Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Old Love, New Form April 7, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 11:05 am
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For a long, long, long… long time…

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I’ve had an adoration of mushrooms.

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They’re my first thought for toppings when ordering pizza.

Raw, stuffed, curried, grilled…

Deep fried at my Kingshead Pub

In a quiche, in a crepe?  Oui, s’il vous plaît.

Wild mushroom risotto?  The only time I will consider ordering a bowl of rice.

Portobello sandwiches, all the way.

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Or…  Something I’ve never done…

We can caramelize them with onions in Marsala wine.

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Everyonething is better with wine.

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And then we get fancies.

Marsala Mushroom Pate

This recipe is inspired by my passion for shrooms.  And by Homestyle Vegetarian.  I veganized it, as well as incorporated the Marsala wine.  Because that’s what I do, I dunno.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Marsala wine

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 a small onion, sliced

1 lb fresh mushrooms (white button or baby portobellos), quartered

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

2-3 Tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar

herbs/spices of your choice (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste

1) Pour the wine into a large pan.  Add the garlic and onion and simmer until the onion starts to become translucent.  Then add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.  Allow to cool.

2) While the mushrooms are cooling, you can skin the hazelnuts if desired.  Just place them on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toast them at about 300°F for 5-10 minutes, or until the skin comes off easily.  Then immediately throw them into a dish towel, wrap them up well, and rub around to loosen the skins.  This step is probably not necessary, but it the skin may darken the color of the pate.

3) In a food processor, finely chop the hazelnuts and almonds.  Then add the caramelized mushrooms and process until smooth.  Scrape down occasionally, and add the vinegar to smooth it out.  You can also use a little extra wine, vinegar, or olive oil to help with the texture.  Then add herbs, spices, salt and pepper to your liking.

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(Yep.  Looks like cat food.)

For variation… You can use another type of dessert wine, such as sherry or port.  You can also substitute different types of nuts– walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, cashews, etc.  This pate can be used on crostini as an appetizer, an accompaniment to some grilled vegetables and tofu, stuffed into ravioli, spread on sandwiches, etc.

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But I’ve no problems just eating it with a spoon…

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She Thought It Was Chocolate Pudding… March 9, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 11:54 am
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I can’t believe I used to dislike olives.

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I wonder when I first had a Kalamata olive…?

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Pitting olives is meditative.

Not really.

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I must tell you…  I brought the end result of this recipe to work.  I was about to dip some broccoli into it when I saw my co-worker staring over.  She looked concerned.  She’s often concerned for my sanity.

“What is that?”, she asked, like a deer in headlights.

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She thought I was about to dip my broccoli in chocolate pudding.

Hmm…  Don’t put ideas in my head now…

Kalamata Olive & Walnut Hummus

Initially I thought about doing a tapenade with the olives and walnuts.  But then I remembered some black-eyed peas waiting to be used.  Oookaaaay, I said.  Olive lovers, this hummus is for you.  If you like, but not love, olives, you can dial back the amount of olives and see how you feel with the result.  I like the walnuts in place of tahini because their rich, yet mellow flavor pairs nicely with the briny olive, but I imagine tahini would be just as awesome.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas, garbanzos, or a combination

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup walnuts

some fresh or dried herbs of your choice– rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.

red wine vinegar– enough to achieve the desired consistency

salt & pepper to taste

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In a food processor, combine the beans, olives, walnuts, and herbs.  Pulse everything together, then add enough red wine vinegar to smooth out the consistency.  You can also use a bit of olive oil or water to adjust the consistency so you don’t use too much vinegar.  Add salt and pepper (remember to go easy on the salt since the olives add brininess).  If the olive taste is too intense, you can drizzle in a bit of honey or agave.

 

On the First Try! February 25, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:30 am
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So, I’ve realized that I haven’t provided you all with very many sweets lately.

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My sincere apologies, people.  Really.

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You have to understand that when you bake and make sweets for a living, you tend to want to get away from them at home.

You develop a desire to put salt, vinegar, or hot sauce on everything.

You eat packets of mustard.

