Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Ultimate" Chocolate Chip Cookies?

This is one of the many recipes I have had floating around the house on a piece of paper for too long (one of the reasons for starting this blog). I'm always game to try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. Here is the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from the 5 lb. package of Gold Medal all-purpose flour*. It's cute how the names keep trying to one-up each other: The Best, The Best-Ever, Perfect, The Greatest, The Ultimate, and so on. Where will it end? Who knows. These were pretty good... I'd even say, very good.

I still like my old standby recipe from page 260-261 (practically stuck together) of the BHG Complete Step-By-Step Cook Book (1978). Cleverly titled "Chocolate Chip Cookies" (so you don't realize how perfectly best-ever ultimate they are). Frankly, it's kinda hard to beat the Toll-House recipe on the back of the chocolate chips package when you come right down to it.

*Back before we started buying flour in the 50 lb. bag. Um, yeah... you read that right. It's $13.00 at CostCo... how can we not?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Tale Of Two Soupies

A tale of two freezer soups
It's been my observation that a great many people with a public school education from a particular decade or two, were required to read Charles Dickens in their Jr. High/Middle School English classes. The Dickens novels they read varied with the school, the year, the teacher, and the city, and it became something of a party-lull conversation starter for me. "So, which Charles Dickens novel did you have to read?". The other person would look at me strangely for a moment or two* while it sunk in, and then you'd see the understanding in their eyes as they nodded and replied, "Great Expectations... how 'bout you?". If they hadn't been required/forced to read Dickens, then I knew that they were much younger than myself or they'd had alternative schooling (which meant they were much much younger than myself). People much older were usually obvious to spot and didn't need to answer silly questions in order for me to guess their age-range. But if necessary, I would just fall back on the "Who was your favorite James Bond" or "What was your first rock concert" line of questioning** to instantly peg them.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pies In Winter

Why do I never think to make pies in January? Maybe I associate them too much with Thanksgiving and Christmas. That needs to change! Here are some pies worthy of trying whether there's a holiday around or not...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coffee Cakes

If I smelled one of these coffee cakes baking in the early morning, I would wake up a happy girl indeed... because that would mean that someone else made breakfast!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pasta Bolognese At The Clean Plate Club

I was determined to try-try-again with the whole homemade pasta thing. This time using an actual recipe and my fantabulous new food processor (thanks Santa!). But what to put on top of it? Between you and me, butter and Parmesan cheese would be just fine. Plenty fine indeed! But homemade noodles deserve something less spartan than that. And they certainly deserve something more special than our regular old everyday spaghetti sauce. Kind of like when you get new furniture and suddenly the walls need to be painted, and then the carpeting looks so... boring, old, dated, shabby. It's a universal law that one new thing begets a need for another. Well, we happened to have on hand most of what we needed to make a meat sauce, so that's what we did. Yes, we. The Hubs and I tag-teamed while making it. I relayed the steps for the sauce to him while I rolled out the pasta dough, and he did all the rest. And a fantastic job he did of it too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ode To A Culture That I Love But Can Not Claim Ancestry In

Things I will need if I ever make pasta from scratch again:
  • A six-week upper body intensive workout prior to pasta making
  • Brakes on my kitchen cart so I don't have to chase it around the kitchen while kneading pasta dough
  • Ibuprofen
  • An Italian Grandmother by my side, shaking her head and saying "Tesoro, let me do it."
  • My head examined for not using my Kitchenaid mixer (hello, dough hook) or food processor
  • A heavier rolling pin
  • More than one CD repeating on the stereo*
This makes it sound like I don't recommend making your own pasta from scratch, and/or that I am never going to attempt it again. Both summations would be wrong. Since writing the above, something has happened to me. It could be the release of some sort of hormones or endorphins** in my system that make me feel all loopy and in love with the pasta-making process, or it could be that I just finished cooking and eating the results of all that hard work. I made egg-noodles! How cool is that? Ask me tomorrow when I can't use my hands for all the pain and swelling going on.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Brown Sugar Angel Food Cake with Blackberry Sauce

Page 509 and 573 of The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day, 1995

My Notes: I happened to have cake flour in my pantry (go figure), and needed a simple dessert for a pot-luck. There was an initial false-start, when (panicking over the time), I completely forgot the name of this cake and mixed regular sugar into the sifted flour. I guess that would technically be considered an illegal substitution and not a false-start. Once back on track, this cake went together really easily and turned out quite tasty. The blackberry sauce took a lot longer to cook than the recipe said, but it may have been in part due to the small pan I was using. I forgot that things will reduce/thicken a lot faster in a larger (wider) pan. Did not use the liqueur in the sauce. It also was such a strong flavored sauce that it completely overwhelmed the subtle flavor of the cake itself. I didn't split the cake horizontally and spread the whipped cream and berries inside, like the recipe suggested; no time for that. Instead, I doubled the whipped cream and served everything separately. Call it deconstructed if you want, and I'll just call it yummy. I had forgotten how much I love "from scratch" angel food cakes. Now, what to do with fourteen egg yolks...