Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I halved the recipe since it was just the two of us eating. I just used a glass to punch out my biscuits, and the diameter may have been more than 3" (not by much, though, I don't think), but I only got 3.5 biscuits! I wished I'd made the whole recipe. Maybe I didn't roll them out thin enough... Although it ended up being plenty for both of us. We were pretty full.
Does anyone have an opinion on how well these keep? I only wanted to make as much as we would eat that night because I've never had a leftover biscuit that I thought still tasted good. Cami, you said Calder had these for breakfast and lunch the next day. Did you try any of the biscuits the next day? How were they?
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I don't have the book anymore (it's always checked out from the library when I look for it) so I'm not sure what it says about potatoes, but I watched the episode on YouTube and learned some interesting potato facts. I lived in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador for several months and potatoes were found everywhere there! All sorts of varieties (but they don't have any sweet potatoes!). Watching this episode made me wish I had tried cooking with more of the varieties while I lived there, but I tended to stick to red potatoes which are my favorite. I was happy to see that this recipe called for red potatoes. They just tend to hold up better and have a more appealing texture.
This recipe makes a lot of potatoes! I only used 6 red potatoes rather than 8, but I should have just halved the recipe. The online recipe says to cover the potatoes with cold water, but the episode I watched says to cover with hot water. I'm not sure which is best, but I used cold water because that's what I usually do. I think I cooked my potatoes a bit too long, but it made for easy mashing. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to mash the whole garlic cloves in the potatoes so I left them out and there was still plenty of garlic flavor.
These potatoes were alright, but not my favorite. They need to be dressed up a lot to give them more flavor. I only served mine with salt and pepper, but I should have put butter or sour cream in them as well. I usually whip my potatoes and I add lots of butter, salt, and pepper, and I think I prefer my potatoes that way.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The next great thing about making these was that there was no question of how big the meatballs should be since Alton just has you measure each one. I really like that, since in the past my meatballs have seemed to be all different sizes no matter how much I eyeballed, and so I'd worry some were overdone while others could be underdone.
I used 1 lb. pork and 1/2 lb. ground beef also, and it was a nice combination. I left out the spinach, and didn't roll in extra bread crumbs (since I planned on putting them into sauce). I didn't have a miniature muffin tin so I was worried they would slump in the oven on a regular baking sheet, but they were fine. Very tasty and I'd eat them plain! I'll definitely be making these again.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I have really enjoyed making meals with winter squashes. Since I had never made or had spaghetti squash before, I went ahead and made some (just using a recipe from allrecipes.com). It was good, but I think I undercooked the squash. I'll have to try again!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I love biscuits! And unlike bread or rolls, you don't think ahead to make them, since these mix up quickly and only take 15 minutes to bake--perfect time to set the table, toss a quick salad, or maybe get a head start on the washing up. I served these biscuits with lentil soup and they were quite good--but I am getting ahead of myself:
I chose The Dough Also Rises and tried Alton's Southern Biscuits (p. 42 in the book). I wanted to compare it to my mom's biscuit recipe, which I've been using up to now. I'd like to point out that the book recipe and the online recipe are slightly different: the one online calls for equal parts shortening and butter, while the book calls for a 2:1 ratio of shortening to butter. (If I'd realized the difference before I made them, I'd have done equal parts since I happen to adore butter.)
Biscuits should definitely be puffy, and my mom's biscuits never puffed very much, but the picture of Alton's looked nice and puffy. They didn't disappoint, either--they puffed way bigger than my old biscuits. Since the flavor is very similar, I think I might switch recipes based on puffiness alone!
I used a pastry cutter instead of my hands to to work the fats in, which was fine, but I wished I'd used a rolling pin to roll the dough after it was kneaded, because I found I couldn't press very evenly so some biscuits were thick and some thin. Alton says to make a round that is 1" thick and I made mine between 1/2" and 3/4" but I only punched 10 biscuits and one of them was runty. That could just be the nature of biscuits, though. I don't come out with the same number each time with my old recipe either.
