Sunday, October 25, 2009
The recipe is easy, fast, and rich -- it has an intense taste which is necessary when you are counting calories. As the recipe states, only a tiny bit of the sauce is needed or it's too rich. I used about a tablespoon on my sandwich and although it was delicious, it was too much and I scraped some off. The thin schmear was much better.
I like the idea of using small mushrooms and buns as "mushroom sliders" but for my version, I had a large portabello and a ciabatta roll, so I used those.
This is also an easy but thoughtful sandwich to make for vegetarians which will come in handy this holiday season when everyone else is eating leftover turkey sandwiches. Grill some mushrooms and set them aside for your vegetarian guests so you can make this for them day after Thanksgiving.
Get the entire recipe and tips by clicking the link above. This is my synopsis:
1 mushroom cap, brushed with garlic olive
1 bun, brushed with garlic olive
1 tablespoon of mayo
Splash of lemon juice
Dab of Dijon mustard
handful of chopped basil
salt, pepper, and cayenne
Grill bun and mushroom 4 min each side until cooked. Mix remaining ingredients, top bun with basil mustard sauce, and serve.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I enjoy wine, but I'm not half the oenophile my boyfriend is (as further evidenced by the fact I had to check and make sure I was spelling oenophile correctly). For instance, it never occurs to me to open a bottle of wine at home. I live alone, and no matter how nice a meal I make for myself, the thought to open wine for myself with a meal doesn't even occur to me. Nor when I take a bubble bath or try to relax, as a matter of fact.
For that reason, at lunch he had wine, of course, but I ordered a Moscow Mule with my lunch and I make no apologies for it.
The weather was spectacular, the food was wonderful, the tourists were non-existent (except for us, of course) and we wandered about dining on wonderful meals, buying picnic treats from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery and Dean & Deluca, and then I saw it ... in the refrigerator case at Dean & Deluca ...
A tub of rendered Duck Fat.
"I've heard of that!" I exclaimed. "I heard roasted potatoes and fries in Duck Fat are out of this world."
My boyfriend and Michelle Obama share a trait: They've both said if they could get away with it, they would eat french fries every single day, maybe even at every meal. He loves them so. For me to exclaim that Duck Fat makes wonderful fried potatoes and is actually healthier than butter, made him give me the high sign and encourage me to buy it. He thought I was thinking only of him, but to heck with that. I want to try cooking with duck fat for me! Hoo yah! Duck Fat Fries and Moscow Mule? Mm mm.
I bought the tub of fat, brought it home, and began my Google Search. I found a thread on Chowhound which talks more about how to store it and make Duck Confit than anything else, and I found a post by Mark Bittman recommending I try it in my Buttermilk Biscuits (::Perk!::). Since I'm on a quest for Perfect Biscuits that tip will have to go into the rotation.
So, what say you all ... what do you do with your rendered duck fat that is out of this world? Roasted potatoes? Fries? Savory Collard Greens? I'm all ears and open to suggestions.
What we bought in Napa, while everyone else was buying wine (this is embarrassing):
From Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery
1) TKO's (Thomas Keller Oreos) (fantastic, swoon worthy, here's the recipe)
2) Pistachio Macaroons (too sweet)
3) Warm Brie Tomato Basil Sandwiches on Baquettes (excellent)
From Dean and Deluca Napa Valley
1) Rendered duck fat
2) Goat Cheese and Macaroni Mini Casserole
3) Roasted Chicken
4) Coconut Cupcakes (so damn good)
6) Old fashioned lemon mints; old fashioned spearmint gum
7) Beeswax hand creme
8) Apricot Morning Buns
9) Glazed Old Fashioned Donut
10) A small wire sieve I need when I'm roasting and sorting schezwan peppercorns.
From a collection of art galleries and shops:
1) A 3 strand necklace of seed pearls.
For lunch at Bardessono Hotel & Spa:
Heirloom tomato salad with basil oil and burrata cheese (oh my gosh...simplicity at its finest)
Marin Sun Farms Hamburger on Brioche with Aioli and Herb Fries
Oyster Po Boy
and the grand finale...
