Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vegetable Upside-Down Cake


Nothing too exotic, nothing very strange (although I often seek out just those qualities).  This is my sort of comfort food.  After all, there's nothing comforting about being weighed down by your food.  Nothing comforting about feeling your stomach fill up and over and about carrying that around for hours.  I do not want to be put into a coma by my food, unless, of course, it is a special occasion (and I have a pretty inclusive definition of special occasions).  

But for it to be comforting, it needs to be warm, it needs to have at least some bulk (so steamed vegetables will never count) and it needs to have flavor.  Color never hurts, either.  I am an eternal sucker for color.  


Here the ingredients themselves are nothing out of the ordinary, but the preparation sure is.  A medley of gently sautéed vegetables, use your favorites of course, topped by a yogurt-herbed quick bread that bakes up into a flavorful, savory cake.  Flipping can be tricky, but this is comfort food, and comfort food should never cause anxiety.  You can call it rustic if that makes it easier, and embrace the explosion of vegetables over the plate. 


Vegetable Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest

For the Vegetables

Oil for the pan
3 tablespoons panko (or any bread crumbs)
1 onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn 
5 cloves garlic, passed through a press
Assertive pinch of black pepper, to taste
Assertive pinch of cayenne, to taste
bunch of scallions, minced

Oven preheated to 350.  Greese a 9 x 13" baking dish and set aside.  Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the bread crumbs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli, carrot and salt, stir and cover.  Cook for 8 minutes, until the vegetables are barely tender.  Add the bell pepper, corn and garlic, stir and cook for a minute or two more.  Stir in the black pepper, cayenne and scallions.

Spread the hot vegetables in the baking dish and allow them to rest while you make the quick bread.

For the yogurt-herbed cake

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried dill
2 large eggs
12 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) fat-free greek yogurt
3 tablespoons melted butter

Sift the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar and herbs.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs, yogurt and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients into the well made in the dry ingredients and, using your hands, mix until just combined.  Do not overmix.

Spread the batter over the vegetables.  You might have to piece it together, taking batter from one part and moving it to another so that the vegetables are covered.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick  comes out clean.  If you have the stomach for it, you can attempt to turn the entire thing out onto a large serving tray.  Or you can do it one piece at a time.

Notes:

*  You can use fresh or frozen corn, no need to defrost if you choose frozen.
*  You might also consider using a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower, or all of one or the other.
*  As an addition, you can spread a layer of grated cheese over the vegetables before you top them with the cake mixture.
*  The marjoram can be substituted with oregano.
*  You can use any kind of yogurt that you like, or even buttermilk.

13 comments:

Snooky doodle said...

what a nice and healthy cake :) great idea

Dana Treat said...

Yum, that looks delicious and super healthy.

Esi said...

You always find really unique and healthy dishes. I love this cake idea.

jillian said...

I love comfort food that's on the lighter side and this sounds great!

Maya said...

How very interesting!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

What a great idea! I can't wait to try it.

anudivya said...

ha ha ha! Never heard of this one before! Sounds ammmmazing! And healthy too.

bensbaby116 said...

Looks like it would be tasty, and a different way to make sure you get your veggies in for the day.

Alejandra said...

I saw this and I absolutely love the idea! It looks really delicious and I've been on a total vegetable kick lately. What a cool recipe!

veggie belly said...

I think i'll have to order this book! It looks like Mollie has some great recipes! Your description of this lovely veggie cake makes me want to eat some now!!

Maris said...

This looks like one cake I could have on a diet!

Andrea said...

Snooky Doodle, thanks so much!

Dana, it is super healthy but it doesn't taste like cardboard. It's actually quite delicious and even R loved it!

Esi, I'm just on a veggie kick lately, but if I want to get them down the fiance I have to find great recipes ;-)

Jillian, agreed. Feeling guilty isn't all that comforting to me!

Maya, ha ha, thanks!

Mrs. Mordecai, I hope you do try it and let me know how you like it!

Anudivya, yea, I don't think this is all that common ;-)

Bensbaby, if you're in a family of two (like I am) it's veggies for several days!

Alejandra, thanks! I thought it was a very unique recipe and couldn't pass it up!

Veggie Belly, I LOVE Mollie Katzen and if you don't have any of her books, get them, get them, get them! Especially you, you'd love her!

Maris, it definitely, definitely is!

Josie said...

I just made this recipe for dinner and it is very tasty. But it was too much dough, the layer was too thick. It was delicious, though, very moist. I'll try again cutting the cake recipe in half. Thank you very much, I like your blog! Cheers