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What?

Am I the only one who will eat a packet of mustard?

…I just love mustard…

=(

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Whatever, I hate you all.  So anywho, I got back into a little gluten-free experimental baking.  In the past I’ve had some successes, but also many failures.  It’s one thing when you’re doing strictly vegan or strictly gluten-free, but when you want to do BOTH in one recipe…  Woof.  Without eggs or gluten, you gotta work on your method of structure.  It’s like being an architect or construction worker.  And a chemist.  Well, damn, I didn’t know I was so versatile…

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I got lucky with this one.  I pondered for a bit on how to make a successful gluten-free, vegan banana bread that tastes awesome and is not flat and dopey-looking.  I’m familiar with amaranth and tapioca flours, and find them to work very well in various recipes.  Amaranth for its protein content and sweet, nutty taste, and tapioca for its elasticity and blank flavor (like a ninja…).  Then I researched a bit on baking powder and baking soda, since there would be no eggs to help the bread rise.  I took my usual banana bread recipe, made some adjustments, and voila.  Well kids, I guess this is (one reason) why I”m the Guru Rabbit…

Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups amaranth flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

3 ripe bananas

1 cup sugar (brown, white, or a combination of both)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free butter substitute*

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider variety)

2 tsp vanilla

Optional: a big handful (or two) of chocolate chunks, nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, dried coconut, whatever you want.  I added chocolate chunks and chopped pecans

*I used non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening, which is stored at room temperature, and is always soft.  If you use something like Earth Balance, which is refrigerated, make sure you let it soften, or melt it slightly.

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.  (If baked in a 9×5 inch pan, it may bake faster, but will look flatter.  It will still taste awesome though.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients (all the dry stuff, amaranth flour through cinnamon).  In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, flax seed meal, and faux butter.  And in a small cup, combine the milk with the vinegar and vanilla.

2) With an electric mixer, beat the banana and sugar mixture until it’s as smooth as possible.  It may look like vomit… Just sayin’…  Add the vinegared milk and mix well.  Then fold in the dry ingredients and your optional additions until well incorporated.

3) Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top, allowing it a bit of a dome.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I know, it’s a while, but it’s worth it.  Go watch a movie or something.  Test with a wooden skewer or toothpick to make sure it’s fairly dry inside (there may be a trace of moisture on the tester, but there shouldn’t be any batter).  Allow to cool until at least lukewarm before you cut into it.  This will keep just like regular banana bread– at room temperature, in the fridge, in the freezer– it all depends on how fast it’ll go.

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So here’s to tooting my own horn.

Toot. Tooot!

 

How Hard Can It Be? January 15, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:29 am
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I consider myself lucky.

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I enjoy fruits and veggies.  And herbs and spices.  All sorts.

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And I know how to use them.

I know what they do for me.

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I know for a lot of people the sheer thought of a broccoli floret, a carrot, beans, or even a plate of spinach sauteed with garlic– is traumatizing.  Whereas to me, they’re beautiful.  Raw, cooked, paired with dressing or dips, I just love my plant food.  At work I’m offered pasta, eggs, bread.  I have cookies and cakes and icing and chocolate at my immediate disposal.  I taste some things, but that is it.  Not because I dislike these items, but because A) I don’t like to take too much food from work, and B) I know how these foods make me feel physically, as opposed to the fresh fruits and veggies I bring from home.  My biggest indulgence on the clock is spinach gnocchi when the Miss sneaks over a couple pieces.  She’s lovely.  I sometimes take home with me her sweet potato salad or jalapeno corn muffins.  But she knows the best things to give me are celery, broccoli, tomatoes, arugula in lemon dressing, or even a spoonfull of chipotle pepper!  And yes, I eat the chipotle pepper straight up (while co-workers stare in amazement).  One time she brought me all the vegetable scraps from a crudite platter she was doing.  Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower… Best day at work.  Ever.

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      I know.  Issues.  I have them.

Well, mental issues, yes.

