This might sound creepy, but I've always liked peeking into other people's houses. Not in a stalkerish, hide-in-the-bushes-and-stare-like-a-weirdo kind of way, but rather in passing, just-catching-a-glimpse.
It started on car rides when I was little, counting how many houses we'd pass with lit-up windows. Sometimes the curtains would be open, and I could see pictures on the wall and the TV glowing. Or families eating dinner. And I could never help but wonder what their story was -- what they were talking about, what their everyday lives were like, stuff like that. By the time I could imagine what they were having for dinner, the house was gone and we passed another.
Blogs are kind of like lit windows in a way. With each new post, the light goes on, and readers can peek inside at dinner on the table and books on the shelves and catch just a glimpse of everyday life. And if you're lucky, sometimes the front door will open and you're invited in.
That's what happened when Shanna of Food Loves Writing suggested that we get together, hang out, be friends. We know each other from a previous life as interns at a publishing company and we live in the same area and we started food blogs at almost the exact same time and really, there was no reason why we shouldn't meet up. So just like that, I had a real live blog friend. This past summer, we've gotten together a few times -- over brunch on a Sunday, and at her lovely blog party, and the other night at a Thai restaurant, where we stayed talking long after our food was wrapped up and the bill paid, while the workers prepared place settings for the next day and silently shooed us out with their swift glances.
And when we got past the normal food-and-blog talk and finally approached some truly serious stuff, i.e. what really happened to John Locke in Season 5 of LOST, I knew that I had found not only a blog-friend in Shanna, but a good friend. A real one. A lasting one.
Since she has this mild obsession with cookies and baking (while I drool over beets, plain and roasted, she bakes them into a cake), I promised her a while back that I'd bake something and post it on my blog. And after searching for a recipe that didn't involve having to go out and buy baking materials (I do not own a mixer, muffin tins, cake pans, cookie sheets, a rolling pin, loaf pans, etc. etc. etc.), my sister sent me a simple recipe for a berry upside-down cake. It only served two, so I wouldn't be stuck with a monstrosity of a dessert. I could use a flimsy pie tin purchased at the grocery store. And the only ingredient I didn't have in my kitchen was baking powder (what the hell is baking powder, anyway?)
So here it is. Please don't laugh.
Upside-Down Berry Cakes (adapted from Cooking Light, via Jenny)
This one's for you, Shanna. Thanks for turning the lights on and inviting me in.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1/4 cup skim milk
4 teaspoons reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced (The original recipe calls for blueberries. I think any berry will work.)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Add milk and margarine, stirring just until flour mixture is moist. Divide batter evenly between 2 (10-ounce) custard cups* coated with cooking spray. Top each with 1/2 cup strawberries.
Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and fruit topping is bubbly.
*I used one mini pie tin and didn't think to adjust the baking time, but it turned out OK. I think.