Monday, April 23, 2007

Never return a plate empty

Behind our home in Charlottesville was a dumpster. It was actually really convenient. We never had to figure out what to do with our large pieces of trash. We had an old desk and chair. We put it out by the dumpster and by the time we got to our back door our neighbors were bringing it into their own house. Our neighbors were Kurdish refugees from Uzbekistan. They were a nice contrast to our white-trash-stalker neighbor. One night there was a knock at our back door and in a thick accent someone yelled, "S., S.!" It was our neighbor with a plate full of food. I was amazed. Here was a family, living in a foreign country, struggling to make ends meet, using our unwanted furniture, bringing us a delicious meal. It's because of S. He can make anyone feel good. He is so personable and charismatic. He could hold conversations with them and neither one spoke the other's language.

S. would literally give you the shirt off his back, or tie. We have been married for almost 7 years and he has had some nice looking ties over that period of time. Well, others liked them, too, so he gave them to them. We would come home from church and I would say, "Where is your tie?" or "Where did you get that tie?" He had either traded ties (because the other person liked his tie, not that his "new" tie was cool) or just given his tie to someone. In fact, a friend of ours in C-ville had commented S. on a certain tie so many times that he was going to give it to him if he was in church one particular Sunday. Too bad for him, it was graduation day and he skipped out.

So, being married to S. I have had to kick it up a notch in the friendship/giving area. Sure, in college if a friend needed me I would drop everything (I'm talking classes, homework, papers, the works), but I also got something out of it--fun, because we'd to do something exciting. It wasn't really selfless. After our neighbors gave us this food I of course had to return their plate with something yummy. In about a hour, S. was knocking on their door returning their plate with a scrumptious Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

(FOOD magazine Jan 2004)

6 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 8 oz chopped)
6 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 275 degrees, with rack in center. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Place butter and chocolate in large bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted; cool slightly. Whisk in yolks.

In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add granulated sugar; beat until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.

Pour into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is just set in center, 45-50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar.

This is actually really quick to make and always turns out. And who doesn't have these ingredients? We add whipping cream and fresh raspberries, too.


Carrie said...

I've always wanted to make one of these...have you ever baked with Splenda? I've heard a few people who've used it...but not in a wide range of dishes. Something like this cake made with Splenda would be pretty guilt free! Love it as always!

Jane Maynard said...

hi julie!

this is pat maynard's niece... your blog is great! just added you as a link :)

can't wait to try this recipe... I LOVE flourless chocolate cakes so much and have all kinds of recipes for them and always ready to try a new one. yum yum.


Stephanie said...

This looks amazing! I want to try it soon. I've got some Callebaut chips I might use for this. P.S. I think it's great how generous your husband is. That's an important quality to have.

marie said...

I think you have achieved the impossible because your wonderful dishes and scrumptious pictures are actually making me want to cook. And I don't cook. I'm going to try this cake (and a few other things) and let you know how they turn out.

I love checking out your blog. Please keep it up. Thanks for the inspiration.

melin4 said...

Julie, I now know where to go for some great food ideas..what a great resouce you will be.
Where are you now? I was looking at your references to c-ville in pasts posts--oh, the grand days of grad school, when everything was simple and fun.
I love your post name.

TWilton said...

Julie, I hope you get this post. I LOVE your blog. I am embarrassed to say this, but my kitchen was completely void of spice until I started reading your blog, and now I am cooking up a storm! My husband thanks you, my children thank you, and my belly thanks you...This is Tracie by the way. Disneyland or world sounds friggen amazing...but might not be the best for me right now because Declan is only 6 months old. This is Tracie, by the way. Love you, soul sister.

henryteachers said...

That chocolate cake looks delicious! I tried your parmesan chicken recently and we love it! How thoughtful of your your neighbors to bring you food and S. to be a good neighbor. G. is a lot friendlier to our neighbors as well and it is good for me to get out of my comfort zone and follow his example! I can't believe about your mom teaching the VA tech gunman. We talked to B. on Sunday and he didn't mention knowing him. Crazy!