Monday, April 05, 2010
Easter Recipes - the verdict
Despite the addage that one should never try a new recipe when having guests, I tried a variety of new recipes for Easter dinner this weekend. Some were much more successful than others.
The definitely good:
A new dessert from the cookbook put out by the ladies of my mother-in-law's church. It's called simply Berry Dessert. It's got a cakey base, then berries (can be blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and even rhubarb), then a streusel topping. I used blueberries and it was hands-down the hit of the new recipes. So much so, it was decided that it deserved a more interesting name. After much hilarity, it was christened Berry Manilow.
Buttermilk biscuits, from Jean Pare's Breads cookbook. Easy and turned out great. I used regular milk + white vinegar for the buttermilk. Unfortunately, I don't really have the best surface for rolling dough. I never should have gotten rid of the old cutting board when we renovated the kitchen. I could pull it right out and set it on the counter, and it was perfect for that sort of thing.
The scalloped potatoes. The recipe came from The Joy of Cooking, and included parboiling the potatoe slices. That added a level of complexity and a big pot to the preparation. And have you ever tried to handle hot potatoe slices? Even though I ran cold water over them (although the recipe didn't say to do this, it seemed a good idea), they were still unpleasantly hard to handle. This recipe also said to heat the milk before adding. All these extra prep steps equalled a shorter time in the oven, but I'm not sure it was worth it, although the final product was very good. Next time, I'll try it without parboiling the slices and heating the milk and cooking longer, just to see if I can save some handling issues and having more pots to wash.
The pretty good:
Blueberry and Peach Buckle, from The Joy of Cooking: Why it's called "buckle," I don't know, because it was basically a coffee cake with blueberries and peaches. It was okay, but not outstanding.
Sweet Potato Casserole, from The Toronto Star newspaper: This was a "make ahead" recipe, so I thought it was worth a shot, especially since I could cook the potatoes in the microwave. It included cream and another streusel topping, so was very sweet and rich, and I'm not sure it was any better than standard mashed sweet potatoes would have been. Best thing about this, really, was the make-ahead factor.
Pumpkin squares - I did two batches, one from Paula Deen's dessert cookbook, one using the pumpkin bread recipe from The Joy of Cooking, except I baked it in a pan. Both had cream cheese icing. I find Paula Deen's desserts long on fat and sugar, and rather short on taste, which is why I made the second batch (more spices). I have to admit, the Paula Deen one seemed to be preferred by most.
Whole wheat biscuits from The Joy of Cooking. I had to add a little more flour to get it to roll away from the bowl, and perhaps as a result, these were tasteless and heavy. I threw the whole batch out.
Rombauer jam cake from The Joy of Cooking. This has raspberry jam in it, so I was hoping for a nice raspberry taste. Unfortunately, the recipe also called for cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, so at the end of the day, that's what I taste, not raspberry. It's okay as a coffee cake and I'll freeze slices for snacks, but this was a one-time event. Next time I want a raspberry recipe, I'm going with raspberry Berry Manilow.
Now it's a beautiful, warm, sunny day and since I spent most of the weekend in the kitchen and ate far too many sweet things, I'm off for a walk.