Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I learned in the sixth grade curriculum meeting

1.  The kids will be learning critical thinking skills and how to solve problems independently.
2.  There will be several field trips and a kung fu instructor coming to visit.
3.  People like chocolate cookies.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit*

1 1/2 c. good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips**, divided
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar, divided
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a small glass bowl in your microwave by zapping on 50% power for about 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute or so.  When completely melted and smooth, set aside to cool slightly.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar, until the mixture looks like soft marshmallow cream.    Whisk another 1 cup of powdered sugar, the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl to blend.  On low speed, blend these dry ingredients into the egg white mixture.   Stir in the melted chocolate, the extracts, and the remaining 1/2 c. chocolate chips.  The dough will be stiff but still quite sticky.

Place the last 1/2 c. of powdered sugar in a small shallow bowl.  Using teaspoons, drop dough by spoonfuls into the sugar, and roll around gently to coat.   Place on parchment or silpat covered baking sheet about 2 inches apart.   Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes.   Cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, (cookies will flatten as they cool) then transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

Can be stored in an airtight container for several days, or gobbled up by a group of parents at a school meeting in 10 minutes.

Click to print this recipe!

* That clipping project is paying dividends already!!
** I used See's, which are wonderful

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Foodie Girls Lunch Brigade - Emergency Bacon Truck Edition

Date:  September 14
Re: Fwd: UD | Finally, a Bacon Food Truck

Time for some bacon!

[Forwarding a link to an announcement on Urban Daddy]:

Sooner or later, you just knew you’d see Lady Gaga in a meat dress. Likewise, you just knew that one day you’d open up an email to find that there’s a food truck dedicated solely to the glory of bacon.   And here it is: Lardon, soft-launching tomorrow and determined to make the streets of Los Angeles a little more bacon-y.

Date:  September 21
To:  FoodieGirls (group)
Re: Fwd: A heart-on for Lardon

Ladies!! We must go, and soon!

[Forwarding a link to a post on MyLastBite with some completely drool inducing photos (click here and see for yourself)]:

Yes, Virginia, there is a BACON TRUCK!

Date:  September 27
Re:  FYI Lardon today

They are at CBS on Radford in Studio City today for lunch. I may go check....

Date:  September 27, within two minutes of prior email
To: FoodieGirls (group)
Re:  Fwd: FYI Lardon today

Attention all Valley FGs (and others!)...this just in from FG7, and also per the Lardon Truck twitter feed as of 10:15:  "Headed over to CBS Radford (Alyssa's spot) for lunch. Doors up in 45!"  I, for one, am planning to be there, camera in hand.


And I was.  After all, it was a FG bacon emergency.  It was my job.

I love my job. 

My dog, my husband and I approach the truck, and a guy reaches out with a paper cone of bacon strips.   "Hi!  Does your dog like bacon?  It's on the house!"

Yes.  My dog likes bacon.  He really likes free bacon. He really, really likes the Lardon Truck. A lot.

After starting in admiration at the menu for a few moments and swapping bacon chit chat* with the infectiously friendly team in the truck, I order my lunch. 

The BLT, featuring peppered Nueske's bacon, heirloom tomatoes, butter lettuce, and a smear of St. Agar's pungent blue cheese on a toasted baguette.

And the baco, a version of a taco with a shell formed of thick-cut bacon, stuffed with flavorful "smashed" potatoes and melting cheddar cheese.   Served with a side of horseradish sour cream, with bacon bits on top.

The sandwich was very, very good.  The baco? Was ridiculous.  

Guess who is looking on enviously in the background?
Me and my dog really really like the Lardon Truck.  A lot**.