The bathroom at the Bardessono Hotel. My boyfriend said "You really must use the loo. You'll love it." I walked it...and just loved it. It's a mini spa all by itself. I won't regale you with the decor itself, which was lovely, but they have the Neo-Rest bidet system -- automatic toilets which gently lift the lid when the door opens and you walk in. The seats are heated. The controls on the wall let you take a nice little spa treatment right there, with warm water, mists, and a blow dryer with warm air for your nether regions. I so love a nice bidet system -- it's just so civilized, isn't it? I was in there a good long while testing out all of the various options and controls.
Way too much information, but I thought you really needed to know that the highlight of my trip to Napa Valley was a coconut cupcake, a Thomas Keller Oreo, a tub of duck fat -- and a wash and style for Miss Virginia.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results. The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bowl
33. Salted Lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a Fat Cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whiskey from a bottle worth $120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
63. Kaolin (CLAY? Oh, gotcha)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang Souchong
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose Harissa
95. Mole Poblano
96. Bagel and Lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Monday, October 5, 2009
I only had one complaint about these cookies when purchased fresh from the bakery: They were too large -- about the size of an English Muffin! That actually makes them too sweet as they don't divide easily, so you're essentially eating three very sweet cookies in one. By making your own, you can select the size of your choosing.
Cookie1 1/2 cups plus 3 tbsp AP flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature
Filling1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
For the Filling: In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk to melt the chocolate until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and let stand for at least 6 hours to thicken up.
For the Cookies: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed. With the mixer running, add the butter, a piece at a time. The mixture will be dry and sandy at first, but over 2 minutes, will form pebble-sized pieces that start to cling together. Stop the mixer and transfer the dough to your board.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Separate dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper to 1/8" inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Scraps can be pieced together and rolled out again. Place 1/2" apart on baking sheets lined with Silpat liners or parchment paper.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Remove and cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
To Assemble: Lightly whip the white chocolate cream to aerate and fluff up. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" plain tip. Pipe about 1 1/2 tsp in the center of half the cookies. Top with another cookie to sandwich. Gently press down until the cream comes to the edges.
Cookies can be stored in a container for up to 3 days. Loosely cover.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Over time, I've become disheartened by how much the network has changed from a "Chef Based" cooking network to a "Food as Entertainment" network. The same tired things get shown over and over again, the great chefs are gone, and Unwrapped is a bore.
Little by little, I just stopped watching and it occurred to me, recently, that I bet I've only turned it on perhaps once or twice in the past year. In fact, the last thing I remember turning in to watch was the
So, it was surprising to me that I was channel surfing the other night and stopped to watch a young woman prepare a simple and inexpensive Braised Pork Shoulder, and I didn't turn the channel. That's very rare these days. It really did look very easy and tasty, and I thought to myself, as I watched "First, I'd like to make that this weekend, but Second, someone needs to show her how to properly use a knife. It's as if she's never learned." I had no idea who she was until I went online to download and prepare the recipe.
The coincidence is, that she is Melissa d'Arabian who apparently is the most recent winner of that same show -- The Next Food TV Star -- and she is not a chef, which explains her less than polished performance and lack of knife skills. The Braised Pork recipe has all five star reviews from the new fans of her show, Ten Dollar Dinners, so I made it and pronounce it excellent. So fast and easy, really economical without tasting like it, and it reminded me that having a cast iron dutch oven is such a good thing. I need to use it more often.
The complete recipe is here. I'd add less wine next time -- my red wine had too much personality. My progress photos are shown below:
|Rough chopped celery, leeks, onion, carrots, and garlic cloves.|
|A pork shoulder, which cost only $4.85 for the entire package (several pounds), was cut into hunks, seasoned, and seared in a cast iron dutch iron. Mmmm, seared pork.|
|Those babies came out to rest after just getting browned on the outside. I picked all the crispy bits off and ate them. So good.|
|All but a few teaspoons of the pork fat was drained off, and I added the veggies until they were soft, and then added stocks, seasonings, bay leaf, etc., and brought to a boil.|
|The seared pork shoulder was nestled back down into the vegetable stock.|
|Three hours later, I had some beautiful braised pork shoulder and lots of stewed vegetables.|
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Love the site you guys (even though you've rejected every single entry I've submitted after the site was relaunched, but published lots before the relaunch), but that ad is just HORRID. I can't tell if it's a piece of grilled fat, meat, road kill, a split open rattle snake (or worse, something Bobbitt like ::shudder::).
