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Tag: food club

Pineapple “Dump” Cake

Posted in Informative

This week’s food club theme was actually a challenge: make a dish to bring that you can create for under $5. We were given some flexibility: items that you already have on hand count for $0.

I decided to make a super easy cake recipe that we called “dump” cake growing up. The idea is you take all your ingredients, dump them in a baking dish, bake them, and viola, you have a cake!

Basic Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix (you can make your own, but most of the point of this recipe is that it is quick and easy)
1 stick of butter (unsalted)
1 can of fruit

Preferably, the fruit should be suspended in syrup. Growing up, we would use canned peaches or pie cherries. I decided to experiment a little and try using canned pineapple suspended in juice. Because the pineapple was suspended in juice rather than syrup, I modified my ingredient list slightly:

My Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 can of pineapple slices “in its own juice”
2 Tbsp agave nectar

 While you can literally dump everything into a baking dish and bake it, I try to make my ingredients a little more homogeneous, partially so I don’t end up with big sections of dry powder. The pineapple juice actually helped with this a lot. I also sliced up the butter and distributed it relatively evenly throughout the dish.

You can see that while I’ve tried to evenly distribute the ingredients, I haven’t bothered to actually mix them together. There is still dry powder, it’s just not all in one spot.

Instructions for baking

Follow the instructions from the box of cake mix you used (or from the cake mix recipe you used if you made this from scratch). I think I baked mine at around 375F for 30 minutes.

It isn’t intended to be a pretty cake, but if you’re craving buttery, sugary, cakey goodness, this is a quick way to fulfill that craving!

Note: Adding the agave nectar to thicken the juice seemed to work well. I thought I was going to use only half the juice in the can, but I ended up including all of it. I did crush the pineapple a bit with my blender — I did not include the rings whole. This helped me spread it through the cake mixture a lot more evenly, but I don’t think it was absolutely necessary.

Regarding cost: I already had everything I needed, so in the context of our food challenge, I used “$0.” If you were to buy all these, I still think you could make this cake for under $5. The agave nectar is the most expensive part. Most places I looked are selling bottles like the one I have for a minimum of $5 by itself. You can avoid this expense by substituting sugar (dissolving it in the juice before distributing it), substituting honey (though I’m not sure how much this would affect the flavor/texture since it’s thicker), or by using canned fruit suspended in syrup. Most canned fruit can be found for between $0.50 and $2.00. A box of yellow cake mix can run from about $0.75 to $2.50. Butter I saw ran about $2 a pound, or $0.50 per stick. Especially if you specifically budget the ingredients, you can make this cake very affordably.


Posted in Informative

Last weekend I made lumpia. Lumpia is a deep-fried Filipino spring roll. I got ideas from what my Lolo (my mom’s dad) taught me, as well as from a book my Auntie Tellie and Uncle Al got me called The Little Lumpia Book by Gene Gonzalez.

Sunday, I spent about 5 hours chopping vegetables. I decided to include onion, carrot, cabbage, potato, water chestnut, bamboo shoot, green bean, bean sprout, celery and garlic.

I made nearly 2 batches worth of lumpia (about 175 lumpia altogether).

I only used a little over half an onion for all 2 batches. I think I matchsticked 5 medium-sized carrots.

I used slightly less than a full head of lettuce, and 5 small potatoes (I used red because that’s what I had, but I could easily have used russet potatoes or even jicama).

I used 1 can of water chestnuts, and about half a can of bamboo shoots (I’m not the biggest fan of canned bamboo shoots).

I included around half a pound of thinly sliced green beans (about 1cm thick, in discs the width of the bean), but only 1 stalk of celery. I added generous amounts of minced garlic before cooking. For some horrible reason, I couldn’t find fresh bean sprouts at the store. I had a can of them, but was skeptical about how canned bean sprouts would work. I drained them, and let them air dry for about a day. Cooked in with everything else, they weren’t too bad. I’d definitely recommend fresh bean sprouts, though!

Since I was cooking to share with my food club friends, I made these lumpia vegetarian-friendly. With the first batch I used ground Quorn as the protein (6 oz. or half a bag). I stir fried with the vegetables about a tablespoon of sesame seed oil; and salt, pepper and soy sauce to taste until the vegetables were tender, but still crisp.

I cooked the second batch the same way, using chopped pre-cooked shrimp instead of Quorn.

I took Monday off work (finishing off my vacation hours before they expired on my 2 year anniversary with the company)! Marisa helped me wrap lumpia for 3 hours before they were ready for freezing and frying.

We bought frozen spring roll wrappers from a local Asian market. I thawed them by keeping them in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then setting them out on the counter in the morning.

Below are the steps we followed for filling and wrapping lumpia:

First, lay a single wrapper flat. Then fill with about 2 teaspoons of filling, spreading lengthwise.

Fold the bottom up about 1/3 of the way. Tuck some of the excess around the filling.

Fold in each side.

Roll up once, then apply adhesive (we used water mixed with cornstarch, but you can use egg, or even plain water) to the top edges of the wrapper.

Finish rolling up the wrapper and smooth the edges so it sticks closed.

The 2 of us wrapped 175 lumpia in around 3 hours.

We bagged 125 of them for freezing.

And fried the rest for food club.

I fried the lumpia in canola oil using my kawali (Filipino wok) over medium-high electric heat.

We served the lumpia with suka (white vinegar, a small amount of salt and pepper, and crushed or minced garlic).


Prep pictures taken with Vignette for Android on my Samsung Captivate. Wrapping and frying pictures taken with Marisa’s iPhone 3GS and cropped by me using Gimp.

[Incredibly Belated] Food Night 10 January 2011

Posted in Informative

Last Monday was food club. Our theme was casseroles:

Brandon made an eggy, spinachy bread bake:

Maggie made Paula Deen’s chocolate bread pudding (recipe here):

Marisa made a white lasagna (recipe here):

Maggie S. and Karla made a casserole with brown rice, muenster and greens:

Max and Jenna made a ratatouille with fennel sauce on the side:

Tyler made a red lasagna with quinoa:

I made a tuna noodle casserole (let me know if you want the recipe):