Monday, May 9, 2016

Three recipes for the price of one

I have a problem.

Ok, I have many problems, but only one is pertinent to this blog. As our sages say, "I got 99 problems, but this blog ain't one of them."

My problem is recipes.

There are many recipes out there in this world, and I want to try ALL of them. I keep meaning to cook my way though my shelf of cookbooks, and I have yet to manage that. (I ALSO tend to get stuck in a rut and make the same types of recipes over and over again, and every now and again need a good kick in the brain to learn new things, but that's a different subject and not for today's blog entry.)

The main problem, though, is finding the recipes I already have...somewhere. Recipe card-cataloguing. Currently, my best recipe card-catalogue is in my brain, and that's a problem, because not only am I getting old, but my devices are getting old, and sometimes they die and they, very inconsiderately, do not share the recipe locations before they die. This is compounded by the fact that I have an excellent visual memory. So I have these recipes that I sorta kinda remember that I saw in an email, and then, I assume, I can always go back, find that email, and boom - found recipe. Right?

Not so much, unfortunately. I have thousands of emails, and the internet has not figured out a way to do 'search by mental image I have in my brain right now.' (Can somebody get on that, please?)

Recently, for example, I had two recipes I knew I loved, I knew I had bookmarked them - somewhere. Luckily, I was pretty sure that I had bookmarked them on my old ipad, and luckily, I still own that ipad and, luckily, it still works.

Had that not been the case, my precious Red Wine Chocolate Glaze recipe would have been gone forever, buried in the depths of the interwebs.

Similarly, last night I knew I had a red mullet recipe...somewhere. I remembered that all it was was fish, butter, and marjoram. I thought it was on BBC food. Turns out, what I thought I remembered was COMPLETELY wrong, but I did eventually find that recipe. I also learned that there are DOZENS of ways to cook red mullet, and it may be a shame that I keep coming back to the same one. But I like that one, and I found it eventually, and now I'm going to keep it, here, forever. And ever. And ever. BOOHAHAHA. Or at least until the eventual heat death of the universe.

So that brings us to today's post. Which is going to be two recipes I love, keep coming back to, and had better write down because otherwise one day they will disappear, I will look for them and not find them, and I will be sad. So this post is really for me. Think of it like your grandmother's box of handwritten recipes. 

Finally, I'm also going to write down the cake I made last night, because I took a recipe and changed it, and I will never be able to recreate it again if I don't, and that would be a shame, because it was delicious. So there you have it, three recipes for the price of one. Which, in case you hadn't noticed, is free.

Recipe the First - Red Mullet in Sage and Butter

For the original recipe, go to that link. Text below is original, my comments in parenthesis. 

  • 2 fillets of red mullet, about 175g each (or, a whole a package of red mullet)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 30g (some) butter
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • sage
  1. Take the red mullet fillets and lightly flour them (or forget this part, and then the fish will curl up a bit.)
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan on a medium to high heat and when the butter is hot but not brown add the fish and cook for 5-6 minutes (or less time if they are tiny, like mine were.)
  3. Turn the fish over, then with a spoon baste the fish and cook for a further 2 minutes, add the sage and cook for a further minute. (Or, add sage to butter and pour over when it's done cooking.)
  4. Finally squeeze in the juice of ½ a lemon. (Or forget this part entirely. Still good.) 

 Recipe the Second - Red Wine Chocolate Glaze (apparently I'm into red recipes these days) 

I've never actually tried the cake recipe in that link. I have too many chocolate cake recipes as it is. That glaze, however, I've made over and over again. It's a hit. I've given you amounts for 1/2 the recipe, which I find is enough to glaze 1 big round cake.

  • 4 oz. = 115 grams = 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (substitute oil or coconut oil for parve)
  • pinch kosher salt (or fancy orange salt to make it fancy)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine such as Pinot Noir (or....whatever crappy wine you have in the house that hasn't been finished yet.)
  1. Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar. 
  2. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan. (Important to do this step second and not cheat like I did, as, if you do it first, the wine will boil and evaporate away by the time you catch up.)
  3. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes. (May take longer. Can add a bit more powdered sugar if it doesn't set.)
  4. Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. (Hahaha! Yeah, whatever.) Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours. (Or in fridge so flies or cats don't try to eat it.)

Recipe the third - White cake with Summer Fruit 

This is a supremely good cake for when you don't have much other than the basics at home, and you want a cake that can be made quickly and satisfy your 10 pm cake craving. It comes from the very cool Tassajara Bread Book, which I was gifted this summer, and discovered that my minor claim to fame is that my uncle did the calligraphy for it. It is thanks to his wife I now own a copy, and I will be forever grateful. 
Note - this recipe calls for mace, so I am compelled to write a word about mace. I love mace; it is possibly the most esoteric ingredient I have in my kitchen. It's a spice, goes well with lamb and red wine, and also, apparently, white cakes. It is a very distinct flavor and smell. If you don't have it you can probably substitute nutmeg, as they are closely related (I think the mace is the leaves, the nutmeg is the middle, or something like that), or even cinnamon, but I highly recommend you get your hands on some mace. Just...not for self-defense. That's a different mace. 
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oil (recipe calls for shortening. You can probably use butter, too.)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup sifted white flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (or potato starch or cornflour. I'm not entirely sure there's a difference.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder (which is 1/2 tbs, but I was afraid the text might confuse if I write it out that way.)
  • 1/2 cup milk (would probably work with soy milk) 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten 
  • 2 tbs honey or sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream - I used kefir, and it was amazing. Yogurt would probably work, too. 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • assorted seasonal fruit 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9" baking pan, or just use a baking sheet. (I made half this recipe and it fit well in one of those long bread tins.)
  2. Blend mace, vanilla, and oil in a mixer. Cream in the sugar (blend until it turns white-ish. May not work so well if you used oil, but cake will come out nonetheless.)  
  3. In a second bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. 
  4. In a third bowl ("This uses three bowls?!??" says long-suffering spouse) beat eggs and milk together. 
  5. Add dry ingredients and milk/egg mixture to bowl, alternating. Mix. 
  6. Add batter to pan. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes, or until center is dry. (It took 30 minutes for the smaller tin.) 
  1. Mix honey, sour cream/kefir/yogurt and vanilla. Add fruit. It went very well with apricot, nectarine, and banana, which is all I had on hand. Probably would be divine with strawberry. Or cherry. Or peach. Or plum. K, how I'm making myself hungry. 
  2. Top on cake slices when plating.

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