and bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes. The original recipe suggests 1 3/4 to 2 hours, but does not distinguish between the tube pan or the loaf pans. I suspect the long time is meant for the tube pan version. I watched mine carefully after the first hour and tested it with a toothpick at 1 hr 20 mins when it was done.

I think this cake would go well with pudding or a creamy custard, as well as with a fruit sauce.

Is a Ham Pattie Just a Ham-Burger?

There are disputes about whether the singular of patties is patty or pattie. I’m making a stand for the -ie version, for no good reason.

I baked a boneless half ham in the grill Monday in my cast iron Dutch oven, and that leaves at least two days of what to do with leftovers. Tuesday, some of it became the ham patties shown here, and Wednesday, the last bit goes into a ham and rice casserole.

To make the patties, I halved the spice amounts from my ham loaf recipe and used egg and seasoned bread crumbs to hold it all together. Still, these ham patties are not as dense as a ham loaf, mostly because of the absence of the ground pork that holds the cooked ham together. Trying to keep cooked meat together into any shape is never easy. Shaping, coating, and turning the patties in a pan are delicate processes, sort of like those fish cakes I made a few weeks ago. But it can be done, and it’s a nice change of pace for leftover ham. They can be eaten with or without a bun, but I think the bun invites dressing it up with slaw or grilled vegetables or ranch dressing. My husband is choosing not to eat them with buns, while I’m going to use a soft ciabatta roll and grilled portobello caps marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make mine more of a burger.

Ham Patties

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Set up grill for direct heat.

1 pound cooked ham, ground in food processor or meat grinder

1/2 small onion, grated

1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (fresh breadcrumbs would add more moisture)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon each curry powder, fresh grated ginger, ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon each paprika, nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper

1/4 cup milk or more to achieve moist consistency that holds together

1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs for dusting

olive oil for frying

  1. Mix all ingredients together as you would for meatloaf.
  2. Divide into fourths, shaping each into a pattie. Refrigeration for at least a half hour can help hold the mixture together, but is not necessary.
  3. Dust both sides of each pattie carefully as you hold it in your hand. Pat the crumbs on lightly. You just want a little barrier between the patties and the hot skillet.
  4. Place skillet over direct heat on grill, adding about 2 tablespoons oil before the pan gets too hot. You don’t have the same control on a grill as you have on the stove, and your pan can get very hot quickly. As soon as the oil begins to heat, place the patties in the pan.
  5. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, until browned. I used two spatulas to turn them, so they wouldn’t break up. My second side browned better than the first, because I was impatient.

If you’re grilling some vegetables, do those first, removing them to indirect heat while you cook the meat.

For my mushroom caps, I used 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt, marinating them in a zippered bag for about 1/2 hour.



Sparkling Molasses Ginger Cookies

My husband just finished the batch of chocolate chip cookies I made for him last week, using this recipe, except with walnuts, so it was my turn for a cookie.

I wanted a molasses ginger cookie that used fresh rather than dried ginger and cardamom instead of cloves, and of course I wasn’t going to find such a cookie on the web, at least not easily, so I looked around for the best one to alter to my purposes. I also didn’t want the typical cookie that uses only 1/4 cup of molasses and relies on other dried spices for the flavor. I like the molasses flavor, especially up against fresh ginger. Eventually I found this interesting recipe on the molasses product site, but felt that it went too far in using 1.5 cups of molasses! Wow, that’s a lot. In addition, the 4 cups of flour seemed like it would make a dry cookie, and I wanted a soft cookie that wasn’t heavy. So the changes began:

  • I cut the molasses to 1 cup and used 1/4 cup of agave syrup instead of sugar.
  • I cut the flour to 3 cups, but added 1 cup of ground walnuts to make up the bulk needed for all that liquid sugar. The walnuts also add a nice depth of flavor, especially as the cookies age.
  • I cut out the cloves (which give me heartburn) and added 1 tablespoon of finely ground fresh ginger and 1 teaspoon of cardamom to the already listed 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
  • I used butter instead of vegetable shortening, and I rolled balls of the dough in sparkling decorating sugar, which adds a nice crunch around the soft cookie.

Sparkling Molasses Ginger Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 350°; line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Liquid ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted (I think you could work with room temperature butter, too)
  • 1 cup molasses, unsulphured
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground fresh ginger (sold conveniently in tubes in the produce section)
  • 1 egg

Dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Decorating sugar for rolling

  1. Combine melted or room temperature butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Beat in egg and ginger.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix into liquid ingredients. The dough will be soft and shiny and pliable, but not sticky. If the dough is too soft to hold a ball shape, refrigerate for a half hour or so until the butter sets up.
  3. Roll dough into balls about the size of large walnuts. Carefully roll in decorating sugar and place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. They spread some, but not like a flat cookie. I like to put only 6 cookies on a sheet at a time, but you should be able to fit more in.
  4. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Store in airtight containers.

These might be my new favorite cookie, next to a buttery shortbread. They are spicy and sweet without being overpowering. If you have people in your family who don’t like spice cookies, they might like these.