Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Curse of Costco

There are many, many things to like - in large quantities - about Costco. Thirty percent off magazines, great deals on just about anything, really. Staggering around the store, clinging to the cart, glassy-eyed and babbling something about "Do you know what 36 of these would cost at Publix???"

And of course there's the Costco hangover. The fuzzy-tongued, WTF? day after spent wondering where to put ten rolls of duct tape. The last, desperate Google for "recipe - six cups of mustard."

Hey, it happens to the best of us. We were suckered in - twice - on cherries, which are crazy expensive. One giant pod of cherries just looked great for snacking. Unfortunately for all so did other treats of the season. Too much competition, too short a shelf life.

The other crate of cherries was put to good and prolific use. Sweetie decided to make cherry ice cream (terrific). Oatmeal isn't my favorite summer breakfast, but it goes well with cherries so oatmeal it was.

Fortunately I came across this recipe for a cherry (tired of that word yet? I AM) streusel coffee cake. If you have both a bundt (fluted/ridged/pretty) pan and a tube (plain) pan, use the tube pan. Streusel tends to get caught in the fluting and it stays in the pan instead of deliciously on the cake.

*Generally, I follow the "never have any kitchen utensil that only has one use" rule. Of course, carried to its most extreme Depression-era form all anyone would ever need is a knife and a spoon, since most kitchen utensils are derivations of one of those items. A cherry pitter is an exception - it's money well-spent that keeps me from looking like a horror movie extra splattered with cherry juice.

Cherry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Cooking Light

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup regular oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBSP chopped pecans (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBSP frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I used regular orange juice)
1 TBSP canola oil

Cooking spray
1/4 cup canola oil
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 cups all-pupose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fat-free sour cream (ICK - I use reduced-fat sour cream. I won't allow fat-free in the house)
2 cups pitted fresh cherries, coarsely chopped (if they're too roly-poly to manage chopping with a knife, put them in a large measuring cup and slice through with scissors from different angles)

1. To prepare streusel, lightly spoon whole wheat flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine whole wheat flour and next 4 ingredients. Add concentrate and 1 TBSP oil; stir until crumbly. [Note: this is a fairly sandy streusel]

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. To prepare cake, coat a 9-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup oil and melted butter in a medium bowl. Add granulated sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg white; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

4. Lightly spoon all-purpose flour in dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine all-purpose flour and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in cherries.

5. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with half of streusel. Spoon in remaining batter; top with remaining streusel. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; run a knife around outside edge. Cool completely in pan.

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