Saturday, January 9, 2010


So Jenny and I are of two different characters while cooking. Jenny requires, absolutly requires, a recipe. It frightens her that I can look inside the refrigerator, think about what is in the pantry, and whip together any number of dishes that all have multiple ingredients and are quite complete dishes. She can't do that. If there's a dish of mine that she really likes she needs to watch, measure, and write down what I've put in it since I can't tell her.

While my free-wheeling "Hey, let's add some of that!" style works fine for cooking, it may not be the best idea while baking. While there have been successes, I can make buttercream frosting in about a quarter of the time that Jenny can (I figured when they said "low heat," that was another way of saying "high heat and stir rapidly"). That said, there have been some memorable failures: the banana bread I forgot to add sugar to (that's very important it turns out), there were the espresso chocolate chip cookies/rocks (it turns out that if you add more liquid that you just shouldn't add flour until the consistency is right), and there was the flourless chocolate cake made with unsweetened Scharffenberger chocolate that seemed like a great idea (it wasn't).

Tonight was a bit of a failure, and success.

I thought Thomas and I should make gingerbread, so I got out the recipe from Baking Illustrated and went through it, sort of. We didn't have a 11" x 7" pan so I figured I'd use a 9" x 13" and just cook it for less time. After about 30 minutes, a toothpick inserted came out clean, but it sure looked short, it hardly rose at all. The gingerbread came out like some sort of dense ginger brownie.

I went and checked the recipe to see if this was what was intended. The first thing I noticed was a note that said if you didn't have that pan, use a 9" square. The second thing I noticed was that the recipe mentioned a cup of milk. I had added no milk. Perhaps that explained it.

Of course I did the mature thing and immediately blamed my two-year-old assistant. Then I ate them and drank milk on the side. They are delicious, but nothing, and I mean nothing, like gingerbread as far as the texture goes, but the entire family had seconds. I wrote notes in the cookbook so that Jenny could make them again.
The Letters of Horace Walpole (1754), vol. 2, Letter 90
This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word...I once read a silly fairy tale, called "The Three Princes of Serendip;" as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had traveled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right--now do you understand Serendipity?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sneek Peek at Baby Rosemary

Here she is in 4-D at 29 weeks. She kept her hand in front of her face the whole time.