Archive for February 2012

An Edible Train Wreck

February 20th, 2012 — 10:17am
orange-pineapple layer cake

A Collapsing Orange-Pineapple Layer Cake

I have been doing a lot of food experimenting lately. Some things turned out good, some things turned out not so good, and one turned out to be absolutely delicious despite the fact that it looked like something made in an Easy-Bake oven. I am embarrassed to even show you except for the fact that I need some help fixing it.

I often get inspiration from food remembrances. In this case I was craving orange-pineapple ice cream. This was my favorite ice cream as a child (I know even my father thought I was nuts!). I decided that an orange layer cake filled with orange marmalade and topped with pineapple-cream cheese frosting would be a great idea. Much of this was also inspired by a blood orange marmalade I found at World Market. I often buy things and then figure out how to use them later.

Those of you who know me are already cringing. First of all I do not bake unless under extreme duress. Secondly I can never follow a recipe, making sure to incorporate pieces of many recipes, which in baking is usually a big mistake. But off I went sort of following a couple of recipes and honestly thrilled with the idea that I was creating something original, and it being orange-pineapple, destined to be yummy. And of course as if orange marmalade and cream cheese would not make it rich enough, I drizzled orange liqueur over the cake before assembling. This was surely destined for culinary history.

As you can see from the picture, after assembling, the cake collapsed in the middle while sitting in the refrigerator. I do not fault the marmalade, the orange liqueur or the frosting. I think the cake needed some more eggs, maybe, or something else entirely. The batter seemed awfully thick before I put it in the oven. The good news is the concept yielded an incredibly delicious, if ugly, cake. So I will post the recipe in prototype format. All of you bakers are now challenged to create the sturdier version. The first one with a fix will win…something! I do not think my nerves can take baking something so soon after this cake.

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The Real Shrimp Veracruzano!

February 14th, 2012 — 5:12pm
shrimp veracuzano with couscous

Shrimp Veracruzano with Couscous

Yesterday was one of those days that made my head hurt.  Too much to do, too little time and no time to really think about dinner.  I always keep some cooked shrimp in the freezer for just such an evening.  They will defrost in about 20 minutes and after that you can throw them in a salad or reheat them with some other ingredients.

I remembered having a dish in Mexico called Camarones Veracruzanos.  It was comprised of cooked shrimp mixed with something resembling pico de gallo and finished with a healthy dose of lime juice and some olive oil.  It was close to a ceviche in taste although the shrimp had been cooked in water instead of in an acidic mixture of lime juice and tomatoes. Not remembering exactly how it was made I thought I would venture onto the internet to see what people were saying about it.

I was astounded at the number of recipes that were an exact copy of one recipe (so much for acknowledging copyrights) called Shrimp Veracruzana.  Not to be picky, but shrimp is a masculine noun in Spanish so it would never be called the feminine form Veracruzana.  In addition I found recipes for Shrimp a la Veracuzana, as if some French chef had discovered the recipe in Mexico.  Many of the recipes included olives and capers, two ingredients that are rarely, if ever, included in Mexican food.

So I gave up and made the dish as I remembered it as a rather chunky pico de gallo with shrimp, a big squeeze of lime juice, and drizzled with some olive oil.  I was reminded that this was an appetizer.  The boss thought I should add something else to make it more filling.  I mixed it all with couscous to make everybody happy. (As if I do not have enough recipes with shrimp and couscous!) So with or without couscous it turned out like the Shrimp Veracruzano I remembered from Mexico.

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