Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think Dorie and I are destined to have a love/it’s OK relationship. It really does seem that one week I love the dish we make, the other, the dish is fine but nothing I would make again.  (Maybe our relationship will change since I am picking the order this month – see my post on my thoughts about that).  The Caramel topped Semolina cake was fine – edible, not bad, not good but nothing memorable that I would choose to make again.  I think it was largely a texture thing.  Too mushy and I have never been a fan of raisin that show up in baked goods all soggy and soft (dead spider bodies a friend once referred to them as reminding her of).

Beside the cake itself there were some really good things that came out of this baking experience.

  • Cream of Wheat was a breakfast item that I ate many a morning as a child and somehow it had vanished from my memory.  I was so thrilled to see it again that on Sunday morning I made myself a bowl to eat for breakfast – in my memories it came in a red box.
  • I made caramel for the first time.  It took a long time for mine to turn amber colored.  And the tip to warm the pan in the over the caramel will spread smoothly is a great tip and one I know I will use again.
  • We had an excuse to open and drink one of our favorite bottles of dessert wine.  Domaine de la Pigeade Beaumes de Venise.  My dear friend and I came across this vineyard while on a bike ride and we have consumed many of their bottles since that day in 2000.  It’s a sweet wine with ‘hints of pear, rose water and exotic fruits’.  It was a great pairing with the cake, and while there was leftover cake, there was no left over Beaumes de Venise.

I won’t make the cake again but I will finish the box of Cream of Wheat.

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Please tell me what to cook.

November 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

I think it’s interesting that no one else has come forward and said that they don’t love that there is no schedule this month – only the 4 recipes to cook but no order to cook them in.  For whatever reason, this lack of structure has thrown me for a loop.  There was something really gratifying knowing that I was amongst a group all of whom were looking at the same recipe, going shopping for the same ingredients and then baking/making the same dish.  I know that over the course of the month we will all get to complete the same recipes but somehow it’s just not the same.

I have too many cookbooks and I’ve always said that I would ‘work my way through’ one or the other but never did.  With French Friday’s I found myself excited each Monday to think about what I would make on Wed or Thurs for this week’s posting.  I’d never had that excitement before.  Now, I find myself hesitant and less enthusiastic, I’m flipping the pages trying to decide if this week it will be the gratin or the flans or maybe I should get the chicken done before next week when we are roasting a turkey.  With the choice comes hesitation and that’s what throwing me off.  I hope we go back to being told what to cook, then I all I have to think about is getting to the market and coming home to make that one simple dish.

My Food Star Weekend.

November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last weekend I went with a friend to the city to hear Diana Kennedy speak at Omnivore Books on Food about her new book Oaxaca al Gusto.  I’ve long been a fan of her books and Oaxaca was a city I had the good fortune to visit a few years ago during the  Dia de Los Muertos ( you can see some of the cool altars here).

Ms. Kennedy was great – slightly cantankerous, slightly cynical and very funny.  I’m glad we had the chance to go and see her as this may be one of her last books.  Seeing her did also get me thinking about the new trajectories that chefs today can take.  53 years ago when Diana moved to Mexico there was no Food Network or Blogs.  Would Diana have been a household name today?  Would Rachel Ray have become famous if all she was known for was her cookbooks?  I’ll leave that one to you.

After, we went to Bar Tartine for dinner and had a fantastic meal, greatly aided in the choices by our waitress.  The burger I ate there may have been the best I have eaten in a very long time.  Fortunately for me, my friend is also a close friend of the owners, Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson.  They came in for dinner and when we first saw them Liz was engaged in conversation with Ruth Reichl and Nancy Silverton.

Five incredible chefs in one evening, one food star weekend.

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