29 February 2012

A Mix A Week(ish): King Arthur Flour's Vermont Cheddar Biscuit Mix

First off, I have to warn you that you can't buy this biscuit mix anymore. I don't know when King Arthur Flour stopped selling it, but I can tell you I bought my biscuit mix in 2008 ... and it's "enjoy by" date was December 16, 2009. (Yes, yes, shame on me). Despite being years out of date, these biscuits baked up really fine and I enjoyed eating them. I've always had a great weakness for cheddar crackers and these biscuits tasted exactly like Cheez-Its. Soft, slightly doughy Cheez-Its. Add a little bacon and, I swear, it you would have biscuit-shaped pieces of heaven.

Cheddar Drop Biscuits

These biscuits were extremely easy to make. I used the drop method, because I wasn't interested in pretty so much as fast, and I add the optional cheese (1 cup Trader Joe's Vintage Reserve Cheddar) and hot sauce (1 teaspoon Huy Fong Foods Sriracha). The biscuit mix already contained powdered Vermont cheddar so the finished biscuits were plenty cheesy and good.

(I feel I should point out that The Husband did not like these biscuits at all. He couldn't get over them tasting, to him, so much like cheddar goldfish crackers while their texture was all soft and biscuit-y).

27 February 2012

Menu Plan Monday, 27 February

Experimenting with yeast dough, again. Made a batch of King Arthur Flour's "The Almost-No-Knead Baguette" dough on Sunday and am looking forward to making baguettes all week. Of course, there will be regular meals, too, but it's the baguettes I'm interested in.

Monday
Boneless pork loin slow-cooked with a little wine, Penzeys salt-free Tuscan Sunset seasoning blend, dehydrated onions, and tiny potatoes. Served with fresh green beans and gravy.

Monday Supper

Tuesday
Twice-baked sweet potato and tossed salad.

Wednesday
Stir-fry made of leftover pork loin, straw mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, onions, celery, and stir-fry sauce. Served over parslied rice.

Thursday
Twice-baked sweet potato with "Vegetarian Southern-Style Collard Greens."

Friday
Spaghetti bolognese with homemade garlic bread.

Saturday
Salmon burgers on homemade baguette with cucumbers in vinaigrette.

Sunday
Slow cooker beef stew with more homemade baguette.

Bloody Orangeade

February's selection from Melissa's Exotic Fruit club, blood oranges, arrived a few weeks ago and ... I keep forgetting to eat them! Blood oranges are one of my favorite citrus fruits and I normally nom them up like a scurvy-wracked sailor so I don't know what my problem is. All I know is that I have half a dozen blood oranges that need to be eaten up right now this minute or they're going to go off. What to do? Make orangeade!

Halved citrus

Halve 5 blood oranges and 1 lemon.

juiced citrus

Juice. (I strained the juice through a mesh strainer to remove the pulp).

Making orangeade

Combine with 5 cups cold water and ¾ cup Splenda.

(This makes a very refreshing light beverage. Use less water for a stronger flavor).

25 February 2012

One Meat Sauce, Two Meals

Some celebrate Washington's Birthday with cherry pie, but I celebrated with a big pot of "Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce" from The Nourishing Gourmet. It's one of the many "spaghetti and red sauce" recipes I've pinned while searching for the perfect recipe for March's Crazy Cooking Challenge. Ah, Pinterest ... I know you could be so much more, but I'm content to treat you like a beautiful version of delicious and fill you with board after board of recipes.

Anyway, "Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce" is a good recipe -- simple and delicious, with rich tomato flavor and a perfect ratio of meat to sauce. It makes a lot of sauce for a two person household, but I put the extra to good use later in the week when I made a lasagna. (Yes, I made a lasagna in the middle of the week. No-boil noodles are the best thing ever, I tell you).

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce, Ingredients
All the ingredients ...

Spaghetti w/ Slow Cooker Meat Sauce
became this Monday night ...

Fast Weeknight Lasagna
and this Wednesday night! Yum!

To make the lasagna, I mixed together an egg, leftover ricotta, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan, parsley, and black pepper. I layered the cheese mixture with leftover sauce and no-boil noodles until both were used up, then covered the lasagna with foil and baked it in a 375°F oven for an hour. Broiled it for a few minutes to make it brown and bubbly, then let it set for about 15 minutes -- plenty of time to make the garlic bread and do the cucumbers.

23 February 2012

Good-bye, Mix! Hello, Brownies!

