Category Archives: Cooking

Dough

Yesterday I told you about what I made for breakfast. I made something special for dinner as well. Everyday Food this month had these delicious looking grilled pizzas and it inspired me to try to make them too. I had a little trouble getting the dough to retain it’s shape and size when transferring it from the pan where I had stretched it and brushed it with oil to the grill. They tasted really good. The dough got that nice charred flavor. Mr. Awesome loved his and that is what is most important.

I made the dough from scratch and I was reminded of how much I love to make bread. My Mom never tried making bread at home but I do remember going on an elementary school trip to a classmate’s home to make bread with her bread making Mother. I was so impressed with the whole process of it. Mixing the ingredients, knead the dough and then the magic part where the yeast comes alive and grows before your eyes.

When I worked as a pastry assistant here I got to make a lot of bread. I started very early in the morning and had to prep the station and make a lot of different things for lunch. On the weekends I had to make all the fresh rolls and danish for Brunch. The bread dough alone required a 50 lb bag of flour. When Bobby opened a small Spanish restaurant nearby I also had to do all the prep for that place as well. There the pastry chef had me baking brioche for bread pudding and another bread in giant coffee cans. All these different breads had the same basic drill, ingredients, mixing, kneading, rising magic, roll and bake. It was all very zen. I really enjoyed that part of the job. I came in, had my list of things to do and then I was done. I didn’t enjoy working service at all. Even though it wasn’t that busy at lunch time I always felt like I was in the weeds.

We’ve been finally talking about replacing the broken oven so I might be able to start baking again soon. I think I would like to become one of those bread making Moms.

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Father’s Day Waffles

In honor of Mr. Awesome, our Dad extraordinaire Piper and I are going to make waffles and I thought I’d share the recipe with you too.

Mr Awesome’s Waffles

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
1&3/4 cups milk
2 eggs separated
6 Tblsp butter, melted and cooled  (Heck, might as well use the whole stick. It’s Father’s Day after all.)
cooking spray for the waffle iron

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Mix together the milk and the yolks. Stir in the butter. Stir wet into the dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too thick to pour, add a little more milk. Try not to overmix the wet and the dry. If your mixture is very lumpy, let it rest and then mix it again. Letting it rest allows the lumps of flour to soak up the wet in their own time. Overmixing can make your waffles tough.
  2. Beat the whites to stiff peaks. You don’t have to separate the eggs and do all the white beating if you don’t want to but I think it makes the waffles extra fluffy and tender. If you’re using whole eggs just add them to the milk in step one. But if you have a Kitchenaid or similar stand mixer you don’t have an excuse!!
  3. Gently fold in the egg whites and the waffle batter with a spatula. Again, don’t overmix. Mix and fold as much as you need to incorporate the two together and then stop.
  4. Use the waffle iron to make the waffles as normal. This recipe will make a lot of waffles. I usually freeze what we don’t finish. They heat up very nicely in the toaster oven or microwave (set to defrost).

I suppose you could use this same recipe to make pancakes though the batter will be very thin and might be tricky to handle. I would decrease the amount of milk to 1&1/2 cups and use whole eggs.

Enjoy your waffles and tell Dad that Roo sends her love!

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Friday Night Dinner

I really enjoy cooking on Friday nights for some reason. I usually do the grocery shopping on Friday afternoon after work so I guess it is when my food and ideas are the freshest. Glenn is not usually home in time to eat dinner with us on Fridays so if I’m cooking either it is something big that we are going to eat later (like chicken stock) or something for me that I know I’m going to be eating most of. Tonight in that vein I made pasta with roasted asparagus, tomatoes, tarragon, arugula and shallots.

I washed and trimmed my bunch of asparagus and then chopped it into two inch pieces and put it into a large bowl. I cut a dozen or so tomatoes in half and added them in. In hindsight I probably should have used a lot more of the tomatoes. It definitely would have given the dish a lot more flavor. I peeled and sliced the shallot into large chunks and chopped a small fistful of the tarragon and added those too.

I then tossed the whole mixture with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. I roasted the veggies in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes turning the tray and shaking the veggies once.

While the veggies were roasting I started the pasta boiling and washed and trimmed the arugula and tore it up into little tiny pieces. I saved a cup of the pasta cooking water before I drained it. I added a tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil to my big pasta bowl to get it ready for tossing.

Once the pasta was ‘al dente’ enough for me I tossed everything, the veggies, the arugula, the butter, the oil, salt and pepper, some lemon juice and a dash or two of the pasta water all together in the bowl.

I thought that all in all it was a pretty successful dish. I would definitely use more tomatoes next time. This could be made with a multitude of different vegetables and herbs. I love to change it up when I cook. I almost never make a recipe exactly as it is written, unless it is something fancy or a brand new technique that I’ve never tried before.

Piper tried some and declared that it didn’t “taste anything like pasta” but I wasn’t exactly expecting a glowing revue from her. I had already made her something else to eat so it wasn’t a big deal. I’m not out to change her food world with my Friday night dinner. What I made is mostly for my own enjoyment and I’m not looking for a big food tussle. We both enjoyed our meals.

P enjoys a hot dog

Piper enjoying a hot dog despite close proximity to unique deliciousness

If you give this recipe a try at home, let me know how it comes out!

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Crockpotty Goodness

I used my crock pot for the first time in a long time yesterday and it rocked! I found a simple recipe for “Roast Beef” online (beef and two cans of soup) and finagled it my way. Here is what I came up with:

Beef-O-Matic

1 3lb rump roast (or similar)
2 Tblsp olive oil
4 carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
4 stalks celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1/8’s
splash of wine (white or red, doesn’t matter)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed beef broth
coarse salt and ground pepper

Brown the meat in a large pot or saute pan with plenty of salt and pepper, approx 4 minutes on each side. Remove it and set aside. Add vegetables and splash of wine and saute to release the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir vegetables to coat completely. Add vegetables to crock pot (I used the 4 qt bowl) and place the roast on top. Whisk together the two cans of soup without adding any water and once completely combined pour it over the meat and veggies in the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for approx 6 hours. Once the time is up, remove and slice the beef. You can make a nice gravy with the liquid in the pot or just use it as is. I served mine with mashed potatoes.

Mmmmmm Beef-O-Matic!!

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Special Saturday Bonus Post – Besta’s Soup

There is a light coating of snow on the grass this morning. We are hoping against hopes that soccer has been cancelled for today. I want to stay home and make my mother-in-law’s soup. You serve it with boiled potatoes and a yummy white onion gravy. I have no idea how to spell it but it is prounounced “hee-yet-sue-puh“. It takes a long time to cook and makes the house smell divine on a cold day. It is delicious!

Besta’s Soup

3 marrow bones
1-1/2 – 2 lbs chuck or london broil with fat trimmed
5-6 carrots, peeled, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
1 large rootabega (you can also use turnips), peeled, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
1 medium green cabbage, quartered and sliced into 1/8″ slices

Simmer bones in water (a lot of water, let your pot be your guide) in gigantic stock pot with plenty of salt and pepper for 2 hours. Cut meat into several large pieces and add to broth. Simmer meat until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Skim any fat along the way. Add rootabega and carrots. You can remove the bones at this point if you need to make room. After about 30 minutes, add cabbage and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Approximately one hour more. Serve with boiled (or mashed) potatoes and onion gravy.

Onion Gravy

4T melted butter
4T flour
15 oz jar whole white onions (make sure they are not pickled onions), pureed in a blender
sugar and white vinegar to taste

Whisk flour into melted butter. Add pureed onions. Whisk over low heat until all lumps are gone and it boils. Add broth from soup if it is too thick. Add 1T sugar and 1T white vinegar to taste.

I have also made this gravy with a pound or so small white onions that I peeled and roasted myself. It gives the gravy a whole other dimension of smoky yumminess. I think Besta liked it but she’s a traditionalist. My oven is kaput so it’s bottled onions for me this time.

Vær så god!

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