Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm moving!!

I'm working on moving into Wordpress for my blog. It's going to be the same sort of thing, just thoughts on food, recipes......and so on and so forth........

Check out the new site here!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tune In

No Reservations tomorrow night at 10/9 central. The newest episode is on the Midwest, so all you Midwesterners, watch for some great food sites!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thank goodness!!!

I'm so happy that Tracy went home last night!!! It makes me kind of embarresed that she's from Atlanta because she really was just horrible. I'm sure she really is a good chef, she wouldn't be on the show otherwise, but really?! Most of the food she presented just looked horrible, she made excuses, and was just down right unlikeable.

Now, I'm sure that some of that is staged by the show, but even keeping that in mind I found her personality annoying. So, thank you, Padma for sending her home.

On a nicer note, Top Chef: Just Desserts was announced on the show last night to be hosted by Gail Simmons and Johnny Iuzzini. And can I say about Johnny.......wow.......... if he's going to be the host, just think about how many women are going to be tuning in? I mean talk about eye candy. ;)

Overall, a good show with a good challenge, to grill out at Mount Vernon. Looking forward to next week!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's an Addiction...

Anthony Bourdain. There are few people out there who don't know who Anthony Bourdain is. After becoming famous for his TV show, No Reservations, it's gotten kind of hard to ignore him. He writes often and is everywhere on food tv. Is this a good thing.....?

I'm afraid I must say, sheepishly, yes. To be perfectly honest, Anthony Bourdain is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. But you can't help but love him!! I feel almost bad for liking his show, his books, whatever because he can be so crude and just brutally honest. But isn't that what the food world needs? Someone who will be honest?

Food TV these days is filled with people like Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, and Guy Fieri, and while these people have helped to expand the food community, they're are just..........well..........not really all the interesting. Of just those three, the only I would ever even potentially watch would be Guy Fieri; Rachel and Sandra make me want to shoot something.

But insert Bourdain and everything changes. This is a guy who actually has worked in a professional kitchen for years, executive chef of a well known restaurant and he decided to write more and produce a show. Good!! I appreciate being able to watch someone on tv who knows what the food world is really like, not someone who just wants to make it big on tv by cooking.

So ultimately, yeah I feel a little bad for liking Bourdain.,....but you've got to admit it, watching him on tv is totally an addiction that you'll never want to give up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top Chef is Back!!

Reality TV has never been one of my favorite types of television, but Top chef is one show that I have always been able to follow. Now in it's seventh season, this year chefs head to the country's capital in Washington D.C. So far, I'd have to say it's been an interesting competition. Only two shows have aired, but I'm already picking out my favorites and those at the bottom of the pack.

I would have to say Kenny is a top contender. He hasn't done the best so far, but you can tell he is talented and will be a force to reckon with. Angelo, honestly, just seems to be a total ass; maybe winning the first few challenges are already making his head swell. And I'm sad to the say, the one chef from Atlanta, Tracy, is a total dud! She's not likable at all, and even if she proves to be a good chef, I highly doubt she'll make it to the final three.

I've also been really interested by some of the puns and choice in challenges. It's pretty clear to see the being P.C. has quickly snuck it's tentacles into food television, which makes it a pretty bum party for the rest of us. But what's Bravo to do...

Can't wait to see what's in store for next week!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beer Update

Last night, after going to see Iron Man 2 (which was awesome!), I came home and just sat outside enjoying the sunset with a beer. My sister and I picked up some of Blue Moon's Seasonal, Honey Moon at the store earlier and I wanted to try it. And it was good!


It's their summer ale made with orange peel and honey, and it was a nice light, summer ale. Very refreshing and overall good. Not like an autumn or winter ale, which would be heavier, but a good beer to enjoy in the heat, sitting out on the porch.

You should go get some and enjoy it with a grilled dish. Have a happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Congratulations!

Congratulations to all of the 2010 Graduates! I am a graduate myself from Hillsdale College (as of Saturday), and now am living at home and will be working. However, I won't be here extremely long: I'll be starting culinary school at the beginning of next year!! Very exciting! :)

Until then, I'm going to try and bake and cook as much as I can, and try and post often. And finally, welcome to the beginning of summer!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Today is Edna Lewis' birthday! Unfortunately, she passed away in 2006, but she made a huge impact on Southern cooking, spending her life learning about it and sharing with others. I thought of this this morning because of a blog that I read. I found her through Pioneer Woman, but I love this woman because she makes her own buttermilk! That's kind of amazing to me.

But also must recognize Ezra Pound Cake; she has been the only one I've seen who also wishes Edna a happy birthday. She also has links to some great recipes!

Go fix something Southern to celebrate Edna's birthday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break

My younger sister, PeggyDee, and I are visiting my older sister, Margaret, and her husband at their home in Chicago. We just started our Spring Break, a much needed vacation, I might add, so we decided to visit our sister for a few days before heading back home to Georgia. We all got here late on Friday night, in time for dinner, but last night we stayed in and I had the chance to fix dinner for the family.

Margaret and I stopped by Whole Foods earlier in the day to pick out some fresh veggies, fruit and a few other things to cover dinner for the next few night. Last night, we had a really fresh salad of arugula, fennel, golden beets, and a cheese that I had never tried before. The cheese was a very interesting combination of cheddar and blue cheese; it was a hard cheese like cheddar and had the flavors of cheddar, but it had the strains of blue in it. It was a very nice, distinct flavor; very nutty and almost woodsy.


We had a dish of penne, applewood smoked bacon (uncured), spring peas, onion, and sheep's milk parmigiano; it was absolutely delicious, but unfortunately I don't have any pictures right now. :(

Dessert was wonderful, a lemon cupcake with raspberry buttercream. It was a really nice dessert for the spring, especially with Easter right around the corner. I love the dishes that we fix for fall and winter, but when spring finally comes around, I love the fresh , bright flavors.

