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.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Cami, I love your onion dip picture! I wasn't feeling like taking a picture of my dip, but you inspired me to.
When I saw that the other recipe for this episode was homemade onion dip, I had to make it. I was hoping it would be just like some amazing homemade sour cream and caramelized onion dip we had at a restaurant a couple of years ago. This dip came pretty close.
I used low fat sour cream because that's what I had on hand. I'm sure the full fat stuff would taste even better, and the texture would've been better, but the low fat kind worked out pretty well.
I accidentally over cooked my onions (trying to do too many things at once -- gotta make the most of nap times!), but after picking out the burnt ones I actually thought it worked out fine. Besides the fact that I lost a small amount of onion because of the burning mishap, I agree with Cami that the dip could use more onion. I'll definitely use more next time. It seems like a lot when you're cutting it up, but they cook down a lot.
Like Cami said, this dip is super easy and fast to make. And I'm likely to always have the ingredients on hand, except for potato chips... I suppose having it with vegetables would be a much healthier option, but it's just oh so tasty on kettle chips! Anyway, this is a winner of a recipe, and I will happily make it again.
I've never made onion dip before. I don't know why. I don't think I've made any creamy white dip before. Hmm... It was quite easy and I think it tasted better than store bought. Like 100 times better. I followed the recipe exactly and next time I'm going to do a few things differently. I think it could use some fresh chives. Onion and chives sounds good and it would give it a little more color as well. It could use a little more onions but I add chives I will probably keep the onions where they're at.
I took this with a vegetable platter to LuAnn's surprise birthday party on Tuesday. It traveled well. I left some home for Jason and he ate it for about 4 days. He said it tasted as good today as it did on Tuesday.
I don't think I'll ever buy onion dip again. This took very little active time and tastes that much better.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Unfortunately, we don't have that recipe in our Baked book (maybe it'll show up in their upcoming cookbook?). But I thought you guys might be interested in watching the episode. It's going to be on again next Saturday (the 28th). Here's the info on Food Network's website.
I have it recorded, but I haven't watched it yet. So if you saw it, don't tell me who won!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I had mixed feelings about my Refrigerator Pie. I liked Cami's filling suggestions better than the ones in the book and using that, and the things that were handy to me, I wound up with zucchini, ham, scallions and cheddar in my pie. A very solid and tasty mix.
I let it bake for the prescribed 35 minutes and it looked set even in the middle, rather than jiggly (as the recipe suggests it should be), and also waited the full half-hour, so I thought it would be done. But the egg mixture seemed pretty wet to me and I would have liked it more cooked, but my husband and sister liked it the way it was--so, I guess my question is, just how wet is quiche supposed to be?
The other main reaction I had was similar to one of Cami's: I liked that it has only two eggs. Not too eggy, and a nice balance overall. I think I might make it again after I do a little research on what quiche is supposed to be like. I'm also wondering if the fact that my pie crust went straight out of the freezer and into the oven affected the baking, even though according to the directions, it shouldn't.
**In an effort to "learn something new" in addition to this week's recipes, I bought a whole artichoke and will attempt to cook and eat it - perhaps this is surprising that I haven't done this before. So if you have it down to a science, let me know. Thanks!**
Have a good week!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
When I tasted the pie filling before refrigerating it, I was skeptical. There was something off-putting about it. But after it set, something magical happened. It turned into a deep rich smooth delicious chocolate pie. Max and I both loved it.
I used Oreos for my crust instead of chocolate wafers. I've used chocolate wafers for Baked recipes before, but I hate spending $5 on a little package of those wafer cookies. Seriously, why do they cost so much?? They are just dry little plain cookies! I only wanted to make a half batch, and at least with Oreos we'd enjoy eating what I didn't use for the pie. I thought the Oreos worked fine.
I also used cream instead of the liqueur. If I were a coffee drinker, I might've used straight coffee instead of the cream. I think coffee would've given the pie an added flavor dimension that would've made the pie even better. Alternatively, I think mint extract would work great with this pie. I'm going to try that next time.
This recipe was quite a success. It was so easy to make, and it tasted great. I would definitely make this again. In fact, I still have half of a package of tofu in the fridge so I might be making this again very soon!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
As if all those good things weren't enough, my kids (3 and 5 years) downed these pancakes like there's no tomorrow. I made the full 12-cake batch, and there were only 2 left over although my husband only ate one (he's not a big pancake fan).
I'll definitely be making these again--even after my pre-made dry mix runs out. :)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I used shredded cheddar cheese, zucchini, squash, ham and onion. I sauteed the vegetables before putting them in the pre-made pie crust and I think that really enriched the flavors. This took about 10 minutes to put together including chopping and cooking the vegetables. It does take some time to cook and cool but your active time is pretty minimal. I'll be making this again very soon!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Ok, mine wasn't truly Moo-Less. I liked Cami's idea of substituting heavy cream for the coffee liquor so I did that. I also can't have chocolate pie without a little whipped cream on top!
I was real hesitant to make this pie at first because I don't think I've ever made anything with tofu before. I've eaten it before I'm sure, and I don't really mind it, but to put it in a pie? I figured I'd give it a shot since people said they couldn't taste it, plus tofu is healthy. That's what this food blog is for, to try things you wouldn't otherwise, right?
