Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peanut Buttery Goodness

Peanut butter is so versatile (and delicious) it can be used in everything from sugary cookies to spicy chicken dishes and everything in between. Here are some ideas I've been drooling over in my bookmarks folder...
Ran out of Peanut Butter? Make your own!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Bruschetta

When you make the decision to stop buying bread and start baking it at home, you have to find ways of using up the failed loaves. Because no matter how many times you make it, there will be failed loaves. It's designed that way so we learn humility. Croutons are always an option, as are breadcrumbs (and I'll tell you, it's a whole lot easier to grind up a failed loaf for breadcrumbs now, than to demolish a beautiful loaf later because you didn't realize you were out). A friend of ours sparked an idea that sounded so much better this time: bruschetta. She had been watching Julie & Julia on DVD the other day and called me up to ask if I had the recipe for the bruschetta Julie makes in the beginning of the movie.* A quick search online showed that there were a gazillion other people wanting to recreate that same bruschetta, but there were zero actual official recipes. Turns out, you don't really need one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Marvelous Meyers

Our dwarf Meyer decided to finish it's inaugural year with a "huge crop" (6 lemons) all ripe at the same time. In light of this unexpected bounty, I combed through my bookmarked recipes to find something wonderful to make with them. Now all I have to do is decide...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Bevy Of Betties

The name "Betty" is short for Elizabeth. But then, so is: Liz, Liza, Beth, Bett, Ellie, Lizzie, Eliza, and Betsy... and on and on (I hereby nominate Elizabeth as one of the world's most versatile names). Though all Betties are Elizabeths*, not all Elizabeths... are Betties. Betties are a unique subset. Right at this moment, I can count seven sensational Betties in my house (represented by their books, movies, and music). Among them are a seriously old-fashioned dessert and a workhorse of a teapot, both dating back to around the same time period and sharing the same name - "Brown Betty". Coincidence? Maybe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Breakfast Glam Slam

I've done it... I've made a recipe from one of the gazillion torn-out magazine pages that I've been collecting for too many years (this particular one since 1994). It's a little embarrassing admitting that, but also a little triumphant. All this time, I just knew I'd like it and I did. It was easy and delicious and healthy... at least until we poured the maple syrup and cream over it. Yes, we did. We just happened to have maple syrup and cream on hand (unusual for us actually), so there you have it.

It turned out quite similar to the Baked Pear Pancake that we like so much.* The pear pancake had the advantage of going from stove top to oven in the same pan. This recipe uses one additional pan. I can handle that (even in the morning). It's not the heartiest of breakfasts if that's what you're looking for, but a little bacon or sausage on the side should fix things (so much for healthy!). It says it serves four, but fearing that it wouldn't reheat well the next day, we polished off the whole thing between the two of us. We didn't feel too guilty though. Check out the ingredient quantities and you'll see why.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What To Do With Dried Figs

I don't have a lot of experience using figs in my cooking or baking but the following recipes make me want to change all that. Of course, baked goods are a pretty easy sell. I haven't met many of those that I didn't like. Fresh figs don't come out until late summer, but dried figs can theoretically be found any time of year.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Soft And Bittersweet

The situation in my kitchen early yesterday morning may be the only circumstance where anyone would be upset because their buns were too firm. To paraphrase a favorite movie, "We're going to need considerably softer buns!".* Here's the lowdown: I have two recipes from my mom for hot cross buns. I made one of them last year and it was a smashing success (they were just like mom used to make). This year, I couldn't remember which of the two recipes I had used before.** So I picked one. I may have picked wrong. Or perhaps it was user error and the fault lies in my execution of the recipe in question. We may never know. Everything seemed to go like clockwork, without a hitch, every step of the way. Uh, except that the dough didn't rise. These were for brunch on Easter Sunday, and well, with yeast breads as well as with Easter, the rising is the most important part. They tasted fine (we ate them all up), but they were firm and dense when they should have been soft and wonderful. Clearly I'll need to make these again soon in order to figure out what went wrong. Oh darn.