Friday, November 28, 2008

Pasta, pasta, pasta


As I was helping to prepare lunch today of linguine with a delicious homemade meat sauce, I began mulling over how much I love pasta. I love how it comes in multiple shapes and sizes, so many that the chef is certain to find the perfect pasta for each and every occasion. I love the various textures and how they differ from ridged to smooth, to round to long, to firm and stuffed. And the recipes that accompany pasta...ah, the possibilities are endless.


I started doing a little research and was honestly shocked at how many different types of pasta exist. I had no idea the list was so extensive. Here are a couple of web sites I found particularly helpful:



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cornbread crusted pork chops with Spicy Peach and Corn Salsa

Today's recipe comes from the end of the lovely Rochester summer. It took me this long to upload the photos! I adapted the recipe from About.com's Gourmet section. Earlier that week, I had made cornbread that I didn't turn out so well, but hating to throw food away, I wanted a recipe that would use it in a creative way. This certainly fit the bill! I was quite impressed with the flavors, textures, and colors of this dish. Too bad fresh peaches are pretty much gone here in Rochester!

Notes: I hate to share a recipe that I didn't like, so I'll just say that my cornbread was made with buttermilk and without flour. I recommend any non-sweet, simple cornbread for this. I highly recommend the Fatali pepper: its citrus undertones pair perfectly with the peaches. If you can't find them, use a habanero. If you can't handle the heat, use chipotle. I found a bunch of fatali peppers at the farmer's market and have been storing them in the freezer. :)

Ingredients:

  • 4 8-ounce Pork Chops
  • 3 Cups Cornbread Crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Peaches, peeled, pit removed, and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup Corn, cooked and cooled
  • 1 Minced Fatali Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Preparation:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the milk into a shallow dish and add the pork chops. Let soak for 30 minutes.

Add the vegetable oil to a large saute pan and heat to medium high.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornbread crumbs, thyme, and black pepper. Place the pork chops in the cornbread mixture and turn to coat. Press the mixture lightly onto the pork.

Put the pork chops into the hot saute pan. Cook until golden brown and turn over, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer the pork chops to a cookie sheet or rack and place into the preheated oven. Bake in oven until the pork chops are completely cooked through with no pink in the center, approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thick your chops are. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the diced peaches, corn, fatali, salt, and pepper. Mix well. The salsa can be made one day ahead if needed.

To serve, place pork chops on plates and spoon salsa over the top.

Yield: 4 servings





Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Zabaglione with shortbread cookies

Tonight I opened my first bottle of Marsala wine to make chicken marsala. The dish tasted fabulous, but I was left with a whole lot more Marsala than I needed. So I decided to make zabaglione and shortbread cookies. All the ingredients, except the marsala, are common kitchen items! It turned out beautifully and was quite easy to do. :)

Note: it can be nice to have two people do this together (yay Peter!)


Zabaglione (for 2)
adapted from Joy of Cooking

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 egg whites (optional)

In a double boiler (or in my case in a small sauce pan over a larger one), whisk together all ingredients over boiling water. Do not immerse pan in boiling water. Whisking constantly, slowly bring mixture to 160 degrees (will become lighter and thicker). Meanwhile (this is where helps comes in), beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into finished custard. Serve immediately!

Shortbread cookies (for 2 or 3)

2 oz butter, softened
1 oz granulated sugar
3 oz flour
pinch of salt
turbinado sugar (or other large-crystal sugar), or just white sugar

Mix together first four ingredients, form into cookies by hand, and then bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. Sprinkle with sugar. I actually did this in the toaster oven since it was such a small batch.

Enjoy together!

ps: Peter's comment on the zabaglione: "it was good--interesting, but good." :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Leftover Ingredients: the mother of invention!

