The last couple of weeks have been a mixed bag, success-wise, in my kitchen. No foodstuffs stood out as I Must Blog This, although a couple were pretty good. Things were more positive on the cocktail front — so watch for that next Tuesday. And there was one spectacular flop!
Early in the week I made blue cheese and walnut scones, based on a recipe for Buttermilk Blueberry Scones over at Average Betty. I’ve made these scones before, so I was already pretty confident in the recipe (what originally drew me to this recipe was that the technique and ingredients are not so terribly different than my buttermilk biscuit recipe, so I felt pretty confident going in I would end up with something **edible**). So early last week, I swapped out the blueberries for a 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese (the good stuff) and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Served them fresh out of the oven with my wine jelly. Wow. Good stuff!
I’ve been mulling over the idea of olive oil and chocolate in a sweet treat, like a quick bread or a cookie. So when I found a Basic Buttermilk Quick Bread over at the kitchn, I thought I’d try using olive oil and adding some unsweetened cocoa powder and some chopped bittersweet chocolate. It was **fine**, just not what I was looking for. I do think the underlying recipe is sound, just that my tweaks fell flat. So back to the drawing board on that idea.
I had better luck with the Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brownie Cookies over at Butterlust. I deviated from her published recipe by adding a smidge of finely chopped fresh rosemary and using a smaller amount of chopped 70% chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips. These soft lovelies were a HUGE hit at the office. It hit the flavor profile I was looking for, but you know what, I really like butter in a cookie. It’s not just the flavor — it’s the texture. So I might need to try these again with half butter and half oil.
We were hosting my nieces over the weekend, so Friday night whilst watching Life of Pi with them, I whipped up some brownies using my nearly-foolproof go-to brownie recipe from Hershey’s. Try them — you will NEVER go back to a box again — and they rely on basic pantry staples.
I tried to make rhubarb jam this week and ended up with rhubarb sauce. The phone rang at JUST the wrong moment, the pan nearly boiled over, and I think I killed what little pectin lives in rhubarb. Were I a more experienced jam maker, I bet I could have put in some liquid pectin at the end, but I saw my rhubarb chunks turning to mush so just moved on to the boiling water bath. It’s tasty, if a little sweet and runny. On the other hand, I made a rhubarb-infused simple syrup with a couple of stalks — and THAT turned out lovely.
Finally, I tried to make a childhood favorite, 7-Up Cake. I googled the recipe, found a gazillion sites with the same recipe, so moved forward. I didn’t have butter soft and ready to go, so I swapped with vegetable oil (often this is fine). My darling husband bought JUMBO eggs rather than large, so I had to sub 4 jumbo eggs for the 5 that the recipe called for (this worried me). I didn’t have lemon extract, so I added some lime zest/juice and some ginger liqueur (hmmmmm). I used ginger ale instead of 7-Up (shouldn’t matter). I cooked it the recommended amount of time. I saw a lovely brown crust on the top and pulling away from the sides, so I took it out and let it cool. No, I didn’t test with a skewer — shame on me. When I cut into it — I found ooey warm custard in the center. OH NO! NOT DONE! I threw the nearly-whole bundt ring back in the oven on a sheet pan to try to cook it some more. Amateur move, but I hated the idea of tossing it all out. I took a quick look this morning — looks pretty gooey still. I asked the CGP to try some, but told him that if he didn’t like it, I was going to toss it (I hope he doesn’t eat just to keep from trashing it). I’m so disappointed — and not just because the substitutions were a total bust. I am embarrassed to admit this — I didn’t even LIKE THE FLAVOR! It was cloyingly sweet … no hint of lime or ginger at all. Just sweet. And heavy. Apparently some of the 70s recipes should have stayed in the 70s