It’s been so long and how time flies, etc etc. I’ve been tired and busy, alternately and sometimes at the same time. But I have made some things. Some good things.
First, I did make the plum cake discussed here. It was an interesting cake. I made some dramatic changes, which included taking out so much of the oil and replacing it with apple sauce. I did this at the very last minute and without a lot of thought. But, really, I thought the cake didn’t suffer much because of it.
I didn’t have plums, so I made a peach cake. Unfortunately, the peaches were awful. Just a terrible batch. I didn’t have enough peaches (because so many were bad through and through), and what was left after cutting around the rotten bits was just not enough. More fruit would have been nicer. The cake also cooked up really fast, and this one was done just a bit too much (like 33 minute was at least 3 minutes too many). The cake was very moist and had a strong brown sugar flavor (I used turbinado instead of the brown sugar that was called for.) I would make it again, perhaps following the recipe a little more faithfully. It has a lot of potential. (As an aside, when I asked the Fiend what she thought of the cake she said “it’s ok. But it’s was not like that other one you made. You know, the one with the crumbles on it.” Then she glared at me meaningfully.)
I have also cooked up two more batches of Orangette’s french-style crack. I just love love love that granola. I recommend it to all. I finished my last batch today and have decided to institute a moratorium on the granola-making for just a little while. Some people can manage a full-time job while on crack. Not me though.
In an effort to make some actual savory food, I decided to focus on chickpeas for a week. I got a small container of dried garbanzos at Fairway and soaked them all overnight. (It’s a pain to cook the beans from dried, but there is no point to eating gross canned beans. And in both recipes, using the dried beans made all the difference, taste-wise). I thought I’d have so many chickpeas to try so many different recipes, but I was delusional. It was a very small carton of beans, and I had unrealistic expectations about how much dried chickpeas would expand when rehydrated. Anyway, I did have enough to attempt 2 different recipes, with very respectable results. (My sister has the camera, so no photos today. You’ll just have to rely on the far superior photos on the linked-to sites. So sad, I know.)
First off: the Unexpectedly Delicious (a/k/a Fried Egg Noodles are Tremendous). As you might suspect, I did not know what to expect from this recipe. I am not a noodle lover, but I was intrigued. When I was putting it together, I worried that it might be bland. But, no. So tasty, so filling. So wonderful.
Instead of vegetable stock, I used Pacific Chicken Stock, which was on sale at Whole Foods. I believe, however, that the sale only served to highlight how much cheaper the Whole Foods 365 Brand chicken stock was (even post sale). Because the 365 shelf was wiped clean, while there was plenty of the Pacific brand left. But, I’m glad it was there. I thought it tasted miles better than most other chicken stocks so perhaps the price premium really means something. The only other change to the recipe I made was using less oil than the recipe called for. In the end, I added about 1.5T of oil instead of 3T to the finished product.
Oil and stock aside, without a doubt, the fried egg noodles made this dish. It’s a keeper.
Second recipe: Where Initial Disappoint Turns to Appreciation and Then Delight. I distrusted this recipe. I think I picked it because it was simple. There were just two steps: dump everything in a pot and then stir. But when I got around to it, the thought of just dumping everything in a pot together at the same time seemed fundamentally wrong. Instead, I sauteed the onion, garlic (which I subbed for ginger) and the spices in (a reduced amount of) butter before adding the other ingredients, as I believe has been done in every other curry recipe ever made. I unthinkingly added the “fire roasted” tomatoes not realizing until after how much I dislike the distraction of charred bits in my food. I can’t even believe I bought the tomatoes. (See above re: chickpeas. I think I was engaged in disassociative/magical thinking while food shopping this weekend.)
In all of my taste tests while cooking, I was so disappointed. All I could taste was char and a too strong tomato flavor. I thought everything was ruined. Before I put it away, though, I took a last taste-test and got a nice surprise. Somehow, over the course of several hours (as I bitterly ignored the curry on the countertop), something happened and the flavors came together nicely. The chickpeas took on a really nice creamy taste (absolutely my favorite part of the dish). And the charred bits stopped bothering me. This is not an intensely flavored dish, but it’s actually really pleasant. Next time, I might try this curry recipe out just because the reviews are so good, and it seems to be spicier. But I was not disappointed.
I want to become a crock pot queen this fall. (I said crock, not crack. I told you I’m off that stuff–temporarily). While at Fairway, I also got a small container of dried black beans that have a future as a chili and perhaps a black bean and rice dish. Many, many moons ago, when I was at school in Boston, a friend came over and made a black beans and rice meal that I still think about, and I want to re-create it. So let me know if you’ve got any ideas about that. Also, I see a chiffon cake in my very near future.