Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD: Arborio Rice Pudding

I was so happy when I saw this would be on tap for this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe! I LOOOOVE rice pudding...love, love it. I have not made it in ages--and what I do remember in making it involved putting it in the oven, in a pan of water...It was one of my mom's recipes that I have since lost track of...(anyone ever make it that way?) Another thing I know about rice pudding--many times the recipe calls for raisins. I was pleasantly surprised that Dorie did not call for them in the main recipe (though I know she had some spin-off recipes in the margins), because, to be honest, I would have left them out anyway--so this way I didn't feel like I was flaking out on Dorie's creation! Mom used to make 2 batches--one with, and one without!

I decided this was the recipe I would break out my new copper pot that I bought several months ago now, and had not yet used. It's the only copper one I have, and I just love it. I guess I was waiting for 'the' perfect recipe to christen it, and this ended up the perfect size pot for this recipe...I felt like I was "really" cooking when I used it!

I must note that I think I enjoyed this recipe partly because it is a fave of mine, partly because I was able to admire my copper pot whilst making it, and partly because the recipe actually was a nice and "quiet" one. No going back and forth with melting things on the stove, to going to a Kitchen Aid, sifting, etc. This was a low key, simmer and stir, and phase out while you stare into the milk, looking for the rice to surface. It was a nice change of pace.

BUT--it was not without its hiccups. The only glitch came when I had the feeling after the 30+ minutes on the stove it was still not thick enough, but I gave up and poured it into the bowl, threw the Saran Wrap on top as instructed to prevent skin, and put it into the fridge...Then I went right to the computer, and consulted the notes left on the TWD site, to see the post by Dorie herself, warning of the "fatal" misprint about how long to let it simmer...No, not 30 minutes--more like 50 minutes! So I rushed downstairs (after my very soupy version was sitting in the fridge for about 10-15 min) and dumped the bowl back into the pot, let it simmer 20-25 minutes more, and it finally did in fact absorb 80-90% of the liquid--disaster averted! Believe me, I would have been CRUSHED if I didn't do this recipe correctly, I had such high hopes!

So here is my rice pudding--in 'Round 2' on the stove (note bowl w/ ripped off Saran Wrap to left!)

Quick note--I found I had to stir it almost constantly towards the end of the simmering time--otherwise a skin would form...

So back into the fridge it went...and later that afternoon while it set, I cracked open my new Everyday Food and decided to make the Lighter Chicken Enchiladas---yum!! They came out awesome! (Of course, I'm partial to anything covered in melty cheese....)

So Saturday evening, Dear Husband and I enjoyed enchilada dinner, compliments of Martha's Everyday Food, and topped it off with Dorie's rice pudding--which was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! How proud I was that the best rice pudding I've had was by my own doing! I can't ever see making the chocolate version-and my chocoholic husband actually noted the same thing...maybe one day I'll say I'm a believer (cue The Monkees), but I don't feel I'm missing anything right now. For me, all I needed was the classic vanilla rice pudding, and the only other requirement for me is a happy sprinkle of nutmeg on top (Much like my theory on egg nog, it's all about the nutmeg!)

Dorie, thanks for a winner! And thanks for posting about the typo and saving me from rice soup! I would have been so disappointed as I was so excited to try this!

If you want the recipe, visit Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d'Isa. She chose this great recipe this week! She's got some amazing looking photos of her creations on her blog too--hello puff pastry! And you can hit a button on it to translate it into English (though I'm having fun trying to read it in French, just to see what vocabulary I remember from all those classes in high school and college. Turns out, sadly, I can't say I retained a lot--sorry, Mrs. Beaulieu!)

Hope everyone was able to enjoy this recipe and avoid any soupy under-simmered pudding. If you didn't I urge you to try it again--it's worth it!

(PS: "Melty" came up in my spell check as misspelled?! Hey, it may not be a formal word, but darnit, I'm keeping it in--how else can you describe the Monterey Jack atop my enchiladas?! Though, "nog" came up too, so that just makes me think blogger needs an updated dictionary! Especially for kitchen/cooking/baking words!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a TWD Slacker this week..

Ok, so after all my excitement over baking that Kugelhopf bread-cake hybrid, and after purchasing my fancy pan for it....I didn't get to making it being out of town 4 days last week, plus having a weekend filled with little things to do that prevented me from caring for the rising of the dough......but I WILL make this later this month! I am determined!!

In the meantime, having no Kugelhopf to share, I give you "Hassel-hopf"...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD: Rugelach

This week on a "very special" Tuesday's With Dorie...Lisa faces her demons of pastry dough...Will they ever come to terms and get along? Tune in and find out what is more thinly stretched and overworked--the dough or Lisa's last nerve...

