Sunday, December 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Gingerbread

I knew I'd have an issue with this month's challenge with my whole baking hiatus and all. When I saw what the challenge was, I groaned at the thought of it. There was no way I was gonna make one of those cheesy gingerbread houses

Then I started thinking about it. I read the rules over a couple times trying to think of a way around it. Then it came to me. I decided I was gonna do a gingerbread version of some sort of satanic cult type thing. See, that would be so much cooler. I started looking for assorted satanic symbolism when I found pics of the Jonestown mass suicide. I found gingerbread templates for the church. I figured I could use one of those chalk outlines to make my gingerbread people look dead. I had figured out how to make tubs of purple koolaid. I figured a river of blood would be good too.

However, in the end, my hatred for Christmas won. I didn't actually make anything and stuck with my baking hiatus. It might be my indifference that one. Just think how cool my gingerbread house would be if I had done it.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

OK this is probably gonna seem weird but I actually liked the leftovers better than the stuffed mushrooms themselves. At first I made them and ate a few and they were decent. Decent enough to eat but not amazing enough to write home to mom about. I stuck the rest in the fridge, where they sat for several days.

At that point I didn't feel like reheating them and having them again. So I chopped them up. I added them to some sweated onions and olive oil, some spaghetti with a bit of pasta water and voila, a whole new dish! I am not entirely sure how this happened but it ended up tasting really creamy. I am thinking that's because of the pasta water emulsifying with some of the oil but so not intentional but it came out really good! Which is a good thing because I have about 6 meals worth of it left. At least I can put a few in the freezer and I can have them when I come back.

While I took pics, I am too lazy to find my card reader right now.

Here's the recipe for the mushrooms. Chosen by Michelle. Thanks for the tasty leftovers!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Croissant Bread Pudding

I'm late, I know. I have a good excuse. Like I usually do. I got some sort of nasty stomach virus. One that had me getting to know my bathroom waaaay too well. OK that was probably enough information to gross you out and not make you want to read the rest of this post.

Anyway, this is not a dessert for when your stomach is not feeling well. Especially if you are lactose intolerant. Not with all that cream and richness. So this had to wait until that passed. And the week after that... well.... so I'm slow.

I fudged the recipe a bit. I used 8 mini croissants. I used fat free half and half. I cut back the recipe, 4 cups 1/2 and 1/2, 6 yolks, 2 whole eggs, 1c sugar. I baked it in a few individual ramekins and a loaf pan. Oh and I added chocolate chips instead of raisins. So did I really follow the recipe at all? Not very well. Oh well.

I found it very eggy. I think it would have been better if I'd cut it back by an egg. Although I thought I had because I saw comments that said it was eggy. Oh well.

I have put off posting this because I keep meaning to put my pics in but alas I am lazy and I give up so these are getting posted now.

Here's the recipe. Thanks Peggy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Turkey Pho

I actually had really little food left from Thanksgiving. I had made a 13 lb turkey and a few sides. All I had left was a little bit of turkey, cranberry sauce and a couple asparagus spears. The biggest thing I had left was the turkey stock.

I used the carcass to make a big pot of turkey stock. I had brined my turkey so that made my stock super simple. If you don't brine it (but why wouldn't you, it's so easy!) then you might need to get some seasonings in there.

I used the chunks of meat that came off the bone during the broth making process for the meat in this dish. I suppose you could add other turkey meat if you don't have enough but mine had tons of meat left.

Now if you are looking for an authentic pho, you should probably go to the original recipe. Me, I'm trying to use leftovers and make something relatively healthy (relative to me so as long as it has less than 1 lb of butter it's healthy) and uses what I have.


Get your biggest stock pot. Put all the remaining bones, skin, gristle, and I threw in all the herbs and whatnot. Pretty much slice off the meat you are gonna eat and throw everything else into the stock pot. You may want to break apart some of the bones to fit it into the pot. Add water until everything is just covered and cover the pot. Heat on medium high heat until you just start to see a bubble or 2. Then turn down to low. You are aiming for 190 so you should only see a bubble every once in a while. This helps keep the broth clear. Leave it on low for 8 hours. Skim the fat and foam off the top periodically. Strain out all the bones and gristle. Cool on the counter until it reaches room temp. Then portion out and refrigerate or freeze. When you refrigerate it, it will gel up.

based on this recipe from Steamy Kitchen

2 quarts turkey broth
2" piece of ginger
2 tbsp coriander
4 cloves
1 all spice berry
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Simmer everything together for 1.5 hours. Remove the ginger, coriander, cloves and all spice. I put the spices in a strainer submerged in the broth for easy removal.

Serve with:
Dark meat turkey
rice noodles
roasted asparagus
Hoisin sauce
Green onion, cut into small rings

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cannoli (sorta)

I'm sorry but getting out the deep fryer and dealing with the oil is too much work for me. And besides which, it's the daring bakers so I baked. OK I'm making excuses, so sue me.

Instead I decided to make cannoli cups. I made them in a mini muffin tin. I rolled the dough out really thin, cut circles and pressed them into the mini muffin pan and baked at 450 until they were brown. They did crisp up although they didn't have the bubbly texture that fried ones normally have.

I used some red wine instead of marsala so mine turned out a not so appetizing shade of purple. Oh well. I tried. And they still tasted good. I used the regular cannoli cream recipe and then i fudged my own pumpkin cream. They ended up a bit mushy when I took the rest to work the next day but that was expected. I ate them while they were fresh and that's all that matters.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

'Tis the Season

It's that time of year. If I cared enough I'd find some horrible Christmas music to play here. It's the time when people get especially stupid.

So, as with the tradition I started last year, no baking from now until New Years. While I do like cookies and all the rich flavors typically associated with this time of year, I don't like all the garbage people do. I'm still up in the air about posting any of the saved posts that I have.

Now that I live in the Bible Belt, it might be even worse. It's a pretty close contest because at least I don't live across the street from a church now.

