Friday, May 13, 2011

Baked Pasta Something or another

This dish was really good. I mean, really, really good. Probably one of my better off the cuff experiments. It started off with me being broke, having a few random pasta ingredients in the fridge and needing to make a cheap dinner that would make good leftovers for lunch. I found a recipe on weight watchers of a baked ziti dish that looked promising. So I went with that concept but basically made something up completely on my own.

I cooked 2 heaping cups of penne pasta to al dente. I made a sauce with 1 can diced tomatoes/1 can crushed tomatoes with fresh basil, oregano, lemon juice, garlic, salt, wee pinch of sugar, pepper, crushed red pepper and dry oregano. I don't measure anything so, um, add that stuff til it tastes good. While that was bubbling away I wilted down some baby spinach in olive oil (about a cup or so), chopped up some pepperonis and mixed one cup of ricotta cheese w/one egg.

Then I layered everything in my casserole dish. I started with sauce, added some pasta, ricotta, pepperoni, sauce, pasta, ricotta, pepperoni, spinach, pasta, ricotta, sauce and topped it all off with some shredded mozzarella. I threw it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes or so. I then broiled the top for about a minute or 2 just to get the cheese nice and brown. So basically it was sort of a lasagna w/different noodles and super easy to throw together. I'll definitely make this again, it's hardly any more difficult than spaghetti but so much tastier.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strawberry fields forever.

So this past weekend my Mom came up for a visit for Mother's day. On her way she stopped at a strawberry stand on the side of the road and picked up a GALLON of strawberries. My friends, that's a lot of strawberries. But it was ok because they were GOOD strawberries! Delicious, dark red, juicy, flavorful strawberries. Not anything like those bitter, whiteish, sad imposters you find at Kroger.

Farm fresh strawberries.

(this was after we raided the basket to make ice cream and jam)

Between eating the strawberries as they were, we made Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, which is AWESOME. I've never been a fan of strawberry ice cream but this stuff is good. I think I even liked it best before we froze it. Before freezing it was the best strawberry milkshake ever!This was definitely the easiest batch of ice cream to make too. Macerate the berries in a tablespoon of vodka and 3/4 of a sugar for about an hour. Throw it in a blender with a cup of sour cream and a cup of cream and blend away! That's it!

(see those seeds? that's strawberry ice cream made with actual strawberries! i wish the photo could actually capture how pink this stuff really is. it's very, very pink!)

We also made a metric crap ton (ok, 9 cups, but seriously, i'll never get through all of that!) of strawberry freezer jam. We just followed the instructions for jam that came with the pectin box. It was super simple, boil some sugar, slice some strawberries (we threw them into the food processor) then mix together.

This stuff is really tasty and I'll definitely be making more toast and biscuits for breakfast so I can gobble it all up. But I imagine I'll be sharing with lucky friends and family too. If they ask nicely.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Porter Cupcakes

Yesterday I was in the mood to bake and we had a dinner invitation over to our friends so I decided that would be the perfect excuse to bring dessert. Kevin's latest issue of Beer Advocate had just come in the mail and a cupcake recipe in it caught my eye. Beer + Cupcakes? Sounds like a winning combo to me! I didn't used the beer called for in the recipe but I don't think that make a big difference at all.

Aren't they so pretty?

Melting the chocolate for the ganache.

I have to say I'm a big fan of the dip and twirl ganache for topping cupcakes. So much easier and cleaner than frosting cupcakes.

The recipe was supposed to make 24 cupcakes but I made some big ones and some little ones so I wound up with 16 big cupcakes and 13 mini cupcakes. They're a darker, richer chocolate flavor and not overly sweet. I refer to them as grown up cupcakes. The recipe calls for malt power instead of white sugar so it has a different flavor to it. I think you can tell the beer is there but it's not overwhelming. They're a little dryer than your usual box mix, but that seems to be the case with most homemade cupcakes.  I think the recipe could use some tweaking but it's not a bad one to start with.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ice Cream Part 4

Ice cream step by step. Sort of. Well, not really but there are multiple pictures. There are 3 things that make Tin Roof Ice Cream.

Vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate covered peanuts. Chopped into pieces.

And fudge ripple.

I completely spazzed out and forgot to take a picture of the ice cream once it was combined but just imagine that it was beautiful and delicious. Because it was. The fudge ripple was AMAZING. So chocolaty and so delicious. I won't lie, I ate a few spoonfuls of it by itself before pouring it onto the ice cream. And then a few spoonfuls after of what was left. In fact there's still some in the fridge and when I need a sudden chocolate fix I have a spoon. It's just that damn good.

We shared this ice cream with Kevin's parents when they came down for the weekend. They both really enjoyed it. His Dad even said it was one of the best desserts he's ever had. So yay! Other people enjoy my ice cream! I'd still rank this one below the white chocolate and butterscotch pecan, but it was definitely better than the chocolate. I definitely wouldn't mind making it again though. Maybe once I make may way through the rest of the Perfect Scoop.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pork chops and sauerkraut

This recipe comes from the blog Serious Eats. Manda directed me to this blog a few weeks back and I've found a number of tasty recipes on it, including this one. Kev gets a lot of credit for this dinner. I did some of the prep work and tossed the potatoes into the oven to roast but he did the actual cooking, so yay for him.

The pork chops went really well with the sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was slightly sweet from the apple juice so it had that pork/apple thing going on that works so well together but it was a nice change of pace from the usual pork chop/applesauce combo (I almost typed asslesauce, that doesn't sound nearly as appetizing).  The potatoes were just tossed with some olive oil and onion soup mix. Low brow but tasty.

For dinner tonight I made this ginger salmon recipe from Budget Bytes. It was good. Not life changing, but pretty good and easy to throw together. The thing I was really impressed with was the mushrooms I made. I told Kev to pick up a vegetable to go with the salmon and he came home with mushrooms.

Not a vegetable but we love mushrooms in this house so I'll let it slide. I wanted to do something "asian-y" with them to go with the flavors of the salmon so I put a bit of sesame oil in the pan, tossed the mushrooms with some sriracha, fish sauce and sweet chili sauce in the bowl where I made the salmon glaze so a little but of that made it into the mix too. I sauteed that while cooking the salmon and they came out great. Oh so slightly sweet with some nice heat in the background and very delicious served over rice. Probably one of my better 'wing it' recipes I've thrown together.
I wish I had taken a picture of them.

A new ice cream post to come soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ice cream part 3

It's a double whammy tonight! Two posts! In one night! Because I'm a total slacker!

For our third batch of ice cream Kev and I decided to go with something chocolaty. The recipe was for a Guinness Milk Chocolate ice cream but this turned out to be a Baltic Porter Chocolate ice cream. The Baltic Porter was one of Kevin's home brews and I used semi-sweet chocolate rather than milk chocolate. You could definitely pick up the beer in the ice cream and it was very intensely chocolate even though I used one ounce less chocolate than the recipe called for since that's all that I had on hand.

It was delicious, of course. But I think this one ranks at #3 behind the butterscotch pecan and white chocolate ice creams. The base for a batch of tin roof is chillin' in the fridge now. That's vanilla ice cream with fudge ripple and chocolate covered peanuts. My fudge ripple is cooling now and I'll make the peanuts tomorrow. It's a bit more labor intensive with the add ins but it's for a special occassion. Kev's parents are coming into town this weekend. Hopefully they'll like it!

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

I can't believe I forgot to post about the grand finale of my adventure through Thailand. I did make some curry. Thai Chicken Curry in Coconut Milk to be exact.

