Thursday, October 6, 2011

looks can be deceiving

I generally make food that is good. Some dishes are fancier than others, some take more time, some have classier ingredients, but the food I make usually tastes good. Or I wouldn’t eat it. Today’s post is about food that tastes good but looks (at least in photographs) kinda busted.

One thing that is very good looking: free food delivered to your doorstep!


As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I opted in to receive a free sample of Bauducco Panettone. I was stoked to discover two very large, very delicious looking boxes of the stuff (one with raisins, one with chocolate chips) on my doorstep.

Now, everyone came out of their boxes and, suffice it to say, looks can be deceiving.

First, there was a real lack of natural light over the past few days. Crummy weather (which has fortunately gone away, at least temporarily, because my birthday is tomorrow!)

So I had to start photographing delicious foodstuffs on my linoleum kitchen floor.


Let’s talk about this Panettone.

First of all, I have experienced the panettone around the holiday season as a holiday sweet bread. Sometimes nutty, sometimes fruity. However, I realized upon receiving this stuff that I had never tasted FRESH Panettone. The good people at Bauducco somehow managed, whether it’s through cooking methodology or shortness of transit time to deliver a moist, tender, deliciously fresh-baked-tasting product.

That being said, that fresh doughy softness and the less-than-tender care by the US Postal Service resulted in an adorably squashy loaf.


Still, how can you not be pleased with the pretty chunks of sweet, plump, not at all dried out raisins- my coworkers and I had a semi-lengthy conversation about dried out raisins in baked goods- and sweet/tart orange bits?


Also attractive when golden and toasted for…


French toast! My mom had a long, rotten week (actually continues to be in a series of long, rotten weeks but I have convinced her to call in sick tomorrow), and I decided a lovely breakfast day with warm and comforting French toast made of delicious panettone, some nutritious fresh local peach slices, and just brewed-coffee would be just the ticket.

DSC06881 - Copy

This is what I call Cajun French toast! Because it is “blackened”! No no no, friends, I did not burn the French toast. I put 1 egg+ 2 T milk+ splash vanilla dunking bath for two slices panettone into an apparently verrrrrrrrrrrry hot skillet… and I made blackened, Cajun French toast!


(it is a testament to the yumminess of this panettone that I burnt the crap out of it and it still tasted good!)

Now, the traditional fruit-studded panettone is lovely.

But holy crap, I have now been introduced to CHOCOLATE panettone and suffice it to say that my life is better for having done so.

This ostensibly contained Hershey’s milk chocolate chips, but I don’t believe it. The rich, almost liquor-y, intensely bittersweet chocolate infusing this bread was just a little too complex to be milk. In my opinion. Make of this what you will.

Once again, in photographs it comes across as a little… Surrealist.



I would also like this opportunity to note that at the edge of the panettone there’s an outer layer that’s browner and thus more browned-buttery, a wonderful flavor if there ever was one. There’s also a greater concentration of chocolate (as there is at the bottom), so if you are a compulsive picker such as I, it’s the area of the loaf to which I recommend you devote your attention.


Another unattractive picture: I ultimately froze the vast majority of the panettone. This had to occur in the interests of self control. Moreover, I knew that during the holiday season, when there are more people around to whom I can disperse such delicious yet high-calorie eats, it will make truly unbelievable bread pudding.


Tip: because all things in freezer bags kind of look the same (which can get to be an issue if, like me, you tend to accumulate various animal carcasses to make broth at a future date and then can’t tell whose bones are whose) rip off a piece of the packaging! I like to save both name and ingredients/nutrition facts.


More unphotogenic yet tasty food!

I went through one day with an insatiable craving for fried okra. Fortuitously enough, I had okra. And thanks to the Internet, I had a recipe for oven fried okra, since actual frying is messy and scary and sort of negates the point of eating a vegetable.


Dunked into egg batter…


Laid out on a cookie sheet looking kind of creepy and ghostly…


All baked looking like a whole lot of beige!


But tasting great. Tasting particularly great as a sort of vehicle for ketchup. Whoa. I used to hate ketchup and it’s not something I eat a lot of. And I can’t believe people put it on eggs; gross. But man, with some faux-fried okra? Give. me. the. ketchup.

This was understandably not pretty, and there were enough ugly photographs from this night that I declined to include another.

Being pathologically unable to waste anything, I mixed together my remaining egg-buttermilk mix with my cornmeal-spice mix, along with a whole bunch of spelt flour to hold it together and a token amount of baking powder. I formed that “dough” into very very odd looking “biscuits” that didn’t particularly rise.


Then I sauteed some apples in a skillet I charred the bottom of and then cooked them up with some kale that also photographed sort of bizarrely, particularly in the nighttime artificial light.


Throw in some leftover succotash, and there you have it: one homely but good tasting quasi-Southern meal.


Next: I bought the new blueberry flavored whole wheat bagel thins! Like you haven’t totally been fantasizing about it. They’re so horribly antithetical to anything resembling the true idea of a bagel. And they have lurid artificial coloring. But they are soooooo delicious!


I enjoyed them for breakfast-for-lunch with the ugliest scramble ever created of just local tomato and egg. Looks like cat barf!


And a big slimy bowl of yogurt and persimmon (this is off theme but I was SO OVERJOYED to discover a single bowl at an out-of-the-way vendor who usually just sells flowers of LOCAL PERSIMMONS! and they were great.)


Still cloudy. Still photographing on linoleum. It’s occuring to me that I could have put down a pretty background- placemat? Cutting board? Anything? But I just lack the dedication.


Finally, I really deep down think beets are beautiful, and I tried to capture their complex inner depths with my camera, to little avail.


I hope all of you get a chance to taste fresh local beets and also get a chance to play with them; cutting them open to reveal the beautiful designs of their inner flesh. And also your hands and your kitchen will look like something from a crime scene!

I made some beet soup with beet greens because I couldn’t think of anything else to do with my beet greens.

Beet soup:

It came out ridiculously lurid and technicolored.


Just to ever so slightly redeem myself, it was such a mega potful that I had lots of leftovers, and I decided I owed it to my readers to get a decent picture of the stuff, in natural light.

It helps that it was a beautiful, beautiful day and I wanted to eat on the deck :D

I sat down, dolloped some Greek yogurt on my pretty pink soup and pretty pink bowl, and clicked. Tasty, pretty.


Plus Trader Joe’s fake chicken soy nuggets and hot sauce :D


1 comment:

Lydia said...

Your scrambled eggs look super disgusting! The adorable beet soup makes up for it though. Beets are hilarious; I cannot cook them without covering my whole kitchen in pink splotches.

Happy birthday, Ileana!!