Do you remember in grade school when your teacher passed out the quiz and said, "Be sure to read the directions before you start." Of course you didn't read the directions, and neither did I. You went about circling the correct answers and sometimes just choosing your best guess until you got to the final question, which said, "go back and read the directions." Only then did you notice that the directions said, "Do not write on this quiz and raise your hand when you are finished reading." Doh, you wrote all over it in purple ink, and everyone else in the room had their hand held high.
Today, history repeated itself...
Ten years ago my sister introduced me to the book Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair. Cynthia's philosophy, and now ours, is based on eating local, seasonal, and organic (when possible) WHOLE foods. What does that mean? Ask yourself, "Can I imagine it growing?" If the answer is "yes," it's a whole food. It's easy to picture a pear tree or a chicken coop, but tough to imagine what a xanthan gum flower looks like.
Today we were using this go-to cookbook. Cynthia baked the yellow-millet cake for her daughter's first birthday so, it must be worthy of Paxton's first birthday. Paxton was napping, and we had an hour to make his cake before leaving for the zoo.
Molly was in charge the dry ingredients and I of the wet. I blended millet with orange juice, maple syrup and egg yolk; then folded in the egg white meringue. All along Molly was sifting Bluebird Farms whole wheat flour baking soda and salt. The cake went in the oven, easy as pie.
"Oh no! Fatal error!" Molly yelps. Turns out Molly made quinoa and millet this morning and I had accidentally chosen the quinoa. In my defense, when cooked they look quite similar.
Baking is chemistry so, any changes to the recipe is a change to the formula which will affect the results. Both quinoa and millet are considered grains, but quinoa is actually a seed. Because seeds have more protein than grains, quinoa is the "grain" with the highest amount of protein. Therefore, we assumed by using quinoa we changed the cake's formula.
"Great, let's have a baking experiment, and this can be blog entry 2." We jinksed.
As we read through the recipe for the second time, Molly realized that she too misread the recipe and used 3 cups of flour instead of 2 cups in the quinoa cake. We decide to do 3 cups of flour again in the millet cake, because we only want 1 variable (the grain). After a few more mishaps, including: running out of eggs (and having to steal some from the neighbors chickens), spilling the yolk in the meringue, turning on the blender without the lid on, we finally got the cake in the oven. Before long, Paxton woke and the house filled with the smell of delicious, hot baked something...
Take note of Zach's reaction to the quinoa cake.
And Paxton running from the quinoa cake.
You may notice that there is no recipe posted here. That's because what we made is not worth remaking. If you want to make a millet cake, I would suggest you trying Cynthia Lair's recipe, I've heard it's delicious. It's a good thing Paxton won't remember this.