* Besides bemoaning the record heat that day, I learned the following:  If you have a favorite bacon, holler at the Lardon truck! They are always on the look out for new varieties to showcase in the rotating "bacone" sampler.   And, if you are the first to request an appearance at a certain location, that parking space will be immortalized with your name on it, as Alyssa has been for the Radford stop.  Bacon people are the nicest, aren't they?
** I don't think much of my husband, who not only skipped the bacon options in favor of a cuban sandwich from another truck, but also told me he would disown me if I ordered the brownie with bacon and Nutella spread for dessert.  And my son, whom I texted with the good news about my lunch outing while he was stuck at school, hates my guts for going without him.  I will remedy both situations the next time the truck is on our side of town.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I will have no problem giving her the car keys someday

As true hipster LA parents, we take both kids with us to the Vampire Weekend show at the Hollywood bowl.  As true overindulged LA children, my daughter, dressed for the occasion in an old t-shirt, basketball shorts, and some glo-sticks that she got as a favor at a birthday party that afternoon, immediately begins playing some kind of frog game on the iPad, and my son is checking facebook while eating a bacon-wrapped hot dog*.    My husband wanders off to say hi to a friend, and I unpack our wine and cheese.  The near-capacity crowd around us is, to use the polite phrase, "a bit pickled" or perhaps "feeling no pain".  It's dark, the music's pulsing, loud and fun, and night is hot and sticky.  

I see the tell-tale squirm, and my daughter jumps up, handing me the iPad and a spare glo-stick and snatching a ticket for re-entry to our seats as she rushes toward the aisle.   She disappears down the stairs, blending quickly into the throng of bobbing heads.

My husband comes back, and asks if I want anything while he goes to grab more food.  I begin slowly to realize that my daughter is alone, at night, heading for a giant public restroom at a rock concert among 10,000+ people with no adult supervision. 

Me:  Could you look for her?  I'm sure she's fine, but...
Him:  Which way did she go?
Me:  I...I'm not sure!  I didn't really see...
Him:  OK.  OK.  I'll look.  Don't worry.   I'll be right back.

I am completely panicking.  Where was she?  How would we find her if she was lost?  Or hurt, or...whatever!  What kind of mother am I to just watch her leave without even thinking twice about it until way too late?   How on earth would she find her way back?  Hell, we had to ask two ushers on our way to the seats in the first place!   I start ceaselessly scanning the massive crowd that stretches in every direction, peering frantically at the entrances, willing myself to catch a glimpse even though I know I am much too far away to actually find her in the gloom.     

And then I see it.  A tiny pink light coming through the sea of people, waving energetically.    Moving purposefully along the aisle, then stopping.    I grab the other glo-stick and raise it above my head, waving back with all my heart.   Her light waves quickly, then weaves closer.   I'm flapping mine like a crazy person, dizzy with relief.   The pink glow comes up the stairs, still going back and forth as she climbs towards us.     She plops into her seat, wordlessly holds out her hand for the iPad, and goes back to playing with the frogs.

A few minutes later, my son leaves to get another hot dog.   He borrows a glo-stick from his sister and leans over so I can hear him above the music.

Him:  Mom, wave for me too, OK?
Me:  OK. Sure. OK.

* That's my kid all right.  Found the one item with bacon on it in the entire Hollywood Bowl.   BTW, he highly recommends it.  Look for the BBQ booth below the popcorn guy.  They also do great grilled corn.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Foodie Girls Lunch Brigade - Episode 20

We've been on a bit of a hiatus, we Foodie Girls.   Not that we haven't been eating, mind you.  Far from it.  No one is starving.   I myself was extremely well fed throughout the latter part of August and well into September.   But as a group, we were overdue for a collective dining experience.    I'd like to believe that it was a longing for each others' company that brought out a record number of FGs, old and new, this time around.

But it was the rice pudding.  I can't lie.

Episode 20 - We're Crazy for Lazy Ox

I dial the number.

Highly chipper voice on the other end:  Lazy Ox Canteen!  This is Jennie*!  How can I make your day better?

I am in no way prepared for this.  Do my laundry?  Pick up the kids?  A foot massage? 

Me:  Uh...I'd like a table for six for lunch next week?
HCVOTOE:  Fantastic! We can certainly take care of you!  See you then!
Me:  You can? Um...thanks.  Thanks very much.

