Sunday, June 27, 2010
So, Mrs. Beasley's bakery also has a truck! They were at the Century Blvd food truck lot the same day that I had the grilled cheese from the previous post. I decided to purchase this cupcake to use as an incentive to get a lot of work done that afternoon. It is peanut butter with a marshmallow on top!
I ended up not eating the cupcake that day, but waiting until later that night to share it with Travis. I don't remember a lot about the cupcake itself, but the icing was divine. It tasted basically like really fluffy peanut butter. The marshmallow on top was pretty good as well, in spite of having sat there all day.
I love the grilled cheese truck. It's one of those things that you want to dislike because it's quite popular, but then it's so good that you can't. This was my second time eating at the truck, so I got their special for that day. I can't remember exactly what it was.. at least two kinds of cheese, one of which I think was gruyere, lots of mushrooms (crimini I think), and chicken. Possibly grilled onions as well. It was really really tasty, if a bit overwhelmed by the mushrooms. Not a problem for me, as I love mushrooms, but I can understand if some people thought it was a bit off-putting.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
It was my week to pick the ingredient this week, and I thought lemons would be a lovely summery flavor. Plus, it gave me a reason to make lemon bars! I made some a long time ago from a Paula Deen recipe, but I thought they were too sweet. So, to correct this, I resorted to my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.
Considering that this book was an old edition when I bought it for $2 at a Junior League rummage sale six years ago, I get an awful lot of use out of it. For quite a while, I was trying more and more complicated recipes, making a huge mess, and then getting upset because nothing was turning out quite like I wanted it. So, I decided to go backwards a little in the complicated-ness of things I cook. I've been working on my more basic cooking skills.
The lemon bars were really delicious. I didn't have enough peel (my lemons were a week or so old and had gotten a bit soft. The juice was still fine but they were a bit difficult to try to zest.) Travis seemed to like them a lot as well, judging by how fast they disappeared.
I love that the texture was sort of like a chess square, with this thin sugar crisp layer on top. Yum.
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
In a medium mixing bowl beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar; beat until combined. Beat in the 1 cup flour until crumbly. Press mixture into bottom of an ungreased 8x8x2 baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until just golden.
Meanwhile, for filling, in a small mixing bowl combine eggs, the 3/4 cup sugar, the 2 tablespoons flour, lemon peel, lemon juice, and baking powder. Beat 2 minutes or until combined.
Pour filling over baked crust. Bake 20 minutes or till lightly browned around edges and center is set. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, sift powdered sugar over the top. Cut into bars. Makes 20 bars.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
For the secret ingredient eggs, I decided to make egg drop soup. It was okay. I didn't really like it as much as I like egg drop soup from Chinese restaurants. I think I might have made my slurry improperly, and so it didn't thicken quite right.
However, it's very easy to make. It's just 4 quarts of chicken stock with 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Bring that to a boil. Separately mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with an extra 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. Once the soup is boiling, stir this mixture in slowly while stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer, slowly pour in two lightly beaten eggs while stirring. That's my favorite part - watching the eggs sort of feather out. Then remove from the heat and add 2 chopped green onions.
And there you go. Personally, I'll probably just order take out next time and make less of a mess :)
Friday, June 18, 2010
I have made the decision to start abbreviating Iron Chef Blogger Challenge into ICBC. I know. This is a Big Deal.
Last week the ingredient was mustard. I made this fish, then forgot to blog it. It was really yummy. And really fast. I am too tired to blog much today, so here is the recipe. I left out the chives, because I think chives are no bueno.
Dijon Mustard Fillets
from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 pound fish fillets, 1/2 to 1 inch thick
lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 cup dairy sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon dijon style mustard
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 4 serving size pieces, if necessary. Measure thickness. Place fish on unheated rack of broiler pan. Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Broil 4 inches from heat till fish flakes easily with a fork. Allow 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish. Turn 1 inch thick fillets over halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together sour cream, milk, mustard, chives, and a dash black pepper. Heat through but do not boil. Serve with fish.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Secret ingredient this week? Strawberries. I love strawberries, and they are in season right now! We have a lot of amazing things in California, and this is one of them. My friend Beth Abernathy and I picked strawberries once when I lived in North Carolina, and I remember that she made freezer jam with them. I did not do anything so industrious with mine. Actually, I think I tried to make some sort of jam, but it turned out more like ice cream topping. Delicious, yes. But it was not my intended result. Now, 6 years later, I decided to conquer freezer jam once and for all.
