Saturday, December 4, 2010

A (Fake) Food Rant: Margarine

I really don't know why I thought of this, but since I haven't posted in a bit I'll put it here.  No yummy food pics this time, but maybe some food for thought.

Early on in my BA, I wrote a paper on margarine vs. butter.  The purpose of my paper was to persuade people to choose the latter.  Thinking some research might help my cause, I went online and read many, many terrible things about margarine, many of which I included in my paper.

Sure, margarine has its benefits: it's cheap, shelf stable (at least more so than butter), and... I think that's where it ends.  There is the claim that it has no cholesterol, so it's better than butter which does.  But then look at the effects of hydrogenated oils on the body.  Unlike cholesterol, which only increases your bad cholesterol, hydrogenated oils increases your bad cholesterol counts while at the same time reduces your good cholesterol counts.  Don't believe me?  Ask google.  Google knows all.  So if you're avoiding butter for your cholesterol health, make sure you avoid margarine too.  Of course, with the negative hype of hydrogenated oils becoming more mainstream, there are more options made without.

Not eating butter because you're avoiding animal products?  Read the label carefully.  The cheapest margarines still contain milk solids.  Buying it because it is cheap?  Unless one package lasts you months, you might want to consider the negative health benefits from eating the junk.  Now which is cheaper?  Of course eating large amounts of butter will do you no good, but if you enjoy hearty servings of the stuff slathered on homemade bread butter is probably better.  And the taste is better too.

One thing that is really funny to me in all this is the size of the containers.  For the most part butter comes in 1 pound packages.  Usually in cardboard, with 1/4 cup cubes inside.  Margarine comes that way too.  But it also comes in huge tubs.  And small spray bottles.  And in flavors, since all by itself it tastes little like butter.  But the one that really gets me is the HUGE tubs.  Really?  You are buying a giant tub of margarine, and then wondering about the weight and health of your household members?  I remember early in our relationship Doug tried to buy a tub of country crock (does that stuff even come in sticks?).  I scoffed at his choice, and being a butter elitist, made him buy what I considered to be a better choice.  Now that I do all the shopping, margarine doesn't fit into the equation.  I'm not a pain in the ass about it enough to complain at someone else's home, but if I'm cooking for you I won't use the stuff.  I'll figure out the proportion of oil to butter first.  Just don't be offended if you notice that I'm not eating your bread with your offered choice of "butter."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Earning Vegan Super Powers

Last week Doug wanted to eat healthy and light.  And following a joke from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, we thought we'd try out for some Vegan Super Powers.  Not really sure what they are though.  We ruined our veganess by eating homemade bread spread with a healthy layer of butter.  Maybe next time.

The vegan part looked like this:

Super easy, and super tasty.  I will be making this again.  A veggie stir fry with tofu, brown rice, and Huli Huli Sauce.  Here's what I did:
1 carton extra firm tofu, cut into cubes.  Fry in pan with vegetable oil until tofu is browned on most sides.  Add 4oz of sliced mushrooms, saute until they start to look cooked.  Then add 1 bell pepper cut into strips (I used half red and half green).  When the pepper is nearly as cooked as you would like it, add 1/3 cup of Huli Huli Sauce.  Keep cooking until liquid is reduced to desired consistency.  Serve with rice (this time it was brown).

Don't mention the V word until it is decided that the meal is indeed tasty.  Mentioning that word too soon could turn away potential eaters.  Which is fine for blueberry pie, but not for stir fry.  Leftover stir fry is never as good as leftover pie.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Holy Guacamole!

My landlord recently had a party in which one of the attendees gave her avocados from her yard. Unfortunately my landlord can't eat them. So she gave them to me.

Behold: the most giant avocado I've ever had:

It weighed in at 1 pound, 3.5 ounces.  I was super excited about cutting this giant fruit open.
Slightly disappointing, to see how big that pit was.  I thought it would be much smaller, meaning much more avocado yummyness.
The thing was huge!  All by itself, the pit weighed nearly 5 ounces.
As of right now it is still sitting on my counter.  I'm debating planting it.
Mmm. Guacamole!  Just under 2 cups, all from one avocado.  It took much restraint, but I managed to get the container in the fridge after only two chip dips to check for flavor.  Then I made peanut butter ice cream.  Now I'm thinking I'll head back into the kitchen to make some strawberry frozen yogurt.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Onion Bacon Bread