I don't know if I've ever had so many different food items in my fridge and on my shelves! Between the normal, everyday perishables and pantry stock, I also acquired leftover soup, home grown tomatoes, and babaganoush from a party (which meant, of course, that I had to go buy pita bread) and apparently bought too many ingredients for the recipes I did have in mind to make that week. For instance, I had one too many habanero peppers, too much shredded cheese, leftover "lime sour cream", some brussels sprouts that I intended to eat for lunch but forgot about, etc. Oh yeah, and a turnip that I forgot to put into a root vegetable soup. And this, my friends, is what the stress of midterm preparation can do to you!

In order to rectify this odd situation, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I made up a recipe! It was so fun and easy to make. Here's what I did, though since I didn't measure much, have fun adjusting to your own tastes. :)

Hot chicken, tomato, and corn soup
(This is a lot like chicken tortilla soup, but no tortilla. I joked to Peter that it's great for the low-carb diet.)

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl canola oil (the fat choice is random, I know, don't ask...)
1 small onion, chopped
Salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste (I used the Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning plus cumin)
A few splashes Tapatio hot sauce (or a favorite hot sauce)
1 habanero pepper (omit or use jalapeno for something milder)
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted (could have used more)
1 large tomato, diced (could have been 2)
Enough chicken or vegetable broth (I used a mix) to cover everything, but not so much as to make it too brothy
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Optional (but highly recommended) accompaniments: shredded mexican cheese blend, sour cream, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro

1. Saute onion and pepper with seasonings and hot sauce over medium heat for a couple of minutes (should be very fragrant).
2. Add corn and tomato, sauteing another minute.
3. Add broth and chicken, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors will meld, but just do whatever you have the time for.
4. Serve with accompaniments.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Something Old Revisited

As you may or may not remember, in July Christina and I embarked on the ultimate baking challenge: to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. We found one recipe that was absolutely delicious, however it had one minor flaw -- the dough was a bit on the goopy side and the cookies were rather spread out and thin. Because we were baking in Rochester, New York, on what I remember was an extremely warm and humid day, we attributed the consistency of the dough and resulting cookies to the humidity. This could mean only one thing: the cookies would have to be baked in another part of the United States (preferably without the extreme humidity) to see if the same thing happened again.

I, one half of Le Tablier Rose, took it upon myself to make them in my hometown in Southern California and find out if I would experience the same results. After baking (and tasting!) this recipe, I am happy to report the consistency was, indeed, due to the Rochester summer, and they are just as good now as they were in July. :-)

Now, this post would simply not be complete without the customary photos, so please enjoy. Hm, I'm starting to feel like Martha Stewart since we're documenting the progress via photography!

*If you would like to try our "something old" recipe, please see July's blog post with recipe #1 in the title.

Gathering ingredients & mixing well the flour and baking powder

The dough is amazing! Warning: You will be tempted to
eat more than you bake.

On the cookie sheet with somewhere to go: the oven!


The finished product.




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mrs. McCabe's Poppy Seed Cake

I am not one for cake. I don't like cake. But this is one cake I absolutely love! It's moist, texture is delectable, and flavor absolutely delicious. The recipe came from a Tae Kwon Do Mom, and per her request, the following story stays with the recipe.

"The recipe is named after a sweet old lade from Santa Ana who lived across the street from us. She was just a sweetheart. She and her husband lived alone and she would bake a cake every weekend. When I found out she had died all by herself I cried. One night when she found out she was very sick and could not drive she left from 11th street in Santa Ana to the bus station (in downtown Santa Ana) about one mile from her home. Where the bus station is, is not a good neighborhood. She then took the bus to the hospital. About a week later the neighbors said she had passed away. She just never wanted to bother anyone. After hearing this stry, I decided I would try to be a better neighbor after that."

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

One yellow cake mix
One small vanilla pudding, instant
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup very warm water
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tbs. poppy seeds

Place all ingredients in a large mixer, except poppy seeds. Mix for 5 minutes on high. Fold in poppy seeds. Pour into greased and floured bunt pan or angel food pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, cool in pan for 15 minutes on rack. Remove and dust with powder sugar when cool.

Variations:

You can also change this to a lemon, orange, chocolate, with a chocolate cake mix or add a different extract.

You can also vary the size of the pan for different thickness. Any way you make it, it's delish!

