Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Danielle's Flandango

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

Cami's Salsa

Like Maren I love fresh salsa but haven't ever made it myself. This was really good! I used the recipe in the book and was very happy with it. This makes a ton! I think we'll be eating it all week. I need to buy more chips.

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

Maren's Fresh Salsa

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!

Jen's 40 Cloves and a Chicken

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.

"The Bulb of the Night" episode

Later Today I'll be posting a recipe from "The Bulb of the Night" episode. I have chosen 40 cloves of garlic and 1 chicken recipe. I have made a version of this recipe when I was in High School and I remember it being a lot of work! This one doesn't seem as a complex but will see later today.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catherine's Onion Dip

Hi everyone. Thanks for letting me join your cooking blog. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with my husband and four-year-old. I love to cook, and I'm looking forward to trying new recipes.

I decided to start with the onion dip. I didn't know how much a pound of onions was, but after reading the previous comments, I decided to use two large onions and hope it wasn't too much. It probably wasn't too much, but it was definitely enough.

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

Chile's Angels

This week's episode is titled Chile's Angels, found HERE and also on pg. 252 of the book. I made the recipe "Salsa" (the other recipe is titled "Habañero Salsa and Fixins" in the book and "Spicy Pineapple Sauce" on the website). We love salsa in our family so I was eager to try this one. In honesty, I've only made salsa a couple times because I have my favorite store bought brands, but fresh salsa is always a great treat! (Sorry if you're tired of dips! I'm visiting family and we had a big get-together so dips were the perfect thing to put on the menu.)

I was going to double the recipe but when chopping the tomatoes I thought it would be way too much. I decided to use eight or nine tomatoes instead of six and kept most of everything the same. I had never used ancho chiles before so it was fun to try something new. I had also never roasted jalapeños before so that was fun to try, thought it wasn't really easy to peel the skin off.

I'm realizing right now that the book recipe slightly differs from the website in that the book only calls for 1 ancho chile and 2 jalapeños while the website calls for 2 ancho chiles and 4 jalapeños. Without having looked at the website I added an extra ancho chile and jalapeño anyway, so I recommend following the website recipe.

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.

Melanie W.'s Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My husband and I recently ate some spinach artichoke dip at a restaurant and we said we should make it at home because it is so yummy! Fortunately, I was able to make it, but unfortunately, my husband didn't get any because I'm out of town while he had to stay home. Oh well, I would definitely make this again though! It was really yummy. I doubled it for a large crowd and still had a lot of leftovers. Since it's so creamy, a little goes a long way!

I used canned artichokes instead of frozen (has anyone ever seen frozen artichoke hearts? I don't think I have.) and chopped them into small pieces. I more than doubled the Parmesan cheese because I like my dip cheesy. We served it with baguette slices. This was really easy and yummy and will probably make it again soon.

Melanie W.'s Guacamole

I really like guacamole so I knew I would like this. It's also really easy to make, which is another reason I knew I'd like this. I doubled the recipe, though only added 3 tomatoes because I thought 4 would be too much. I didn't have cayenne pepper so I substituted chili powder and paprika like Whitney did. I added the full amount of salt and it was fine for my taste buds. I've never made guacamole with cumin before so that was a nice addition. I'll have to remember that for next time I make guacamole (because I usually don't use a recipe when I make it).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Danielle's Onion Dip

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.

Cami's Onion Dip

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

Baked on the Food Network

The Baked guys were featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay yesterday. The throwdown was banana cream pie.

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

Hi from Jen

Hi everyone. Thanks Cami for adding me. I have enjoyed reading your blog as I had been trying to go through my baked cookbook. I live with my sister and her family in Hudson, WI which is in the Twin Cities Metro Area. I look forward to posting on the blog.

Welcome Jen & Catherine

We'd like to welcome our newest delish members Jen and Catherine. Feel free to jump in and post as soon as you can! We're glad you're here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Maren's Refrigerator Pie

Doesn't it look kinda runny?

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.

Whitney's Dip Madness

This week's recipes come from the episode Dip Madness and gives four options: Guacamole, Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Onion Dip, and Chicken Liver Mousse (no thanks!).

I am currently on a 3 week vacation to spend time with family in Utah and escape the Arizona heat, so this was a recipe that was easy enough to make at my mom's house and share with family. I chose the spinach & artichoke dip and the guacamole (both got extremely high reviews). Sorry it's nothing too fancy!

