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Texas Sheet Cake

Inspired by this recipe from Serious Eats, I decided to make a Texas sheet cake. I am not sure whether the name comes from a Texas dish or merely refers to the size of the cake. But it gave me a chance to use up some excess buttermilk. The batter goes into a half-sheet pan. So long as you spread it out fairly evenly, heat will encourage it to find its own level. Here is the cake fresh out of the oven. I iced it with some leftover buttercream frosting from the freezer. The final adornment is several handfuls of Ellis Bros. pecans. I was worried that the cake's thinness would cause it to be dry but it was wonderfully moist. The chocolate and flavorful pecans make a perfect combination.
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Lemon Custard

Lemon custard seemed like a wonderful use for some lemons I found at the grocery store. I started by squeezing the lemons and grating off some lemon zest. I then mixed together the ingredients, which include flour. Not having made a lemon custard before, I wasn't expecting flour to appear on the ingredient list. I put the mixture in ramekins and steamed them. The result was very tasty, nicely tart without being overwhelmingly so. The flour gave the custard a different, slightly cakier texture than other types of custards. It was very pleasing but it didn't hold up for very long. If you make this style of custard, be prepared to enjoy it quickly.

Spiced French Toast and Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

In the mood for a variation on french toast, I ground a cinnamon stick and grated a nutmeg. The spices woke up my tongue and made a nice contrast to the bananas. I also squeezed some of my Florida oranges. Rotating the orange half around the juicer helps to ensure that all the juice makes it to the bowl. I blended the juice with some Greek yogurt and a little ice to make an orange lassi. The Greek yogurt complemented the orange juice very nicely.

Yet Another Wet-Aged Steak Experiment

This is the steak that I bought from Tucker Meat Market, then wet-aged for about a month. Wet-aging in this case simply means sealing the steak in a vacuum bag and putting it in my refrigerator's meat drawer. It was a very tasty steak but I didn't detect any difference from wet aging. I also fixed some home fried potatoes, which were delicious. And I topped the steak with some fried onions from Patel Brothers market.

Chocolate-Covered Candied Orange Peel

I decided to use the peels of my treasure trove of oranges to make candied orange peels. I first boiled the peels in water. I then drained and reboiled in sugar water. Once I strained the sugar water, I prepared the orange peels. Not only did boiling them make them easier to cut into thin strips, it also simplified stripping the inner rind. I rolled them in some sugar along with cinnamon and nutmeg. A day later, I went the extra mile and dipped them in chocolate. I used my cold plate trick to temper the chocolate, although with limited success. But no matter, the peels still taste great, particularly for a non-obvious food. For good measure, I stuffed some dates with pecans and dipped them, too. Wow, are they tasty.

Warm Springs GA: Mac's Bar. B. Q

Warm Springs has boutiquified itself since Roosevelt's time but he would recognize the shape of the town. Mac's is on a sleepy side street. It has a generous restaurant space plus a small side building. I was the exception by eating in that cozy building. Most people walked up, placed a to-go order, and walked away happy a few minutes later. My pork sandwich was excellent. It was served without sauce, a sign of the pitmaster's confidence in its moistness. The smoke I smelled as I walked in came through nicely, too. The onion rings were the surprise hit. The onions themselves were sweet and tender. The coating was probably made with a beer batter---it was extremely flavorful and deliciously crunchy.

Auburn AL: Mike and Ed's BBQ

Mike and Ed's is just across the railroad tracks from Auburn's campus town. You can smell the smoke from the street. Inside, it is an appealing and unassuming place. The walls are decorated with record albums from Conway Twitty and Tony Bennett, an eclectic collection. And their BBQ is excellent. I ordered the ribs. They were cooked to a very tender, pull-off-the-bone state but with some tooth left. The smoke flavor came out nicely. I ordered the hot mustard sauce. It wasn't especially hot but it was very tasty and made a great complement to the smoke of the ribs. It had a fairly thin texture; it left only a thin coating on the meat that enhanced the flavor without distracting. The beans were excellent. The creamy cole slaw was rich and not gooey.