I hang up, still in a bit of a daze at the outpouring of apparently genuine solicitude I have experienced from a very "in" restaurant in downtown LA.

The day before our lunch, I call back.  I am nervous, because I am going to be causing a problem for the happy lady.

HCVOTOE:  Lazy Ox Canteen!  This is Jennie*!  How can I make your day better?
Me:  Hi, Jennie! (Stalling for time) I love the way you answer the phone there.  Really.  It's awesome.  Anyway, I have a reservation tomorrow for six.  Is there any way that you could accommodate nine of us?  

I hold the phone slightly away from my ear, wincing in anticipation.

HCVOTOE:  Sure!  That is no problem at all! 
Me:  Wow.  I mean, just wow.   There are no words here.
HCVOTOE:  It's my pleasure!  We can't wait to see all of you tomorrow!

I love Jennie.  Even without the manicure or the ironing I was thinking of having her do.

The following day, we arrive to find our table waiting, three good friends at the bar, and a smiling staff ready for us.   I almost hug the blond at the front desk, but maybe it's not Jennie?  Better not risk getting thrown out when this is so obviously a place we want to stay for a good long time.

The front windows let in a wash of light onto the warm, roughly hewn dark wood walls.  Blackboards above the bar and and in the back list a ton of specials (warm fava beans, fried chicken, pork belly) and wines by the glass.   The room is about half full of downtown types with shirt sleeves rolled up and a few hip people who probably own lofts nearby.    A huge sheet of rustic looking metal hangs on a wall of astroturf, a soft red glow illuminating the stenciled cut out of a sleeping ox.   The vibe is exciting and comforting at the same time. 

Our server fills us in on the chef's specials for lunch:  fried squash blossoms stuffed with burrata,  soft shell crab, a braised breast of veal, and highlights some things on the menu.   Almost every dish has an intriguing ingredient or approach:  Grilled cabbage salad with tarragon.  Poblano chile soup with grapes and crispy pork belly.   Creamy faro with kale and mushrooms.   Caramelized cauliflower with mint.   Pig ear "chicharon".  Pasta ragu with a fried egg on top.    

We order with gusto.   The staff figures out in about two seconds that we are sharing everything**, and brings out the dishes in rounds without our saying a word.   Well done. 

The parade begins with the squash blossoms, and they are genius.  Fried in a delicate batter that almost shatters when it hits your mouth, and oozing with warm, salty cheese, the surprise is the sweet, slightly tangy honey that has been drizzled over them.    I hear groans of happiness up and down the table.    We order more even before the next dish arrives.   

 It's the warm cabbage salad, with a richness that must come from the grilling nicely offset by the pile of tangy tomato and tarragon salsa on top.   Another winner.   The cauliflower is wonderful, too.   It is very reminiscent of the dish we loved at Sunnin, but with the clever addition of pine nuts and mint that heightens the earthy richness of the warm golden brown cauliflower.

The macaroni salad, touted by the waiter, is bland and unremarkable.  We pick at it, but then eagerly turn to the pigs ears.   Salty and crispy and just a tiny bit chewy, with a tasty aioli and a pile of radishes and limes, they are lip-smacking good snack food, and, with the exception of one FG who can't get over their origin, beloved by all.   The soft shell crab special, by contrast, is all batter and almost greasy, and has almost the identical garnishes, along with some soon-to-be-familiar pickled onions.

The poblano soup is a revelation.    Creamy and gorgeous, with a swirl of creme fraiche and a few grapes scattered on top, the vibrant green color belies the smoky heat and rich flavor within.    But our favorite (after those squash blossoms!!!) was the creamy faro.  Prepared risotto style with a savory, meaty broth, bites of bitter kale against rich mushrooms, nutty cheese and the toothsome, hearty grain, it was comfort food to the nth degree.  

