Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is not a doughnut


If it was, it would be a giant doughnut since that's a full-size dinner plate that it's sitting on.

It's my second attempt at an angel food cake. Since I've made four batches of ice cream with 6 egg yolks in each, I've had a lot of egg whites to contend with. First I tried a Martha Stewart recipe that called for 12 egg whites and not a lot of flour and ended up being "really chewy", according to the husband.  I just thought it was dry and tasteless. I had another 6 egg whites to use up from the aftermath of the salted butter caramel ice cream adventure, and I had fully intended to make coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, when I watched Ming Tsai this afternoon make a Ginger-Thyme Angel Food Cake.

I was intrigued when he used 2 tablespoons of grated ginger in this cake. I'd been lamenting that my attempt at double ginger ice cream wasn't gingery enough for me, so I was excited to see him use 2 tbsp of grated ginger since that's a lot of ginger and should give it a good punch of flavour. I was feeling better after having battled the start of the cold that never progressed past the feeing crummy stage, and was up to the task of grating the large amount of ginger required. Recipe itself was a breeze to assemble and into the oven it went while hubby prepared dinner.

It was inadvertently an evening of experimenting with new recipes. A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping at the Lexington Farmer's Market and noticed a new vendor selling lamb. I wish I could remember the name of the farm but I'm too full to wander downstairs to check the package, but it's a small farm in the Boston vicinity who only sells lamb - or only had lamb to sell at the market. I decided to buy a very small rack of lamb and a boneless leg of lamb to try at home since we never eat lamb unless we're eating out. Today felt like a good day for lamb so out of the freezer the rack came.

We've never cooked a rack of lamb before, but luckily my book club friends were over last weekend and the topic of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc cookbook came up. We hadn't used it in a while - it's a very heavy cookbook, and we're scared of getting it dirty since it really is a beautiful book, so it is relegated to the bookshelf and easily overlooked. Sure enough, he has a recipe for rack of lamb. He had the most interesting ingredients out of the few recipes I perused from other sources, in that his recipe uses mustard, honey, parsley and rosemary, bread crumbs and anchovies. We like anchovies, but we didn't have any in hand and we would have seriously needed only 2 little fishies for the size of the meat we were cooking, so we just left them out. His recipe also called for his own garlic confit, which essentially involves poaching garlic in oil for about 45 mins or so, then using that garlic in the paste. Other than this time-consuming step, roasting the rack of lamb was easy.

The husband carved it up before I could snap a picture, but it wasn't that impressive to look at since it was such a small piece (it was under a pound but that's enough for the two of us). The lamb was damn good - tender, not gamey at all, and the herb crust was delicious. Thomas Keller certainly can cook and the recipes we've tried out of his book including this one have rocked.

We ate the yummy lamb with another French wine, this one a Beaujolais again from our friends at Central Bottle for $14. This one will also be a repeat purchase - so easy to drink that I'm amazed that we only quaffed half the bottle.

As for the cake, it was gingery alright. The husband also commented that it was more cakey than the first angel food cake I made, probably since there was more flour in this recipe. But as was the case with the first one, I found it to be dry and unappealing - probably because there's absolutely no fat in the recipe, and I was using a whole wheat pastry flour that made the texture more grainy. We ate the last of the salted butter ice cream with the cake to give it that badly needed fat, and tomorrow night I'll be making the ginger cream that's part of the Ming Tsai recipe. I know I'm supposed to eat less fat, but no fat just doesn't cut it with me.


Jennifer said...

Maybe you should give BC's black and white angel food cake recipe a try-it's good-and I'm not a fan of angel food cake. I have the recipe here at home if you want it.

That Ad Hoc cookbook is amazing-but the garlic confit does sound like it might take a year and a half to make. Between that book and our meat mallet, I think I'm all set in the arena of self defense.

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