I came about this recipe by googling coconut milk recipes and it was one of the first ones that came up. I already had almost all of the ingredients on hand so it was a nobrainer to make. I added extra curry paste and threw in some frozen peas for some extra vegetation. Overall the recipe was ok. It tasted good sure, but it didn't really have any heat to it. I probably used too much coconut milk (I just used up what I had left) so that probably mellowed out the curry paste quite a bit. That was my only real complaint though and that's easily remedied by kicking it up a notch with the curry paste. I'll definitely try my hand at curry again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One recipe leads to another...

I feel like I've started some sort of recipe chain reaction. First I made the Thai steamed snapper and then after that I realized I had most of the ingredients for Thai Lemon Shrimp. All I needed was some coconut milk and dinner was made!

And a tasty dinner it was! So incredibly simple to make. I just thawed out some shrimp, tossed it into a baggie with the marinade ingredients to get happy and then the actual cooking time was just a few minutes. Waiting for the udon noodles to cook was really the only time consuming thing but it was still just about 20 minutes to make dinner. Kev fussed over the shrimp tails but I told him if it mattered that much he could take them off before I cooked the shrimp. He didn't, so he can just shut his trap.:-p

Anyway, back to this chain reaction thing. So now I've got this coconut milk hanging out in my fridge that needs to be used up. It's tasty stuff and a fairly expensive ingredient so I definitely need to do something with it. I'm thinking maybe a curry since I have red curry paste now thanks to the steamed snapper. I've never made a curry before so this could be interesting. Thai was easy enough so maybe I can handle curry.

In other recipes that I've tried, this recipe from Martha Stewart via Serious Eats is pretty awesome. I'm mostly talking about the cauliflower. The salmon was fine, but the cauliflower blew me away. I'll never be afraid to cook with anchovies ever again. Try it, it'll make you really love cauliflower if you don't already.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thai Steamed Snapper

Tonight's dinner was one of the better weight watchers recipes I've had. Tonight wasn't the first time that I've had it. My friend Jen made it last weekend when we came over for dinner and Kev and I just gushed over it. Spicy, flavorful, super filling and only 8 points! Nice!

I added some mushrooms to it when I made it. Mostly because I just like mushrooms but it added some extra bulk so there'd be enough for lunch tomorrow. Jen originally used Mahi Mahi when she made it. I used the snapper that's called for but I think I might've liked it with the Mahi Mahi better. I forgot the onion but I don't think that made much of a difference. I'll definitely make this more often. It's a easy way to make a tasty, healthy fish dish which I've been trying to eat more of lately.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

ramen upgrade

Couple weeks ago I spotted this entry over at Serious Eats re: Ramen Hacks. It has never occurred to me to tamper with the salty, unhealthy goodness of ramen before, but why the hell not?

I sent the b/f to the store with a very specific list, snow peas, scallions, flank stank, soy sauce and beef flavored ramen. He came back with sugar snap peas (so very very sweet and tasty) and cup o' noodles. Not the ramen in a bag... erm... okay! Make it work time.

Quickly steamed the sugar snap peas, marinated cut up steak in soy sauce, and barely fried it. Let the cup o' noodles hang out for one minute with some hot water, drain, stir together, dash more of soy sauce and presto! Not ten minutes later (including prep time) dinner was served.

One minor change I would have made would be the cup o' noodles. Since those come pre-seasoned (whereas the bag o' ramen has a separate seasoning package) I couldn't control the salt, plus I got a little soy sauce happy, and everything came out pretty intensely seasoned. Now I've got to start planning my next ramen hack... chicken? Ramen n' cheese?

Also sorry for the bad photography. I assure you it looked much more pleasing than in the photo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adventures in Ice Cream Part 2

Kevin and I took the ice cream maker for a spin this weekend and made our 2nd batch of home made ice cream.  This batch would've been considerably less expensive than the white chocolate ice cream if it hadn't been for the burnt butter pecans. The instructions weren't great for making those and Kev over toasted them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. He never toasted nuts before so wasn't aware that they need constant vigilance and coddling otherwise they go from golden brown and delicious to burnt in about 2.5 seconds. So we wound up spending like $12 on nuts for one batch of ice cream. Ouch. At least we have some left so I can make more of those tasty spicy pecans from Macheesmo. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, ice cream.

It's butterscotchbrandy pecan ice cream. (We didn't have any scotch.) It's rich, buttery and almost a little savory. Definitely a little salty, but I like that. Not quite as smooth and creamy as the white chocolate ice cream, but it's still really darn delicious. Kevin certainly doesn't have any complaints.  Next up on the list will definitely be a chocolate ice cream. There's no way home made chocolate ice cream won't be twice as delicious as this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No nuts in a Haystack

I was recently chatting with a friend and recalling the un-sophisticated palette of childhood - boil bag rice with butter, fried bologna sandwiches, StoveTop stuffing, potato bread by the fistful. Who's the sick twisted soul that thought, 'How can we get more carbs into a piece of white bread? I know! POTATO!'

Anyway, this conversation gave me a powerful hankering for Haystacks. Super simple, super delicious, these definitely bring back tons of memories for me. I phoned up my mom and got the recipe. I didn't realize it but the recipe actually comes from her mother! I think there's something really adorable about keeping a 60-year old recipe going in the family.

  • 3 cups oats

  • 1 cup coconut

  • 1 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup margarine/butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 large package semi-sweet chocolate chips(16 oz)

- Mix dry ingredients
- Bring to boil milk, sugar and butter
- Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until chocolate melts
- Drop onto parchment paper and let set in fridge (two hour minimum)

My mother has always detested nuts in any sort of dessert (she firmly believes they have no place in baked goods and shouldn't come in to contact with sugar ever). Point being I've never had haystacks with nuts, so I always go heavy on the oats and coconut. I didn't remember just how decedent and rich these could be! Next time, I think I'm going to go easy on the sugar...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taking the meat grinder for a spin.

Kevin's parents got me the meat grinder attachment for my kitchen aid as a birthday present this year. I finally got it out this weekend to take it for a spin grind. We had a vague notion that we wanted to make burgers but this notion came to us when we were already at the store so we weren't sure what the best cut of meat would be to use. We picked up a pound of sirloin and decided to give that a shot. I kept the seasoning very simple, just some kosher salt on the chopped up meat and a grind of black pepper once the patties were formed.

Grinding the meat was easy and fun. We got 4 good sized patties from the mix (2 5oz and 2 4oz).

(aren't they pretty?)

We served the burgers along side roasted veggies (baby gem potatoes, yellow pepper, onions and mushrooms). The burgers turned out pretty tasty. Very beefy. Kevin feels like we should add more fat next time so we'll pick up a more fatty cut of beef or perhaps toss in some bacon (I read that suggestion somewhere and I really like it). All in all though it was fun to grind up my own burger meat and we'll definitely do it again. Next up on the list is sausage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shrimp and Grits for Dinner.

It's official. I'm a true southern bell. I've been turned into a grit lover.

This dish is so good it'll make you wanna slap yo momma.

Seriously, do your mouth a favor and make this recipe. I promise, you'll thank me. It's bacon and cheese and shrimp and lemon and it's a party in your mouth. I'm pretty sure I'll make this for dinner tomorrow night. And maybe the night after that too. Hell, I might have some of the left overs for dessert. It's just that awesome.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I need to stay away from Joy the Baker's blog. When I read her blog I get inspired. And hungry. Mostly hungry. I ran across her recipe for peanut butter banana bread and was immediately sucked in by the pictures. I left the web page with the recipe up on my computer all week until I could get a chance to make it (I was waiting for my bananas to ripen). I knew if I made it and kept it here I'd most likely eat the whole loaf in one, maybe two, sittings. So I made it today when Kevin had a brewer's guild meeting so he could take the bread with him after I got my taste.