The conversation around the table ranges wildly, but the group is in high spirits as the main courses begin to arrive.   These are less thrilling, and generally less successful, as we start to see overkill on some key ingredients.   Pickles that worked in a refreshing barley salad with feta show up yet again in a nearly inedible grilled shrimp pasta with huge pieces of dark nori thrown in, and again in the turkey sandwich.   The turkey sandwich, in turn, has an unwieldy chunk of pork belly between the crispy bacon and the turkey.  What may have seemed like a good idea at the time turned out to be a much better sandwich when the pork belly was removed.  Then the combination of the soft, sweet brioche bun with the rest of the ingredients is delicious. 

A sandwich of the pork belly alone finds no takers, although the side of fries that came with it has friends.   The fried egg looks fantastic on the pasta, but the sauce, and the dish overall, seems like something a home cook could easily make.   The flank steak entree, however, is excellent.   Served over a bed of utterly creamy polenta with a zesty chimchirri sauce and baby zucchini, this fairly common cut is somehow new and interesting in this preparation.   And very, very yummy.

The dishes are pushed aside, and little knots of discussion are going on all around the table.  We are engrossed in catching up, making connections, reminiscing about the squash blossoms (Weren't those amazing!  Oh my god, YES!), etc.    I check my watch and see that an hour and a half has gone by, and we have not had a chance to order dessert.   Which is a problem, because despite all of the gastronomical satisfaction that we have enjoyed thus far (Weren't those squash blossoms incredible?  Oh my god, YES!!) we did not come here for the faro.  Or the cabbage.  Or the cauliflower.  Or the steak.   We came here for dessert.

I quote here from the Culinary SOS column in the LA Times***:

"I've only had rice pudding in college dining halls 10-plus years ago and was never a fan. But last night I had the rice pudding at Lazy Ox Canteen; I think my knees went weak. Could you help me get this recipe? I have been thinking about it for 12 hours straight."

And from a high school guy I know:
"The best rice pudding in the world is at the Lazy Ox Canteen."

I am turning to signal the waiter so we can order some, when he leans over to clear the table and says:

"We have some dessert coming out right now for you.  Hope you enjoy it."  And then several generous bowls of rice pudding are set down in front of us.

Enjoy it?  Enjoy it?!? We f*%#ing LOVED it.   I can't even describe to you how good this dessert is.  Quite possibly one of the most delicious ways to end a meal that I have ever had in my life.   Creamy, sweet, cool, vanilla-y, cinnamon-y, melt-in-your-mouth-y.   With a pool of buttery caramel and a crunchy sugar topping.    Crazy, crazy good.  And it was on the house because that's just how perfect this meal was turning out to be.

Three orders of rice pudding (paid for) to go later, we troop out into the sunshine and hug each other good bye, grinning like idiots from the after-effects of our magical time at the Lazy Ox.

Jennie, how can you make my day better?  My dear, you really can't.  This was the best day I've had in a long long time.

FG final verdict?  Lazy Ox Canteen is ON the List!
Pricing Info:  Smaller plates $6-12, entrees: $15-20
FG value rating:  Fair Deal

* Not her real name, but it's something as cheerful as Jennie, so you get the picture.
** I give them full marks for this, even though it was probably hard not to overhear nine women agreeing loudly that ordering a bunch of stuff to share would be a really good plan.
*** The recipe was printed in the paper here.  Fair warning that a fellow FG has already tried recreating the dish based on this, without even coming close.   But it's probably worth a shot anyway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Really Inspired Kitchen

Dangerous areas for most people:

Nuclear waste dump
Mobile home park during a tornado
Lady Gaga's closet

Incremental danger zone for me:

School fundraising auction

I know I should flee, screaming.   But there is no escape.  It's a fiscal disaster waiting to happen, and I'm helpless to stop it*.

But on the plus side, I get some really good stuff.   Like the incredible experience I had yesterday.

An Inspired Kitchen 
welcomes you to
A Cooking Class

Join Lela for a cooking demonstration and lunch**

We arrive, and discover warm-from-the oven banana bread, coffee and fruit waiting for us on the patio.

We adjourn to the kitchen, and repeat the first line of day's mantra*** as a group:

"I will enjoy my lunch today and forgive myself the extra calories.  I supported my school!"