So really, there was no bacon.  But I have a nearly full jar of bacon grease in the fridge just begging to being used.  And I figured, if the recipe called for butter or margarine, bacon fat would work just fine.  Turns out I was almost right.  The bread ball was a little on the dry side, and I ended up adding a bit more water to help pull it all together.  Here is what came out of the machine when it gave the "all done" beep:

This was actually the first loaf that didn't over rise.
Nice even texture on the inside, and the loaf didn't try to collapse from the sides when I cut it up.
Mmmm, bread.  Here is my recipe:

Onion bread:
1 cup water (plus a bit on the side to add in if necessary)
2 T bacon grease (room temperature)
1 T onion flakes
1 t sugar
1 T paprika (next time I will leave this out)
1 1/2 t salt
3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/4 t yeast

Throw it all in the bread machine, put on white, 1 1/2 lb loaf, medium crust, and let it go.  I checked after it had been running for 5 minutes to see if it needed more water or flour, and it needed about 1 t more water.  I think using dried onion flakes and the paprika made for a drier dough.  Next time I'll skip the paprika though, it didn't add a noticeable flavor.  Neither did the bacon grease, but it did smell nice.  Garlic powder on the other hand might be an improvement.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Little Kid Dinner

One day at Costco, my inner 9 year-old was really loud.  It lead to the purchase of Yummy Dino Buddies, or chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs.  They cook up crispy and tasty on my small stoneware pan.

One day at Target, Doug's inner 9 year-old was really loud.  He found Toy Story Macaroni and Cheese (kinda hard to make out the shapes, but it was Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Buzz's Spaceship, and Aliens):
Together they make a fantastic Little Kid Dinner:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stoneware and Coffee

Really, these two have little to do with each other.  Except for maybe they make me reminisce my kitchen in Colorado and the availability of dark coffee.

I was very excited about shipping my belongings from Seattle to Hawaii.  Even more so for the kitchen stuff.  In college when I'd get money for gifts or manage to save a bit, I splurged on kitchen things.  Some of my favorites were my stoneware pans.

Yesterday I found out that the two bigger pieces don't fit.  My oven is too small.  I wondered about the bar pan a few weeks ago when I got it unpacked.  Last night I thought oven fries would make an excellent side dish.  Good thing I checked on the size situation before I started cutting potatoes.  Sure, I have a regular cookie sheet, but oven fries are just better off of stone.  So is bread and pizza.

And since I'm already in the mood for pouting over my oven's inability to use my stoneware, may as well continue on with my desire for decent coffee.  When I first arrived in Hawaii, I thought the Kona coffee was pretty cool.  Something different, something neat.  Then the novelty wore off.  And I noticed that for the most part, "Kona" coffee is typically a blend, with only 10% of the beans actually being Kona.  And it is mass produced.  So who knows how long ago it was actually made and ground before it made it to the shelf.  That, and the fact that I can never get it to brew as dark as I would like, make me miss the coffee roasters in my college town.  Too bad neither of the companies I shopped the most ship.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Go With It

I was trying to come up with something quick to make for dinner, and thought sliced sausage with some pasta would do it. Not really sure what I was thinking when I thought I could cut raw sausage into slices, but obviously, it did not work. Instead of stopping though, I decided just to go with it, and squeezed out the sausage from the casings.
Casings are pretty sorry looking things once you take out the good stuff.  I have no idea what these are made of, but I don't think they are animal parts.  Slimy little things that are best tossed in the trash.
The sausage once it had been freed.  Kinda squeezed out like toothpaste.

My homemade sauce, straight from the freezer.  Back when I made the giant pot, I had 3 of these for the freezer.  I am now down to one.
And: Dinner!  Used two Italian sausages, about 20 ounces of homemade sauce, a bit of oregano and basil, and half a box of bow tie pasta.  Turned out great!  Add some green beans, and call it a meal.  We also added parmesan cheese, but that's because everything is better with cheese.

On a side note: I made this again, but added zucchini and mushrooms.  Also, I cooked the sausages whole and then sliced.  Verdict: Adding veggies is good, but the sausage is better when removed from its casing.  Left in slices it was too chunky, and the seasonings that are in the sausage were too concentrated in the bites with meat instead of being spread around in the whole dish.  Next time I will look for it sold in bulk, and skip the casing altogether.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Ice Cream Experiment

As it turns out, Doug has a really hard time with ice cream.  Especially when I make it myself, and use all the heavy whipping cream and whole milk I feel like.  If it were only the whole milk, he might be okay, but that makes for a less-creamy ice cream.  So I needed to find an alternative.  Turns out he's just fine with soy, but soymilk by itself is rather thin and makes "ice cream" that is more like an ice cube.  Some internet searching and experimenting came up with this:

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream
1 (14oz) carton of silken tofu
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups vanilla soymilk

Blended all together, refrigerated for 1 hour.  Then put into ice cream maker just like any other ice cream mix.

