"No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best" -something I saw on my mom's kitchen wall as a kid, author unknown

Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Small hiatus

Good morning and happy holiday season! I’m blogging from my phone today so, sadly, it will be short.

I had been blogging from work since it was slow and such, but the girl I was covering for is back and I now have no computer … for sad.  I do have pictures of my failed bread pudding. Failed according to me, but my Michael ate nearly half of it himself. He does however, eat mostly anything… so I’m not sure he counts when it comes to a baseline on my cooking ability.

I will have lots to say regarding holiday baking … cookie day is quickly approaching and I’m looking to try new recipes.

Until then, bear with me, and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Monday’s Potatoes

On Tuesday I started out with this plan to write about the OsmPotatoes I made for dinner on Monday night… somewhere along way the thought derailed into this hippie-love post for those who have been very influential to me lately. (Love you guys!) And then there was Wednesday… I wanted to get the scrap book out for you as promised… once again, putting the potatoes on the back burner. (lulz?) So today I give you OsmPotatoes! (fully illustrated with photos that made the making of said potatoes take TWICE as long – good thing Michael is patient!)

OsmPotatoes™

Firstly, start out with some firm taters, peel them and cut into bite-sized chunks. I can never remember what kind of potatoes I use… generally the ones from Idaho, I think – just not the ones you can buy in singles for the microwave. (That’s just weird, I think) Use the number of potatoes that will accommodate the meal that you are making… I used 6 in this example and it allowed for a few leftovers! (hurrah!)

Once your potatoes are peeled, cut and washed, soak them in a bath of slightly salty water on the stove… and boil! You will want to boil them to a firm, but not crunchy texture. Since I didn’t time it I have no idea how long it takes – also I was busy fiddling around with my camera… You don’t want them to be soft like you would for mashed potatoes or they will just fall apart in the next step and at that point, really, mashed potatoes would be a better choice.

While I was working on my photos making the potatoes, Michael was busy outside doing the grilling. (Something I stay away from) The grill is Michael’s domain. I think one time he said that grilling is therapeutic for him after an awful day at work (and, unfortunately, he has many of those) so I leave him to it. It’s pretty quiet out there, so I imagine it to be kind of like a zen time for him. Here is what he walked in the house with while my potatoes were STILL in the pot boiling. (I still deny that it was due to my trying to get a good picture to blog with…) He IS a grill master…

Okay so after fiddling with the camera and while the potatoes were still boiling I got to thinking about WHAT to season the yummy chunks of starchy goodness with… what I came up with was a mixture of Plain Bread Crumbs, unsalted herbal seasonings mix and about one or two teaspoons of salt to counter-act the unsalted herbs. (huh?!) I don’t know – it was what came to mind…

Anyway – I drained the taters and put them into a huge bowl and drenched them in butter… maybe about 1/2 cup worth. I just mixed the potatoes around until they were all well-coated. Once the tots were all glistening in buttery goodness, I poured the seasoning concoction over them and mixed – again until all the little chunks were coated. The aroma was divine and drew Michael into the kitchen from the living room. I hadn’t even gotten to the last step yet! It was a good sign… or maybe he was just really hungry and I was just taking way too long?

Once the potatoes were coated with seasons, I moved them to a frying pan on a high heat setting. The idea was to make them crunchy on the outside and to cook the butter IN to the chunks a bit. Also to brown the potatoes. It reminded me a bit of homefries… but for dinner. The frying took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated… I think it was due to the fact that I was frying SIX chunked potatoes in a smallish frying pan. Next time I will probably use the Wok or at least a larger frying pan… (I love my Wok, have I ever mentioned that?) The potatoes were a bit ornery and were refusing to brown… so I put the heat up a bit higher and added another tablespoon or so of butter to try to make the difference. When everything was done, this is what we ended up with:

Yes, I know there are no vegetables there – it’s not that we aren’t fans, we just forgot to make them and so skipped them this one time. My friend (and future house mate), Mark, insists it’s the Irish part of me… ha! I love making dinner with Michael. We turn out some pretty yummy stuff when we try. I’ll have to make sure to include adventures in partner cooking in future blogs.

Thanks for coming out today – if you try potatoes like this, let me know how they come out!

Tacos for Dinner – (I could eat them every night)

Tacos is a favorite in our household… and while my dad always made them the best, I’ve improvised some…

You see, my dad always used REAL ingredients, and you can’t beat REAL ingredients – you know like, green chili’s, jalapenos all finely chopped and added to the filling with many other great choices. Me on the other hand, I take the easy way out and use ‘taco seasoning’ that has all that stuff mixed up and ground into a fine powder that I can add to my filling. I call it the lazy taco…

I can’t wait to get home and make these tonight:

The Lazy Taco:

1 lb ground beef (I use a lean mix of 90/10)

1can refried beans

1can chopped black olives (these come in a small can)

1 onion (I use yellow)

2 packets of taco seasoning (I mix a mild pack and a hot or medium pack)

Any taco toppings that you like!

Brown the ground beef do not drain as the stock will assist in mixing in the taco seasoning. As the ground beef becomes mostly cooked, add the seasoning and mix well. Once the seasoning is well mixed, add the refried beans, olives and onions. Let cook for about 10 more minutes over low to medium heat – keep an eye on it and add a TINY bit of water if necessary to keep it from drying.

