Go West, Young Man: The iTunes Playlist

“Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.”
– John B. L. Soule., 1851. Often incorrectly attributed to Horace Greeley

Weekndr is going west to California and to commemorate our journey we’re compiling a list of songs about the golden state. Of course, Wikipidea has already compiled a comprehensive list but we can’t afford to buy all those songs on iTunes, so here’s the abbreviated version that will make our playlist for the voyage. Courtesy friends on Facebook:

– California Stars by Billy Bragg and Wilco
– Going Back to Cali by Biggie Smalls
– Going Back to Cali by LL Cool J
– California by Phantom Planet (former drummer was Jason Schwartzman of Rushmore fame.
Heart of Gold by Neil Young (he goes to Hollywood and Brentwood. Of course this is fantasy since the traffic on 101 and 405 would not let you see both places in one day)
– California Uber Alles by Dead Kennedy’s
– Hotel California by the Eagles
– Hollywood Babylon, Misfits
– Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
– I Left My Heart in San Franciso
– Way to San Jose
– San Francisco Bay by Eric Clapton via MTV Unplugged
– Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues
– Do-Re-Mi by The Great Woody Guthrie (Californee is a Garden of Eden…)
– Going to California by Led Zeppelin
– Joanie Mitchell “…gonna see the folks i dig, i’ll even kiss a sunset pig, california i’m comin home!”
– Freedom of the Road. Starts out, “In a westerly direction, this car is my train…up ahead on that horizon is the California line
– Mason Jennings: California and California Part II
– CA Love – 2 pac
– Nevada, CA by the Jayhawks
– Evil CA by Annie Ross & Iggy Pop

Please, add to the list…

Snow Day

fairfield hills

Oh My Ganache That’s Good Chocolate Cake!

Southern Devil's Food Cake with Ganache Frosting

Southern Devil's Food Cake from FineCooking.com.

When I saw the devil’s food cake recipe in the recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine, I knew I’d have to make it. A ganache frosting made with a pound of dark chocolate and heavy cream, magically melted into a creamy, shiny icing, with me the alchemist of this dreamy dessert?

Cutting the cakeThe only question was when. Did a cake this decadent need a special occasion? Or like Miles and his ’61 Cheval Blanc in the movie Sideways, is the day you make the Fine Cooking Southern Devil’s Food Cake your special occasion?

I decided to make it the next day. Most of the ingredients were already in my pantry, but I did run to the market for buttermilk, heavy cream and a pound of dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa recommended).

Something to note about this recipe is most ingredients need to be softened or brought to room temperature, even the 3 egggs. Since the gananche needs to be made at least 8 hours before the cake, I made the ganache early in the morning and set out the eggs and butter all day.

Chocolate Ganache

The devil is in the frosting. Four layers of chocolate ganache to be precise.

To make the ganache you chop up the 16 oz. of dark chocolate, then bring a pint of heavy cream to a boil. Remove the cream from heat and mix in the chopped up chocolate bar and 2 tbsp. of softened butter. When blended, simply cover with plastic wrap and let sit 8 hours.

Unusual ingredients in the cake batter – mayonnaise and buttermilk  – made the finished cake incredibly moist.

Southern Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache

This cake was so rich one of the kids, who is a sweet-aholic and loves dark chocolate, only ate a few bites and accused the ‘bad cake’ of giving her a tummy ache. It’s a cake for grownups. A little goes a long way, so we gave away half the cake and still ate delicious chocolate cake for days.