Health issues?  Haven’t seen one in many moons…  Haven’t had a “real” cold in years– I swat them with chili peppers, garlic and onion.  The flu and I are complete strangers.  Headaches are rare, as is indigestion.  My digestive system and I have very clear communication…  take that as you will.

But.

I wasn’t always this way.  As a kid, I pretty much despised salad.  I was down with some fruit.  Apple juice was my beverage of choice.  But it ain’t an American childhood (especially in the 90’s) if you’re not eating garbage of some sort.  Pop Tarts, sugary cereals, hydrogenated oils, Handi-Snacks, Dunkaroos… y’all know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!  My immunity wasn’t bad, but it could’ve been better.  I remember horrible stomach pains at night, asking Dad to rub my back so I could try to fall asleep.  Mom did her best to feed us a healthy diet, but when so many crappy non-foods are marketed as “health food”… it’s not easy.  You have to educate yourself.  You have to research.  You have to learn and experiment and taste and do the whole trial-and-error.  Over and over and over.

Which is what I did, starting in my late teens and early twenties.

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Mmmmm, glad I did.

So, yes, I know.  It’s not easy.  You’re not born liking carrots and beets and greens.  But just like when we’re babies, we have to try foods several times, and in different preparations, to see if those foods are really not our thang.  I hope, if you’re one of those who’s afraid of plants, that this salad piques your interest, and that you try your hand at it, or at least one of the components, or another one of my recipes.  Personally, just the roasted beets and carrots are wonderful on their own.  I ate some for breakfast… But then again, of  course I would.

Rabbit’s Delight

This salad is a winner.  Crisp, creamy, a bit of tang, natural sweetness, and nutritionally packed.  Other great additions would be some cooked chickpeas, sprouts, some teriyaki baked tempeh…  If you want to go all raw, you can just peel and grate the beet and carrots.  Now go be healthy!

Ingredients:

for the dressing-

1 cup raw cashews

a few handfuls of cilantro leaves

zest and juice of two limes

salt and pepper to taste

water to adjust consistency

for the salad-

1 medium beet, sliced (peeling is optional)

a couple of large carrots, sliced into coins (or a few medium/small carrots)

a bunch of salad greens (I used chicory, but you can use romaine, spring mix, butter lettuce, etc.)

1 avocado, sliced

1) For the dressing, combine all the ingredients, except water, in a food processor and blend, blend, blend, until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.  Add water to thin it out to your liking.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

2) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Toss the beet and carrot slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake until tender.  Around half an hour should do.  I think…. :)

3) When the beets and carrots are cooled, combine them with the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl.  Toss with the dressing, and serve.  Yaaaay.

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Pies… November 18, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , ,

PEOPLE.

It’s OKAY.

Stay CALM.

I made PIES.

Pies for you and everyone to enjoy.  You can make these pies tonight while you drink Scotch and worry about your Thanksgiving plans.  And those weird relatives.  Then while the pies are cooling you can drink more Scotch and think about how you’re going to get back at those relatives…


More Scotch.

Hemingway-style.

Eat pecans and chocolate.

Because you’re not Hemingway and need to eat something

Okay, here it is.  1) I don’t really drink Scotch.  But I’m not against it…  2) Coconut Rum Pecan Pie.  3) Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Pie.  4) OMG GO MAKE THESE NOW.

Seriously, these pies…  One is vegan, one is not, both are scrumptious and will earn you brownie points.  Errr, pie points.  The crusts are really up to you, if you have a favorite recipe or want to use pre-made ones.  These are just my suggestions.

Coconut Rum Pecan Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small chunks

ice-cold water

Filling:

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup coconut rum

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

optional: a splash of vanilla

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup dried coconut

pecan halves to decorate the top

1) Preheat your oven to 350 °F.  For the crust, mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.  Then add the butter chunks and pulse until you get a mixture that looks like fine bread crumbs.  Process while adding a bit of cold water until the dough starts to come together.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring it together and make sure it’s uniform.  Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or pan.  Roll the dough to around 11 inches so that it fits well into the pie pan.  Roll the dough around your rolling pin, and release it onto the pan.  You can do the edges however you like.