The measurements are approximations.  I actually only know the measurements of the sugar and the tofu.  The soymilk was poured from the carton until I had the right consistency, and the peanut butter was a little more than half a jar.

Turned out decent.  Not the ice cube soymilk makes on its own.  The tofu made for a thick almost milkshake like base, but that froze into a creamier treat.  Peanut butter did wonders to cover up that soy flavor some people hate.  In fact, I almost poured some of the base into a cup to have as a milkshake, but decided that I should use it all for the frozen treat.  To make sure no one developed vegan super powers, I added plain M&Ms, reducing the concoction to vegetarian status.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Junk Omeletts

I'm not really sure where this came from in my life.  I remember it as something my brother brought home from boy scout camp, but maybe it is something we ate before then.  It was definitely something we ate afterwards, and not only when camping.

I think the idea is that you use whatever leftovers you have from the night before, mix in some eggs, cook it all together and... Junk Omelettes!  Now I'm not really sure I've done it the right way.  Camping as a family of 5 (or 4) generally left no leftovers.  Add to that one begging family dog, and anything leftover went to her.  So a junk omelette to me has always been chopped up veggies, meat if its in the fridge, and eggs.

First, the chopped up veggies.  Some baby shallots with the green tops chopped too, and bell pepper:
Saute the veggies a bit in your fat of choice.  I used a bit of the bacon fat leftover from cooking up bacon for another meal but you could use butter or olive oil or skip it altogether if you have a nonstick pan.  Be careful not to cook the veggies too long, leave them a bit crispy since they will cook a little longer with the eggs.

Next, add the eggs.  I seasoned mine with some celery salt.  I only used 3 since it was only Doug and I eating.  He usually wants 2, 1 egg is enough for me.  Mix up the eggs in a bowl, add some milk if you've got it (not necessary, but it does make the eggs fluffier).
Hopefully your heat isn't too high (I rarely use heat over 4 on my stove, unless I'm boiling water).  This will let the eggs cook slowly instead of burning to the bottom.  Eggs cooking too quickly also seems to kill their fluffiness.

Since I only used about a teaspoon of fat for the veggies my eggs were way to healthy to be considered a proper Sunday breakfast.  A problem easily fixed though: add some cheese!  Sharp cheddar is my favorite.  If you are trying to be healthy, a little sharp cheddar goes much further in flavor than mild or medium, so a smaller amount is more satisfying.  Or skip the cheese altogether.  Just expect it to be offered if you are invited for breakfast.

And there you have it.  A junk omelette.  Doug put his in a tortilla with leftover refried beans.  I skipped the tortilla, but still had the beans on the side.  You are limited to additions by what you have in your fridge and what you think sounds good.  In addition to what I used for this meal, I've used bacon (in those rare instances when only one or two pieces remained), spam, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.  I thought the spinach and tomato left too much moisture, but it all comes down to personal preference with this.  As a general rule though, make sure meat is cooked all the way through before adding anything else to the pan. Veggies go in second (or first if you skipped meat) and are cooked only slightly unless you want soggy, overcooked bits of veg.  I cook my eggs all the way, I think leaving any part of the egg runny is disgusting.  But that is me and my fear of salmonella (and partly a texture thing).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rice-A-Roni to the Rescue

When I made Roast Chicken I had considered a potpie to use the leftovers. Then one night about a week later I needed something quick to make for dinner, and I needed to get the rest of the chicken used before it went bad.  Enter a box of Rice-A-Roni, chicken flavor.

Being a huge fan of bacon, I started by snipping two slices of bacon into a non-stick skillet (BTW: this is always easier than cooking bacon and then crumbling it).  Then I cooked up the bits, letting them get good and crispy.  Once they had cooked to my liking, I drained off some of the grease, but not all.  It seemed that the bacon grease could stand it for the 2 tablespoons of butter called for by the box of rice.  Why not?  They are both animal fats, and the stuff in the pan tastes like bacon.

