Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year's Day Carb-Fest 2008

I know that there is a way to make sense of why J and I continue to do a blue
million recipes at the same time. Our birthday cake for our 3 year old friend Lila had three layers, a filling, a frosting and dacquoise. Our Brioche day had three recipes and required 2 days. Our last baking installment, I should just call it a Baking Event is lay spread in front of you. Quite like the Whore of Babylon, in all her carbohydrate laden glory. (Ok, not the best simile as it meant as an allegory of Rome and it's brutality. Gotta love Wikipedia.)

There is scuttlebutt about that carbs are bad for you. And, they may be if you set down to a table that looks like ours. Here is what we made: Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (pg 100) & Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (pg 102). So is that enough for you?

Oh, you say, I can eat more carbs than that. We also made Buttermilk Waffles (pg 103) & Marion Cunningham's Raised Waffles (pg 105). Still not enough carbs you say.

Well, we also made the Best Buckwheat Blini La Tulipe (pg 106). Ha ha, you have fallen. You are no match for our mighty table laden with carbs.

J and I tend to binge bake I've noticed. So, alas, has my waist. New Year's resolution is to hit the gym twice a week. I've put on 10 pounds since we started this blog. Ok, that's not really true. Sadly I put on 10 lbs, but it was just since November 1.

Once we got our rhythm, we were able to bang them out quite efficiently. Initially, the pancake recipes didn't really work the way that we were used to. There was a lot of cracking and softness to them that we didn't expect. This was rectified by turning up the heat and cutting back on the blueberries. I am the culprit who over stuffed the pancakes with blueberries. But really 6 berries as Rose prescribes?! It just isn't right.

This little falter, caused us to mistime the serving of our fellow guests. This iritated us quite a bit, and it left M a bit hungry, but at 12:30 we all sat down for our brunch. Sadly, the food was to begin at 11:00 ish. Even I can't accept an hour and a half as "ISH". But once the food was served and the champagne was poured, I don't think a soul really minded.
The Buttermilk Pancakes were good and worth a try. Light and airy, if not exactly fluffy as some prefer, they still had the strength to stand up to the maple syrup I love maple syrup. MMMMM....

The both types of waffles were a bit limp (a problem with many waffles) when we finished them in the waffle iron. J had a great idea -- as is usual -- let's toast them she said. The toasting helped the Buttermilk waffles so much that our guests raved about them. The Raised Waffles weren't as well received, although the toasting did help them.

Often I ask J if we'd have liked this recipe better if we weren't trying to compare it to our other recipes on the table. We've never come up with a simple answer for that. On some things, yes, they pale only in comparison. In other things, they just weren't our cup of tea -- can anyone say chestnut cake? (I find it especially difficult to assess an item if I already have - get ready for me to sound really full of myself- a perfected recipe. For waffles, I worked for several years to find and create exactly what I want. It's not like it happened overnight, to be sure! I tried many recipes and experimented and added and subtracted and adjusted and can now reliably make a waffle I really like. It's crisp on the outside, fluffy and tasty on the inside. And, for pancakes, you just can't beat the recipe on the bag of Aunt Jemima's self-rising flour. That I wasn't dazzled by the CB recipes doesn't surprise me, but I didn't expect to be disappointed. I really was unimpressed by the pancakes- too thin, rubbery texture, no buttermilk tang, no crumb for butter to melt into. Do they suffer by comparison? Absolutely. But, that might be because they're not so terrific. -J.)

Here is what happens when you've sat at a table full of friends and had a bit too much champagne and there are only a few bits and pieces left on plates....

You find yourself about ready to eat a Jimmy Dean sausage pattie, topped with sour cream, chopped green onions and a perfectly crisp blini. And really, it doesn't get any better than that. Well, the smoked salmon on the blini with sour cream might be a match. The blini, we all agreed were quite tasty, and cooked without difficulty. While we don't exactly run in the circles where caviar is served as the norm, we could adopt these blini as our standard, if we had need of such a thing.

For this, our first blog entry for 2008, you may have noticed, there have been some changes made. J and I have realized that this exercise has challenged us to become better bloggers. Just looking around the web, we found ourselves wanting to step up to the proverbial plate.
You may have noticed the new Daring Bakers logo on our website. We've joined this group of intrepid gourmands as they rise to monthly challenges. (J will have more on that in an upcoming blog entry). Try checking out some of the websites of other Daring Bakers. Some have posted comments on our Daring Baker's Challenge entry for December 23. Take a moment to look at some of their blogs.
Daring Bakers and other bloggers have become an inspiration to us as we are striving to learn more about this medium.

Everything's Bake in 2008

Bake through


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