French Fridays with Dorie – Corn Pancakes + a little Magic Mike talk

So you’re probably thinking “Hey it’s Saturday dummy.” I know, I know. It was a strangely busy week. I meant to make these at like 10 on Thursday night and I was all proud of myself that I remembered to to buy both corn (which I never buy) and flour (I was out after some disastrous baking last Sunday) but when I made my way to the fridge to grab the eggs I realized that I had eaten the last one for breakfast that morning. Fudge!!!! Sometimes I really annoy myself. There was no way these were happening yesterday because I had to work all day, then we had a birthday bbq to attend and then I had a date with my girlies to see Magic Mike and though I love Dorie and all you beautiful Doristas, there was NO WAY I was skipping Magic Mike.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Maggie, that movie looks ridiculous,” and if you’re thinking that I totally respect your right to an opinion, but I think you should change it. As we were waiting in line to buy tickets at 10:30 last night with like 150 other women, my friend Haley looked around and said “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many women out at the movies all together. We need more things like this that bring us together to have a good time and less things that make us want to compete with each other.” Or something along those lines. And I think she is totally right. There is definitely a story in the movie and some pretty artistic camera-work and directing but I really think this was a movie for women to just enjoy without feeling guilty. For once, men were the ones objectified for our pleasure and I know in a perfect world no one would be objectified but guess what, we don’t live in a perfect world. Like a recent episode of Mad Men which really delved into sexual politics, Magic Mike made me really wish I were still in college in one of my women’s studies classes. It would make for very interesting discussion. Plus it was just really fun to watch them dance! I love seeing people who have real talent who can really move and Channing Tatum? You are talented baby! 🙂

Okay but back to these here little pancakes. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I go out to a Mexican restaurant I always get a combo plate and if they’re available I always choose sweet corn cakes as one of my sides. They are so amazing and fantastic and I was really wanting these corn pancakes to be similar to that. I added 2 tablespoons of sugar to the recipe to sweeten them up a bit and then I fried them in bacon grease. I feel like this makes me sound gross but let me explain. I have been rewatching all the past seasons of True Blood and several times throughout the series they mention hoecakes (hocakes?) fried in bacon grease and everyone seems to love the shit out of them. You should see the excitement in their eyes, especially when they say the bacon grease part.

This was the only screencap I could find and I feel she looks pretty apprehensive in it but trust me, it’s only because her formerly alcoholic mother hadn’t cooked her anything in years. She gets really excited after this. So I made myself two pieces of bacon and then used my handy-dandy little cookie scoop to make little silver-dollar corn pancakes in the same pan. Bonus of using bacon grease = one less pan to wash.

I got about 15 of these little babies and if I really wanted to, I probably could have eaten all of them. I stopped at 3 because I had that bacon and a basted egg to eat with them as well.

Does anyone else eat basted eggs? I love them! Bek showed me how to make them last year and I eat one for breakfast almost every day. You just crack it into a pan like you’re going to make it sunny-side up and then after a minute or two you pour in a little bit of water and then cover the pan for a bit. I usually try to get mine so that they’re just a smidge on the runny side but the truth is I will eat it however it comes out. Yum!

I really loved these little pancakes. I ate them with pure maple syrup I bought from the scary looking guy at the farmer’s market here in town but I would easily eat them as a side with chicken like Dorie suggests. So what did everyone else think? And more importantly, who else went to see Magic Mike and has something to say about it? Oh and if anyone else watches Mad Men, I think you know what episode I’m referring to and I’d love to hear what you thought too. I was thinking about it for days afterwards!

French Fridays with Dorie – Seaweed Sables

Seaweed cookies, you say? Kinda sounds terrible right? That’s what I thought. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sushi so I’ve eaten plenty of nori in my life, but having it in a cookie is a new experience for me. I haven’t bought nori in quite awhile because making sushi at home seems sort of fruitless when you don’t live near a fresh seafood market. We’ve done it a couple of times but true confessions: I suck at making rice and having only crab sushi is boring. So back to the package of nori – it was $9.50! Yikes! But since I had everything else for this recipe on hand, I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. I actually read the back of the bag this time and toasted the nori over a burner until it turned green. I never did that before and it was pretty cool!