Tastespotting, please don't make me look at the ugly meat anymore.
If you are honest with yourselves, you know damn well you would have REJECTED that as a photo submission from any one of us, stating "Unflattering Composition; Not Sharp." Don't you even try to deny it.
You should make the sponsor drink some of their product and replace that ad photo with one of a grilled taco or something -- with identifiable meat cooked past 165 degrees to avoid the cooties crawling all over the undercooked meat in that unflattering, unsharp, low contrast, photograph.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I wish I didn't love McDonald's Buttermilk Biscuits. I shouldn't love them. No one should. Come on, it's a fast food chain -- they shouldn't sell good biscuits, but they do. I like that they are light and tender, and hold up well to a sausage sandwich. I've heard tales from some forums that McDonald's uses a mix and adds water, rolling them out and baking (which seems unlikely); while others claim they come in a pre cooked slab and are heated from frozen with a brush of margarine (which seems more likely). I once knew a woman who -- ahem -- never had to pay for her lunches because she was particularly nice to the married cafe manager. Really nice. I'd like to think I'd never barter myself for a tuna sandwich, but then again, if I confirmed McDonald's uses a water based mix I might shame myself with my efforts to meet a manager and get a big bucket of it, somehow.
Buttermilk Biscuits shouldn't be difficult to make, but I've yet to find the perfect recipe (e.g., one that I can't screw up with too heavy a hand). Don't even suggest Pillsbury Grands -- those are an abomination, and although I'm a Trader Joe's Junkie, I don't like their frozen biscuit dough, either. Heavy, dense and greasy.
I'd like to be able to make my own and keep them frozen so that I can grab one for a portable breakfast sandwich, so I've gone on a quest to find that recipe. This will not only address my portable breakfast agenda, but, will help bring to an end a long running fraud I've been committing for years. YEARS, I tell you.
At least 7-8 years ago, I was invited to a potluck picnic by my boss and his wife. They were serving chicken and ribs and such, and I was asked to bring bread. Ah Ha! I thought. I've got some frozen Schwan's Southern Style Biscuits , those will work just fine. I baked them off, took them to the BBQ, and my boss went nuts, telling me, and his wife, that they were the best biscuits he'd ever had.
This Biscuit Adulation didn't sit well with his wife, who is a great cook and didn't like that someone else was getting all the attention, so she asked me for the recipe over and over again. I never said "Oh they are just frozen Schwan's biscuits, order some." NO, I had to complicate my life and lie, so I said "Oh I don't share that recipe -- it's my family recipe, but I"ll bring you some anytime you want, and you can keep them in your freezer and just bake them off for him whenever he asks for them."
Thus began the Great Biscuit Fraud. I ended up having to buy -- several times -- bags of frozen Schwan's Biscuits and giving them to her in a baggie with written instructions (they come in frozen par baked dough). I've done it probably once or twice a year, for 7 years. She's even said we should have one of those biscuit and tamale making parties around the holidays and put them all up at once. I always decline (of course). Oh what a tangled web we weave, and all that. Fortunately she doesn't read this blog.
I agree they are pretty damn good, but more free form -- a little closer to a drop biscuit -- than the rolled biscuit in the Schwan's product photo, but it's a pain in the ass to order ahead and coordinate delivery every other week, and tell the driver yet again that no, I don't want any of their overpriced frozen steaks. Just the biscuits. Oh, and some of the English fish and chips, those are excellent. And um, those vanilla ice cream sandwiches, too (See? this is why I can't shop at Schwan's anymore, except when I need to lie to my boss about biscuits).
Anyway, I want -- and need -- to master my own biscuit recipe so I've set about finding one that is fluffy, light, golden, and buttery. I've tried Angel Biscuits in the past, which are yeast based, but they didn't quite make it, either. Too much like a roll.
I found a recipe booklet online (and what a hoot it is), which has recipe clones for everything McDonald's sells, and it had the biscuit recipe in it. It seemed simple enough -- basically a doctored Bisquick biscuit recipe, but I was wary of anything which started with Bisquick. I was right to be wary. They were NOT the biscuits they sell in the restaurant, so don't be fooled. I'm not even posting the pic of those I made because they are not worthy. A decent enough biscuit, surely, but nothing to write home about. Oh, sorry, was I droning on? Have you tired of my biscuit drama and you want a link to the McMenu Cookbook instead? See the bottom of this post, if you're still with me.