The bread is quite good. I think maybe my loaf baked a little quicker than hers, the crust was quite...crusty. Maybe next time I'd check it at 45 minutes rather than letting it go the whole 55. But it was still moist and crumby on the inside. It tasted...healthy. In a good way. Probably all that whole wheat and flaxseed meal.  It could've been more banana-y though.

During the course of the week I spent a lot of time catching up on all of the delicious posts from her blog that I had missed. I stumbled across the Chocolate Chip Pancake recipe last night. Can you guess what we had for breakfast this morning?

Kevin gets the credit here, he made these delicious, fluffy, chocolately stacks of heaven. More browsing brought me to her Shrimp and Grits recipe and that is totally going to be dinner one night this week.

Have I mentioned on here that I'm doing weight watchers and have lost 36lbs so far? While eating food like this? That's why that plan is so wonderful. No foods are off limits. Portion control for dummies! Yay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This burger needs more anger...

I've been hyping this entry to Bailie for at least two weeks now. Here's hoping it lives up to her ever-dwindling expectations. I really don't have a clever excuse for not blogging, she's the one constantly knitting AND planning a wedding.

Here's the inspiration: Was watching Food Network awhile ago and they mentioned the metal (as in music) inspired burgers at Kuma's Corner in Chicago.
Like this winner - the Slayer Burger: Pile of fries topped with a 10 oz. Burger, Chili, Cherry Peppers, Andouille, Onions, Jack Cheese, and Anger

Tell me that doesn't sound like a whole lot of awesome? Now that show came on the heels of a friend pointing me towards a little film called Heavy Metal Parking Lot. The setting, 1981. The subject, upstanding American citizens, drunk and high out of their minds in the parking lot of a Slayer concert. This started a three week period where we began ranking everything by its level of metalness.

THUS I give you THE METALEST BURGER, or at least the metalest burger I could make with ingredients already in my kitchen.

Burger ingredients:
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Sharp Cheddar
- Cumin
- Cayenne Pepper

I chose these spices because they are my two favorite spices, AND... because I'm still working on industrial size jars I purchased three years ago. I end up putting cumin and cayenne in everything just to get rid of the stuff, but I think they were the right choices in this case. I also chose jalapenos and cheddar because they complement each other so well (this was also before Burger King started airing commercials for their new burger with the exact same ingredients).

Here's where it gets crazy people, cheddar mashed potatoes ON TOP of the burger. Crazy and slightly metal, I know! Top that with plenty of bacon on a butter-toasted bun (black poppy seeds obviously... to represent the tortured darkness in everyone's soul).

After all this planning and debating, I'm sad to say this was not the metalist of metal burgers. I wanted something really decedent and over the top, and while this burger was uber-filling, it just didn't feel right. So I'm still on the quest for the darkest, blackest, devilist, metalist burger. Maybe I'll give it another go this weekend. And blog about it six months later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good food.

It's been a good two weeks for food. I haven't been documenting it as much as as should but it sure has been tasty. I've been eating a lot more leftovers for lunch during the week the past few weeks. Kevin and I get together and walk for about a half hour around downtown and then I come back and spend the rest of the time with my lunch. I've had tasty soup, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, pasta with italian sausage and it was all much better than some low calorie frozen dinner that bland and tasteless.

This week I tried out two weight watcher recipes that turned out really well. One was for a marinated lime chicken breast and the other was for a spicy mushroom soup. I'll definitely be making the soup more often. As far as weight watchers recipes go it was really darn tasty. I find them often to be lacking in flavor and need a bit of tweaking but this one was spot on. It's chock full of veggies and it's very filling. 5 points for 1 1/2 cups. Not a bad deal at all. Also, I've decided that I do like mangos. Yay for new fruit to eat! We had it last night in a tasty mango salsa w/ some baked salmon.

