31 July 2011

A Mix A Week: Stonewall Kitchen Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

This weekend, in keeping with my Mix A Week challenge, I made a batch of Stonewall Kitchen's Red Velvet Whoopie Pie mix. Whoopie pies and red velvet everything were incredibly trendy last year and I'm guessing Stonewall Kitchen thought to cash in on two trends with one mix. Certainly, I remember snatching up a box of the mix as soon as I walked into the shop.

Is it a cake mix? Is it prettily packaged in Stonewall Kitchen bling? Is it on sale? I will purchase it and bring it home. Then I will shove it in a cupboard and ignore it for six months. Oh, Stonewall Kitchen, I wish I knew how to quit you!

Other than by developing a terrible food allergy.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie Mix

The mix was extremely simple to prepare and assemble. It probably took five minutes to make the batter, once the butter was softened, and only ten minutes for the cakes to bake. Yes, they did have to cool for about half an hour before I could fill and assemble them, but that gave me plenty of time to make the filling and do the washing up.

Red Velvet Batter

I liked these whoopie pies pretty well. While filled with the anathema that is vanilla butter cream frosting ("true" whoopie pie has a marshmallowy frosting, imho), they were very light and flavorful in an inverted-cupcake way. I was also really pleased with how precisely the recipe worked out -- it really did make twenty-four cakes and enough filling to make exactly twelve whoopie pies. I thought, with my skills, I would surely end up with half an unfilled whoopie pie!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

The Husband said that, while these whoopie pies didn't taste that chocolaty, he would be happy to eat a lot of them. Indeed, he went on to say he could eat a lot of them every day -- although that might get a bit samey, so I should probably mix them up with another kind of whoopie pie! Oh, The Husband, he is so lucky I have two boxes of Stonewall Kitchen's Peppermint Whoopie Pie mix waiting to be made up.

Four mixes down, thirteen to go!

30 July 2011

Squash Season: Farmers' Market Corn Toss

Friday, I came home from work hopping mad thanks to some last minute passive-aggressive shenanigans on the part of a coworker. Oh, I was full of the angries when I arrived home. Ranted at The Husband. Ranted at The Cats. Ranted at my summer squash as I went chopchopchop ... and by the time I was done chopping, I was calm. (And, yes, I still had all of my fingers). Have I found the Zen of Zucchini?

Slicing and Dicing

What was all that chopped squash for? For Kraft's "Farmers' Market Corn Toss." As my summer squash were fat with seeds, I hollowed them out with a spoon before slicing them into crescents.  My parsley plant wasn't looking too good (rather the swallowtail caterpillars ate it than I did, anyway), so I used a combination of fresh basil and parsley, plus liberal amounts of salt and black pepper. I also cheated terribly and used a can of low-sodium corn instead of fresh corn. I know, I've lost all my cooking cred now. It's summer. Corn is in season. There's a farm stand five minutes from my house and yet I used canned corn. The shame!

Farmers' Market Corn Toss

The deliciousness! The combination of flavors and textures was extremely good and went very well with the marinated steaks and rice we also had for dinner. Indeed, I so enjoyed the way the corn toss mixed with the rice that I could have skipped the steak entirely. I will certainly make this recipe again -- with fresh corn, of course!

Friday Supper

26 July 2011

Squash Season: Zucchini Meatloaf

For Sunday's supper, I made Pillsbury's "Zucchini Meat Loaf." I tweaked the recipe a little by using 85% lean organic ground beef, liquid egg whites, whole wheat salt-free seasoned bread crumbs, salt-free ketchup, and Stonewall Kitchen's blue cheese herb mustard. And, while the recipe doesn't say to, I seeded my zucchini before shredding it -- just cut the squash into four wedges and scooped the seeds out with a spoon as if I were seeding a cucumber. I also wrapped the shredded squash in a tea towel and squeezed it until I couldn't get any more moisture out. Squash contains a lot of water, you know, and I didn't want a mushy meatloaf!

Zucchini Meat Loaf 1
Pretty colors!

Zucchini Meat Loaf 2
Makes me want to sing "great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts ..."

Zucchini Meat Loaf 3
Eh, a lot less pretty now.

