29 November 2008
27 November 2008
Hope all you readers are much too busy stuffing yourself with turkey et al. to be checking blogs today :) I just wanted to wish a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving to each and every one of you! Will be back first thing Saturday morning.
And now: Sous Chef Mahni would like to show the many ways she would make a lovely new (Peep) mascot for the blog:
1. Well, she's cuter in the get up. Obviously. And great for photo ops. People just gravitate to that little charmer, Peep Mahni.
2. She can run. Really really fast. While still in character.
3. That said, she's got a killer profile. And when necessary, she can hold just as still as any marshmallow Peep.
4. She's great with kids, absolutely a requirement for my child-friendly blog.
26 November 2008
23 November 2008
Another goodie from my last Cooking Club - this time we're giving Stacey's recipe a whirl. Check out her blog: it is sweet treat after yummy sweet treat after another, and yet the girl maybe weighs as much as one of my thighs. So I can only imagine that her actual meals are a bit more on the healthy side...
17 November 2008
I have seen the dimply plum cake being made all over the Interwebs, and just based on how adorable it is I decided to dive in and make it myself. I had a coworker's birthday to bake for anyway. Only it didn't photograph too well for me, I had a slight issue...
15 November 2008
First up was Audrey’s potato soup (she of Kentiga Blog fame). I think because it reminded me of my mom’s potato soup, with big chunks of potatoes, lots of other veggies, and a nice broth (not super-thick like so many other potato soups out there). So I made a giant pot, and have been eating that for lunch for a week now. Still super yummy! I think I’ll probably be making this many more times in the future.
(adapted a small bit from Audrey’s recipe)
4 Tbsp. butter
1 onion diced
1/2 lb of carrots sliced4 stalks of celery sliced
5 lbs. potatoes diced
While mixture is simmering - cook, chop, and add bacon to soup. About 25-35 minutes into simmering add Velveeta and sour cream. Stir constantly until completely melted. Salt and pepper to taste.
12 November 2008
I got home, congratulating myself for saving a trip to the grocery store. Then, I realized I was completely out of cocoa powder. &%*$#!! How in the world does that even happen?? That meant a quick search online to find something else to make, something that was fairly easy and quick but with good reviews. And so I found the Supernatural Brownies recipe.
I made the brownies with 10 minutes to spare even, and was super surprised when I took them to work the next day: these were a hit. I mean, they were a major hit. I got at least 6 requests for the recipe, people were stopping by my desk all day to talk about “those amazing brownies”. Even the ladies on diets went for a 2nd brownie before the day was over. Huh! I thought they were good myself, although not Great (then again, I only like my brownies dense and super chewy). These were fudgy, rich, definitely your classic brownie. I think it’s the bittersweet chocolate that got everybody excited… I am curious if anyone tries these brownies themselves, leave a comment and let me know if you also think they are the Best Brownies Ever Made.
(adapted from Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers, 1998)
2 sticks (16 Tbsp.) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour and chocolate just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top (note: mine took more like 45-50 minutes to cook, so keep an eye on them). Cool in pan on rack.
Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies. Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped.
10 November 2008
And I'm passing it along too, to my favorite KC photography girls:
Audrey @ Kentiga Blog
Sarah @ Jagged Diary
Now, about those pancakes...
A few weekends ago, I was lucky enough to have a day all to myself (Hubs was out entertaining friends all day, and I punked out on him). Not like the man is a time hog, but when he happens to be at home I tend to put off certain tasks. So this day was a nice one to have. I wrote blog posts (that’s another problem, I love the man but HE HOGS THE COMPUTER ON THE WEEKENDS). I baked and fiddled around with some of my little projects, watched Lifetime movies in peace while I munched on fresh baked goods, called people I hadn’t talked to in awhile…
Most importantly, I did a lot of shopping. I rarely do that “spend a day bumming around shopping” without friends or family, so it was kinda nice to just go out and do on my own. Anyway, long story short: while at Target, I spied some dried pancake mix called “Cinnamon Roll Pancakes”. Yummy! Sounds fantastic, right? I wanted to make them but am kinda anti-boxed food (plus, it was pricey for pancake mix). So I read the box verrry carefully, and did my best to reproduce the pancakes from scratch the next morning. I think I did a fairly good job, if I do say so myself…
These pancakes are so so good – the cinnamon and pecans are a great flavor combo. The “strudel topping” is a smart call to sprinkle on the baking pancakes – yummy little crispy sugared chunks really add a lot to regular old pancakes. Give this recipe a try when you’re looking for something different to do with those morning pancakes.
Cinnamon Pecan Pancakes
(adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1/2 to 3/4 c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. pecan pieces
For strudel topping:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Beat the buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and egg lightly in a mixing bowl (start with 1/2 c. buttermilk, and add more as you’d like to get desired thickness. I like my batter on the thin side, the pancakes seem to puff better that way). Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and add them all at once to the first mixture, stirring just enough to moisten the flour. Stir in pecan pieces.
In a separate bowl: combine the butter, sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a fork (to form crumbles). Set aside.
Lightly butter or grease a griddle or frying pan and set over moderate heat until a few drops of cold water sprinkled on the pan form skittering globules. Pour about 1/4 cup per pancake on the griddle; bake until the cakes are very bubbly on top and the undersides are lightly browned. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the “strudel” topping over pancake, and flip.
Turn with a spatula and brown the other side. Place finished cakes on a heated plate in a very slow (200 F) oven until ready to serve. Serve with butter, syrup, and a generous sprinkling of pecans.
06 November 2008
Yum! I love a good pretzel roll - salty, chewy, and that distinctively pretzel-y taste (kinda sweet yeah, and a bit doughy and Something Else that just can't be described). And yet, only with a pretzel roll you can eat alone with a nice spicy mustard OR you can use it for sandwiches. Brilliant!
This takes me back to when my parents always used to make pretzels at home, although they went the more "traditional" route and boiled the dough in a lye bath. I used baking soda, because I'm a wimp (and a klutz, so someone would have lost an eye if I'd done the traditional thing). They were still very good! If you haven't made homemade pretzels (or pretzel rolls) before, you are truly missing out. Quite the treat.
2 Tbsp. warm milk
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 c. all-purpose flour
Kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 qt. cold water
1/2 c. baking soda
03 November 2008
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. sugar
7 oz. bittersweet, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
01 November 2008
I doubled the batch, these two guys yielded more than enough seeds for that :) Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween!
5 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp. peanut oil