Thursday, August 28, 2008
So in that zeitgeist here is my 100 Foods I Want To Make:
~French Bread - completed
~Italian Bread - completed
~White Sandwich Bread - completed
~Parker House Rolls
~Donuts - completed
~Sourdough Bread - completed
~Bagels - completed
~Layered cake - completed
~Boston Cream Pie
~Yellow cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting - completed
~Cake with fondant
~Dish Pan Cookies
~Peanut Butter Cookies - completed
~Brownies - completed
~Ice Cream - completed
~Coeur a la Crème
~Sorbet - completed
~Truffles - completed
~Tiramisu - completed
~Peach Pie - FAIL, will attempt again
~Double crust pie
~Lattice topped pie
~French Apple Tart
~Mixed Fruit Tart
~Refried Beans - completed
~Rack of Lamb
~Eggs Benedict - completed
~Chicken Condon Bleu
~Chicken and Noodles
~Liver and Onions
~Beef and Noodles - completed
~Lasagna - completed
~Quiche - completed
~Pizza - completed
Soup and sides
~Potato and Leek Soup - completed
~Stuffing - completed
~Gratin - completed
~Potato Skins - completed
Updated: What good is it to have a list without a deadline? Well, this baby is good for one year, give a take a day. By Sept 1, I want to have finished everything on this list.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Cooking eggs and 'taters is really more about technique than anything else. It has taken me 6 years to finally master the 'taters so they are even in the same ballpark as The Good Grandma's 'taters. TGH was raised by TGG who made every single thing from scratch and also made eggs and 'taters better than anyone else.
You would think that frying 'taters wouldn't be all that hard, right? I mean you get those little "Southern Style Hash browns" or "Country Fries" when you go to any good diner (or after a night of drinking so heavily you will eat at Denny's). How hard can it be to cube and fry up some 'taters? Well, as it has taken me six years to finally get the 'taters how they should be, I can tell you that it is harder than it looks. Kinda like html code.
The trick to making 'taters the way TGH eats is to not really fry the 'taters. Seems odd, doesn't it? You mean you don't really fry your fried 'taters? Yes. Yes, I do.
See, I used to crank the heat up to high and wait for the cast iron skillet to get super hot and then I would fry those little suckers up until they were a deep golden brown and crunchy. But, alas, that was not the way TGH likes his eggs and 'taters. So after one weekend at TGG's I finally cracked the secret to good fried 'taters.
The trick is to keep the heat on medium and cover the skillet so that the 'taters sort of steam in the pan and only get slightly crunchy on the outside.
This is good for two reasons - 1.) It allows me to make the eggs in the same pan as soon as the 'taters are finished and 2.) I don't have to dirty up a different pan.
Before, when I would cook the 'taters on high, I couldn't cook the eggs in the same pan. If the heat is too high and you try to fry an egg, it will all bubble up and stick to the pan. You then can't flip the egg without breaking the yolk and ruining the whole dish.
But with cooking the 'taters on a lower heat and for a longer amount of time, you can just scoop out the 'taters and drop in the eggs.
So lesson learned on how to fry 'taters. Never did I think I would have to spend so much time perfecting something so easy as eggs and 'taters. But dish 1 out of 32,165,133,494 that TGG makes that I will have to learn to perfect.
Friday, August 22, 2008
3 slices thin slices French Bread
Butter (there is no such thing as too much)
Sugar (there is no such thing as too much)
Cinnamon (there is no such thing as too much)
~In a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt a pats of butter.
~Place the bread in the pan, allowing it to toast on each side for a few minutes.
~Sprinkle one side of the toast with cinnamon and sugar and flip it so that it will caramelize in the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes.
~Serve warm with a glass of milk or drizzle it with honey and enjoy with a cup of coffee.
recipe by: The Good Wife
~Buy in bulk, especially meat. Look for family packs of meat and separate the meat into smaller, easier to use packages. Also, if you want to go organic, you might be able to find a local farm that will sell you a whole or half cow. Visit http://www.localharvest.org/ to find a farm near you. We are lucky enough to live rurally and have beef, chicken, lamb, pork and buffalo farms near us where we can buy meat. Dollar for dollar, we usually come out a head or break even in terms of saving money on meat.
