Sunday, March 4, 2012

Two Hours?

This week was another involved menu, with several steps, and this time a conflict of oven usage - which I solved by finishing up the bread first and then moving on to the main course. Other unanticipated problems reared their obnoxious heads, however ...

First, however, the brownies. (Life is, as ever, uncertain: make dessert first.) It's a straightforward recipe: prepare filling and batter separately, then pour half of the latter into the waiting pan. As usual, I have trouble detecting half, so I would say I ended up with two thirds. Then the cream cheese filling goes on top and jam is dolloped, then swirled in with a knife. Deceptively simple and straightforward, but produces nice layering.

My only mishap here was overestimating the timing, and I blame that on the recipe, which stated that they were done when a few "dry crumbs" stuck to a toothpick. At no point did I have dry crumbs, and from the bottom, I could tell I had burnt these. Take the bottom off before eating and no harm, no foul, however.

Final verdict (brownies): The recipe description says these are rich and truffle-like. I wouldn't go that far, but they are definitely chewy, creamy and delicious. Would make again, possibly with a different kind of jam, just to experiment. Blueberry leaps to mind, for some reason.

Next, I started the pot with the beans, which said they needed to simmer for two hours before being mashed. I foolishly decided to trust in this ...

Onwards to the cornbread, wherein I ended up with a new, entertaining mishap. I cracked four eggs into a ramekin, only to discover that four eggs do not, in fact, quite fit in your average one cup ramekin. Having sloshed some whites onto the floor, I cracked a fifth egg to roughly compensate for it - no yolk, of course. (No joke, either.)

This makes a very thick batter, which pours atop the onion and broccoli mixture and then bakes in the oven. However ...

Final verdict (cornbread): The cornbread and cheddar part of this was wonderful; the broccoli, not so much. It just stuck to the bottom of the skillet and burned - and burned fast enough, while the top was perfectly done, that I know it wasn't a cooking error. I would remake either without the vegetables or mixed in, rather than simply batter poured on top.

Last step, the enchiladas - where I had decided, as the sidebar recommended, to use ground beef rather than pinto beans (since the fried beans were pinto). I'm still a bit put off by tomato sauce, but there's a lean portion here - in fact, arguably not enough for the number of enchiladas that result. I also increased the mealy portion of cheese. The filling is dead simple but hearty: meat / beans, ricotta, bell pepper, cumin and a little cilantro.

That said, these enchiladas are definitely not finger food. They're too limp and precarious to risk picking up in the hand, unless you're resigned to getting messy.

Final verdict (enchiladas): Though simple, this is a surprisingly good and light take on traditional enchiladas. They're not fatty or heavy, and they satisfy.

So about those beans - while the enchiladas waited to go in the oven, I checked on my beans at an hour and fifty minutes ... and they weren't even close to cooked. I cranked the heat up on the pot and gave them another vaguely agitated twenty-some minutes before finally, I had the texture I thought I wanted. I mashed them with a potato masher while the chorizo finished frying up in the pan. Out comes the meat, in goes the dried chili ... and then finally, everything returns to the pan to be fried up with handfuls of cheese stirred in. As it happens, I saved exactly the right amount of bean liquid to get a good consistency.

Final verdict (beans): I wasn't wholly pleased with these - there was an acrid aftertaste - but I think it was my mishap rather than the recipe, and it was ultimately very straightforward. Would try again, possibly with a different kind of chili powder ...

No comments:

Post a Comment