Monday, March 31, 2008

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

To accompany the focaccia bread, I wanted to make something Italian (uh-oh.. is gnocchi even Italian?) So I went to the epicurious website which is pretty new to me, and found this recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Brett likes gnocchi and sweet potatoes, and I’ve never had gnocchi before, so I decided that we could give it a shot. The dough was fun to make (Brett always takes the lead on bread, so I haven’t messed with dough very much.) It involved the scooped out innards of a baked sweet potato, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, brown sugar, salt, fresh nutmeg, and of course, flour. Once I got it all mixed together, I divided it into equal parts.

Then I rolled each ball out into a long log, and cut it into inch chunks. Brett helped me form them into nicer little nuggets. He lined his up perfectly, as is shown here. One guess what mine looked like.

By this point our water was boiling, so we salted it and I had Brett drop the nuggets in (I didn’t want to get splashed.) We were able to fit about half in. It was pretty neat because when they are done cooking, they pop right up to the surface. I let them go slightly longer because when they popped up was way short of the time that the recipe recommended. We did 2 batches and got them all nicely cooked.

Then I attempted to make the brown butter sage sauce for the gnocchi. The sage was way too strong and basically ruined the sauce. I should have been more cautious. We strained the sage out, which did help, but the damage was already done. Here is the finished product.

At this point it was 8 o’clock and I was starving. Thank goodness we had the focaccia bread, because the gnocchi was not to my liking. I ate a few, but not only did I dislike the sauce, but the texture bothered me. Brett says that the gnocchi were a good consistency, so that’s a Kim problem. At one point I realized that I was just trying to get one down, and I decided I couldn’t eat anymore. Brett ate all of his (and then mine for lunch the next day) so I guess I can say that it was a partial success. However, neither of us enjoyed the brown butter sage sauce. YUCK! Needless to say, I will not be making this again.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Brett got to choose this past weekend’s baking endeavor, and he chose to make Rosemary Focaccia Bread from The Taste of Home Baking Book. Taking the role of sous chef, I gladly chopped and sautéed an onion in olive oil. Brett meanwhile studied the recipe and got the yeast, water, and sugar together. I pretty much just watched as he got the dough to form and kneaded it.

After kneading for quite some time, we added the cooled onions and some rosemary. This made for a bit of a mess since it got our whole kneading area very oily. But Brett kept at it until everything was thoroughly mixed. We chose to add only half the onion, because it really looked like a lot. We let it rise once as a ball and then once again after we stretched it out onto a baking sheet.

Then Brett brushed it with some olive oil and sprinkled some more rosemary on top and let it bake. Every time I have seen focaccia being made on TV, they put so much oil in the bottom of the pan, that you’d think the bread was going to float away. But this recipe went very easy on the oil. We just had to grease the pan and sprinkle some cornmeal instead. The bread turned out rustic and beautiful (who could possibly make it into a perfect circle?)

It also tasted great. The rosemary was subtle and not overpowering (which I was worried about) and there seemed to be just the right amount of onion too. I was starving around the time it was cool enough to eat, so my mouth was jumping for joy. The texture was good too, although Brett and I agreed that it was a little on the dry side. Perhaps there was too much flour, or maybe not adding all the onions caused this. Even so, we both enjoyed it and it was certainly the highlight of our meal.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Last night I threw together a pan of enchiladas (sorry the picture is blurry.) It was quite possibly one of the easiest things I've ever done, and I'm sure I will do this again because it was delicious.

I was flipping through a cookbook, trying make the weekend menu, when I came across a cheesy enchilada recipe that I have made before, but it's probably been 4 years. Why the lapse in cheesy enchilada making? One word...Velveeta. Now, I'll be the first to admit that Velveeta is tasty. I also have no idea how unhealthy it is (something tells me not very healthy.) The main thing that bothers me about Velveeta is that it is not refrigerated. I just feel like cheese (even "cheese product") should be refrigerated. I remember the first time I went looking to buy Velveeta and couldn't find it for the life of me. I finally had to ask, and I was led straight to the cracker aisle. It kind of freaked me out.