With the way people behave, I don't even want to leave the house during this time of year. Even more than I usually am. If I do go out at all, I'll go at really odd hours just to avoid all the stupid people. All the people who claim to be good Christians but are really just doing it for the gifts. So that they can put themselves into debt and then go on welfare and bitch about tax6es.=

We have a plant wide dinner and meeting in December each year. They actually say a prayer at the start of it. A nice Christian prayer. Because obviously everyone should be a good Christian. Who are busy being completely disrespectful of everyone else because they need to get to Church. Am I the only one who finds this slightly offensive? How would the 'good Christians' feel we did a Muslim prayer?

And just think, I'm writing this on a Sunday where I'm relatively calm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Company Pot Roast

This recipe was chosen by Lisa. She has a lot of fairly diverse recipes on her blog. It's a great place to look for ideas when you want to make something new.

It's a fairly simple pot roast. Perfect for a cold rainy day. Well, it was 75 and all sorts of sunny the weekend I decided to make it but no worries. It was still good.

I used a fairly small roast, about 2 lbs, because who wants to be eating the same pot roast for the rest of their lives? Even if it is good, it needs to go away at some point.

Initially when I added the wine, it smelled and tasted really wine-y. I was a bit concerned about this and thought I should have held back on the wine and added just a little. Fortunately, after a couple hours in the oven the wine mellowed out.

I didn't actually do the flour thickening thing because the sauce was pretty thick with the pureed veggies in there. It didn't seem to reheat all that well because the sauce separated but oh well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grapefruit Pith

Imagine eating the pith of a grapefruit. Just the pith, no juice or zest at all. Eat the pith on the entire grapefruit, not just that bite. That's the mood I'm in.

Damn Southerners need to learn to drive.

Just because you put your turn signal on doesn't mean you have the right of way. So I am driving home from work today. There are 2 lanes each way and of course I am in the left. So this idiot in the right lane hauling a trailer realizes he needs to make a left turn. So he puts on his turn signal while I am next to the trailer. I am going about 10 mi/hr faster than him so I proceed to go past him. The car behind me left him a gap to move over. While I am passing him he starts honking like crazy like I should have stopped or something for him to move over. His turn wasn't even for another mile up the road.

Then I get into town so there's no passing areas. I ended up behind this car that was going 15. Literally. He started braking when he went down a hill and hit 20. I was stuck behind him for about 3 miles. At 15 mi/hr that's 12 excrutiatingly long minutes.

Damn Southerners. I need to move back north. Or at least somewhere where people know how to drive. Or where there are no people. That's probably the best solution.

And who in their right mind reads a book by someone who can't form a complete sentence (a book that is not all pictures, that is)? I am tired about hearing about her stupid book. While my blog is by no means grammatically perfect, at least there is one grammatically correct sentence somewhere in here. (And if you know what I'm talking about here, comment so I feel better)

Yes, I am a bitter, angry person.

Update: It does, however, make me happy that when i google 'grapefruit pith' this post comes up on the first page!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Creme Brulee

This recipe was fairly simple. I halved it because I really don't need to eat that much heavy cream and this would not transport well. Although I briefly thought about making a tray and using the real torch at work to caramelize it. Then I decided ramekins and broiler were probably a wiser approach. Only trouble with the broiler is, it's fairly easy to burn it.

I halved the recipe, left out the orange liquor and used vanilla paste rather than extract. By halving the recipe, I mean I used 1 egg, 2 yolks, 1.5 cups cream. The half batch made 4 almost full 8 oz ramekins. The little bits of vanilla bean are so good. I could see how the orange could be good in there but I didn't have any in the house.

Next time, I'd put it through a sieve. I got the chalaza in the one I ate. The custard was so smooth and creamy and mildly sweet and then there was that little nugget. Oh well.

This was mine pre sugar and brulee-ing. Haven't gotten an after brulee-ing picture. Yes, that is a word in my book. Do you always get a skin on it and then the brulee covers it? I had this the last time I made creme brulee as well.

This recipe was chosen by Suzie. I have way too many of her posts starred that I haven't made yet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

George's Belgian Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

The obvious question is, who is George? There are many George's in the world, although admittedly I know very few of them.

Could it be Curious George? Nope... he's a monkey so his logical waffles would involve bananas which these do not.

Could it be George Bush? (or for that matter, W) Nope... I can't really come up with anything because I don't really know what either of them eat.

Could it be George Washington? Well, he's got that whole apple tree thing and this has apple cider syrup so I guess we are getting closer....

Could it be George Jetson? Nope, his would probably be Eggo's.

Could it be George O'Malley (from Grey's Anatomy)? Nope because he's dead and I don't want to eat a dead man's waffles. Nevermind that he's fictional and a few of the previously mentioned people are also dead.

OK are you tired of me making up shit about every George I can think of (or google for)? The answer is George Foreman!

See, I went to make these in my waffle iron. Keep in mind this thing is not exactly new. I bought it used for $5. Almost 10 years ago. From a college student. So you know it's in great shape. Anyway, I took it out when I noticed some stuff on it. At first I thought I didn't clean it very well the last time I used it. Then I realized it was chunks missing of the waffle iron itself. Not the coating, but the metal underneath it. At which point I decided to look for something else in which to make my waffles.

That's when I remembered what else I had seen while I was digging out the waffle iron. My George Foreman. Also purchased almost 10 years ago, but it was bought new and hasn't had much use. I figured the coating was in good shape and it's supposed to get really hot so I should get some nice browning on the outside. Only thing is you don't get those thin crisp spots like you do in a waffle iron.

Here is the recipe. The only modification is cooking it on the George Foreman rather than a waffle iron. I suppose you could use a waffle iron if you have one readily available.

Wanna know the real secret? They are best reheated. Toast them up the next day and they get super crisp. Powdered sugar would be more traditional but I went with apple cider syrup. Also because I bought a gallon of apple cider and needed to start finding uses for it.

