Monday, June 22, 2009

The Stampede Continues

I coerced Boy into cleaning out the second bedroom this weekend, but we can talk about that later. Later, as in, when he takes the one box we couldn't fit anywhere to his storage unit. And when we can take pretty little "after" photos to temper the horrid "befores".

Until then, how about a Smitten Kitchen Adventure update? I made two items on Saturday (yes, WHILE CLEANING OUT THE SECOND BEDROOM. Most of the stuff in there was Boy's, to be honest . . . it was really more of a cheerleading project on my end).

One of my favorite items on our wedding registry was this cathedral shaped bundt pan. I was thrilled to get it, but more than a little intimidated to use it. Check out those pointy arches . . . they're practically cake batter magnets! But I had a chat with a good friend who is a pastry chef and she told me, I quote, to just "Pam the fuck out of it", which is exactly what I did and all went well. Or mostly well . . .I used Smitten Kitchen's Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake recipe which was spectacularly orange-y and wonderful, except for the part where I totally overbaked it.

You win some and lose some, I guess.

In the WIN department, I made Smitten Kitchen's Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette. In the early stages, this dinner had EPIC FAIL written all over it. I'd never made pastry before, I wasn't sure I'd cut the butter into the flour quite well enough and my freaking onions gave me grief over caramelizing.

However! The galette came out of the oven gorgeously brown and smelling like something you'd get for dinner at a British pub. Which is to say, smelling entirely of cheese and butter.

Despite the fact that halfway through the recipe I told Boy I was Never! Making! This! Again! I am even now secretly plotting to do just that. I think maybe I could make the dough a day or two ahead . . . say, on a lazy Sunday. Then make the filling and assemble and bake on a weeknight. Does anyone with more pastry experience than I have think this is a feasible idea?

Up tonight is an Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte, which has all the makings of a regular addition to the dinner rotation. Cheese! Potatoes! Herbs! YES!


Anonymous New York said...

Ha.I am totally guilty of over baking. I always think "just 2 more minutes" and then it is just over the perfect stage. Especially bundt cakes because they are mostly hidden by the damn pan.

Caramelizing onions gives me problems, too, because I'm impatient. I have trouble going low and slow (temp and time). I think you can make the pastry a day or two in advance and put the filling together on a weeknight, no problem. Glad these week night recipes are working out for you!

Kathy said...

You could easily make the dough one or two days ahead and leave it in the fridge. Be careful though, it can take ages for it to warm up enough to be pliable! (Picture me desperately thumping dough TRYING IN VAIN to make it flat.) Give it at least the afternoon. Once you get more used to dough making, it won't be a problem to do it all at once.

The cathedral cake it fantastic!!

Nutsy Coco said...

Yum! And your cake looks beautiful!

HollyLynne said...

Thanks for the pastry advice, guys!!!
Anon . . . I got a Calphalon One wok as a wedding present and it is spectacular in the caramelization department . . . so is my Le Creuset dutch oven, but I feel silly pulling that out for one little onion! This particular onion though was pretty watery (really fresh Maui from the farmer's market . . . I should have known!) Once I realized it was sitting in a puddle I dumped the water out and everything went ok from there.

I think I will try the pastry in advance thing . . . I'll let you know how it goes!