Ye Olde Baking Chocolate

Oh, the shame! The embarrassment! The ... thrift? Last weekend, faced with a Hershey's Baking Bar that was best by September 2010 and that I couldn't bear to throw out because it looked (and tasted) perfectly fine, I whipped up a pan of Hershey's "Quick and Easy Fudgey Brownies." I made the cake-like variation with ½ cup milk and 1½ cups flour, because I intended to serve these brownies with fresh raspberries and whipped cream and cake-like brownies seemed better suited to that pairing than gooey ones.

Brownie w/ Raspberries & Cream

Definitely recommend this recipe if you're trying to get away from mixes, but still want fast, no fuss brownies. This was an extremely easy recipe anyone could make and it couldn't have taken more than 10 minutes to throw together. It made 24 cake-like brownies, which is far more than I get from most mixes.

21 February 2012

Moderately Good Potato Soup

March's Improv Challenge features one of my favorite food combinations -- potatoes and cheese. The internetz are full of potatoes and cheese recipes and I've starting pinning some of them, building up a collection of Improv possibilities. This weekend, I thought I would give Betty Crocker's "Rustic Potato Soup with Cheddar and Green Onions" a whirl as I had an embarrassment of scallions on hand.

Potato Soup w/ Cheese & Scallions

This recipe turned out okay, but I won't make it again. The Husband enjoyed it very much, but I thought it was a bit bland and tasted too much like eating a big bowl of runny mashed potatoes. And this is after I tarted the soup up quite a bit! (It's likely my expectations were too high -- that, full of enthusiasm for the Improv Challenge, I simply expected too much from the recipe).
Moderately Good Potato Soup

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
16 medium green onions, finely chopped
4 oz Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, shredded

Bring broth to boil in French/Dutch oven. Add potatoes to broth and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender. Drain potatoes well, retaining 1 cup of hot broth. Puree 3 cups potatoes in blender with 1 cup of hot broth until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in Dutch oven and saute green onions under wilted. Add pureed potatoes, remaining potato chunks, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, most of the green onions, and cheese. Cook over medium, stirring, until soup is hot and cheese is melted. Taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve sprinkled with leftover shredded cheese, green onions, and black pepper.

I think the flavor of this soup would have been much improved if I had cooked 6-8 large garlic cloves with the potatoes and pureed them with the 3 cups of boiled potatoes. Also, I should have peeled the potatoes, because the bits of skin just didn't do anything for me.

(I can't share my "real" Improv Challenge recipe with you yet, but I am more that happy to share the ones that didn't make the cut).

20 February 2012

Cleaning out the cupboards with ... cookies!

Just like soup, cookies are an excellent way to use up a bunch of odds-and-ends. Last week, faced with multiple open bags of chocolate baking bits, I made a batch of Crisco's "Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies" and there was much rejoicing from The Husband who still thinks that he isn't getting enough cookies. Sir, I have now baked five kinds of cookies since New Year's! That is exponentially more cookie-baking than ever before.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anyway, to make these cookies I used a combination of Nestle semi-sweet mini morsels, Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, and Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value white chocolate chunks. The total amount of chocolate was the same as what the recipe called for -- just broken down along different lines. It would have been just as easy to sub in butterscotch chips (had any remained from the Scotchie Experiment) or walnuts. I don't recommend adding more chocolate than the recipe calls for unless you want chocolate studded with cookie instead of cookie studded with chocolate.

These were pretty good cookies -- crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and (surprisingly) very chocolaty without being very sweet. Were they the "ultimate" chocolate chip cookies? While they were an order of magnitude better than Chips Ahoy, they're can't hold a candle to the Jacques Torres French Kiss Cookies I made in July ... big, buttery, bittersweet, yum!

I still have a ridiculous amount of baking chocolate left on hand:
  • Hershey's unsweetened baking bar
  • Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate squares
  • Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips (partial)
  • Nestle semi-sweet mini morsels (partial)
  • Nestle semi-sweet chunks
Bake moar cookies?




19 February 2012

Eating the Alphabet: B is for Beets

Have you heard about Eating the Alphabet, hosted by the redoubtable Meal Planning Magic? Each month participants share recipes highlighting fruits and vegetables that start with different letters of the alphabet and it just looks like a lot of fun. Eating the Alphabet 2012 started February 15 with fruits or vegetables starting with the letter A or B. Of course, I came to the party late and am officially joining on for March ... but that doesn't stop me from posting an A&B dish now!