Find a great menu for the upcoming spring season. There are some great veggies out there right now, and they are tender and beautiful because they're young. Research your local farmer's market, most of them are either opening up soon or moving from their indoor market to the outdoor market. Find some good and fresh. And then employ the help of a great sister to take pictures for you. ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello!! Again, I am sorry that it's been a while since I posted. Our Spring Break starts later today, and it's been crazy busy up until now; full of papers, tests, and who knows what else. You think it, and teacher probably assigned it.

So, since Spring Break is beginning soon, I'm hoping to have a chance to bake a little bit more, fix meals, and so forth. Look forward to more posting next week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hey!

I know it's been awhile; it's been a very busy few weeks and it's only going to get busier. I was looking over schedules with a few people yesterday, and it is quite literally, a sprint to the finish. Graduation is a short two months away, but I'm just hoping to make it Spring Break first. :)

A friend of mine, Emily, is having a recital tonight. It's essentially her "thesis" for her music major. I'm helping her out with set-up and stuff, but I also baked for her as well. I decided to fix Spinach-Gruyere Pinwheels. I first heard of this through Paula Deen a while ago, and so I decided I would fix them, but I decided to add bacon. I fear that my friend, Tim, has been a bad influence on me....bacon makes everything better :)

Spinach-Gruyere Pinwheels

Puff pastry
Spinach
Bacon
Garlic
Gruyere
Parmesan
Fontina

Preheat oven to 400. I make sure that the puff pastry has some to room temp so that it's a little easier to work with. In a large saucepan, render the fat from 3 slices of bacon. Once you have this, saute 2 cloves of garlic in the fat, and once its has lost its raw smell begin adding spinach. You're going to need to wilt down about 1 or 2 bags.

While the spinach is wilting, you can grate up your cheeses. Combine them all together in a bowl. After spinach has wilted, let it cool for a while, then try to drain most of the water from it by wringing it in a towl. You don't want too much water in your spinach.

Once all these ingredients are ready, roll out your puff pastry and brush with melted butter. Layer the cheese, spinach, and bacon on top of the pastry, making sure to leave about 1/2" on one end. Roll up the pastry to make a roll, which you then slice into 1/2" slices. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Detroit Eastern Market

I love this picture. It reminds me that although Detroit is a little run down, there are some beautiful buildings down there.

Dinner Saturday night. Lobster, crab legs, gnocchi, and broccoli


The nice coffee guy from Avalon :)

Detroit Eastern Market




I am now the proud owner of this ice cream machine :)
I love this picture of my sister and her husband

Chocolate!!
The rows upon rows of spices were totally awesome! I wish I could shop there......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Food, Inc.

Saturday night, my sister and I ended up watching Food, Inc. She had it on Netflix and we decided it would be a good thing to watch, following the whole food theme of the weekend. All I can say is wow....

Honestly, it's a slightly disturbing movie, but really informative about how the food industry is working in our country right now. The writers of this movie brought together a number of different people, such as Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food), Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), and farmers, like Joel Salatin (Polyface, Inc.) and other people who have been seriously affected by the food industry and are now advocates for food safety.

Now you must keep in mind that this movie does have an agenda, so you do need to take it with a grain of salt, but there is truth in it. It's very revealing about how food companies operate, how they treat their workers, animals, etc. It is definitely something people need to start considering: knowing where their food is coming from, how it's being obtained, how far it's travelling, etc. Also, in a nation where our economy isn't doing so well, supporting local farmers will help to boost local economies.

You don't need to become an advocate for food safety or for eating organic, but it is important to know about your food, especially since it's the fuel you use to run your body. Be aware, and don't be left in the dark.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Night

Got into Detroit last night because I came for the weekend to visit my sister. She insisted we go to Mudgie's for dinner, which I had never heard, but oh my goodness was it good!! It's this sandwich shop that isn't more than a few minutes from her house, but it was wonderful. We had one of their soup specials, which was a chicken sausage and apple with bleu cheese. Delicious! Also we both got a sandwich, which are named after different people who helped the owner out. I got the Puglini and Giles got the Madill. Mine had chicken, asiago, artichoke, tomato, and pesto in a wrap. I don't remember everything that was on Giles', but it looked good!

Next, we went down to Greek Town, near the casino, to stop in at a bakery called Astoria. It has a lot of European pastries, and they also sell ice cream and coffee. It was slightly overwhelming to be honest. You walk in and there's just a line of pastries in front of you, all so pretty and looking so yummy. I think we spent more time just looking at the desserts that actually eating any, but we did get something. Giles had a chocolate covered strawberry and I got a chocolate covered cannoli. So good!!!

Overall, it was a really fun Friday night, and today we're going to the Detroit Eastern Market, so excited! It's essentially the farmer's market in downtown. It should be lots of fun. Hopefully, pictures and a posting to come soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

St. Honore's Cake

So, I thought this was interesting. As I was reading through some baking blogs this morning (which is, of course, what happens every morning) I read about a saint named St. Honoratus. I found it interesting because he's he patron saint of bakers!

A cake is named after him, St. Honore's Cake, which I have never baked before, but looks really, really good!
I think it will definitely be an adventure to try. :)
So, there's the little random fact for the day. Enjoy your Friday and have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a couple of day...I have this little recital thing that I'm doing.....which is taking up most of my time right now :)

But look forward to posting later this week!! I'm going to visit the Detroit Eastern Market. I'm really excited about, and I will actually have a legitimate camera to take pictures with; sweet, right?

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Thursday!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Question....?

What does it mean to eat well? Does anyone really know?

America currently has an obsession with food; always trying to find the next great ingredient, always wondering what the next wonder diet will be. Why? Why is it that people have this desire to know all they can about food?

It must be more than sustenance because if it were just that, we would only eat what we need, and then move on. And people do that! Some care more for their job or some other thing than about what they're putting into their mouth. But then, what of those whose lives who revolve around food? Like chefs or suppliers, farmers and butchers, anyone whose life heavily involves food?

