Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When Things Go (Not Horribly) Wrong

Looks good, doesn't it?
But what is it? It's dull comfort food, the type that's supposed to photograph so badly. Boring, brown, jumbly.
I got a nice, well-lit shot, though, and I should just shut up and end this now.
However. The food didn't work out, exactly. Looks good, tastes fine, eats weird.
It is a humble mix of eggs and (precooked) rice, flavored with mushrooms, spinach and other savories. Loaded into the wrong casserole and baked to almost scone-like rigidity.
And here comes the lesson: It needed a lid. And it probably needed to be in pottery, not cast iron. I've loved baking things in this very same dish, but not this stuff.
Does cast iron cook hotter?
Lid. It needed a lid.


Ms Brown Mouse said...

I think metal dishes do cook hotter, and keep cooking even after you remove them from the oven, all that retained heat.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: I'd have to agree, and they certainly do retain the heat. Which is sometimes great.
I just read that glass also cooks hotter than ceramic. I wish this kind of stuff showed up in mags or cookbooks, because it's as important as the ingredients.

Zoomie said...

Oh, do try again - it sounds like a wonderful concoction that I want to try once you get it right.

SimplyStated said...

Heat retention can drive you nuts when cooking certain things. Glass does cook hotter.

Another thing I have found is that if you do not replace your Pyrex pans every 5 or 6 years and you do a lot of cooking with prepared that they may one day go "boom" in the oven. Happened to me and it took me hours to clean up and at least 3 beers to calm my nerves.

And yes, Pyrex is aware of the issue.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I've had great luck cooking a very similar concoction in a ceramic dish with a lid! I think that may be all you need to know. (Corning ware would be fine.) It was Cranky's idea to use the metal pan with no lid... even though I *suggested* otherwise. In which case, we should probably have just pulled it out of the oven in ten or 15 minutes... It's amazing to me that we Still Are Learning How to Cook.

Simply: Thanks for your endorsement of these facts.
As for Pyrex, the brand name has been sold to a (Chinese?) manufacturer, and they don't follow the original formula for the heatproof glass anymore. Yes, boom. I'm scared of the stuff. You are knowledgeable. I like that.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

ooo, I had a Pyrex dish go BOOM on me once. I thought it was my fault, for putting it on a hot, hot plate. Probably was really.

Zoomie said...

Simply and Cookie, I only use Pyrex I have had for years, to avoid the "new" formula stuff from China. Happily, the oven door is closed when they go "boom," but I'd need more than a few beers to settle down after such an incident! :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Jeepers. I might just get rid of the glass.

Zoomie: You know, I learned this information from an email you sent to your friends a few years ago. Thank you!

namastenancy said...

You know, in a food blog, it's not really about how good the food tastes - it's about how it looks. I just got an e-mail offering a workshop on food photography. It was too expensive and in NY to boot but it made me think. So far, I am cheating like crazy on my food posts including the one I did on last night's curry. I took a small spoon of the stuff, made a thin paste with turmeric and painted the food so that it would appear much more yellow in the photo.
I am learning all the tricks of the trade!

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: "painted" the food. Hah! You painter. I've been following the guidelines of an old friend who no longer blogs about food; she said if she couldn't get a shot of the food in situ, fuhgeddaboutit. So, to be lucky once in a while is really a treat. But.. I'm on to you. I like it.

Monkey Wrangler said...

Hmmm, this dish reminds me of the rice torte my family makes. Never gets baked with a lid and I do it all the time in a pyrex pan. The trick seems to be in having the right moisture to start out (a tough thing to "teach" in a recipe) and having the right thickness of material in the pan. If neither of these poochie!

cookiecrumb said...

Monkey Wrangler: You know I've made your torte a couple of times, and it's been perfect. So, yeah, moisture. And somehow, that cast iron. Because, right, the torte didn't take a lid. Hi, sweets!