Once the excess bacon grease was drained, in went the rice for the browning called for by the box.  When the rice mixture looked like the box said it would, I threw in the chicken I had pulled from the carcass (about 2 cups worth of shredded meat), then mixed in the water and seasoning packet.  Let it cook according to the package directions for the rice and ended up with this:
Paired with some veggies it made a tasty meal.  Just enough bacon to get the flavorful taste without adding too much fat, and the chicken was just as juicy and tender as the first day I cooked it.

On another note, last time I went grocery shopping I passed up the Manicotti and Lasagna noodles because I had no pan to make either in.  But since I had to buy baking pans for the Cookie Dough Brownies, I now have new dinner options!

A Worthy Mix

During one stressful week of college a few years back, a friend came over to help me unwind. At the time I had a comfort food dilemma: should I make cookies or brownies? The helpful friend let me in on a secret: Ben and Jerry's makes Half-Baked ice cream. A yummy mix of chocolate and vanilla ice creams with cookie dough and brownie bits mixed in. It was awesome, and quickly became my go-to flavor of Ben and Jerry's.

Fast forward a few years, and I was eating a fantastic dessert made by a friend. Not really sure what it was, but I went back for seconds (yes, I am a dessert monster). Later that night she let me in on the secret: it was brownies and cookies in the same pan!

Here is a look at the tasty dessert:

Turns out they are super easy. The recipe is even on the back of the cookie package. All one needs is a box of brownie mix for a 9X13 pan and a pouch of cookie dough mix. Make both according to package directions, put the brownie batter in the pan first followed by the cookie dough and bake. Good thing this makes a 9X13 pan. Anything smaller just wouldn't do. And now when I can't decide between cookies and brownies, I have a recipe that lets me make both.

(Just in case you were wondering - I finally acquired a 9X13 baking pan for my kitchen)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomato Sauce

This was a little time involved, but I wasn't doing anything with my afternoon, so it seemed a good time to make a lot of tomato sauce. In the end I had a very full 4-qt pot of sauce, but no dinner plans. It was a make-it-up-as-I-go meal.

Started with 4 onions, roughly chopped:
Cooked them slowly in a little olive oil, until they had softened and caramelized.  Then, added a head of chopped garlic:
After the garlic in went 4 carrots, shredded with my cheese grater:
One minor accident: my knuckle got a little too friendly with the grater. No worries though, Buzz Lightyear and Woody to the rescue!
Once the carrots had cooked through and gotten soft I added one GIANT can of crushed tomatoes. This filled the stockpot to the brim.
Before I started on the sauce, I thought I would make spaghetti for dinner, since it would be easy to turn a portion of the sauce into spaghetti sauce. With the sauce simmering on the stove I realized that I had no spaghetti noodles.

I did have a box of elbow noodles though. So I cooked a pound of ground turkey, added basil and oregano, and a zucchini. Cooked the box of noodles, then mixed it all together adding enough sauce to give everything a good coating. Put that into casserole dishes, put shredded mozzarella on top, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Makes good food, and a ton of it:

A 3-qt casserole dish,

and two small single-serving casserole dishes. We ate this for 3 meals. Next time I will consider only using half the box of noodles, the entire box is way too much for just two of us.  But it will be good to keep in mind if I ever need a quick, easy meal for company!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Roast Chicken

I actually made this a few nights ago, but haven't gotten around to it until now.  I had been craving roast chicken for a long time, and had been talking about it for weeks.  Finally I gave in and bought a chicken.  It was called a young fryer, but since that's all they had that's what I bought.  I thought maybe it was meant for frying, but it turns out a "young fryer" is just a young, small chicken.  Between 7-13 weeks old and up to 4 pounds.  I think mine was about 3 pounds.  Not very big, but there are only two of us to eat it.

It sat in the fridge for a couple of days because once I got it home I realized I had roasting pan.  I thought about getting one, and even looked at a couple of stores, but really didn't want to buy a giant pan since I only had a little chicken.  Once a couple of days had passed I realized I needed to cook the chicken now, and decided a springform pan would do the job.  Terrible idea.  While there were no juices when I put the bird in, it created tons of juices which then leaked out of the pan and all over the oven.  Talk about having a lasting chicken smell.

The chicken turned out great though, despite having leaked all over my oven.  I even managed to catch enough juices for gravy.  I didn't even do anything really special to the bird.  I separated the skin from the breast, sprinkled in some Krazy Salt, rubbed it underneath the skin, sprinkled some more in the cavity, then tied the legs shut making sure the skin of the breast was pulled all the way over the meat.  Baked at 375 for an hour and a half.  To go along with the chicken I made mashed potatoes with cheese, and grilled peppers and zucchini:

No gravy for me, but Doug said it was good.  Also, we both like the potato skins, so I don't peel my potatoes before dicing them to boil.