I wish I could ask those people what it means to eat well. Those who live in the grind; the line cook working his first job, the executive chef running the kitchen, the delivery man who brings their vegetables, the farmer who grows them. What does it mean to them to eat well? I wish I could pick the brains of people like James Beard, Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Gordon Ramsey....those people who dedicate their lives to food, trying to make it better, trying to educate. What would they say?

America has made chefs celebrities. Is that what they've come to? Has our obsession with food come to the point where we make it nothing more than idolatry? Or is there more to it...?

Why do we feel the need to eat well? I don't know that I'll ever come up with an answer, and I wonder if people ever do. Maybe it's because there's no one reason, not just one definition. It means different things to different people. For some, it is just to run their bodies so that they are healthy and function well. But for others, it more. It's the desire to make one dish perfection, the desire to serve that perfection to others and to make them see. It's the desire to bring together all the components which make up that meal, and to share it.

That's just one definition that I'm sure will change as time goes on. As we grow older, sharing food with different friends and family; sharing as the goals in life change and the times. Who knows what the answer might be one year from now, two, five, twenty.....I suppose we'll find out.

How would you answer?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, it's my birthday, and yes, I did bake my own birthday cake. :) I've been baking my own cake for a while now, but I have the say the most distinctive cake, was my sixteenth birthday. That was a pretty awesome cake, all chocolate and lopsided. It was sweet. I really wish I had a picture of it to show you.

However, for this year, I decided to bake a German Chocolate Cake, which is one of favorites! One of the things that I love about this cake is the trivia behind it. The reason it's called a German chocolate cake is because it is named after the man who developed the specific type of chocolate used for it; his last name was German. :)

This cake is great because it's a very tender cake, even if you don't use cake flour, and it doesn't really need any frosting because of the sugary, sweet filling. Here's the recipe I used.

German Chocolate Cake
1 pkge German's Sweet Chocolate (I use Baker's)
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-Pecan Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare 3 9" cake pans. I also grease and flour the pans and then place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom. Microwave chocolate and water together until it is melted.

Mix together flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, blending well after each. Beat in chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk.

Beat egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whites into chocolate batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake fore 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pans 15 minutes, and then turn onto cooling rack. I always cover mine with a damp paper towel. Prepare filling.

Coconut-Pecan Filling
4 egg yolks
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
7 oz coconut
1 1/2 cups pecans

Beat egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in a saucepan until thoroughly combined. Add sugar and butter and cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes, until thickened and golden brown. Pull off of heat and add coconut and pecans. Mix well and then allow to cool completely.

To assemble cake, place one layer onto a cake plate and top with 1/3 of filling. Repeat, using all layers; you will have a nice layer of filling on the top. And that's all she wrote!

The cake really doesn't need anything else, just slice and serve. What's also very nice about this is because you fold in those egg whites, you have a wonderful light texture, with a melt in your mouth deliciousness. :)

This is definitely a great choice for a birthday cake.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's Celebrate!

Last night, in order to celebrate getting into culinary school and my birthday on Monday, I went to Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor with my sister and two friends. It was absolutely wonderful!!

I've never been to the Roadhouse before. I've been to the deli multiple times and absolutely love it, but I really wanted to go to the restaurant. It's been around since March 15, 1982 and they really have a wonderful restaurant. The chef, Alex Young, is a James Beard nominee and they use mostly local ingredients. The menu is mostly Southern dishes, which I thought was pretty interesting, and of course, my sister and I have to try a couple of different dishes to see if it was legitimate Southern. :)

We started off with a cheese flight, which is essentially a cheese platter. Zingerman's has their own creamery, and make a lot of their own cheese, but some are also from nearby states, like Wisconsin. It was served with bagel crisps and grapes. I don't know how I could describe the grapes, but they were pretty darn good.

We also got some of their cornbread, which was a Marbled Cheese Cornbread. There were two different kinds of cornmeal, yellow and blue, both from Anson Mills in Charleston, SC. The cheese I believe was from Vermont, I don't recall exactly, but it was pretty good. It was a sweet cornbread, which is not really normal for the South, but it was still very good! It was served with pot likker (actually spelled liquor, but doesn't actually involved alcohol), which was a little heavy on the ham hock, but still very good.

For entrees, my sister got the fried chicken with grits and greens, Heather got a burger, Anna a Caesar salad and macaroni, and I got this absolutely wonderful macaroni and cheese. I felt like I died and went to heaven. It was served with a pimento cheese and peppered bacon. For those who don't know what pimento cheese is, it's a very Southern dish which includes a sharp white cheese, pimentos, which are a types of pepper, and are pretty sweet. Many people vary their pimento cheese, but I think it requires a touch of onion, and there's the requirement of mayonnaise. Granted it must be very GOOD mayonnaise, and yes, it does in fact exist. It's called Duke's or making your own. Anyway, I don't know how they fixed it, but that is literally, the BEST macaroni and cheese I have ever had. Thank goodness there are leftovers :)

We didn't get any dessert, we were all way too full for it. However, I did end up buying a bar of chocolate made by Askinosie Chocolates based out of Springfield, MO. This is a small-time chocolate maker who used to be a lawyer. He came to Zingerman's on Tuesday for a presentation that I really wanted to go to, but wasn't able to because of weather.

Overall, it was so much fun! A great meal, great finds, and a good time. A great way to celebrate! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Individual Cheesecakes

I think they turned out pretty well...I made them chocolate and some had almonds and others had butterscotch chips. Again, it's one of those things where it's not quite right yet, and some changes need to be made to the recipe. Frustrating.....

That's really all for now; not much else to say.....hmmmm.....oh, well....

Everyone have a great Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hmm...

So I don't know if this is wierd, but am I the only one who celebrates getting into culinary school by baking? Maybe it is just me...I'm not really sure.

Anyway, I ended up having some time to bake last night, and I was able to fix some cheesecake brownies and an Almond Citrus Olive Oil cake, both for friends which will be mailed out today. The biggest concern I have, though, was my brownies. They aren't quite right yet, sometimes I have that feeling and sometimes I love it. It's nice to have the challenge of making it better, but other times, I get frustrated, not knowing exactly what to change, but knowing that it isn't right.