Apple Cider Syrup

2 cups apple cider
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove

Combine all ingredients in a jar that holds at least 3 cups. Microwave on high in 2 minute increments, stirring in between until it comes to a boil. Stir to make sure all the cornstarch is dissolved and evenly dispersed. Cool to room temp.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers BRC: Caramelized Butternut Squash

This came out really good. Something like candy except it's got butternut squash so it's gotta be good for you, right? While the amount of sugar in it is not exactly good for you, it's not THAT much sugar.

Wanna know my secret ingredient? Bacon grease. I put about 2 tbsp bacon grease and 2 tbsp butter rather than the 6 tbsp butter. So I actually cut back the fat a bit.

The toughest part of this recipe is peeling the squash. All I can say is make sure to sharpen your knife before you start. I did it twice while in the process just in case. I also broke a peeler (who does that, how do you even manage to do that?) at which point I decided to peel with the chef's knife. Once you get it peeled, it only takes a couple minutes. Note to self: next time look to see if they sell it peeled.

Here is the recipe.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Macaroons FAIL

This one did not work out for me. The first weekend that I was planning on making them I ended up at work on Saturday and sick as a dog on Sunday. I ended up making it the next weekend, barely making it in time. The breaking point was when I stupidly decided to do it straight on the pan rather than putting parchment paper down. I was using a nonstick pan so I thought I was OK. Once I took it out of the oven I knew otherwise.

Since I had already used 5 egg whites and had 5 yolks waiting for me to figure out what to do with them, there was no way going to do it again. I used a plastic spatula and scraped them up the best I could, used the yolks to make a lemon curd and made a lemon mixed berry parfait.

Oh well. Not exactly my first failure. At least it was still edible.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Blue Cheese Souffle

This month's recipe for Blue Cheese Souffle was chosen by Summer.

So here's the dilemma. What was I gonna do with a full 8" souffle? it's not like it would keep well in the fridge once it was baked. And I don't have an 8" souffle dish. So I decided to make single serving size souffles.

Then I got tied up with work stuff. 14 hour days were so much more tolerable when I had a 6 minute commute.

And then I got this nasty cough from my flu shot.

Anyway, I still managed to make it on time. Barely. But it's here.

The blue cheese flavor is pretty strong. I would probably cut it back and add some other cheese for future reference. That or actually use the amount called for in the recipe, not just dump some in and figure that should be good. I made it in my toaster oven because the front is clean and I could watch it without opening the door. Otherwise I'd have no idea how long to bake it for. That worked out pretty well.

Is it sad that I've never had a savory souffle before? I've had plenty of chocolate souffles but never savory. Anyway, here it is. It is a hold on and tweak it recipe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pleasure is All Mine

I went to the library today. As usual, I spent a few minutes browsing the cook books. I knew I needed this one when I started reading the introduction.

"I'm not sure why eating alone has gotten such a bad rap. With the number of singles, loners, and suicide bombers out there, you'd think it would be fairly acceptable."
The Pleasure is All Mine
by Suzanne Pirret

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Cheddar Corn Chowder

This recipe Cheddar Corn Chowder was chosen by Jill. When I first saw what this months recipes were, my first thought was ugh. See, I had just made a large pot of soup. By large pot, I mean 12 quarts. And I had just eaten 2 bowls and was starting to get sick of it.

So I decided to quarter the recipe. I figured that'd give me probably 2 servings. Well, it gave me significantly more than 2 servings. But that's OK because this soup is really good. I used whole milk instead of half and half (although I used more than called for, I just took the bottle and poured) but it still is so creamy and has a really nice mouthfeel.

I ate a small bowl (about a cup worth) and it was so rich tasting that I was actually pretty much full at that point. Even though I had made a grilled cheese sandwich and some roasted veggies to go with it, I had most of it left because the soup is so rich. Although if you look at the ingredients, it's not all cream. I guess the bacon fat gives it all that richness. I only used 2 strips of bacon that I had in the freezer. Which is no where near the 2 oz the recipe called for. I even left out (aka forgot) the butter. I can't imagine how rich this would be if I had all the fat that was supposed to be in it.

Thanks Jill, this was an awesome choice! This one is definitely getting saved.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Homemade Candy Bars

I was lying in bed one morning watching food network. Wasn't ready to get up so I just kept watching. When I saw this I knew I needed to make it.

These were good enough for me to keep for myself. They didn't get brought into work like just about everything I make does. I have them stashed in the freezer so I can grab one anytime I need a sugar fix. Or I don't feel like making/eating a real dinner. Which is fairly often.

Homemade Candy Bars
based on this recipe by Sunny Anderson

For the cookie bar
2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup finely chopped cashews
a pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and mix in. Stir in the chocolate. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix dry ingredients and pecans into the wet mixture. Press into the bottom of a greased 9x9 baking pan. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. Cool completely.

Caramel topping
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup cashews, chopped

Combine everything except the cashews in a pan and cook over medium heat until it browns slightly. Pour over the cookie base and spread evenly. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the caramel while it is still hot. Chill and cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

The second recipe for the month was Beatty's Chocolate Cake. This is a really dark chocolate cake.

OK ready for baking/decorating tip from me? Try to contain your laughter. This is how I do most of my cakes if I am going to take them out of the house, which I almost always do. Bake it in the pan you are going to carry it in. Line the pan with foil and grease it or whatever. Take the cake out with the foil to cool. Then return the cake to the pan to be frosted and transported. This makes sure the cake doesn't stick to the pan and it fits perfectly. I have 4 pyrex pans with lids. 2 9x13's, a 9x9 and a 8x10. I do it with brownies and lots of other stuff too.

Mary of Passionate Perseverance chose this recipe. Thanks Mary!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Vols au Vent

So this month's recipe was Vols au Vent. This is pretty much a puff pastry cup for assorted fillings. The real thing for this challenge was the puff pastry.