My kids loved to help me punch them out and love to eat them too. I served the leftovers to my husband the next morning with Alton's Sawmill Gravy (p. 49), since he's been asking me for a long, long time to make him that breakfast. :)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
These were delicious! I didn't end up making a sauce to go with them as I planned to last night, but they were even good plain. They'd be great in spaghetti sauce, though, so I'm going to try that with my leftovers that are in the freezer.
I also couldn't get ground lamb at the local Vons, so I used half pork and half beef. Maybe I'll pick up some ground lamb at Costco for next time. In the book, Alton says his wife makes them with ground turkey to make them healthier -- and he says they definitely taste like it. If I hadn't read that, I would've gone for the ground turkey also probably. That's my default. I'm sure they would've been a lot drier with turkey instead of beef and pork, but I might still try them with turkey next time because hey, it's healthier.
And as Jen did, I also used the whole 10 oz. of spinach. I don't think it detracted from the meatballs at all. In fact, you couldn't really taste it so certainly no harm done.
Max and I both really liked these meatballs, and they were really easy to make. I can definitely see us making these again.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This episode comes from the Middle Years cookbook, which I have, so I thought I'd scan the "Knowledge Concentrate" section and post it for anyone who is interested. Sorry, the edge of the page is cut off a bit.
Click to enlarge
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I made Alton's baked meatballs from the great balls of meat episode.
I couldn't get a half lb of ground lamb so i used 1 lb pork and 1/2 lb ground beef. I also used the whole 10 oz pkg of frozen spinach. Instead of the 5 oz that was called for in the recipe.
The kids thought it was too spicy but there was only 1/4 tsp of red pepper flake. I thought they were pretty good. It was interesting idea to make them in a mini muffin pan. I like baking meatballs as I'm impatient to cook a large amount in a pan on the stove top.
I will post my pictures tomorrow.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
This was kind of a weird recipe for me. In the end, the dumplings tasted pretty good. But the process was off.
Alton says at the beginning of the recipe (in the book) that this was not a favorite with viewers, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. The biggest complaint in the online reviews seemed to be that the dough was really wet and required way more flour than called for. In the book, Alton added weights to the amount of squash and potato you need, presumably to address the wetness issue. I weighed my ingredients, but I made a mistake and used double the potato I was supposed to (I was making a half batch and forgot to halve the potato). I don't know if that's why my dough ended up so loose, but like many of the online reviewers, I had to add TONS of extra flour... and I still had a wet dough that was difficult to work with.
After adding lots and lots of extra flour, I decided I better stop adding more because I was sure I had already overworked the dough. There was no way I was going to be able to roll out the dough so I just grabbed clumps of dough, rolled it in my hands, and plopped it in the boiling water.
My dumplings were kind of tough, but they tasted pretty good. I loved the sage flavor, but it was overpowering when I got an actual piece of sage in my bite. I think when I make these again (I have lots of dough still in the fridge), I'll add the sage to the butter while it browns but then skim it out before adding the dumplings.
One of the online reviewers said she squeezed her squash with paper towels before mashing it to get rid of excess water. She said she was able to get a good texture just with the amount of flour called for in the recipe. I wonder why Alton doesn't say to do this in his recipe...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I'm always surprised when I hear people say they've never eaten spaghetti squash before, or only with spaghetti sauce on it. My parents grew it in their garden, so we ate it a lot. Unfortunately, I've never learned how to tell if it's good or not before I cook it. I've had bad luck with squash I buy at a regular grocery store, so if you're going to try this, go to a produce store or farmer's market. This was one of my unlucky times. I ended up cooking it about twice as long as Alton Brown suggests, and it still didn't get all the way soft. Still, it had a very good flavor. I added butter, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese, as recommended. I hadn't try cheese before. I couldn't taste it at all, so I won't bother in the future.
