hello, i just saw a post about using zucchini instead of pasta for lasagna, and was wondering if that would actually work? the pasta helps to hold it together by absorbing most of the liquids, wouldnt it just fall apart? would eggplant be a better sub? it looked delicious but it also looked like it would fall apart the second my fork would touch it.
Pesto to the rescue.
Here are the facts: I bought some green goods that I intended to use for recipes to post, but having your nose rubbed raw in revision books tend to chase away ideas and then slam you into a brick-wall that is writer’s block. So here I am, a day before my [meticulously scheduled] 13-day trip to Saudi Arabia (holla!), brushing up my Arabic mainly in preparation to place an order on the very, very delicious food they have over there (srsly guise) when an inner gong resonates and I realize I have a fridge-full of asparagus, parsley, scallions and a few green tomatoes that the gardeners unearthed from a tomato vine hidden behind the bushy terrains that is our back garden.
Shite. What to do, what to do?? I have to be honest, at first I thought of making a pot of kalgooksoo and then just slice the green onions to sprinkle on top. The asparagus I can just blanch and eat with eggs. The tomatoes for a salad - it is springtime after all, isn’t it? It was a sound idea, except that 5 stalks of green onion will make more than just a sprinkle, I hate the taste of blanched asparagus and…I’m just not in the springtime state of mind yet! I’d rather turn the tomatoes into hearty soups than eat them raw but time is running short. So I gave them all a whazzy whaz in the blender (ideally you should use a food processor) and made three pesto, all without pine nuts or basil. Is that sacrilege? Oh, I hope so. You can store these in the fridge for a few days or freeze them up to a couple of months. What I like to do is refrigerate them for a few hours to let the flavors marry, and then stick em in the fridge for an eternal union. All in all, pesto-fying saved the day and I can’t wait to smear some under the skin of a chicken and bake it to crispy oblivions when I get back. Toodles!
GREEN TOMATO PESTO:
[ 4 medium green tomatoes + 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves + 1/3 cup salted almonds + 2 cloves roasted garlic if you have them, or 1 clove of fresh garlic + 1/2 cup olive oil + salt and pepper to taste, but start with 1 teaspoon ]
Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until the ingredients achieve a uniform consistency, then whiz it until it reaches your preferred smoothness. This can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Great as: Dips, spreads for pizza and sammiches.
CHARRED SCALLION AND GINGER PESTO:
[ 5 bunches of scallion, trimmed and cut in half + 2 garlic cloves + 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled + 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil + 1/4 cup sesame seeds ]
Heat a skillet or grill pan on medium-high. In a bowl, drizzle the scallions with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the scallions with sea salt and pepper, then sear or char until lightly caramelized at the edges and blackened in a few spots, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and and pulse until the ingredients achieve a uniform consistency, then whiz it until it reaches your preferred smoothness. Use immediately or store in the fridge for a couple of day or in the freezer up to 6 months.
Great with: Fish, chicken, rice, mashed tate’orrs.
LEMON-ASPARAGUS PESTO (recipe by Mark Bittman):
[ 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments + 1/4 cup almonds + 1 clove garlic + 1/4 cup olive oil + 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + juice of 1/2 lemon ]
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly.
Transfer the asparagus to a food processor and add the garlic, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the oil, parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse again until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
Great with: Pasta, fish, chicken - pretty much anything you can spread with pesto.
Making Chicken Shawarma
"GIIIIIRL, this vegan ice cream is great and I hate to bother but it’s been like a year since i asked LOL, but WHERE MY SHAWARMA *snaps fingers*????"
Keep the processor running before adding the vegetable oil, a teaspoon at a time until the mixture has emulsified. Add the lemon juice last and give it a final 20-second whiz before storing until needed. You can make this up to a week ahead and refrigerate it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
SHAWARMA CHICKEN (serves 4-6)
Cut each chicken breast horizontally so that each piece is about 1/2 an inch thick. If you have small breasts (cue the giggles), give it a good whack with a rolling pin so they’re all the same thickness. Mix all the marinating ingredients in a blender. Transfer the chicken pieces into a shallow container and coat well with the marinade. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Then, ideally, you should cut the tomatoes to “a little bigger than bite-sized” pieces, toss it with the remaining juices in the tray and blast on the broiler until the tomatoes are just roasted.