The way puff pastry works is you have a dough with thin layers of butter in between. The dough needs to stay cool so that the butter stays solid. You start with a layer of dough surrounding a thick layer of butter. Then you roll it out and fold it over so the layers of dough/butter get progressively thinner. Each time you fold it into 3rds. With 6 turns, you get 3^6 or 729 layers of butter. Then when you bake it, the moisture in the butter (butter is about 20% water) evaporates and forms steam, which causes the dough to puff.

I was a little worried how it would come out when I made the dough. I guess I added way too much water so the dough was really sticky. As in almost batter type sticky. So then I had to add flour.

Then the recipe said very cold butter so I took the butter from the freezer. That was a bad idea. When I went to roll it out, the dough was soft and the butter was hard so then the butter tore right through the dough. So I let it warm up a bit to let the butter soften and tried to fold the dough around it.

I managed to get it together but between the wet dough and the over kneading, the dough ended up getting overworked. My puff pastry actually had some chewiness to it. I am not sure how I feel about this. The flavor was decent.

I am not convinced it was worth the effort and all the cleaning of flour off every surface of my kitchen. Oh well. Maybe I will make it again just to say I can do it right.

These were the toppings I chose:
Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions
Smoked salmon cream cheese
caramelized apples

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I looked at my front lawn today. I know, I don't do it very often. I just drive past it. Only reason I looked was because as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed something at the edge. I thought it was trash. So I decided to go take a look and found it was these mushrooms. They are growing all along the the edge of the driveway.

Anyone know what kind of mushrooms these are, or more importantly, are they edible?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Birthday Sheet Cake

I don't know how it got to the end of the month without me posting either recipe. I was checking some other blogs and I saw some posts for the second cake and I thought, 'I wonder why everyone is posting early'. And then I realized. It's the end of the month. Oops.

So here's the first one.

I know I'm late. I was on vacation. And now I'm back.

Susy of Everyday Gourmet chose this recipe. Happy birthday Susy.

I didn't love this cake. It wasn't bad but it was a little dry and nondescript. But most stuff I make is nondescript. Oh well. Probably won't make this one again. Maybe the next one will be better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cha Siu Bou Filling

So Kate sent me The Shangri-La Cookbook because she is so cool. I was excited. I knew it was coming so I was checking my mail more often than normal. Because that's real tough, with my once a week or so check. Ha! When it came in the mail the package was relatively nondescript. But I knew what it was. And I wanted to check it out. So I opened it while I was walking back to the house from my mailbox. Despite the fact that it was raining. I never claimed to be smart. Fortunately it wasn't raining very hard and the book only got a couple drops on it.

So the table of contents has 5 sections, openers, the principles, the supporting cast, forbidden sweets, and the epilogue. obviously I went straight to forbidden sweets. If you even paused to think about that one then you don't know me at all. Sadly, nothing there really inspired me.

Fortunately I flipped through the rest of the book and a number of other things did! This is the first one I am making, though there will be plenty more to come. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to make anything before I went on vacation. I was here, can you blame me? Which is, by the way, why I haven't posted anything in a while.

Anyway, back to this book. It touches on a lot of different ethnic foods, chinese, korean, japanese, indian, etc. Initially I wanted to make samosas. But just coming back from vacation and wanting to make other stuff, I didn't feel like dealing with deep frying. It will be saved for a later date.

The first recipe I decided to make was for Cha Siu Bou. These are steamed breads with a sweet salty meaty filling. I didn't make the bread because I had a lot of other starches in the works. I made the filling and put it on top of a pastry crust.

I have always wondered about asian flavors. I have tried a number of times but the flavors never came out quite right. Now I have come to realize it is the sugar. I never knew to add sugar to savory asian recipes. At least not that much sugar. I had added a touch of honey here and there but never this much sugar relative to the other ingredients. Woohoo I know how to make something now.

This recipe is so easy. At least the filling is. And the flavor is right. I had some cooked chicken in the fridge so I just chopped that up for this. This is the filling. I ate half of it before putting it on anything.

Everybody say thank you Kate!

Cha Siu Bou
from Shangri-La Cookbook by Helen Dorsey

1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Fill each bread with about 1 tbsp of filling

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cheesy crescent rolls

Bad things happen when my sleep schedule gets disrupted. I can't quite explain how it happened but somehow I ended up awake and sitting in my kitchen at 4AM and hungry but not wanting anything that was in my fridge. I was craving junk food, plain and simple.

I had some cans of crescent dough and pizza dough in the fridge. These were from when I decided to enter the Pillsbury Bake Off. That I never actually entered. Even though I went and wrote up several recipes and even tested them a bit. And sadly I have done this with more than one recipe contest.

The best part of these is definitely the edges where the cheese leaked out and browned on the pan. crispy browned cheese. yum.

Cheesy crescent rolls

1 can crescent roll dough
several sticks of cheese sticks (I used Colby jack but a chunk of any cheese you find in your fridge will work)

Unroll the can of crescent dough.
At the fat end of the dough lay a piece of cheese, just the width of the dough.
Roll up the crescent around the cheese.
Bake per the instructions on the can.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: White Pizza with Arugula

This month's second recipe was chosen by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen. She chose white pizza with arugula. mmmm I liked this recipe and it's pretty damn easy too.

I suck at reading recipes. I saw the garlic, thyme and red pepper flake in the ingredient list but didn't see where they were being used so I kneaded them into the dough. I thought it was a little weird but that's OK. Then I see the instructions for the garlic oil. Oops. Oh well.

Oh and I used my fancy unbleached bread flour. I can definitely taste the difference in the crust. It's good. You should try it. Unless you already use it and I am just slow to the party. Which is a definite possibility.

These came out pretty good. What I did was I put the entire ball of dough in the fridge and then I pull off a chunk for a personal pizza when I want one. Then I cooked it on a skillet, kinda the way you grill a pizza except in a pan. I still have some dough left but I am figuring it'll make about 6 9" pizzas.