~Buy in bulk for as many things as you can. Something that will save you money is buying cheese in blocks and then shredding it on your own. Buying blocks of cheese and shredding it can save me up to $3 dollars for shredded cheese. You can freeze the cheese, up to six months, so stock up.
The Good Wife Tip: Make sure the cheese is very very cold, if not partially frozen, before you shred it. I used my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the shredder attachment to shred the cheese. The sharp cheddar became a little clumpy since the shredder had warmed. But I just unclumped it as best I could, stuck it in the freezer for an hour and then unclumped it again.
~Use coupons and look for stores that will double or triple the coupons. There are usually two, sometimes three, stores that I will go to every week. I try and go on Saturday morning since there are less crowds and it is usually the last day for sales. I check the ad to see what is on sale and then I check to see what coupons I have. There are some websites that do this for you (The Coupon Mom and The Grocery Game) so it might be the easiest way to start.
~Always have a grocery list with you when you shop. I like to sort my list by aisle (I have shopped at the same 2 stores long enough that I know what is in what aisle). I sort my list by aisle and then any item I have a coupon for, I star. I paperclip my coupons to the back of my list so I am ready to go when I get to the checkout.
~Meal plan. Using the coupons and the sales flyer, I try to come up with all the meals we will have that week. Most people and some shows (Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller) suggest that you eat the same kind of protein three different ways during the week but TGH and I would get burn out. So every day of the week we have a different protein: Monday - Beef, Tuesday - Pork, Wednesday - Chicken, Thursday - Pasta, Friday - Veggie/Seafood, Saturday - FREE(we usually eat out this night) and Sunday - Chicken. I find that this way helps to eliminate the feeling of eating the same thing all the time.
~The freezer is your friend. I am too scared to jar and can but freezing your veggies are a good way to save. Buy in bulk when summer produce is cheap and freeze the extras. Some good sites for more tips and hints to what you can freeze and how: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/nutrition/DJ0555.html
Thursday, August 21, 2008
This is like the time I won tickets to Sesame Street Live and a backstage pass to see Bird Bird, but because the usher sat us in the wrong section, we didn't get to go backstage. But this was way better than that.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I need to work on my slashing. I did it a little too deep so it is not so pretty. Also, my bread didn't have as many air bubbles in it as it should have but overall for my first bread making attempt, it was a complete success. I didn't burn it; you could eat it and it actually tastes like it is supposed to. So with practice, maybe I can make it better.
Pain Ordinaire Careme (A Daily Loaf)
(Source: Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)
Yield: 4 baguettes, boules, or couronnes.
6 cups bread or unbleached flour, approximately
2 packages dry yeast
2½ cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)
2 teaspoons each salt and water
Baking Sheet or Pans: 1 baking sheet, teflon or greased and sprinkled with cornmeal, or 4 baguette pans, greased.
By Hand or Mixer: (10 mins)
The early part of this preparation, beating a batter, can be done by an electric mixer. However, don’t overload a light mixer with this thick batter. If by hand, stir vigorously for an equal length of time.
Measure 3 or 4 cups of flour into the mixing bowl and add the yeast and hot water. The mixer flat beater or whisk should run without undue strain. The batter will be smooth and pull away from the sides as the gluten develops. It may also try to climb up the beaters and into the motor. If it does, push it down with a rubber scraper. Mix for 10 minutes. When about finished, dissolve the salt in the water and add to the batter. Blend for 30 seconds or more.
Kneading (10 mins):
If the machine has a dough hook, continue with it and add additional flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough has formed under the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. If it is sticky and clings, add sprinkles of flour. Knead for 10 minutes.
If by hand, add additional flour to the beaten batter, ½ cup at a time, stirring first with a utensil and then working by hand. When the dough is shaggy but a solid mass, turn onto a work surface and begin kneading with an aggressive push-turn-fold motion. If the dough is sticky, toss down sprinkles of flour. Break the kneading rhythm occasionally by throwing the dough down hard against the countertop - an excellent way to encourage the development of the dough.
First Rising (2 hours):
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will more than treble in volume - and may even be pushing against the plastic covering.
(If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by about half.)
