True Confessions of a Mid-Life Cook

There's a definite correlation between my profound love of music and how and what I've taught myself to cook. My favorite music to listen to and to perform is soulful, sensual, sometimes funky and always bluesy in nature . . . and that's exactly how I cook. I like to get my hands in the food. I chop, I knead, I stir with my hands. Sometimes I wear my big rimmed cowboy hat, nightie and Old Gringo boots in kitchen, sometimes a coonskin cap when the mood strikes and sometimes just an apron and a smile. Using the freshest of ingredients, I love to bringing a new spirit to old favorites. I am so to drawn dishes seeping in both Texas and Southern tradition,with a special affinity for those authentic old jewels found in South Louisiana.
Because they, too, are so powerfully soulful?

I've discovered being a good cook is a journey and not a destination. (Yes, I stole an over-used corporate slogan and made it my own--but it's still the truth) Every time we screw up, we learn. And in part, that's what this blog is about. Cooking fearlessly. With heart, with soul -- and with some damn good music to inspire. (If your three layer chocolate cake ends up looking like a Jerry Springer rerun or you cut the tip of your thumb off while making New Year's Day gumbo, WHO CARES?Proclaim Francine Reed's "I'm a Handful" your theme song. She would like that.)
We cook because we find ourselves kinda empty if we don't.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a Strudel Kind of Day

I've taken two naps in the glorious rainy weather already today and I'm now about ready to roll out my strudel pastry. Mind you, I am not a baker. Not consistently, anyway. For instance, I tried to roll out my first ball of pastry earlier and when I tried to roll it, it stuck to my pastry board. It's in a heap in the oven now, and I'm sure it will be delicious . .but ugly. Just like my intentionally ugly birthday cakes.

I think I didn't chill the dough enough so my three remaining pastry balls went back into the refrigerator for another two hours. I am also going to work more quickly with a cold rolling pin and more flour. I've done this very recipe with enormous success before and I am determined that this second go-round will produce similar results.
3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
8 oz sour cream
pinch of sea salt

Cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal.Stir in sour cream but don't work too much. Make 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least three hours.

Favorite jam or preserves, today I used apricot and blackberry
sour cream
coconut (optional)

Flour work surface and rolling pin.
Roll out pastry on cold surface with cold rolling pin -- rectangle, thin as possible. Do NOT overwork dough.

Spread preserves, over the pastry, followed a little sour cream and then by pecans and coconut.
Roll pastry, brushing with a little melted butter with each roll. Tuck ends and placed on buttered sheet pan. Flatten just a little with spatula, brush top with butter and sprinkle generously with sugar and coconut if you wish.

Bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Note: The second go-round today proved to be wonderful -- exceptionally flaky pastry. Secret? Keep pastry and utensils very cold when working with dough. Have patience, let the dough chill for at least three hours.

1 comment:

Sharon daVanport said...

Oooh, I'm going to try this one ....looks yummy!