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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Extraordinary Cabin and Cake

I love meeting all kinds of people, especially those who are making and doing things from scratch to create treasures of their own or seeking to preserve treasures from the past. These are just the sort of people I would love to gather around our green table and talk "table talk" with for hours. 

One new friend is doing something extraordinary...she is saving an Adirondack style cabin built by "Mr. 20 Mule Team Borax" himself. It is on a little island of its own in a Shelter Island harbour. Pat and her wonderful team of supporters saved this unique piece of local history from the wrecking ball and through grants and community support, they have begun restoring it to its rustic splendor. This August there will be a "kettle" clambake for a fun evening soiree and in the near future, there may even be a chance to sleep overnight. How fun would that be?! What an experience. Can you imagine sitting out on that porch and watching the sun set over Coecles Harbour? Heaven!

Here are some pictures I took of a quilt with a period shot of the cabin and some very relaxed-looking guests and a collage of pictures taken during the restoration.  I have barely scratched the surface of the story of Taylor's Island and so here is a link to the website, 

At a meeting that Pat had for her committee, she served this delicious cake...every bit as extraordinary as her work on Taylor's Island.  I love the idea of quinoa in a cake. Well, and rum, too! Thanks for sharing all you do, Pat!  xoxoxPenny

Keke de Quina (Quinoa Cake)
adapted from Felipe Rojas Lombardi and The Art of South American Cooking

1 1/2 cups raw quinoa (Inca red or regular)
6 T unsalted organic butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
1/4 cup dark rum (optional but fun!)
4 large farm-fresh eggs
1/2 cup organic milk
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds

Confectioners' sugar sifted on top and creme fraiche or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350. If quinoa is not pre-rinsed, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain. Do not omit this rinsing step. It "sweetens" the grain by removing the bitter outer coating.

In a saucepan, combine quinoa with 8 cups cold water. bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes or until quinoa is barely tender. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat, pour quinoa through a fine strainer and let drain. Do not rinse.

Butter a 9 inch round cake pan with about 1 T butter and set aside. In a large mixing bowl with a wire whisk, cream together the remaining butter (5 T), the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, lemon rind, rum and eggs until the sugar has dissolved. Add the milk and heavy cream and mix thoroughly. In another mixing bowl, combine quinoa and walnuts. Thoroughly fold into the creamed butter mixture and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool thoroughly (important). Unmold the cake by placing a plate over the cake pan and turning the two upside down. Then, turn the plate right side up onto a cake plate or serving platter. Place the confectioners' sugar in a fine sieve and lightly dust over the surface of the cake. Serve with creme fraiche or whipped cream. 

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