Archive for January, 2012
Okay first off, my apologies for using the word “ain’t”. Trust me, it was EXTREMELY difficult for me to type. And yes, I’m literally sitting here obsessing on having it in the title. I know it’s there for ‘effect’ but it’s DRIVING ME NUTS! It goes against my very nature to use it let alone to ever utter the word out loud in a sentence.
So the past 4 or 5 days I’ve been feeling pretty crappy and not really having an appetite. Trust me, my thighs and butt were greatly appreciative of that regardless of what my stomach grumbled. I was reviewing one of our Facebook discussions regarding comfort foods when you’re sick. A lot of people mentioned Mac ‘n Cheese. Now if you grew up like I did, that blue boxed mac ‘n cheese was prevalent in your home. Um yeah, it was good when I was 5, not when I’m well … extends her fingers and begins to count… um yeah, let’s just say I’m “many + 5″
I grabbed my all time favorite noodles for mac ‘n cheese, Cavatappi and opened up the fridge to forage for cheeses. Yes, I pretty much have an entire cheese drawer. I LOVE cheese (well except goat and bleu – and anything that smells as foul as they do). Then I looked up and my eyes got all doe-eyed and a smile formed on my lips. There, on the top shelf, in the way back was a forgotten can of jumbo lump crab meat. As I pulled it down a fear settled on me.. “Oh no! What if I forgot about it and it’s expired?!” First I’d be furious as it’s NOT CHEAP at all and 2, well… I hate wasting stuff!
WOO HOO! Still have 7 months left on it. Hmmm… really? That stuff doesn’t expire quicker? *shrugs* Oh well.. go me!
So I got to cooking and picking through the meat for shells.
Now Mr. Fantabulous gave the “Meh, it’s okay” comment but that’s to be expected. He doesn’t like Mac ‘n Cheese and isn’t a big seafood fan. So sad, too bad.. MINE MINE MINE!!!
Just look at that cheesy crust on top!
It was soooooo creamy and ooey gooey good!
I want this for breakfast tomorrow…. and lunch… and dinner and for a snack
Now if you’ll excuse me… I gots to go get my grub on
Look at it this way, when you first learned to drive you were probably scared to death – scared you were going to “break the car”, run over the cat or hit someone. It’s exciting but still scary at the same time, right? Well bread baking is just like that. You really, really, REALLY want to make it but you just aren’t sure how. Or you’ve tried it before and it turned out to be a brick or just all around “not like Mom’s”. You don’t need special equipment to make it, you can use your hands or someone else’s but now a days we have stand mixers or bread machines that do the work for us.
Now I’m not going to go off and explain today about the different types of flours (there are dozens upon dozens), the types of yeast, starters or so forth. I’m going to keep it fairly basic as possible. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting; waiting for it to proof (rise) and then rise a 2nd time. What I like most about making bread is that it’s one of those where I can start it and forget about it for an hour or so while it rises. In that hour’s time I can get laun, chores or work on stuff for work.
The most important thing I’m going to tell you about making bread is to make sure your yeast is fresh; i.e., not outdated. If you buy instant yeast, keep it in the fridge or freezer never in the pantry. It will last so much longer if you do this.
- 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour (15 ounces)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups water at 115F – 125F
- 3 Tbl melted butter, unsalted
- In a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- Attach your dough hook and with the mixer set to low, add the water and mix until combined.
- Once all the flour has all mixed in, turn to medium and stopping every so often to gently scrape down the sides to pick up any excess flour. The dough should be very soft and a little sticky.
- Mix until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl at least 6 minutes. (I usually do 8-10)
- With VERY LITTLE FLOUR, sprinkle some on your counter and scoop the dough out on to that. You don’t want to mix it but rather shape it into a ball. It doesn’t have to be perfectly round, just so it’s evenly distributed.
- Lightly butter your mixing bowl (providing it’s big enough) or a very large bowl.