So, here's a question for you, would you rather have your brownies cakey or fudgey? I tend to lean more towards the fudgey end....Any suggestions?

Something else I'm working on is ready through Bill Buford's Heat.
It was recommended to me from an administrator here at the school because his family has worked in the restaurant business and we've discussed the food industry in general. He also suggested Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, which I will be starting after this one. He offered some really go advice about having a thick skin and being level headed. If you can make it in the food business without being an alcoholic, an addict of some sort, or generally mean, you can make it. It's definitely a tough business....

It also got me to thinking about being in the food industry. I know for a fact that I don't want to be in the restaurant business; I feel like I would be able to interact with customers enough. And I don't know that I would like the fast pace, late night life. I'm definitely leaning more towards a bakery sort of business that has earlier hours and you have more of an opportunity to form a relationship with the people buying your product.
Just a few random thoughts. :) Have a good Thursday everyone!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Woohoo!!

I don't have any eloquent to say today......actually I never do....I'm not that eloquent to begin with.
Anyway, I wanted to share the news that I have been accepted into the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York!!! So exciting!!!

I won't be starting until January 2011, which is actually really good. It gives me some time to work and save money after I graduate in May. Also, it'll give me the chance to go home and hang out with my parents and grandparents, and take a little break from school before I start again.

If you want to learn more about CIA, visit their website, www.ciachef.edu, or you can shoot me an email. Have a great Wednesday everybody!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yay for February!

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a few days, but this past weekend was opera weekend. So, all of last week and this past weekend was full of singing. It was an absolutely wonderful opera, but I'm happy that it's over with because even though it was fun, it was an incredibly depressing opera. But the one thing that helped to make it so much better was looking through cookbooks and talking about recipes with my friend, Catherine, while we got ready before the show. :)

But now, I can start posting on a regular basis again, or at least until next week when I have my senior recital.

A friend of mine asked me to give a presentation last night about eating healthy and easy cooking methods. I was giving this presentation to other seniors in my sorority as a part of a program to "prepare us for graduation and staying in touch with Kappa" and so on and so forth. I was more concerned with talking about cooking, really....

As I was preparing for this presentation, I was able to come up with 10 points that I really think a lot of people should know about or at least, pay attention to. I'll try to keep it short, or else it'll be a really long post; I could talk about this stuff for hours...

1. Prep work and Ziploc bags: most people don't think they have the time to cook, and it is hard to come home after 8, 9, 10 hours at work and prepare a meal. But the key is to do your prep work. When you do have time, on say a weekend or right after you go to the grocery store, do a little bit of prep work and store it in your 'fridge. This way, it's there waiting for you when you get home.
2. A crock pot is your best friend: I love crock pots; they're amazing. You can. quite literally, through something in there and let it sit for 4 to 8 hours. Then when you get home, you're greeted with a wonderful aroma and all you have to do is plate it up.
3. Eat lots of pretty colors and often: Okay, I cannot not honestly take credit for this phrase, it's from Alton Brown :) But he has the right idea. People don't eat enough veggies, and they come in more than just green. Vegetables also come in red, yellow, orange, even purple. Vegetables provide nutrients that we all need, so don't avoid them!!
4. If God made is grow at one specific time, it's best then: This gets back to the idea of eating seasonally. More people are trying to stress it, which I think it good. When you eat seasonally, one, you're getting better tasting food because that's when it's at its best. Two, you'll be saving money! When it's in season, there is more of it causing lower prices at the market. Especially when everyone's paying more attention to their wallets, keep in mind what's in season and you can save a few bucks.
5. Buying in bulk...and your freezer...can save you money: Sam's Club and BJ's can be great places. For certain meats, you can get a larger amount, use what you need and freeze the rest. Then when you need meat later, you can get it from your freezer rather than going to the store. Also, go for the less expensive cuts, like a brisket or a shank or a Boston Butt. You can get a lot of meat for less, and if you cook it right it's really good.
6. If it's processed, there are probably better things for you: Okay, processing can be good occasionally; it was invented for a reason. However, it's gotten a little out of hand. Have you ever tried to read the names of the ingredients in some products? That's right....you can't....you can hardly even pronounce it. In a case like that, your body is less likely to be able to break down the ingredients, so you store what little nutrients are in there, which probably aren't that great for you to begin with. Stick to things that God made naturally, like vegetables, fruit, etc. So, moral of the story....no Velveeta.
7. If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it: Seeing "cooking wine" on shelves always makes me laugh and then cringe. Have you ever tried that stuff? Well, I have, and it's nasty. If you want to cook with it, drink some first and then decide if it's good enough to be put into a meal because when you cook with alcohol, it concentrates the flavors, making good flavors taste better and bad ones, worse.
8. If your 'fridge is full of leftovers, make soup: Must- Go Soup that is. :) My mom would fix this when I was younger to try and get rid of leftovers in the kitchen. So, all of your leftover meats, vegetables, go into a pot with some tomato sauce, V8 is really good to use, some herbs or stock or whatever suits your fancy, and you have soup to last as long as you like. :)
9. Don't be scared of desserts: It's all about moderation. One slice is great, three or four isn't. Also, avoid the "diet" and "light" junk. It won't satisfy your sugar craving because it doesn't have the buttery, sugary sweet taste that you love, so you'll end going back to the box a few times and before you know it, the box is gone. So simply stated in the words of Alton Brown, " If you want a cookie, eat a damn cookie!"
10. Don't be afraid, be BOLD! Try new flavors, a new recipe, a new technique, and you won't get stuck in a rut. There is so much information available to you from places like Food Network, Epicurious, and so many more! Use the information they are freely giving to you!