Zucchini Meat Loaf, 4

While this zucchini meatloaf was very easy to make and baked up moist and filling, it was a little on the bland side. I did double the glaze recipe as it did not adequately cover my entire meatloaf, and the glaze had good flavor, but the meatloaf could have benefited from heavier seasoning. Next time I might use a teaspoon of salt-free Italian seasoning blend and a liberal sprinkle of black pepper instead of the half teaspoon of oregano called for in the recipe.

25 July 2011

Menu Plan Monday, 25 July

I'm sportin' the Authority Hat at work this week and expect to come home from work a little frazzled. Therefore, my Menu Plan must be everything that is comforting and easy. And full of summer squash, obviously. (At least something in my vegetable beds is thriving! Poor tomato plants are tall, spindly, and spare).

EatingWell's "Summer Squash & White Bean Sauté" over rice with grilled garlicky chicken breasts. Ingredients: garden squash, onion, garlic, fresh oregano, low-sodium cannellini beans, diced cherry tomatoes, red-wine vinegar, Parmesan.

Low-sodium ham sandwich with fresh melon and low fat Greek yoghurt.

Kraft's "Farmers' Market Corn Toss" with grilled marinated beef steak. Ingredients: corn, garden squash, onion, bell pepper, fresh parsley, black pepper, Parmesan.

Leftover squash and chicken with fresh melon.

EatingWell's "Mary's Zucchini with Parmesan" with sautéd chicken cutlets. Ingredients: garden squash, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, pepper, Parmesan.

Grilled garlicky chicken sausages with Kraft's "Italian Veggie Bake." Ingredients: garden squash, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, low-sodium stewed tomatoes, light Italian dressing, Parmesan.

24 July 2011

A Mix A Week: Jacques Torres Chocolate French Kiss Cookies

We bought a box of Jacques Torres Chocolate French Kiss cookie mix when we were up at King Arthur Flour about eight months ago. I don't know why I hadn't baked this mix up before now -- I've made it before and it bakes up some of the yummiest chocolate chip cookies ever! I know you think that's mere hyperbole, but these are good cookies. If you can get your hands on a box of this mix, buy it and make these cookies. Big, buttery, bittersweet -- what's not to like?

Oh, Delicious Cookie Mix

(Anyway, I think this cookie mix just ended up trapped behind other mixes and I forgot about it. Embarrassing, but true and further proof I need less baking stuff cluttering up my cupboards!)

Jacques Torres Chocolate French Kiss Cookie mix is an incredibly easy mix to put together. All you need is a softened stick of butter and an egg. Once the butter is softened (which is my least favorite part of baking because I always either forget I need to soften butter and set my baking plans back a couple hours or I remember to take the butter out of the freezer and then completely forget about it while I read a book all afternoon) it takes very little time to throw the dough together. Ten minutes (at most) from greasing the first baking sheet to popping that cookie-laden sheet in the oven.

Giant Chocolate Chips

Each bittersweet Belgian chocolate disk is the size of a quarter, I kid you not.
These are MOFO big cookies.

The cookies have to be cooled completely before they can be removed from the baking sheet and, if you want to eat cookies rightnowthisminute that can be a bit of a bugger. Happily, the whole baking sheet can be popped in the fridge for ten minutes to speed the cooling process along. I know, the food safety people say you shouldn't put hot things in your fridge because it raises the overall temperature of your fridge and may help nasty things grow in your food, but cooling the cookies in the fridge really worked. They weren't cold, but were certainly cool enough to remove from the tray and eat. Mmm. Cookies!

Cookies As Big As My Hand

These cookies bake up pretty big so they're actually perfect for sharing, because you can't eat more than one at a sitting, anyway, so you might as well share them 'round with your friends and deserving coworkers. Also, individually wrapped in pretty cellophane bags with curling ribbons, they'd make easy event favors or sweet bribes for teachers, etc.

That's three mixes down, fourteen more to go!

22 July 2011

Squash Season: Easy, Cheesy Casserole

Earlier this week, I made the cheesiest and most delicious squash casserole I've ever made. Seriously, it was so good, The Husband went back for seconds and he's not all that keen on squash. I modelled my casserole on Pillsbury's recipe for Zucchini 'n Hamburger Casserole, but I used organic 94% lean ground turkey, homegrown crookneck (yellow) squash, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, and organic mozzarella. I also sliced the squash very thin (about as thick as a quarter) as I wanted everything to melt together into delicious squashy-rice-tomato-cheese goodness.

