Thursday, November 13, 2008

like getting punched in the face with a lemon

So.. my BFF's Boss and small company are moving into my building. This is MUCHO exciting because it means I can see this BFF all of the time, and because her boss and his wife are fun. Because nothing says 'welcome to the hood' like baked goods, i resolved to bake something spectacular, despite the fact that baking is more like chemistry, where I have historically received a 'C'. The results below probably deserve that grade too. Fail cat. I decided to make lemon and orange crisps-- supposedly like sugar cookies but healthier and full of flavor. Boy were they full of flavor. The pucker I had after tasting a few morsels of these babies nearly sucked my entire face in. Quite tart.. quite. I feel like the problem is in the zesting. I know a little goes a long way but I use this grater where, like, 1/2 of the zest gets stuck in the grates and so i think: self, you should just grate a whole other lemon just in case this isn't enough. self: it was enough.

Lemon and Orange Crisps (SELF mag, 06, epicurious hyperlink above)
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • lemon
  • orange
  • butter
  • sugar
  • egg
  • vanilla extract

I also made another stab and the infamous black bean brownies that had terrorized my kitchen on round 1. A few cooking lessons I learned with this one: follow the recipe in the order in which is it listed (it sounds so obvious, and yet i'm cracking eggs here, and whisking there, and can get so mixed up... it can happen to anyone, right?) two: no eyeballing ingredient amounts.. period. three: when a gooeyish brownie batch comes directly from the oven, don't cover it immediately and set it in the fridge overnight to cool... because when you unover it in the morning it is a pile of overly moist mushiness.

Behold the mushiness below (use your imagination as my photography skills cannot adequately capture the chocolate/bean gurgling quicksand substance you could see upon further inspection):

Black Bean Brownies: (Heidi Swanson)
  • black beans
  • unsweetened chocolate
  • unsalted butter
  • chopped walnuts
  • honey
  • vanilla extract
  • instant coffee
  • eggs
  • sea salt

Yes, I hear you. Black bean brownies? Woof. Except that the review had one million people who said this was a baking genius and that they'd been fooling loved ones and taste testers with this hidden ingredient for ages. Apparently the bean flavor doesn't come through and only lends texture and nutrition, supposedly making it more fudge-like... how could that be bad? The result? meh. I blame myself and my self induced accidental mushiness. I feel an accomplished chef could really put one over on someone. My accomplishments do not as of yet, nor does the future look so bright as to include.. baking.

The question then becomes, to serve or not to serve? I wanted to provide from scratch baked goods. However..... the cookies tasted like drinking straight lemon juice and the fall apart not so secret bean brownies were, well, a hot mess. Deciding that it was the thought that counts I gave them away anyway... but made sure to hand them off with a few disclaimers. If the thought really does count I hope they don't take one sniff and decide the gesture is grossness. For dinner last night though I ignored the still over stuffed contents of the refrigerator and whipped up a little something something. Stuffed Portabella.... Yummmmmm :)
Random Stuffed Portabella:
  • 1 portabella
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp ricotta (oh haaaaaaaaaaay)
  • 1 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 dallop butter

Delicious, I would've made five more had I the shrooms. Unfortunately when I had finished this and was still hungry I went straight for the wings. Oh snap.