I fully intended "A is for Apricots" and make Crisco's "Apricot Angel Cookies," but didn't quite have the time to bake cookies between today's appointments and worries (worry is a giant time suck, you know). I did have plenty of time to throw a salad together, though, so I ended up with "B is for Beets" by making "Beetroot and Pea Salad." I've had the recipe bookmarked for weeks now as I looked for ways to use that thrice-damned seemedlikeagoodpurchaseatthetime bottle of salad cream in the pantry challenge and now seemed like the perfect moment to give the recipe a whirl.

Lunch!

This is a Allrecipes UK recipe and the ingredient amounts called for didn't quite map to the product sizes in my US pantry so, even though I put my digital scale to work, I had to do a little bit of fudging. I also thought tinned peas in a salad sounded nasty and opted to use thawed frozen peas, instead.

Making Creamy Beets & Peas

Ingredients:
284g (10 oz) thawed frozen peas, thawed
425g (15 oz) can sliced beets, drained and diced into pea-size pieces
35g (1⅛ oz) chopped red onion
125ml (heaping 1½ cups) salad cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Making Creamy Beets & Peas

Put your beets, peas, and onions in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Making Creamy Beets & Peas

Add salad cream to chopped vegetables. It looks a bit like runny custard.

Creamy Beets & Peas

Combine all and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until well chilled.

How did it taste? Pretty darn good. Tangy, slightly sweet, and crunchy. I think it would have been better with freshly cooked beets, rather than canned, but it still made for a delicious Spring-ish light lunch.

Could you make this salad without salad cream? Sure, why not? Salad cream's sweet and runny so you'll want to substitute a sweet mayonnaise like Miracle Whip diluted with a little milk or you could use a regular mayonnaise like Hellmann's and add a little sugar or honey with the milk. Or you could be a real rebel, say "to heck with sweetness," and use plain Greek yoghurt or sour cream. Mind you, the vulgar foodie part of my brain keeps recommending ranch dressing so I wouldn't recommend listening to anything I say right now!

Amended 4:03 2012-02-19: Ohhh, even though I'm late, Brenda's allowing me to enter my beets for February's Eating the Alphabet! Thanks, Brenda! Looking forward to March.

18 February 2012

Kale Is For Stew

I stopped in a Trader Joe's last weekend and bought a big bag of washed chopped kale on impulse, which is the kind of thing that always happens to be when I go shopping without a grocery list. Officially, I'm the only one who eats kale in this household so I knew I was free to do with it whatever I liked. Being traditionally-minded, I made a big pot of Bon Appetit's "Kale and White Bean Stew." I had to make some changes based on what I had in my pantry, but tried to stick pretty close to the original recipe where I could. The stew came out really well and I took forward to making it again.

Kale & Bean Soup

Modified Kale & White Bean Stew

10 oz bag Trader Joe's Kale
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 shallots, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Beringer 2009 Californian Chenin Blanc (or whatever you're drinking)
1 15-ounce can Goya Habas Grandes (large butter beans), drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
1 cup slightly wrinkly cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups turkey broth (more if you like broth-y stews)
2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
Really good sherry or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Blanch kale in boiling salted water for 1 minute or until brilliant green. Immediately drain and plunge into a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside for later.

Heat oil in a French/Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, shallots, red onion, and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring, about 15 minutes (vegetables will probably brown a little -- I liked this but Bon Appetit said not to).

Add wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove bay. Add more broth if stew is too thick for you. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and served drizzled with sherry or red wine vinegar. Have a bit of crusty bread on the side for dunking.
(I didn't have any sherry vinegar to mix into the finished stew, but used the really delicious, fruity Katz Late Harvest Zinfandel AgroDolce Vinegar in its place and ... wow! It just made the stew sing).

14 February 2012

Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal, Yum!

I've gotten away from making oatmeal in my slow cooker -- don't even keep steel-cut oats in the house, anymore -- and this was a bit of a problem over the weekend when cold, blustery weather created an unbearable craving for slow-cooked oatmeal. Happily, I had a partial canister of old-fashioned oats on hand and knew there was a recipe for baked oatmeal squirrelled away somewhere. I eventually found the recipe ("Baked Apple Oatmeal") in Betty Crocker's Heart Healthy Cookbook. I've owned the Heart Healthy Cookbook for a while now and, judging by the number of sticky notes that decorate it, I've had every intention of cooking many things from it but ... well, the world is full of cookbooks.

Baked Apple Oatmeal w/ Blueberries

I don't think I can recommend this recipe enough -- it's incredibly easy to make and tastes really good. Not sweet at all so the apple, raisins, and cinnamon really pop. I ate mine reheated with a little milk and topped with blueberries. Yesterday, I like it so much for breakfast that I had it for lunch, too!