Enjoy, and if you pass the recipe on, please don't forget Mrs. McCabe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vegetable Pie


What happens when you come home from the market (actually, two markets) with a ton of random vegetables with no recipes in mind? Why, vegetable pie of course! My inspiration came from this "recipe". It's not exactly a recipe, but more of a guide on how to create your own vegetable pie. I adjusted it to what I had from the market and on hand. Here's my version:

steamed rainbow chard
the following sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil:
-a few cloves of garlic
-1 medium onion
-2 red bell peppers
-1 yellow squash
-the stems (chopped) from the chard

Place in a pie plate (I used the Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, marjoram, and parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Oh, and to fulfill my usual carb-cravings, I made drop biscuits.



I look forward to trying other interesting combinations. And I HIGHLY recommend rainbow chard. Mmmmmm

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cookie recipe #4: Something from a website

All right, folks, it's about time we returned to the original point of this blog: to document our journey toward the perfect chocolate chip cookie! This is the 4th and final recipe in our original set of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something...from a website. Kira has already posted a review of the first two. I will post here the recipe for #4 and in a subsequent post, the review. Recipe #3 has still yet to be tried (sorry, my spontaneous ways led to a disregard for the order!), but in due time it will be reviewed here as well.

This recipe comes from allrecipes.com. They are "Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies." They make A LOT, so I only made half.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional) (I didn't add)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture.
3. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Yield: 6 dozen

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spicy Quinoa Bowl

I recently discovered quinoa. A powerhouse of good-for-you-ness, I was eager to find yummy ways to utilize it. Well this dish certainly fits the bill! It's fairly quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. It's adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com. Note that the fresher the corn, the better. I was lucky to have recently purchased corn at the South Wedge market from the local farmer himself (accompanied by his corn-raising anecdotes). Peter and I were thinking afterwards that the addition of ground beef or shredded chicken would augment it as well (but it's hearty enough alone). Or try topping each serving with a fried egg.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 whole guajillo pepper (mine was dried)
2 ears of corn, as fresh as possible
1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in a medium saucepan until onion is translucent.
2. Rinse the quinoa; add to pot and add chicken broth; add seasonings, bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 15 minutes (there should be a bit of liquid left).
3. De-husk the corn; carefully cut off the kernels and set aside; chop/crush/crumble the dried pepper until minced.
4. After the quinoa has been cooking for 15 minutes or so, add the corn kernels and minced pepper. Simmer another 5 minutes (trust me, fresh corn doesn't need much cooking).
5. Stir in beans and top with desired amount of cilantro.

Yield: 8 side dish servings or 4 main servings

Spiciness rating: medium

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yangzhou inspired fried rice

Last night I found a video on Epicurious.com on how to make Yangzhou Fried Rice. It looked so good that I couldn't wait to make it after a trip to the store. So I made it with what I currently had. It was delicious! I highly recommend this method of making fried rice. Check out the original. Here's my version:

This makes enough for a large lunch for one or a lunch for two requiring a side (in our case, grapes).

Canola oil
1 green onion, sliced diagonally every 1/2"
1 cup cooked, cold brown rice
1 egg
a handful or so of deli sliced ham cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola oil in a wok or large skillet. Add green onions and stir fry for 15-30 seconds. Crumble rice over this.
2. Add egg and mix together, coating rice evenly. Add ham, salt, and pepper, and stir fry until egg is cooked.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fiesta Tortilla Stack

This is a fun and easy recipe!

Fiesta Tortilla Stack

Ingredients:
1 can ( 9 ounces) bean dip
2 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Pantry Southwestern Seasoning Mix-divided
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup green onion with tops, sliced thinly-(8)
3/4 cup pitted ripe olives, sliced, divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, divided
5 ( 10 inch) flour tortillas
8 ounces mild cheddar-( 2 cups)
Vegetable oil
2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a 1 quart bowl combine the bean dip, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix: mix well. Chop chicken and bell pepper and slice the green onion. Chop 1/2 cup of the olives. Chop the cilantro.