So when I came across this enchilada recipe, I thought, "Why can't I make enchiladas with actual cheese?" I researched online a little bit for various enchilada recipes and decided this was incredibly easy. A recipe was not even necessary for how I was envisioning doing it. We all know I hate raw chicken, so I bought a packet of Foster Farms pre-grilled and sliced chicken breast (on sale.) All I had to do was spray the baking dish with Pam, fill corn tortillas with Cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, and chicken bites, squeeze them all into the pan, and pour a can of enchilada sauce over the top. (I also garnished with some Jack cheese like they do in restaurants.) I baked it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and called it dinner :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Manassero Strawberries

I had a very blessed childhood, and I know it, but one of the wonderful blessings that I totally took for granted was growing up on the best strawberries in the world. I am not exaggerating. There is no comparison to Manassero Farms strawberries, straight from the strawberry stand. I remember driving out there (it seemed very far) with my mom to get fresh strawberries. I didn't realize it at the time, but I would never find another strawberry even close to the sweet, juicy, deliciousness that is a Manassero Farms strawberry. I think that they are only located in various parts of Orange County, so if you are ever up that way, I highly recommend stopping and getting a taste of strawberry heaven.

Because I loved strawberries so much as a child (and teenager,) I am a sucker for strawberries as an adult. Whenever I would see good looking strawberries in the grocery store, I usually ended up buying them, and I was always disappointed. So now I try to restrain myself (sometimes I give in though.) I even went to a farmers' market (in Del Mar) to buy strawberries, and was disappointed. Does anyone have any strawberry advice for the San Diego area? Or do I just have to indulge when I'm in Orange County?

When I was at my parents' house last weekend, my mom had some fresh Manassero Farms strawberries waiting for us, but with a twist: they were the biggest strawberries I've ever seen!

Our weekend was jam packed with activities so we didn't get to have a leisurely fruit dip lunch as we often have when we are there. But I thought I would share the fruit dip recipe with you anyway because it is so yummy.

Combine a 7 oz jar of marshmallow cream with 8 oz of softened cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Tastes great on strawberries, apples, and bananas (so I've heard, I'm not a banana fan.)

It is a wonderful way to take something healthy like fruit, and turn it into something not healthy. But it is delicious :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mom's Birthday Cake- Episode 3: Some Assembly Required

Saturday afternoon I got right back to work on the cake. Rather than making my old wonderful standby buttercream frosting, I chose to go with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It enabled me to use some of the leftover egg whites from making the curd, and try something new. I used the double boiler technique to cook the egg whites with the sugar and then whisked them in the mixer until they formed stiff peaks. Then I added lots of pieces of butter and some vanilla. I had halved the recipe because I didn’t think I needed a whole gob of frosting (turns out I could have used just a tiny bit extra.) Being a total sweet tooth, I prefer the smack-you-in-the-face sweetness of the traditional buttercream, but a lot of my family preferred the more subtle sweetness of this recipe.

Once the frosting was made, I had to begin the part I dreaded most…leveling and cutting the cakes into layers. I’ve leveled a cake before, that’s not so bad. Plus it gave us some cake scraps to nibble on until later. The cake was AMAZING. Lemony and moist, and delicious. Zac (my brother) thought it tasted like good ol’ fashioned animal crackers, but obviously not the same texture. It’s a good thing, when the best part of your cake is the cake! When it came time to cut the cake into layers I used the suggested strategy of putting toothpicks around the sides of the cake to lay your knife on as you slice. It was quite helpful. Even though it did not turn out perfect, I was just so happy that I didn’t break any layer in half. Pretty good for my first attempt.

Then I got out the lemon curd filling to start assembling the cake. This is when I realized that it had not set up properly and was, quite frankly, a runny mess. Still tasty, just the wrong consistency. As I started layering, I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for me to pipe any sort of words or designs on the cake using the curd as I had intended to do.