My favorite thing I've been eating since last week though is some granola that I made. I followed Alton Brown's recipe for granola. I forgot the coconut, added pecans, and I used dried cherries instead of raisins  and I've been having it mixed in with some Stony Field Farm's low fat vanilla yogurt. About a half cup of yogurt w/ third cup to a half cup of granola mixed it. It's slightly sweet, slightly salty, very crunchy and very, very addicting. It makes a great breakfast or a little smaller serving is a great snack. I'm almost out of granola and I plan on making another batch this weekend. It's been a nice break from cereal.

Tonight is lemon ricotta pasta with chicken. If it's tasty enough I'll take pictures. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marrying into Food

Dinner tonight made Kevin remark "Have I told you how glad I am to be marrying someone who knows how to cook?". I can't take all of the credit though. Nick over at Macheesmo really knows his stuff. I made two of his recipes tonight. Tapenade Grilled Cheese and Pesto Quinoa Salad.

For the cheese in the sandwich I used some smoked fontina and asiago we had hanging around. Unfortunately it didn't melt all that well, but it was still quite tasty. This was my first foray into tapenade and I was surprised at how easy it is to make. It will definitely be considered more often for appetizers and bread toppings.

The real star of the night though was definitely the pesto quinoa salad. I saw this recipe last week and thought it might be a nice change of pace from sandwiches for lunch. I forgot the parsley and didn't have any beets on hand but the salad was damn fine without it. It was filling, hearty, healthy and friggin' good. There's definitely enough left to munch on for lunch this week. Kevin has declared that it needs to be made next time we need to bring a dish somewhere. Quinoa has also redeemed itself to me. It's definitely not as boring as I thought it was the first time I cooked with it.

The downside to follow the Macheeso blog is my grocery bill is getting very high. Ingredients like sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, olives, red peppers and good bread gets expensive very quickly. It's worth it though when dinner is as good as it was tonight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Kev and I like to stay in on Valentine's Day. We don't like to fight with crowds or waits or pay a lot of money for fancy dinners so we stay in and cook up something nice. It's usually just as good as what we'd get at a restaurant and much, much cheaper (plus! leftovers!)

This year was no exception.

We had brandied mushrooms, parmasean broccoli gratin, new york strip steaks and Moroccan olive bread. Dessert was homemade white chocolate ice cream on brownies.

As you can see, Macheesmo has become one of my new favorite food blogs to follow. I've tried several of his recipes (including these nuts for the super bowl and OMG they were like crack). His blog was the first place I looked when trying to come up with sides to go along with our steak that were outside of the usual baked potato/roasted veggie box that we reside in.

My mushrooms didn't come out the same lovely brown color that his did but they were still quite delicious.

The broccoli gratin came out very nice look indeed, but just because it has broccoli in it don't let it fool you. It's not very healthy at all with whole milk and heavy cream and plenty of cheese in it.

Kevin grilled the steaks beautifully to a lovely medium rare. Seasoned simply with salt, pepper, little bit of lawrey's and some bbq sauce on mine. Just awesome!

But by far the most delicious part of the meal was the ice cream. Kevin got me the ice cream attachment for my kitchen aid mixer and this was my first spin with it. I decided on a white chocolate ice cream from the recipe book he got to go with the ice cream maker. It was simple, it was delicious and I'm convinced that my diet is just absolutely blown to pieces now.

We ate it right after it was done mixing so it was the consistency of soft serve. That was alright though, once we got a taste of it (Kevin licked the mixer blade clean!) there was no chance we would wait long enough to let it set up.  It was rich and creamy and I'm pretty sure there's no chance of me going back to store bought unless I'm just feeling exceptionally lazy.

So that was my happy Valentine's Day. I can't wait for the next special occasion so I can make more tasty ice cream!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Combining two good ideas into one.

