August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
Usually I love to bake. People are always making baking out to be more difficult than cooking savoury food, but to an extent, I would say for beginners, it's usually easier. I say that because baking is an exact science. Meaning you following directions to a "T," and there's no vague language that says things like "add salt to taste." I'm a beginner, I don't know what my taste are let alone what amount of salt would satisfy them! I can follow a recipe though, and have no problem measuring out specific amounts of salt, flour or baking soda. That being said, there's a definite line between beginner baking and full on you-must-be-a-pastry-chef-to-pull-this-off baking. I mean I'm not going to be cranking out any kind of fancy soufle any time soon, but I sure as heck thought I could make these little bites without too much of a problem. Ha - never underestimate the kind of disasters that beginners can cause in the kitchen!
To start from the beginning, I saw Ina making this and knew I had to have them. I'm obsessed with pecan pie, and that's exactly what these are, just in a convenient bar form. The recipe makes a ton, and I had a friend's birthday coming up, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a boat-load of these tasty treats. It all started out well enough. I pulled out my most prized kitchen appliance - the stand mixer - and got the dough made perfectly. Putting it into the baking sheet was a whole nother story. Ina says in the recipe it's going to be sticky and she ain't kiddin! With the use of a lot of flour (which was mainly used to get the super glue like dough off my hands) I shaped it into the baking sheet, popped it in the oven and started on the filling.
The more messy, sticky, gooey the more delicious, right? Well, after making the filling I decided the squares were setting themselves up to be the most fantastic dessert around. Nevertheless, with a little patience, I was able to get the gooey filling on top of the baked crust.
Yes, the end result was worth the work. That is, until I tried to use my oven cleaner and filled the apartment with so much smoke we were forced to evacuate for 3 hours. :)
Please visit the link below for the recipe (if you dare!):
Ina's Pecan Squares
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa -The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
August 7, 2008
These reasons are why I generally avoid having any kind of fish in this house unless it came from Yama. The sad part is that I even took a seafood cooking class once. We learned that you must blot scallops on paper towels before searing, fish must not actually smell like fish when you buy it, and that mussels need to have their little shells closed to qualify for my pot. Nowhere did we cover things like how to get the crazy fish smell out of your apartment or how to make sure you are feeding people cooked fish instead of something closer to shashimi.
By now you probably get the point that I'm a tad nervous to dive into the deep blue sea for my dinner. So, I decided to turn to none other than the Food Network's very own resident mom (because who else could make everything sunny and perfect but mom?), Robin Miller. Robin plays the role of the busy mom very well. Her show intro even shows her answering phone calls, bringing home groceries, playing with her kids, and signing cookbooks for fans. What, book signing isn't in the cards for your typical mom? Anyways, her dishes are generally pretty straight forward in nature with few bells and whistles, which is exactly what I was looking for.
This honey mustard glazed salmon sounded delicious, but what appealed to me most about it was that it is baked in the oven. No game of cooking time roulette. I just popped it in the oven for the specified length of time and presto, changeo - we have perfectly cooked fish! Sorry frying pan, the baking sheet is my new best friend. Really though, the flavor of the mustard topping was very good (not nearly as strong as in the previous mustard chicken) and was well liked all around. Even Suki liked it. Who knew that dogs were on the fish train? The only problem we ran into was that both pieces had quite a number of little bones in them. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that was more Whole Foods fault than my own, so I'm not going to let that deter me from my next seafood adventure.
Fish that tasted so good I might actually make it again...I might just be progressing!
P.S. - why did no one ever tell me couscous is God's gift to people who can't cook? I love this stuff!
Please visit the link below for the recipe:
August 4, 2008
Please visit the link below for the recipe: