Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Who invited the hooker?

Question: If I can't exactly pull off this dress -

Or look like this in this dress -
Am I allowed to get married in Argentina? If so, where can I find a dress that does not require invasive plastic surgery? Also, it would be great if I could try on said dress instead of having it made from scratch since I can't draw you a picture of what I want. I actually need to see and touch it before agreeing to wear it. Also, please don't ask me questions about every detail of my wedding when I enter your store - just direct me to the non-porn star section. Thank you.

Um, ps - I only want that sheer fabric used for the veil, not to display my non-cleavage.

Also - Can I have directions to the nearest papeleria with letterpress invitations?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm the kind of person who likes to keep chocolate chip cookie dough on hand in case of emergencies. Now I just need to find one of those break-in-case-of-emergency glass boxes to keep in the freezer. I baked up the last of a batch I had chillin' last night for dinner at Judi's. (Delicious corn pie, by the way Jud). It's nice to be able to make something homemade even when you've worked a full day.

Since I'm watching my waistline, it will be a while before I re-stock this staple but I wanted to share this well-traveled recipe. It's an Alton Brown recipe that I found on Joy the Baker's blog. I love them both. Wouldn't dinner with the two of them be such a special treat? I always hoped that I would run into Alton when I went grocery shopping in Atlanta since many of his shows included scenes from familiar stores, but no luck. And Joy always has such great stories to go with her featured recipes, which are insanely delicious. Our dinner would go like this - Alton would start explaining the scientific properties of our dinner and Joy would tell him to just eat it, we still have chocolate cake to get to. That's what I love about each of them. Wow, what wild fantasies I have.

I've made the recipe several times following the directions to the T, but for this latest batch I was short on baking soda. I only had half of what the recipe calls for, so I used half baking powder. It made the cookies even better! I also chop up chocolate instead of using chips, so they're actually chocolate chunk cookies.

Here is my slightly modified version:
  • 226 g. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 c. bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt)
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 1/2 t.vanilla extract
  • 2 c. semisweet chocolate chunks
Melt butter and set aside. Sift together flour, salt, bs, and bp, set aside. Cream butter and sugars on medium speed, add egg, yolk, milk, and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and finally stir in chocolate chunks. Chill for at least 15 minutes before scooping out onto baking sheet. The original directions advise you to use parchment paper and I do sometimes, but you can also use a non-stick sheet - just be sure to get the cookies off quickly so that they stop cooking.

Bake at 190C (375F) for 14 minutes, turning the pan halfway through cooking time for evenly baked cookies. The directions also make 6 big cookies per sheet, but smaller ones taste just as great. If you opt for smaller cookies, bake for 12 minutes.

I freeze the dough in airtight containers for up to a month - they don't seem to last that long though. ;)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Veggie Pot Pie

Holy crap, people. I made this like two weeks ago and am just now getting around to posting. My tardiness is no reflection on this dish, however, it is simply delicious. Comfort food at it's best, which is extremely necessary now that it's winter. I think that I must have seasonal confusion disorder (yeah, I made that up). It's officially winter now - in June. And there's no Christmas? And my July birthday is now a winter event? I keep forgetting birthdays and other yearly occurrences that I have come to associate with seasons. How could it be Father's Day already? Isn't that in June...wait.

So while it 'tis the season for sweaters, and a few extra pounds could come in handy to fight the chill, I have my upcoming wedding in the first days of spring, so... yeah. I'm hungry and I forgot your birthday. Sorry. Don't worry though, I'll make it up to you at one of my three (repeat three) receptions.

As I mentioned, I made this a few weeks ago and now all I can do is dream about it. All of that flaky, buttery goodness isn't going to look so hot on my bridal ass. Oh hell, maybe I'll make it with just the top crust.

Veggie Pot Pie

  • All butter crust, made partly with wheat flour
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin and cubed
  • big handful of mushrooms, sliced (I browned these on the side, but it isn't necessary)
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • (Peas or corn would be great also - I ran out of room)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt (about 1/2 t. depending on saltiness of stock) & pepper to taste
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. soy sauce
The crust was a bit tricky - I substituted 1/2 c. of white flour with wheat flour and almost lost it all. You'll definitely want to sift the wheat flour or use pastry wheat flour if it's available to you. It takes more than double the amount of ice water - just keep adding until it sticks together enough to wrap. I had to let it warm up slightly to roll out - and it wasn't pretty, but it did work. Although it was troublesome, I'd do it again because it adds an extra layer of crunchy to the crust. Use more salt than sugar for the crust of this savory pie.

Melt butter over med heat and add onions and garlic, cook a few minutes before adding additional veggies. I don't have a proper pie plate so this is all that I could get in, but you could definitely add other veggies. Add a bit of olive oil to pan if needed - saute until the veggies start to get soft (about 5 minutes). Add stock and seasonings, bring to a boil then drop to a simmer. Dissolve cornstarch into soy sauce (add a drop of water or stock if necessary) and then stir into pot - cook another few minutes until mixture thickens.

Add mixture to pastry lined pie pan and cover with top crust, seal edges. Bake on high heat - 205C (400F) for 30 minutes. Rotate half way through cooking time. Mmm..super tasty TV dinner.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blended Chickpea Soup

It's nearly winter here and I'm experimenting with hearty soups. Most chickpea soup recipes have a Moroccan influence and are spiked with curry powder, but we're fresh out. Still, there is plenty of room for herbs and spices as you see fit!

I really loved the texture of Butternut Squash Soup so I aimed for something similar with this recipe. It worked out well - try it!
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable stock
  • 1 can (350 g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • S&P and paprika to taste
Saute onion, garlic, pepper and carrot in EVOO on med low heat for 10 minutes. Add cumin and 1 c. stock and simmer 5 minutes. Blend chickpeas, 1/2 c. veg stock, and lemon juice in food processor, add veg mixture and puree. You can return to the pot at this point, add seasonings and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with pita chips.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

Sometimes I wake up craving pancakes. Usually in my dreams the pancakes are syrup soaked and served with veggie sausage links. But we don't have maple syrup or fake sausage here. Luckily, pancakes are quite versatile. You can stick just about anything in a pancake. When I was in college, I loved visiting my Aunt Kelly for pancake day - she had an assortment of add-ins and toppings (chocolate flavored readi whip, OMG!).

Since it's nearly winter here, I added in some blackberry jam in place of the actual fruit. And Guille requested chocolate chips. For toppings, we had honey and powdered sugar. Yes, I could have made fresh whipped cream but making pancakes from scratch before having coffee is a feat in itself.

I found this basic recipe here, but let me know if you have a favorite buttermilk recipe, like from Silver Skillet in Atlanta. I plan to try making some with lemon zest in the future.
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. sugar (my addition)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 T. (28g.) melted butter
Sift together flour, bp, salt and sugar. Combine egg and milk in a separate bowl and stir into flour mixture, add melted butter. You can combine your add-ins at this point or you can go ahead and ladle batter into your warmed, greased (I used spray) non-stick pan and then add them to your raw pancake - but push them in a little. I added small drops of jam to the cooking pancake, so that I would have little bursts of blackberry. Chocolate chips are easier to combine with the batter.

I prefer to cook on med low heat for a more even pancake (this takes 3-4 minutes per side). Flip when it's browned to your preference. A lot of people like to keep pancakes warm in the oven until they're all ready to serve, but we eat them as they come off the griddle. I also halved the recipe for just the two of us - and scrambled the other half of the egg. yum.