Monday, September 20, 2010

Blandness in a Very Short Post

I made broccoli cream soup. And it was bland.

It was basically chicken stock, milk, broccoli, and a bit of onion. The broccoli cream soups I have eaten usually have potatoes and cheese and such things. This did not.

In fairness, it was a master recipe for other types of cream soups also.

But it tasted like almost nothing.

Yellow Cake

I have a history with yellow cake.

The one and only time I tried to make yellow cake, I used Julia Child's genoise. Genoise is held up by fluffy beaten eggs. No leavening. You have to add the perfect amount of flour and mix it in a way so that it keeps its volume.

I did not.

I made that cake three times and then gave up on it. It just didn't taste good enough for all the work.

And then my mother asked me to make a surprise cake for my dad's birthday. I decided on Butter Cake with Easy Chocolate Buttercream.

And it was so simple. It had a normal amount of flour and baking powder. It was a normal cake. And it even tasted good.

I will never make a different yellow cake again.

The buttercream was super chocolatey, due to the Dutch process cocoa in it. I actually added less confectioners sugar than was called for, since my cocoa powder was special dark- a blend of regular and Dutch process cocoa powder and not as rich as normal Dutch process.

The cake was good but very sweet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tomato Sauce in America

It was not your average tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce in America is generally ground up tomatos with herbs of some sort. It's a paste. But instead of putting that on pappardelle I chopped up tomatoes, oragano, garlic, and parsley, mixed it all together with olive oil, salt and pepper and called it tomato sauce.

The sauce was poured on  homemade pappardelle, which is strips of flat pasta about an inch wide.

When you look at the ingredients, pasta looks simple. Eggs, flour and salt. How hard could it be? Pasta is so devious.

So you mound of flour on a cutting board, make a well in it and pour in the eggs. Except there's too much egg to fit in the well. So it spills all over your cutting board and you have to keep it from dripping on the floor, while trying to knead it and yelling "No! No! Stay there! Ahhh!!!!" at the same time.

It needs to be kneaded for 10 minutes by hand, then it must rest for an hour and a half, before being rolled so much it is see-through and formed into shapes. But it is delicious.

The Dessert that Turned into Breakfast and Back Again.

Galette. What a lovely word. What a lovely thing. We had bunches of plums so I decided to make plum galette.

Now that I have a food processor again, pastry is easy. Pate brisee, is butter dough, or pie dough, not to be confused with pate sucree, sugar dough, or pate choux, cabbage dough, (which, fortunately, does not have cabbage in it.)

I rolled the pate brisee out to the size of a pizza. I covered it with plums mixed with sugar and such things and then folded the edges of the crust over the filling. The galette was brushed with egg glaze and sprinkled with sugar.

It seemed to get bigger in the oven. I'm not sure if that's actually possible. It was going to be eaten for dessert after dinner, then for breakfast, then when I decided to blog I realized I hadn't actually eaten any. So I did and it was soooooooo good. Sweet, tart and flaky. And quite simple too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Magic Pie and the Lobster Shrimp

Yesterday was PIE DAY! Glorious, glorious pie. Apple pie.

Since I did not have a food processor available, I used a pastry cutter and my hands for the crust. It... sort of worked. I did not cut the butter in quite as much as I should have, and when the time came to add the water, I had to add an extra 3 tablespoons to get it to hold together. It would have worked if I had kneaded it but you must NEVER knead pastry more than twice. Unless of course, you like tough pastry.

The apple filling worked beautifully, although, granted, there is not much that could go wrong. The pie came together nicely with no patching or tears. And then it went into the oven and that was that.

I wish.

I forgot, as usual, to put a cookie sheet to catch the drips. So there was a bit of smoke and a piece of fallen pie crust caught on fire. But we fished it out. The pie was delicious and warm with fresh whipped cream. Happy Ending.

The Lobster Shrimp
Today we went to one of the few billion fish markets in South Carolina, and bought a pound of "large" shrimp. I took them home and prepared a pot of water with thyme, carrots, celery and peppercorns. The water was boiling and I dropped them in. They turned pink in an instant.

Martha says to drop them in when the water is boiling and then to take them out when they are pink and the water is about to boil again, about 1 1/2 minutes. If you ever make these, just take them out when they turn bright pink.

After we picked of the shells and deveined, them there was not a lot of food left. I said they were like lobsters: Once you've picked off the inedible part, there's not a lot left.

But we ate them anyways, and they were fine but slightly overcooked. There was no flavor whatsoever from the carrots and thyme. I didn't really expect there to be, after they cooked for a minute and a half.The cocktail sauce was yummy and my mom, who does not like cocktail sauce, licked her spoon.

Shrimp. Why bother?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coodled Coddled Eggs

The first day begins...

Off to a slightly overcooked start. My very first recipe was coddled eggs.

 Coddling means to heat food in water that is just below the boiling point. Apparently you can coddle other things but eggs are the foods that are usually coddled, as far as I know.

They were a little overcooked. They are supposed to be soft enough so that you can dip your toast batons (called soldiers) into them. The heat was a bit too high. Instead of dipping, we ate them with forks, along with the soldiers and some spicy sausage. And it was pretty good.

And writing this post, my fingers keep on typing coodled. So now I'll call them coodled whenever I overcook them.