Friday, November 16, 2012

Dud Crab Cakes and Dud Toscana Zuppa

These two duds were probably my fault.  I'll say that from the get-go. 

The first was this recipe: Maryland Crab Cakes.  I've realized that one of my cooking problems, at least when trying new recipes, is that my frequent substitutions don't always work out.  This is my theory for what went wrong with these crab cakes.

The main ingredient I had run out of was Worcestershire sauce.  It only called for one teaspoon, so, eh, maybe that wasn't it after all.  Every other little thing in the recipe was the same. At any rate, my family wasn't thrilled with how these turned out.  In fact, my kids hated them.  They pretty much begged me never to make them again.  Sad face.  I had such high hopes.

The upside of this meal was that I'd made thinly-sliced roasted red potatoes to go along with them, and these were completely delicious.  I'd doused them with olive oil and sprinkled them with the "every-day" spice mix my old neighbor gave me for Christmas last year.  She's started her own spice company, which you can check out here.  She's a graduate of the Oregon Culinary Institute, her year at which made all of us neighbors super-lucky since she'd often share her experiments with us.

The second dud meal this week was this boring 'Zuppa Toscana' made in the crock-pot.   I had high hopes for this one too considering that the original posting said that it's one of those recipes that 'wow' people when you serve it.  Whatever. 

The sausage smelled amazing as I was cooking it, and the whole thing was pretty easy to throw together, but it just lacked a certain something.  It was boring.  Flavorless.  I won't make it again.  Sorry, Crock Pot Girl, but this one is a total doesn't work. 

 On a side note, I really need to start taking photos of the finished product of my cooking.  Both of these photos were taken half-way through, making them look unappealing.  Well, considering how the finished products were, I figure that's about right this time round.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cake cake cake.

For Sierra's 17th birthday she requested that I make her a cake. I've never really been into cakes. The few times I've attempted to make one it turned out horribly. But that was a few years ago. So I decided to try again. I was most definitely successful.
"Rerra" wanted a strawberry cake with purple cream cheese icing. I didn't have the time to make the whole cake purple so I jusst bought some purple writing icing, suprisingly it tasted quite good. I also couldn't make an actual homemade cake. I got a box cake mix. It felt wrong. But the homemade cream cheese icing made up for it. SO GOOOOOOD. Mmmmmm. I'm not artistic, but I tried my hardest. She loved it:) 

I listened to The Wombats while baking. They're a British punk band. My three favorite songs are 1996, Jump Into The Fog, and Techno Fan

Link to cream cheese icing can be found by clicking here (scroll down past the carrot cake recipe).

Dat dough doe.

As I was stiring in a little more flour to the thickening dough, my sister looked at me and said "Dat dough doe." in her attempt to be ghetto. This was my first time making homemade pizza dough.

One thing about me is, I don't cheat. I would rather use a pastry cutter or a fork to mix than a stand mixer. My mom thinks I'm crazy, I just think you can perfect and make it that much better if you use your hands instead of a machine.I didn't get the recipe from Pinterest like the blog said. Sorry guys. But I'll put the link.
The recipe is simple, I did use the flat beer to replace some of the water, it added extra flavor but next time I'm going to try it without the beer and compare the two.

Back to the cooking. I. Love. Dough. One of my favorite things to do is to mix by hand and to knead the dough. This dough takes a little time to get just right to knead because you have to add a little flour, mix, flour, mix, flour, mix etc until it is the right consistency. One thing about this dough, it's great to knead. You don't have to knead it a lot to get it just right. Another thing that is great about this recipe is that the dough makes two good size pizzas. I was impressed because most recipes that say that aren't really able to make two.

One of my pizzas was spinach and mushroom with mozzarella and feta. It was my favorite.
The second was split down the middle, one half Canadian bacon with pineapple, the other half pepperoni and salami. My second favorite. All of these ingredients were a little more expensive than normal. I'm TOTALLY against bagged/pre-shredded cheeses. So I spent some extra dollars on some good cheese. I also hate those little pepperonis. EW. So I bought the more expensive better quality meats for these pizzas. I probably spent an extra $10-$15 but it was worth it. Every piece of pizza was gone within an hour. Delicious.

While I was cooking I listened to The Black Keys album Brothers on shuffle. It's a must buy.


p.s. I really like this website. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sweet Potato Pie

I didn't realize until I moved up to the Pacific Northwest that sweet potato pie is considered a southern thing.  I thought it was as common as pumpkin pie since my family made it so often.  It was a nice discovery because I know I can always bring one now to gatherings up here and sort of easily "wow" people.

That being said, sweet potato pie is made in almost the exact same way pumpkin pie is and actually tastes almost completely the same too.

Here is the recipe I used, found on pinterest of course:

First of all, I find the process of making home-made crust tedious and frustrating, so until Butter teaches me her ways,  I'll stick to buying the frozen kind from Trader Joe's.  They are delicious, buttery and flaky.  My only gripe with them is that they sometimes come apart in strips as you put them in the pie pan, but fixing it just requires a little smooshing with your fingers.

I rarely follow a recipe exactly, which was true for this sweet potato pie.  My big change was using sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk since that's all we had.  In fact, I had a can of it open in the fridge from the day before when my husband and I needed it for our coffee (we'd run out of half-and-half again).  I ended up using the rest of what was in the can, about three-fourths.  To counter all that extra sugar, I left out half of the brown sugar amount shown in the recipe.

I also didn't put any of the heavy cream in it simply because we didn't have any.

I had a small snafu with the butter.  I'd forgotten to take it out of the freezer, so to thaw it, I put it in the still-hot potatoes.  One walnut-sized chunk was still frozen by the time I went to blend everything, and at one point it flew out at me, slinging goop on my shirt.  My mistake, and not a bad one for someone who is not really a baker.

My second little snafu was that I forgot to use my stand-mixer.  I love my stand-mixer.  My husband just got it for me earlier this year, and it has definitely gotten me baking a lot more than usual.  I'm hoping that when Butter is here for Thanksgiving, she can show me some tricks with it.

The pie turned out great.  I had to cook it an extra 20 minutes, which is normal for our oven.  My kids ate two pieces last night, and today we have three left, which will definitely be gone by the end of the day.

I was listening to pandora's James Taylor station while baking, and this song is the one I sang along with the loudest: Elton John's "Rocket Man."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We pin it and then we make it.

 A span of twenty-one years separates us, but we are connected by a shared love of food, cooking, baking, presentation, flavors, and that moment when you realize that the thing you've been hovered over in the kitchen is kinda pretty and a lot delicious.

A few things you should know about us:

1.  "Butter" is a mere sophomore in high school but is becoming a master of pastry baking.  She most recently made this french silk pie from scratch:

2.  "Broth" is Butter's aunt who once watched Butter get squeezed out of her mama's wee-wah.  She almost fainted.  Broth specializes in soup, making home-made broth once a week.  She most recently made this pot of gumbo:

3.  We like good, local, organic ingredients, but we are not too high-brow about food.  We both grew up in the South and enjoy our share of velveeta.  We are not snobs.

4.  Butter is a busy high school student who is easily distracted by video games, and Broth is a busy working mother who is easily distracted by her kids' constant tapping on her ass to get attention, so the bulk of our cooking/baking is done on the weekends. 

Last year Broth joined pinterest and started wondering how many of those pin-happy pinners actually did what they were inspired to pin.  She started cooking almost exclusively from her pinterest smart phone app, and she and Butter would comment on each other's kitchen adventures via instagram.  

This blog is an attempt to catalog what we make via pinterest every weekend.  We hope you enjoy it and are inspired, like us, to do more making than pinning.

Salud! Dobru chut! Bon apetit! Guten apetit! Na zdravie! Prost!