I used my slow cooker as well (low for 8 hours). I didn't brown my meat first, I just chucked it in there with the veggies, but it was tender enough to just be served up with a spoon--no carving required.
My husband observed that perhaps what makes a pot roast nice is eating it infrequently, so it will probably be a while before I make it again, but when I do, I'll go back to this recipe.
Monday, October 18, 2010
October 24: Jen
October 31: Catherine
November 7: Maren
November 14: Melanie W.
Please make sure you take note of your new day and are ready to post when it comes! We can't wait to see what you choose.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Danielle: "This roast is pretty good, but I can't say it's the best I've ever had."
Max: "Can you say any roast is the best you've ever had? Isn't every roast practically the same as every other roast you've had?"
Danielle: "No.. well... Ok maybe you've got a point."
As I thought about it, I couldn't distinguish between roasts I've had based on taste. Really, the only thing that has determined a good roast for me is how it's cooked (i.e. has it cooked long enough to be falling apart). In that respect, I only did an ok job with this roast. I cooked it for about 4 hours at 275 degrees, and I thought it needed more time.
I was going to use my crock pot like Cami did, but my crock pot wasn't big enough. My Vons didn't have a good selection of chuck roast, and the only thing I could get was a 3.5 lb boneless roast. So that plus all the veggies was too much for my slow cooker. So I put it in a large stainless steel pot and roasted it in the oven.
I would've liked to try the foil pouch method that Alton Brown uses, but I didn't have heavy duty foil and I had my hands pretty full as it was that day. I suppose my roast may have cooked more effectively with the foil pouch, but I don't know that I'll ever get around to trying it out.
The things we really liked about this roast recipe (and that set it apart from other roasts) were the pearl onions and the fresh thyme. I think the fresh thyme is what makes this recipe.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I would've make these cookies when the recipe came up originally but I had just made sugar cookies with a different recipe. I haven't made sugar cookies again until yesterday. Actually, Max made them, but I can review them.
I thought the cookies tassted pretty good, but I thought they were a little too soft. They tended to fall apart. Max and I also agreed that they needed more sugar. I know a lot of people don't like their cut-out cookies to be too sweet because you're just going to put frosting on them, but we say bring on the sweetness. I mean, they are sugar cookies. I think a sugar cookie should be sweet enough to eat on its own without the frosting.
The dough was a little difficult to work with the first time we tried. We chilled ours for somewhere between three and four hours, and it got too soft by the time we had the dough rolled out and cut. We had a hard time getting them on the cookie sheet. However, Max made another batch today after the dough had chilled overnight and he said they were a lot easier to work with.
As you can see in the picture, we didn't made the lemon glaze frosting. We like traditional, butter and powdered sugar frosting. To us, sugar cookies just aren't real sugar cookies without a big thick layer of thick sugary frosting.
This was a decent sugar cookie recipe, but I think I'll stick with my other recipe that is my current favorite.
My husband loves pot roast. Me, not so much. I generally make it a few times a year because I know he loves it, it's easy and cheap. So, I thought this was a good choice. I loved the pearl onions and I think the tomato juice adds a nice flavor.
I made mine in a crock pot. So easy. The meat just fell apart and was very juicy. I must say it was the best pot roast I've ever made and probably the best one I've ever eaten. Oh and he thought it was great, of course.
I forgot to put the cheese in the middle so I just sprinkled it on top. I think it tasted great. I had a lot more egg mixture than crepes. Next time I will probably double the crepes or half the eggs. Calder isn't a big fan of onions so I made his with bacon, cheese and eggs without the crepes. He loved them. I poured those right into the muffin tins. It was the perfect Sunday morning breakfast.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I was excited about the garlic selection because I've been wanting to learn how to cook greens. I had some once a long time ago that I really liked, but haven't had them since. I bought collards because they looked better than the mustard or other greens.