Second Rising (1½ hours):
Turn back the plastic wrap and turn the dough onto the work surface to knead briefly, about 3 minutes.
Return the dough to the bowl and re-cover with wax paper. Allow to rise to more than triple its volume, about 1½ hours.
Shaping (10 mins):
The dough will be light and puffy. Turn it onto the floured work surface and punch it down. Don’t be surprised if it pushes back, for it is quite resilient.
Divide the dough into as many pieces as you wish loaves. One-quarter (10 oz) of this recipe will make a baguette 22″ long and 3″ to 4″ in diameter.
Allow pieces of dough to rest for 5 minutes before shaping.
For boules or round loaves, shape the pieces into balls. Place in cloth-lined baskets (bannetons) or position directly on the baking sheet. For baguettes, roll and lengthen each dough piece under your palms to 16″ to 20″ , and 3″ to 4″ in diameter. Place in a pan or on a baking sheet or in the folds of a long cloth (couche).
This loaf’s characteristic couronne or “crown” can be made in several ways. One is to flatten the piece of dough, press a hole through the center with your thumb, and enlarge the hole with your fingers. Another is to roll a long strand 18″ to 24″ and curl into a circle, overlapping and pushing together the ends. Yet a third way is to take 2 or 3 shorter lengths of dough and join them together in a circle, not overlapping top and bottom but pressing the ends together side by side into a uniform pattern - this one will be irregular but attractive.
Third rising (1 hour):
Cover the loaves with a cloth, preferably of wool, to allow air to reach the loaves and to form a light crust. Leave at room temperature until the dough has risen to more than double its size, about 1 hour.
Before preheating the oven to 450 degrees F (very hot) 20 minutes before baking, place a broiler pan on the floor of the oven or bottom rack so it will be there later. Five minutes before baking, pour 1 cup hot water into the hot pan. Be careful of the burst of steam - it can burn. I use a long-handled cup to reach into the oven when I pour.
Baking (450 degrees F/25-30 mins):
Carefully move the loaves in baskets and in couches to the baking sheet. Make diagonal cuts down the lengths of the long loaves and tic-tac-toe designs on the boules.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven.
The loaves are done when a golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn one loaf over and if the bottom crust sounds hard and hollow when tapped, the loaf is done.
(If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50 degrees.)
Place on a rack to cool.
recipe from: Brown Eyed Baker
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thanks everyone that voted!
1 recipe The Good Wife basic popcorn
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
~Pop popcorn according to recipe above but do not add the melted butter to the popped popcorn.
~Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. Add all the seasonings to the butter and stir to combine. Pour over the popcorn and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Grilled corn is really simple. Just take an ear of fresh corn on the cob and drizzle it with oil or butter, salt, pepper and then grill until charred. Leave the husk on the corn when you grill it. Just peel back the husk, remove the silk and then spread with oil or butter.
The great thing about grilled corn is that you can season it a ton of different ways. You can rub some crushed garlic and cumin on it, grill it and then top with lime juice and Parmesan cheese. Or you could use some rosemary, thyme, garlic and lemon juice.
recipe by: The Good Wife
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can cream-style corn
1 cup milk
3/4 cup coarsely crushed rich round crackers (about 20 crackers)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
~In a medium saucepan cook onion in butter until tender. Add in thawed corn and salt. Remove from heat.
~In a large bowl stir together the eggs, cream-style corn, milk, and crushed crackers. Stir in the corn and onion mixture. Transfer to an greased 2-quart baking dish.
~Bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until center appears set. Top with cheese. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
recipe modified from: better homes and gardens
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
When you have a 5 year old with you, you get to see different parts of the fair then what two adults would normally see. This includes a lot of animals, mostly baby animals.
Tomatoes, lettuce and a farmer's basket
Just to make sure you know you are in the Midwest - airbrush t-shirts, the God Mobile and Fried anything
Friday, August 8, 2008
The good thing to come out of it though, was I made a killer dessert; sweet coconut Jasmine Rice. Coconut milk came up more than once in a recipe search of "Thai basil". I think it is all the curry you can make with coconut milk and Thai basil. But I wanted somthing sweet.