Anyway, back to the biscuits. The McDonald's clones -- out. Not worthy. The Angel Biscuits -- meh. Not quite worthy. Then I found a "Cream Biscuit" recipe on the King Arthur Flour website and tried those. I recently learned that I really liked cornstarch based bakery recipes due to the wonderful texture. The best cake I've ever made was mostly cornstarch, so this recipe, which calls for more than the average amount of cornstarch, and heavy cream (whoo yeah) which I had on hand, seemed promising.
Also, I read a cookbook by Jane and Michael Stern -- Recipes from The Blue Willow Inn -- and the tip from the cook at this Southern inn said to handle the biscuit dough as little as possible. Literally stir just a bit until the flour is moist, slap the stringy floury wad down on the board and pat it out without kneading, and cut them without really mixing the dough all that well. I used KAF's recipe, but followed the Blue Willow Rule, and I'm really glad I did.
These biscuits were VERY VERY good. Best biscuits I've made to date, that's certain. The texture was wonderful. Very tender, very buttery, very delicate. Loved the crispy almost granular crust and the soft interior. However, they were not high and pillowy -- they didn't rise terribly high, and, when sliced for a sandwich, tended to crumble. So while these are great for a breakfast basket, they are not quite the right biscuit for a portable sausage breakfast sandwich.
KAF calls these Guaranteed Biscuits. I guarantee I'll make them again and eat the batch within 24 hours because they came together really quickly (except for the freezing time in Step 5 but that gave me time to clean up), but the quest for the McDonald's biscuit close, or a proper Buttermilk Biscuit, continues. Got any winning recipes for me?
KAF GUARANTEED BISCUITS (CREAM BISCUITS)
1 3/4 cups KAF AP Flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 to 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, enough to make a cohesive dough
1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
1) Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in enough heavy cream to moisten the dough thoroughly. You'll probably use about 1 cup in the summer, 1 1/4 cups in the winter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons at the turn of the seasons. You want to be able to gather the dough together, squeeze it, and have it hang together easily, without dry bits falling off.
2) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and very gently pat it into an 8" circle about 3/4" thick. If you're uncertain about your ability to make a nice free form 8" round, pat the dough into a lightly floured 8" round cake pan, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
3) Use a sharp 2 ¼" biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Place them on a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet.
4) Brush the biscuits with butter, if desired, for extra flavor.
5) Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will improve the biscuits' texture and rise.
6) Preheat the oven to 425°F while the biscuits are in the freezer.
7) Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, till they're golden brown. Remove from the oven. If you have any melted butter left over, brush it on the baked biscuits. Serve immediately.
Monday, September 7, 2009
That place is the worst for me.
Problem 1: They tend to have a lot of very inexpensive cookbooks.
In my defense, this particular book was one I had not seen before, and even though its by Paragon, it had recipes I'd never seen before, and I loved the concept. It's called "1 Broth, 100 Soups" and in leafing through it, I immediately noted that I'd want to try more than 75% of them. That's a must buy. Plus, I find making stocks really calming and therapeutic, and the stock for each of the 100 recipes is a Vegetable Stock, which I have not made before.
I made the Basic Veggie Stock first (adapted, my own recipe follows) and then chose Shrimp Laksa for my first soup. I didn't have every ingredient on hand, but made some tasty substitutions and turned a very lovely bowl of soup. This time, I'm actually glad I broke my No New Cookbooks Rule.
MY VEGETABLE STOCK
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 container of Trader Joe's Mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery)
1 large potato, diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
In a large stock pot, heat the oil, and add the mirepox, diced potato, and leek. Saute until soft, wilted, and barely beginning to color. Add the bay leaves, 1 crushed garlic clove, fresh parsley (a lot), fresh sage leaves (only a few), and the cup of white wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid has reduced and all alcohol has burned off. Carry vegetables in stock pot to the tap and fill with cool water (I added at least 10 cups-- up to the handles of the pot). Bring stock to a rapid boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 hours. Let stock cool, and then strain all vegetables out (at this point, my veggies were still recognizable, very soft, but I couldn't stand throwing them away. I fished out the bay leaves, and then threw the rest in a blender with a bit of stock and made a very pretty mustard yellow veggie puree, which I froze in ice cube trays so I can add the puree to soups and stews as a thickener). Portion the stock into baggies or freezer containers, and freeze for up to six months.