Baked Oatmeal, Ingredients

Combine old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and raisins in a big bowl. I used golden raisins, but dried cranberries or blueberries would also be delicious.

New Chopper

Chop two apples. The recipe doesn't say to peel them, but I did as my organic apples seemed to be coated with a sticky, waxy substance that would not wash off.

Baked Oatmeal, Unbaked

Combine everything together in a two-quart baker. It will look soupy. Don't panic. Bake.

Baked Oatmeal, Baked

See? 40 minutes later, most of the milk is absorbed and everything looks nomilicious. As an added bonus, your kitchen will smell like apple pie.

13 February 2012

Menu Plan Monday, 13 February

This week's going to be a little different as I've gone hyper-organizational and planned every meal for (nearly) every day.  Why? Because I could.  It's very samey-samey regarding breakfasts and lunches, but I can easily eat the same thing for an entire work week with no unhappiness or boredom.  If anything, it's easier for me if I do -- I feel enough anxiety about work without the added burden of  meal variation.

Monday
Breakfast: Reheated "Baked Apple-Maple Oatmeal" with blueberries and tea.
Morning snack: Fat-free Greek yoghurt with blueberries stirred in.
Lunch: "Kale and White Bean Stew" from February 2009 Bon Appétit.
Afternoon snack: Pretzel crisps with jalapeno hummus.
Supper: Taking The Husband out for pre-Valentine's Day noms.

Tuesday
Breakfast: Reheated baked oatmeal with blueberries and tea.
Lunch: Kale and white bean stew.
Supper: Vegetable soup, pretzel crisps, and fat-free Greek yoghurt with blueberries stirred in.
Evening Snack: Pretzel crisps and hummus.

Wednesday
Breakfast: Reheated baked oatmeal with blueberries and tea.
Morning snack: Pretzel crisps and hummus.
Lunch: Kale and white bean stew.
Afternoon snack: Fat-free Greek yoghurt with blueberries stirred in.
Supper: The Husband's taking me out for post-Valentine's Day noms.

Thursday
Breakfast: Reheated baked oatmeal with the last blueberries and tea.
Lunch: Kale and white bean stew.
Supper: Fat-free Greek yoghurt with blueberries stirred in, pretzel crisps, and hummus.
Evening Snack: Pretzel crisps and hummus.

Friday
Breakfast: Reheated baked oatmeal and tea.
Lunch: Kale and white bean stew.
Supper: Frontier Soups' "Illinois Prairie Chowder" with cheddar drop biscuits.

Saturday
Breakfast: Last of the baked oatmeal and tea.
Morning snack: Fat-free Greek yoghurt with pineapple.
Lunch: Leftover chowder with pretzel crisps and hummus.
Afternoon snack: Fat-free Greek yoghurt with blueberries stirred in.
Supper: Goya's "Chicken Veracruz" over rice with green beans.

Sunday
In recovery from Saturday's Big Work Thing -- either eating a lot of celebratory bacon or a lot of conciliatory bacon.

11 February 2012

Too Much Cornbread? Make Salad!

The cornbread muffins I made early this week are quite tasty, but I only average one per day and with the recipe having made a dozen, I am suffering a surfeit of cornbread. What to do? What to do? Make salad?

Cornbread Salad

Apparently, yes, you can make salad out of cornbread. It's a Southern thing, I guess, and while I was sorely tempted by Paula Deen's version with corn, kidney beans, and cheddar cheese I decided to go with Taste of Home's recipe for "Corn Bread Salad for Two" mostly because it meant I wouldn't be stuck eating it all week if I didn't like it much. I mean, I knew I liked eating all of its ingredients individually, but I wasn't sure what I'd think of them when thrown together, all higgledy-piggledy.

Well, it was delicious! Unbelievably delicious. I should have made a bigger bowl.

09 February 2012

Lunch by Bush's Beans

I was pokin' 'round the internetz, looking for black bean soup recipes, when I found Bush's Black Best Bean Soup Meal and thought "there is nothing on that page I do not want to eat and cannot make rightnowthisminute" so I did.

Lunch :)

Best work lunch since I made that delicious curried pumpkin-vegetable soup a few weeks ago!

