Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not Very Good Garlic Soup

I generally put recipes I enjoyed in here, but I decided to share one I *didn't* like. After all, you readers (all 5 of you! JK, mostly) might like to know about my flops too. So here's one that failed to live up to my expectations and why.

Roasted Garlic Soup

This one comes from Mark Bittman's huge cookbook, How to Cook Everything. I'm on a mostly soft food diet right now, so soup is my mainstay. But not this one.

4 Tb. olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tb. ground cumin or paprika or 1 tsp. chili powder (I used cumin)
4 thick slices French or Italian bread
4 c. chicken or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil in large, deep saucepan and turn heat to medium. Add the garlic cloves and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until they are golden brown.

OK, here's my first mistake. I don't keep garlic handy all the time. I buy the prechopped stuff in a jar. The actual cloves tend to sit around too much and when I want them they are all shriveled. Plus, this way, I don't have to chop and I can use the liquid to punch up the flavor when I don't want actual garlic. So that messed things up a little. But not enough!

Remove the garlic cloves and set them aside; turn the heat to medium low. Add the bread and brown on both sides for a total of 5 minutes. Pour the stock into saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and let flavors mingle for a few minutes over low heat. Chop the garlic coarsely and return to pot. Place one piece of bread in each of four bowls. Ladle soup on top and serve.

So here's what happened. I didn't have actual garlic, so I used the prechopped stuff. I got that simmered a little and then added the cumin. Then I got a little distracted. So the cumin was too brown and left black flakes in the broth.

All that was my fault. But the real issue was that it was boring. I mean, I strained the soup and it was looking okay. But it didn't TASTE good. And so what's the point? I ate it anyway, spooning up little bites of bread, but I won't make it again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plum Coffeecake

My friend Jodi gave me a big bag of plums from her trees. I finally got around to trying something with them, and this is what I made. I wish I had a picture, but the plums were amazing. Not much to look at on the outside, but wow, deep red rich color inside. Just gorgeous.

Plum Coffeecake

Crumb Topping
8 medium sized plums, but I needed about 20 small ones
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
heavy cream, optional

Prepare Crumb Topping and set aside. Slice plums if large or halve them if small; set aside. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 13x9 pan. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add flour, baking powder, salt, lemon peel, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Spread batter evenly in pan; top with plumbs. Pinch small pieces of crumb topping and sprinkle on top of plums. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until top is golden and cake tests done. Serve warm with cream.

Crumb Topping:
In small saucepan, melt 1/2 c. butter. Remove from heat and add 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1 Tb. grated lemon peel to form a soft dough. Can use 2/3 c. flour and 3 Tb. oats instead.