- Take the dough and place it, rounded side up in the bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap or if your very large bowl has a lid, cover it. When using a bowl you need at least 8-10” of air space between the dough and the lid. Why? CO2 forms while rising and when it’s closed shut, it can cause the lid to pop off and the dough to “explode”. If you’re using plastic wrap, spray the top of the dough with cooking spray so if the dough rises and touches the wrap, it won’t stick to it. You only need to LIGHTLY spray it.
- Set in a warm space to allow it double in size. This can take 45 minutes to maybe 1 ½ hours depending on how warm your house is. If, after 4 hours the dough hasn’t risen and it’s not the Arctic tundra in your house, the yeast you used was old and unfortunately you have to start all over L
- Once it’s doubled, take the melted butter and generously grease an 8” round cake pan. You can use 9” but it won’t get as ‘puffy’.
- Turn the dough out of your pan onto a clean work surface. You won’t need flour. You don’t want to add any more flour to this. The dough will be soft but not sticky.
- Lightly press it to deflate a little and shape it a 7” wide round circle. Just use your hands to shape it. Don’t overwork it either. It doesn’t have to be perfect but do your best.
- Place the dough into the center of the greased pan, smooth side up.
- Generously grease the dough with the melted butter – covering the sides and top. You don’t have to use all of it. You just want it covered.
- Let the dough rise, uncovered, in a warm spot until doubled in size. This should take about 25-40 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The dough will fill the pan and rise at least 1” above the rim. Optimal is when it’s 2” above.
- About 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake the dough, preheat your oven to 375 placing the oven rack in the middle.
- Brush with any remaining melted butter and if you want, with a very sharp straight-edged knife, make slashes on the top of the bread going about a ¼”- ½ ” deep. The cutting is purely for aesthetics.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature is 200F.
- Because of the butter, the Boule will be well browned and sound “hollow” when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and take the loaf out of the pan. If the bottom is not browned, then place the loaf (minus the pan) directly on the oven rack for 3-5 minutes.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
Now with this basic recipe, you can add items to it and make your own – you could add grains, cheese, sesame seeds, herbs…
The first time I had this was at a bar eons ago. The sauce was awesome. I begged and bribed (my baked goods are irresistible) for his recipe to which he finally succumbed. I tweaked it some. Well… like most of you, I was perusing the web for food porn and happened to stumble upon his wing recipe. Thing is, it wasn’t his website; actually I don’t think he can type let alone make a website. LOL Then after looking some more, this is a fairly common recipe.
Anyway, these are pretty much like “our” wings and honestly they are really good. This is also really good on chicken strips (non-breaded) for the picky princesses in your life; i.e., me
|Just wingin’ it…|
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 3 pounds chicken wings and/or drummettes – of if you’re like me, 1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into long strips
- 1-1/2 ounces lemon-flavored gelatin
- 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, combine the pineapple juice and soy sauce.
- Add the wings/chicken strips and let marinate for 15 minutes.
- On a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, arrange the wings/strips in a single layer.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade over the wings/strips, then sprinkle with half of the gelatin; bake for 30 minutes. – if you’re making strips, bake for 15-20 minutes based on thickness.
- Flip and sprinkle with the remaining gelatin and the poppy seeds, then bake until browned, about 30 minutes – if you’re making strips bake for 15-20 minutes. *See Note
*note: The best method to ensure that your chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. 165 Degrees F is what it should read.
So lemme tell yunz ’bout my morning (love my Pittsburgh accent?). It was one of those mornings where I should have just rolled over and ignored my bladder or my chores.
*sigh* someday I’ll listen….
Anyway, I sit up in bed and do my morning stretches for my foot before I can actually get out of bed. Now at my age, the time from you first getting up to you waddling to the bathroom has to be nil. Well I don’t have that luxury anymore thanks to the plantar fasciitis in my foot. After 5 minutes of doing my stretches and doing the “I gotta pee wiggle”, I step down out of bed and BAM… instant mother-of-all-cramps in my thigh! I mean I actually yelped out loud. However the pain in my thigh is now battling with my bladder as I have to tinkle beyond belief!