The pie really is easy to make, especially if you use a pre-made crust like I did. The pie tasted very chocolatey (maybe even a tad bit too chocolatey). I couldn't really taste the tofu. It was decent chocolate pie, but not my favorite. I don't know if it was the chocolate flavor (maybe I should have used more expensive chocolate?), the texture, or just knowing there was tofu in it. Just looking at my pie it looks like a chunk of brown tofu. It wasn't quite as creamy as I'd hoped for.
But I tried it, I got my chocolate fix, and now I know the difference between silken and firm tofu. Now I want to make the Baked chocolate pie!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I used 6 ounce ramekins instead of 4 ounce so I ended up with 6 flans instead of 8. I used caramel, homemade sugar-free blueberry jam and a mix of caramel and mini-chocolate chips. The pure caramel topped flan tasted exactly like french toast. It was really good. The blueberry was good as well but the caramel with chocolate chip was by far my favorite. The chocolate chips didn't melt much so it adds a little texture.
I'm going to be making the refrigerator pie tomorrow, so I'll post about that later in the week.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I, too, love a good macaroni & cheese (although I must admit the crunchy topping is not a must-have for me). But I do have a difficult time turning on both the stove and the oven at dinnertime (read: the hottest part of the day) in the summer, so I opted to make the Stove-top Mac n' Cheese. And it is definitely summer-friendly, because the only cooking you have to do is boiling the noodles. I've made many mac n' cheese recipes before but this one by far was the quickest. I did make a few changes to reflect personal preferences: I cut out an ounce on the cheese and used 10 oz. of noodles instead of 8 oz. (It's my opinion that the ounces of cheese should not exceed the ounces of noodles.) Even so, with the eggs AND the butter, it was still very rich. Which I don't mind, but it does explain why Mr. Brown thinks that a half a pound of pasta will serve 6 people.
The previous posts have mentioned that the baked-and-crunchy recipe was missing a little something--well, this recipe had a little too much of . . . something. Not quite sure what. It could be that I eyeballed the hot sauce. Or that I eyeballed the ground mustard (yeah, this is me feeling a little sheepish). So I'd definitely recommend pulling out the (appropriate) measuring spoons for those two ingredients. I did measure the salt, and it could even be that it was only a bit too salty. I'm usually not bad at pinning salt issues down, but this time I'm just not sure.
To sum up: for summer weather, this might be what I turn to when I have the macaroni & cheese craving, but during the cooler months I think I'll use my stand-over-the-stove-and-make -the-cheese-sauce recipe.
It needs more flavor. I added the full amount of salt after Jeannie suggested doing so, but it needs something else. I would start by adding more onion and maybe some meat. Ham? Bacon? Kielbasa sausage? I might also add garlic when cooking the onion.
I look forward to seeing what everyone else does with this. I'm going to buy some ham tomorrow to add to the leftovers. We'll see how it goes.
Monday, August 2, 2010
So back to the pancakes. These are really good and I could eat them weekly. Mine had a slight eggy undertone, which I liked. I didn't find that cooking blueberries in them was any better than just topping them with blueberries. I'll be making these again and I just might try the flap jack cake. That could be fun.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I have to admit that I didn't actually make these. Max made them while I fed our new little addition to the family. So any input about the preparation comes from him.
Melanie mentioned that these were easier to make than her other buttermilk pancake recipe. I'm not sure if she's talking about the Our Best Bites pancakes, but if so, Max agreed that these were easier to make (didn't require beating the egg whites). And it is nice to have the pancake mix handy for later.
These were delicious pancakes. I loved the texture and the thickness. I never thought I'd find a recipe that would replace the Our Best Bites pancakes, but this just might do it. I can't say that hands down, these are better. But since they are easier and just as tasty, this might be my new go-to pancake recipe.
The episode for this week is For Whom the Cheese Melts 2. I was looking for a good macaroni and cheese recipe and saw that the one from this set received high reviews. I apologize to all you out there who are having a proper summer and are turned off by the thought of using heat for your food prep, but we are cold and dreary out here by the beach. I needed some comfort food.
I'm a complete sucker for baked mac & cheese with a nice, crunchy topping. This one called for Panko bread crumbs and butter, which I really liked. I'd purchased a bag of the stuff from Costco a few months back and so I'm always looking for ways to use it.
I followed the recipe exactly, except that I decreased the salt (just trying to cut back, in general). I would not recommend doing that. Although it was flavorful with the onion and mustard, it was definitely more bland that I was expecting.
I'm glad I used this recipe, though, because I learned a new cooking skill: how to temper an egg. The excerpt from the episode gives a good explanation of how to do it. I'd never seen the show before, so it was kind of fun to see Alton Brown in action. The video showed him and a kid (his nephew?) concocting this dish together, so I decided to let my son help me out, too. Always a plus when he's happily occupied during dinner-making.
I did like the contrasting creamy and crunchy consistencies and taste overall but it was missing something. Not the amazing mac & cheese experience I was hoping for. It was easy and fast, aside from the baking time, so I will probably try it again but maybe tweak a few ingredients here and there.
Now I need to check out the other mac & cheese recipe to compare...