This was disappointing at first, but Zac, Brett, and I brainstormed and decided to put lemon and strawberry slices on top to jazz things up. It didn’t look like a traditional “Kim cake” but it was pretty in it’s own right, and in the end I’m pleased with how it turned out. It tasted good…and that’s the most important part!

The cake recipe is definitely a keeper, but I think next time, I would not put the curd in it, or even frosting. The plain cake was incredible all by itself.

I love you Mom! Happy Birthday! (And thanks for letting me make a mess in your kitchen.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mom's Birthday Cake- Episode 2: Rise and Shine

Since we had a busy day ahead of us, I forced myself out of bed at 8 o'clock Saturday morning to bake the cake. The recipe called for a mixture of sour cream, more lemon zest, and lemon juice as the wet ingredients.

Dry ingredients included cake flour (which I had never used before,) regular all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt, all sifted together. In the mixer went butter, sugar, and eggs. I cracked one egg directly into the mixer and decided that it wasn’t a good idea. After all, I am quite a butterfingers. Once the butter, eggs, and sugar were all creamed, I alternated adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with dry. I’m not sure what difference it makes, but I’m a rule follower and who am I to question Martha Stewart?

It made a TON of thick delicious batter, at least compared to the very pourable boxed cake mixes that I’m used to. I scooped giant spatulas full of batter into the greased cake pans (Pam for baking is awesome.) Then I smoothed each cake and put them into the oven to bake.

I checked the cakes when they were supposed to be done and the center was still jiggly, so they went a lot longer than called for, but eventually the cake testers came out clean and my morning baking was at a close. The cakes did rise a lot, but when I stuck the toothpicks in the center to check for doneness, unfortunately they fell a little bit in the middle. Right before we left for the shower, I took the cakes out of their pans and left them to cool completely.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mom's Birthday Cake- Episode 1: Nighttime Lemon Curd

What a busy weekend! Brett and I drove up to my parents’ house Friday night and got started on the big baking project of the weekend: my mom’s birthday cake. I have had my mind set on the lemon curd cake from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. (I told you I saw lemon curd in my not too distant future.) But besides the lemon curd, I had never attempted it before. Since the lemon curd needed to chill, and my mom and I had a bridal shower to attend on Saturday, we had to make the curd late Friday night, bake the cake Saturday morning, then decorate the cake Saturday afternoon. I get tired again just thinking about it. Plus, since I’ve done her cake for the past 2 years (check out the baseball cake and flower basket cake,) with much success, there is a little bit of pressure to top myself, even though I know she would love me even if I made the grossest, ugliest cake in the world. I guess I put the pressure on myself.

Friday night Brett and I got to work on the curd almost right away. The last time we made it, it was only half the recipe, so this was a bit different. Also after the raspberry curd fiasco (even though I still blame the recipe) we were sure to be extra cautious. Brett zested and juiced lots of lemons, and I separated a gazillion eggs (actually 8 but it felt like a gazillion!) Cooking the curd was a team effort. Brett watched the temperature while I stirred…and stirred…and stirred. My dad was in charge of photography for the weekend (thanks Dad!) so he got some good action shots.

The last time we made this, we went strictly by the temperature, so we did the same again. However, in retrospect, we should have let it cook longer. Even after chilling overnight, the curd was on the runny side, and not the thick, pudding-like consistency that it is supposed to be. This was the only disappointment of the cake. Of course, Friday night, everything seemed just fine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chicken Piccata

I've been watching Top Chef since season 2, and it really is one of my favorite shows. Reality shows are crowding the TV line-ups nowadays, and I am sick of most of them, but Top Chef tops them all. It is competitive, creative, and I consider it educational. Last week was the premiere of Top Chef Chicago and the contestants were asked to make classic dishes, one of which was chicken piccata. The 2 people on the show who made chicken piccata were not very successful (in the judges eyes, I'm sure I would have loved it) and so I was inspired this week to try chicken piccata myself. My recipe is definitely the classic buttery citrusy chicken that the judges lamented not seeing in the competition.