Hopefully I'll get around to posting these pics too.

Daring Bakers: Dobos Torte

I really had the intention of trying to make it pretty at some point. Or least to make it decent looking. But that didn't work out so well.

My buttercream definitely came out more like a ganache. I probably should have chilled it a bit before trying to put it on the cake. That would have helped thicken it up so there wouldn't be a pool of it running off the cake in every possible direction. Oh well.

I poured the extra caramel onto the pan and let it cool with the cake layer. When it was still somewhat warm and sticky I pulled off some of the extra stuff and pulled it around and tried to make some random stringy shaped caramel things. So those went on instead of hazelnuts.

I made it but I don't think I will be making it again. You don't get a good cakey texture because they are so thin and there is so much frosting. I guess it's interesting looking although that's never really been my thing. Oh well. Maybe I'll like next month's pick better.

I have been meaning to upload my pics but so far that hasn't happened yet.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Century Eggs and Tofu

This is one of those things I had a bunch when I was growing up. It was one of those easy throw on the table, no heat, good for hot days dishes. It's usually served as one of a number of dishes family style with rice.

The picture is... maybe not the most appetizing. And this might be a bit of an acquired taste. Century eggs are a bit pungent and rich and musky. I don't know how else to describe it. It's one of those you just have to try to understand things. I bought a box of 6 for $4 and they are a pantry item. As far as I know of, they don't go bad like ever. It doesn't cost much to try it and it's definitely authentic. You won't find this at any sort of takeout place. At least not around here.

The sauce is definitely an eyeball thing. Just don't go too heavy with the fish sauce or sesame oil. Probably could use more soy sauce but I'm not big on a lot of salt. Could also throw in anything you want, teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce come to mind.

Century Eggs and Tofu

2 century eggs (preserved duck eggs)
1 block silken tofu
a small bunch finely chopped chives
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
a couple drops fish sauce

Drain and chop up the silken tofu into chunks.
Peel the century eggs and cut into small pieces, about 1/4-1/8" cubes, and sprinkle on top of the tofu.
Sprinkle with chives
Drizzle all the sauces over.
Serve chilled.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Mango Banana Daquiri's

... but not really. So I had a dilemma. The recipe is for a daquiri but I don't drink. It's not that I am opposed to drinking or whatever, but I just don't.

I decided to make a Mango Banana Smoothie instead. Pretty much replace the liquor with yogurt. And I halved it so I could make it in my magic bullet. Because I am cheap and don't own a real food processor or blender. One of these days I will get one, I swear.

I used an orange simple syrup. I could try to claim things about subtle the subtle citrus flavor it gave it but really I used it because I have a quart of it in the fridge and need to find uses for it. And I wasn't going to make another batch of simple syrup when I have that one sitting there waiting to be used.

Anyway, my smoothie was good for breakfast. Check out other Barefoot Bloggers to get a real Daquiri.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


J sent me this article about what foods were worth making at home and what should be bought. One of the items that the said you should make is bagels.

I did something that was a combination of Smitten Kitchen's bagels and Alton Brown's pretzels.

69 g bagels are about the same size as Lenders bagels. I think it's a better size than the big New York style bagels. I know, I'm not a very good New Yorker. But the smaller bagels are a much better portion size. If you are one of those healthy types then having one bagel is a nice healthy size portion. If you are not, it means it's small enough you can have a couple with different flavors. Your choice how you want to look at it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is all over the place. You can thank Pioneer Woman, Ree, for creating Tasty Kitchen. I know, you are thinking everyone else blogged about it so I'm gonna skip this one. And maybe you should. I tend to ramble someone incoherently and my pictures aren't anywhere near as pretty as PW's. Your choice. I was intending to give you a reason to read my post but then I couldn't really think of one. Oh well.

Anyway. This recipe is practically health food in my book. Lots of zucchini, only 3 tbsp oil, a couple eggs and a few other things. All that sugar? Psssh don't worry about it. Just look at that huge pile of zucchini.

I upped the zucchini a bit because I bought 5 of them and this was the only recipe I had picked out for them so far. I only used 2. Better get thinking on the other 3 before they go bad. Or I'll make this again. Either way.

I sliced mine with the julienne blade on my mandoline. Me and the hand guard don't get along, especially with long, relatively skinny stuff so I ditch the hand guard and wear a cut glove to do it. Safety first kiddies! Also, those blades are SHARP. And the little ones for the julienne, they are slightly hooked for extra grab. Dig one into your palm once and you won't do it again. Trust me on this one. I know.

Here's the wets. 2 eggs, 3 tbsp oil, a splash of vanilla and a couple slices of zucchini that I didn't bother getting out of the bowl when I dumped them out because I realized I needed a bowl for my wet ingredients. Yup. You can tell, I should be a professional chef. Look how healthy it is. You can't even see the oil!

It's pretty much a standard cake recipe, combine the dry's, combine the wets, mix together, bake. For some reason the sugar is in the dry's for this recipe. Not sure why or if it matters but I actually followed it this time.

My approach when baking most things is line the pan. There's nothing worse than making a tray of brownies and then not being able to get them out of the pan or mutilating them so you lose all the nice crusty bits to the pan.

Don't even get me started on the crusty bits. I have a friend, we'll call her D, who would cut the edges off of her brownies and throw them away, thinking who would want those. I was always suspicious as to why I could never get an edge piece but I figured someone beat me to them or something. When D told me she cut them off I was aghast. Absolute horror. Who could do such a terrible thing?

Wait, this is supposed to be about zucchini cake. Right, back to the cake. Focus on the cake. Because it is a good cake. A very good cake. But it sticks. It sticks bad. I guess because it's so healthy and low in fat there isn't much to help keep it from sticking. I don't know how anyone got it out of the pan if they didn't line the pan. I baked mine in a 9x13 pyrex pan lined with foil and greased. By greased I used a very liberal spraying of cooking spray. Up the sides too. And this is what the cake looked like coming out.

