Friday, May 4, 2012

50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #46 Gael Greene - Orange Pour Cake

the "Gourmet" prompt...
46. Gael Greene- She was one of the first powerful female restaurant critics and used that power to help millions of New Yorkers by founding Citymeals–on–Wheels.

Gael Greene (born in Dec. '33) is probably most well-known for her role as restaurant critic that lasted more than 30 years for New York magazine.  She got her start in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan after graduating from U of M with a BA in Literature, Science, and the Arts.  Before she was asked by the original editor of New York magazine, Clay Felker, to take this position, she was freelancing for Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, and McCall's.  Previous to this she had only written one piece on the re-opening of La Cote Basque, but at the prospect of charging all of her meal's to the magazine and getting paid, she accepted the position.

Greene is famous for her sultry, seductive writing intertwining real-life experiences as well as food.  Just listen to the names of some of things she's written...Delicious Sex, Blue Skies No Candy, Doctor Love, Sex and the College Girl...to name a few (Blue Skies, No Candy and Doctor Love were erotic novels).  Her delicious memoir Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess is chockful of juicy tell-all tidbits from her life as well as food and some recipes.  I don't know why it makes me giggle to hear the term "bedded", but it does.  So you can imagine me reading all about her bedding the likes of Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, and Burt Reynolds.  Her memoir is a great human interest piece.  I haven't made my all the way through it yet, but I'm definitely hungry for more.
She is also the co-founder (with James Beard) of Citymeals-on-Wheels which helps to fund weekend and holiday meals for the elderly in New York City.

Though Gael does enjoy cooking, she is not a chef and eats out (either at restaurants or the homes of friends) most of the time, she does have some tried and true recipes that she makes.  This particular one I found in her memoir (but I see that it is also on her website).  I adapted it just slightly.  It's a simple loaf cake which I think is better described as a quick-bread.  It is pleasantly dense from the sour cream and studded with nuts.  The "topping" which is actually an orangey-sugary drizzle totally "makes it", though...don't skimp on it.  It will seem like there is too much...but really, it is just right.  The loaf itself isn't too sweet, so this syrup adds that perfect sticky-sweetness that makes this loaf so irresistible.

further info: memoir - website - twitter

Orange Pour Cake (Loaf)


by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
Keywords: bake bread dessert snack vegetarian oranges sour cream cake


Ingredients (1 loaf)
    cake/loaf:
    • 2 c. + 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    • ½ c. unsalted butter, at room temp.
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • ⅔ c. sugar
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ¾ c. sour cream
    • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
    • ½ c. chopped pecans
    topping:
    • ½ c. superfine sugar
    • ¼ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a loaf pan.

    Cream 2 Tbs. of the flour with the butter in a large bowl. Add eggs and sugar and beat to combine.

    Sift remaining flour with salt and baking powder and add slowly to the butter mixture. Beat in sour cream until just combined. Fold in orange zest and pecans. Scoop batter into the prepared loaf pan.

    Slide into oven and bake until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean, ~30-45 minutes.

    As soon as you slide the pan into the oven, combine all of the ingredients for the topping and stir occasionally while loaf is baking to dissolve the sugar completely.

    Remove loaf from oven and leave in pan. Poke all over with toothpick (like you would a poke-cake or tres leches cake). Pour the topping mixture gradually over the hot cake/loaf until it is all absorbed. Let sit for ~10 minutes or so before tipping loaf out onto a serving board or platter.

    adapted from Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess by Gail Greene
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    *bibliography: 
    -Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess by Gael Greene
    -So What Do You Do, Gael Greene, New York Food Critic/Author? (online article)
    -Wikipedia
    In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 women...one per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
    Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?

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