I admit I was a little worried about using a can of soup, because I thought it might make the casserole too salty or runny, but it worked out fine. Yes, the casserole was a little runny when it first came out of the oven, but I let it sit for fifteen minutes before serving it and it set up just fine. As for sodium, 680mg of salt spread across six servings does not make for a salty casserole.

Casserole Straight From the Oven

Doesn't it look good? All cheesy and tomato-y? Like a square squash pizza? Who wouldn't want to eat that? And, if you're poo-pooing it because you think whole fat cheese = death fatz, you could use reduced-fat or fat-free mozzarella but I can't guarantee the cheese will melt properly under the broiler.

The recipe doesn't say to broil the casserole, but I did broil it for about five minutes at the end to make the cheese all golden and bubbly. Frankly, since I got over my fear of broiling, I now stick everything under the broiler if I possibly can!

Delicious Squash Casserole

Oh, yeah, I am making this again. Soon, very soon, my little squashes.

19 July 2011

Squash Season: Quick Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

It's early enough in Squash Season that I'm excited about cooking with summer squash and looking forward to trying out new recipes. I predict that, by the beginning of August, summer squash will have lost much of its charm and I'll be chasing my coworkers around, pressing sacks of unwanted squash upon them. Oh, they'll love me then!

Sunday night, after a weekend of heavy-duty weeding and mulching, I was too tired to haul out a cookbook and try a new summer squash recipe. So I threw a bunch of stuff together in a pan and made a quick zucchini-tomato sauce to go over sauteed chicken cutlets. It was surprisingly good for a spur of the moment dish and I look forward to making the sauce again. I suspect it would be good with grilled pork tenderloin or, obviously, pasta.

Sunday Night Chicken

Quick Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

1 lb zucchini, seeded and chopped into small (dime-sized) chunks
½ cup diced red onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
14.5 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet, add zucchini and onion and cook until onion is translucent and zucchini is crisp-tender. Add crushed tomatoes and cook until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Serve over chicken cutlets or what have you.

18 July 2011

Menu Plan Monday, 18 July

It's summer squash season! I harvested four zucchini and two crookneck squash this weekend and they need eating up so ...

  • Pillsbury's "Zucchini 'n Hamburger Casserole." Ingredients: medium-grain rice, lean ground beef, onion, garden zucchini, Muir Glen no-salt-added diced tomatoes, tomato basil soup, shredded low fat mozzarella, low-sodium vegetable broth.
  • Leftover casserole with low-fat Greek yoghurt and raspberries.
  • Barbecued pork ribs with parsley potatoes and green beans. Ingredients: pre-cooked baby back ribs, baby potatoes, parsley, butter, garlic, green beans, black pepper.
  • Leftover casserole with low-fat Greek yoghurt and blueberries.
  • Pasta supper fundraiser for a sick coworker. Baking lots of cookies for it Wednesday night.
  • Pillsbury's "Zucchini Meat Loaf" with oven-roasted corn on the cob (cooks at same temperature as the meatloaf) and parsley rice. Ingredients: lean ground beef (from freezer), garden zucchini, liquid egg whites, whole wheat bread crumbs, onion, oregano, black pepper, brown sugar, low-sodium ketchup, prepared mustard.

17 July 2011

Lettuce Soup, Seriously

Thanks to the hot, humid weather we've experienced recently, my lettuce plants have all bolted and I'm left with a bunch of lettuce that really needs to be used rightnowthisminute.  Unfortunately, there's a limit to just how much salad I can eat! The sorrel soup I made last month was wonderful and I wondered if I could do something like that with my lettuce. I found a couple recipes on the Internet, but went with MyRecipes "Creamy Lettuce Soup" in the end as the nutmeg-leek-lettuce combo really peaked my interest.

Do you know how incredibly boring it is to de-rib and chop a pound and a half of lettuce? Do you even have any idea big a pile of lettuce one and a half pounds turns out to be? I do. And it's much more than I expected. I actually didn't have quite enough lettuce for a pound and a half! And I'd been so sure I had more lettuce than I could possibly use!