So, I really hope you've learned something, even though this post was a little bit longer than I was expecting. Sorry.... :/ You don't have to stick to these points at all, feel free to make your own, but it's a good starting place. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Guten Morgen

This week is ridiculously busy!! It's Opera week! I'm involved in an opera workshop and performances start tonight, so unfortunately, it hasn't really left a lot of time for baking. I mean I'm in rehearsals for at least 4 hours a night. It's totally worth it, but like I said, not lots of time for baking.

So, that's on hold for a little while, but I really wanted to share with you; not something about baking, but actually relating back to my post about the sunrise. Tuesday's and Thursday's I really have the opportunity to sit and watch the sunrise. And as I was sitting there this morning, I couldn't help but think about how awesome God is. So, I thought I would share some Bible verses which really express the beauty of God in words I could never come up with on my own. Enjoy!

Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; 
 night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language 
 where their voice is not heard. [a]

Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth, 
 their words to the ends of the world. 
 In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, 
 like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens 
 and makes its circuit to the other; 
 nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect, 
 reviving the soul. 
 The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, 
 making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, 
 giving joy to the heart. 
 The commands of the LORD are radiant, 
 giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure, 
 enduring forever. 
 The ordinances of the LORD are sure 
 and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, 
 than much pure gold; 
 they are sweeter than honey, 
 than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned; 
 in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? 
 Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins; 
 may they not rule over me. 
 Then will I be blameless, 
 innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 
 be pleasing in your sight, 
 O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sunrise

People are always asking my why I get up so early because most days, I'm up by 6 am. I suppose it's mostly genetic, my mother is an early riser too. But, also, I get up so early because I love seeing the sun rise. Not saying anything against sunsets, but I prefer the early quiet, where I can sit with my coffee, wake up, and see God's glory in the beginning of the day.

Here's just one example:












I didn't take this picture myself, I'm not that good of a photographer, but I wanted to show just one example of the beauty in the mornings.

One other thing I love about rising early is being able to fix coffee and breakfasts for people. This morning, I fixed some Cranberry Streusel Muffins for the girls in the house. It's so nice to be able to wake up to the smell of fresh baked goods.

Cranberry Streusel Muffins (from Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food)
2 1/4 cups All purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup plain yogurt
Up to 1 cup of mix-ins (I used craisins)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk together. Combine wet ingredients thoroughly. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined. Add in your craisins. Using an ice cream scooper, dispense batter into 16 greased muffins tins.

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup flour
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
cinnamon
nutmeg
butter

Combine all ingredients well. It should form pea-size chunks which you can then put on top of your muffins.

After adding topping, bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes. Once finished, allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in muffin tin. Serve warm with a hot cup of coffee!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Testing recipes..

I'm always looking for new recipes to try and taste. It's so much fun to try something and then do the best you can to make it better. Plus, I'm lucky. I have a household of approximately 30 people to test recipes on. They make such wonderful guinea pigs. :)

Anyway, I have a question. I'm working on a bar recipe that my sister actually got me thinking about. In essence, it's a sugar cookie base that has a layer of peanut butter and chocolate on top. I'm still working on the cookie recipe right now. It's not quite moist enough yet.

But my question to you is, if you had the choice would you rather have a thicker cookie layer or thinner? Or would you like it in a cup form, more like a Reese' cup? Or something else, how about a peanut butter cookie base topped with a layer of peanut butter and chocolate?

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eli Young Band

I've recently been listening to a lot of the Eli Young band. This is a Texan country/rock band, and their most recent album is Jet Black and Jealous. So, this band got me to thinking about Texas....not good, I know.

Texas makes me think of two things in particular. First, my friend, Raz, who is from Texas and actually introduced the band to me, which I would love to thank him for. Hmm....quick side note:
Is it just me, or does anybody else notice how Texans swagger? I don't know if it's just Raz and his brother, but when you watch them, they swagger....it's so wierd and so absolutely hilarious to watch! I don't know...it must be a Texas thing....

But back to the task at hand, Texas. The other thing Texas makes me think of is beef brisket, which of course, they are known for. It's all they ever BBQ. So, I guess the combination of listening to Texas country music made me want to fix a beef brisket. So, I did.

But first, I had to find one. :) Julie and I went out last night to get just a 4 or 5 pound brisket. We tried Kroger first....and they did NOT have one. How can you be a grocery store and not have brisket?! They had corned beef brisket, but St. Patrick's day is over a month away! And that's a totally different post.... I just wanted a plain, old brisket.

So, we tried Walmart, and success!! We found one. We start to walk to check out, me now carrying this 9 or 10 pound brisket like I would my own child, and Julie goes, "So......can we name it?"

"No! We can't name the brisket! Because we're going to roast it and eat it!"

"How about Ned?"

"I thought you were going to name your first son Ned?"

"Oh.....well......how about Fred?"

Needless to say, we never decided on a name, which is probably a very good thing. :) But anyway, we now had our brisker, and now came the time to cook it. The best way to cook a brisket is at a low temperature for a very LONG time. Brisket comes from what you could consider the shoulder/arm of cow and so it's a relatively tough piece of meat. However, it does have a good amount of fat on it, which can work to your advantage. So, here is my recipe for a beef brisket.

Texan Beef Brisket
9 lb. brisket
1 cup dry rub
4 onions

You need to trim the fat on the brisket to about 1/4 inch on the top. This can be tedious, so make sure you have a good sharp knife, and a paring knife is good to have around as well. Season the brisket well with the dry rub. I use my own personal recipe, you can make up something yourself, buy one, doesn't really matter. The important part is that you do this the night before you're planning on roasting because it needs to sit over night. Make sure to cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

When you're ready, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. As the oven is preheating, you're going to make a foil package to wrap your brisket in. I used a double layer of foil, or you could use heavy duty foil, either way you're going to have, at least, one sheet of foil on the bottom and one on the top of the brisket. Cut up your onions into fairly large chunks and lay around the brisket. Seal up the foil so that there are no openings.

You're going to roast this at 300 degrees for about 4 hours or until the brisket is fork tender, which also translates to 175 degrees internal temperature. The brisket will form its own juices in the package which you can then spoon over your beef.