Look at all the deliciousness stuck to the foil! It was somewhat upsetting. It may have gone better if I had let it cool all the way before lifting out of the pan but there is no way around all that sticking. Line and liberally grease the pan and get over it. And everything that is stuck to the foil is a chef's snack.

Just look at that tastiness.

ok I'm done rambling. Here's the recipe with my changes.

Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Based on this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, that was made by Linda of Linda's Country Kitchen

1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1-1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 teasupoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg, To Taste
1 teaspoon fresh grated Ginger
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 whole Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 Cups Grated (unpeeled) Zucchini
1 (20 Oz.) Can Crushed Pineapple In Juice, Drained (reserve In Case You Need It For The Cake Batter Or The Frosting)

8 oz cream cheese, room temp
3 tbsp butter
1 to 1.5 cups powdered sugar, to taste
3 tbsp pineapple juice reserved from the canned pineapple, adjust for consistency

1 cup chopped walnuts

Shred the zucchini on a box grater or mandoline. You should let it sit for about an hour and squeeze out the excess moisture but I didn't and it didn't seem to hurt anything. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir the the coconut. Combine the eggs, oil and vanilla and whisk. Toss the zucchini in the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and the crushed pineapple. Stir to combine. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Combine all the ingredients for the frosting and stir together until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness and add more pineapple juice if necessary. Spread frosting over the cake. Lightly toast the walnuts and sprinkle over the frosting.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cookies!

This months choice was cookies. But very specific cookies. Imitation really common store bought cookies. I started with the Mallows. These are a cookie base with a marshmallow on top and then coated in chocolate.

I live in the South. It is hot. And I am cheap. So I have issues turning on the oven while the A/C is cranking at full blast trying to cool the place down. I held off doing it until the last minute. But I did it for these cookies. And about a half a dozen other things I had prepped a while back and didn't get around to baking because I didn't want to turn the oven on.

I rolled the dough into a log and cut 1/8th inch slices rather than rolling it flat and cutting them out. I don't have a cookie cutter for that so I figured that would work better. I know, who doesn't own a cookie cutter, but that's me. Get over it.

The cookies were a little more puffy and soft than I thought they should be. In my mind they should be crisp shortbready cookies but oh well. Also possible I didn't measure properly.

Chocolate coating didn't go so well for me. After I tried to dip 2 or 3 and just made an absolute mess I decided to go another route. I dipped the bottom and then drizzled the top with chocolate. See?

That's OK. They still tasted good. They went with me to work. I don't need to eat all of these, a cake and a number of other things that I baked all at once.

I ran out of eggs so I didn't get to the Milan cookies though hopefully I will make them one day later.

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bacon and Tomato Pasta

I haven't cooked much lately. It's too hot. It seems wrong to crank up the A/C and the stove/oven at the same time. But I am getting hungry. And you can only eat so many peaches and cantelope before you need some real food.

My tomato plant is doing really well. I get a couple tomatoes off of it pretty much every day. I've had way too many caprese salads. I'm actually getting sick of them to the point where the tomatoes were just piling up. I needed to figure out something else.

I have recently gotten a copy of Pasta Sauces from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library. It's a good book to flip through for some ideas. It's got lots of pretty pictures though I think we all know I don't have the ability to follow a recipe. Anyway it's got a bacon and tomato puttanesca that was a good starting point for using up my tomatoes and having some real food.

Thank Kate for introducing me to PBS. That's where I got this and a number of my recent cook books. I swap paperbacks for cookbooks. And then never swap them back. I'm not sure how long this system will last. But I have a few new random cookbooks now.

Look, I actually got the pics off my camera! I've even gone back and added pics to a number of old posts that I didn't get around to.

It starts with bacon and onion cooked together in a skillet. As Ina would put it, 'how bad can that be?'
Then you add the tomatoes.
Followed by the pasta and a sprinkle of parsley. How much simpler can it be? I even used whole wheat pasta so it's healthy!
Try not to eat the whole batch at once.

Bacon and Tomato Pasta
Based on Tomatoes and Bacon Puttanesca, from Pasta Sauces from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library

1/4 lb bacon strips, cut into squares
1 onion, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, large dice
a pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 lb short cut pasta
a sprinkle of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Put bacon pieces and red pepper flake in a cold skillet and heat over medium low heat. When pan is warm and bacon starts to cook add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is just starting to brown. Add the tomatoes. Cook so until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, boil pasta until slightly undercooked. Strain pasta and add to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to coat and cook for several minutes to finish cooking the pasta. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Peach and Blueberry Crumbles

Side rant: I am getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I go outside for literally 30 seconds to water my 3 plants and I get a half a dozen bites. I wear capris to work and I get probably 50 bites between my ankles and the bottom of my pants. There was a mosquito in my office the other day that got 3 bites out of me before I got him. But I did get him. I am debating putting bug spray in my soap or something. Damn South and their mosquitos. Even when I worked in a swamp before I never got bitten like this. Anyone have any suggestions?

Look at my poor leg. And this is after a few days of healing. I didn't catch most of them because I used the camera on my comp rather than my real one.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

This is a good recipe. The hardest part is peeling all the peaches. Which, admittedly is a pain.

I had hit the farmer's market in Charlotte near the airport the weekend before I made these. That's a really nice farmer's market. If anyone reading this is in Charlotte or go there at some point, hit the farmer's market. If you are coming from out of town it's right by the airport so you could pick something up and take it home. Admittedly, I only go there when I am going to the airport, for one reason or another. It's a little too far to be my regular farmer's market.

At the farmer's market I got about 50 peaches, 5 ears of corn, a couple lbs of tomatoes, a couple lbs of zucchini and squash for about $20. Fortunately I had emptied out the fridge a bit when I went out of town. I barely managed to get it all in there. Oh and some blueberries because I needed them for this recipe.