The day after my leaking chicken I did some quick online searching for the manual for the oven in our apartment.  Part of my discovery was that the oven is 24 inches across, measuring the widest part on top.  Yep, teeny tiny oven for the teeny tiny kitchen.  But the best part was that it has a self-cleaning function.  Sure, it makes the apartment stink like you wouldn't believe, but wiping up a few ashes is much easer than properly scrubbing an oven.

Already we have had leftovers from this bird: my altered version of Souper Chicken Tetrazzini.  I used more chicken (closer to 2.5 cups), more spaghetti (an entire 1 lb box), a can of cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom, more cheese, and 1 can of milk instead of given measurements for milk and sour cream.  I also needed a 2.5qt dish instead of a 1.5qt dish.  That means even more leftovers!  Plus, I still have a carcass in the fridge with enough meat for pot pie.  I think I'll be buying more chickens.  And a roasting pan.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Couple of Fish and More

Today I made a trip to the farmers market held in Wahiawa on Tuesdays. I had been once before, and was surprised to find fish for sale. Today I went back looking to buy some fish, thinking I could figure out what do do with it when I got home.

Here is the fish I got:

It is called Akule. When I bought it, it had all the signs of being fresh: nearly no fishy smell, shiny skin, and eyes that domed out. The trickiest part to me was that it was whole, so I was going to have to clean it.

I also picked up some fresh veggies, can never have too much of those.  Zucchini, grape tomatoes, green beans, and baby shallots.  The shallots were something new, and they smell great.  The guy at the stall told me they'd be good in omelets.  I'm thinking I'll throw some in with a chicken I want to roast later this week.

The state of the akule just before getting cooked.  My original plan was to butterfly the fish and pan fry it, but turns out a not-so-sharp utility knife is no match for cleanly cutting a fish from the bones.  So I ended up filleting the fish, and then broiling them.  Next time I will find a fillet knife before attempting whole, raw fish.

Dinner complete!  I sprinkled some lemon juice on the fish about 10 minutes before cooking, and then sprinkled on some Jane S Krazy Mixed Up Salt right before putting it in the oven to broil for about 10 minutes.  The fish was awesome.  Green beans and rice-a-roni rounded out the meal.

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert! We had a bunch of whole mangos in the freezer, so I made them into mango sorbet. A little on the sweet side, but a great finish. Yum.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Acquired

Yesterday I finally got a book that has been thumbed through on every visit to Borders:

Forgotten Skills of Cooking. It is a great book, even just looking at the pictures makes me want to get in the kitchen and put something together.  I think tomorrow will be my first try with this new book.  I intend to head to the farmer's market held in my town on Tuesday mornings, where they sell fresh, whole fish.  The fish section in this book goes over how to gut a fish, how to cut the head off, and how to fillet.  It also has several suggestions for cooking a fish, based on the type of fish you have.  One thing that impresses me is that the fish recipes don't call only for one type of fish, as my other cookbooks do.  Instead each recipe has a description of the type of fish it calls for, along with suggestions in case that exact type of fish is not available.  This cookbook looks less like a chemistry experiment written up with exact details and more like a general idea of what to throw together so I get something that may or may not be replicated the next time.  I like that kind of cooking.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ice Cream Success!

Last night there was finally enough ice cream gone from the first two batches, so I got to make a couple more. Turns out that even though the freezer was below freezing in temperature, minus another 20 degrees makes a huge difference. This time I got ice cream, instead of milk shakes.  The first I made was peanut butter ice cream with chopped peanut butter cups mixed in.

Notice how it mounds on the spoon.  And it was only in the ice cream maker for 15 minutes.

In the bowl, straight from the ice cream maker.  A bit softer than regular ice cream, but more firmness than soft serve.  Which led me to wonder, what if I leave it in there longer next time?

The second batch was cheesecake ice cream.  The mixture going in tasted like cream cheese frosting.  The ice cream that came out was even better.  For this batch, I only let the machine run for 10 minutes before turning it off.  It was pretty firm, and it was starting to sound like the machine was working harder than it has before.  The mixture was pretty thick going in though, so I expected it to go faster than the milk based ice cream.

Last time I made ice cream, the freezer container was completely liquid by the time I turned off the machine.  This time, it was still mostly frozen.  In fact, when I went to wash out the second freezer container, the water froze to the inside.  I had to wait a little bit to make it easer to wash out.