But first a word from our sponsor:

This week's recipe is brought to you by Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal who chose Rugelach found on page 150 - 151 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours...If you want the recipe, check out Piggy's blog--to read more fascinating rugelach stories/blogs than you are right now, visit TWD by clicking here!

So the second I saw this recipe was on our list, I was SO excited and was itching to try it, yet there was a little voice in my head dreading the prospect of once again facing down my demon...me on one side, a blob of pastry dough on the other....a trusty rolling pin at my side, and a lightly floured surface separating us....(was that a tumbleweed that just went by?) The clock says High Noon...and we stare each other down....

Now, if you jump to the end of this story, you'll find me there enjoying rugelach...but not without my battle scars.

What came out really did not look much like they should, and I yielded maybe half of what I was supposed to. And the dough was not fun to work with--it was really soft, even after chilling overnight. By the 2nd half of the dough I got the hang of it somewhat. (But I could not roll it out nearly to 12" circle, more like 8"...and then I didn't get 16 triangles...more like 8. Oh, and the first half of the dough I just ended up just rolling in a full-jelly roll, freezing it a bit, and then cut it in cross-sections and baking from there.. tastes the same...but again, not nearly as many rugleach from that one either). Any way you cut it/fold it/bake it, they came out VERY tasty.

So, the dough. I once again had dough woe. I tried in the food processor (not a large-capacity, but one I thought should still work ok), but it totally overmixed the dough the first time (and I say "first time" because I had to do a dough-do-over). Actually, what happened was it mixed up some of the dough ok, but then I still had huge chunks of the butter and cream cheese that were not getting broken down. So trying to incorporate those meant the rest of the dough had to come along for the ride and it was way too worked over by the time things were 'blended'--and as I wrapped it up I saw chunks of bright white where cream cheese still was not incorporated. I threw it in the fridge on Sunday night...and there it stayed. Monday.... Tuesday... Wednesday... Thursday....Just taunting me every time I went in to the darn fridge. By Saturday, I just dumped it and started over. But not before going online to see some tips for making rugelach dough with a stand mixer, which is how I did it the 2nd time around....and it came together ok, but still a challenge for me to work with when it came time to assemble these suckers. Here is my not-quite-8-inch round o' dough:

I don't know what it is, I cannot get dough to do what I want it to do--I just doughn't enjoy the process. Pies, turnovers, and now add rugelach to the mix...I rarely can get as much as they say I will because half of it will stick to my rolling pin, it rips, or I may actually make it to the width called for, but not without the last inch tissue paper thin. Pastry dough can never just be a happy, calm, easy process. And yes I KNOW the only way I can improve is to keep making it--yet I get a sinking feeling EVERY time because I have yet to have a good positive no-mess experience where I am not stringing together expletives. Bring me a bread recipe any day--but pastry is a chore.

I already am getting a combination happy yet dreaded feeling know I have to attack pastry once more for that pumpkin-pecan "twofer" pie we have on tap in a few weeks. I know already that my crust will barely reach the edges of the pie plate, I'll probably have nothing hanging over to crimp....the only thing going for me is it' s not a 2-crust pie--happily just 1 needed! This should NOT be stressful activity. But it is..Every.Time.

So back to the rugelach and happy endings: For my fillings, I used:Polaner Raspberry (And as I opened it, I could not resist saying out loud the line from their old commercial,"would ya please pass the jelly?!"...and yes, I was the only one in the kitchen at the time...I do what I need to amuse myself) I also used currants, chopped walnuts, and bittersweet chocolate as called for. I will add I think the chocolate is overpowering-and I didn't use all called for--so next time I plan to load half the dough with sugar-cinnamon, bit o' chocolate, and the other half the jelly-currant-nuts and maybe a little chocolate rather than try to go all-in, so to speak.

So there you have it. Another pastry crust showdown and I came out ok, but not without the usual stress, and frustration that now goes hand-in-hand with this process. I'll be keeping at it, I am no quitter....and maybe, just maybe, one day pastry crust and I will learn to get along and work together, and not against each other. (What a great message on election day, huh? Let's work with each other across that aisle..be bipartisan...work for the common goal of a successful pastry crust!)

Hope you enjoyed this week's installment....Tune in next week where the recipe will be Kugelhopf! I'm quite excited--here is a sneak preview for those who don't know what this is: here's a photo I found of a Kugelhopf pan similar to the one I just got the other day!! Enjoy THIS photo, because who knows what mine will end up looking like! I just find I enjoy saying Kugelhopf---almost as fun as saying Farfegnunen!