Like I said, the hardest part of the recipe is peeling all the peaches. It takes some time and patience. Which I was running out of my the end. Then you just toss it with lemon juice, flour and sugar, dump it in a pan and spread the crumb topping on top. I made 2 1 cup ramekins and a 9x9 baking pan. I thought there was just about the right amount of crumb.

The peaches I had were really good. I mean REALLY good. I probably should have cut back the sugar because the peaches were so sweet. The ramekins are staying at home for a chef's snack. Though I am not sure how long they will last. On the plus side the recipe is pretty simple and not that bad for you I am already thinking about doubling the recipe and making it again.

Say thanks to Aggie. She chose the recipe. You can find it here.

PS Yes I do realize how wrong it is that I took a picture of mosquito bites on my leg but I have no pic of my crumble. The pics of the crumble are on my real camera. And they are good. Very good. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Edit: Here's a pic

Friday, July 17, 2009

Strawberry Tart

I know. I'm a horrible blogger. I haven't posted in ages. Like 2 weeks. You only had the few in between because they had been scheduled. And I have a long list of posts that I have started but can't seem to finish. This being one of them.

So back to strawberries. That gallon of strawberries I had bought and had to find things to use it in. I know, I'm slow. Get over it. I may or may not post any more strawberry recipes. Maybe I'll leave the rest and post them early in strawberry season next year. Because I hate how I read blogs where people are using all this really pretty produce but the season just finished here so I can't make it until next year. I'm doing it on purpose. I'm saving them to inspire people next year. Really I am. I swear.

This tart is a pie shell, strawberries and pastry cream. Mmmm I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. I just used a frozen pie crust. You can make your own. Or buy one. Whatever makes you happy.

Pastry cream is so good. This makes a bit more than you need. I'm sure you can find something to do with it. A spoon works well. Or if you have a ridiculous number of strawberries dip them in and eat. Mine was all gone by the time the tart went into the fridge. And it's not that hard to make. Yes there is a bowl, and pan to be cleaned but it's worth it. Trust me.

I made it in a 10" tart pan. You can use whatever size you have. Or individual serving size tarts. I like having a whole tart to myself. Of course that's the 10" tart. These are very light (relatively speaking) so you can eat a pretty good size piece.

Strawberry Tart
based on this recipe from Anne Strawberry

1 pie crust
1 batch pastry cream, recipe below
fresh strawberries, halved
several tablespoons simple syrup

Press pie crust into a 10" tart pan. Make sure edges are pressed into the grooves. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.
Put down a layer of halved strawberries.
Pour pastry cream over the berries and spread so it is smooth.
Drizzle simple syrup over berries to make them shiny and keep them from browning.
Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours to let the pastry cream set.

Pastry Cream
from the European Breakfast Pastries class I took months ago

640 g milk
2 egg yolks
150 g sugar
55 g cornstarch
32 g butter

Bring milk, some of sugar and butter to a simmer.
Blend yolks, remaining sugar and cornstarch until light.
Temper egg yolks.
Return to low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.
Put pan in ice bath and stir constantly to cool.
Cool completely.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

I was leery of this recipe. I am not a fan of olives. I find them extremely overwhelming and their flavor dominates everything. Like on pizza or olive bread. Yuck. I considered leaving the olives out. Especially since it has capers too. A couple capers are OK but I don't like a lot of brininess. If that's even a word. Blogger seems to think it's a word.

Anyway, I figured I would put the olives in just to try it. After all, that's the point right? To try stuff you wouldn't normally try and maybe find something new? Though I did cut them back. I used about a half of a 6 oz jar. And I chopped them really really finely. When you get just a tiny piece mixed in with the pasta and tomatoes and cheese it's not so bad. You don't really taste it. Just a subtle bit of salt and brine in the background. So I'm OK with the olives in this.

I only used half the mozzarella. That's what happens when you just skim recipes before grocery shopping. And I used 5 homegrown tomatoes. Because I had way too many from my tomato plant. A couple extra can't hurt. And I cut back the salt to 1 tsp. There was plenty of salt like that.

I was pleasantly surprised with this salad. It was good and well balanced. At first I thought it wasn't that appetizing because it's rather red/brown. Then I realized I forgot to add the basil and that made it much more balanced looking. You'd appreciate it more if I weren't lazy and cheap and bought a new card reader already.

This recipe was chosen by Cat of Delta Whiskey. You can find the recipe here.
Edit: Look I added a pic!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Creamy Garlicky Lemony Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta

I really need to work on my naming of food. While it's definitely accurate, it's a little long and boring. I need to call it something cool.

This recipe is based on this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. It just looked so creamy and yummy I needed to try it. And of course change it a bit because I am mentally incapable of following a recipe start to finish. And because I was hungry and didn't want to wait to bake it, seeing as how I hadn't even unpacked the rest of my groceries.

Sour cream to thicken a cream sauce is new to me. It is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It gives it such a nice body and just a little tang that compliments the lemon juice. I can't overemphasize how good and easy this sauce is. And it lends itself well to all sorts of flavors. It would be really good with ham or bacon and peas or almost any sort of cheese. Whatever you've got on hand, or whatever is seasonal, however you want to think about it. I made it at the start of spring when the asparagus just came in (and yes, I am just getting around to posting it now). The sauce works well with everything. Well not everything. I can't see bananas working in this, and probably not soy sauce but just about anything else will.

