I keep whining about wanting to cook more, and I realized I've actually done a fair bit lately. Although not all of it was really intended as cooking, it was more preparation for Class 1 Upload, and my infantry friend used to say. However I did make a few things definitely worth keeping, with a few ideas of how to gussy them up a little. Then there was the mediocre coffee cake, which was passable and enough to get my colleagues to see I tried but not really my best work. And finally was the complete disaster of a cake. I'll save that one for last, it merits some rumination on where my extensive thermodynamics and fluid dynamics education went while I was thinking through this concept.
Starting with the Out of the Park hit: Goat cheese stuffed portobellos
4 Large Portobello Caps, cleaned with stems removed
4 oz Goat Cheese
3 oz Cream Cheese
4 Slices Emmantaller Cheese (or swiss of that's easier)
8t White Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Turn on broiler. Drizzle olive oil on cooking sheet and rub to coat. Put mushroom caps top down on baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil across each. Grind salt and pepper onto each cap. Drizzle 2t balsamic vinegar in each cap. Mix goat cheese, cream cheese, and pesto in a bowl. Divide cheese mixture between all 4 mushroom caps. Lay a piece of cheese across each mushroom. Broil until cheese is starting to brown and crisp, about 5 min. Serve immediately.
I like things a little sour. Sourdough bread, sour cream, and buttermilk top my list. I came across the recipe for Cucumber Buttermilk Soup from a Martha Stewart magazine (link not online yet, will add when it becomes available). I followed the recipe almost exactly, so I won't bother to reprint. It was great. I left it warm and added some additional potato flakes to make it more of a puree for Charlotte to eat. But she liked it as a soup, its just hard to feed soup to a 15month old who hasn't figured out the correct orientation of a spoon and yet wants to do everything herself. The cucumber and potato base was great warm and cold. And the buttermilk was exactly my style.
This evening I made Corn and Onion Cakes. They were supposed to be more like fritters, or something, but the first batch soaked up too much oil and were a strange consistency so I added flour and made them more like pancakes, which turned out great. So to the Corn Cakes recipe I just added about 1/2 C flour. And instead of goat cheese I used cheddar and I omitted the bacon part. Charlotte was a fan, so I feel this was a success. Again, it was a little sour, but I like things sour. Others may not, but hey, its my blog so deal with the sour. At least I'm not bitter today.....
The tie was the Apricot Coffee Cake that I made following the recipe from Epicurious. I think had I served it warm out of the oven it might have been good. But having to keep it in the fridge overnight and then take it to work in the morning turned it a little hard. I know, I should have just baked it at work or something like that, but frankly I'm not that committed. I guess it will show on my performance evaluation, but perhaps that day I'll bake brownies or just bring in whiskey.
And finally, the moment you have all been waiting for, the moment I reveal my latest departure from the reality of baking, where I attempt to throw off the chains of physics and chemical laws only to have them come back to flog me with my own failure. I had left over apricots, so I wanted to make something with them. I had no flour in the house, and still don't, but that's punishment for this flagrant disrespect for baking rules. Anyway, my logic went thus "no flour but plenty of cream cheese, I could make a cheesecake." So, away I went, pitting and preparing fresh apricots. Then melting butter and sugar in the bottom of a baking dish to make a caramel sauce such as the one I used for the upside down pineapple cake. Then I layers the apricots in the dish on top of the caramel. Next I whipped up a traditional cheesecake batter and poured it on top. Those of you who bake regularly are cringing in disbelief. Those who don't are thinking "there's something wrong with this picture, but I can't put my finger on it." Well, cheesecake has a particular liquid to fat ratio that makes it the way it is, and apricots, especially fresh ones, have lots of liquid. And since the apricots are under the cheesecake mixture there was no opportunity for the liquid to escape. Resulting in a very big, bubbling, hot, useless, exploding-and-coating-the-oven mess. Why I thought that juicy fresh fruit on the bottom of a cheesecake was going to work, I have no idea, but I think my fluid dynamics teacher should retroactively fail me.