Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy foods

It's that time of the year, when we start thinking about food -- well, actually, we probably think about it all year, but this is the season when we might actually think more about what we'll be sharing with family and friends during the all the holidays and festivities that are to come.

I, for one, do that. But I also start zeroing in on eating "happy foods" -- foods that serve as little pick-me-ups for the brain, because for me, being the sun-lover that I am, living in a place in the winter that sees more darkness than daylight, and more fogginess than sunlight (when those temperature inversions set in), I try to keep my spirits boosted any which way I can.

After making my short list (see below), I was happy to see that at least one of my personal favorites was included on many of the happy food lists posted on the internet.

1. Salmon

2. Pomegranate. Yes, I settle for juice, because I haven't the patience to dig out out the fruit.

3. Avocado

No, chocolate isn't in my top three. It's not even in my top ten. And I have to admit it's beat out by another confection of the season. ... Something that I am supposed to learn how to make (this month!) per my New Year's Resolutions back in January. ... Fruitcake. But not just any fruitcake. My grandmother's fruitcake. Although looking at the recipe, I should probably rename it Datecake.

Dates, as it so happens, are included on those famous lists. They make you happy. Perhaps, I'd be willing to bet, they'll make you even happier when you eat them as cake. I like cake. Almost as much as I like pie--with apple being my favorite. ... But that's another story. For now, I'm focusing on cake.

Grandmother's Fruitcake, a.k.a., Datecake

1 pound Brazil Nuts
1 pound Walnuts
1 pound Dates, cut in pieces
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 medium size bottles marachino cherries and juice
4 beaten egg yolks
4 beaten egg whites

Put sugar over dates and nuts. Add egg yolks. Add dry ingredients and cherry juice. Add cherries. Fold in egg whites. Makes 2 loaves. Bake 1 1/2 - 2 hours in 325 - 350 degree oven.

You'll want to oil and flour the pans, too. I suspect, if you have a convection oven, or live in lower altitudes, go with the lower heat range.

Forgive the formatting. Blogger is NOT cooperating!