Creamy Garlicky Lemony Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta
The Creamiest Best Pasta Dish Ever

4 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bunch asparagus, tips cut into 1" sections and base cut into thin circles
1 container grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb thin spaghetti
16 oz light sour cream (this is a healthy dish afterall, haha)
a handful parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice

Put the garlic, butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium low heat. Allow to cook until butter is melted and the garlic becomes fragrant but does not develop any color.
Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan and cook until they turn pink.
Set the shrimp aside.
Add the zest, 1/2 the juice of the lemon and the sour cream. Stir until boiling then drop the heat to low.
Add the tomatoes.
Meanwhile boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
Cook the pasta for 6 minutes or just under what the box recommends, adding the asparagus in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Dump the asparagus and pasta into the sauce.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and stir into sauce.
Add the shrimp back and stir to combine.
Top with parsley.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Homegrown Tomatoes

Well let's start with my computer. If you read my previous post you know that I spilled water on it. I pretty much always have a 16 oz glass of water that I sip at. I guess I should have known better. So I ended up knocking the glass over. Right onto the keyboard. Not next to the computer, right onto the computer. Needless to say I freaked out. This is my Macbook. I bought it a year and a half ago and it's my baby. I accepted that some crumbs and stuff got on it. And when I would use it while cooking, I accepted that it got some stuff stuck on it. But this was upsetting. I took out the battery and unplugged it and tried to get all the water out as fast as I could. I tried to take the case apart to help it air out. I stripped 2 screwdrivers trying to do it. Those screws are tight. And those screwdrivers are junk. I ended up not getting it apart. So I let it sit for 5 days before I tried to turn it on. I did it with my eyes closed and a prayer.

And woohoo my computer worked. It looks like all the keys and the mouse work. The button for the mouse sticks a little but other than that everything seems to work. So now I am back to being able to post here.

That doesn't make me any less lazy about taking and posting pics. It's way too hot here in the summer for baking. I can only turn my oven on for a an hour or so and then the a/c ends up blasting trying to cool the place back down. And it seems like such a waste to have electricity heating up the place and cooling it down at once.

My tomato plant is doing well. I get a couple tomatoes pretty much every day. If I get them before the birds. I still haven't figured out what kind of tomato they are but they are good. The early ones were a little off on their texture but now they are very good.

No real recipe here. Slice tomatoes relatively thin. Slice the mozzarella, also thin or into small chunks. Chiffonade the basil. Spread them out or layer them together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and then olive oil. Make sure to do the oil and vinegar in that order so that the vinegar soaks in. It's better at room temp so let it sit for a bit.

Not to mention it's relatively healthy so you can eat lots of it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Bakewell Pudding

I guess I'm back from my disinterest last month. When I first read the recipe I had no idea how it would come out, texturewise. It's referred to as a pudding but it doesn't seem very pudding like. But then again there were a lot of wet ingredients in the filling so maybe it would be.

The crust recipe makes a lot of crust. I used a 10" tart pan and didn't even have to roll the dough out really thin or anything.

If you've read my blog much you'll notice I'm pretty bad at following recipes. This was especially the case with the crust. I completely wasn't thinking when I put it together. I combined the dry ingredients and then just started dumping the egg yolks and extract on top. At which point I decided to read the recipe and realized I did it wrong. Well I wasn't going to toss what I had so I just stirred it together really well and broke up the clumps formed and hoped for the best. This crust is pretty forgiving. While I could tell it was a little off, it was still decent and edible.

I used some leftover raspberry jam and orange marmalade for the jam.

I tend not to measure things like vanilla and assorted extracts. I just kinda pour and estimate. You can't be off by much with that small amount. I suspect I went a bit heavy with the almond extract since my whole house smelled like it for a couple days afterwards but it tasted good. I was afraid the ground almonds would leave it grainy textured, like some cakes I have made in the past, but they worked out well. It gave it a bit of textural interest rather than just having something like a cake filling.

Reviews were mixed. One of my coworkers actually said it was one of her favorite things that I have made. I thought it was pretty good too. Maybe not the best thing ever but pretty good. Something I could definitely make again. But then there was still some left at the end of the day. Possibly because I put it out with a not-quite-right-tasting-but-much-more-normal-looking cake that I had tried making but oh well.

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Gazpacho

This post is gonna be short. I spilled a big cup of water on my laptop. Now it is sitting there drying out. I don't know how long it needs to dry but it was an expensive computer (a macbook pro) so I'd rather wait longer if that means that it has a better chance of being OK. I'm not sure how long I'm going to wait. I guess until I go nuts not having my comp at home. Anyone have any thoughts on how long I should wait?

Fortunately I already had my Daring Baker's post done and scheduled before the water accident. Not the case with this post.

The pro's: This recipe is very light and fresh tasting. I thought it was quite garlicky.

The con's: It makes a lot of gazpacho. I mean a LOT. I can only eat about a cup a day and it made probably half a gallon.

The original recipe is here. It was chosen by Meryl of My Bit of Earth.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strawberry Cake

So I had all those strawberries in the fridge. They were really good strawberries so I ate a lot of them straight. I mean a LOT. But I still had probably a couple quarts left. I guess I really didn't realize how many strawberries a gallon of them was when I bought them.

So I needed to figure out what to do with them. Think Forrest Gump, find and replace shrimp with strawberries. "You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich."

This was one of the things I decided to make with some of them. I had hoped this recipe would use up more than it did. A cup of chopped strawberries is no where near as much as I had hoped. I still had several quarts worth left at the end of it.

This recipe is good and easy. Try it. Well if you live in the Northeast US or where ever else strawberries are in season right now try it now. Anywhere else, wait until they are in season. It really highlights the flavor of the strawberries so make sure to get local ones.

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Based on this recipe from Amanda of Is This Thing On? Everyone say thanks Amanda.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 pack strawberry gelatin
3/4 cup peanut oil (I ran out of vegetable oil so it was this or olive oil, I think I made the right choice)
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup strawberries, very finely chopped (I didn't actually measure, just kept chopping until it looked about right

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Stir together everything until relatively smooth. Pour into baking pan and bake per box instructions.

4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 pack cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup strawberries, mashed
powdered sugar, to taste

Beat together until uniform and nice and fluffy. Spread over completely cooled cake.