There you have it – a quick, easy to cook dinner that everyone can enjoy (IF they like tacos, that is)

Thanks for coming out today! Tomorrow is Scrap book day!! Look out for faire pics and maybe a few other fun choices.

Back to Baking

I finally remembered! The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

I grew up in an area that was heavily influenced by the Mennonite/Amish-type culture and as such many fantastic ‘family’ recipes were made into books and available locally. My mom always baked her cookies and pies from these books and always they were the best. Several of my guild members across the country can even vouch for this, as one year I baked and sent them out to some of them around the holidays. I always thought these books came from somewhere local, but I’ve just found them out on the interwebs; I highly recommend checking out Cook Books by Good Books for some really amazing recipes.

One other thing… for those of you who have trouble getting those “perfectly browned on the bottom” cookies (something I was NEVER able to do) – try a baking stone. Really! And season it well… the more seasoned, the better the cookies turn out. My stone is mostly black now, with only the clay color coming through in a few areas (and on the bottom, of course). It was the ultimate cure for my burnt cookies… I never baked a cookie I didn’t burn, until I got my baking stone. If you’re a lover of cooking with cast iron – you’ll love baking stones, and likely never go back to those metal pan thingies.

And without further ado, The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

(Makes 4 dozen)

1 cup Shortening

1½ cups sugar

2¾ cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

  1. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Gradually stir into creamed mixture.
  3. Chill dough 2 hours or more. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Roll each ball in a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.
  4. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes. (Cookies should be lightly browned but still soft)

And there you have it folks… the best cookie recipe you will ever own. Please, please let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear feedback.

Please remember, this is not my own recipe and the book may be found by following the link above.

Thanks for coming out today – happy baking!

Under Construction

Hey everyone! Watch your step as the kitchen is undergoing some maintainence this weekend…

Pardon the dust

 

There is a new, customizable theme called Spectrum available – I’m excited! I’m out much of the weekend, kicking it off with Happy Hour this evening with a group of friends. (Yes, the evening of grape bombs is upon me.) Tomorrow Michael and I are returning to the faire – have I mentioned that I love the faire? (heehe)

Hopefully by Monday, you will see a new, plesant look to the Kitchen – and with being able to add custom backgrounds and headers, it may change often! (Like changing the curtains – I’m so excited!)

Have a great weekend, and if I can manage to remember (sorry!) I WILL provide the recipe for Snickerdoodles on Monday.

Thought Hodgepodge and MOAR Apples!

Well, sadly, I will not have my Phoeb’s outfit ready for the faire tomorrow. I wish I had mice… you know, like the ones in Cinderella. Or perhaps a resident Apple… she’s good at that sewing thing. I have two more weeks to get it done so that she can wear it this season. Also, she said she would like to take it to her dad’s for halloween. (“no pressure, mom”)

Do you like the music? That’s my Fiona Apple station playing – I really enjoy her sound as well as the other musicians that pop up on her channel especially Regina Spektor. Also, I can sing along with most of them and not break my windows… (this is not to say that the singing is GOOD, just… not window shattering)

Also, Apple’s family has apparently loved the bread recipe so much that she’s baking loaves TWO times each week! (Fortunately she’s not baking for the whole place yet… though I suspect that perhaps there would be fewer loaves of bread in the freezer than there are cupcakes – I wonder if she could make the bread pink…)

I’m a little nervous for the Ren Faire tomorrow, guys… We’re having a group going and I’m going to be the only one in period garb. I wonder if they will think it’s weird… or awesome. Either way I’m doing it. The Ren Faire is ‘my’ thing, and they are coming with me – so I’m not going to do anything differently. Although, my sister in law DID say she’d go in dress also – IF she had something. Maybe next year. (Which, I plan to get to the faire at least once before moving to CO next year… and maybe even planning my vacation visits home around attending the faire… maybe I can drag Teres with me…)

Speaking of Colorado… let’s bring it back to coffee. I have Wawa and Dunkin here in PA… and where will I go in Colorado? I *can* make coffee, but it tends to not be quite as good as the Wawa or Dunkin coffees. I’m not certain if that is because *I* am not making it, or if it’s just because I make it poorly when I do. I wonder if I will be able to buy Wawa coffee from online and have it shipped… No no no, not the steaming hot cup of coffee, silly! The ground coffee – so that I can put it into my coffee maker and pretend I still have a local Wawa. (despite the fact that the quality will not be as good.) Maybe I’ll petition the Wawa corporate office to plop a wawa on a corner near my new residence in Colorado – think they’ll go for it? I think it would go over well. Really!

Giver of Life

Floating in Delerium – Still

Yes, Delerium, not Dalaran… if Delerium is, in fact, a word. If not, then I just made it up! ha! The worst of my zombie attack is over, but still feeling in the clouds. Come to think of it, it’s not all bad – feeling perpetually tipsy, only without the alcohol. :p Anyway, October is one of my favorite months. The weather turns cool, the trees make their flamboyant display of color, my windows get open and I bake. I’m trying a new recipe this year and I thought I’d share it out with all of you:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

They sound really great. Let me know if you try them to! For now… back to bed.

❤ Thanks for stopping by, Sorry that things have been slow this week.