With that affirmation, I am already halfway besotted with this woman when she kicks off the class with a killer mocha sauce, saying as she dramatically pours the gorgeous liquid into a pitcher, "I'm a heavy cream kinda girl."  

Me, too.

She then turns to the homemade pizza dough, proofing yeast, sifting flour, and dispensing invaluable tips at the same time.
  • Use a ratio of 1 part bread flour to 2 parts all purpose flour.  It gives you a stretchier, more toothsome dough.   
  • The food processor with the dough blade is the lazy kneader's best friend.   And you can grate all your cheese with the Cuisinart, too!  
  • And for heaven's sake buy a pizza cooking tray.  It's the only way to have perfectly crisp crust at home.

There's bacon. And onions.   And fromage blanc and creme fraiche.   And gruyere cheese.  Lots of gruyere cheese.    Wow.

Mushrooms soak up slabs of butter, then fruity port and ricotta cheese.  They disappear under piles of fresh mozzarella and are folded effortlessly into tidy calzone pockets.

Spinach is no longer quite so healthy after joining two cheeses, egg yolks and flour in the gnocchi dough.  Then she coats the pan with butter and drizzles more butter on top of the perfectly cooked nuggets.  "Makes it a little toasty on the edges....ummmmm!"  Also ummmm? The simple sauce of sauteed fresh tomatoes, butter (!), salt and pepper.

More words of wisdom fly by:
  • Let the dough rest and dry out before cooking it.  It turns gnocchi from a delicate mess to a hardy survivor.
  • Don't have the water at a rapid boil.  It can break the gnocchi.
  • Never pour cooked gnocchi into a colander, or all your work will be for nothing.   This is a job for your slotted spoon!
Oh god.  More bacon.  And wine.  And heavy cream.  And cheese.  Carbonara?  Yes, my friends.  Carbonara.  With olive oil toasted breadcrumbs, lemon zest and parsley on top.  We reach for the tumblers of ice water because we have salivated out all of our bodily fluids.  "Don't worry.  You don't have to eat it every day.  Like once a month, maybe!  And remember the mantra!"

We have internalized the mantra as the cappuccino souffle takes shape.  Chocolate.  Espresso.  Grand Marnier.  Cognac.  Sugar.  Eggs.   She breaks from the whisking to hold up a ramekin in our faces.  "Eggs love butter!  Wipe the edge of the ramekin completely clean if you don't want a muffin topped souffle.   Parchment paper cones?  Bah!  Just clean the darn edges!"

We nod.  We will clean the darn edges.

The souffles go in the oven, and lunch is served****.  It is, in a word, spectacular.

Fortunately, the bidding has been closed on this item, or I would have been breaking out out my checkbook in gratitude.    I live for danger like this.

Lela's Amazing Salad Dressing

2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
a good squirt of honey
1/2 c. basil infused olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil plus some finely chopped basil
salt, pepper and a splash of Tabasco sauce

Combine lemon juice, vinegar and honey.  Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream until well combined.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

If you want the recipes for the items with cheese, heavy cream and liquor, make a substantive donation to the school and we'll talk.  To be notified of Lela's upcoming cooking classes, email her and ask to join the mailing list.

*As is my husband, since they now run the whole thing ONLINE and I can bid after he's gone to bed!! Whoo hoo!
** Understatement.  Should have read:  Watch in awe as Lela performs culinary miracles and groan in ecstasy over every bite of a meal that rivals that of any chef in town.
*** It is helpfully printed on the front page of our handout, which also includes detailed recipes and instructions for how we mortals can do this at home. 
**** It is as if the Food Network fairies were at work.  Lela had premade the complete meal ahead of time, except for the carbonara and the gnocchi sauce, which went from the stove to our plates instantly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Clipping Service

The stacks were taking over various parts of the house.  A leaning tower of Bon Appetit in the family room.   An untidy pile of Cooks' Illustrated next to the bathtub.   Ragged torn out pages from the LA Times, the NY Times Magazine, Gourmet and Savuer fluttering out of books and couches at odd moments.  Stray Food & Wine's under the front seat of the car.   A certifiable fire hazard with no food to show for it.  I was definitely back in my old rut.

