Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD - Lemon Loaf Cake

I've never met a pound cake that I didn't love, until I met this one. I tried to love it, I really did. And I know it's not technically a pound cake, but I don't think anyone now and days makes a real pound cake. But these types of cakes are generally referred to as pound cakes. I think it's even referenced in the recipe as having a similar texture as a pound cake.

But it was not meant to be, I just didn't love it. I'm not sure I even liked it. And before you ask, no, I didn't follow the recipe. So some of the love lost could be my fault. I used Meyer lemon zest instead of regular lemons and I used full fat yogurt instead of the heavy cream. (I made these changes because those were the ingredients I had in the house and forgot it was baking Tuesday.) But come on folks those aren't heartbreaking substitutions. IF anything it should have made it more lovable. MORE LOVABLE.

It was a lemon cake for pete's sake, I should have loved it. I'm so sad now.

Plastic wrapped sadness.

But as it sits on my counter wrapped in plastic wrap, I ponder why was I not in love with this? Well take a look at the original recipe posted here and here and then I'll give you my list of reasons.
  1. It was dry, I baked it 10 minutes less than the recipe called for and it was still dry.
  2. Not enough salt, salt provides contrast and this was lacking the contrast.
  3. Not lemony enough, I had added zest from 5 Meyer lemons and still no go. It needed the juice to really give it some lemon flavor. The juice probably would've helped the dryness too.
  4. I think my tastes have changed, this might have been something I would have enjoyed in the past, but I think my taste buds (Phil and Gladys) have grown and enjoy more complex flavors. I think they bought the Emeril slogan and like to kick it up a notch.  
Oh well, love at first bite is not on the calendar for this Tuesday. Maybe the next....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TWD - Pizza Rustica and cheese

I'm king of the world! I can fly! I'm too cool for school!

I made cheese :)

Cheese making in action! It's very thrilling watching things drain.

This is how I felt today, I felt like the most awesome person because I made ricotta cheese. Now for those of you pro cheese makers, yes, ricotta is the newbie of cheese making. But I did it! I curdled my milk and made cheese! When you say cheese it makes you smile, when you eat cheese it makes you smile and when you make cheese it makes you smile.

I made cheese :)

I'm pretty exited, even more excited about the cheese than the Pizza Rustica really. Although it was good and a nice recipe to make (it did cost a small fortune though). Containing ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and prosciutto for the love of money.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon the idea of making ricotta, it certainly wasn't suggested in the recipe by Julia or Dori. I must have come across it in my blog reading, so for those of you reading this blog go ahead and do it, make some cheese.

Now let me point you to the recipe I used by our man, David Lebovitz:  http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/homemade_ricotta_cheese/

He keeps it simple and it came out great. I did use a thermometer and checked the temperature of the milk as it was boiling. I had read somewhere that 165 degrees was good enough, but for his recipe it seemed like 180 degrees was the magic number.

I have come across another recipe that I'll try next time, it's for a lemon and basil version. Which sounds spectacular! I also read that buttermilk can be used as the curdling agent, but it does lend a different flavor to the process.

Here's a nice explanation of the different curdling agents and the effects they have: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/how-to-make-fresh-ricotta-fast-easy-homemade-cheese-the-food-lab.html

Now on to the recipe.

It's a nice a pie.

Pizza Rustica, as many of you realize by now is not your "traditional" pizza. Which according to wiki has been around since 997 AD. So where did the recipe get calling this pie a pizza? Well all I could find was that it might be Sicilian and it might need to be made for Easter. And the recipe says in Italy it's served as an appetizer. I will need to travel to Italy to solve this mystery.

I invite you all to join me.

First make this recipe, view-able here and here and then meet me at the airport.