I have a recipe from my aunt that I have tried once before rather unsuccessfully. That time it was my fault...I forgot to dredge the chicken...oops...and I was appalled by the amount of butter and lessened it. I had also bought chicken from the grocery store, and I don't think that I had cut it properly so that it would be thin pieces.

So now for take two. I decided to go to a butcher for the chicken because I've always felt that the grocery store just has poor quality chicken. The butcher was also appealing to me because I could ask him to cut the breasts properly and it would mean less handling of raw meat for me (can you feel me shudder?) I went to Bisher's Quality Meats in old town Poway because I have a friend who gets her meat there. I was happy to see that he had wrapped everything in individual plastic bags and then one big plastic bag before wrapping it all in the butcher paper (as a teacher I've never really thought of the origin of the term "butcher paper"...interesting.) I don't know why this pleased me so much, I guess it just seemed clean and professional. The chicken was pricier than the grocery store of course, but since we don't eat meat that often, I figured it's ok to splurge now and then.

I followed the recipe to the letter with no mistakes. And so we had dinner.

The last time I attempted this, I left out the capers too, because, as a picky eater, I wasn't sure if I would approve. They went in this time, and as predicted, I did not approve. The chicken was good (much better than the grocery store has ever provided us with.) And the sauce was pretty good too. Maybe...slowly but surely...I'm getting over my fear of raw chicken. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I can't wait to see what they're cooking up on Top Chef tonight (Bravo 10/9 central.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Veggie Meatball Soup

Get out your crock pot! If you don't mind chopping a few veggies, this recipe is a keeper. I got it out of Simple and Delicious magazine, I think from the Dec/Jan issue. This is always a weekend meal for us because it has to cook for 6 hours which means that I have to start it in the middle of the day. So Sunday evening was meatball soup and Total Recall night. For some reason Arnold and meatballs just seem to go together:)

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, so it looks a little ridiculous at first, but a lot of them are spices and foods that most people keep on hand. The only thing you really have to buy are the frozen meatballs (which come in a giant bag that will last a while,) green beans, zucchini, and carrots. The recipe calls for tomatoes, but Brett and I aren't huge fans, so I just leave them out. This recipe also makes a lot so it lasts for a couple of nights and maybe one lunch. I'll post the recipe in the comments section in case you are interested.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top o' the Mornin'

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I couldn’t resist the title :). Sunday morning we had pancakes for breakfast. Brett and I used to make pancakes a lot, but it had been a pretty long time. I’m a terrible flipper, so Brett assumed spatula duty immediately after I flipped the first pancake half up onto the side of the pan. Oops! Now I like pancakes as much as the next person, but my true motivation for making breakfast, was to show off my beautiful new breakfast plates from Harry and David. I’ve passively been looking for strawberry plates for a few years now just waiting for the right pattern to pop up. Brett and I were out shopping last weekend and I happened across these fruit plates. The even funnier thing is that while there is a strawberry pattern, I like the other patterns better! They were on sale (I’m so NOT an impulse buyer) so we decided to get one of each fruit (cherry, blueberry, lemon, and strawberry) along with a blueberry serving platter. I think the pancakes look gorgeous on the new plates, and I added some fresh raspberries on the side to give some extra color (and taste…yummy!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raspberry Curd Tartlets

We had such great success with the lemon curd tartlets from a few weeks ago, that we couldn’t resist raspberry curd tartlets when we saw a recipe for them in The Taste of Home’s Baking Book. Upon inspection of the recipe, we did realize that there were fundamental differences. This one used whole eggs instead of egg yolks and started with heating the butter instead of adding cold butter at the end. Being the rule followers that we are, we just trusted the recipe and went for it.

The beginning went well. We pureed raspberries and lemon juice and strained the mixture to remove the seeds (the one thing I don’t like about raspberries is the seeds.) But when it came time to making the curd, it was not a pretty picture. Since the eggs were added last to an already hot mixture, they immediately started to scramble even with rapid stirring. Even though the recipe did not call for another bout of straining, we had to as you can see. Now, I’ve heard of green eggs, but never pink eggs! YUCK!