I did end up modifying the black bean soup a bit to keep with the pantry challenge, but it still came out pretty darn delicious.
Pantry Challenge Black Bean Soup

Ingredients
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, undrained and pureed
1 (15 ounce) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free organic chicken broth
½ cup Green Mountain Gringo Roasted Garlic salsa
1 Tbsp Penzeys salt-free Arizona Dreaming seasoning blend

Directions
Add beans, chicken broth, salsa, and seasoning blend to pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until some liquid has evaporated and soup is thickened to your liking. Serve topped with a sprinkle of dried cilantro.
I like to crumble the corn muffin into the soup and stir them together, but I am bit of a barbarian.

06 February 2012

Menu Plan Monday, 6 February

I've been a way from OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday for a little while because I've been busy with the pantry challenge, but the challenge is now officially over so I'm just folding the two together as meal planning is something I really like to do and the challenge will go on and on here until my pantry challenge inventory is, so help me, a long string of zeros.

Monday
Lazy slow cooker pork tenderloin with carrots and buttery parslied egg noodles. Ingredient: 1 frozen Hormel Always Tender Peppercorn-Flavored Pork Tenderloin, 1 bag Trader Joe's Carrots Rustica (chopped frozen yellow and orange carrots), chopped red onion, egg noodles, parsley, unsalted butter. (This was dead easy -- frozen tenderloin, frozen carrots, and red onion in the slow cooker on LOW for 10 hours -- and pretty darn delicious)

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday
Black bean soup, cornbread muffin, cherry tomatoes in vinaigrette, fat-free Greek yoghurt.

Wednesday
Pick something up after afterwork appointment. Oh! And maybe a little shoppy-shop at Trader Joe's ...

Thursday
Half of Taste of Home's "Corn Bread Salad for Two." Ingredients: crumbled leftover cornbread muffins, diced cherry tomatoes, diced green pepper, chopped green onions, chopped celery, light mayonnaise, crumbled cooked bacon, salad greens.

Friday
Make-ahead lazy shepherd's pie. Ingredients: ground lamb, minced garlic, jar fat-free beef gravy, thawed frozen mixed vegetables, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, parsley, black pepper, prepared instant mashed potatoes, shredded cheese.

Saturday
Betty Crocker's "Creole Chicken & Orzo." Ingredients: canned lima beans, diced tomatoes, chicken breasts cut into strips, orzo, garlic powder, basil, sriracha.

Sunday
Betty Crocker's "Vegetable-Beef-Barley Soup" with Texas toast. Ingredients: ground turkey, diced tomatoes, quick-cooking barley, frozen mixed vegetables, no-salt-added tomato sauce, salt-free Italian seasoning blend.

05 February 2012

Pantry Challenge Update: Week 4

The pantry challenge is over for most participants, but I'm going to keep going through February as there's still so much of my challenge inventory left. Obviously, with Taste of Hartford going on, I haven't cooked much recently. Made a big pot of soup and baked a little, yes, but made no real headway with the challenge.

That said, I suspect I had unrealistic expectations vis-a-vis the pantry challenge. There's a lot of stuff in my pantry. Even if I'd kept on like the first week, making nearly every meal from pantry challenge ingredients, there would still be stuff leftover.

So what have I been doing, if not the challenge? Completing mini challenges I set for myself:

I ruthlessly culled my closets for charity (and space). Dead electronics went to Green Monster e-Cycling and clothes/household items were picked up by Big Brothers/Big Sisters Hartsprings Foundation. Hartsprings rolls through my neighborhood every few months, picking up donations, but I almost always manage to miss them due to poor planning on my part.

Drive-by charity.

I reorganized my kitchen cabinets (again).

Cheap Storage Solution
Disposable loaf pans, ftw!

I reclaimed my sewing room (again).

Helping
Little "helps"

I cleaned my fridge with vinegar and baking soda until it fairly sparkled (and smelled, faintly, of pickles).

Fridge, Post Pantry Challenge
Clean(er)

None of those things are part of the pantry challenge and yet they have everything to do with it. I joined the pantry challenge, because there was too much stuff in my pantry. Turns out there's too much stuff all over my house! For the pantry challenge, I opened my kitchen cupboards and asked "Why are you here? What can I make with you?" Now I open closets and ask "Why are you here? What can I do with you?"

I am still going forward with the pantry challenge -- will carry it as far through February as I can before I lose momentum. There's still a cake to be made from the black raspberry preserves and there are all those cans of baby corn waiting to be eaten up, after all.



