Yesterday, Zvi and I made our first recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. Admittedly, it wasn't the most bready thing we could've made but it sure was delicious. Cinnamon Crumb Surprise is the first recipe in the book and I would call it more of a coffee cake than anything else. For the first time in my life, I actually followed the recipe EXACTLY. And now that I have, I've made note of some changes for next time. For starters, I found it to be a little too sweet so I would cut back some of the sugar, at least in the crumble topping. Secondly, I would increase the amount of apples in the middle layer. I know this isn't supposed to be an apple cake but I found that just one apple really didn't add much of a surprise to the cake and I would have liked to feel more of that flavour. And last but most importantly, the recipe calls for the use of a food processor to make the crumb topping and then a stand mixer to make the dough. Zvi and I both agree that it's just not worth the clean up - in the future, we think that the crumb topping can easily be made by hand.
In general, I'm quite opposed to this extremely precise way of making food. I think it's important to understand the elements and feel your way around the preparation. However, it was really fun measuring everything using our brand new kitchen scale (thanks Zvi!) and watching the cake flour transform into a silken batter after a specifically stated amount of time in the stand mixer. I was tempted to mix a little less ( I mean, do I really need to count to 90 - really?!) but Zvi was around so he kept me on track. It was definitely an experience but one that I don't regret because after about an hour and a half, Zvi and I sat down to quite a lovely little treat.
Earlier in the day I also made some ratatouille. It's a favourite around here. It's so cheery and summery and full of flavour and easy to make! I was thinking yesterday that one day I would be able to make the entire dish out of vegetables grown in our own yard. Not this year as we don't have any eggplants growing but everything else is well on its way ... various coloured peppers, green and yellow zucchini, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary ... how wonderful is that?! I also love that it's so healthy. In fact, we first got the idea of making it from The G.I. Diet Cookbook.
1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 3/4" pieces
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced into 3/4 " pieces (I used yellow)
3 peppers, cut into 1" pieces (I used 1 each of green, red and orange)
1 sweet onion, cut into large chunks
1 can plum tomatoes ( I used San Marzano), drained except for 1/4 cup of juice
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp each of fresh basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary
olive oil, salt, pepper
Step 1: Arrange eggplant on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
Step 2: Saute onion in olive oil until slightly softened. Add zucchini and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium until vegetables have softened.
Step 3: Add tomatoes, reserved juice, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Simmer about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add basil and thyme. Mix thoroughly and enjoy.
Our cookbook suggests eating this with a poached egg. We haven't tried it but it sounds great.