To assemble, grab a pillowy pita and form a line of chicken pieces. Spread a thin layer of garlicky toum, line up some grilled tomatoes and pickled vegetables. You can add some shredded lettuce and sliced red onion if you please, but nothing more! Roll a good, tight one and eat. Immediately.
Making Veggie Burger
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking mashed sweet potatoes. You’re thinking roasted beets. You’re thinking peas. You’re thinking soft patties that don’t hold well while cooking. You’re thinking patties that collapses as you give the buns a squeeze. You’re thinking patties that coat the back of your mouth. You’re not thinking about this burger. You see, unlike some veggie burgers recipe that comes out purely from wanting to eat healthy, where nutritional values takes precedence over taste and mushy red patties are an acceptable replacement for beef, this was concocted in the Serious Eats Food Lab. And there’s none of that nonsense happening there.
This patty is so flavorful you might opt for it instead of meaty goodness. There’s an abundance of texture at play; a touch of crisp on the outside, tender but firm on the inside. I used portobello instead of button mushrooms to give it an extra touch of umami and I think it was a pretty good call, but do refer to the original recipe for the complete list of ingredients. I also don’t have a food processor and pulsed the ingredients in my blender, so those without one have no excuse. This will seriously change your views about veggie burgers, and that’s the Winger guarantee.
VEGGIE BURGERS (tweaked from the original recipe by Serious Eats, makes 8 patties)
[ 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, trimmed and chopped into halves + 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil + Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper + 6 thyme sprigs + 1 whole small eggplant (about 1/2 pound) + 1 large onion, chopped + 1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup) + 1 medium clove garlic, minced + 3/4 cup dry lentils + 1 (14-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and patted dry on paper towels + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon Maggi seasoning + 1 cup toasted almonds + 1 teaspoon soy sauce + 1 1/2-cups panko bread crumbs ]
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with 1 tablespoon oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Coat eggplant with another tablespoon olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap eggplant with heavy duty aluminum foil. Transfer mushrooms and eggplant to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Scatter thyme over mushrooms. Bake in the middle rack, turning mushrooms and wrapped eggplant occasionally until mushrooms are dark brown and eggplant is completely tender (test with a cake tester or thin skewer), about 35-40 minutes. If you find that the mushrooms are cooking faster than the eggplant, then take those out and leave the eggplant cooking a little longer. Remove from oven, unwrap eggplant, and set aside to cool.
While mushrooms and eggplant roast, heat remaining two tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
Place lentils in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Stir once then place over high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are completely tender, about 20 minutes. Drain completely, patting with paper towels until dry and transfer into a large bowl.
Add half of garbanzo beans to the bowl of a food processor along with flour, baking powder, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning and half of eggplant (reserve remaining eggplant for another use). Process until a smooth paste forms, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer mixture to the bowl with lentils. Pulse remaining chickpeas in food processor until beans are chopped to about the size of a lentil (5 to 6 short bursts), scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer to bowl with lentil mixture. Chop almonds in the food processor the same way and add to lentil mix.
When mushrooms are cool, add to bowl of food processor and pulse until finely chopped but still coarse in texture, about 8 to 10 short pulses. Add to lentil mix. When onions and celery are cool, transfer to food processor. Chop with 8 to 10 short pulses and add to lentil mix. Using bare hands or a spatula, stir together mixture until completely homogenous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mixture can be refrigerated and stored for up to 5 days at this point or frozen in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to serve the burgers, Add breadcrumbs to mixture and work them in with your hands. Make a sample patty. It should have the texture of ground beef and hold together easily. If not, add water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Divide mixture into eight patties about 4-inches across and 1/2 an inch thick. Patties must be cooked within 30 minutes of adding breadcrumbs.
Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add four patties and cook without moving until first side is well-browned, about 3 minutes. Flip burgers and top with cheese (if desired) and cook until second side is browned and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a toasted bun and serve with condiments as desired.