Lettuce for Soup

Anyway, once lettuce and leek washing, ribbing, and chopping was out of the way this recipe went together very quickly. I cooked the chopped lettuce ribs and sliced leeks in two tablespoons of melted unsalted butter with lemon juice, mace, salt, and pepper, until the vegetables were quite tender.

Cooking the lettuce ribs & leeks

Then I added in the chopped lettuce leaves (so many it looked like they wouldn't fit, but I knew they would shrink as they cooked) and low-sodium vegetable broth and let everything simmer for a few minutes.

Adding the lettuce leaves

Once the leaves were tender, I removed the pot from heat and let it cool down a little bit so I wouldn't scald myself when using the immersion blender. I whizzed the immersion blender 'round until everything was smooth, then returned the pot to the still warm burner and stirred in the half and half.

Creamy Lettuce Soup

Unfortunately, my brain does not know what to make of this soup. It tells me it smells like spinach. It tells me it looks like cream of broccoli or a spirolena smoothie. It tells me it tastes a lot like leeks!

14 July 2011

A Mix A Week: Barefoot Contessa Orange Pound Cake

Sometimes, after getting a cookie or cake mix home, I experience a bitterly unhappy "WTF??" moment when I realize that preparing the mix is almost as complicated as baking it from scratch. Blame it on years of Betty Crocker cake mixes, but I don't want to do much more than add liquids and stir when using a mix. I don't want have to zest or juice two blessed oranges or bring eggs to room temperature. Frankly, I'd be ecstatic if I didn't have to bring a stick of butter to room temperature.

Yes, when it comes to mixes, I am the laziest baker that ever lived.

So there was a lot of cussing and bitching in my kitchen when I finally got around to making Barefoot Contessa's orange pound cake mix. I softened butter, I put eggs in a bowl of warm water, I zested oranges, I juiced oranges, I made glazes, I swore bitterly about fiddly f-ing mixes. I vowed I would never make this mix again.

And, you know, it is a pretty decent pound cake. Dense, moist, fragrantly orange. We've enjoyed eating it (The Husband said it was just as good as Sara Lee!), but baking it made me so completely and irrationally annoyed that I don't think I'd attempt it again.

Barefoot Contessa Orange Poundcake

We've been eating the orange pound cake with unsweetened whipped cream and berries from the farmers market -- a combination that would make any mix-based cake seem quite awesome, I kid you not.

And that's two mixes down, fifteen more to go.

12 July 2011

Necessity is the Mother of Good Noms

Sunday night I realized I had nothing to take to work on Monday. Sure, my kitchen was full of odds 'n ends, but what could I really do with them? This, apparently:

Kitchen Sink Barley Salad

Kitchen Sink Barley Salad

1 cup quick cooking pearl barley, prepared as instructed
2 scallions, sliced
2 small cucumbers, diced
3 large radishes, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, diced
4 marinated artichoke hearts, diced
1 leftover grilled chicken breast, chopped

½ cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp light Greek vinaigrette
1 lemon, zested
black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine first set of ingredients. In a small bowl, combine second set of ingredients.

Add mayonnaise mixture to barley mixture. Stir well. Let sit overnight
How was it? Pretty darn tasty! Certainly, I felt like some kind of genius as I devoured a portion of it at lunch today and I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's lunch!

11 July 2011

Menu Plan Monday, 11 July

When I started drafting this menu, it looked a lot like:

Monday: Eton(ish) Mess
Tuesday: Eton(ish) Mess
Wednesday: Eton(ish) Mess ...

But I realized that such a menu isn't nutritionally sound, caved under the pressure of being the "responsible" adult in my household, and redrafted the darn thing.

Regardless of responsibility, it's safe to assume many suppers will be followed by a bowl of Eton(ish) Mess for as long as I can find good berries at the market or farm stand.

