Saturday, June 30, 2007

After coming back from a week-long vacation and two weddings in a row, I've finally gotten back into my old routine of cooking and baking. The first recipe has been in my "to try" file for a couple months now after seeing it in Real Simple magazine. I've been doing a lot of cooking with sweet Italian sausage, which might explain why I was underwhelmed with this recipe. It turned out oily and the spinach cooked down to nothing even though I used more than the recommended 5 ounces. I give it 1.5 colanders.

Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach

I don't know much about Swedish cuisine, save for meatballs and the occassional PBS cooking show, so I can't guarantee the authenticity of this next recipe. I had been searching for a butter cake recipe and also wanted to try something from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours, so when I found this recipe it seemed like the perfect match. Like Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake, this uses a technique I wasn't very familiar with - mixing in a fat, in this case melted butter, last. From these two experiences I've learned that it requires a lot of arm power and produces a surprisingly moist crumb. I didn't have a cast iron skillet so I made do with a pie pan. After 30 minutes the cake had a nice golden and crisp exterior, although the very center was not as browned. The recipe said the cake would still be moist, which I verified with a toothpick inserted into the middle, but just to be safe I left it in the turned-off oven for 5-10 more minutes. Somehow that didn't help because when I finally cut into the cake the center was not completely cooked...but I ate it all anyways. It gets 3 garlic presses, maybe more if it had baked completely and I had used an almond extract from this decade.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Finally, with this last recipe I wanted something seemingly healthful and different. I haven't tried too many Rachel Ray recipes that I can remember, except for Marshmallow Frosting for S'mores cupcakes, so I went into it with an open mind. Some modifications: no bacon, less cilantro leaves (fresh from the garden!), half a jalepeno, less grill seasoning, colby instead of pepper jack cheese, and no strange pepper jelly. I added a side of Martha's Chili-Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, because you can't have a burger without fries. All in all, it was a tasty and different take on a turkey burger. If I were to make it again I would take out the cilantro, add the rest of the jalapeno, and use the entire amount of grill seasoning. As for the fries, I really liked how the sugar brought out the sweetness and added some crunch. Usually I just use a combination of cumin, chili pepper, and bread crumbs on my sweet potato fries.

Southwest Turkey Burgers