Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Time for Tea and Remembrance...

a unique cake, that is not oven-baked, but rather quietly and peacefully steamed...

Steamed Green Tea Cake
(recipe courtesy www.allrecipes.com)

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons powdered green tea (Matcha)
(I simply used finely ground loose green tea leaves,
further ground in food processor.)
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 egg whites
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, garnish (I omitted these.)

Set a bamboo steamer large enough to contain a 9x9 inch pan over simmering water. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and green tea powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, water and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixture has tripled in volume. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into the cake pan. Place cake pan in steamer. Stretch a kitchen towel over the cake pan without touching the surface, then cover with steamer lid. Steam cake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cut into pieces before serving. Yields 12 servings. (However, I made two smaller 4-inch individual cakes, as opposed to one large single cake. And I also dusted the tops with confectioners sugar.)

(Each week at Sweetnicks, there is a weekly round-up of healthy contributions from various food bloggers, promoting the use of antioxidant rich foods in home cooking; since green tea is extremely rich in antioxidants, this Steamed Green Tea Cake will be my offering, in remembrance of Michael Hedges, nearly 10 years after his passing, to this week's ARF/5-A-Day plate.)

Far more than ten years have now passed, since I was living in the midst of a somewhat personal bohemian renaissance. I was sketching and painting, attempting (in vain) to read nearly every word ever written, and myself writing depressing, but philosophical poetry for what was then known to be independent journals and introspective zines. It was during this time of constant creativity, during those early days of bongos and birks, incense and candles, and eating, "nothing with a face," that I discovered the amazing, mesmerizing, and distinctive beauty of Michael Hedges. To hear his music, or better still, to see his music (many of his performances are available on vhs/dvd), is to witness a talent so incredibly impressive and awe-inspiring, that it renders any articulate description impossible.

Much time and many more personal revolutions have passed, since those earlier years, when it was more about what I didn't eat, as opposed to what I did. When so many ambitious, yet naive creative endeavors were pursued, while drinking seemingly endless cups of tea. (These were considerably younger days, when I actually took more tea than coffee...believe it or not, Janet). And while I very rarely eat tofu anymore, and nowdays, I eat nearly everything with a face, my admiration for the music of Michael Hedges remains, stronger than ever.

Sadly, in 1997, Michael Hedges was killed in an automobile accident, shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite his sudden departure, his legacy remains, stronger than ever.

Until we meet for tea,


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