So excited to be cooking again last night, I went for a walk to think through what I’d make.
Do you ever get so wrapped up in something that you can’t see your way out? I was all over the place – minestrone soup, empanadas, homemade pizza, baked trout, keftas over quinoa salad. I had looked through some cookbooks before heading out to get some ideas, but went to some fine food stores for further inspiration.
Thinking about how much fresh food I had in the fridge, I bought only an apple to eat on my way back, some sesame flatbreads to snack on throughout the week, some muffins for my fella and some pasta for either pasta salad (in case I just made a bunch of cold salads – it was almost too hot to cook) or to keep on hand for a baked pasta dish I had yet to try.
Since I had many of the ingredients on hand, I came back and decided to make Southern Sausage Stew from Jamie’s America, Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook.
I loved Jamie when he was first starting out – his take on everything was so invigorating and refreshing. But these last few cookbooks, I’ve found little to get excited about. This stew sounded good though.
But after looking at it closely, I decided that some of my own additions would make it even better.
Instead of green and red peppers, I used yellow and purple carrots and I added in a Chinese eggplant, portobello mushrooms, black beans, leftover kale from the night before, along with the ingredients and spices he listed.
I have to say it turned out beautifully.
My dessert however, did not.
Having worked on this dessert for two night and many stages, I can’t believe that the part I couldn’t do was melting the chocolate.
As you know, I do not bake, so anytime anything calls for chocolate, I get nervous. I mean, I barely eat it to begin with, so handling it doesn’t inspire confidence in me like working with any savory ingredient.
I was making surprise Cake Balls for my fella. I had made an orange cake and left it in the fridge overnight so that it would be cold enough to form into big meatball size balls.
I simmered water in a pan and melted really good chocolate over it.
Now all I had to do was dip the balls into the chocolate and cover them, put them on wax paper and set back into the fridge to chill.
My sexy beau would be having delicious orange delights in just about an hour or two.
Except that the chocolate was so thick it didn’t really cover the ball, but swathed thickly around it, pulling it down into the chocolate.
Then, I did the worst thing I could possible do – I added a little water to try and thin it out.
I don’t know these things. I’ve baked about 10 times out of my life, so I didn’t realize this would create an immovable fudge!
I tried adding a little milk to further thin it. Now I had a Dairy Queen Blizzard on my hands.
So I tried to save it by putting it in the microwave to melt it at least enough that I could hand form it around the balls.
Three fingers on my right hand have chocolate second degree burns and my wonderful little Cake Balls that I wanted to surprise the love of my life with now look like Tim Bits with sad melted fudge chunks on the top.
I was feeling really cocky earlier in the evening, because I thought my version of the stew was more Southern and creative than Jamie’s.
He must have heard me.
I think it will be awhile before I get the confidence to bake again (and I didn’t have any to begin with, so now I’m starting at like negative 10 or something).
Great. And I just ordered 10 new baking books from the library…