As you can probably tell, tonight's post is about pizza. Delicious, cheesy, smokey, awesome pizza. I came across this post over at Macheesmo today at work while trying to come up with some ideas for dinner that would resolve the massive cheese craving that I was having. As soon as I saw the Fire/Smoke pizza I knew I was going to make it for dinner. Smoked Gouda? One of my favorite cheeses? On pizza? Um, yes plz!

So after fighting with the Monday night crowd at Kroger in desperate search for chipotles in adobo sauce (god why do I always go to Kroger on Mondays? I HATE Kroger on Mondays!) I came home and immediately went to work. I decided to try the pizza dough recipe from the Bread Lovers Bread Machine cookbook (recipe 2 down!) because I had this funny idea I might actually go to the gym while the dough was working. Yeah, right. The only place I hate more on Monday nights than Kroger is the gym.

Things I liked about this recipe.

1.) The basic marinara. His base recipe for sauce is just fantastic. It's flavorful, light and so damn easy to make. I'll never cook pizza sauce again as this will be my go to standard. Fortunately his recipe makes quite a bit so I've got some saved back for future pizzas!

2.) The cheese. The smoked gouda (and smoked provolone, it was on sale so I grabbed it too) just really added a lot to this pizza.  It's not a cheap pizza thanks to the special cheese, but it is damn tasty.

3.) The simplicity. Roasted red peppers and caramelized onions (I didn't have red onion and I prefer my pizza onions cooked). I'm usually a die hard pepperoni fan, but the spiciness from the chipotles made me not miss them at all. It was just perfect with the peppers and onions.

4.) The dough. I didn't use his dough, but the dough I did make was pretty good. It was light and chewy on the edges but the bottom crust had a nice bite to it. I'll definitely make it again next time I feel like waiting 2 hours for pizza. That was the biggest draw back. I didn't realize the dough setting on my bread machine too so damn long until it was too late.

All in all, this recipe is awesome and I recommend you make it if you're into spiciness and smoked cheeses.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Slacking off and new inspiration

So I've been slacking off on this poor food blog for far too long. It's not that I haven't been cooking. I have been and I've found loads of new recipes and most of them were pretty tasty. I just got lazy about taking photos and updating with reviews. I've got a few meals saved up that I can go back to update and I'll get around to that eventually. Maybe now that it's cold out and we're not doing as much I'll have more free time to do so.

But the subject of today's post is bread. Fluffy, yummy, bready goodness.


I received a bread machine for Christmas. I'm excited about this for a number of reasons. 1.) I LOVE bread. 2.) I really, really LOVE bread. 3.) I don't care much for making bread. I don't have the patience for it. This machine makes things so much simpler.

To go along with my fancy new bread machine (and by fancy, I mean it's a fairly basic model) I got The Bread Loves Bread Machine Cookbook. My ultimate goal is to make one loaf a week, mostly referencing this cookbook for recipes.

I did my first loaf last night. I started simple with the Country White Loaf. Just your basic white bread. I had to go to the specialty granola health food store to buy one ingredient (vital wheat gluten) but had everything else on hand. Non fat dry milk, honey, water, bread flour, salt and yeast. Nice and basic. The recipe is very clear and explains each step in very thorough detail. I was kind of a dumbass and forgot to put the kneading blade in before adding my ingredients (duh!) and I only made a 1.5lb loaf and forgot to change the loaf size setting on the machine right away but despite those hiccups this loaf came out great.

I sliced off a couple of pieces while it was nice and warm and ate it with butter. The crust was nice and chewy, the middle soft and fluffy and the taste was much better than what you get with your grocery store white bread. The size of the loaf will take some getting used to. It's a tall loaf so your slices come out fairly large but that just means more yummy bread to eat. The slices also won't fit into my toaster. Kind of annoying but we do have a toaster oven so it's not the end of the world.

So far so good and I'm looking forward to the next loaf. I can't wait to make some really crusty french bread or maybe something with cheese and garlic or herbs in it. The possibilities are endless! This is going to throw a serious monkey wrench into my weight watchers program...