Friday, January 29, 2010

day 2 of the winter storm

Yesterday it started sleeting around 3 while I was in Target buying some much needed groceries.  Today it started snowing sometime in the early afternoon and kept at it for quite a few hours.  I think we ended up with 4-6 inches of snow, I couldn't really tell.  OU likes to over-react a bit about the snow and they canceled class yesterday before any weather even started, but it turns out that was probably a good idea.
Today, since I was basically stuck inside and Max was monopolizing the tv, I decided that I had an excuse to bake (not that I ever need one).  I finally got out my new kitchenaid mixer that Allison and Matt got us for our wedding/Christmas.  I think I fell in love...
Isn't it pretty?  It certainly made quick work of creaming butter and sugar and bringing a batter together.  I made honey vanilla pound cake today.  Last night, Max and I were watching Alton Brown and he was making his pound cake.  I had been meaning to make pound cake for a while and this recipe sounded really good, plus Max said it was his favorite.  So, I mixed up the batter..
Cooked it for 60 minutes because the middle just wasn't setting...

And proceeded to burn it.  I had it set at the right temperature, but I think I needed to turn it down because I used a non-stick pan.  The inside is a little dry, but the taste is really good and I will make this again and try not to burn it.

Had I not burned it, I think that the outside would have been crispy and sweet, like the top was.  Max and I both agreed that I should make this again, so that is why I am telling you guys about it even though I messed it up.

Honey vanilla pound cake
from familyfriendlyfood
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees (180°C.) Grease the bottom of an 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, put the eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon zest but do not combine. With the mixer on medium low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, allowing each egg to become incorporated and scraping the bowl with a spatula before adding the next one.
  4. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined.
  5. Finish mixing the batter with a spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.
She also provided a link for a cake flour substitute so that you don't have to go out and buy it :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So this post is a little about food, but I haven't been able to cook for the past few days (except pita) because my schedule is crazy and max has been sick.  I'm going to tell you about the cookbook that I think I have used the most since I got it.   

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg is an awesome guide to making homemade bread.  The way it works: you make dough that rises for two hours and then put it in your fridge.  As you need it, you cut off pieces and let them rise for 20-40 minutes before baking for 30-35.  It takes some waiting, but there is almost no effort involved.  From the master recipe you can make boule, baguettes, pita bread, and some other types of bread.  There are four ingredients (salt, flour, water, and yeast).  I highly recommend this book, at least check it out from your library.  Also, the dough is good for 14 days! So you only have to put effort in every two weeks, or at least as long as it takes you to eat 4 loaves of bread.

Baguettes rising in my fancy baguette pan (don't worry, you don't need one of these).  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

Also, not food related.  I just finished two books by Margaret Atwood and I think she is one of my new favorite authors.  I just read The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake.  The first is about a future where women are highly protected and limited in their freedoms and its based in the US, kinda creepy, but excellent.  The other was a sci-fi type book about the future, again.  Its after a sort-of end of the world scenario and you follow one character as he reminisces about the past and survives the present.  Again, check out the library and read one of these books because it is worth it.

I'll provide some food soon.  I have some time and there is supposed to be a snow storm tomorrow so I hope I get to bake and cook :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Productive Sunday

Today was a pretty productive day, food wise.  I managed a little laundry in between the cooking, but who enjoys that?  The other day I bought pizza ingredients and I decided that today was a good day to do that.  I had realized that I had never actually made my own pizza dough for pizza, only for calzones.  I used a recipe that I had used before for calzones because I remembered it had tasted really good, but I can't remember where I got it.  It made enough for 2 pizzas, so I froze the other half.  We had green pepper pizza tonight, next time it'll probably be artichokes 'cause I have a can of those sitting in my cabinet.

The dough after about an hour of rising.  I got a little excited and started this much earlier than I needed to. 

I forgot to take a picture of the pizza sans toppings.  This was the last slice and I had already put chipotle tabasco on it.  If you haven't tried the chipotle tabasco, I highly recommend it.

I was pretty bored today, so at some point I decided we needed something sweet.  I ate the last of the chocolate chip cookies tonight and had just seen a picture of some really yummy looking banana bread on (this is my FAVORITE website for recipes).  I had 4 very ripe bananas in my freezer, so I made cinnamon swirl banana bread.  Something I learned today: don't add melted butter to slightly frozen bananas, it kind of defeats the purpose of melting the butter.  The final product was really good, but the batter looked a bit funny with butter chunks in it.