Don't they look pretty? The recipe was really easy to make. I used 7 garlic gloves, which was too much, but it still had a really good flavor. The collard greens were rather bitter, though. Has anyone had other greens before that they would recommend? I would totally make this again if I could find something a little milder. I even think it would be good with spinach. I would recommend cutting the amount of garlic in half, though. Nobody in my family ate it (besides me), but I wasn't expecting them to.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I'm going to try again.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Strangely, Amazon still says it's on pre-order and that it's coming out on the 27th, but like I said, I already got mine. So hop on over to Amazon and get your copy!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Inspired by Alton Brown's suggestion of eating poached eggs on BBQ pulled pork, we decided to eat ours on shredded BBQ chicken. It was delicious!
I was excited to see this episode in the rotation because I've been wanting to try poached eggs ever since I saw the Good Eats episode about eggs benedict. I wanted to try eggs benedict this week, but I haven't been to the store yet to get the ingredients. That will show up on my menu very soon though. Anyway, I thought poached eggs were supposed to be difficult to make, but these were very easy. Ours didn't all turn out very pretty, but they tasted good.
We made several eggs at a time, so we followed the wide saute pan method. I want to try the sauce pan/whirlpool method sometime. I'm interested to see how the eggs come out differently. Also, I'm not going to cook mine as long next time. I like my yolks a little more runny -- ours came out more like soft boiled eggs.
This week's episode only has one recipe -- angel food cake. We had a bunch of extra egg whites left over from something else we made, so this was the perfect choice. It's pg. 224 in the book, and you can find the recipe online here.
This recipe gets excellent reviews on the Food Network. A bunch of people said it was fool proof, and I'm inclined to agree. I did a few things differently than the recipe called for and mine turned out great.
Here are the things I did differently --
- I didn't have cake flour, so I used all purpose flour and substituted 2 Tbsp of it with corn starch (got the idea from one of the comments on the recipe).
- My eggs were straight from the fridge. Someone told me recently that she's never been able to tell the difference between whipping cold eggs vs. room temperature eggs. But to be safe, I put my egg whites in my mixing bowl and put it over a bowl of hot water to warm them a bit.
- I used my stand mixer instead of a hand mixer, and it worked out fine.
I used vanilla extract in my cake. I ended up baking mine for a few minutes extra to make sure it was done in the middle. Also, I like it a little extra browned on top (that's the best part!). This cake was delicious. I love the texture and the flavor. And it was easy to make. I can't say it was super quick, but I wasn't very organized when I was making it. It wasn't too bad though. It didn't take me as long as most Baked recipes!
Anyway, if you like angel food cake, this is a good one. Yum!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I decided to give the clarified butter a shot so that someone could give an opinion on it. I figured that since I didn't have to stand there and watch it the whole time, I didn't mind how long it took to make. I'm not sure if I did it right because mine didn't come out totally clear (it was pretty muddy looking). I would've had to strain it through cheese cloth or something to get all the burnt butter particles out of it.
But that aside, it worked. Our bread browned nicely and didn't burn. I don't know that I can say it was worth it. I guess if I made grilled cheese often, I would keep some clarified butter in the fridge (but I don't).
One problem we had is that we only have one cast iron pan. For the other pan, we used a heavy bottom stainless steel pan. The pans didn't heat the same, so the top pan was hotter than the bottom pan and we had to turn the heat back on to get our cheese to melt all the way.
We used smoked gruyere and medium yellow cheddar on challah bread. I really liked the sweetness of the challah bread with the cheese. And I loved the addition of the mustard. It was a good sandwich. But like Maren said, I didn't feel so good a little while after eating it. I think that kind of cheese intake will be a pretty rare occurrence for us in the future.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Choosing to poach eggs was rather a spree in self-indulgence on my part, since no one in my house, besides me, would even think of eating one. I should be more sympathetic, since it's only in the last year or two that I came around to anything other than a solidly cooked yolk.
But eating eggs Benedict for brunch at a local restaurant has forever altered me, and I've been wanting to try poaching eggs on my own for a while.