Project time!

As I cut and sorted and organized, making an even bigger mess, but all in one place at least, the family retreated to less cluttered parts of the house*.    I turned on the football game** and happily snipped away.   A few hours later, the family reappeared.

Kids:  Mom, do you have a plan here?
Me:  Yes, as a matter of fact I do.  I'm making excellent progress, by the way.***
My husband: Well, if the plan involves re-carpeting the family room with recyclable materials...
Me:  Shut up.
Them:  What's for dinner?

I look around carefully, pluck a few scraps of paper from various strategic locations, and announce triumphantly:

Me:  Panko-crusted Chicken with Mustard Maple Sauce, Mixed Greens with Parmesan Vinaigrette, and...
[I pause for dramatic effect]
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze for dessert. 

They are suitably impressed.   I should definitely do this clipping thing more often.

Panko-Crusted Chicken with Mustard-Maple Pan Sauce
Delicious!  Adapted from a recipe clipped out of Bon Appetit.   If your kids have a phobia of sauce (as mine do), the chicken is great on its own.

3 8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise in half so you have six pieces of chicken
1 large egg
1 Tbs. finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
1 c. low salt chicken broth
3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. coarse-grained mustard
1 Tbs. chilled butter

Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken in resealable plastic bag to 1/2 inch thickness.  Whisk egg, parsley, and 2 tsp. Dijon mustard in large bowl.   Place panko in a shallow tray nearby, and set up a wire rack over a cookie sheet to hold your chicken.    In a glass measuring cup, combine chicken broth, syrup, coarse-grained mustard, and remaining 2 Tbs. of Dijon mustard, whisking with a fork to combine.   Set aside.

Dip chicken in egg mixture, turning to coat.  Dip each chicken piece in panko, turn to coat.  Place coated pieces on the rack, and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.   Heat oil in large non stick skillet over medium-high heat.   Add chicken, and cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through; about 4 minutes per side.  Remove chicken, keep warm.

Add broth mixture to the skillet; boil until slightly thickened and reduced by about a third.  This should take about 4 minutes.   Add butter, whisk until melted.   Serve this delectable sauce alongside the chicken.

Parmesan Vinaigrette
I have no idea where this one came from.  Something spilled on it.

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp. Worsestershire sauce
1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional...I added this)
6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Mix first 5 ingredients in a jar.  Place lid on jar and shake well to combine.  Add oil.  Replace lid; shake again.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.   Chill until ready to use, but bring to room temperature before using. 

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Icing
My adaptation of a recipe clipped from the LA Times.  This is just ridiculously good.  Rich, deeply caramel-y, buttery and probably so fattening I should never make it again.  But I totally will.

For the cake:
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 1 lb. box dark brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar

Preheat oven to 325, and butter a Bundt pan.    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla, and set aside.   Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy.   Add the brown sugar in three additions, beating well after each one.  Blend in the white sugar.   Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each one of those additions, too.   Reduce the mixer speed to low.   Mix in 1/2 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the butter milk mixture, then rest of flour, then rest of liquids, blending until flour/liquids have disappeared before adding the next item.    Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake until edges of the cake are nicely brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Cool on rack for 10-20 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.  

While cooling, prepare the crazy good frosting/glaze/icing:

For the icing:
1 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1/2 c. evaporated milk
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and complete combined with the sugar, 2-3 minutes.  Add the evaporated milk, and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil.   Stir well, and remove from heat.    Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.  Using a mixer or a spoon, stir vigorously for a minute or two, then immediately spoon over still-warm cake.

* Except for the cat, who is glued to my side and thinks it is wildly amusing to scatter my work everywhere by pouncing crazily on everything I cut out.
** I have no idea who is playing, but it's a Sunday in September and the TV has been brainwashed by my son to remain permanently tuned to ESPN under these conditions.
*** I took a short break from the project to write this post, but I will almost certainly have it wrapped up later this week.