Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm back! Well, mostly...

Sorry if it seems that I have fallen off the face of the earth in regards to updating this blog. Between all the traveling we've been doing this summer, and just the busyness of life in general, I have not been very good about keeping up. After spending almost 2 weeks in Iowa, I could not get my act together to do any sort of serious cooking, especially since we took another long trip to California just a few weeks later!

But I'm back now and slowing getting back into the swing of things. I have not had a chance to do any recipes from the Pepin book, but I have made a few other yummy things I thought I'd share.

First up are these amazing chicken enchiladas with a sour cream sauce, inspired by this recipe on my friend Jacki's blog. I made a few small changes: I cooked the chicken with a drained can of Ro-tel tomatoes and about 1/3 can of green enchilada sauce; then later when it came to making the sauce, instead of combining butter and cornstarch, I sauteed some chopped onions in butter and then added flour to make more of a traditional roux. I also added the rest of the enchilada sauce to the broth/sour cream mixture before adding it all to the roux to make the sauce. Troy declared these my best enchiladas ever! Sorry for the crappy picture - I grabbed my snappy cam since it was nearby and took one quick shot before we tore into them.

I'm also getting ready to throw a baby shower brunch for a friend in a couple weeks, so I've been playing around with some different ideas for the menu. Late last night, I decided to try out Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I realized at the last minute that she uses cake flour, not all-purpose, and of course I did not have any, but I decided to just go for it. I'll add that while I do love her recipes, they almost invariably call for ingredients that I don't normally have on hand. Grr.

In any case, even with the all-purpose flour (I also came up a teeny bit short on sour cream), the cake still turned out fabulous. I was nervous at first because it did not look like very much batter, but boy did that puppy rise! It looked very very pretty coming out of the oven.

IMG_10927 by you.

IMG_10930 by you.

And after I added the maple glaze.

IMG_10933 by you.

IMG_10937 by you.

It was soooooo good! Very moist, very tender, very tasty. I do wish that I'd mixed more of the crumble topping in with the batter though, as the inside seemed a bit barren, but other than that I have no complaints.

IMG_10945 by you.

I also do feel compelled to mention that normally, when I make any kind of cake, I pretty much always alternate the wet & dry ingredients - in this case, the flour mixture and the sour cream - even when the recipe calls for you to dump it all in at once. But this time I decided to stick to Ina's instructions and added all the sour cream first and then the flour mixture (in 2 parts) and mixed till it was barely combined. I also resisted the urge to thin the batter out with some milk, as it was pretty thick. I'm glad that I followed directions (for a change, ha) because I think that's what helped keep the cake so tender. I think this is a definite keeper for the shower, and I will likely pick up some cake flour for the next run.

I also threw together a quickie little test appetizer: caramelized onions & goat cheese in a pre-baked phyllo shell. No real recipe, just sliced onions, caramelized in a pan with olive oil and a little bit of dried thyme and a splash of raspberry balsamic vinegar. Then I piled them into store-bought phyllo shells (found in the frozen section) and put a few crumbles of goat cheese on top. Baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, just to warm everything up.

IMG_10943 by you.

They were good, but not great. I sort of added the balsamic vinegar on a whim, and I'm not sure it was the best idea. I think it took away too much from the sweetness of the onions. I think if I were to make these again, I'd probably omit the balsamic - or at least use regular, not raspberry, which was all I had. I'd also probably try to find vidalias or some other kind of sweet onion, and I'd use a lot more thyme as well, preferably fresh.

I had also never used the phyllo shells before and I didn't realize until I opened the box that they were already baked, and (according to the directions) ready to fill and serve. However, after tasting a couple filled tartlets, I realized they definitely needed to be baked again. The unbaked ones felt soggy in my mouth, even though I'd filled them just a minute or two before. Once baked, they stayed much crispier. I'm a bit on the fence as to whether these will make the brunch menu.

I'm thinking that it might be awhile before I get back to the cookbook, but stay tuned for other food-related adventures!

1 comment:

  1. That cake looks amazing! I would also like to have that upon my arrival in October ;)