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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Saturday, September 29, 2007

RLB's Ciabatta

I've made Suzanne Dunaway's ciabatta from No Need to Knead many times, but wanted to try Rose Levy Beranbaum's from her Bread Bible. It makes a much smaller, more manageable loaf, suitable for 2-4 people. I worried that neither the biga nor the formed loaf were rising enough (they never quite tripled, despite allowing them much longer times than Rose suggested), but worked just fine.

I was wracking my brain to think of what to have for dinner. So many recipes that say to "serve with a loaf of crusty bread", why couldn't I think of any of them?? In the end, I decided on Chicken Cacciatore with Sauteed Mushrooms and Zucchini from Fine Cooking #56, even though the serving suggestion is white rice, not lovely homemade bread. The same article by Tony Rosenfield includes a recipe for Southwestern Spiced Chicken & Black Bean Stew that is excellent. This time I used boneless thighs, instead of bone-in, which I think worked even better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Greetings from Twinland!

Ashley clipped this recipe from the removable protective cover of her Southern Living magazine. Then David took pictures using his homemade white box. We were wishing for a brightly colored plate, but I didn't know where to look for one.

The cake is pretty good. Ashley was expecting a darker color and I'm wondering how it would be with part light brown sugar, part dark brown. The recipe makes way too much glaze. If I made it again, I'd make half the glaze and I'd add a pinch of salt (because I used unsalted butter).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I am so excited, I can barely contain myself. What you see here is 9 ounces of sourdough starter, given to me this morning by a new friend who recently moved from Savannah to Austin. Packed on ice, her beloved starter made the journey with her. It was lovingly grown using the directions in Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery seven years ago, so it has developed some amazing flavor! I can hardly wait to bake!

Zucchini Cupcakes

I returned the copy of RLB's Cake Bible that Julia loaned to me. I decided I needed my own before hers ended up looking dog-eared. Over the weekend I baked a 9-inch, one layer Sour Cream Butter Cake. I planned to have creme fraiche and fruit with it, as Rose recommends, but I never got around to finding decent-looking, decent-smelling fruit. Both the peaches and the nectarines at HEB were hard as rocks. However, the cake is wonderful with no adornment. Sturdy but not dense. Very rich, but with the slight tang of the sour cream to take the edge off. I expect that all of the butter cakes in that section of the book will be delicious.

Today I baked a batch of Zucchini Cupcakes from the same book. I plan to freeze those. And maybe put some cream cheese icing on them someday. Of course I had to test one (naked) before freezing the rest. They have a delicate, tender texture, but I'm picking up a little bit of egg-y taste, which I'm hoping will dissipate. Rose's notes say that the flavor is even more delicious the day after baking, and I would imagine that is true.

In non-baking news, I made Corn Saute' with Ginger, Garlic & Fresh Cilantro from Fine Cooking #87, and served it over some fish in Asian marinade. I also made the Summer Bouillabaisse with Smoky Rouille from the issue. I loved the rouille and thought it "made" the dish, but someone on the Cooks Talk message board thought the amount of smoked paprika was overwhelming and recommends cutting back on it. I wouldn't, though.

I don't think anything else I've cooked lately has been new or noteworthy. The Thanksgiving issue of Fine Cooking arrived the other day. I gave it a quick look, but didn't peruse it. I saw a few things that look interesting, but I'm not quite ready to think about autumn yet.