Friday, October 30, 2009

Tortlla Pizza

My mom has never been a gourmet cook (she's usually the one to bring the relish tray for family potluck dinners). But she's always been remarkably creative and frugal. A great example of this is the tortilla pizza, a staple of my childhood.

Simple, cheap, and quick, albeit not the most nutritious, this remains a favorite lunch of mine. Now that I have a toaster oven it's ready in record time.

Tortilla Pizza

1 flour tortilla
pasta sauce
cheese (works best with shredded, but even sliced can be used)

Construct pizza in the usual way. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boeuf, it's what's for dinner

(ok, so I'm sure everybody has already made that joke, but I still think it's funny)

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law, my grandmother-in-law, and myself went to see the movie Julie & Julia (yes, we found the ONE theater in town still showing it). We had a blast, and it inspired me to try my hand at a Julia Child recipe.

My mother-in-law mailed me the recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon, braised onions, and sauteed mushrooms (those last two had frenchier sounding names, but I can't remember them just now). I made the beef and mushrooms, and both were fabulous. Although, it struck me as odd (and very wrong)that that much beef (and bacon) should be combined with ONE carrot?? I added more, but it would have benefited from a few extra (I love beef-flavored carrots).

While the boeuf was, admittedly, delicious, it probably won't figure into my regular rotation due to time and caloric constraints. The mushrooms, however, were amazing (although, probably anything sauteed in butter would taste amazing...)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breakfast huevos

I may not have the best omelet-making abilities, but what I lack in cooking skills (and proper cookware, this was made in a stockpot - currently my only non-stick cookware) I make up for in creativity.

When the omelet goes goofy as you try to fold it over, just roll it up in a fresh flour tortilla add a dash of cumin and call it huevos. Now if only I had some chorizo laying around...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

THE Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, butter, you win, you are amazing.

I just made So good, they forced me to return to the blogosphere to report on their deliciousness.

While trying to catch up on my never-ending mountain of unread food blogs piling up in my RSS feed reader I accidentally opened this post. I'm not typically too excited about chocolate chip cookies (not that I would turn one down were it offered to me), I'm usually more into shortbread and spice cookies. But something about this recipe peaked my interest (that, and the fact that I've been meaning to bake some cookies to share with the new neighbors).

I followed the recipe pretty closely, even leaving the dough to rest 24 hours in the fridge. But I did sub in walnuts for part of the chocolate chip amount (not paying enough attention to the ingredient list, I only bought a 12 oz bag of chips at the store - had to make up the remainder in choppped walnuts). I used a mixture of whole wheat pastry flour and white bread flour. Also, I couldn't bring myself to make 3.5 oz cookies (really? THAT BIG? Who needs a cookie that big??) I scaled them down to 2 oz cookies, which are still plenty large. I reduced the cooking time to 16 minutes, and that was about perfect when combined with 3 minutes of resting on the hot cookie sheet before disembarking to the cooling rack.

Maybe it was the rest time (more likely the copious amount of butter) but these were amazing. Perfect texture, crispy on the outside, a little soft on the inside, a gorgeous brown color, and the sprinkling of sea salt on top is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the dark chocolate.

If this isn't the perfect way to meet the neighbors, I don't know what is.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hostess with the Mostess Cupcakes

This morning I was the proud co-host of a baby shower for a good friend.
Luckily for me, the other co-host took care of all the details, and
all I had to do was provide the location, and the cake!

A few months ago, my dear friend (for whom the shower was given), was
having some cravings that just wouldn't go away. One such
craving was for hostess cupcakes. Unfortunately for her,
hostess cupcakes contain beef tallow (something her family tries not to consume).

That's where I entered the picture.
In an efforts to expand my baking repertoire, I thought
I might try to make some HC's from scratch (sans beef). Although initially,
I thought I was beening pretty creative, a google search will
show I'm not the first one to think of this.
Despite this, I still enjoyed the challenge.

It seemed only fitting to re-create this special treat for the party this morning.
Only this time I made mini-hostess cakes!

The basis for this recipe can be found here. I changed things around a bit, and even tried using whole wheat pastry flour (which went undiscovered, probably due to their exceptionally sugary filling).
Makes 48 mini cakes.