  • Panko crusted chicken tenders with garlicky green beans and buttery parsleyed potatoes. Ingredients: chicken tenders (from freezer), light ranch dressing, panko, green beans, garlic, good butter, baby potatoes, fresh parsley, salt, black pepper.
  • Tuna pasta salad on a bed of lettuce leaves with diced cucumber and tomato in light Italian. Ingredients: garden lettuce, whole grain pasta, low-sodium tuna, light mayonnaise, light Italian dressing, minced red onion, thawed frozen peas and corn, garden parsley, salt, black pepper. (Make this Tuesday).
  • Leftover pasta salad with Rainier cherries (yummy!) and low-fat Greek yoghurt.
  • Grilled garlicky chicken sausages with Betty Crocker's Mixed Vegetable Bake. Ingredients: summer squash from my garden (yay!), baby Yukon gold potatoes, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, red onion, fresh herbs from my garden.
  • "Red Beans and Rice" and oven-roasted corn on the cob. Ingredients: cajun style andouille sausage (from freezer), garden thyme, red onion, garlic, low-sodium kidney beans, celery, roasted peppers, low-sodium tomato sauce, low-sodium chicken broth.

10 July 2011

We Ate It All Up, Yum

Saturday, after a day of butterfly hunting and feeling old at ConnectiCon (seriously, I saw a girl in what looked like a raspberry-colored micro bikini bottom and I thought "Where are her pants? Did her mother let her leave the house like that?" and knew I was old) we came home for a simple supper of garlicky grilled chicken and oven-roasted corn. Alas, I cannot show you any delicious pictures of supper because we ate it all up, yum, before I thought to take a picture. However, I can show you what remained:

Supper, Remnant

Yes, nothing remained.  As, I told you, we ate it all up. Yum. Oven roasting corn is my favorite (and only) way to do corn now as it's so easy and, I swear, less messy than shucking and steaming in a pot. I don't know why (maybe it's the moisture created by steaming the corn in its husk?) but it's much easier to shuck roasted corn than shuck raw corn. The silks just slide away. Anyway, it's dead easy to roast corn. Just put unshucked corn on a tray, roast in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool enough to handle, butter, salt, pepper, nom.

To finish off our yummy summer supper, we had more Eton(ish) Mess. Of course. Who didn't see that coming? Used strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries this time but it was still (obviously) just as easy and delicious. I suspect we will be eating a lot of Eton(ish) Mess this summer! Certainly, we will be eating it again tomorrow ... just so the leftover berries don't go off, you know. Berries don't keep.

Hmm. I wonder if I could do this with thawed frozen raspberries? Then we could have Eton(ish) Mess in the winter, too. Oh, dear heaven, year round Eton(ish) Mess!

Eton(ish) Mess, Ingredients

Eton(ish) Mess, The Second

That way lies madness? Delicious madness.

08 July 2011

Quickie Eton(ish) Mess

A few weeks ago, during the great unblogged strawberry palooza (it was delicious), I thought about making Eton Mess but first the universe was against me. Strawberries, but no cream or meringue. Strawberries and meringue, but no cream. Strawberries and cream, but no meringue. And then, inevitably, meringue and cream but no strawberries.

Happily, raspberries are in season here and Thursday I managed to assuage my craving with a raspberry Eton(ish) Mess. It was a "shortcuts all around" kind of Mess and it was all the more delicious for being so easy. If you're freaked out by the idea of eating whipped heavy cream (oh, delicious fat), you could substitute fat free Reddi-wip or Cool Whip, but I cannot then vouch for this Mess's deliciousness.

Quickie Eton-esque Mess
Eton(ish) Mess for 2 Greedy People

½ pint raspberries
½ pint blackberries
1 Tbsp sugar
6 vanilla meringue cookies
Whipped heavy cream, as desired (used The Husband's iSi Whip, but a stand or hand mixer works well)

Wash and drain berries. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and let sit for about thirty minutes.

Make whipped cream.

Break meringues into small pieces and divide between two bowls. Add berries. Squirt with cream (be generous!) and give everything a gentle stir. Devour.

06 July 2011

A Mix A Week: Stonewall Kitchen White Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of all the baking mixes I own, Stonewall Kitchen's White Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookie mix requires the fewest extra ingredients and the least effort. Just add softened butter and egg to the mix, follow the instructions, and you will end up with delicious cookies in less than thirty minutes (excluding butter-softening time, of course).

Baking Cookies from Mix

The mix comes in two packets -- one of delicious vanilla-scented baking mix and the other of white, semisweet, and milk chocolate chunks.  Look at those chunks! Don't you just want to nom them up?

