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Torta di Verdure

October 11, 2010

I do not pretend to always get it right. Remember the short ribs? Remember that unbelievably delicious coconut chocolate chunk cake? I left out a cup of flour and it fell apart because I didn’t adequately grease the pan. These were exceptions, not because I failed but because I shared my failures with you.

I always figured that sharing those recipes that turned out just okay or complete and utter failures would be a waste of your time. You don’t want to see some half-baked vegetable cake! You want perfect pasta sauce, addictive snacks and exquisite desserts. You want to see me succeed in the kitchen, I figured, because no one likes to see a failure.

But then, very recently, one of my dear friends (who has made guest appearances here in the past) said:

On a roll after making the amazing Pumpkin Cake that birthed this blog, she apparently forgot some ingredients in the simple chocolate cake (which, I admit, is nothing to write home about), didn’t properly secure her spring form pan (resulting in an oven floor covered in puddles of burnt cake) when baking it and managed to curdle the vanilla frosting.

One thing that wasn’t ruined? Her sense of humor:

chocolate cake? or poop.

And it was precisely this that prompted me to post about today’s humble creation. An all out fail? Maybe not. But it has so many things going against it, such as:

no. 1. it’s time consuming and involves lots of steps. Boo!

no. 2. it fell apart immediately after being released from the pan;

no. 3. the instructions (in Italian) are ridiculously vague (as are most Italian recipes);

no. 4. it uses three kinds of cheese (usually a huge plus, am I right?) but they’re barely perceptible in the finished product;

no. 5. its name (“vegetable cake” in English) is maybe the least appetizing ever;

no. 6. it’s kind of heavy in your mouth, a bit like undercooked bread;

and no 7. while it tastes okay, it’s certainly not worth all the effort.

Those are seven reasons why, off the top of my head, this fussy loaf cake of blah is not worth your time or mine.

It’s just that, despite all that, I really wanted this to work out. I’ve borrowed the cookbook, Oggi Cucini Tu, from Francesco’s  colleague after eating the umpteenth delicious thing she made from it. The book, a compilation of recipes from a popular cooking show in Italy, has no photos or recipe descriptions but somehow still manages to make everything seem divine.

This torta di verdure was supposed to be a luscious mixture of bread made with ricotta, sautéed vegetables and cheese. You can’t go wrong. Right?


The book is so convincing, in fact, that I keep asking myself, “is it me? Where did I cut a corner? What did I forget to do? Was I not supposed to substitute lievito per torte salate with baking powder?” Despite today’s mini Fail, I’m still planning to make “bomboloni alla mortadella” (page 43) tomorrow night (wish me luck!).

Who knows, maybe the book will redeem itself. Or maybe I’ll just have another fail to post.

So did I waste your time with today’s post? Maybe. But at least we can all feel a little bit better the next time our spring form pans spring a leak.

And those kitchen disasters? They make the successes so much sweeter.

See the frosting? Mine curdled, too.

p.s. if you want the (translated) recipe for torta di verdure, I’ll be happy to oblige! Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did…

p.p.s. For the updated popular reaction to and a slightly more appetizing picture of torta di verdure, click here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carol permalink
    October 12, 2010 6:56 am

    I like the idea of the “Fail” section – it really does make you feel better about yourself. No one can create perfect dishes every time, and it is usually the ones that take the most effort that bomb. So fail away without worries. Your perfect dishes will be that much “sweeter.” And let us know how the bomboloni alla mortadella comes out – I LOVE mortadella!

  2. Brenna permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:06 am

    HILARIOUS. i must admit I wasn’t inspired when i saw that first pic pop up…

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