Archive | January, 2008

on my introverted self…

21 Jan

Isn’t it great when you find things written in your own old notes or journals that so apply to your current state of being? Something to remind you that you are not alone, atleast within yourself. I can’t put my thoughts into words but then I see, I already did, it was just some time ago during a different schedule of events. I have felt these feelings and thought these thoughts before…and I made it out alright.

My heart is heavy and burdensome. My thoughts are null and my feelings are numb. I would rather feel nothing, and preserve the absence of sadness than feel, and have the option of vibrant joy but risk sheer defeat in my heart.

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Mmmmm, Donuts

11 Jan

These are for you, Jenn. Yes, you. Make them for Dave and maybe you’ll get exactly what you want today 🙂 .

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Donut Muffins, doesn’t sound like there can be anything wrong there, right? Right. I love donuts, I love cake donuts, and those old-fashioned sour cream ones with the plain glaze. We used to get donuts every time we went to Colorado to see my grandparents; Grandpa would take us because it was the only time that Grandma would let him get donuts. Grandpa would use our visit to seize all donut flavors in one trip, as
he would have no foreseeable donut-run in the future. Usually, a trip to the donut shoppe was an enigmatic one, it involved lots of time and thought because I would have only as much time as there were people in front of us in the line to examine all donuts and tell my dad the two that I would sink my teeth into that morning. Chocolate or vanilla? Filled or not? The options went on and on. When we were in Colorado, no decisions were necessary. All holds were barred as bear claws, apple fritters, long johns, and jelly-filled donuts would go, one-by-one into the box. We would take them home and mom and Grandma would roll their eyes as we revealed two dozen donuts for the six of us.

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While these muffins are no donut, really, they bring back the smells and tastes of the familiar donut run…I am pretty much it has everything to do with the step in the recipe that reads “Roll or dip the muffins in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.” Oh, just make them. Indulge yourself.

Donut Muffins

makes 24.

muffins

2/3 c. oil

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

3 c. flour

4 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 t. nutmeg

1 c. milk

topping

1 c. sugar

2 sticks butter, melted

2 t. cinnamon

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a dark, nonstick pan) and grease a muffin pan

Mix oil, 1 cup sugar, and eggs in a medium bowl.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the oil mixture, making three additions of flour mix and two of milk.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, about 1/2 full.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Immediately remove muffins from pan when done and roll (or dip) in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon and sugar.

Eat them warm!

I. Love. Winter. Foods.

10 Jan

Period.

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This is awesome, and easy. Who ever though packaged oatmeal was good for anything but a mid-morning office hunger-buster (thanks to you, hot water tap).

So, here it is. The Cranberry Apple Crisp. Starring….packaged oatmeal! I have made this dish both in a casserole dish and in little, individual oven safe bowls. If you do the latter, take them out of the oven hot and put a cold soop of vanilla icecream atop the granola crumble and you won’t evey turn away from this recipe. You have no reason not to make this.

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Cranberry Apple Crisp

serves 8.

3 c. chopped Granny Smith apples

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 c. white sugar

3 T. flour

3 (1 5/8 oz.) packages quick-cooking oatmeal (vanilla or cinnamon & spice or apples & spice)

1/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the apples and the cranberries with white  sugar and flour.

Pour into 2 qt casserole dish or 8×8 pan.

Mix remaining ingredients, spoon over top of mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

This recipe is modified from AB, who makes it every year for our holiday potluck at work.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

9 Jan

Sunday, I resolved to post more on this blog. And then Sunday, the batteries in my camera died. I have a hard time posting when I am void of photos, probably because I can’t stand cookbooks or recipes without photos. If I don’t have an image of what I am striving for, how am I supposed to make it correctly? At Graphic Design conferences, the best thought leaders say that your best ideas come from someone else’s…nothing is completely new. Look at layouts or images, take different pieces that you like, and make something of your own. I like to see pictures of what I am going to make…am I too appearance driven? Don’t judge me 🙂

Recently, I have been on a made-totally-from-scratch kick. Hence, last week’s very involved frosting. I got into a long conversation with some ladies last night in which AR told us about her homemade yogurt, which sounds fantastic and may be a project later this week, and Mimi shared stories of growing up in Ethiopia, days full of family and fellowship – making cottage cheese from scratch and using natural herbs and plants to soothe ailments. Inspiring, really.

Sunday we met some fantastic folks at church. They moved down here from Dallas in the last few weeks, and we had the pleasure of having them over for dinner. In light of the made-totally-from-scratch kick, I arrived at home an hour before our guests were to arrive with pounds of tomatoes, carrots, and beef. Begin italian frenzy.