The result was a serviceably poached and decently tasty egg, but I think I'll have to try a few more times (maybe try a deeper pan--I skimped too much on depth since I was poaching only one egg). I think part of the charm of a poached egg is how they look before you stab them with your fork, and mine was a little on the sad side.
Ideally I'd eat a poached egg over a spinach-and-crispy-potatoes salad, but this I time I made do with toast, and sprinkled some leftover Gouda and Gruyere from the cheese sandwiches over it.
Find this and the other poaching recipes here, or on page 187 of the book.
Q: Who can ruin a cheese sandwich in 5 seconds flat?
The making of these sandwiches didn't go very smoothly, as you will have guessed already. I decided to skip the butter clarification as well, but I really regretted not having at least melted it--so after the first disastrous sandwich, that's what I did.
Secondly, I forgot the 'kill the heat' part of the instructions. Oops. The pan was so hot that not only the bread scorched but the pan as well (and I'm not sure it will ever recover).
However, after a few minutes and feeling calmer, I tried again. It turned out that the cheese inside the burnt sandwich wasn't even melted much, so I peeled the ruined bread away and re-used the rest of the sandwich (which made me feel better).
In an effort to keep a long story from getting too much longer, I'll just say that the rest of the sandwiches were edible--tasty, even (if amazingly ugly)--and while I may not really know what to do next time, I definitely know several things NOT to do. My most successful sandwich was squashed with heavy pan and then flipped (per Catherine's method). The traditional method of no squashing over regular heat didn't melt all the cheese. And may I say that 3 oz. is a LOT of cheese for one sandwich? While I enjoyed the flavors of the two cheeses (smoked Gouda and Gruyere) immensely, I paid for it with a stomach-ache later.
Still, the taste of these is hard to resist, so I'll probably have to try again sometime.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I always love a grilled cheese sandwich. My usual choice of cheese is cheddar so it was fun to try new cheeses. I used the Gouda/Gruyere combo. I love both these cheeses so I thought it was really yummy, especially with the dijon mustard. The only thing is I don't often buy good cheese so I had a hard time paying the high price for just a few sandwiches.
I decided to try the double skillet cooking method but my bread also stuck to the bottom of the top pan. I wasn't using cast iron skillets so maybe the bread won't stick to cast iron? I decided to use my usual old-fashioned cooking method, keeping the pan on the heat and flipping with a spatula. They turned out fine to me.
Also, there was no way I was going to sit and cook butter for 30-40 minutes to clarify it just so I didn't have burnt brown spots on my bread, so I skipped that step. I know Alton says it's worth it, but to me it didn't seem worth it. I did find it interesting to learn about clarifying butter though because I had never heard of that before.
Overall, these sandwiches were really tasty and a nice treat from our usual grilled cheese, but I'll probably stick with my cheddar cheese in the future, mostly due to cost factor. I'll save the gouda and gruyere for more substantial meals!
Monday, September 6, 2010
I tried Alton's guacamole recipe. It was good. I thought the cumin added a nice smoky note to the recipe but I have to say that I prefer Rick Bayless' recipe.
Here's the link to Rick's version in case you want to try. http://www.kalamazoogourmet.com/rbme160.php
I took the guacamole to a family party that took an hour so i just put in a big plastic bowl for transport...sorry its not too pretty ;)
Sunday, September 5, 2010
My husband extremely fond of roasted chicken but requested that I prepare it in the traditional style, so here's what I did different from the recipe:
- left the chicken whole
- no pre-cooking on the stove
- poured about 2 Tbsp. of oil (I think 1/2 c. would've been way too much) in the bottom of the pan before popping the chicken in the oven, in addition to rubbing the bird itself down with oil as the recipe says to
- cooked about 60 min. at 475°F, basting every 20 minutes or so
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I never buy chicken with skin or bones. I was surprised how cheap it is when you buy it as a whole chicken. I probably won't switch my ways but I will make this recipe this way again. I did take the skin off one of the breasts because I don't eat the skin and thought it might be easier before I cooked it. This was a mistake. That piece was much drier than the other ones, so in the future I'll just leave the skin on to cook and then remove.
