Monday, October 19, 2009

playing catchup...

      ...seems to be the constant with the blog.  One day, I'll take pictures and update on a regular basis. Ohhh my.

      Here's what I need to write about:

  • snickerdoodles
  • pizza
  • basil-parmesan risotto, revisited
  • chocolate chip cookies (oh yes. ohhh yes.)

Monday, October 12, 2009


      I'm doing quite poorly at keeping this thing updated on the regular. It's not like I haven't been cooking. I've been cooking. I just have been really lazy after work. Glee and knitting > writing. Sometimes. But here I am, on yet another sick day (I know , right? At least I'm getting hit with all of this at one time. Getting it over with.) and I looked at the list of things I've made and haven't written about. Yikes.

      So for some of these, I'll write out the recipe. For others, I'll just include the link, which means that I followed it verbatim. Bear with me.

      Last week, I made chocolate babka, which, as you can see, is essentially cinnamon chocolate bread. And holy crap, did it deliver. I did this on my own, which I wouldn't recommend unless A. you like, nay, seek out challenges (whyyy are you pointing your fingers at me? Why?), or B. you have a humongous kitchen. By humongous, I mean anything bigger than the size of a bathtub (which is my situation, but thus the basis of the apartment's appeal. Welcome to the Lilliputian World of Leilani.) The innards of the loaf were my favorite part: moist, dangerously chocolatey, and the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe was perfect. Not just a hint, but not a slap in the face. The recipe yielded three loaves, as promised. One of which I baked at my friend Blair's house, another which I gave to the family I nanny, and the last of which I baked with Nichole. Forrr the win.

      I made pizza early last week, from scratch. I'd never attempted homemade crust but my dad worked on his for years until he was told that he could not longer eat gluten products and banished to the land of sorghum and rice flour. I followed Deb's recipe for the crust and threw on a minced garlic and olive oil sauce, crumbled goat cheese, golden beets (I just rinsed, peeled and chopped them. No further preparation needed), chopped white onions, and chopped parsley. Mmm. Yeah, by the end of that pizza, I had decided that the crust recipe was going to be my failsafe.

      Until I tried this! Holy! Crap! Since the crust was on the sweeter side (not sweet enough to be a dessert pizza, but definitely fancier than the failsafe), I decided to try the golden beets again (we had a LOT in our CSA box) over goat cheese, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. I recently received The Flavor Bible in the mail and has been a blessing. Seriously. The best is that it's not a cookbook. It looks at culinary theory, flavor pairings, etc. Culinary experimenter's dream! So they told me that beets go well with nutmeg. And you know what? They do. This was a good simple, but still unique, pizza.

      Halfway through this post, I realized that I wasn't going to actually write out any recipes. So just... trust me on the links I posted. They're phenomenal.

      Saturday's baking endeavor was devil's food cupcakes with raspberries and ganache. Oh yes. I know. These cupcakes are sin. It, first off, took me roughly 6 hours, including letting-things-cool time, to make these. Second, I stuck with just two ganaches (raspberry ganache inside: 8 oz raspberry preserves, 8 oz chopped semisweet chocolate, 8 oz heavy whipping cream, plain ganache on top: 8 oz chopped semisweet chocolate, 10 oz heavy whipping cream), and it worked. And they are decadent. I could eat maybe one. I baked the batch for a five-person birthday (eaaaarly birthday... but I wanted to coordinate some sort of get together involving Soul Night, and Soul Night just so happens to fall two and a half weeks before my actual birthday) cupcake-champagne-dance party. Of the 18 that I made, 5 remained by the end of the night. Hurray for ganache and raspberries! As long as it took to make these, it wasn't that difficult. You rinse the raspberries, bake the devil's food cupcakes, let them cool for an hour or so, prepare the raspberry ganache, cut out the middle (this scared me the most initially, but it was actually the most fun part), scoop a tablespoon of raspberry ganache into the center, fill a raspberry with the ganache, put it opening-down into the cupcake, scoop another tablespoonful and a little more over it, close, let cool for another hour, prepare the plain ganache, decorate. Nothing too crazy. Overall, a special occasion cupcake for sure.

Monday, October 5, 2009

that little lightbulb in my head is turning on...

      IDEA: white wine and honey pizza crust with golden beets, goat cheese and a sprinklin' of nutmeg. Will tailor, attempt, and report back as soon as possible.

      For now, I'm using Deb's really simple homemade pizza recipe to make some golden beet - chopped parsley - white onion - goat cheese on a minced garlic and olive oil base situation. Basically just got home from job 2, took everything in my fridge and went WHAM. We'll see how it goes.

      Oh and I made chocolate babka. Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart. Will discuss in depth at a later time. For now all I want to do is knit while I wait for the dough to rise.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

well well well.

      I once thought that strep was one of those ailments that was reserved for ten year olds who sneezed on everything and used their unwashed-after-using-the-restroom hands to channel-flip between Hannah Montana and Degrassi. Alas, I discovered that it could be passed from said ten year olds to their more hygiene-conscious twenty-two year old nannies. I shrugged it off as a mere cold on Thursday. Gargled salt water with a pinch of baking soda, nursed echinacea tea, and napped frequently. By the time I woke up on Friday, my tonsils had grown big enough to become full fledged speech impediments. I kid you not; I was the (not-so-)happy parent of the oral equivalent of ten pound twin humans. I went to the doctor, and he actually cringed and shrugged when he handed me the lab printout. I spent the contagious part of strep in bed, bidding for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book sets on eBay and browsing Etsy for dandelion-embossed stationery. After 24 hours of taking antibiotics, $30 spent online on shit I probably won't need in the long run, and one and a half knitting projects underway, I was ready to celebrate not being contagious by COOKING!

      I decided to make risotto, since I hadn't made it in over a year. I have a good saffron risotto recipe, but decided on basil-parmesan with brown rice. I think risotto is made with strictly arborio, but what the hell. You never know until you try, right?

      I almost choked after the first bite. I looked at the bouillon-to-water ratio; I had followed it. But why was it so salty?? I hadn't added more than 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I guess the bouillon was strong. Looking at the nutritional facts, if one cube has 50% of one's DNV of sodium... and one cube is to be used with two cups of water, but I needed four cups of water, so I put in two cubes... You can do the math.

      Small dinner party to commence tomorrow. I'm going to try risotto again, this time with only one cube of buillon, and maybe I'll go get arborio. 'Tis the season for risotto, anyway. Below is what I'm assuming will be a good, simple risotto recipe. Will include updates post-secondary endeavor.

Basil-Parmesan Risotto
  • Ingredients:
    • 28 oz chicken stock (I would use one cube buillon to four cups water, then just don't add the last ladle or two of stock)
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 cup marsala cooking wine
    • 1 tablespoon basil
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • Directions:
    1. Put chicken stock in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Pour oil into another medium saucepan and place over medium heat for one minute.
    2. Stir onions in pan with oil for three minutes or until translucent. Add rice and cooking wine. Lower heat to simmer.
    3. Once almost all of the liquid in the rice-onion-wine mixture is gone, start adding the chicken stock while stirring frequently. Add two ladlefuls at a time, and make sure that almost all of the liquid is gone before doling out more stock.
    4. Add basil when you've ladled in half of the chicken stock. Once you have used up all of the stock (save for a ladle or two, since you've made 32 oz of stock and only need 28 oz), turn off the heat and mix in the butter. Once the butter has completely melted and is mixed in, stir in the cheese and let cool, covered, for two minutes.