Here is my finished product! I served mine with creamy grits and caramelized onions. I would have also served probably collards, but I didn't really have time today.

So, here's the moral of the story. One, you can roast your own brisket; it's a lot easier than you might think. Two, listen to Eli Young Band, they're great. Three, the next time you see a Texan, watch them swagger and giggle quietly to yourself. :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bell's

I never been a huge beer fan; actually it took my a while to get to the point where I could appreciate and enjoy beer. I feel that I have my brothers-in-law to thank for that. :) But last night, I was just hanging out with some friends, and we decided to get a few different types of beers to try. Of course, being college students, price is one thing we look at, and we were able to find a few for a good price.

1. Dundee's Honey Brown Lager

My friend, Ben got this beer, and it's pretty good. It's more of a medium to heavy beer, but it has a nice smooth flavor. It's a nice accompaniment for a sandwich, and we served it with a portobello mushroom sandwich, which was very good. Great general all-around, inexpensive beer.











2. Rising Moon Spring Ale (Blue Moon)

I've always enjoyed Blue Moon beers. They are well-made and taste good. This is their seasonal beer for spring. It's a pale ale that's been made with lime verbena leaves and lime. Now, I'm a huge lime fan, so I really enjoyed this beer. But something I was debating with a friend, would the beer have been better with just a lime wedge in it? Or with the lime flavorings? I suppose it's up to whoever is drinking it. But, this is a good seasonal is you like a lighter flavor with just that hint of lime.

3. Bell's Amber Ale
I caught sight of this beer at the store and was immediately intrigued because it's made here in Michigan; in Comstock actually. I'm really into eating local foods and drinking local beers and wines; I think it's a great way to support the economy around you, and especially for microbreweries like this, you usually get a good quality beer because people take a lot of pride in what they're doing.
Anyway, this brewery is off of 94, closer to the west side of the state, but after looking it up, they've been around since 1983. They are one of the oldest microbreweries in the Mid-West. Also, it looks like they have a restaurant, you can take tours of the brewery, and do beer tastings.
As for the beer itself, this was by far my favorite. It wasn't too heavy, but it's definitely not a light beer. I don't think it paired extremely well with the portobello sandwiches, but it wasn't bad. I would rather have served this a beef stew probably.

Overall, my goal in this post was to show you some of the good beers around right now. And to encourage you to drink something local! Check it out, most grocery stores will sell local beers, or smaller time stores. Find something new and see if you like it. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cookbooks on My Shelf

I love cookbooks! I suppose that makes sense, since I like to cook and bake a lot, but even before I got really serious about cooking, I loved collecting cookbooks. I still do, as a matter of fact. I know that it bothers my sisters so much sometimes because every time I pick up or look at some cookbook, my younger sisters always goes, "Why do you need that?!? You have tons at home!"

Oh, young one.....if you only knew...... :)

I suppose the reason I like cookbooks so much is that I like to just peruse through them, flipping pages liesurely, dissecting pictures and examining recipes. There is always some new to find in cookbooks; always some new recipe to try or inspiration for another recipe.

However, since I could not possibly keep all of my cookbooks here at school, I've chosen a few that I refer to almost all of the time. Here are just a few:


1. Alton Brown! You can never miss out on Alton Brown. He is one of my favorite TV show hosts, and I was lucky
enough to hear hi
m speak at Oakland University in Detroit in October. I was lucky enough to attend with my older sister and my roommate, and it was an absolute
blast. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard...
Anyway, he has some wonderful recipes, all from the first 7 or 8 seasons of the show, Good Eats. He also explains the science of cooking, so
if you're a nerd like me, you'll enjoy it. :)

2. Joy of Cooking: this is also a great resource! It's been around for years, and it's been revised a few times as well. I have the newest edition, but there is no doubt in my mind that they'll come out with another edition soon enough.
But what's really great about this book is the fact that it gives you recipes as well as ba
ckground about whatever you're cooking with.
So, say you want to bake rutabaga. You don't know how to cook one, much less what it is. Go look it up here! It'll tell you what it is exactly (it's a sort of tuber) and many different ways how to cook it and prepare it. This is a really a good go-to book, and great for cooks just starting out.






3. Baking by James Peterson
This is also a great go-to book for bakers. Peterson has written one for cooking as well, so if you prefer to have that, go for it. This book is nice because it covers almost every area of
baking from breads to pastries and custards and it gives you the basics. Say for a cake, it'll give you a few basic recipes, which almost all baked good are based upon. Then, it'll tell you how to make variations of that recipe. Also, he has wonderful, beautiful pict
ures in this book. They are very informative and instructive. That's one thing that can be very difficult about baking, a lot of things you have to learn either from watching someone do it, or perform the task yourself. This is the closest to actually being in a classroom with a chef. I think'll you enjoy it a lot, especially if you a visual learner, like me.

4. Rachael Ray: No Repeats
Honestly, I'm not a big Rachael Ray fan, actually I can't really stand her; nobody, and I mean nobody says "Yummo" in real life, and EVOO is in the dictionary now?!?! What is this world coming to...
Anyway, even though I don't like her, her cookbooks aren't bad. They're good for ideas and f
airly easy to follow. The only downside to these books is that a lot of people don't always have the ingredients sitting immediately in your kitchen, and unless you cook A LOT, you won't necessarily use all of whatever it is you have to buy.
But, nevertheless the recipes are good for ideas and guides and that's what I usually refer to.

5. The Flavor Bible
One of my favorite new books! By the same couple who wrote, The Making of a Chef, which I have read I should mention. Anyway, this is another great reference. There are a few chapters in the beginning which helps cooks to understand how flavors work together and how to pair different types of flavors, textures, and smells to fix great food.
In the last chapter, it's essentially a sort of dictionary which all the different pairings that go well together. For example, say you're cooking with pears, you can look pears up in the this book and see all the different foods and spices and herbs that work well with them.