2) Make the filling– whisk together the brown sugar, rum, melted butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla, if using.  Spread the pecan pieces and coconut into your pie crust and pour the filling over.  Top with pecan halves however you like.  Bake on a tray 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Crust:

8 oz Oreo-type cookies (I used the Whole Foods brand, I dunno if you’re a Hydrox person or whatevs…)

a couple Tbsp melted butter, Earth Balance, non-hydrogenated shortening, etc.

Filling:

(I’m not going to lie, this is based on last year’s pumpkin pie… Shut up.)

1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 of 15-oz can pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla

optional (but recommended…): a schtickle of whiskey, rum, dessert wine, etc.

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1) Preheat oven to 375°F.  For the crust, grind the cookies finely in a food processor.  Transfer to your pie plate.  Mix gradually with the melted butter just until the crumbs can stick to each other, and use your hands to form the crust.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until firm.  Hint: you can smell the chocolatey goodness when it’s about ready.

2) Make the filling.  Whisk together the arrowroot starch, sugar, and milk.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pumpkin filling with the melted chocolate.

3) Pour the plain pumpkin filling into your pie crust and smooth it out.  (You probably won’t need all the filling, so save it for minis!)  Dollop the chocolate-pumpkin filling on top and swirl around with a knife.  Bake around 40-45 minutes, or until the edges have puffed up a bit and are set.  The center will still be pudding-like.

Allow these pies to cool completely.  Preferably overnight.  In the refrigerator.

(You can even freeze them until T-Day!)

I know, it’s painful.

Go cry about it.  And punch your relatives.

 

Brothers, Part II October 9, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:48 pm
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Then there’s Steven.  He’s the one who got married earlier this year.  Steven’s the younger older brother.  (Yep, I’m the baby girl.)

Steven knows better than to eat a raw plantain… (lolz).  But he has his… quirks…  Tina, his wife/my sister(-in-law), can attest.  Using a fork to scrape peanut butter out of the jar, for example.  No one knows why.  Pretty sure Steven doesn’t know either.  It’s just always been like that.  Grab a banana.  Peel it.  Break it in half.  Scrape pb out of the jar with a fork and onto the banana.  Chomp, chew, repeat process.

Wherever Steven lives, there are fork tracks in the peanut butter.

So for his birthday this year, I thought to make him a cake comprising of a few of his mindless addictions…

A banana cake, made with vanilla bean paste to give it that wonderful, ethereal vanilla flavor.

Marshmallow frosting… because Steven loves sweets that are light and fluffy.

(Tina’s light, but not fluffy.  I would know, she’s sat on me before…  Hi Tina!)

And between each layer, peanut butter honey icing, sliced bananas,

and some of that marshmallow frosting.

I put a little jar of peanut butter on top.  And made sure it had fork tracks in it ;)

Oh.  And a marzipan fork.

Then there was a little party at Tina’s brother’s house.

The family puppies were there…

Steven swears Oliver likes being smothered like this.

Then there’s Goldie, the lighter, more sprightly counterpart to Oliver.

Okay, so they’re not puppies, chronologically.  But y’know.

Steven got spoiled.  All his favorite desserts.

And a My Little Pony card from me :D

Banana Fluffernutter Cake

Ingredients:

for cake (adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen)-

3 overly ripe bananas

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, margarine, or butter (at room temperature)

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract (depending on how much vanilla flavor you want)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk (almond, soy, dairy, whatever), mixed with 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

for the marshmallow frosting-

the recipe for this can be found here, since I’m lazy, and she presents it in such a special manner :)

for the peanut butter icing-

this is so easy, I’ll tell you after the cake.

1)  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 6-inch round pans.  You can also use a single 8 or 9 inch round pan, a 8×8 square pan or 8×4 inch loaf pan.  Depends on how you’re serving this, since it doesn’t have to be assembled exactly as I did.

2)In a large bowl, with your mixer, beat up the bananas, getting them as smooth as you can.  Add in the sugar and shortening, and beat, again, until as smooth as you can get it.

