Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lemony Snickets

I really thought I had posted about this recipe before. Apparently I haven't, as I discovered this past Friday as I was desperately trying to find the recipe to bake up some cookies for my friend Morgan and my printed copy was MIA.

Fortunately I did email myself the recipe one day (anticipating something like this) so I was able to bake the cookies.

This is a recipe I got off of livejournal one day. I wasn't a huge fan of the cookies the first time I made them. Not sure what it was, but they just didn't impress me. But Morgan liked them and requested them around Christmas when I on a baking frenzy. So I made them and the entire office went nuts over this little lemony delights. The second batch was definitely better than the first and I got loads of requests for the recipe. In fact, if I did lose my printed version I could just go to anybody else in the office now and copy theirs since everyone has it now.

The trick to this recipe I think is to be generous with the lemon. I use the juice of one whole lemon and the zest of two lemons. I also go a little easier on the flour. Roll in sugar before baking  or dust with powdered sugar right out of the oven. Whatever tickles your fancy.

1/2 butter (softened)
1 1/6 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tsp lemon juice (one whole lemon)
1 tsp lemon zest (two lemons)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 + 1/3 cup flour

bake 11-13 minutes at 375 until golden brown and delicious..

Sorry, no pictures this time. I will take pictures next time I make them. Who knows whenever that will be seein' as the oven is broken now. (TRAGIC!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mmm...beer pancakes...


I love pancakes. Pancakes are definitely one of my favorite breakfast foods. Right behind Eggs Benedict. And Biscuit and Gravy. But they're up there, that's all that matters. And because they're easy I tend to make them most weekends. I'm partial to Alton Brown's buttermilk pancake recipe. It makes beautiful fluffy delicious pancakes. And having the mix made up before hand just means I can scoop out 1 cup and make enough batter for 6 pancakes.

But, we don't always have buttermilk on hand. That's what happened this past weekend. But Kevin really wanted pancakes. So I did what any loving girlfriend would do on Valentine's Day. I made him beer pancakes. Ok, to be fair he helped. I mixed up the batter and he cooked them (I get antsy with pancakes and always want to flip too early).

They were delicious! We used Sam Adam's Coastal Wheat and I added a touch of brown sugar to the batter (to make sure they weren't too beery). Word of warning though, don't use cold beer. Cold beer + melted butter = lumpy coagulated butter. I learned that the hard way and had to redo the liquid part of the batter. Second time around I mixed the egg into the butter and made sure the beer was warmer. That made it all better. I also used a smidge more butter than the recipe calls for. I like buttery pancakes.

These pancakes weren't quite as light and fluffy as AB's but they were damn tasty. This recipe will definitely be our backup for when we are out of buttermilk.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow baking part deux.

So you know how I said in my last entry, "When it snows, I bake."? Well I wasn't kidding about the snow. This is what I woke up to Saturday morning.

And you know the best part about snowy weekends? (Actually weekends in general for that matter.) BREAKFAST! I eat stupid cereal all week long just so I can have a nice hearty breakfast on the weekend. Most of the time this is pancakes and bacon and eggs or omelets or biscuits. This weekend I got ambitious and decided to try eggs benedict.

I followed the Pioneer Woman's blender method for the hollandaise but more or less used a scaled down recipe from allrecipes.com I also didn't have any canadian bacon on hand so I just used bacon (and fried bologna (shut up! don't judge me!)). I need to work on my egg poaching technique. I pulled the first egg too early so the yolk broke, and my eggs got cold while I was trying to poach Kev's eggs. But overall I'd have to say it was really damn good. The sauce was absolutely fantastic and there's nothing quite like a good eggs benedict. It's so rich and comforting. It's probably just a shade under biscuit and gravy in my breakfast hierarchy.

But Bailie you say, breakfast isn't baking! This is true. But I did also make that Mocha Coffee Coffee cake I mentioned before.

I even took pictures of the process!