Making Laminated Carrot Chips
For once, I’m going to tell you not to make this unless you really, really want to. Actually, unless you really really want to and own a mandolin. I spent a considerable amount of time sitting in front of my laptop twirling three ginormous carrots in my hand, contemplating whether or not I should make this. You see the thing is, I have this compulsion to do things that should not be done with food (need I remind you of the feta frosting? That’s what I thought). This recipe was meant for potatoes, thinly sliced by mandolins and painted with butter before stacked on top of another with a delicate herb sandwiched in between. I have potatoes in the fridge, yes I do, but I wanted to see if it would work just as well with carrots.
Never mind that I really don’t have time for this, never mind that I don’t have all the necessary tools (parchment paper? pfft, haven’t seen that in this kitchen in almost a month), never mind that it could’ve ended up in disaster with me eating limp carrot chips for the remainder of the week while crying over revision books. Suck it, I thought. Studying always gives me the munchies and unfortunately, despite how much I wanted to I can’t just dive head first, mouth-open at that bag of yogurt & herb salt flavored chips, just sitting there enticing me with its evils. Those salt and MSG man, they mess with your brain (a bit hypocritical coming from a self-proclaimed instant noodle enthusiast, I know. I KNOW) and I need all the brain cells I can get to get through this period of solemnity (read: hell) a.k.a USMLE prep. That in itself was worth the risk so I marched into the kitchen and armed myself with a vegetable peeler, a piece of aluminum foil and the promises of failure.
Only it wasn’t. It actually worked, against all odds. It did leave me
very slightly tired but the end results? It was magnificent. Crisp, lemony and sweet. Slightly chewy in the middle parts. Was it worth the work? Probably not. But as I always say at the end of my culinary experiments - at least now I know it can be done.
LAMINATED CARROT CHIPS (recipe slightly adapted from the ever fabulous, ever angry, Mandy Lee):
[ 3 large carrots + 3 tablespoons butter, melted + 1 tablespoon olive oil + salt & black pepper + dried thyme, in my case, or any fresh delicate herbs you like ]
Disclaimer: I’m going to write this as if I own a mandolin; it’ll be easier for all of us and will save me the trouble of telling the part of the story where I accidentally shaved a piece of skin off my left index knuckle with the vegetable peeler. Oh. Oops.
I’m also not going to write how I used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper, for the sake of not being a bad influence (dear, oh dear).
Preheat the oven on 300ºF/150ºC. Take two baking sheets of the same size and preheat it in the oven as well.
Fill a shallow pan with a big pinch of salt and water, stir to let the salt dissolve. Peel the carrots and cut across in half. Cut each of the halves in half again, lengthwise. Use a mandolin and attach the carrots to the hand guard (safety first), cut side facing the mandolin blade. Cut the carrots to long, paper thin slices.
Keep the slices in the correct order/sequence so they’ll match in shape/size later. Every time you finish shaving a small stack, carefully move the stack into the salt-water pan to submerge. Repeat until the whole carrot is shaved.
Melt the unsalted butter in a small pot over medium-high heat until very slightly browned. Take it off from the heat and combine with the olive oil. Set aside. Wash whatever herbs you’re using and dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. I used some dried wild thyme here which has a very nice lemony-scent to it. Set aside. Keep another clean, dry kitchen towel by the carrot-slices for easy drying.
Lay a piece of parchment paper that’s the size of the baking-sheet you’re using on the counter, and brush very lightly with the melted butter. Starting with the very first stack of carrot-slices, lay one slice flat on the kitchen towel and gently press the other side of the towel on top to dab it dry. Then lay the slice on top of the parchment paper, and place 1 small leaf of whatever herbs you’re using in the center. Dab/dry another potato-slice and place it right on top of the other (they should match in shape/size). Use your finger to gently push out as much air-pockets in between the slices as you can. Brush the top very lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the rest of the slices and leave about 1″ (2.5 cm) of space in between each.
Lay another piece of same-sized parchment paper on top and press gently to eliminate air. Place the entire thing on the preheated baking-sheet. Press the other baking-sheet on top to keep it flat. Bake in the oven for 15 ~ 20 min, checking every 10 minutes or so, until the chips are golden browned. If the chips aren’t browned yet, remove the top sheet and bake for another 5 min.
b-ritt-thuggin asked you:
Of fennel bulbs and quiet celebrations.
