Tag Archives: eggs

Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Scratch, Anyone?

The major ingredients

It was surprising when quite a few friends and family let me know they liked Pineapple Upside Down cake.  It was as if I was King George and  I found out I had a receding heir line.  (I know.  Lousy pun.)

Even my oldest daughter said she liked pineapple upside down cake – you know, the one who doesn’t like mushrooms or my fabulous Maytag Bleu Cheese salad.  LOL

Making a pineapple upside down cake was a challenge.  I had not even CUT a pineapple before.  Pineapple cores s’mores.  A pineapple was also WWII slang for an American grenade.  The kind that blows up.

I got the general recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, my Buddhist kitchen bible of sorts.  Indeed, I did a sutra chanting before making the first cut into a pineapple.

But the ingredients were simple and commonplace – aside from the pineapple:

  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Maraschino cherries (because a kind and deserving gal wished for it)
  • Unbleached flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Two and a half eggs, and
  • Salt


Taking the first slice into pineapple was like a mother going into labor for the first time.  Not the pain – the apprehension.  Should the cut be made to follow the pineapple shape?  Or straight down?

How much of the center do I cut out?  I imagined a Dole pineapple slice…

Heck, I cut two pineapples up to get the recommended four cups then threw them onto a skillet with the brown sugar.  So far, so good?

Pineapple chunks a-stewing. It was amazing to see how much they shrunk.

The conglomeration was then strained and the sweet smelling liquid was returned to the pan off the heat.  The butter and vanilla extract was whisked in.

Butter and vanilla extract added off-heat and before whisking.

Returning to the heat, the concoction was then simmered until the bubbles became “larger”.  Talk about ambiguity.  🙂  (Now you ladies know how us logically thinking men feel when you say, “Can’t you see it?  It’s the blue car with the thing-a-ma-jig on it.”)

The bubbles got “much larger” than this. 🙂

Every last drop was poured into a 9″ cake pan.

I made the cake batter as per the recipe.  Importantly, it recommended two eggs plus the whites only from the third egg.  It’s purpose was to help the cake support the weight of the pineapple and molasses-like syrup.

The simmered pineapples were laid into the cake pan and syrup then dotted with the cherries.  The batter – which was quite thick – was carefully dropped on the pineapples and smoothed over.  I did my best to ensure the batter reached the sides but fell a tad short in some areas.  Darn it.

Before heading into the oven.
Before heading into the oven.  I couldn’t make it to the edge all the way around.

After 45 minutes in a oven preheated to 350F, it was done!  During cooling, I took a thin paring knife and carefully separated the cake from the sides.

After ten minutes on a cooling rack, it was time for the showdown: me against gravity.  Had to flip the darn thing over without messing it up…which I did before. 🙂

The chanting did me well, I guess.  The flipping went flawlessly.

Success - on the flipping part!  Not the taste!
Success – on the flipping part! Not the taste!

So who likes pineapple upside down cake?

We’ll find out today if the cores-smore’s are the Snowden of baking.  I hope I cut enough of the core out.

Bleu Cheese is Great in Its Own Whey

I know.

The title.  Lame.  I try.

But my Maytag bleu cheese salad is flavorful, colorful and with nice contrasting textures.  To die for if I have to say so myself.  Call me James Bond.

My Maytag bleu cheese salad. Notice the color provided by the PERFECTLY hard-boiled eggs. 🙂


In the early 1990’s, there was a fabulous restaurant called “Stepps” in Downtown LA.  It was a great stop for business meals.

One of the most stellar dishes they had was their “Maytag bleu cheese salad”.  The bleu cheese exploded with its distinct flavor and the crunch from the toasted almond slivers was an excellent contrast.  Indeed, the presentation was like Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color”.

I had to figure out how to make it…even back then.  Not being educated in the culinary arts (OK…cooking – I just wanted to be fancy), it was one failure after another.


But in the years leading up to today, it is perfected.  At least I think so.  Nobody complains except for my oldest daughter who doesn’t like bleu cheese…or mushrooms.

The key, I feel, is the bleu cheese.  There is a specific variety called “Maytag” bleu cheese.  You will be rewarded.  It is worth the trouble.

The ingredients are simple; no quantities are shown as you pros can figure it out.  Besides, everyone’s palates differ:

For the dressing:

  • Heavy cream
  • Crushed garlic
  • Vinegar (or lemon juice) to thicken
  • Mayo
  • Salt and black pepper (I use the Japanese version as it is such a fine powder and has a slight citrus-y taste to it)
  • Dash of Worcheshire (Is that spelled right?)
  • A dribble of olive oil

After whisking the above, toss romaine lettuce with the dressing and plate.

Throw on:

  • Toasted almond slivers
  • Chopped (perfectly) hard-boiled eggs
  • Maytag bleu cheese


The bright yellow from the eggs add great color to the salad. Be careful to not overboil the eggs. Nothing more unappealing than looking at the dark green stuff around the yolk on your beautiful salad – which I feel would add a touch of a sulphur taste or smell.

Tiramisu – Mechanic Style

My young years as a mechanic were some of the most fun in my life.

Working alongside veterans of the US Army’s most decorated unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made it so much better.  If you haven’t heard of that heroic combat team, you will be surprised.

Anyways, I didn’t do much cooking then.  Can’t figure out why I started either.  Old age.  Too many gasoline fumes, perhaps.

But one of my most requested deserts is my homemade Tiramisu.  Never mind gasoline fumes…  The rum fumes will disperse all the oxygen molecules and you will get high. Just kidding.  About getting high.

The only ingredient not shown here is VERY strong coffee.  Even Dean Martin would have diluted it.

Tiramisu ingredients. The bottle was empty, by the way.

And no mockery of my serving plates and dishes for I have none.  Remember, I am a former mechanic.

One batch finished for a party.

Another batch for a neighbor’s party…  Adult party.

Like my Pyrex?

I don’t recall any pecks on the cheek, though.  Hmmm.