I'm really a soup alchemist and my Soup Esteem is well intact -- I make GREAT soup. In fact if I were going to open a restaurant, it would be a Soup Kitchen. Problem is, I use ingredient amounts as a suggestion and treat my kitchen like a laB without writing stuff down as I go along, so I often can't remember how to recreate really spectacular pots of soup I've made. Fortunately, I can always make something else just as good. This time, I took notes:
My Shrimp Laksa, adapted heavily from "1 Stock, 100 Soups":
Shrimp with tails on
Trader Joe's Yellow Curry Sauce
Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce
Siracha Chili Sauce
Salt and Pepper
In a large soup pot, bring veggie stock to a boil. Remove shrimp shells and tails. Set the shrimp meat aside, and first throw the shells and tails in the pot of stock and boil rapidly for several minutes to infuse the stock with shrimp flavor. Fish out and discard the shells and tails. Strain stock to be certain no shells remain. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of TJ's yellow curry sauce (if you have curry paste, that's preferable). Add curry powder to taste, and several glugs of Fish Sauce. Stir and simmer, stir and simmer. Add several glugs of Siracha Chili Sauce. Stir and simmer, stir and simmer. Grind up a big handful of cashews into a coarse powder (but don't make a paste). Add ground nuts and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 cup of coconut milk to the stock. Whisk thoroughly to combine and simmer gently. Add the raw shrimp, and with the heat on low, simmer until the shrimp are pink, cooked, but still tender.
Meanwhile, boil water and pour over rice noodles. When saturated and "cooked", drain noodles and portion into bowls. Ladle the soup over each portion of noodles, and dress with slivered carrots, cilantro, and scallions. Dress with more siracha to taste.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
This was an easy and healthy Spa Cuisine salad, courtesy of Rancho La Puerta Spa in Mexico, and the SpaIndex.com Spa Cuisine collection. You may view the complete recipe here.
I had a couple apples going a bit soft and I remembered I wanted to try a recipe where you shave them thin and make an apple slaw.
This salad has a dressing of yogurt, lime juice, apple juice. It's tossed with raisins or cranberries, coconut, sunflower seeds, vanilla and cinnamon. I made a few adaptations -- cranberries in place of raisins and I omitted sunflower seeds -- because I forgot to add them. It's really tasty, tart, not sweet (although there is a bit of sweet when you bite into a cranberry or piece of coconut), and is both tropical and warm and spicy at the same time. I think it would be great to swap out the coconut with walnuts, for a different taste and crunch.
Since Apple Desserts are my least favorite of all (apple pie, apple muffins, yawwwwn), but I like apples in most savory dishes (sandwiches, salads, curries, stuffings), I was happy to learn a unique and more "savory" way to use my apples. Still, this recipe will appeal to children who will think it's a treat. It's also perfect for those "Ladies Who Lunch" meals.
While the recipe makes six servings. This salad is easily adaptable for one person by just tossing a cut up apple with a handful of the loose ingredients, and then a splash of each wet ingredient, a shake of spice, and you're there, in a few minutes flat.
I have few similar Apple Slaw recipes from other spa resorts, so come this fall, I may need to test each one and see which I like best -- but this one is darn good with that fresh taste of lime.
Monday, August 10, 2009
- 2/3 cup white sugar (I always add sugar to taste; I only added 4 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I also added 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 nectarines (I used four nectarines, quartered, and 1 cup of frozen black raspberries)
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Good served warm or cold.
Monday, July 6, 2009
3 canned no-sugar pear halves
In my bullet blender cup, I filled it half with ice, and then 3 pear halves, two mint leaves from my own garden, a splash of ginger juice (or you could use ginger powder or fresh ginger), a splash of almond milk, and topped it off with club soda. I added 2-3 drops of sucralose no-calorie sweetener, and blended.