I had some stumbling blocks on the way. I had some "trouble" finding 1/2 pint freezer jars. I use trouble in quotes because it turned out Ralph's had them the whole time, I just hadn't realized that they were freezer safe.
I bought too many strawberries, as per usual. It actually only took me one normal sized strawberry basket (although they do pile them pretty high at the farmers market). I had two extra, one of which I will address shortly.
The first thing to do is to crush the strawberries. You need 4 cups whole to make 1 3/4 cups crushed. You can do this with a pastry cutter, a blender, or a food processor.
I started off, all cute in my new apron, trying to crush them with a pastry cutter.
I quickly switched to my food processor.
From there, you add 4 cups sugar and 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel. I know it seems like way too much sugar, but most recipes are pretty adamant about not reducing the amount of sugar. Apparently it affects how the jam ultimately sets. Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes.
Then, mix half of a 6 ounce package of liquid fruit pectin with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. (For the mathematically challenged, that's 3 ounces of liquid fruit pectin.) Add this to the berry mixture. Stir it for 3 minutes.
Ladle this into half pint freezer containers. Leave a half inch headspace. Seal and label. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, or until set. Store 3 weeks in refrigerator or 1 year in freezer. It theoretically makes 4 half-pints. Somehow, mine made 5.
I still had 2 baskets of strawberries left! So I made the delightful raspberry lemonade you see below. I just mixed it with cold water instead of sparkling water or club soda, but that sounds amazing too. I ate the other basket plain. They were quite tasty.
Emeril's Strawberry Lemonade
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
- Mint sprigs, garnish
- Whole strawberries, garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely, then strain into a clean pitcher.
In a blender, puree the pint of strawberries and add to the pitcher with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until well chilled.
Add the sparkling water and stir well. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve, garnished with mint and strawberries.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
This isn't really a recipe, because you know how to make smores. It's more of a process question, because something interesting happened to the smores you see above.
Michele Fitzgerald and I decided to make oven smores on Memorial Day. We preheated the oven to 350, laid down graham crackers (one with chocolate, one with the marshmallow, as shown above), and left them in the oven a while.
The marshmallows browned as expected, but the chocolate didn't melt. The inside was so hot it felt like a little fire in your mouth, but the chocolate stubbornly refused to lose it's shape. It actually sort of dehydrated, which is not the reaction one would expect at all.
Michele F. had done this before and says the chocolate would barely stay on the cracker. So, I've been pondering this and come up with a couple of possibilities for what went awry.
1. There is some physical difference between large and snack size Hershey bars (I used snack size.)
2. The oven temperature should have been higher.
3. The chocolate should have been left in longer and the marshmallow added later in the cooking time.
There could also be any combination of these three possibilities. Thoughts?
On Saturday I made this pasta, mostly because it was really fast and I still had a few anchovies to use. I was seriously impressed by how delicious it was and how quickly it all came together. I could easily do this after work.
Again, you can't really taste the anchovies, they just add an underlying flavor. Of course, that could also be because I only used the few fillets I had leftover instead of a whole tin. Anchovy side note: it's safe to eat the tiny little bones, but I pulled out as many as I can anyway.
While this was cooking, it looked and smelled like something I could get at a restaurant. I was so proud.
PASTA WITH SHRIMP, GARLIC AND ANCHOVIES
8 oz. spaghetti
1/2 lb. shrimp, cleaned
1/4 c. olive oil
4 lg. garlic cloves, minced
1 tin flat anchovy fillets, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
Chopped fresh parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese
Over low heat, cook garlic, shrimp and anchovies in oil. Add lemon juice and season with pepper.
Cook pasta as directed on package and drain. Return to pot, add oil mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle generously with parsley and serve with Parmesan cheese.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
It seemed to be a fairly big hit at the cookout we went to yesterday. At least it was until the sun turned it brownish.
I wanted to plant the avocado seeds to see what happened, but Travis vetoed it.
Sorry for the lackluster blog this week...
from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
2 medium very ripe avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and cut up
1/2 small onion, cut up
1/2 of a 4 ounce can diced green chili peppers, or several drops bottled hot pepper sauce (I used Texas Pete)
1 tablespoon snipped cilantro or parsley (I left this out... my parsley has gone rogue again and I think cilantro tastes like soap.)
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a food processor bowl combine all ingredients. Cover and process or blend till mixture is smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Serve with chips. Makes 2 cups dip.