04 February 2012

A Mix A Week(ish): Jacques Torres Chocolate Pure Bliss Fudge Brownies

It's been over a month since my last Mix a Week post! I tidied all my mixes away in early December so I would have room for holiday cooking and then just forgot about them! Whoops. Obviously, they popped up again when I inventoried my cabinets for the pantry challenge, but I chose to ignore them because I was doing a pantry challenge not a baking challenge. Then Taste of Hartford started up last week and the pantry challenge fell by the wayside so I had no excuse not to bake and every reason to -- especially as The Husband was making noises about how no-one ever bakes him cookies. To shut him up, I decided to bake the richest, most decadent thing I could think of -- Jacques Torres Chocolate Pure Bliss Fudge Brownies.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Pure Bliss Fudge Brownie Mix

I'd baked a batch of Jacques Torres Chocolate French Kiss Cookies last July using a mix I'd bought at King Arthur Flour and, as they were some of the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever eaten, I had high expectations for these brownies ... expectations which were met and surpassed. These were dark, decadent, unrelentingly chocolate-y brownies. Definitely not your every day glass-of-milk-after-school brownies. No, these were grown-up brownies.

And, like many adult pleasures, they took a little time and effort to bring off. I had to melt butter slowly and combine ingredients thoroughly, but gently, and then walk away for a bit. And then come back and add more ingredients. Then the baking. Then the cooling. Then the making of a glaze by melting ingredients and whisking them with other ingredients. Finally, I spread the glaze on the brownies and let them set overnight. That's right, these were next day brownies!

But, they were worth the wait! And I'm an adult so no-one can say boo if I had one for breakfast ...

Jacques Torres Chocolate Brownie

(According to the box, this mix makes 12 brownies, but I managed to cut the 9" square into 16 pieces and that was just about perfect for us. These are very dark, decadent brownies and I found we didn't need much more than a bite-size piece to satiate our chocolate cravings).

03 February 2012

Jour des Crêpes! (Belated)

Woo! Time to bust out the skillet and make with the crepes! Yesterday was Candlemas, also known as Jour des Crêpes, and you know how much I  celebrating food-centric holidays! Also, crepes. Also, Nutella. Also, crepes filled with Nutella.

Crêpes for Pancake Day
Made these in 2009 ... they need repeating

Alas, I am out of Nutella. Zut alors! What to do? Make Kraft's "Cream Crepes," instead. But ... I don't have any strawberry jam! No Nutella. No strawberry jam. What is going on in my kitchen? Next thing I know, I won't have any eggs.

(I had a vision of myself sitting in a corner, quietly weeping over the crepes-that-could-have-been).

But, no, there are plenty of eggs and an open jar of Stonewall Kitchen's red raspberry jam and crepes have been made!

Crepes!
Delicious and so easy!

Kraft says the recipe serves eight people. No idea if that's true or not. I made nine crepes and split them between the two of us. Our taste buds and tummies are very, very happy.

(As I worried the filling would be too sweet and bland, I halved the sugar and boosted the lemon to make a tarter, more zesty filling. I also whipped the heck out of it with my stand mixer to make it as fluffy and spreadable as possible).

02 February 2012

Fast Mac 'n' Cheese 'n' Greens, Yum!

There's been a can of condensed "cheddar" cheez soup lurking in my cupboards since Noah built the ark and I really wanted to be rid of it. I found a recipe on Campbell's Kitchen for "Fastest Homemade Mac and Cheese" and thought I would give it a try as it was only five ingredients (if you count water as an ingredient) and the pasta cooked in the sauce. One pan macaroni and cheese! Woo!

Fast Mac 'n' Cheese Ingredients

While not the best macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten, it still tastes significantly better than the boxed stuff and doesn't take much more time. I used 5 scant ounces of "Mexican" blend cheese (pepper jack, colby, and muenster) in this recipe, because that is what I had on hand but I expect most any cheese blend could be used in this recipe. Watch out, open bag of "Pizza" cheese blend, I'm coming for you next! Although ... that would necessitate purchasing another can of cheez soup. Hmm. Might well be worth it.

Fast Mac 'n' Cheese & Greens

I ate this macaroni and cheese with mixed greens (Sylvia's, because it tastes good) and it was so very tasty -- the slightly spicy, cheesy, creamy pasta paired so well with the slight bitterness of the greens. Greens 'n' mac 'n' cheese is one of my favorite food combinations. While I had it first at a barbecue place and still associate the combination with barbecue, I am perfectly happy to eat the two on their own whenever I can. Which would be tomorrow, provided I can get my hands on another can of cheez soup.

(I took a "pretty" photo for you, but I usually mix everything into a messy heap of deliciousness before I eat it!)