7 years ago today, I had a double birthday celebration with my Biology teacher. In a cafe in a remote village of Kritou Terra, where the air always smell like oranges and the population seems to consist of elders that wake up with the sun and sleep when the streetlight turns on.
“καλημέρα!" is shouted with a wave whenever we pass these elders on our way to the study center in the morning, and "Καληνύχτα!" on the way back to our lodges (one of us said the former once, which drew amused looks), a little past 9pm. Dinner was memorable, to say the least. Chef Mario would bring out a huge bowl of a simple salad of shredded lettuce, carrots and, introducing itself to my untrained palate, fragrant, crisp shredded fennel bulbs. All tossed in what I can only guess is some salt, lemon and olive oil. This was followed by thick slabs of lasagna on some nights, spaghetti and stuffed baked tomatoes on others. Among the six girls on the trip, two were strong eaters. I was one of them, obviously. The other one sat next to me here; cute as a button, appetite of a Roman warrior - in the best way. Somehow we’re always the last one to finish off the food, because Mario refuses to take up the dishes otherwise.
On the evening of my birthday, my thighs burned from walking uphill for 2 hours from the river stream we’ve been collecting our data in, but a friend forced me into a pair of her black jeans and a white crocheted top my Mother sneaked into my suitcase, just in case I “needed to look nice”. They practically dragged me into the cafe where they made me sit at the head of the table (my head was also on the table - 2 hours of walking uphill for 3 days straight will do that to you) and I just wanted to eat monstrous amount of food and sleep, when out came Mario with a beautiful, albeit simple, cake. With candles. And happy birthday written on it for me and my Biology teacher (who didn’t have to dress up), who had his birthday 2 days ago. It was a birthday surprise I’ve never hoped for, and glad to have had. We feasted on grilled chicken and rice pilaf with vermicelli. And chocolate cake, of course. I didn’t know then what Mario put in that chicken, but I think I do now. He was, at the end of the day, all for simple ingredients and big flavors. Come relive that memory with me.
SHAVED FENNEL with LEMON AND PARSLEY SALAD (serves 4):
[ 3 medium sized fennel bulbs + 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley + 1/2 a lemon, juice and zest + 1/2 of a small red onion + 4 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped + 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon sugar + salt and pepper to taste ] OPTIONAL: a 1/4 cup of feta, crumbled.
Slice the red onion thinly and soak it in a bowl of water for 15 minutes to mellow it out.
Meanwhile, if you have a mandolin in your possession, break it out and slice the fennel thinly with it. If you don’t then use a knife to cut the fennel bulb in half from top to bottom and then slicing it as thinly as you can crosswise.
Combine the onion, fennel, parsley and olives in a bowl. Add the fennel fronds if you’ve saved them as well. Add in the zest and juice of a lemon and sugar and toss to coat. Add the olive oil just before serving. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble the feta on top, if using.
LEMON THYME GRILLED CHICKEN (serves 4):
[ 4 chicken thighs, or any part you like + 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 tablespoon dried thyme + 4 cloves of garlic, minced + 1/2 teaspoon salt ]
Combine oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and and garlic in a small bowl. Plate chicken in a shallow baking dish and cover with mixture. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Preheat the grill, and place the chicken on grill and cook for 6-8 minutes per side, or until the juices run clear. Alternatively, you can cook this in the oven at 350F for about 25-30 minutes. I had some leftover marinade so I cut up a potato into wedges and tossed those into the marinade, added a bit more pepper and olive oil and roasted it in a separate pan along with the chicken. Turn on the broiler on low for an additional 3 minutes for some crisping action.
VERMICELLI RICE PILAF (serves 4):
[ 1 oz vermicelli + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1/2 small onion, chopped + 1 cup long grain rice + 2 cups low sodium broth + parsley for garnish ]
Break the vermicelli into 1-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute while stirring until it turns a bit brown, maybe even a bit too brown for comfort (but not burnt!). This is okay. This is going to give the rice some colour. Add the pasta and rice and cook while stirring frequently for 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Add parsley and fuff pilaf with a fork.
