Monday, February 13, 2012

Watched Butter Never Solidifies

Saturday morning ... ominous chord!

Got up and started the mise en place for the chicken vindaloo. It occurred to me that some of this might have been performed the night before - a thought for the future. I made sure to measure all the spices for the almighty spice fry portion of the preparation and had everything else close to hand. I used peanut oil rather than canola oil and decided to use a lot more cayenne. (To which I have only to say: don't.)

And yes, you heard that right: spice fry. This is a more authentic recipe than some quick-and-dirty variants I've tried, because you do cook the spices separately before they go into the slow cooker. I estimated on the bouillon, because I only had a jar of base, but I think it came out all right. Also realized that I had breasts rather than thighs or legs, I made a mental note to shred the meat just a little bit before it was due to come out.

Then I put the bread together, another easy process of eight ingredients in the right order. Unfortunately, bread machine fail: this card must have been referring to a different machine, because even though I added the raisins "at the beep," all but a few rotated to the outer edge and, of course, cooked to a crisp there, while leaving the interior virtually raisin-free.

Final verdict (bread): This bread was subtly sweet and a good match for the curry, but too dense, and there's too many possible breads out there to waste time with one that needs tweaking. Will not be attempting again.

Final verdict (vindaloo): This is a hearty, simple and spicy dish with some authentic flair to it, without being too complex. Will definitely keep in my back pocket for future slow cooker needs - though given better timing, I'd rather make a "real" Indian dish.

After returning from my gig, I got started on the burnt-butter brown-sugar cupcakes. I discovered it wasn't too hard to burn the butter - though I may have underdone the first batch - and both that the taste was amazing and it was very difficult to strain out the sediment. Nigella's notes say that it "shouldn't take long" for the butter to resolidify - this is highly misleading. I had initially figured it would take me an hour for the whole recipe; after realizing that the butter was taking its time, I prepped the other dry ingredients in the food processor and got about the second batch of burnt butter.

The second batch, I managed to burn more fully (no, that's a good thing, really) and finally ended up putting the first batch in the fridge for a bit. This finally did the trick and ... I had batter in a flash. I only got nine cupcakes out of it, however, which meant that when I tackled the frosting, I improvised. I ended up using less than the suggested quantity of powdered sugar and still ended up with something gooey and perfect.

Final verdict (cupcake): So crazy, madly, addictively good. I loved these - the smokiness of the burnt butter is wonderful. I will definitely be making these again. In fact, I still have enough butter, so I'm almost tempted to ... no, Lindsey, bad!

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