Friday, May 13, 2011

Playing Catch-up

Heaven and Hell, all on one plate.
It seems kind of stupid to love a recipe like Broth-Braised Potatoes (pg 358), because it is ridiculously simple. I do love it, though. I made these for dinner last night, and maybe it's because my expectations were so low, but this recipe produced a perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned potato. All you do is toss some herbs, garlic lemon zest, and salt into chicken broth, cook the potatoes in it until they are soft, then remove them and cook down the broth to concentrate the flavor. They were perfect.

The Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots (pg 335), on the other hand, made me a little nauseous. The first few bites tasted pleasantly cardamom-sweet. I couldn't finish my serving, though, because they were too sweet, to the point that it became overbearing with increased exposure. I won't make these again, even though I did very much enjoy the fact that my purple carrots dyed the onions.

Conclusion: Love the potatoes, dislike the carrots.

Today is my birthday (hooray!). Every year growing up, my Mom made a strawberry shortcake for my birthday, so this year, I baked Visitandine (pg 436). The recipe is just for the cake, but the photo in the book basically showed my Mom's strawberry shortcake, so I baked that tonight.
What are you???
The batter is odd. Very little flour and sugar, lots of butter, and then egg whites folded in. The cake came out flat and thin. It was tough to cut with a knife, but it was nice and chewy. Matt said it was like eating a giant cookie, which was true. Not a bad thing, but not really a cake. I think I'd prefer it without the whipped cream, because I made the cream itself too sweet. I'll have another slice for breakfast, sans whipped cream, and see if that improves things. Overall, a very nice treat, be it cake or cookie.

Update: As I suspected, yes, I prefer this cake unadorned by anything except a cup of coffee. It begs for innovation--lemon zest or almond extract both seem like good ideas--but I don't understand why Dorie says in her intro that if visitandine were the first cake she ever baked, she would never have learned to bake any others because it's so good. That's a little excessive.

Conclusion: Liked it.


  1. Congrats and happy belated birthday! Your kudos to the potatoes has me looking forward to making them as well as the cake. Great review!

  2. Glad you liked it, even if it didn't excite you. I liked it too, and can see that it would be versatile, but I won't rush to make it again.