Internet, I love you for your cooking blogs.
Seriously. For someone who likes to dabble in home cooking and try new recipes, the internet is a foodie’s fantasy-land. Everywhere you turn, you find artful, delicious cooking blogs like this one and this one.
I like to cook so much that I’ve occasionally thought about trying to start a cooking blog, but I usually give up after remembering how many good ones have already been established. It’s like wondering if you should take up the piano at the tender age of 28, and then flipping through channels and seeing a 4 year old pianist headlining at Carnegie Hall. It kind of rains on your parade a little. Not that you would have expected to end up at Carnegie Hall yourself, but…it gives you an excuse to be lazy and not try.
Plus, I don’t like to experiment a lot when I cook. I am a recipe-slave. All of the paper recipes I’ve printed out and tried at least once are flour-encrusted and water-stained; the recipes I use most in cookbooks are wrinkled and gritty. This is because I lean over a recipe twenty times every time I use it double-and triple checking the order in which I am supposed to add ingredients and the correct amounts to use. I prefer recipes that tell you exactly what the food should look like at each stage of the process. I am an anxious, hovery cook. And I don’t like to make up my own recipes, or experiment with other recipes, unless it’s to add more of an ingredient than it calls for if I like it– can you ever have TOO MANY green onions? No way.
In any event, yesterday I wanted to do something nice for Brian, who spent all day yesterday volunteering at the World Beer Festival in Raleigh (poor baby!), so I decided to make his favorite dessert: Key Lime Pie.
At the local grocery store, I started crestfallen at the pile of normal limes in produce. Supermarkets never seem to have those little mesh baggies of tiny round key limes when you need them. A woman stocking apples next to me asked if I needed something, and I told her what I wanted. “It looks like you may not have them,” I said.
“No,” she said, “but we have Ki-wis.”
She kept repeating that statement. She was not joking. I appreciated her trying to help, but when she started selecting limes from the normal lime pile and saying, ‘this one is smaller’, I wandered away. Eventually I found a bottle of Key Lime juice. Saved!
Pre-pie, after settling on this recipe from Gourmet by way of Epicurious; (I tend to like Epicurious.com’s offerings), I realized I was going to be left with 4 egg-whites. It seemed like a waste to throw out 4 whole egg whites, but I’d already had eggs for breakfast and was not in the mood for a 4-egg-white omelet. I just wasn’t.
So after doing some searching around (all of the egg-white recipes I found were either for meringues, these weird sounding cookies you make and leave in a turned-off oven overnight, or angel-food cake, which calls for at least 8 egg whites), I found this recipe for Sweet Milk Three Egg-White Cake. I don’t always like the recipes I find on Cooks.com; there aren’t reviews that I can locate, and I tend to come across a lot of ‘buy a store-made pie crust, fill it with jello pudding, refrigerate’ recipes, but sometimes one comes through for me. You never know. Plus, it’s a good place to find general ideas and themes for recipes, due to the huge volume of recipes listed.
I’m not as big on pie, I’m more of a cake person (sorry Laura!), so I figured this Sweet Milk Cake (doesn’t that just SOUND good?) would work nicely. You will note that the original recipe is charmingly OCD; it has you greasing the cake pan, lining it with waxed paper, and then greasing the waxed paper. It also instructs you to sift the flour and other dry ingredients a total of 4 times. This seems a little excessive. Lacking the proper amount of sugar, throwing in an extra egg white because I had one, and baking in a bundt pan were all my little lazy touches. Oh, and also I started sifting the flour, and gave up about 1/4 cup into the first sift. So there was also that. (I have found that where cooking is concerned, I tend to overestimate my patience and attention to detail. My meals are always paved with good intentions; I may start out cutting up a chicken breast into small, uniform pieces so that my stir-fry is consistent, but I almost always get bored of that and end up with chicken pieces of a gradually increasing size. This never stops me from considering myself to be a patient and meticulous cook, even though that is just not really the case.)
In any event, I made my version of Sweet Milk Three Egg White Cake, and I. LOVE. IT. Enough to share the recipe!
Sweet Milk Cake With Liberties Taken:
1/4 c. butter, 1/4 c. shortening
4 egg whites
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
2 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
You pretty much know how this goes: Oven to 375. Stir the flour up with the salt and baking powder. Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla. Add the flour and the milk alternately to this mixture. Grease a bundt pan. Bake for 40 min or so. The outside of the cake will be dark golden brown and just this side of crusty; the inside will be white and have a moist, tight crumb and be alllmost too sweet, but not quite (glad I skimped on the sugar!). Top with a ring of frosting (I used leftover creamcheese frosting from a can) when cake is still warm so that frosting will drip appealingly down sides of cake. I think any kind of frosting will work nicely.
Anyway, I really liked this cake, and it was really easy to make. I recommend it any time you have some leftover egg whites and a sweet tooth.
I think I will try posting an occasional recipe on here. This wasn’t so hard!