Do you people have any idea how hard it is to walk with a cramp AND having to pee??? Yeah… it’s pretty damn difficult!
That was the start to my morning! I should have gone back to bed then; I really should have.
SOOOOO… I decide to make Banana Bread and Blueberry Sour Cream cake. The bread’s in the oven and I start on the cake only I can’t find the sour cream. Now I know I took it out. I searched high and low for 30 minutes.
Wanna know where I found it? On the pantry shelf behind the baking soda. Ding dong me put it away by mistake thinking it was the baking powder. Real smart genius!
So I get that all straightened up and go to do my dishes. Before I get started I realize I need to stir the meat on the stove (making Mr. Fantabulous Sloppy Joes today). So I pick up my “spoon” to stir, hit the lever by mistake turning the water on only to realize that it wasn’t the spoon in my hand but rather the <insert non-ladylike trucker mouth language here> water sprayer from the faucet. I gave myself a wet t-shirt at 8am! I did have to run to the market but in light of all that happened up to that point I decided to stay put!
I did manage, to thankfully, turn out some great stuff today. I kept lunch simple – Sloppy Joes from scratch and cucka sweet potato fries. I say cucka as I don’t like sweet potatoes at all, in any fashion however Mr. Fantabulous really likes baked sweet potatoes and since I had a coupon for a free bag of sweet potato fries I figured I’d make those for him.
Um yeah, you’ll notice that the sweet potato fries are not in the pictures. Why? Per Mr. Fantabulous they are a “HUGE FAIL! Don’t ever buy these again.” However he thoroughly loved the sloppy joes per the evidence on his chin, lips and hands:) LOL However the true test of these things are me. Why? Growing up my Mom would make them but with big ol fat hunks of onions in them added to a can of Manwich or she would buy that packet stuff where you add beef and tomato sauce. *Shudder from horrible flashbacks* I LOOOOOOOOOOAATHE stuff like that. But then to be fair, I rarely like anything out of a can or box mix.
So today I set out to try and make it from scratch. How did I do it? You’re gonna laugh but I googled Manwich pictures and studied the picture. Okay chunks of peppers, onions, beef, some type of red sauce… I took it from there. So I cook all the stuff and it ends up smelling really good but any good chef will tell you, “You have to taste your stuff before serving it” - God, I can hear Chef Ramsey now! So I dipped my spoon in and closed my eyes as I put it to my lips. Wha? Yes, I still close my eyes when I have to try something that I “might not like”. I’m 4 years old in that respect! LOL So I taste it and was like “Oh wow, this is really good but it lacked something.” It needed a ‘zing’. So I added some ‘zing’ to it and I’ll tell you what, this stuff was killer!
For dessert Mr. Fantabulous will have this. I can attest to how scrumptious this as I had a piece. Wha??? All good chef’s are supposed to sample their food before serving it! I mean I didn’t want Mr. Fantabulous to have some only to find out it’s poisonous! LOL
Yeah, me neither… Sorry but if the Steelers aren’t playing it’s not worth watching. Hey forgive me but I’m a born and bred Pittsburgh girl who has Black ‘n Gold running through her veins.. along with some flour, cocoa and sugar *wink*. But the Superbowl XLVI is coming up next weekend and I know a lot of you will still watch the game; perhaps not for the game itself but rather for the commercials and well let’s face it.. to eat and drink!
So let’s paint our faces, put on our beer drinkin’ hats and wave those Terrible Towels *like I said.. die hard Steelers fan*.
Have to give props to Carrie for the one recipe and Cathy for some of these slightly adapted recipes/pictures
|Are you ready for some football??? Baked Reuben Appetizer||
- 1 pound diced corned beef
- 16oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 2 cup sauerkraut, drained well
- 1 tsp caraway seed (optional)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- Cocktail Rye Bread
- In a medium bowl, combine corned beef, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, sour cream, caraway seed (optional) ketchup and mustard.
- Spoon into a greased, 1-quart baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
- Serve warm with rye bread.