Chocolate Chunks

To make these cookies, just beat one cup of baking mix into the softened butter, add the egg and remaining mix, and beat until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake. Shazam, you have cookies!

Now, this recipe is supposed to make fourteen cookies. This created a problem for me as fourteen balls of cookies could not be evenly distributed across my cookie sheet. So I made twelve cookies and baked them for seventeen minutes instead of fifteen.

How were the cookies? The cookies were delicious. Vanilla-y, chocolate-y, soft, and chewy ... they tasted pretty darn homemade.

White Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookies

One mix down, sixteen more to go.

04 July 2011

Menu Plan Monday, 4 July

It's Monday. It's a menu plan. Huzzah.

  • Grilled tuna with potato salad and tinned green beans:

    Independent Noms
  • Grab a salad and yoghurt on the way to work.
Wednesday (Peapod Bringeth the Noms)
  • Everyday Food's "Grilled Chicken Breasts With Buttermilk Marinade" with dilly cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad. Ingredients: leftover buttermilk, boneless skinless chicken breasts (from freezer), garden dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic.
  • Ham sammich on multigrain with garden greens (deer tongue lettuce, I you), light provolone, and Dijon mustard, and sliced pickled beets. Plus low fat Greek yoghurt with fresh blueberries stirred in.
  • Barbecued ribs with oven-roasted corn on the cob (fresh from the farm down the street!) and Heinz "British" (tomato-based) baked beans.
  • Signed up for a nature walk (going to learn about dragonflies) and then there's ConnectiCon ... I'm guessing sandwiches all around.

A Mix A Week: Too Many Mixes Baking Challenge

In theory, I have a tidy baking cabinet. All my baking ingredients and mixes live in it. Baking ingredients and mixes should not be found anywhere else in my kitchen. In reality (wretched reality), I have an overflowing baking cabinet plus baking stuff packed all higgledy-piggledy in any available kitchen cabinet space. I shouldn't have to shuffle baking mixes to get to my breakfast cereal or unpack layers of baking ingredients to get to a container of granola. The situation is well out of hand.

Today, I went around my kitchen and gathered up all the baking mixes I could find:

Turns out, I own seventeen baking mixes. Seventeen.
  • Jacques Torres Chocolate Pure Bliss Fudge Brownie
  • Jacques Torres Chocolate French Kiss Cookie
  • King Arthur Flour Chocolate Lava Cake (2)
  • King Arthur Flour Pumpkin Cheesecake (2)
  • Barefoot Contessa Orange Poundcake
  • Barefoot Contessa Brownie Pudding
  • Barefoot Contessa Buttermilk Biscuit
  • Stonewall Kitchen Vanilla Sandwich Cookie
  • Stonewall Kitchen Pie Crust
  • Stonewall Kitchen White Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (2)
  • Stonewall Kitchen Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
  • Stonewall Kitchen Peppermint Whoopie Pies (2)
They will be baked. One a week for the next seventeen weeks. My coworkers will be happy. The Husband will be happy. And then there will be no more baking mixes in my kitchen!

In the future I will eschew purchasing mixes (even when they're fabulously discounted) unless I have a specific need for one. Really. Swear on my Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book.

02 July 2011

My Newest Addiction

Have you heard of My Drunk Kitchen? I just discovered it and I can't stop watching. It's hilarious and adorable -- aren't many (any?) other cooking shows that can claim that, I'm pretty sure. So far, Episode 4: Not Easy, Bake and Episode 5: Smashed Brothers are my favorites. Obviously, I have to share them with you:

And she's right about pretentious-ass recipes. A lot of cookbooks do seem to be written in some kind of secret culinary code new cooks aren't meant to understand without a significant amount of pre-cooking homework. And, yes, creaming butter and sugar together used to intimidate the heck out of me.

While I've mastered creaming, many baking recipes continue to intimidate or annoy me. In a perfect world, ingredients would be measured by weight and recipes would tell me exactly what speed and for how many minutes my stand mixer should run at any given step.

Honestly, so much about baking still seems like voodoo to me. Maybe I should take up drunk baking?

(I keep typing "drunken" instead of "drunk" ... too many Drunken Master films? Perhaps I secretly yearn to master drunken fist kitchen fu?)