Friday, February 22, 2008
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (p. 718), Indian Ground Beef with Potatoes and Spices (p.515), Curried Chickpeas w/ Vegetables (p.257), & Beef Stew (p. 479
Since I briefly got off-track again, I posted three blogs at once. So if you are reading this one, go back and read the next two--they're new too!
I am going to be EXTREMELY busy this week so I decided to make a TON of food. That way, we can have leftovers all week with no need to cook. Other than all of the desserts we made, I also made three other dishes. And for some reason, I was on an Indian food kick
First, I made Indian Ground Beef with Potatoes and Spices (Keema Alu) (p.515). Josh and I have several sets of prep bowls. A lot of people don't use prep bowls when they cook but they really help me--especially when I have to add a bunch of ingredients in quick order. These bowls are cute little nesting zebra bowls and I used all of them while cooking today. This recipe uses a lot of spices--and I have a TON of spices so it was nice to use a bunch of them.
I used turkey. Why would someone who does beef research and comes from a pork background possibly use ground turkey in anything? It is curious, but I just happened to have some on hand for developing cooking contest recipes and it was going to go bad.
Doesn't it look tasty?!
I probably used too many potatoes...but is there any such thing? I love potatoes. I also didn't put the cilantro on the top. I like cilantro a lot but I think it can overpower a dish if you aren't careful.
Next I made Curried Chickpeas with Vegetables (p.257). I got a really cool wok/skillet for Christmas, so I was really looking forward to using it and this was the perfect recipe for it.
So I had ground cumin but no cumin seeds. I don't know if that is an important difference...I worried about this for a while and then sent Josh to the grocery store to get the cumin seeds. The first line says to cook until sizzling...which I did (I think--sizzling did occur but I didn't want the seeds to burn).
Then you add the garlic, ginger, and curry. As I always say about TJOC recipes, they are incredibly white bread, so I usually double the garlic and curry. At this point, the mixture started to smell really really good.
I like chickpeas, Josh hates them. So it was a good thing I was making more than one main dish. This recipe calls for chickpeas, sweet potatoes (I used ACTUAL sweet potatoes, which are white, rather than yams, which are orange), cauliflower, and green beans (the cauliflower and green beans were frozen because both veggies are overpriced at this time of year--I can't wait until summer!).
Then you mix in yogurt and flour plus a jalapeño.
It was DELICIOUS! I made some rice to eat with it and really wished I had some naan, but I wasn't feeling quite that motivated.
I also made Beef Stew (p. 479). I knew that I wasn't going to eat it on Sunday and the recipe says that it's even better the next day. TJOC adores browning meat. I'm not such a big fan--I think that it takes cuts of meat that are tough (the whole reason you are slow cooking them in the first place) and quick cooks them (which toughens them up). So I always barely brown the meat--which means that I don't pay any attention to TJOC's cooking times which are WAY too long. This recipe calls for you to season the meat, dredge it, and brown it. You make a mirepoix (of course). This is where I found another TJOC error. It discusses removing the meat from the pot. It never discusses putting the meat back in! So I assume you put it back in after the mirepoix but before respicing. Then you add broth, carrots, and potatoes (plus parsnips and turnips, if you wish--I didn't). OMG this was terrific! This was among the best stew I've ever had--the meat was the perfect level of tender--tender but not mushy. The fat on the meat was great, it was just delicious. It didn't give me much juice though--next time I'll use more broth.
I know this isn't a very exciting picture but I was tired of taking pictures by this point.
I have been complaining for months that I can't find a double broiler to buy. Not even a cheap one--one at all! They are available in sets but not by themselves, it seems. So the strangest thing happened when I was rearranging my cupboards...I found that I already have a double broiler! I swear I've never seen it before, and is possible that some sort of house brownie placed it there, but regardless, I have one!
Today was Josh's birthday and I wanted to make him a cake. He wanted a chocolate cake--I usually don't like chocolate so I figured I wouldn't be that into any of the cakes he was interested in. I decided on the Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (p. 718). Personally, I think the title sounds disgusting but the intro says that it is so rich and moist that it doesn't need icing (great because I didn't want to make any). And I know some people use applesauce in cake, which seems equally strange to me...
You all know that I haven't been baking because of the elevation--it's ruined a number of cakes for me. You have to adjust a lot for recipes to work (baking soda, baking powder, liquid, flour).
The double broiler was necessary to melt the baking chocolate without ruining it.
Then you mix the mayo into the chocolate. I found that to be a strange step...
After that you mix the chocolate/mayo mix (how often do you get to use that combination!?) into a egg, sugar, vanilla mixture. Then you alternate water and dry ingredients. At this point of the recipe I was concerned--the batter looked very water-y. But I poured it into the cake pans anyway.
The cakes were BEAUTIFUL! They didn't have the dent in the middle that elevation causes, they were not overcooked, they were awesome! It made two, so I brought one to work. The cake was really good...it was light and moist but not overly sweet. If you like a really really sweet cake, this isn't the cake for you. The best part of baking this cake is that it increased my confidence in Colorado baking (and I miss baking!).
Josh also made cookies and I made cupcakes (from a box) for him to bring to work. I find it strange--they bring treats in for their OWN birthdays (like in elementary school). I also have started down the road to DELICIOUS cake mix cupcakes. Josh beats the batter by hand and for some reason it seems to make the cupcakes much more light and airy. I figure it limits the batter from being overbeaten and adds more air to the batter--that might not be the case, but it makes sense.