Very refreshing and cool on a hot summer day. Ginger and pear are soothing to the stomach and digestion. Of course I think this would be much improved by using Asti Spumanti or champagne in place of the club soda, but that would detract from the so-called restorative factor.
That's my ground floor kitchen window. It faces a parking lot and the lot's water hose is under my window. I don't like lookie loos so I swirled clear glass paint on it for privacy, but still lets the light through. Looks pretty darn cool, I think.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
In the meantime, I'd mixed the dressing and tossed it with a chopped avocado, fresh from the Farmer's Market today. The dressing is very basic -- lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, wasabi, salt and pepper. I ended up just whirling the ingredients together in quantities that tasted good to me. I didn't add nearly the salt she called for -- soy sauce takes care of that, and I added sesame chili oil in addition to the drops of hot sauce. I'm a hot sauce weenie, I don't like it all, but I know it serves an important purpose in certain dishes, like Asian dressings. I also added a lot more wasabi than called for. Love that stuff.
After the tuna chunks were grilled, I added them to the dressed avocados.
I added chopped scallions, more sliced avocado, and sprinkled with additional chili oil. I didn't bother with the red onions. I thought that a big handful of scallions was adequate for the onion flavor.
And here it is, my tower of Tuna Salad, ready to chill (it's great warm, but I preferred it chilled).
About this challenge: The Barefoot Bloggers join forces and cook or bake recipes by Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten each month, chosen in order by members, and present them for discussion on two Thursdays each month. Hungry? Please join us at the table!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
- 1 box of yellow cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
- 2.5 cups of warm water
- 2 packages of yeast
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 cups AP flour
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This wasn't a success. America's Test Kitchen, you've disappointed me -- but so did my oven, so I think it's a little of both reasons.
This vintage recipe assured me that I'd have a light, fluffy, not-dense pound cake using a retro method of placing the batter in the pan, and into a stone-cold oven, and then letting it come up to temperature and baking one hour.
The *taste* of the batter was okay, but I followed it to the letter and saw my first problem almost immediately. I used the exact quantities called for in a recent The Best of America's Test Kitchen magazine 2009, and it prominently states that after scooping the batter into the pan, you should "smooth the top." My batter was so loose and runny, there was NO smoothing necessary at all, and in fact, it seeped out of the seams of the removable bottom for the angel food cake pan I was using. I quickly poured the batter back into the mixer, including using a knife to dredge it off my counters and back into the bowl (no lie), and then slowly added flour until it was less runny. Back into a freshly dredged pan, and then into the cold oven.
The instructions then warned me: Do NOT open the oven for one hour. Okay, okay. But, the problem is, after 15 minutes, I smelled too-baked cake. It was nice smelling, but far too toasty smelling to be normal after 15 minutes, so I opened the door, anyway. Good thing I did. The cake was dripping out of the angel food cake pan bottom and onto the floor of my oven. NICE. That's gonna be a bitch to clean. I quickly placed a pan under it and let it finish without disturbing it. Looked crappy anyway.
After one hour, the cake was done, and I eventually cooled it and then coaxed it out of the pan. I was amazed it wasn't adhered to the pan since it had baked into the seams of the removable bottom. The cake was not light and fluffy (my added flour?). It was tasty, but it was rather dense and a little too gummy for my taste. I took it into work and it was devoured in a few hours, but to me, this is not a signature pound cake recipe and I won't try it again.
The search for good pound cake continues.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Well this was easy! I don't cook breaded cutlets all that often. In fact, the last time I did it, was for the BB Parmesan Chicken challenge. I'm not sure why I don't -- I must think it's too labor intensive, or messy, or too many steps, or adds too many unnecessary calories, but this is second time I've been surprised how easy it was, really not that time consuming, and didn't really take that much fat (never as much as Ina calls for).
When you actually follow directions, your cutlets get nice and crispy and golden brown, with barely any olive oil.
Yum. Lemony chicken, still crisp and hot.
This was a huge chicken breast and despite pounding the heck out of it, it was still too thick for my tastes. Next time I'd use tenderloins or fingers just because I like thin, small pieces of well done chicken. Other than that, this was very good!
Use it Up Points: Excellent -- 100%. I had everything I needed in the pantry and freezer for this recipe, except fresh parsley, so I used dried (normally not used in my house, but didn't want to go to the store).