For the cheesecake ice cream I followed what was in the book.  For the peanut butter though I experimented.  For one, I didn't have any heavy cream.  Second, I didn't have enough dairy milk either.  So I made some changes, using up the rest of the whole milk I had on hand, and finishing off the recipe with soymilk.  Soymilk is good; it doesn't give Doug a bellyache.  The sugar was too much, and I would have enjoyed more peanut butter.  Changes for next time.  And now that I know the basic proportions, I'll take more liberties with "following" recipes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The First... Milkshake?!

I had everything washed and ready.  Freezer tubs had been in the freezer over night.  The ice cream and frozen yogurt bases had been sitting in the fridge for over an hour to make sure they were cold to start with.  I got everything set up, poured in the chocolate ice cream mix and waited.  My directions said it would take less than 20 minutes.  They also said to put in the mix-ins 5 minutes prior to the recipe being done.  So at 15 minutes I added the chocolate and mint chips.

And at 20 minutes, I had something the consistency of a milkshake.  It wasn't even firm enough to call it soft-serve ice cream.  Hoping I had just done something wrong with the recipe, I poured it into a freezer safe container, got everything clean and ready to go again, and then poured in the mango frozen yogurt mix.  20 minutes of swirling around in the ice cream maker resulted in another milkshake concoction.

Which got me to thinking.  When we bring ice cream straight home, and eat a little before it ends up in the freezer, it is always firmer brought home from the store than the next day out of our freezer.  In fact, ice cream that has been stored in our freezer here is always easy to serve.  It is never rock hard like ice cream from other freezers I have used.  And the directions for the ice cream maker said the freezer needed to be at least as cold as 0 degrees.  So off to the store for a freezer thermometer.

Back home with the thermometer in the freezer revealed that the freezer was NOT cold enough.  So I turned it down.  All the way down.  And now this morning it is about 0 degrees in there, and my homemade frozen treats are finally frozen rock hard.

We still enjoyed some homemade ice cream last night though, even if it was still a little soft (after nearly 6 hours in the freezer, but before I turned it down):

Chocolate ice cream with chocolate and mint chips mixed in.
It sure was tasty!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ice Cream!

Well, none to eat yet.  But tomorrow starts the ice cream adventures, because I got an ice cream maker today!  For Christmas I received a rather nice gift card for Williams-Sonoma, and today I finally put it to use.

I actually decided on the purchase yesterday, but since we had arrived at the mall on the motorcycle, I couldn't make it mine.  Today I made Doug take me back, with gift card in hand.  First order of business once we got home: wash all the pieces and make room in the freezer.  Now both freezer bowls (that's right, it came with two) are in the freezer, and I am waiting rather impatiently for them to hurry up and freeze.

A Minor Modification

For over a month now, I've been looking longingly at my half used bag of Cocoa Dyno-Bites wanting to make rice krispy treats with them.  Finally last night I gave in.  There was only one small problem though: I don't have a 9X13 pan.  Just some casserole dishes a couple of cookie sheets.  I do happen to have a muffin pan that makes zoo animal muffins.  And I thought that would make great shaped treats.

Boy was I wrong.  That led to one big sticky mess.  It also led to the marshmallow goo becoming slightly caramelized, because the whole mixture had to sit in a 9-ply stainless steel pot while I looked for something to hurry-quick-get-this-stuff-out-of-the-pan option.  And then I saw the new (to me) dish I had bought the other day at the thrift store: a nice vintage Pyrex dish.  Before I could remember to spray the dish (because I was getting flustered over the smell of browning marshmallow goo) I started scooping it in.

And now we have really tall, caramelized chocolate crispy treats that are slightly stuck to the pan.  And proof that I can hold off on acquiring a 9X13 pan for a little longer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adding to the Kitchen Library

Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why
Through some random internet searching, I found two books that I am now trying really hard to talk myself out of buying.  The first is Forgotten Skills of Cooking.  I've been to Borders twice to look at the book.  Some of the recipes list only ingredients, with no measurements.  Most recipes list ingredients that are easy to find, or that I probably already have on hand. 

The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a TimeThe other book I'd really like to get my hands on is similar: The Lost Art of Real Cooking.  I found out about the book before it was released.  The day it was released, I went back to my local Borders to see if they had it.  They didn't.  Neither did any other Borders on the island.  Doug called around for me to all the other stores we could think of that might carry this particular cookbook.  Only one store had a copy.  And it was already on hold for another customer.  Boo.