I hope you'll look up these cookbooks because there are really great books, references, and generally good books. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jodi's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I mentioned a few days ago that this house goes through loads of bananas, and for some reason we actually had some get pretty ripe......slightly strange, but that's good for me! I love these cookies because they have the wonderful smell and taste of banana bread, but in cookie form and with chocolate chips. Now, how can you beat that?

My older sister actually introduced me to these because her mother-in-law bakes them and the family loves them! Of course, my sister was kind enough to share the wonderfulness and got the rest of us hooked. :) I will warn you though, these cookies don't last very long once they come out of the oven, so you might need to stash a few of your own if you want any.

2/3 (two-thirds) Cup Shortening
1 Cup Sugar.
2-4 mashed bananas (the mushier the better)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2.5 (two and a half) Cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 (half) tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 (half) tsp. Salt.
6 oz. chocolate chips
Cream together the shortening and sugar. I will tell you that I prefer to use butter because of the flavor and it produces a better golden brown color, but shortening works just as well if that's what you have.

Add the smashed bananas and mix well. Add eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. While mixing, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add slowly to wet ingredients. You batter won't be very stiff like normal cookie dough, it'll actually be very soft. Because of this I like to use an ice cream scooper to dispense the dough.

Make sure to grease your baking sheet before loading on the cookie dough otherwise the cookies will stick.

Bake at 350 10-12 minutes. You'll know the cookies are finished when they bounce back when you press lightly on them, or until they're a nice golden brown.


These are very cakey cookies, more like a muffin top than a chocolate chip cookies. However, they are absolutely delicious! Be careful....it's an addiction. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Edna Lewis

Not many people know about Edna Lewis. She was in fact a wonderful cook, sometimes labelled as the Julia Childs of the South. She grew up in a very poor family, but grew up to be one of the most influential chefs for Southern cooking.

Unfortunately, she passed away in 2006, but before that happened, she became very good friends with Scott Peacock, the executive chef of Watershed in Decatur, GA. He now tries to carry on her tradition of Southern cooking within his restaurant.

They wrote a book called "The Gift of Southern Cooking" before Edna died. It's a wonderful book and a great resource. But what I really wanted to share was an article. I found it last year in Gourmet's archives from the early 2000's. Edna Lewis writes about what the south is. I hope you enjoy!

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2008/01/whatissouthern_lewis

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Peanut Butter...yum..... :)

Peanut butter is wonderful stuff. I thank God that He inspired George Washington Carver to discover the wonderfulness of peanuts in general.

Sorry, I had to express my love of peanut butter someway..... :)

Anyway, I had a friend request some peanut butter cookies, and even though he is far away (Arizona), I figured he could use a little TLC from my kitchen. I love this recipe; it's from my mother's kitchen, but I like it so much because the cookies aren't necessarily soft. They're actually slightly crunchy and kind of crumbly. This is due to the ratio of fat and sugar and then you add the peanut butter and you get a wonderful texture and flavor. Yum!

So to continue to share the TLC, I thought I would post the recipe, especially since a friend tried one and wants the recipe. :)

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup butter (or shortening)
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted with 1 tsp soda and a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients, and set aside. In a standing mixer, combine butter and sugar until creamy, then add peanut butter until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients slowly and mix until well incorporated.

This dough can chill until you're ready to use it or you can bake immediately. I like to use a small ice cream scooper to form balls which I then press out with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes (it'll depend on your oven) You know they're finished when they have a beautiful golden brown color. You'll also be able to smell them, telling you they're finished. :)

It's times like this that I really wish I had my camera!!! Or even had my sister here to take the picture because she's such a wonderful photographer. Oh well......

I hope you enjoy these cookies!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yogurt is....

So good! Now, I'm not talking about the colored, artificially flavored yogurt stuff that most people by these days. I'm talking about plain, simple, the way it should be yogurt. It's not usually the first thing that shoppers pick up when you're in the dairy section of the grocery store because most people don't think they like the taste. That's right....it's not naturally sweet; it's actually very tart. We've all gotten so used to the processed kind that we can't handle the real stuff. Now, I know it might be a different flavor for your poor little tastebuds, but make it a challenge and try it! If you want a little sweetness, top it with some honey or fruit.

So misunderstood! Lots of companies are coming out with yogurt that has probiotic cultures, bacteria that are good for your GI tract, blah, blah, blah...... Well, here's a little secret for you.....don't tell anyone........original yogurt already has those bacterial cultures. Ahhh!!! Are you suprised?!?! I really hope not. If you look at yogurt closest to its original forms, it has that wonderful bacteria in there already, and hundreds more!

Here's a little scientific information for you. Activia, created by Dannon, has made "Bifidus regularis" it's own culture. This isn't abnormal, a lot of good quality cheese companies do the same thing. Legally make the culture theirs so that other companies can't use them (just so you know Kraft isn't really one of them....) What they don't really tell you is that, Bifidus regularis isn't really a bacteria. It's real name is Bifidobacterium animalis subspecia animalis, strain DN-173 010, but that doesn't really roll off the tongue quite as easy, now does it.

This culture is found naturally in our GI tract already. We acquire them during infancy from breast feeding. The cultures develop and simply have a lower population when we're older because of the hundreds of other bacterial strains within our body. This yogurt, Activia, is simply changing the bacterial flora of your intestine to help things out.

Well, here's another secret for you, you can save some money by buying plain yogurt, which is cheaper.....and get a lot of the same benefits. You can look up the articles, whatever, the bacteria are really good for you and help promote good health.

So under appreciated! There are so many uses for yogurt, not just breakfast in the morning. It's wonderful to use in marinades, they add great flavor, breakfast in the mornings, lunches, dips.....whatever your mind can come up with. Personally, I really like to use yogurt for dips for veggies, chips, anything. Here's a good recipe for it.

