Saturday, November 29, 2014

What you should make, now that you're not cutting weight...

Gingerbread snack cake and hot buttered rum, of course.  Good for post-shopping, post-training, decorating a tree, or like me, just sitting around the house procrastinating work.

Gingerbread Snacking Cake
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart

gingerbread snacking cake

This cake may not look like centerpiece material, but it is no less worthy of your full admiration. As written, it makes a maximum intensity (via fresh ginger and a full cup of molasses) gingerbread cake. For a moderate intensity gingerbread cake, skip the fresh ginger (I usually do because I’m a wimp) and swap 1/3 cup of the molasses with honey or golden syrup. If you can’t get molasses, use black treacle syrup. I suspect it would also make a wonderful layer cake, maybe with eggnog filling and whipped cream for frosting. It can be baked in 1 9×13 pan or 2 9-inch round or 8-inch square pans. I cut it into 32 petite squares.

so many spices

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pan
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting finished cake
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, essential for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour parchment and sides of cake pan, or spray both with a nonstick baking spray.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan (or large one, if you’d like to make the cake entirely in there) and add baking soda — it will foam up! this is fun! Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in butter until melted. Whisk in dark brown sugar, molasses and fresh ginger, if using. Mixture is usually just lukewarm by now, but if it still feels quite hot to the touch, set it aside to 10 to 15 minutes to cool further before using.

Place flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a fine-mesh strainer or sifter so that you can sift them over the wet ones in a minute.

Transfer molasses mixture to a large mixing bowl if your saucepan isn’t large enough to make the batter in. Whisk in eggs until just combined. Sift dry ingredients over wet, then stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack and let cool completely. Once fully cool, cut around cake to make sure no parts are sticking to the side and invert cake out onto a rack, then onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Please, promise you’ll serve this with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream. They’re made for each other.

gingerbread snacking cake

Do ahead: Whipped cream needs to be stored in the fridge, of course. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to a week in an airtight container.

Hot Buttered Rum:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water

In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.

Emeril Lagasse, 2002

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday BUY EVERYTHING!!!!

FIRST, happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays :)

My first stop for holiday gifting is Detales, because I love their womens' short sleeve rashguard and spats... They're offering 15% off with this code, too, through December 15: #givingthanks.

Second is Raven Fightwear's Brony spats and rashie, on preorder now to ship out December 20.

Third is the half-off discount at Groundfighter, with the coupon code BLACK.... some great instructionals including two new ones from Ryan Hall....

My budget is already spent, but if it weren't I'd be perusing THIS LIST....

Happy shopping peeps :)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Jack Taufer gold.

Up here in Edmonds (Washington, just north of Seattle) we were blessed with a visit from Jack Taufer recently.  Jack is a blackbelt under Dave Kama (Rickson Gracie's first nonBrazilian blackbelt and one of the original Dirty Dozen.)  Jack teaches in Laguna Niguel CA and trains with Rickson couple times a week, when Jack's busy work travels allow. We profited from Jack's visit to Seattle and look forward to him returning.  Why?
  • Solid foundational high-percentage moves
  • All the "invisible jiu jitsu" you want and hope for-- the little tweaks and details which finally make things like the upa escape, the cross collar choke, the scissor sweep work.  Those "whitebelt basics" that never seem to work? Now they will.
  • He reads his audience very well and gives what the group can absorb.  This is a skill that stems from lots of teaching experience... instead of teaching to the highest belts in the room he teaches in layers, so there are takeaways for every level in the class.
  • His instruction begins with a useful warmup.  I know we all get in ruts as far as the warmup before class, so it's nice to see a new/different take on things (we did a nice self-defense/judo toss/moving warmup drill thing I've never seen before.)
  • He's really good about involving everyone in the class as an uke at some point, and allowing everyone to try their "before" version of the technique on him really helps.  In our case it was a cross collar choke, and he had everyone in class try to choke him.  
  • He's also great about walking around and doing the technique with every person in the class.  Either you'll do it to him or you'll feel him do it, or often both.
  • He teaches one fundamental technique, but then fills in followups for those who are ready to absorb the next link or two in the chain.  (For instance, after teaching a better way to maintain posture in the guard, he added a hip-bump counter, and then a back take from there.)
  • You don't walk away feeling like you wasted all your previous years in jiu jitsu, because he makes it seem like you just needed a little adjustment instead of a major wipe and overhaul.
  • Finally, he's a genuinely nice guy (and a ginger!) whose love of jiu jitsu shines out of his language, demeanor, attitude.  He geeks out over details the way I do, he's articulate in his explanations, and always includes the whys and rationales for the specifics. 
He just posted this video, if you want a taste:

He appeared on This Week in BJJ:

Here's his thoughts on triangle finishes:

And here, on the day Jack got his blackbelt, some secretly recorded rolling video...

Someone else writes up Jack's teaching style, here.

 Lucky us, he'll be back here next weekend, and we can't wait.  I hear he's going abroad to teach as well.  If you want some elegant Rickson jiu jitsu, get in touch with Jack and fit your school into his travel schedule.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

$1000 Women-Only Submission-Only!!!

Ladies, finally, a big cash prize for women only... plus, double elim, gi, sub-only!  AND a prize for the winning coach... which might cover their airfare.  Who doesn't want a little weekend in Florida right before the holidays?  Plus this is being organized by my good friend Dory, who has supported his two kids (great wrestlers and grapplers, both) through years of grueling competitive successes... I'm so excited to help support their efforts with this tournament.  Check it out!!! :)

Contact: Dory Bele                                                    
Tel. 954-701-6326


$200 to the Winning Coach

The Finisher is a True Double-Elimination, Submission-Only Gi tournament.

 It is being held Saturday, December 20th (9am check in/ 10am start) at the Markham Park Corporate Pavilion, located at 16001 W. ST. RD. 84 Sunrise FL 33326.  (I had to look it up too.  It's Broward County, north of Miami, about 10 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale.)

Entry-$100, Spectators are $5.00 (There is a $1.50 admission to the park per person).
This is sponsored by and Detales Clothing.

The Finisher is not another ho-hum tournament where everyone gets a medal. This format is designed to produce the best fighter, not the best staller or the one who knows the rules inside and out. Fight to win! You battle the opponent and the clock. No points, advantages or referee’s decisions. You submit and you win, it’s as simple as that.

We are honored to cater our kickoff event for the women of BJJ. They deserve a nice cash prize and a showcase event. Don’t worry guys we have something for you planned in a few months. Everyone should prepare themselves. The Finisher is a Mt. Everest in grappling competition. It will legitimize or break some people. The Finisher is daring you, will you answer the call?

About The Finisher

The Finisher is a Partnership of Grapplers with varied backgrounds who want to put the excitement back in competition. Why? Because we all love winners. The Finisher’s sole purpose is to give a proper showcase to grappling in its purest form prior to modern day sport bjj craze. Check us out on Facebook - and visit our site, or call us at 954-701-6326.