Needless to say, we were worried at this point. I also tasted the curd before we let it chill and the predominant flavors were butter and eggs. I feel like the predominant flavor should be the raspberry! With the lemon curd, there was such a strong lemon flavor that it was almost impossible to distinguish any other flavor. After this taste test, I was even more worried.

Onward with the adventure though. Brett made the tartlet dough which again was different from the lemon curd tartlet recipe. There was no chilling or rolling, just mix it up and press it into the tartlet pans. We ended up with some pretty thick crusts, but since the curd chilling in the fridge was questionable at best, I was happy with having extra crust! Also the recipe said nothing about poking holes before baking and they rose like crazy. We should have thought of this, but I’m still blaming the recipe. We remembered halfway through the baking and sure enough we had to do a bit of damage control. Brett went ahead and poked them at this point and they went down considerably.

When everything was cooled and chilled, Brett was the brave one to assemble his tart for consumption. We put a dollop of Cool Whip and a fresh raspberry for garnish. (See, I’m trying a little harder with the presentation!) They looked beautiful…and tasted…OK. Brett ate his without barfing and actually said that the crust helped to bring out some of the raspberry flavor and in the end, decided it was good. I’m a bit pickier, so I braved it and noticed the same things. The crust helped tremendously! I wouldn’t call it delicious, and I’m not going to make this again, but it is certainly a halfway decent sweet treat…but then again so is a popsicle.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Veggie Lo Mein

Tonight's dinner comes from Rachael Ray's Veggie Meals cookbook that I got for Christmas. Brett and I have been trying to eat less meat and consequently branch out to vegetables. Neither of us like vegetables very much at all, and so there are few that I cook with, and even fewer that I'll eat (I'm always picking things out and pushing things to the side.) I will eat bell pepper (sometimes) and these snow pea pods are tolerable (but I won't say delicious.) Even though I don't like eating veggies a whole lot, I really like chopping them. Here are all of the ingredients ready to go. Canola oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, chow mein noodles, scallions, red bell pepper, snow peas, grated fresh ginger, and minced garlic.

The recipe actually calls for spaghetti, but I wanted to be slightly more authentic and try actual chow mein noodles. The cooking process is kind of neat. You put the dried noodles in boiling water and when it comes back up to a boil you add half a cup of cold water. When it comes up to a boil again you add another half cup of cold water and then repeat it one more time. I'm not sure if it really makes a difference, but I like to follow directions:)

When the noodles are almost done, I start stir-frying the veggies. For the last minute, I add the garlic and ginger, and then finally I add the noodles, soy sauce, and just a little sesame oil (a little goes a long way.) I love fresh ginger. There was a fabulous Hawaiian smoothie/coffee place within walking distance called Java Kai that made smoothies with fresh ginger that were amazing. Unfortunately they went out of business :( Anyway, it is somewhat difficult to get the noodles to mix in well with the veggies, so when we served ourselves, we ended up having to pick the veggies out individually and add them to the top of our noodles. All in all, good dinner. And I did eat all my vegetables...this time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Three Bean Salad

A few weeks ago I tried a three bean salad at a friend's party that was surprisingly good. I told the person who brought it that I really liked it and she confessed that it was from Costco. I thought I would try to make one at home so I found a recipe on the Food Network website that sounded similar. I had never used fresh green beans before, so that was kind of fun. I don't know if they were the best quality green beans though because some of them looked a bit questionable. Also they were much lighter green than I am used to seeing. The recipe also called for wax beans, but I didn't see any at the store so I used garbanzo beans instead. I think the dressing was a tad too vinegary for my taste, and Brett thought that the red onion was overpowering. I was able to eat it, but I don't think I will make this again. I think I would have liked it better a little bit sweeter (big surprise.) Even though I halved the recipe, we were still left with lots of leftovers. I know what I'll be eating for lunch tomorrow...maybe:)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Curry Chicken with Rice

