Thursday, June 22, 2006

Culinary woes abound at Lindsey's Luscious...

Well, gang, I'm in a bit of a food blogging depression. First of all, we are coming on TWO WEEKS without being able to post photos, which would be even more upsetting if I had anything great to post! And believe me, it's not for the lack of trying. As you may have noted, I have been in a bit of a buttermilk place lately. And Anna over at Cookie Madness posted a recipe for a Buttermilk Pecan Pie that sounded awesome. After it's baked, you should end up with a creamy buttermilk layer topped with a crunchy pecan layer...yum! But I got the brilliant idea to throw a half a cup of chocolate chips into the mix. Well, the chocolate bits melted and coagulated with the buttermilk custard so that it didn't separate into different layers. And though the resulting pie tasted good, the filling ended up, at best, an unappetizing grayish color, and at worst, not unlike bits of sewage floating about in a gelatinous, mucus-like goo. As AB would say, definitely NOT good eats! :-(

So I shifted gears and decided to pay heed to my bread-baking resolution and try another recipe that I found for an herb bread from the famous Cincinatti ice cream makers, Graeter's. I made a couple of amendments to the recipe--as you know by now is my way--by including some thyme (my favorite herb) and also some granulated garlic (garlic is always welcome to the party!). Those turned out to be very good decisions. The tragedy came when I accidentally overproofed my loaves. I guess I was still in winter mode where proofing takes twice as long as it should, and as it has been warm and humid lately, my dough basically imploded at the end of the final rise while I was trying to preheat the cantankerous oven. The resulting bread was delicious and still had a very nice texture and crumb. But the tops of the loaves were not gently domed as they should be, but sunken in, like a surfer's thigh that has been gouged by a shark bite or perhaps attacked by a flesh-eating disease of some sort. BOO HISS!

Ah well, cooking--like life--teaches us about both triumphs and disappointments. And we wouldn't appreciate the views from the mountaintops if we hadn't suffered through the valleys now, would we? Ok, ok, enough with the saccharine platitudes. It's back to the drawing board. I will report back. In the meantime, I hope you all are having more luck in the kitchen these days than I am. If so and you want to try these recipes and hopefully succeed where I have failed, here they are:

Buttermilk Pecan Pie

1 1/2 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 uncooked pie crust, use a 9 inch deep dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until aromatic. Let cool, then chop coarsely.Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and both sugars. Beat in vanilla and eggs; Stir in flour and salt. Add buttermilk and stir until fully incorporated. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell.Place in oven (set on a cookie sheet to catch drips) and bake at 300 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool completely, then chill.

Miriam's Herb Bread
yield: 1 loaf (I would double this one loaf and freeze the second for future use.)

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablepsoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I used it, of course!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried dillweed
1 t dried minced onion
*I also added 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used AP for a softer interior)

Combine warm milk and warm water with sugar in large bowl and add yeast, stirring well to dissolve. Let proof. Add butter, salt, herbs and onion. Add half of flour and mix well. Add nuts; mix. Add just enough flour to make dough easy to handle; turn out onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.Grease a clean large bowl and place dough in it, turning dough over to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Roll into 18"x9" rectangle, then roll up, beginning with short side of dough. With heel of hand, press ends to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in greased 9"x5"x3" loaf pan. Cover and let rise till doubled in bulk (time will vary). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place loaf in lower middle rach of oven. Bake 25-30 minutes or till top sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out of pan and brush top with butter or milk. Cool on wire rack.


Anonymous said...

Actually...the pie looked like something you'd clean out of your sink drain. Tasty though.

The Mayor said...

I have linked to your blog ... that buttermilk pecan pie is tasty.

Fenris Badwulf

Willa Frank said...


glad to hear i'm not the only one to overproof this bread dough. ;-) it is still tasty though, even with its appearance woes!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Thanks for the emotional support, Willa. Maybe we should start a branch of Overproofers Anonymous? Tee hee. Everyone, make sure to check out her fabulous food blog,! Thanks for the recipe. :-)

Cookie Madness said...

About those chocolate chips, your intentions were good. ;).