"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

Posts tagged ‘Good food is good!’

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!

Advertisements

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.

Is It Monday Again?

I could have used a glass  bottle glass of wine yesterday, I think…

Michael’s car is crashed. It’s in the body shop as we speak – so far we are aware that the hood looks like the nose of a bull dog, and are assuming that there is something wrong with the cooling system – considering the awful syrupy sweet smell and constant overheating. This, my friends, is not so good. I had to run the little one to school yesterday so that he could attempt to help his poor Crunchy limp to the shop. School is close to where Michael works, which incidentally is about an hour in the opposite direction of where I work. So, I was late. Fortunately, I have understanding bosses.

The fun part in all of this was finding out the hard way that our car insurance coverage wasn’t quite what we thought it was. No towing, and no rental car… what?! The policy I had with my previous company covered all of that – and before we switched, I told the new agent that I wanted identical coverage and if he could offer me a better price, then and ONLY then would I switch. Apparently to the new agent that meant he could shave off things like towing and rental coverage…  It kind of makes me want to call the company and give them a piece of my mind however, now I just feel like a dopey consumer. MY BAD for not reading the policy very thoroughly, MY BAD for trusting someone who could understand the insurance jargon so that I didn’t have to. All I can say is that this will be an expensive lesson, but one that I won’t make in the future.

Michael says we can still call the company and explain our position – not as enraged, victimized customers, but as rational customers who thought they had one product, but were really assigned to another. He would like to see them add these features to our existing plan without an additional cost – I don’t hold much hope of that happening. If it doesn’t, he is prepared to tromp back to our previous agent with heart-shaped chocolates and a bouquet of flowers, and ask them to take us back. I suspect that they will – I just hope that they can offer us the amazing coverage at the amazing price we used to pay. We shall see.

On happy notes! Tomorrow Phoebs and I head out for the last day of the faire. Just her and me – I’m excited. It will be a really fun mommy-daughter day of playing, and shopping, and show seeing. (Oh, and funnel cake eating! – there WILL be funnel cake, make no mistake.) I’m considering taking my camera… we shall see. (I consider it every time and end up leaving it in the trunk of my car)

Here’s to looking forward to a great weekend and a better week next week. Thanks for coming out  today – and hopefully I’ll have some fun pics to share from the faire in the next scrap-book!

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!

Today I opted for the creme-filled, coffee cake muffin to go along with my coffee. Great choice. Not for the creme-filling though… and not for most of the muffin even. The glorious, glorious glory of the muffin top – particularly of the coffee cake variety. H.E.A.V.E.N. (especially when you have not been able to smell or taste things in about a week)

What is it about the muffin top? I can’ t be alone on thinking it’s the absolute best part of the muffin, and best savored saved for last. Is it the crunchy goodness of the hard outter shell that gives way to the soft muffiny goodness beneath? Or, is it the goodies on the top, such as brown sugar, glaze, or nuts. Perhaps it’s the mere notion of doing something backward – you know, tear the top off the muffin and set it to the side… and then watch it while you consume the fluffy, soft muffin bottom. Bottoms up? Even now, there is a portion of my muffin top left – sitting just next to me. Look, I’ll even include a picture:

What’s your favorite part of a muffin? And why is it so – does it depend on the flavor or type of the muffin?

(By the way, it took a little doing to get that pic from my cell phone to my blog and I ate that thing in the interrim!) I think I may venture to make some pumpkin muffins with a brown sugar-crumby toping. I haven’t begun to look for a recipe yet… maybe I’ll make my own. You know, start with a basic coffee-cake recipe and spice it up. I’ll let you know what happens. Also, I still have to make those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I’d say “maybe this weekend”, but this weekend is my birthday – Saturday, acutally – so I may not get around to it. There are no plans as of yet, but I guess I’m still hopeful that Michael has something up his sleeve.

Thanks for coming by today – coffee AND cake has been lovely! Cheers ❤

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.

The Kitchen Sink

So it comes to pass that Michael and I may be selling our house and renting for a short while. This is all in preparation for us to move across the country since, as Michael gently pointed out, the house is the biggest road block to that move. I admit, I have been trying to hold it tight to me for sentimental reasons and well, because it’s OURS.

I am torn. I think I love the house more for the idea of the house, than for the house itself. It’s layout is bad and wastes space, and energy – but, but… it’s big! I find myself caring less and less about the big though… I mean, who ever said bigger is better? <insert shifty eyes here> I do like having places to put everything, that aspect is kind of nice – though, I find it encourages us to ‘collect’. I am looking forward to a fresh start and really, planning to take … well, not so much. (I hope). I say that, and then I think… but oh, what if I ever need <insert some ‘thing’ I haven’t even seen in over a year>. Yes, I will most certainly need Michael’s good judgment to sort through what we will take and what we will give to local shelters/charities.

On a positive note, one thing I’m looking forward to is the possibility of a more updated kitchen… perhaps one with a garbage disposal! Honestly, as long as the oven is up to date, and perhaps a dishwasher for easy clean up (nice but not necessary)… I’ll be happy.

The truly most motivating reason behind the move (for me) is to be close to my best friend. I tease about the excitment of being able to zombie-walk to her house in the mornings for coffee, and to be able to steal her boyfriend’s mage hat… but these are only the silly reasons I want to be close. To be able to see and talk to her as opposed to the limitations of typing messages will be SO good. I mean, what better way to blow off some steam when we’re angry or frustrated then to be able to just go out with your best friend. Or, hey, what if you just want some company to head to the local Wal Mart… or to share that OSM recipe – or, just drop by for a hug? And who can pass up a good ‘girls night IN’ with a good bottle of wine and some fun movies? (Sorry, boys not welcome!) Sometimes it’s hard to convey how much we really care through the typed word. Teres has supported and encouraged me so much over the past few years through so many situations, words alone can not express the gratitude and love I have for her. So thanks, lady – I heart you and can’t wait to be out there!

Oh! How can I forget?! Today, instead of a word, I bring you a recipe…

My Favorite Bread Recipe Ever:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

 

As always, thanks for stopping by for coffee… enjoy the bread – and the hugs.