Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kitchen Amnesia

So today, I had two separate incidents of kitchen amnesia, which had me scrambling to course correct. First, I forgot that I had decided to halve the carrot recipe and chopped the regular amount of herbs. Second, I got distracted by the sheer amount of strength required to use the apple corer and forgot to peel the first apple until I was halfway through chopping the second half. (Come on, you can thread your way through those clauses.)

Having perservered through these difficulties that might have stumped a lesser (or more competent) chef and corrected both errors, I put the carrot dish on the stove and promptly discovered this is not a dish you can halve. After the carrots are cooked, you're supposed to return the liquid to the heat, reduce it further, and pour it on top - well, by the time my carrots cooked, I had only about a quarter cup of liquid, if that. Now part of this is, I suspect, because I used regular carrots and should have cut them into finer strips so they would cook faster ... but even at standard cook time, there wasn't enough liquid for the amount of carrots.

My brown sugar has decided to stick together in a show of stunning solidarity, so mixing it into the dry ingredients for the cake was entertaining. I did catch a potential pitfall in the cake that isn't in the recipe: the apples come off the stove hot enough that I suspected they could scramble the egg. So ... let the apples cool a bit after the puree stage.

In regards to the cake, I noticed some people on FoodNetwork complaining it was too wet. I personally had to bake the cake for an extra five minutes, which made the outside a tad crunchy - but that did result in a nice, moist-but-not-unpleasant texture on the inside.

Final verdict (carrots): Taste was good, despite being off the recipe reservation again. I did use ground coriander rather than coriander seeds. Make again, this time a full batch and with smaller cuts of carrots. I wrote "do not" in big letters behind the "halve" on the recipe itself. Hopefully, I will take myself seriously when I come back to it.

Final verdict (cake): I enjoyed this cake, though it isn't something I would go for often. Let it cool completely before frosting - really, really, really. If you can detect even the slightest mote of heat, leave it. If you cut it and there's heat inside, leave it. (I actually thought the cake was vertically challenged enough that trying to cut-and-frost the interior was problematic anyhow - it doesn't hold up like a layer cake.) Unless you're allergic, no need to omit the nuts: the proportion is small enough that it's an occasional texture rather than a nutty cake. There is, in fact, nothing particularly nutty about this cake: it's a quick, straightforward recipe.

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