The nori was an interesting texture – very crispy and kind of hard to cut. I had to tear it into smaller pieces before working it over pretty hard with a santoku. It ended up more shattered than diced. It was all shiny and pointy, kind of like fish scales or something.

I mixed up these little babies at work and we were all pretty skeptical about them. The bag of nori said it was the sweetest seaweed so that made me feel a little better but still. I formed the little eensy logs and put them in the fridge to chill. It didn’t seem like very much dough to split in two but then I figured they were supposed to be kinda mini, almost like little crackers since it said they were cocktail nibbles.

We just got in a shipment of all different kinds of flavored salts and I used Murray River Pink Salt in the cookies and some fine fleur de Sel to sprinkle on the top. Isn’t it all pretty and crystally looking? They only baked for about 10 or 11 minutes before they were done so maybe mine are a little bit smaller than they’re supposed to be. We were all pleasantly surprised by these guys. They have such an interesting taste – they sort of remind me of rice crackers, which smell really weird and at first taste are kind of hmmmm but then they grow on you. I could see myself eating a whole plateful of them before I realized it. Hope everyone else liked them too!

Baking with Julia – French Strawberry Cake aka Bitch Cake

So as you can probably tell from the title of this post (and let’s get serious, the picture) this cake was not my favorite. Not only was it a bitch to make, but it sorta made me one too. In Julie & Julia, Julie dubs Julia’s recipe for tedious rice “bitch rice” and I am going to sort of steal the moniker for this cake. I have never made a genoise before, but I have seen one made and I know sure as the sun will rise that it’s not supposed to look, taste, or feel the way mine turned out. Failure in the kitchen doesn’t happen to me all that often, so when it does it kinda upsets me. But lets start at the beginning, shall we?

I had wanted to go to the local berry farm and pick some strawberries for this but it never ended up happening and all the berries were on sale at the grocery store so I went with raspberries, blackberries and monster most likely genetically enhanced strawberries. Maybe nature was punishing me for my poor choices…

But they sure do look pretty all mixed up with some sugar in the bowl now don’t they? I left them to juice while my mom and I went to get facials. She was visiting for the weekend and we indulged. It was awesome. When we got home, I prepped the pan, pre-heated the oven and got ready to get my genoise on. Forming the ribbon actually went really well – Candy was a champ as per usual.

The stage after this is where our heroine (me) ran into problems. I have previously expressed my feelings on folding in ingredients. I hate it. It takes forever. And just when you’re sure you’re done, another goddamn dry spot reveals itself. It seems endless. I used my biggest spatula and try, try, tried to be gentle and thorough but based on the result I was neither. I was feeling a little apprehensive when I poured it into the pan and it looked like this:

I had a feeling all those bubbles did not bode well. I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers but this is what came out:

So it didn’t rise one little bit. Not a damn bit! After I let it cool for awhile I sliced it into the thinnest layers ever and just made the best of it. But you can bet there was some serious swearing and pouting going on. I’ll be the first to admit I was a real baby. It’s just that I hate putting time and effort (and ingredients) into something that sucks. Plus my mom was visiting and I had invited another friend over for dinner since I figured Tristan, my mom and I wouldn’t be able to finish the whole cake and it didn’t seem like it was one that would keep. I read the P & Q and made extra whipped cream even! Grrrrr. I decided to make lemon cream so I added the zest of 1 lemon and a 1/2 tsp of lemon extract instead of the vanilla to give it a little citrus twist.

Tristan, my mom, and Dave were all lovely and said it was good but they were lying their faces off. The berries and whipped cream part were tasty but the cake? Good god, the cake. It was super dense, dry, and weird. Plus when I sliced the layers I saw a ton of dry spots that completely corroborate my theory that I am the world’s worst folder. I forced myself to eat it because I don’t like waste but I was completely defeated by this genoise. I will have to work really hard to make a better one the next time we need one for BWJ. In conclusion, I am so glad I was the host for naan and not this because that would have really been embarrassing! 🙂

Tom Hanks is eagerly awaiting the next recipe but if you want to give this one a go, visit Sophia of Sophia’s Sweets or Allison of Think, Love, Sleep, Dine for the recipe.