My TWD audition piece

I’m not sure of how I found that Web site, but I kind of fell in love with the idea of Tuesdays with Dorie: amateur cooks from far and wide all struggling with a common recipe at the same time, and then sharing their experiences at the same time, a Tuesday – the day of the week when there is little else to be excited about. (Monday has a feeling of dread, Wednesday is hump day, Thursday is almost the weekend, Friday starts the weekend… get the idea.)

My concern was that I would be able to hang with the other bakers – that my brand of baking was too simple or sub-par and in some way not good enough to keep up with these experienced writers and bakers who have long traveled from their kitchens to the computers with style and grace. So before I signed up for the program, I decided a dry run was in order: I would do one recipe from the book of my own choosing on my own day and see if I could hack it.

I bought Dorie’s book used online and found a recipe that appealed to me. The cornmeal and fruit loaf (I swear that what’s it’s called) contained ingredients that I already had in the house, two ingredients that I love (apples and cornmeal), AND it made use of the leftover buttermilk I had in the refrigerator from a previous experiment with a recipe for cherry cakes I found in the Weight Watchers magazine.

Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf: the ingredients

The loaf is dense and buttery, which I love. The cornmeal gives it a bit of a gritty texture and makes it ripe for toasting. Not everyone likes that, but I could eat the whole thing in one sitting. But the cornmeal also makes the bread more satisfying, so I actually had a piece on my way out the door one weekend morning and was pretty satisfied until lunchtime, which is not normal for me (I usually need a snack around 10:30 a.m.).

The recipe called for one apple or pear, peeled and diced, and 1/2 c. of dried apples or pears. I used awhole apple I picked up at a Michigan farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago, and also a couple handfuls of Craisins that I had in the house. I’d use far more fruit the next time around because the bread just looked bland – lifeless and lacking color, and not something that I would pick up from a buffet table. A bit of apple butter helped that out after toasting, but still.

Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf: the Loaf

As for Tuesdays with Dorie, I think I’m in. I’m gonna try the September recipes to be sure, but I think I’m up for the challenge. I’ll bet my photography skills will improve, too. The other eater in my household is certainly up for the taste-testing. We’ll see how it works out for both of us.

burger + fries = fat + happy

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting my husband for lunch at fRedhots and Fries, a favorite burger shack in the neighborhood where I indulged in a fresh, juicy burger and a large order of fresh Belgian fries, coated in Fred’s special green onion and sage aioli. YUM. Tables were at a premium, and Fred did his best to negotiate table sharing and taking turns among hungry adults – no easy task. The best thing I heard while I savored my meal was some guy in line who said, “I’ll come back later so I can really enjoy my Italian beef experience.”
Anyway, after that heavy meal I was only mildly hungry for dinner. Thanks again to my friends at Everyday Food, I decided to roast a fresh pineapple with brown sugar, rum and a few spices. I opted to top it vanilla ice cream rather than the raspberry sorbet they recommended, and I was glad I did.
The actual roasting took more than an hour – more than I had anticipated – and the pineapple was still not as tender as I would have liked. Maybe my fruit was too underripe, or maybe my oven is running low (a constant thought I have when something I try to bake takes longer than the book says it should). But the results were spectacular. The juice alone was enough to make me fat and happy. And now I’m on a fruit cooking kick. I’ve got a recipe for pears roasted in red wine… or maybe just roasted grapes….
(Before I forget, the clean-up was easy, too. I used an old, regular old 9” square metal brownie pan nuthin’ fancy, and found nothing to scrape off the bottom of the pan on a Saturday night. It doesn’t get much better than that.)