Thursday, February 26, 2009


Anyone who has read my blog before knows how much I love bread. And how that it is the only thing I am craving now, I have to find more creative ways to satisfy my bread desire. This week, after seeing an episode of Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives, which featured Surrey's Café and Juice Bar, in New Orleans, I had a HUGE craving for bagels and lox.

Sadly the lox I can't have, but nothing can stop me from eating a dozen of these!

I found a bagel recipe in my Joy of Cooking cookbook. I did have some problems with the recipe though. The dough was just so dry that I had to add several tablespoons of water to get it to a smooth stage. I don't think it effected the overall texture or flavor but I was just a little disappointed that the dough wasn't perfect the first time. I also didn't roll the dough into a log and shape the bagel. I just rolled the dough into a ball and pushed my thumb through to make the hole. I think that is why my bagels have almost no hole.

When I ate all of these bagels, I decided to try again a few days later to see if maybe in a rush, I had just dumped all the flour in and that was why my dough was too dry. I slowly added the flour and when the dough looked stiff and could hold no more flour, I realized that I had almost one half cup of flour that I hadn't mixed in.

So while this recipe did produce a very tasty bagel, I might go with a different version next time.

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm (105° to 115° F) water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoon
1 Tbsp melted vegetable shortening
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour

~Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast, dissolves (about 5 minutes), the water, yeast and 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar.

~Slowly stir in the shortening, 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt and 1 cup flour.

~Slowly add the remaining flour and knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.

~Let rest, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.

~Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope tapering the ends. Wet the ends to help seal and form into rings, stretching the top end over and around the bottom end and pinching them together underneath. Or alternately, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Stick your thumb through the ball to make a hole. Stretch the hole out about 2 inches. Let rise, covered, on a floured board about 15 minutes, until puffy.

~Preheat the oven to 425°F.

~Bring to a boil in a large pot:
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

~Drop the rings 4 at a time into the boiling water. As the bagels surface, turn them over and cook about 45 seconds longer. Skim out and place on an ungreased baking sheet coated with cornmeal.

~Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

recipe by: The Joy of Cooking

Friday, February 20, 2009

Turtle Brownies

One of the first jobs I ever had was working at a local ice cream shop. It was the best job to have since I got to eat ice cream all day long. The even better part was all the different ice cream concoctions I was able to create in the 4 years I worked there. By far the best was the turtle sundae. Ice cream, hot fudge, caramel and salty pecans. Oh heaven.
So when I had a particularly rough day at work the other day, I decided that nothing would be better than a big 'ole turtle brownie. Too bad my rough day followed me into the kitchen where I dropped the bowl of hot melted chocolate and it shattered, sending glass and liquid chocolate everywhere. Not so good. That side tracked my brownie making my a good half hour, so by the time the brownies were finished, it was late and I had no patience to wait for them to cool.

That's why it is so gooey looking in the photo. The brownie was screaming hot out of the oven and so soft, it almost spread out on the plate. But with a cold glass of milk, it was oh so worth it.

3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 jar caramel topping
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

~Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

~Melt chocolates and butter in the microwave for 90 seconds or until melted, stirring every 30 second to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn. Cool to lukewarm, then stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until mixture is glossy and smooth. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.

~Spread batter evenly in baking pan (I used an 8x8) and bake at 350 in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

~Combine the caramel sauce and the 1/2 flour in a small bowl and stir to combine

~Pour the caramel sauce over the brownies and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

~Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips over the top. Allow to cool completely before serving.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Poll Results

The results are in and most people stay in for Valentine's Day and make a nice dinner at home. That's what The Good Husband and I did.

Coming in a close second was having dinner in a nice restaurant.

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day.

The Good Wife

Valentine Dinner

The Good Husband and I don't go out much. We are saving for our new house and for The Good Baby. Besides, anything that I really want to eat right now, I cannot due to pregnancy. We aren't really gift giving people either, so my Valentine's Day gift to TGH was to make a nice dinner.

On the menu:
~Shrimp Cocktail
~Seared New York Strip for TGH
~Butter Poached Lobster Tail for me
~Garlic Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
~Sweet Butter Peas

We went to the seafood market that morning during our errands and who knew that lobster was such a Valentine's Day staple? I didn't know, but then again, this was the first time the I cooked lobster. We normally don't eat lobster or crab because of the expense but since it was a holiday and all, I decided to splurge.

For the lobster - I used two 4 ounce rock lobster tails, removing the shell. I melted one stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. I allowed the butter to heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. I then added the lobster tails and poached them slowly for about 8 minutes.

