Reads, Writes, Eats and Cooks
It was a very cold weekend and we needed comfort. Tasty, delicious, feel guilty later, put on a few pounds to keep warm comfort. Perfect attitude for testing a few decadent recipes. Food Network nobility, Ina Garten (a.k.a the Barefoot Contessa) to the rescue. We tried three of her recipes.
The butter chucks may not have been small enough to process in the stand mixer. I had a lot o flour flying all over and the butter didn’t quite arrive at an uniform grainy stage. Didn’t matter, the scones were flaky and light. I also didn’t shape the scones into beautiful rounds. The cut triangles worked just fine. Didn’t have the patience to wait for the scones to cool enough for the icing. Again, didn’t matter, still tasted wonderful. Despite my veering off the recipe multiple times, Ina’s guidance did not steer me wrong.
This recipe yields a magical combination of cookie like chewy consistency on the edges, fudgy gooeyness in the middle and cakey brownie in between. We swapped walnuts for pecans. May have over mixed the batter, may have not cooked it long enough for the cake to puff up, may have, may have. Without having a sense of how it was “supposed” to be, the dessert just was….. delicious. Sometimes, definitive expectations can be limiting and counter productive. Happy to test this recipe, again and again, in search of tart perfection. Whether I ever get there is irrelevant.
This may just be my new favorite lasagna recipe! The goat cheese adds a gentle complexity to the taste. The turkey sausage sauce was very flavorful. I did follow the advice from the comments sections and reduced the amount of salt. Her technique of soaking the noodles in hot water for 20 minutes before layering is genius. I was skeptical and worried that the noodles wouldn’t cook. She proved me wrong. This is the way I’ll be making lasagna from now on. The fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and parsley, the goat cheese all added a brightness to the rich lasagna.
Small deviations and additions to a recipe make it mine. But, these detours from directions also show me ways to redefine familiar dishes like lasagna or brownies in method and taste. What makes a recipe better or worse? Meeting expectations, good taste, ease of preparation, new techniques?
From the scones, I learned that as long as the proportion of fat (butter and cream) to flour is maintained all else can be variable.
From the brownie tart, I learned that chocolate whether liquid, chewy, soft or hard is delicious. A tart contains all the states of chocolate.
From the lasagna, I learned that layering light fresh ingredients with ricotta, tomato sauce and noodles, the unusual with the usual challenges lasagna expectations.
From now on, I will trust the Ina.