~Combine one cup of water and one cup of coconut milk with one cup of Jasmine rice and place in a pot over high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low.
~Shimmer for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid during the cooking process.
~Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
~To serve, combine one cup of the cooked rice with the remaining coconut milk (about 2/3 a cup). Mix in the mint and basil and top with the sugar.
recipe by: The Good Wife
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Panzanella (Bread Salad)
1 loaf of good white bread, I used a sourdough bread bowl, cubed
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 80z fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 handful Thai basil, chopped
Zest of one lemon
~Toast the bread if you wish. Combine all the ingredients, through the lemon zest and toss to combine.
~Top with lemon zest. You can also top the salad with any olive and vinegar dressing.
My mom used to make these when I was a kid, but she never really had a good track record of not giving me food poisoning, so I didn't like them then. I remember them being really really tart. But these were nice and mild and not tart at all. Overall, they were really good.
Fried Green Tomatoes
2 medium green tomatoes
1/4 cup flour
Salt and Pepper
~Slice the tomatoes into 4 or 5 slices each.
~Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 2 minutes.
~Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
~Coat the tomatoes in the flour and transfer with a cast iron skillet with 1 inch of canola oil, over medium high heat.
~Fry the tomatoes 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain them on a paper plate and serve hot.
recipes by: The Good Wife
**UPDATE** Joelen of Joelen's Culinary Adventures suggested I submit these recipes to her August Adventures Tomato blogging event. Thanks for the suggestion Joelen!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Looks nice, doesn't it? Well don't be fooled by this peach Trojan Horse. I knew something had gone horribly wrong when the pie slice I placed on the plate, flattened and sort of spread out. That's when I knew: I didn't cook the bottom crust before I filled the pie. What a stupid mistake and I knew that as I was filling the unbaked pie crust with peach filling, something didn't seem right.
But I couldn't throw the pie away. After all, I used Calhoun peaches, the gold standard of peaches 'round here. It would be such a waste, and I would cry. I didn't feel like crying. I felt like a doctor. 'This pie can be saved', I told myself. 'After all, the top crust is just fine and it did look so pretty.'
So, I decrusted the pie. I removed the top crust; baked it in the oven for 15 minutes just to make sure it was cooked. I then scooped out the peach filling, careful not to scoop out the dough as well. I put the peach filling into a new pie pan and retopped it with the crust. That when into the oven again for 15 minutes.
The end result looks like this:It's a shame I don't eat peach pie because I worked so hard on this that it would be awesome if it tasted great despite me almost ruining it. TGH will now have to eat this and wonder how a two crust pie now only has one. But I think it will taste the same and lesson learned: I need to work on my baking skills
Monday, August 4, 2008
3 slices bacon, chopped
16 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 pounds lean sirloin, 1-inch thick, trimmed and cubed into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
3 sprigs each sage and fresh thyme, chopped
Herbed, Buttered Noodles:
12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked to package directions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
12 blades fresh chives, finely chopped
~Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
~Toss hot egg noodles with butter and herbs. Place a bed of noodles in a shallow bowl and pour beef burgundy over the noodles and serve.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
3 oz cream cheese softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 1 ½ inch thick sliced bread, I used Country French bread I got at the local Farmer’s Market
½ cup milk
2 tablespoon butter
¼ cup candied pecans
~Combine cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Mix to combine. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a ziplock bag, pushing the mixture into one corner. Cut one corner of the bag to form a pastry bag. You could also use a small pastry bag with a small tip.
~Cut a slit in the top of the bread. Gently insert the pastry bag and slowly fill the bread with the cream cheese mixture.
~In a shallow bowl combine the egg and milk. Add a dash each, cinnamon and nutmeg.
~Dip the bread into the egg mixture, letting it sit for about 10 seconds on each side, allowing for the mixture to be absorbed.
~Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
~Remove the bread from the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt. Add the candied pecans and toss in the butter. Top the bread with the pecan mixture.
Overall, it wasn't bad. The bread didn't hold that much cream cheese so what I think I will do next time is use two thinner slices of bread and make a sandwhich out of them, scooping out some of the bread to make more room for the cream cheese. But it was a yummy treat on a lazy Sunday morning.
recipe by: The Good Wife