Serve the chicken with the rice pilaf and salad.
Making Ice Cream Pie
Yo. Somebody better tell me real quick that you can clearly see the Pi symbol here or else I’m gonna walk and make no mistake, I’m taking my pie with me. My sister kept saying that you can’t see it so somebody better verify my craftsmanship with broken shards of caramel.
In any case, there is half a carrot cake with feta frosting, a quarter of a sister’s birthday chocolate mousse cake, a few boxes of Choco Pie, a tray of 36 Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls, and a few tins of Quality Street chocolates from birthday gifts so we clearly don’t need any more sweets or desserts in this house. And that’s just swell, except for the fact that today is Pi day! And if the calendar says you have to make and/or eat pie, you shall make and/or eat pie. It’s all for the commemoration of Mathematics, guises. Long live pi
ICE CREAM PIE (serves 10-12, downsize accordingly):
[ 1 18oz package of oreos + 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, melted + 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons flour + 1/2 cup cocoa powder + 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon butter + 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + your favorite ice cream ] OPTIONAL: 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules.
Using a food processor, crush the cookies until it becomes crumbs. Add the melted butter and press into the bottom of a round pie pan (I lined mine with some cling film because I wanted to serve it outside the pan. Totally optional). Freeze for about 1 hour. Alternatively, you can put the cookies in a ziploc bag and crush it to smithereens with a rolling pin, whichever works for you.
While the crust is chilling, make the chocolate fudge. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder and instant coffee granules, if using. Heat the milk, butter and vanilla over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture while constantly whisking. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Take out the ice cream 10 minutes before the crust is ready to soften and be easier to spread. Take out the crust, add scoops of your favorite flavor ice and smooth over the crust. You can literally put any flavor you like; strawberry cheesecake, mint & chocolate chip,
feta ice cream, coffee ice cream (yum!), mango ice cream (double yum with chocolate, I swear!). We only had a tub of boring old vanilla, buried under a bag of frozen strawberries and the grapes I stashed in the freezer for smoothies, so I dug that out and mixed it with some peanut butter and leftover oreo crumbs from the crust.
You can pour the fudge on top of the ice cream layer now or chill the ice cream pie until it sets and then pour the fudge on top, whichever floats your boat.
Leave it to set for at least 4 hours. You can serve it as it is, or decorate it any way you like. I made some almond pralines and scattered it on top for some extra pizzazz. Cut into slices and serve immediately.
A few years ago, a prominent Food tumblogger discovered my blog and started featuring my posts on the Food page. She is the Scooter Braun to my Biebs, the Evan Rogers to my RiRi. She is Jeannie of Goddess of Scrumptiousness. I don’t think she ever knew how thankful I was for her, how grateful I am for her constant support in the early days because I have this thing where I have troubles expressing my feelings so I often come off as ignorant and discourteous.
When her recipe, Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes came out (which pretty much broke Pinterest), I knew I wanted to make it. But I wanted to wait until I had ALL the ingredients so I’ll know the way that it was intended to taste. It was a long wait; rosemary, thyme and parmesan didn’t come easy in Indonesia. Well today the wait is over - I finally got my fresh rosemary, my thyme, and a bottle of grated parmesan that I smuggled into the airplane and endured a 11+ hour flight, plus 5 hours of delay because I was afraid that I wouldn’t find it here.
Call this a random expression of thanks, but it is long overdue and I’m glad I finally got to do it. Thank you for your passion, your kindness and your talent, Jeannie.
Making Carrot Cake with Feta Frosting:
I love you guys. But you shouldn’t have told me not to do it. Actually, even if you told me to do it I would’ve done it. It’s a catch 22. But with every “Nay! Do noth do it!” warning, I was cackling maniacally while thinking about how to make feta palatable enough in a frosting. Let’s take a walk.