I will admit that I was terrified that I would over cook the lobster and it would become rubbery. But I think the poaching really did the trick because the meat was so sweet and tender and not at all rubbery. Worth every penny.

For the NY Strip - I allowed the steak to come to room temperature, 30 minutes before I was ready to cook them. I salt and peppered both sides of the steak and allowed a pan to get extremely hot over medium high heat. I added one tablespoon of oil to the pan, and seared the steak on each side for 3 minutes. I then removed the pan from the heat and turned the burner to low medium. I added 3 tablespoons of butter and allowed it to melt. I then returned the pan to the heat and based the steak with the melted butter for another 5 minutes.

Not how I usually cook steak but since it was a special dinner, I decided all the butter would be worth it.

For the 'taters - I used my normal mashed 'taters recipe, but I removed all of the skins. I added one clove of pressed garlic to the butter and allowed the butter and the garlic to melt together in a small saucepan over low heat while the 'taters boiled. I then added 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the 'taters when I mashed them.

This is really just a simple way to make something that tastes like twice baked potatoes, since we really only eat the filling and not the 'tater skin anyway. I just took the recipe for what would be the filling of a twice baked and served it alone.

For the peas - I cooked the peas the way my gma cooks peas. From the freezer, with a pat of butter and a spoon full of sugar. Place in a microwave dish, add the butter and the sugar and microwave, covered for a few minutes. Yum.

recipes by: The Good Wife

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fish, no chips

As a former Catholic, I still miss the fish frys at lent. I remember having a heaping pile of fried shrimp with slices of white bread and butter. Fried walleye was always the most popular fish, but I do remember perfect squares of fried white fish. Oh how I miss all the fried fish goodness.

So when I have a craving for a good ol' fish fry, I just make my own. It beats standing in a long line at the local KC Hall. If only I had made some fried shrimp. Sigh

The only negative I had with this recipe, one I got from Ina, is the batter was a little thick on the fish. It was soft like a pancake batter and not crispy like a tempura batter. I think if I increase the amount of water in the batter, then I will have a more crispy and light crust.

1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
1 extra-large egg
Vegetable oil, for frying

~Lay the cod fillets on a cutting board. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Cut the fillets in 1 1/2 by 3-inch pieces. (I omitted this last step and kept the original shape of the fish fillet.)

~In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/2 cup of water and then the egg.

~Pour 1/2-inch of oil into a large frying pan and heat it to 360 degrees F.

~Dip each fillet into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place it very carefully into the hot oil. Don't crowd the pieces. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil between 360 and 400 degrees F. Cook the fish on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with tarter sauce or malt vinegar.

recipe modified from: Ina Garten

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cinnamon rolls

Nothing smells better than fresh baked cinnamon rolls.

But having never cooked them before, I didn't realise how long it actually takes before you can smell them. We decided to have The Good Grandmother over for breakfast on Sunday and being sick of the usual biscuits and gravy, eggs and 'taters, pancakes/waffles, I decided to make cinnamon rolls.

I found a recipe the night before and determined I would need about 2 hours to make them. No problem normally, since I can get up early if I want, but I have found that now that I am in my second trimester, getting out of bed in the morning is just so incredibly hard.

The recipe I used made 24 rolls. After TGG, The Good Husband and I had our fill, there was plenty to give to TGG to take home and for us to have the rest of the week as well.

I got a sloppy when cutting them (I used dental floss instead of thread) so some were thicker than others but the taste was perfect. I also used a powdered sugar icing when I think next time I will make a cream cheese frosting.

These babies were definitely worth getting up early for, but in the future, this will be one of the first things I teach my kids to make so I can wake up to the glorious smell in the morning.

4 to 4-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing

~In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour and yeast. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1/3 cup butter, and salt just until warm, about 120 to 130 degrees F. and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer or your stand mixer, on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the remaining flour. If using your stand mixer, mix in the remaining flour on low speed

~Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.

~Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans (I used a 15x11 pan).

~Roll each portion of the dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush the 3 tablespoons melted butter over dough. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough. Roll up into a spiral, starting from a long side. Seal seam. Slice each roll into 12 equal pieces using thread or dental floss. Place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.

~Bake in 400 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly. Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Icing.

Makes 24 rolls.

Powdered Sugar Icing: In mixing bowl combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk or orange juice. Stir in additional milk or juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency. Makes 1/2 cup.

recipe by: Better Homes and Gardens