Guacamole - I followed the recipe pretty closely. We didn't have any cayenne, so I substituted a little paprika & chili powder. I thought it tasted really good!! I didn't really have any "reserve lime juice" - no big deal and I thought it tasted a little salty with salted tortilla chips, so maybe you could half the salt. Tip: I hear that leaving the avacado pit in the guacamole keeps it greener (rather than turning brown quickly). Picture below.
Hot spinach & artichoke dip - I used canned artichokes rather than frozen and it turned out fine. I also used the low-fat sour cream and cream cheese (full 8 oz, rather than 6 oz). I thought this was so addicting!! I imagine that these dips don't have much variation, but I thought that the red pepper flakes gave it a nice kick. My mom said she was used to this type of dip having more cheese, but I thought it was just right. Sorry, no picture.

**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

Danielle's Moo-less Chocolate Pie

I really enjoyed this pie. In fact, I enjoyed it a little too much the first night and my tummy wasn't so happy the rest of the night...

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

Maren's Pancakes

This is my third pancake recipe to try, and it stands out for two reasons: it calls for butter instead of oil (hooray! I like the butter flavor better), and it has the two rising agents instead of just one. Also, I have a stove-top griddle and a finicky stove, so usually I have at least a few pancakes come out gooey in the middle, but this time I had not a single gooey pancake!

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

Cami's Refrigerator Pie

This is the greatest quiche recipe I've ever made. I love that it doesn't have a ton of eggs (only 2) and it has a great flavor, holds together well and uses up whatever I have around.

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

Melanie W.'s Moo-Less Chocolate Pie

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

Man with a Flan

The recipes this week are from The Egg-Files II: Man with a Flan on page 150. Jason picked this episode because of the flan. He is a huge fan of creme brulee and I think he was secretly hoping flan is the same thing. It turns out it is pretty close. It has a slightly more eggy flavor than creme brulee but otherwise it's pretty close.

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

Melanie W.'s Macaroni and Cheese

First of all, I found the Good Eats cookbook at a local library and let me just say, Wow, the book is huge!! Browsing through it I find many of the tidbits helpful and interesting, but I wish it was organized better. You have to read so much to get everything! I also wish there was a table of contents with each episode name listed. The index is ok, but not thorough enough. This mac n cheese recipe wasn't listed under 'cheese' but only under 'macaroni.' And what's up with the "applications" and "software" business? I find that annoying as well. I'm glad I'm able to check this out from the library because it's resourceful, but I don't see myself buying the book, especially since I can get the recipes online.

Ok, on to my food! Like everyone else has said so far, this isn't the best mac n cheese recipe out there, even though Alton Brown says it is. Like his nephew (who's not really his nephew, he admits in the book) said in that video clip, I prefer the stuff from the box. At least over this recipe.

I didn't know how to best tweak it, so I just added more salt and pepper than it called for. I don't know how much salt I added, I just kept adding it til it tasted better, which means it probably had way more than I should admit. :) The book doesn't mention using a bay leaf but I noticed the online recipe does, so I added it halfway through. When eating this it didn't taste too bland, but the taste was just off. For me I think it was the onions. If I were to make this again I'd leave them out. Ham would have been really nice but I didn't have any on hand.

This recipe wasn't a complete waste because my super picky almost 2 year old ate some, I learned what it means to temper an egg, and I learned what Panko bread crumbs are (had never heard of them before). I also found it interesting that he says to rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking....every other source I've learned from has said NOT to rinse pasta! I never knew why though, so I almost always do. Now it makes sense to rinse the pasta to stop the cooking, so rinsing I will continue to do!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Maren's Macaroni & Cheese

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.

Cami's Macaroni and Cheese

I LOVE a good macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately this isn't one of the best. I think it has potential though. The texture is perfect. I love the Japanese bread crumbs.

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

Cami's Flapjacks

We aren't huge pancake eaters at my house but that may be changing. My husband ate twice as many as we negotiated he would eat. You see, my husband is a picky eater. He agreed when we started delish that he would at least taste everything I make. He likes Good Eats a thousand times better than Baked, by the way.

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

Danielle's Flap Jacks

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.

For Whom the Cheese Melts 2

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...