The first and obvious step was to find a recipe for a carrot cake that’s foolproof and delicious. This is crucial since this cake is going to be the savior of this experiment. Cue Sally’s Baking Addiction's recipe for carrot cake, with a few tweaks:
[ 1 cup brown sugar, packed + 3/4 cup vegetable oil + 1/4 cup regular yogurt, plain or vanilla + 3 large eggs + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 2 cups very finely grated carrots + 3/4 cup pecan pieces ]
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sally doesn’t recommend using a regular circular or square baking pan since the cake might rise above - which to be honest didn’t quite matter to me, since I didn’t have a springform pan AND can’t find any circular cake pan. So I had to use the next best thing:
What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s my mother’s jello mold made out of metal. Greased it, floured it. Set it aside.
In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed (My mixer was missing a beater attachment, just sayin’), combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined - about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone - do not overmix.
Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Speaking of pecan pieces, I didn’t have any on hand. But what I do have is close enough - a packet of airplane assorted nuts! There was cashew, almonds, pistachio and candied fruits. I took out the candied watermelon - those do nothing for cake aesthetics, and pretty much pulverized them - with my knife, for “volume”. Then I realized I should save half to put on top of the finished cake, so I only put maybe a 1/4 cup of nuts into the batter.
Pour into prepared springform pan. Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. My cake took around 35 minutes.
While the cake is baking, it’s time to make the frosting (oh yeah).
Now I started out with 200 gr of feta cheese and a few triangles of soft cheddar. I could’ve used the cheddar, I suppose, but that would go against my principles.
So in goes the 200 gr of feta into a bowl - I knew I wanted to use all of it. It’s all or nothing, babes. I tasted a bit of it just to gauge the amount of sugar needed. The thing that came to mind when I tasted it was “Brine! Pickles!" - it was so, so salty, so I added 150 gr of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and then I beat it with a mixer. At least, I tried to beat it to combine, because the feta was bit hard and won’t budge. I coaxed it with a spoon by smushing it around a bit before using the mixer. When it was smooth-ish, I added 150 ml of [very] COLD heavy cream and just kept mixing at medium speed until it became thick and frosting like.
Then it was time to taste and adjust. It tasted alright at first lick, but then the sweetness disintegrate to leave a mouthful of pungent, salty taste. So I added another 50 gr of icing sugar, another 50 ml of cold heavy cream and another teaspoon of vanilla. Mix again.
It didn’t taste that bad. Sure, it doesn’t taste like your regular cream cheese frosting, but it doesn’t scream “BRINE! PICKLES!” either. I decided it’ll have to do and put it in the fridge to chillax. Meanwhile, cake’s done!
I detected some underbaking in the middle, but for now it’ll have to do. I set it aside to cool completely before turning it out because I wasn’t even sure if it will come out intact from the pan.
It did, and beautifully too. I got the frosting out of the fridge and it was the moment of truth. It spreads out alright, not too thick, not too thin. But 200 gr was a mighty amount of cheese, so there was a LOT of leftover. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Because I’m thinking FETA CHEESECAKE! Just kidding. Maybe.
Anyways, the frosting is on and the chopped nuts are sprinkled on. Time to taste the cake.
It wasn’t….bad. Surprisingly. Definitely not as bad as you think it would be. It’s good, but not cream cheese good. I think the cake made up for whatever the frosting is lacking, and I’m glad I left out the salt in the cake batter. All in all, I thought it was a good experiment. At least now I know you can definitely use feta when you’re in a pinch. Actually, more like if you’re a rat stuck between two bookcases. A fat rat. In a very narrow space. In any case, here’s the recipe for the frosting:
FETA FROSTING (oh yeah):
[ 100gr feta cheese, crumbled + 100 to 150gr icing sugar + 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + 100 to 150 ml cold heavy cream ]
In a bowl, beat together the crumbled feta and sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again for 30 seconds. Add in the cold heavy cream and beat until smooth and thick. Refrigerate until needed.
Put on carrot cake and serve. Enjoy!
EDIT: Refrigerate cake overnight before serving! I just tried another slice after it’s been sitting 2 hours in the fridge and it tasted way better. Perhaps refrigeration will improve its taste.
PS: I tried looking up posts with “feta frosting” tag, but in vain.
So I’m going to add that tag to this post with “feta frosting”, just in case someone else is curious enough.
PSS: Thank you to those who answered! Without your ”Aye!(s)” or “Nay!(s)”, it wouldn’t have happened. Thanks again, guys!