Savory Yogurt Dip
8 oz plain, whole milk yogurt
garlic
lemon zest
rosemary
salt
pepper

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and pour yogurt into the strainer. Let excess liquid drain off the yogurt while you work on other stuff. Chop up your garlic finely, you can use as much or as little as you like. Personally, I'm a big garlic fan. Also, chop up your rosemary finely. Once you've drained the excess liquid off the yogurt, it will be much thicker with a consistency closer to a soft cheese. In a bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Combine well. Serve with pita chips or anything else that sounds good.

Really, you are not short of options for this dip. Change up the flavors depending on what you're serving. Use lots of different herbs, spices, whatever suits your fancy. However, do not ever underestimate yogurt.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Brunch

It's gotten really warm here, so it's been raining. It puts you in the mood for really comforting food, like French Toast. :) After church this morning, came back to fix french toast, specifically my dad's french toast. It's something that my sisters and I loved having when we were younger, especially when served with iced milk.

It's really easy to fix and fast.

Daddy's French Toast
8 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients well. Use day old bread for your toast, soak in egg mixture and cook in a skillet brought to medium heat or 350 degrees on an electric skillet. Serve with maple syrup. :)

A great brunch for Sunday morning or even dinner :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Little Things....

I love how the little things in life are the ones that inspire you to bake. Or at least, they inspire me. :) Sometimes, it's a phrase or a song, sometimes it's a picture a landscape or a smell. Then you just get started thinking, "Hey, that sounds really good" or even "how can I reproduce that or make it better"?

Sometimes it's just the sight. Seems a little philosophical for my post, but oh well.....
I felt inspire to bake banana bread this past week. It was probably because we go through bananas like mad in this house, and for once there were some very ripe bananas sitting in the kitchen. Since I know that no one will eat them.....I stole them :)

Banana bread is such a comforting thing, I love the way it smells. So to share that wonderful smell, here's the recipe that I like to use.

Banana Bread with Pecans
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mash bananas together; I like to leave them a little bit chunky for good texture in the bread. Mix in the sugar and combine well.
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla. Once well combine, add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add pecans.

Pour batter into two prepared loaf pans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes our clean.

Just a thought, with this bread it might be good to use butter pecans. For that, bake pecans at 350 for about 5 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and mix well, then add to batter.

Also, this bread is really good with chocolate chips. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shirley's Fudgy Brownies

For my birthday last year, I was given a copy of Shirley Corriher's Bakewise, which I love! It's full of so many wonderful recipes and knowledge; it's definitely a go-to book. :)

I decided to bake some brownies last night, and I love Shirley's recipe for Fudgy Brownies and they are always popular! So, I thought I would share the recipe. She says that it's best for these to cool overnight before cutting them, and this is true, but they are just as good when they come right out of the oven. Just give them about 10 minutes to cool and serve!

Shirley's Fudgy Brownies
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1.2 cup plus 2 T butter
12 oz semisweet chocolate
1 oz German chocolate
4 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 T white sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1 T vanilla
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 cups AP flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. When the nuts are hot, stir in 2 T of butter. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside

Line a 13 X 9 inch pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray or use release foil. Make sure to leave enough of an edge to easy lift brownies from the pan.

Place the remaining butter in a bowl with chocolates. Melt butter and chocolate over simmering water, making to sure that no water touches the chocolate. This can cause the chocolate to seize. Set aside.

Combine eggs in a bowl, and beat lightly. With minimum stirring, combine eggs, sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt.

Again, with minimum stirring, add chocolate mixture to egg mixture. Once combined, add flour, and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake brownies until they begin to pull away from the edge of the pan, about an hour. My oven runs a little hot, so mine really need only 50 to 55 minutes. Brownies should be slightly underdone. When you insert a toothpick, it should come out with some gooey brownie. :)

Now here are your options. Either cool completely in the pan and then refrigerate overnight before cutting. But if you can't wait that long (like me) Allow brownies to cool for 10 minutes, lift out of pan and cut into them.

Absolutely wonderful with a scoop of ice cream!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Early Morning

First off, I still cannot post pictures since camera is still MIA. I believe I might have left it at home in GA, which of course, does not help me at all.

But to get to the important stuff, here at school, I have a lot of friends in fraternities and soroities, seeing as I am in a sorority myself. But last week, the Sigma Chi fraternity had their initiation week, aka "Hell Week". It's actually fairly enjoyable for us, minus the fact that they come and yell at us at 6:30 in the morning.

To make their week slightly better, my sorority sisters and I always fix breakfast for these gentlemen; it's something we've been doing since I came here. Anyway, I thought I would share our menu and a recipe.

"Hell Week" Breakfast
Southwest Egg Casserole, modified from Savory Sweet Life
Bacon
Monkey Bread
Hasbrowns
Oj, coffee, milk, etc.

I really wanted to share the recipe for Monkey Bread, which is so easy and absolutely delicious.

25-30 frozen yeast rolls
1 cup brown sugar
1 package non-instant butterscotch pudding
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 stick melted butter

Add rolls to a greased tube pan. Combine brown sugar and pudding. Mix well and pour over the rolls. Combine white sugar and cinnamon and pour over rolls. Top with chopped pecans and pour butter over the top. Let rise over night, no more than 8 hours.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!!

Absolutely delicious and reidiculously easy :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Low Country

Every now and then, I get in the mood for some good home Southern cooking. And today, I really wanted Shrimp and Grits. I didn't have anyone in particular to fix it for, but my friend Anna came over and we had a really good meal. I'm sorry I have no pictures though, my camera is MIA. But I will tell you the menu.

White Cheddar Grits with Venison Sausage and Shrimp
Buttermilk Biscuits
Chocolate Lava Muffins (from Alton Brown's book, The Early Years)

The venison sausage was made fresh from a friend at work. He killed the deer himself and made his own sausage. It was wonderful with lots of jalapenoes!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sorry!

I must apologize for not posting in a long time. This past semester was crazy! Finishing up my thesis and getting ready for presenting and all of the other things that life entails kind of pushed my blog into the background.

I'm hoping to have more time to bake this semester, so hopefully you will see a post soon!!