Thursday, August 2, 2007

Top Ten

I know it's been done before, but here are my personal top ten signs that you're spending too much time on your food blog.

#10 - You spend outrageous sums on specialty foods and don't blink because it's "for the blog."

#9 - When you set a hot dog down for your 5-year-old's lunch, he says, "Aren't you going to take a picture first?"

#8 - You plan your menu based not on nutrition, but on what's photogenic.

#7 - You know more about people who live in Australia, Singapore, and England than your next-door neighbors.

#6 - You can't remember the last fiction book you read. All the books you check out from the library are cookbooks. Likewise, when you log onto Amazon, all the "suggestions" are cookbooks.

#5 - You check for comments on your blog more often than you check for emails.

#4 - You have your blog URL put on your business cards

#3 - It feels like a waste of time to make something you've already blogged about.

#2 - When telling a story you make a mental note to work that into a blog post.

And, the #1 sign that you spend too much time on your food blog - You can't fit into your pants because of blogger's bloat!

Because of the last one, I've revisited a very good cookbook that's been gathering dust for a while. I can only do a non-stop diet of ice cream, scones, and cake for a little while before I feel the need to lighten up a bit. Have Your Cake and Eat It Too by Susan Purdy is the perfect way to cut out calories, fat, and cholesterol and yet still feel like you're having dessert.

With a bounty of fresh blueberries and raspberries on my counter and a refrigerator full of egg whites from making multiple batches of ice cream, I set out to make this luscious, light dessert. A pudding, in my experience has always been a custard. This was my first experience with, what I'd guess is, a bread pudding. Instead of bread, though, I used my egg whites to make an angel food cake, then the berries made a thick, slushy syrup for the cake to soak up. It's a tangy, sweet dessert, not too heavy, perfect for summer. If you want to feel extra good about yourself, top it with a blop of vanilla yogurt. Or, you can put on a dollop of whipped cream (like I did) or pair it with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. Shhh - I won't tell!

Very Berry Summer Pudding
adapted from Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

7 cups fresh berries or frozen whole unsweetened berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or any combination, divided
2 Tbsp water
1/2 to 2/3 cup granulated sugar, to taste (I used 1/2 cup)
2 to 4 Tbsp dark rum or Framboise, to taste (this is optional. I used 2 Tbsp Chambord)
1 angel food cake

1- Combine 6 cups of the berries, the water, and sugar in a large heavy saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Cook, mashing and stirring the berries with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the berries release their juice. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rum or Chambord, if using, and set aside to cool.

2 - Line a 1-1/2 quart (or slightly larger) bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to overhang the edges. Cut the cake into 15 thin slices (about the thickness of a piece of store-sliced bread. It's OK if you have cake leftover - set it aside for later use). Cut 11 slices of the cake in half on the diagonal. Arrange 9 or 10 trangular pieces of cake in a pinwheel pattern, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the bowl completely. Cut 3 or 4 slices of cake into 1- to 2-inch-wide strips and stand them on end, side by side, to line the sides of the bowl. Add extra cake, cut to fit, as needed to line the bowl right up to the rim.

3- Stir the berry mixture, and spoon about half into the cake-lined bowl. Smooth the top, and arrange 6 or more cake triangles in a pinwheel pattern to cover the berries. Spoon on the remaining berries and arrange 6 or more cake triangles in another pinwheel covering the berries. Cut small pieces of cake to patch any holes. The pattern does not matter; this will be the bottom when the pudding is unmolded. Fold the flaps of the plastic wrap over the cake.

4- Cover the pudding with another piece of plastic wrap slightly larger than the diameter of the bowl, then top it with a plate or cardboard round that fits just inside the bowl (it should not rest on the rim). Set a 2 lb weight on top, and refrigerate the pudding for at least 12 hours.

5 - To unmold, remove the weight and uncover the top of the pudding. Fold back the flaps of the plastic wrap and top the pudding with a flat serving plate with a lip. Invert, and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut into wedges and garnish each serving with a few of the remaining fresh berries.


Melinda said...

Your friend in England appreciates the pounds you put on for the sake of the blog.
As to all 10 things listed, I plead guilty too!... That's funny about the hot dog and your son. My daughter usually says,'That looks good, who is it for?' This because I always seem to be making goodies for other people! She gets real excited if I say it is for us.
I like this version of summer pudding and have never thought to use angel food cake. I thought it might get too soggy... yours doesn't look soggy. I will have to try it out.

Sean said...

Just letting you know, that cake looks simply wonderful.
Did the little one really ask that about the hot dog? Our family seriously never has any chance for normalcy.

Sean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly-Jane said...

I'm laughing out loud!

Great cake, beautiful colour too.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Not only your food is marvelous but your texts are so much fun!
I started to read your post and it was taking one of those magazine quizzes, I started answering yes to all the sentences... :)

I loved the recipe and also the indication of that book, I'll look it up!

Jerry said...

Oh my god isn't so true! I check comments as much as I check my e-mail. Downtime at work, checking food blogs.

Brilynn said...

I'm so guilty of all of those things... especially the pants not fitting, damn that ice cream!

Ellie said...

Absolutely gorgeous, but I am not gonna think about this till summer comes bearing fresh berries - somehow I think that using frozen ones for this would just not work as well!

Lady Di said...

OMG, give the lil dude a hug from Aunt Muffin. That laugh made my day!

Lynn, have I told you before how honored I am to call you my sister? You are beautiful, talented, gifted and wise.

I have all sorts of good fruit to try this out on - it looks fabulous. You may even convince my Brit husband that cake is a good thing (no, not the kind with lots of raisins and hooch).

Amy said...

I am so guilty of some of those things. :D

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Many of the points on your list ring true for me as well! I think sometimes my husband secretly shakes his head at me when I'm photographing thing. The berry pudding looks beautiful, I've been meaning to make one of these for year.....maybe I should do it "for my blog" heeehee. Thanks for the big smile :D.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Melinda - Yes, I am totally selfless to suffer so for my blog friends. ;-)

Sean - Yes, he really did ask about the picture.

Kelly-Jane - Glad to have put a laugh in your day.

Patricia - I'm glad we have so much in common.

Jerry - Your blog is certainly worth commenting on. Good food and thoughtful text.

Brilynn - And you make such amazing ice cream! Too hard to resist.

Ellie - Fresh is best, for sure.

Lady Di - Likewise, I'm sure, Big Swiss! Tell your Brit husband it's a pudding and I'm sure he'll be OK with it.

Amy - That's what makes your blog so good!

Jen - So glad I made you smile. I'll look for the pudding on your blog soon. Don't hesitate too long or the berries will be gone!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Your list of 10 things is totally perfect but the Very Berry Summer Pudding is fantastic, now I'll be headed to amazon looking for another book! Oh woe is me. . . another cookbook.

Barbara said...

Ha! Love the top 10 list. I can relate to all of them.