Place one tortilla on round baking stone. Use medium scoop (or your best guess!) and top each tortilla with 2 scoops of bean mixture; spreading within 1/4 inch of edge. Top evenly with 1 cup of chicken mixture. Place cheese over the top. Top with tortilla and repeat.
When the layers are complete spray Pam over the last one and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until top is brown. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup sour cream with the remaining seasoning spreading over top of warm tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle tomato, olives and chopped cilantro over the top as a garnish. Cut into wedges, serve with salsa. Serves 6
Chef's Hint from La Tablier Rose: Instead of layering each tortilla with the bean/chicken mixture and cheese, combine all ingredients together at the same time. It makes the mixture easier to spread.
Bon Appetit!



Friday, August 1, 2008

Cookie recipe #3: Something Borrowed

This recipe counts as borrowed because it is from one of Kira's co-workers. We noticed looking at the recipe that it is fairly similar to the Joy of Cooking recipe but perhaps less sweet. We shall see!

Big Chippers

1 ¼ c. flour

½ c. packed brown sugar

¼ c. granulated sugar

½ c. butter, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 egg, at room temperature

1 12 oz. pkg. semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a large bowl measure flour, brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and egg. With mixer at low speed beat ingredients until mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop mixture by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to use parchment paper to bake cookies on, makes cleanup easier and the white paper doesn’t attack the heat like a dark cookie sheet does and the cookies tend not to get too brown on the bottom) Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove cookie to wire racks to cool. Makes 2 ½ dozen.

Muffin variation #1: Berry Almond

Remember to have all ingredients at room temperature!

Now since I'm an amateur, I don't know why this recipe doesn't utilize the muffin method. It did seem to work, though. Next time I make them I'll use the muffin method and let you know if it makes a difference.

Berry Almond Muffins:

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Handful dried mixed berries (about 1/2 cup)
Handful chopped almonds (about 1/2 cup)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffins cups.
2. Beat egg; stir in milk, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
3. Fold in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (I pre-mixed the dry ingredients). Fold in berries and almonds.
4. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then cool on a rack. Good with butter.

Note: I don't have the normal 12 muffin cup pan. I use the six jumbo muffin pan. I love it!

French Puffs, the customizable muffin


Growing up, my husband's mother made "French Puffs," and old Betty Crocker recipe, for special occasions. Inspired by Peter's fond memories of these muffins, I decided to get the recipe and make them for his birthday. They were a little kids dream muffin: drenched with melted butter then rolled in cinnamon/sugar. What I like most about the recipe, though, is that it's so easily customizable! Stay tuned for interesting variations by yours truly.

French Puffs:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat over to 375. Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffins cups. Beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Stir in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy.) Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Immediately remove from pan and roll hot muffins in about 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted, then in mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

Her note: They are pretty rich with all that butter. They reheat okay, but are best when fresh. So if you want, you could cut the butter and cinnamon sugar in half, and only roll half of the muffins. The plain muffins reheat better and are great with just butter and jam or honey.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Peanut Butter dip

Today I decided an apple wasn't good enough. I wanted an apple with dip! Unfortunately, I can't tell you the exact amounts to use (because when I suddenly decide to invent something, I don't measure), but I can tell you the ingredients for a quick, yummy dip:

In a little bowl, whisk with a fork:
-peanut butter
-powdered sugar (not too much if your peanut butter is sweetened)
-a bit of cinnamon (I used cassia)
-a few drops of vanilla extract
-milk, enough to make it creamy

The cinnamon adds just the right warmth. I call it my secret ingredient. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Something old and Something new


First of all, leftover cookie dough is delicious! In fact, it is a little too good because instead of baking a second batch of cookies, Christina and I (Peter may have helped too!) ate most of it. I mean, homemade cookie dough is naturally an excellent topping for ice cream, not to mention a great snack. . .