3) Mix in your salt, vanilla, and the soured milk.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda, and fold into the banana mixture with a rubber spatula.

4) Scrape the batter into your pan(s). Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Using two smaller pans may result in faster baking time, so just keep an eye on your baby.

The peanut butter icing is kind of an ad-lib.  I just threw together some peanut butter, honey, powdered sugar, and non-hydrogenated shortening.  If you have a favorite peanut butter icing or frosting recipe, go for it.  For me, the point was to be able to pipe the decoration around the cake.  If you’re not worried about that, just some plain peanut butter and honey or maple syrup will do for the filling.

Once the cake is cooled, slice the tops and edges to flatten and smooth out the layers.  I sliced each cake into two, so as to have four layers.  That’s up to you.  You can just have two layers.  Between layers, spread some peanut butter icing/filling.  Top with thinly sliced banana, and make a thick ring around the edges with marshmallow frosting.  Frost the entire cake in marshmallow frosting.  Decorate as desired.  I don’t recommend the miniature jar of forked up peanut butter on top unless you also have a friend or family member who eats their peanut butter with a fork…

Right, Goldie?

Aaaw.  Pooped.

 

A Bit of Food Porn for You… July 23, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 3:57 pm
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And a cake for my mom.  (Because it’s her birthday.)

Simple, gooey, juicy, crunchy.

An easy, go-to white cake, enhanced with orange zest and almond extract.  Homemade dulce de leche.  Fresh orange, and a generous sprinkling of pecans.  Why, yes, you should be jealous of my mom.

Funny thing is, for four days I thought about what kind of cake to make.  Then it just happened this morning.  I dunno, kinda like when you go looking for a birthday card, and you spend like half an hour searching through all the crappy ones, trying to decide between a couple that are “Okay”, and finally you pick up one you didn’t see before and it’s like, “Bingo”.

Orange Nut Cake with Dulce de Leche

This cake… it is not vegan.  Could I make a vegan version?  Yes.  Maybe one day…

Ingredients for the cake:

1 cup sugar

zest of 1 large orange

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

couple pinches of salt

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp buttermilk, or soured milk (make soured milk by just adding a couple teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice, and let sit for five minutes)

2 egg whites

1 tsp almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ round baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.  In  a large bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest.  Whisk well to “infuse” the zest into the sugar.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk well again.

2) Throw in  the butter and buttermilk, and with an electric mixer, combine on low speed until it’s all incorporated, then amp up the power to medium, and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape the bowl down, add the egg whites and almond extract, and beat on medium for another 2 minutes.  Pour batter into the pan, and bake for about half an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely.

For the dulce the leche, you can buy it at the store, or if you have some patience and wanna be cool like me…

Combine 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and 2 cups of whole milk in a medium saucepan.  Why the baking soda?  It helps to achieve that luscious caramelly shade.  Anyway, whisk it all together, and over medium heat, bring to a simmer (avoid boiling).  Once the sugar is dissolved I switch to a wooden spoon.  Keep stirring, almost constantly, as the water evaporates from the milk and the mixture thickens and turns light brown.  Eventually, you should see the bottom of the pan as you’re stirring.  This will take around an hour.

What to do during this hour?  Call or text one of your buddies in a far away place (like New Orleans?)…

Me: “…I’m making dulce de leche right now…”

Chris: “Be there in five.”

Oh, and once your dulce de leche has thickened, add half a teaspoon of vanilla, and if desired, a drizzle of spiced rum, dessert wine, etc.  Let it cool.  If once it’s cooled you find it too thick/sticky, add a couple tablespoons of hot water until it’s easier to work with.  This makes enough dulce de leche to dress a single layer cake, plus extra for you to enjoy with a spoon ;)

To assemble the cake… drizzle some dulce de leche over the cake.  Segment an orange, and arrange it however you like.  MORE DULCE DE LECHE.  And some chopped pecans.

Happy Birthday to the woman who had me ripped from her uterus and taught me the importance of dulce de leche. 

And oranges.  Gotta have your vitamin C…