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I made a fresh Roasted Vegetable pasta sauce that takes a little time, but it is a foolproof, add-whatever-you-have-in-the-fridge recipe. It freezes well too, so use up your veggies that are on their last day, before they go bad.

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce

serves 8.

3 lb vine ripe tomatoes (use roma, or greenhouse, or whatever you can get your hands on)

1 onion

2 carrots

2 T. rosemary

1 T. thyme

3 T. olive oil

1 head of garlic.

any other veggies you have (increase olive oil 1 T for each extra lb of veggies)

Preheat oven to 450

Line 2 baking sheets with foil

Separate cloves out of the head of garlic, but do not remove outmost skin of clove. Place in oven-safe dish.

Slice carrots into1/2 inch pieces, roughly chop onion, and cut tomatoes in half. Toss veggies in herbs and olive oil. Place veggies on baking sheets, tomatoes should be cut-side down. Roast in oven for 40 minutes.

Also place garlic in the oven and roast 40 minutes.

Remove vegetables from oven, and with tongs, remove skins from tomatoes (this is not imperative, but it will give you a smoother sauce.

Pull outer skin off of garlic cloves to reveal a soft, roasted garlic clove. (Roasting the garlic removes its bite. You can eat a whole roasted garlic clove without being in danger of warding off all house guests. This roasted garlic is also great smashed on a baguette slice, or atop a chic salad.)

Now, for the variations.

For a chunky, lighter pasta sauce: remove vegetables and garlic from baking sheet and dish and place in bowl. Beat with electric mixer until homogeneous.

For a chunky, thicker pasta sauce: remove vegetables and garlic from baking sheet and dish and place in bowl. Beat with electric mixer until homogeneous. Pour mixture into a strainer over the sink to rid the sauce of excess liquid.

For a smooth, lighter pasta sauce: remove vegetables and garlic from baking sheet and dish and place in blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

For a smooth, thicker pasta sauce: remove vegetables and garlic from baking sheet and dish and place in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pour mixture into a strainer over the sink to rid the sauce of excess liquid.

Freeze extra sauce in airtight containers.

Meatballs

serves 8.

2 lb lean ground beef

2 T. oregano

1 c. italian breadbrumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 T. olive oil

Combine all ingredients sans olive oil and and form into small balls, 1.5 inches in diameter. Place half of meatballs in nonstick skillet over medium heat, drizzle with 2 T. olive oil and rotate until cooked all the way through. Repeat with second half of meatballs.


Combine with 16 oz.Whole Wheat Linguini, cooked.

Happy Birthday, Trisha!

4 Jan

Yesterday was Trisha’s birthday. On everyone else’s birthday, Trisha makes fabulous cakes. Enter icecream, brownie, whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate fudge. Into your mouth. All in one bite. Yes, Trisha’s cakes are fantastic. But yesterday was Trisha’s own birthday and so I took the liberty of giving her a day off of cake-baking and made one myself.

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Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
Deeply Dark Devil’s Food Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
11 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease two 9 inch cake rounds and dust with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix to incorporate.

Beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additons alternating with the warm water in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake cake for 25-40 mintues. Cool cake for 20 minutes after baking.
5. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

Source: The Cake Book by Tish Boyle

Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
½ cup water
2 cups sugar
3 cups of butter, at room temperature
½ tsp salt
4 TBSP Bailey’s Caramel Irish Cream

store-bought caramel sauce

Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs and yolks in a large bowl on high speed for about 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar; simmer until it reaches the soft ball stage, registering between 234 and 240F on a candy thermometer. Immediately transfer the syrup to a large heatproof liquid measuring cup. In a slow, thin stream, add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture., mixing on low speed the entire time. Increase the speed to medium and beat about 7 minutes, until the syrup has cooled. Add the butter, half a stick at a time, beating on medium after each addition. Once all of the butter has been added, beat on medium speed until the frosting thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the salt and Irish Cream.

Spread the frosting between the cake layers and then cover the cake with frosting. To make the star design on top, I cut a star out of construction paper and placed it carefully on top of the frosted cake. I then poured cocoa into a mesh strainer while holding the strainer over the sink, then held the strainer over the cake and lightly tapped it, to cover the top of the cake lightly with cocoa. Then I pulled off the star to reveal the unadultered frosting in a star design beneath it. I then drizzled store-bought caramel sauce over the top. Refrigerate the cake until ready to eat.

Source: Cake adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Ganache adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman

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