I really enjoyed taking the garlic and spreading it on french bread. I thought it tasted wonderful as did my husband. He ate this for dinner last night, lunch today and dinner again tonight, so I think he likes it.
I wasn't sure if my 12 inch pan could go in the oven. I want to get new pans sometime in the future so I figured if I ruined the pan that would be a good excuse to get a new one. Unfortunately/fortunately the pan did just fine.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I LOVE flan. I was excited when Cami picked this episode. I've made and had flan a number of times before and this was as good as any I've had. The texture was perfect. And besides the caramel, it was super easy to make. The only deviation I made from the recipe was that instead of half & half, I used half whole milk and half heavy cream. Half & half is just milk and cream anyway right? I figured I didn't need to buy cream AND half & half.
I did all of mine with caramel. I'm interested in how it would turn out with chocolate in the bottom, but I didn't want to make chocolate sauce in addition to caramel. For the caramel, I used the brown sugar caramel sauce recipe in the Baked book. I messed up the consistency (I still haven't perfected my caramel making methods), but it worked out just fine for the flan. And it tasted great. This recipe is a keeper.
Monday, August 30, 2010
We had baked potatoes for dinner tonight and this is how I always eat my baked potatoes: potato with cheese and salsa on top. Yummy! Sometimes I throw in some sour cream. You should all try it sometime.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This was my first time making salsa from all fresh ingredients. I think fresh salsa is always so pretty, and this one was no exception despite that it was made by me. :)
It tasted good too! I was anxious it might be quite spicy, but it isn't. (I love spice but my comfort threshold is quite below my husband's.) Melanie mentioned that the online recipe is different and I'd recommend using that one--that's what I'll do next time. The spice factor for this salsa is all in the dried chiles you use. I didn't have dried ancho chiles, only dried chipotles, so I used that and we really liked the flavor. I needed to do a bit of tinkering before the overall taste was right, but ended up using about 1 Tbsp. of chili powder too (I used Chile 3000 from penzeys.com, which I love (the chili powder and Penzey's!)).
We ate this salsa for dinner over slow-cooker chili and it was absolutely delicious. It tasted better that way than with just tortilla chips, although it's definitely good that way too.
My husband is pretty much Salsa Fiend Incarnate so the leftovers didn't last long. This is a great summer treat when tomatoes are in season, so I'll be making it again!
The recipe is found on page 238 in the book. Here is the link to the recipe online, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/40-cloves-and-a-chicken-recipe/index.html
I did make it as it was stated there only I did not cut up my own chicken, Sorry Alton. I did take the faster route and bought it that way from the store.
He says to use some of cooked garlic to spread on bread but it was a bit much for me. Although the chicken was moist and flavorable.
Out of the 6 of us eating only my nephew was slow to actually pick up his fork. But then again he is 4 ;).
Hope everyone likes this one.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I tried it with both veggie chips and pita chips, and honestly, I just didn't like it (I never understand how I can love all the ingredients, but not the combined result). But I've never been a big fan of onion dip, so I figured I'd get my husband's opinion. Unfortunately, he didn't like it either. He says it's too bland, and I agree. I wouldn't have thought that something chock full of onions could be bland, but it is. I don't even know what to add to it to improve it. So for me, this recipe was a flop. Oh well. On to the next!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This is a chunky salsa, but if you prefer yours thin I think you could use a blender or food processor to liquify it some and it would be great too. It was a bit on the mild side for my tastes but it could probably easily be spiced up with more jalapeños if desired. My salsa seemed a bit bland at first so I added a couple extra teaspoons salt and extra chili powder, and I thought the flavors increased after it sat for a few hours. This morning I realized I think I forgot the garlic, oops! Overall it was a tasty salsa.