All the main players.

Showing my lovely new kitchen aid in action. Look at that beater blade go!

All of the batters (3!) in the floppy pan.

Golden brown and delicious.

And of course, finished off with a glaze.

I didn't have an instant espresso on hand so I used instant coffee instead. That's the only substitution I made. I think I over baked the cake just a shade. I did it for less time than called for but I think with the floppy pan it still baked up faster than I anticipated. My glaze was also a little thin and soaked into the cake a bit too much. But overall this cake was pretty good. It has a very strong coffee flavor so if you're into that then this cake should be right up your ally. Not to mention, having 3 batter bowls to lick clean? Can we say, HELL YEAH? I knew you could!

fun with leftovers

last week or so... or maybe the week before that... anyway i was slow getting to the grocery store and had company coming over. what's a girl to do with (practically) nothing in her fridge?

course #1 - beer stuffing
deep in the far corner of my freezer, i found some multigrain bread that i'm fairly certain pre-dates myspace. i also had some baby carrots, celery and a lonely shallot. throw all the kids in the pool, add salt, pepper, oregano and some beer and you get something like this.

let the stuffing cool for a bit, add an egg, bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and you get some pretty kickass stuffing.
apologies for the lack of an 'after' photo, trust me it was tastey-looking.

on to course #2 - sweet potato and beef empanadas
i had a pillsbury pie shell laying around - i had ever intention of making a pecan pie, honest, i did but my plans never came together. so using a glass, we cut the pie shell into little rounds. add some ground beef leftover from taco night, some over-seasoned, disappointing, roasted sweet potatoes and a pinch of cheese and you've got empanadas! more cheese on top and quick egg wash, and these are picture perfect:

i've tried empanada recipes before with puff pastry, but the pillsbury pie crust was vastly superior! i was pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

When it snows...I bake.

One of my favorite things about snow is that it gives me a good excuse to stay home and bake and cook my little heart out. Last weekend was those fabulous chocolate chip cookies, and this weekend I've been busy making pizza from scratch, eggs benedict (a post to come on that later) and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Later today I'm planning on making Mocha Coffee Coffee Cake but this post isn't about that. This post is about the cookies.

I'll be honest. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies aren't my favorite. (They're not even in my top 5) I'm a chocolate chip girl through and through. But Kevin requested them since they are his favorite and since I do like him I made up a batch using Joy the Baker's recipe.

As you can see, they're pretty delicious looking.

I followed the recipe as directed. Including browning the butter and making little brown bits. I have to say for a kind of cookie I'm not entirely fond of, they're pretty damn good. Kev's words were "That's some good shit!" so I think that means he approves.They're really sweet, but nice and soft and chewy. Great texture. I probably won't make them as often as I make chocolate chip cookies, but this recipe will definitely go into my cookie bank to be used for social occasions and holiday baking.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sometimes food catches you by surprise.

Kev had the bright idea to make blackened chicken wraps for dinner last night. It sounded fine enough so I let him concoct his little creation. It was chicken w/balsamic vinaigrette and Cajun seasoning, rice, black beans, caramelized onions and some salad mix/lettuce wrapped up in a whole wrap tortilla. I didn't really think much about it, I just figured it was a simple slap dash throw it together type of dinner so I didn't take and pictures. (Kev even said, "What, you won't take pictures when I cook dinner?!". Sorry, hon, I didn't expect it to be that good!)

Much to my surprise though it was really, really delicious. The chicken had just enough kick to it, the caramelized onions added a very nice depth of flavor to the wrap and I think I'm finally getting over my bean aversion (they're the kind of food that I'll eat, but won't actively seek out). I liked it so much I made Kev share half of his second wrap with me because I wanted more.

I think I'll definitely have him make this dish more often when I'm not in the mood for cooking. It may have even inspired me to take on the poor man's staple 'beans and rice' one day now that I realize that combination really isn't that bad.