I know what you are thinking. Yes, you are on the right blog, and yes that is chicken. I got hungry for my mom's curry chicken recipe, and had to bite the bullet and handle (gulp) raw chicken. Shocking, I know! This chicken makes the apartment smell so nice, and really just reminds me of my childhood. Of course, while it may smell just like Mom's, it doesn't quite live up to the taste. But it is close, and I'll pat myself on the back for that. The best part of this meal is the gravy. It is fantastic over rice. It didn't thicken as much as I would have liked, but that's probably because I was hungry and a little impatient. Some people (Brett included) are a bit wary of curry, but it really is not overpowering in this recipe. I think it is the perfect amount of curry. It also has a bit of paprika, dried minced onion, and of course, salt and pepper for seasoning. I'll post the recipe under "comments" for you all to peruse. Get your fill because you won't see chicken too often on here!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

It was my choice for our baking adventure this weekend, and I thought pineapple upside-down cake sounded delicious. We haven't made it since sophmore year of college, which was probably the last time I ate it. I did choose a different recipe this time, because the other one just called for a yellow cake mix, and I wanted to start from scratch.

I started off by making the melted butter/brown sugar mixture for the bottom (actually the top) of the cake. It was very thick and took a while to melt down to a liquid. But once it did, I poured it into a pie plate and Brett placed the pineapples quickly. Once it cooled (which didn't take long) it became as hard as a rock, and I was worried. But I figured it would melt again in the oven. The cake batter was delicious and thick and tasted more like cookie dough than cake batter to me. I baked it according to directions, did a toothpick test at the end of baking and everything seemed fine.

Then it came time to flip it, and about half of the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, stayed in the bottom of the pan as hard as a rock. Oh well. There was still enough of the glaze on the cake that it had the overall appearance that I expect from a pineapple upside down cake.

It tasted ok. It wasn't the most delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth, and it wasn't bad either. I think the cake was a tad under-done because it was slightly doughy in the much for my toothpick test. Next time, I think I'll return to the old recipe and just use the cake mix.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shrimp Fajitas

We were supposed to have shrimp fajitas last night, but I had forgotten to defrost the shrimp, so instead we went to CPK. Brett and I split everything. We got Spinach and Artichoke Dip, a BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Apple Crisp. Everything was yummy except the ice cream on the apple crisp was very icy and actually crunched. The good news is that I filled out an online survey and earned a free appetizer or dessert. I love free stuff!

Thank goodness Brett reminded me to defrost the shrimp last night before bed, because I probably would have forgotten again! This is a recipe based on the chicken fajitas my parents make. The marinade is exactly the same, I just use shrimp instead of chicken (remember I have a problem with raw chicken) and I saute instead of grill. It calls for some olive oil, salsa, garlic, lime juice (I used lemon juice this time,) bell peppers, and red onion. Since shrimp cooks so quickly, I dump everything into the pan and pull out the shrimp before I start to cook. I get the onion and bell pepper all tender and then I add the shrimp back in for a few minutes.

Here is my fajita all ready to eat. Believe me, you don't want to see what a mess I made of it. Brett, of course, kept his nice and neat.

In case any of you are interested, I posted the recipes for tortilla soup and cheesy mexican rice under the comments section of that post. I think from now on, I will post the recipes like that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Meatball Subs

