Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh my, I think my streusel is showing

As a kid I always looked forward to Sunday morning when I would go hand-in-hand with my Dad to round up the usual suspects. Each item was found in a different store -- lox (the real salt cured salmon), whitefish, smoked salmon, chopped herring and health salad at the appetizing store; hot bagels & bialys burning your hands through the paper bag from the bagel bakery; and finally the Jewish bakery for pletzels, corned rye bread, chocolate crullers and cake. When you ordered "Coffee Cake", it was cut from a huge slab and sold by the pound, like my favorite Seven Layer Cake which was sold the same way.

This week we baked Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake and it transported me right back to age 8, nose pressed against the glass bakery case trying to see everything from my modestly elevated position. The warm buttery-sugar smells that wafted from my oven Friday were not lost on each person as they entered. Welcome to my place where memory deliciously meets reality. Stop by Friday between 2-4 to sample each week's bake. This Friday it's the classic NYC Black & White Cookies. These made us proud long before the Giants in the SuperBowl...but we'll toast to that too!

I doubled the recipe and needed A TON OF STREUSEL to top the cake

The ingredients were simple and basic...lots of sweet butter and sugar. 
They mixed for a long time until whipped to a texture like butter cream frosting.

Then the beaten eggs were added at a slow dribble

An offset spatula helps to gently spread the cake batter without crushing the air of it

 Anna gently & evenly spreads the LARGE AMOUNT of streusel over the top

 Followed by sprinking the toasted chopped walnuts

I baked a double batch and it came out golden with delicate rich cake bottom & walnut streusel topping

All of this was supervised under the watchful eye of Twinkie , All Breeds Super Chef

There are no interior shots of the cake, because we gave it all away. Yums were heard echoing.

I think I'm a very lucky person because I've always found myself in the company of wonderful people. Just this week Mike, our terrific mailman, brought me a stunning cabbage that his lovely wife Evelyn grew in her organic garden. I had to consider how to use such a jewel. My thoughts went back to that old appetizing store in Brooklyn and their Health Salad. It was a specialty I've only found available in those stores, usually located near bagel bakeries, where the combo of fresh bread, smoked fish and cream cheese spreads had an affinity for each other. Health Salad was usually sold next to the Greek Salad, by the pound. It is a sweet & sour, non-mayo version of cole slaw that is a perfect "side" with a sandwich and stays crisp for weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It's even VEGAN before anyone thought to promote it that way. It took a long time for me to unearth a recipe that tasted "right on", but the Second Ave Deli's cookbook has the real thing. 

Try this in honor of Mike & Evelyn's generous gift...
I hope you have a cabbage that is worthy
                         2nd Ave Deli Health Salad          yield 8 cups

1 small head green cabbage (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 small green bell pepper
1 large rib celery, cut crosswise into thin slices
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, peanut, corn, or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
To prepare the salad, halve the cabbage, cut into quarters, and remove the core in each section. With a large, sharp knife, shred the cabbage as finely  as possible and transfer to a large bowl.

Using the coarsest side of a box grater, shred the carrots into the shredded cabbage. Halve the green pepper and remove the seeds, ribs, and stem. Wash and dry the pepper halves, then cut them into extremely fine strands; add them to the slaw along with the celery.

To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the slaw. Toss well.

Refrigerate the slaw, tightly covered, for at least 8 hours before serving. As the slaw will not wilt much, it should remain crisp and fresh tasting for 2 to 3 weeks.
  This cookie can be found in every deli, coffee shop & bakery in New York City. It is a soft, almost cake-like cookie, whose top is iced with vanilla & chocolate. Stop by and 
sample one to see if it lives up the standards all of us New Yorkers know & love.
Anna & I will be baking them Friday morning Feb 10th
Stop by to sample between 2-4pm Friday at

my home, The TreeHouse, just down the driveway at
932 12th St., Bradenton (Village of the Arts)
come through the white iron gate & walk back to the TreeHouse

I also have a limited amount of
Chocolate Orgasm Cookies
Assorted Breadstix
Homemade Jam & Chutney

Any questions, call me at (941) 746-6647
or email

Hugs from the kitchen,

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