Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lessons from the Smitten Kitchen

I love the Smitten Kitchen blog. Even though I'm not one to spend loads of time in the kitchen myself, I adore bringing up her beautiful posts, chock full of pictures that make me salivate and wish I were more domestic. I will often find myself making a mental note to come back and try one of her recipes.

So, I finally did it. Only, I didn't exactly do it well. I attempted to make her Whole-Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones.

For starters, I didn't copy the recipe or take it with me when I went to the store. Thus, I remembered to purchase raspberries and ricotta, but failed to pick up any heavy cream (I had to google that to discover that it was half and half - it was always just called heavy cream when I purchased it in England). Alas, I had no half and half.

I googled substitutions for heavy cream and came up with something suggesting heating milk and butter together. The only time I buy butter is when I plan to bake Christmas cookies. So, I had no butter, either.

In my very own slip-shod fashion, I threw the recipe together, taking every short-cut imaginable. For the cream, I added a slightly smaller amount of 2 percent milk. Since I had no pastry blender, I used a fork (couldn't be bothered with slowly chopping a knife through the mix).

I also couldn't be bothered with rolling the darn thing out, so I just plopped it on my foil lined pan and pressed it down into a circular shape (she made a rectangle). She cut them into nine pieces. I cut mine into eight pie wedges.

I popped it in the oven and waited. The house began to smell deliriously yummy! The raspberry wafted all around our heads. My children even noticed it and asked what I was making.

When it came time to remove the scone from the oven, I began to see the error of my ways. While she had separated the small square pieces (allowing them to bake more thoroughly), I had left it all in a lump and the middle was not done, but the edges were beginning to look slightly burnt.

Still, I must say, it looked stunning when I finally pulled it out. The piece on my plate next to my cup of coffee beckoned me as soon as it had cooled.

Sadly, the thing was as dry as sawdust. Plus, the berries (I should have remembered that I don't care for raspberries for this very reason) were so gritty that little particles remained in my teeth.

I have eaten two wedges. The rest is wrapped in the freezer. I'm guessing it will take up residence there for a suitable amount of time (we'll pretend that it is sub-letting space in the freezer) and will eventually be tossed in the trash or fed to the birds. Hey, now there's a suitable end for it. It must be destined for the birds.

Lessons: 1) Follow Smitten Kitchen's every step - she knows what she's doing (after all she tests these things in her kitchen often enough to get all those stunning photos). 2) Make sure all ingredients are accurate. (Would the thing have been more moist if I had used butter and cream???) 3) Not every food that looks amazing will end up tasting amazing (an awful lot like "don't judge a book by its cover," right?). 4) For a good laugh, view Smitten Kitchen's photography next to mine!

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