Brett has been requesting meatball subs for dinner a lot lately so I finally gave in. It is extremely easy to pull together, at least if you use precooked-frozen meatballs like I did, oh yeah, and Prego sauce too. I don't consider this cooking, it's more like heating and assembling. The frozen meatballs (which I use for meatball soup) did present a problem. The directions said to reheat over medium heat in a covered saucepan with your favorite sauce for 25 minutes! So I apprehensively followed the directions and of course after about 2 minutes of that, the sauce was going nuts. I reduced the heat and added a bit more sauce, but there was no way it was going to survive for 23 more minutes. So at the 15 minute mark, the sauce was starting to burn onto the pan and I called it quits and just crossed my fingers that the meatballs were not still frozen in the middle. I put six meatballs, 2 slices of provolone cheese, and some extra sauce on each fresh french bread sandwich loaf. I warmed the sandwiches in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and then we ate. I did take a picture but it turned out blurry so you'll just have to imagine. Everything turned out yummy. I have had very little experience with provolone cheese, but I think I have a new favorite. I got the idea to use it for these sandwiches from Sam the Cooking Guy who is a local San Diego guy with a cooking show that we really enjoy. He had just made meatball subs on his show and the provolone looked oooey and goooey and delicious...and it was!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Garlic Parmesan Clover Rolls

Sunday night Brett was our resident baker when he decided to take two separate recipes and combine them. Both recipes came from The Taste of Home Baking Book that Brett got for Christmas. He thought the garlic parmesan rolls sounded tasty, but it called for pre-made dough and he wanted to start from scratch. So he took the recipe for the clover rolls and added garlic powder and parmesan cheese to the dough.

Once the dough had risen, Brett punched it down (his favorite part) and divided it into 18 squares. We rolled the squares into balls and stuffed 3 into each hole in the muffin tin to form the clover shape. Some balls were bigger than others but it worked out pretty well.

We let the dough rise some more in the muffin tin. I made the mixture of melted butter, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder, and Brett brushed it onto the rolls. We let them bake and cool. Here is the finished product.

The rolls were ridiculously soft and I loved them. Surprisingly, the garlic and parmesan flavors were subtle, and I think Brett was hoping for more of a punch. The rolls were, by far, the best part of the meal. I even warmed some up for lunch today and they were still delicious.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Floor Spaghetti Anyone?

Well, just when I thought that I'd been going a pretty long time without any major oops in the kitchen, disaster struck. I hate wasting food, and I hate wasting money, so I was especially upset tonight when I had just drained our spaghetti for dinner and was in the process of transferring it back to its pot, when the colander jumped out of my grasp and dumped all the spaghetti out. (Notice that I blame the colander.) About half of it landed on the floor, the other half landed on the stovetop, a few strands actually made it into the crack between the stove and the counter, and none of it made it into the pot. Floor pizza is one thing, but floor spaghetti?! I don't think so. I just cleaned up and made some more (without incident.) If I'd have been thinking, I would have taken a picture of the mess, but clearly I had other things on my mind.

Tonight's meal was lemon spaghetti from Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook. The first time I made it, it was delicious, and I think it has gradually gone downhill. It's lemony fresh and ok, not good and not bad. So I think I'll probably retire this meal. Brett's not a big pasta fan anyway. We also had some homeade Garlic Parmesan Rolls, courtesy of chef Brett, that I will blog about soon.

I hope that tonight's dinner debacle will be the last... but knowing me, that's not very likely, is it?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Love-ly Waffles

Breakfast this morning was heart-shaped waffles. We don't make fancy breakfasts too often, so this was a nice treat. I usually have my instant breakfast and Brett usually has peanut butter toast, but today, I just felt like making waffles. This was another one of my favorites growing up, and again, does not taste quite as good as Mom's (can anything ever taste as good as Mom's?) The recipe is just enough for 3 waffles (5 hearts per waffle), which is perfect for 2 people. I did think a little bit about my presentation, and I almost put our scrambled eggs in the center...but I didn't want eggs on my waffle one wants syrupy eggs! I also thought that if I had some fresh strawberries, that they would look nice in the center also, but I didn't have any, so just use your imagination :)

I've spent my entire life saying that I don't like eggs, but I think I'm coming around, at least if they are scrambled. Brett makes wonderful scrambled eggs with a tiny bit of butter in the pan and they are always fluffy and the most perfect consistency. I like to put a little Essence of Emeril on mine.

Waffles, scrambled eggs, and a glass of milk. This is the way to start a new day!