Recipe review the first

I’ve decided that I want to start reviewing recipes on this site. I scour the internet for recipes when I get a wild hair, or I’ll try something that looks good on a food blog, but I never really share my findings with anyone (except those who eat the fruits of my kitchen labors). So I’ll share a couple of recipes here and now and hope to do more in the future.

First up is Moxie’s Bacon-Brown Sugar Coffee Cake. Now, when I told people that I was making this, responses ranged from “what the what?” to “a waste of perfectly good bacon” to “WANT.” Me? I thought it sounded interesting and I really, really, REALLY wanted to like it.

Moxie’s recipe doesn’t call for a glaze, but in my mind a bundt cake is naked without a glaze. So I blended two cups of powdered sugar, 2 T of butter, and 2 T orange juice together for a delicious glaze. My hopes were that the glaze would make the cake the perfect breakfast food.

It didn’t really blow my hair back. It was basically coffee cake with pieces of bacon in it. There was nothing in the flavor profile of the cake to help the bacon blend in. Plus, as I eyed Matt’s slice of cake, I felt kind of grossed out by the sight of the bacon in the pastry. I only ate a few bites, but … meh. I know that others had very positive reactions to it, and I imagine it tasted better the next day, but would I make this again? Probably not. It was a fun experiment, though.

Next recipe is Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese from Smitten Kitchen. I made this (along with a really lovely pork tenderloin and Nutella cheesecake brownies) for some neighbors with a new baby. Because the recipe makes soooo much food, I kept half for our family and gave the other half to Baby Lu’s ‘rents.

This recipe is my first attempt at a proper bechamel and I think it turned out pretty well. On the evening that I made it, I felt like the recipe was fairly fussy/labor intensive, but I think that’s because I was running waaaaaaay late and rushing to get dinner cooked and over to their house (we’d taken Harrison to see Elmo’s Something Something/Sesame Street Live and it had run later than I’d planned). Somehow the chopping of the bread, grating of the cheese, and careful midwifery of the bechamel felt overwhelming. But I’ll tell you, when you lift that casserole dish a-bubbling with cheesy, carby goodness out of the oven and snitch a sample from the corner (risking certain third-degree burns to the inside of your mouth), all that fussiness is TOTALLY worth it. I will make this again and again (but not anytime soon because our house heats up like mofo when I run the oven in summer).

Next time: Homemade Samoas Bars and crockpot pulled pork.

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  1. Lisa

     /  April 23, 2009

    Great idea. I look forward to trying out some of the recipes.

  2. Sally

     /  April 23, 2009

    I can’t wait to read your review of the pork!

  3. Keri

     /  May 1, 2009

    Just a thought on the bacon in the cake. I remember in Happy in the Kitchen Michel Richard discusses how to achieve bacon flavor in mashed potatoes. His recommendation was to totally pulverize the bacon, lest you just end up with something that is only intermittently bacon-y.

    So if you were to ever re-attempt this cake, maybe you could try running the cooked, cooled bacon in a food processor with some of the sugar and proceed with the recipe as written.


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