Just before I received my lemon dessert book in the mail (that inspired my recent Lemon Week spree), I decided to do something I never do anymore: cook from a cookbook.
It’s sad, because I love cookbooks. Flipping through them, reading them, and just having them overflowing on my bookshelf. But I rarely cook from them anymore.
There’s a few reasons for why not. (1) I read a lot of blogs, and sooo much of what I read looks SOOOO delicious I’ll often end up replicating them at home. (2) Cookbooks have no “reviews” or feedback from other people. So while over the years I’ve gotten much better at knowing how much I’ll like a recipe just by reading it, sometimes you just don’t know how it’s going to turn out. (3) Some cookbooks lack pictures of the recipes, so I find it much harder to say to myself “I WANNA MAKE THAT.”
Anyways, a few weekends ago when I was trying to figure out what to make for the week I decided to peruse my bookshelf instead of the interwebs. My first problem became not “what to make?” but “which book should I grab?”
Then I settled on a book I’ve never used before, some Border’s brand book called Mediterranean. Flipping through the gorgeous photos there was a bunch of recipes that caught my eye. But since my main dishes were already set for the week (risotto and pickle-brined chicken) I decided to focus on a side dish and dessert.
The side dish was OK. Just a bunch of veggies (potato slices, zucchini, tomatoes, sautéed onions, oregano and olive oil) cooked in the oven in a foil-covered container. But using foil, which traps in the moisture, meant the veggies came out soggy and wet. Fail #1.
Seeing that I called that Fail #1 naturally implies there was a Fail #2. What was that second fail??? Following a baked dessert recipe from a random cookbook.
You know- I used to think I was a horrible baker. Now I realize a lot of it had to do with just using really bad recipes (either bad ratios or bad directions).
This gorgeous picture of cherry clafoutis caught my eye, and knowing the Trader Joes has jarred Morello cherries, I thought it would be a very simple and delicious dessert.
I thought wrong.
I should have known better and consulted different recipes online before proceeding. Had I done that I would have known that there seemed to be just too much butter in this recipe. Had I done that then I would also have known that opening the oven door before the allotted time is a big no-no, which can cause your clafoutis to fall. Had I done that perhaps my dessert could have come out looking like this:
instead of like this:
I should probably try another recipe for clafoutis soon, so that my opinon of what I’m sure is a very fine dessert is not forever marred. But I hate messing around with finicky baked goods, and to be honest, this dish didn’t wow me in the flavor either. It had an overly eggy taste, which for me is a big turn off as I'm quite sensitive to egg flavors in food (thanks for your crazy sense of taste/smell mom!). But if you'd like to give it a try sometime, just use a recipe from a better trusted source. (Like Joy of Baking or Epicurious.)
Meh- right now I’d rather be focusing on baking my way through Luscious Lemon Desserts…