Sunday, March 29, 2009

High altitude baking, revised

I made lemon pound cake again, but this time I decreased the baking powder and sugar and increased the flour. Instead of a valley of cake, we have a lovely hill. I was concentrating so much on the high altitude adjustments that I forgot to think about the lemon. I got the lemon zest in though, but lost the opportunity somewhere along the line to put in some lemon juice. Oh well. It's still pretty yummy, or so says Isaac.

Sunday eats

Like most Sundays, today began with sourdough pancakes, from sourdough that Michael has been feeding and using for more than 30 years. I can't believe I used to be able to eat 4 or 5 of these. Two in quite adequate these days.

Lest you think that all we eat is carbs, I've been inspired by Food Matters by Mark Bittman. I made the chopped cabbage salad, going the Asian route, using walnut oil, sesame oil, cider vinegar, and rice wine. The recipe said to salt the cabbage and let it drain in a colander, which would help it become tender. It did become tender, but it didn't let off any liquid. Very tasty stuff, full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New camera!

I got a royalty check the other day for my textbook. I'd been lusting over a digital SLR camera, doing my research, and all that. And voila! Here's a picture taken with my new Nikon D60. I barely understand it, but plan to have fun learning all its features. 

Orthodox pizza

Pepperoni, mozzarella, black olives, mushrooms, red bell pepper, supported by a foundation of tomato sauce. I can do it. I can make traditional pizza. In fact, it's cheap. Great recession fare.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Artery clogging ice cream

As if ice cream weren't fattening enough, I made this vanilla ice cream with half and half and heavy cream, instead of milk and heavy cream. But the tasty part was the honest to gosh vanilla bean that I lovingly soaked in vodka for a couple of weeks and then scraped before adding it to the hot half and half and sugar mixture.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The dangers of high-altitude baking

I wanted to make a lemon pound cake, having been inspired by a video I watched on America's Test Kitchen TV on demand website. I followed their suggestions about using lemon zest, as well as lemon juice. I used the zest of 3 lemons, chopping it fine and adding it to a 1/4 cup of juice. But I forgot to adjust for our high altitude here in Logan--5,000 feet. I should have added a couple of tablespoons more flour and used less sugar. Fortunately, in spite of that valley in the middle, the cake tastes divine. It's not even gummy there in the middle. Go figure.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chocolate Marble Cake

Doesn't it look pretty? I wish it had tasted as good as it looked. The yellow part was moist and fairly tasty, but the chocolate part was dry and not too tasty. I think I may have overmixed it when adding in the melted chocolate to half of the batter, which is probably why it seemed dry. Vanilla ice cream, as an accompaniment helped a lot, but it really needed to be soaked in rum or something to truly redeem it. The recipe came from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking. I don't think the way it turned out is her fault...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Personal Pan Pizza, my way...

I was home alone on Saturday night this week, so I decided to make a personal pan pizza. The leftover dough will be great for a full-size pizza on Sunday night with Isaac, and he can choose the toppings. So I used what I had on hand: homemade pesto, provolone, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. For some reason, I really prefer a pizza without tomato products of any kind. This is one of my favorites. I decided to up the protein by adding the pine nuts; you can't see them since they're hiding under the cheese, but they made for a delightful surprise when I bit into them. Accompanied by a glass of decent cabernet and an episode of House, this was a perfect meal.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I shared this lovely Italian Lemon Cream Cake with my father at a nice restaurant in Blowing Rock, North Carolina just a few days ago. All cakes should be this good. The cake itself was light, yet moist. The filling was lemony and sweet, but not too lemony or sweet. A sweet end to a good meal.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Black and White Cookies

This recipe combines pulverized almonds with a modest amount of flour, butter, sugar, chocolate, and bourbon to make a bite of delicate yumminess. The balls of dough are rolled in granulated sugar and then powdered sugar. When they bake, fissures form that allow the gorgeous dark interior to peek through. This is another recipe from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Caramel Ice Cream

I've never made caramel from dry sugar. But that's how you do it when you follow the directions in the recipe for Caramel Ice Cream in Room for Dessert by Dave Lebovitz. Those brown stick things are pieces of vanilla that were too dry to cut lengthwise, so I just chopped them in pieces and hoped for the best. As the sugar heated, it began to melt and become liquid--a fabulously sweet toasty liquid. A dangerously hot liquid, to which you add heavy cream, which steams up something fierce. A real show stopper. Then you add more half and half, and eventually egg yolks. Chill thoroughly and freeze in an ice cream maker. I added bittersweet chocolate pieces. I don't think I will do that next time. They freeze too hard and ruin the lovely smooth texture. Swirls of melted chocolate would be better if one has to have chocolate with their caramel. I can live without it. This stuff is fabulous.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Campari Spritzer

I'm so suggestible. I saw Ina Garten make these on her show recently. She served them before an anniversary dinner with adorable, hobbity hubby, Jeffrey. It looked so good, I had to buy Campari and make them that very day. Never mind that it is still winter and these look more appropriate for a hot summer day.

Campari Spritzer
2 oz. Campari
2 oz. orange juice
6 oz. sparkling water

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saturday night pizza

Yes, we're a carboholic family. Every Saturday night, following a semi-regular tradition that my family had when growing up, we have pizza. This time I made a French-style pizza, with pesto, potatoes, fontina, and mozzarella. I make my own dough, which I do so automatically now that I have to think in order to tell anyone how to make. The secret for me is to start with the amount of water, then add flour, olive oil, and salt. I keep adding flour, using a standup mixer, until I get the consistency I want. Leave it to rise for several hours, covered with plastic wrap. Then, about 30 minutes before Isaac and Michael get home from aidiko, fire up the oven to 495 F and begin to assemble. By the time they get home, I'm sliding it in the oven and pouring the wine.