Tuesday, May 20, 2008

out of focus

Man, I've been dragging lately on this bloggy thingy. Whatever I have worked on this month just hasn't been finished. For one reason or another my last couple of posts have failed to get to the "publish" stage and right about now it's really driving me bonkers.

Take this dish for example. I was attempting to make a pink rice torte but it just wasn't working out. My working title was "pretty pink princess torte: the case of the missing betacyanin" but the nerdiness involved in explaining it was just all wrong.

It was a lovely color before going in the oven. I had diced my beets and steamed them. The water was a vivid hue that I wanted for my rice. I spooned some into my rice and milk and began cooking it, but ten minutes in all of the pink was gone and I still had brownish rice. I added some of the beet chunks and cooked it more, but this just resulted in pink horizons of rice around the chunks. Hmmm, what to do? I added more beets to the whole mess and stirred it all together and threw it in the oven. It looked great before, but based on the rice experience I had my doubts......

Doubts confirmed. The torte was yummy, but only had those damn pink spots and none throughout. It looked like princess torte with pink bits and was nowhere near what I had intended when I started off. Somehow the beet stain would cook away in each process except the steaming and I was left with a muted color. I had a Belgian ale and tried to forget about it but the question nagged me. Are the red colors in beets (hence the betacyanin reference) deactivated by cooking them?

I tried to forge ahead, even taking a few pictures along the way.

I've really been digging the grain products we started getting from Windborne farms a few months back. The flours are all super fresh, and the pancake mix absolutely superb, but the rye, well, I can't get enough of. I made some pretzels with it for a Berkeley Farmers' Market committee meeting with great results, so I bumped up the whole grain aspect and tried my hand at a sourdough whole wheat and rye baguette.

Sourdough: check
Whole wheat and rye: check
Fluffy: no check
Tasty: check
Flash for the dark conditions: no check
Use of brain: no check

Yep. Like I said before: out of focus. I stopped right there and haven't done shit for the blog since.........there you have it!

With some luck and better focus, maybe I'll get to another post before the month is out. I sure hope so, because the stone fruits are coming into the market and the first summer squashes are here. At the very least I can rant on and on about eating fruit and steaming something besides winter root veggies.

Later taters!


Mimi said...

I'm too unmotivated to blog. Funny thing is that the last thing I blogged was Beet Risotto. It came out deep red.
I have had a problem with boiled beets. The color does run out into the water. Maybe just shredding them into the torte so that they bake would work? I would imagine that any "run off" from the beet shreds cooking would end up in the torte that way.
Sorry you had so many problems, I kept running over here to be entertained and kept wondering why you weren't around...

K & S said...

I wish I could find beets here, I'll just drool over your torte :)

Anonymous said...

I am gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that you've been behind in your blogging because you parent a 4-1/2 year old and a 1 year old all day long. I have no idea how you do it. I can barely handle cleaning the cat box and doing dishes in the same day without needing a break (with a beer, of course). I think mimi's idea about shredding raw beets into the mix would work. When you cook 'em first the color bleeds out.

Your Sis

Kimberly said...

In my hippy days I made a veggie torte sort of thingy using raw beets that I had shredded along with some other veggies (carrots, parsnips and??? can't remember the other ingredients(it was the late 60's or was it early 70's?) I do remember it came out very pink...so try shredding raw beets to get that lovely princess pink color your seeking.
Love, Mom

Thais said...

I enjoy reading your blog and can't wait to hear what you come up with next.

Monkey Wrangler said...

Mimi: Hmmmm....shredding. Yeah, that might be the ticket. Thanks for stopping buy to check!

Kat: No beets? Like ever, or just right now? You could probably grow a few with very little space if you are really hankering.....

Sis: Yep, two kids has taken a bite out of blogging time, no doubt about it.

And it figures my older sibling would tell me how to use "bleeding out" as something to my advantage.

Ma: Hippie days? Naw, not you (step away from the carob oat bran cookie and no one will get hurt)

I'll try the raw shred technique in the near future. Maybe even at your house in the test kitchen!

Thais: Speaking of reading blogs (Miss Spinach and Honey) I'll be checking more of yer's out in the near future and make sure to say hi! Thanks for dropping by the monkey ranch!

K & S said...

nope, never...well, only if I pay like US$5 for a can of them imported from the U.S. :(

Rev. Biggles said...

AHHAHAHHAHAH, man, thanks for that. I started MH nearly 5 years ago, when Tiny E was ... 3 and Z was 7. Looking back, it was easier to blog when they were younger, much easier. Am hoping to get back in to it when they're off to college.

Um, Shuna passed a pink apple to me one day, tasted great. I think it was a Pink Lady? She says they hold their color even after cooking.

Totally hip on the failed posts. I started up a directory called, "Post Some Day" and each year it gets larger and larger.

Post Some Day, maybe.