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(post, Annie Witkamp)
Is it crazy to exchange houses/apartments with someone for a week or two (or more)? Most likely this person will be one step up from a stranger in an interesting city or town with lots of tasty food and new people. Roaming around a new place is always on my top 3 things to do in life…maybe I will let the other 2 out later. I know way too much about where my friends live that I don’t want near their fungicide in their medicine cabinets. (I watched Seinfeld last night.) Actually, it’s their locale that I don’t have interest in because I’ve been there, done that. A small town in Indiana is not my idea of an exciting getaway. I was born and raised there. I love going back for visits but definitely not my choice in this “exchange program.” There are some other family/friends that I wouldn’t mind exchanging with but I can’t see that panning out. What if you bring a friend or spouse? I know Greg (my husband) will want to go and share this experience with me. Would you be charged, do you bring your own towels and sheets? Is southern Minnesota a destination anyone would want to go to? I should probably move somewhere that people are interested in before tackling this but who knows, maybe someone wants to trade places and feel the frigidness of -20 degrees in February. Any masochists out there? I was thinking about this when I read that Heidi, at 101 Cookbooks, did just the above stated adventure in Paris! I have written about my adoration of her life and style. I see it only fitting that I share one of her recipes: old-fashioned blueberry cake. This was actually, according to Heidi, from a 1974 Gourmet magazine recipe-it will be missed. She rewrote it and stated the importance of using organic unsulphered molasses, which I love. Simple, it has rustic appeal and amazing flavor. I only added a little sugar to the frozen blueberries and changed the cooking time. 101 Cookbook’s Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake Serves 8-10 Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp fine sea salt 1/2 tsp cider vinegar 5 tbsp milk (split) 1/2 cup unsulphered molasses 2 eggs 3 tbsp unsalted butter, slightly melted 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (although fresh would be fine too) 1/4 cup sugar-optional 1 tsp flour powdered sugar and/or whipped cream Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a 9-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix cider vinegar and 3 tbsp milk and in another bowl, mix 2 tbsp milk, molasses and eggs. Mix both of the wet mixes together and add to the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the butter and toss the blueberries with the sugar (optional) and flour in another bowl, then fold into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when it’s done. It was at this point that the top was done but not quite inside so I placed foil over the top to prevent burning. I cooked it another 10 minutes and it was perfect, except for the small amount of top that came off with the foil-oops. Let it cool and dust with powdered sugar and top with whipping cream (optional) when serving.