Yes, that is cinnamon and sugar on top.  There is another layer inside.

This was the finished product.  The cinnamon-sugar layer on the top got flaky and yummy.  Although, careful taking it out of the pan, the topping might fall off.  The outside looks a little dark because I use a non-stick pan and my oven is the worst...

Recipes after the jump...

Friday, January 22, 2010

King Arthur Flour

A few weeks ago I went to King Arthur Flour up in Vermont.  It was an amazing trip.  I went with my mom, Allison, Joseph, Mark and Joann.  We spent a little time at the factory store, exploring the glory that is King Arthur Flour, sampling desserts and enjoying the delicious smells that came from the bakery section.  While we were up there, we went to a restaurant called Murphy's in Hanover (I think) and a Co-op.

I got so many awesome things at King Arthur and the Co-op including a shirt, cake flour, sourdough flavoring, a mug, and the tahini that I made hummus with yesterday.  They even threw in some pina colada scone mix since I spent $25.  When we went to the co-op, I discovered that they sell King Arthur's cake flour for like 45 cents a lb!  That's significantly less than I paid at King Arthur, but everything else was so unique that I'm okay with that.

Pictures after the jump

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Post

Hi everyone! I created this blog to share pictures of my food creations with family and friends. I've found myself baking a lot lately (and that may be an understatement) and keep getting requests for recipes. This is an easier way to share these things than facebook, that's for sure!! I bake about three times a week and I plan on taking pictures and sharing these experiences with all of you!

I have a small back-log of photos that I've taken since Christmas with my new camera (thanks Max :)) and I'll post those and some recipes as soon as I figure out the picture thing. For today, I'll just tell you what I made. I decided I would try hummus today with the tahini I bought at the co-op in norther NH. I got it after our trip to the mecca of baking, King Arthur Flour (more about that later). I also made some pita bread. I made some yesterday and Max liked it so much that I made another batch today (I think today's turned out better). So, here are the recipes. Hope you give them a try and enjoy!

It doesn't look appetizing, but trust me, its good!!
1 15-19 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cups water
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon (or 2 if its not a juicy one)
1/2-1 tsp of salt
1-2 tsp of cumin
2 tbs tahini
  • Put garlic in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until the garlic is chopped
  • Put all other ingredients, except water, into the food processor. Blend until everything looks combined, it'll probably look a little dry.
  • Slowly add water while blending until the mixture has a smooth, but slightly gritty, look.
  • You have now made hummus, enjoy!

Pita Bread
from Making Fresh Bread
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 scant cup lukewarm water
  • Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and whisk in the sugar and yeast. Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and water. Stir well with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until the dough begins to come together. Knead a little with your hands until it leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Or, use the dough hook attachment of your mixer and knead for slightly less time.
  • Brush (or spray) the bowl you used before with oil. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl, covering with a damp dish towel or paper towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour when the dough has doubled in size.
  • After an hour, punch down the dough (you can do this is the bowl). Divide into 6-8 pieces using a bowl scraper or butter knife. Shape each piece into a ball, put onto a cookie sheet, cover with the damp towel, and let rise for 10 minutes.
  • Slightly flatten each dough ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface into an oval that is approx. 6 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Place on a lightly flour towel (or again, a paper towel) and cover with another towel. Let all the pieces rise for another 30 minutes.
  • While those are rising, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Make sure you do this 20-30 minutes ahead so that your oven gets really hot. Put 2 cookie sheets in the oven so that they get hot too. Put pita dough onto the cookie sheets with space in between. It says bake for five minutes, but mine needed 4-5 minutes longer each time. Cook until they are lightly browned and they should puff up. Cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack and then put them in a towel again so they stay soft. Store in a big zip-top bag for a few days.
Note: this recipe uses a lot of dish towels and since I didn't feel like doing that much laundry I just resorted to paper towels. They worked fine and you can use them to clean the flour off your counters when you are done baking.

If you don't feel like making the hummus, put on some butter and jelly or make a sandwich!

So, let me know what you think so far and leave me a comment to let me know you've visited.