Hostess with the Mostess Mini Cakes

Bowl 1: Combine the dry ingredients
2 & 1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 & 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 C cocoa powder

Bowl 2: Cream sugar and butter together
1 C sugar
1 stick of butter, softened

Bowl 3: Combine the liquid ingredients
1 C liquid (I used a combination of water, milk, and yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine the three bowls. Mix well.
Butter and flour mini muffin pan for easy cake removal.
Fill mini muffin cups about 50-75% full.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Beat together until fluffy
12 TBS unsalted butter, softened (I feel gross just typing this)
3 C confectioners' sugar
1 & 1/2 C Marshmallow Fluff (beef free, I swear)
3 TBS + 1 tsp heavy cream

Place in pastry bag for easy cake filling.
Reserve 1/2 cup and mix in remaining heavy cream to make the doodle on top.

Last time I tried to pipe into the cupcakes and didn't succeed very well, so
this time I just sliced them in half and filled between the two halves.
Much easier!

1/4 C heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 TBS unsalted butter, softened

Heat cream until steaming then pour over butter and chopped chocolate.
After a few minutes, everything will have melted and you can stir to
combine. Let this sit another 5 minutes to firm a bit so it doesn't
immediately run off the cakes, then spoon on and swirl to frost each.

Lastly, decorate with the necessary white doodle, so everybody knows
you're not just making any old regular chocolate cupcakes!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Has it really been over a month?

Sorry, but I promise to be better (or a least to make an effort).

Here's what I've been up to...

Cleaning out the cupboards
a.k.a when to admit you have a problem

Repurposing tupperware/Souffle in IKEA
Molly Wizenberg's 'everyday souffle' from Bon appetite
I've always wanted to try making souffle, but I didn't want to buy a special dish. After cleaning out the various tupperware drawers, I found an IKEA ceramic tupperware with high sides and no matching lid. Although it's square, it seemed to work just fine.

Fig cake
(a healthier, smaller, and non-alcoholic version of Dorie Greenspans 'fig cake for fall' recipe)

Lemon meringue cheesecake
What do to when you've got too much cream cheese in the fridge, but you really want to eat meringue...

My first successful pancakes!!!!
Sadly, I've never been able to make pancakes. It's always the simplest things that trip me up the most. These came from Super Natural Cooking (Which I highly recommend for anyone trying to learn how to use all those funky ingredients the organic tyrants keep bullying us with: millet, quinoa, bulgar). As usual, I tailored the recipe to my own on-hand ingredients and laziness, and made them cute and tiny.

(check out my wrist's double chin, gross)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Heat cast iron skillet to medium heat.
Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
Grease skillet with small amount of butter and make small pancakes.

Serve with honey. Enough for three people.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Sweet Life

We don't eat actual food around chez phamished.

We subsist only on butter and sugar.

At least this past month has felt a bit that way. Between school and an assortment of parties, I haven't had much time for nutritious cooking.

But baking? I'll always find time for that.

I promised someone (over a week ago) that I would get some photos of my recent baking escapades up. Sorry for the delay, enjoy!

Angel Food Cake (+lemon curd)
My first attempt at angel food cake (made for a super bowl party).

After making the cake batter I didn't have the heart to throw out perfectly
good egg whites, so I turned them into lemon curd. I iced the
cake with a simple powdered sugar/lemon juice frosting.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Even since baking some decent butter-containing biscotti over Christmas, I have wanted to try a "fat" free version. I used a recipe from David Lebovitz, found here, and swapped out the almonds for crushed mac nuts, and almond extract for vanilla extract. I think this is the first time I have been a little turned off by the chunky sugar crystals on top of something. Here they give the biscotti a sort of moldy look. Nevertheless, these were amazing, and
kept well for a few weeks.

Dessert In Three Movements
My contribution to a close friend's baby shower
(and another close friend's going-away party) was the dessert.

I prefer single serving desserts for parties, so these were all basically cupcakes.

The first photos are mini german chocolate cakes, recipe here. Another
amazing Lebovitz recipe (can you tell I've got a super
baking crush on the Lebo??) These were really
cute and very decadent.

Next up, are lemon shortbread cookies. I used a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking book. I rolled these in turbinado sugar and lemon zest. These were my favorite, simple and elegant.

Last up are the mini-cheesecakes. I can't remember the recipe I used here, but I know it involved sour cream. These came out of their cupcake papers much easier then I thought they would. I thought they looked really cute, and they were the perfect amount of cheesecake - about 3 (my mouth-sized) bites.