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.