A few days ago we began our search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. For our first test we made two different kinds. Both were supposed to be a little crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The favorite recipe can be traced back to 1943, first published in a wartime issue of the Joy of Cooking. Unfortunately, we baked them on a very humid day which affected the consistency of the dough and finished product. True to Kira form, we ended up with very thin cookies for our first batch, although later taste tests proved this minor inconvenience to be a mute point. They were delicious! The vanilla extract added extra flavor to the cookie, and they were still fabulous days after baking.

The second "something new"recipe was good but not great. They were thick and chewy, exactly what we were looking for, however the taste did not meet our expectations. The chocolate flavor did not burst from the cookie and overall something seemed to be missing.

Christina and I highly recommend "something old" and hope you find time to enjoy this delightful, little treat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cookie recipe #2: Something New

Our "Something New" is a recipe published in 1996 by the magazine Cooks Illustrated in their hunt for a "thick, chewy gourmet shop cookie at home" (http://www.cooksillustrated.com/login.asp?name=&did=1270&LoginForm=recipe&iseason=). (again, a review/s will follow)




Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces) (we used unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces (we used dark)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet) (we used bittersweet chunks from Trader Joes)










1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Following illustrations below, form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

NOTE: try as we may, this part was impossible due to the Rochester humidity. Instead, we plopped the same amount right onto the sheet. We knew that it would spread out anyway, so whatever.

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Cookie recipe #1: Something Old

Our "Something Old" recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Joy of Cooking. This recipe originated in the wartime edition of the cookbook, 1943. (review/s will be posted separately)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.

1 cup plus 2 tbl all-purpose flour (we used unbleached)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (we added more :) )
3/4 chopped walnuts or pecans (optional; we left out)

1. Whisk together flour and baking soda. Beat in a large bowl until well blended the butter and sugars. Add to this and beat until well blended the egg, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are just slightly colored on top and the edges are brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Steak and Kidney Pie

Reader advisory: below are some rather raw images of my adventure. Beware if you squeamish!





Once upon a time, I decided to get a little adventurous in the kitchen. It all started when I found a list of vitamins and minerals and what foods contain them naturally. Turns out I needed to eat more brown rice, fish, leafy greens, and oh my, kidneys.

Then one day as I was flipping through an old American cookbook, I discovered a recipe for steak and kidney pie. "Perfect!" I thought, "now I can try kidneys, and if I don't like them, at least the beef will be good!" Or so I thought.

Now the process of making this pie ended up being much more time consuming than I anticipated! First, no grocer or butcher in this city carried beef kidney. So I had to make multiple phone calls and then drive 20 miles into another county (those of you in CA will laugh at me). Once in hand, I had to prepare it (a nasty little process), cook it (which was perhaps the worst thing I have ever smelled), make a pie crust, create a sauce, and finally bake it. Did I mention this all took about 4 hours?

In the end, I was skeptical but hopeful. After all, I knew the beef would taste good. Unfortunately, I failed to consider that the entire pie, broth, beef, and all, would be tainted with the flavor of the kidney. What did it taste like, you might ask? Strange. Not bad, just strange. The word foreign also comes to mind. It was one of those things that did not disgust me, but left me without any desire to eat more. And thus, to our great disappointment, or perhaps satisfaction (depending on how you look at it), the fruit of my hours of labor and bravery were soon laying pitifully at the bottom of a trash can.

For the visual learners out there, I decided to post step-by-step pictures of the whole process, including a video of my "first taste":






* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





1) prepping the kidney (removing the white stuff):




2) Flouring (then searing) the beef and kidney pieces:


3) Cooking the meat for 2 hours:




4) The pie!


And finally, a video Peter surreptitiously took of me taking my first bite. I didn't know he was doing this!!


video


So there you have it! Now you all know--next time you feel like being adventurous, don't make a whole steak and kidney pie.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome



We (Kira and Christina) set out to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. After traversing thousands of miles and enduring the insufferable heat and humidity of Upstate New York, we narrowed the search for the perfect recipe down to four contenders: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something...from a website. Each has it own unique characteristics which we hope will result in the culmination of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Join us on this journey. Time to tie on our aprons and get to work!