Archive for April, 2014

13th April
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Week 15 – April 9, 2014 – April 15, 2014
Made on April 12, 2014

This week, we had a potluck dinner with my Tae Kwon Do club. I wanted to bring something on the healthier side and I love green beans, so I decided to try this recipe from the Food & Wine website. This recipe doesn’t need much of an explanation. It was extremely straight-forward to follow and turned out great. The only thing I would change is add the step of chopping off the stems of the green beans at the beginning. Also, I was making this for vegetarians, so the chicken broth could be replaced with a vegetable broth instead. This recipe also caused me to finely buy a device for squeezing the juice out of lemons. I used that same device for the orange juice needed as well and it worked out well. I skipped the part about making the green beans for kids and even though the food wasn’t served for another 30 minutes (I had to drive to West Seattle), it was still tasty.

11th April
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Week 14 – April 2, 2014 – April 8, 2014
Made on April 3, 2014

This week, I decided to try making this cheese bread recipe. The recipe calls for non-fat dry milk… which I don’t even know what that is, but in the comments, they saw you can make replace the water and dry milk with actual milk. So I decided to try that. The recipe says 1/2 a cup of dry milk and 1.5 cup of water, so used 2 cups of non-fat milk. I’m not sure if that was too much? When I warmed the milk, I still didn’t have a kitchen thermometer yet, so the water may have been too warm?

As I made the dough, it kept sticking to dough hook in my mixer, so I added more than the 3 cups of flour that it calls for. I don’t if that was too much. Also, the active dry yeast package I used had expired.

All in all – the bread didn’t rise. It remained pretty thick, but there were so many things I messed up… also baking bread is not easy. I would try this again, but with the proper ingredients and tools. Maybe it will turn out better then. But the cheese tasted good!

9th April
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Week 13 – March 26, 2014 – April 1, 2014
Made on March 28, 2014

I’m back from Iceland now and for this week, I decided to try a bolognese sauce. I have like the ones I’ve eaten in restaurants and I wanted to see what goes into making it. I found this recipe on the Food Network website that seemed doable.

First of all, I had no idea what went into making a bolognese. I thought it was just a meat sauce and had no idea why it had it’s own name or how it was different than any other meat sauce. The carrots and celery help add a little thickness to the sauce. The add water and reduce part is super important to pay attention to. I can see how the sauce can become a soup if you add too much water at once.

Things I learned from making this sauce. This recipe called for things to be “salty like the ocean”… maybe I took it too far, but my bolognese definitely ended up too salty. Usually I don’t put enough salt into things, so I guess I went a little overboard here. Next time I make this, I’ll measure how much salt I’m adding in so I know if I should add more or less from there. Then when it comes to tying up the thyme – make sure it’s secured very tightly. Mine fell apart during the 3+ hours of reducing and then every time I had a bowl, I had to spend time pulling out thyme sprigs. Another thing I did with this recipe is that I used a stock pot to make most of it. I have a 12in pan, that that is far too small to hold all of the ingredients that this recipe calls for. I wonder if I should be using a saute pan (or something with taller sides) instead.

In any case, I liked it enough that I would make it again, I would just add less salt. And I now have a new appreciation for pasta bolognese because I know what goes into making it.

6th April
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Week 12 – March 19, 2014 – March 25, 2014
Made on March 22, 2014

During this week of 2014, I was in Iceland! And if you haven’t been able to tell yet, I like food. That includes food from other countries. One of my favorite ways to discover a place is through it’s food. So while I was in Iceland, not only was I eating a lot, I took a cooking class.

The cooking class was from this business: salt eldhus. Salt eldhus means “salt kitchen” (I think). They really like their salt in Iceland. I imagine it’s because they are are small island surrounded by salt water. Not to mention that they have so many interesting minerals and such to infuse with the salt. The class I took was the Local in Focal class.

We made a three course meal as part of this class. First was the appetizer: Arctic Char sous vide with Shrimp and Pressed Potato Salad. The chef made sous vide seem so easy… I was a little surprised. We didn’t use any special sous vide device. All we did was have a pot of water, heat it up to a certain temperature, and then monitor it to make sure the temperature stayed consistent. I’ve been thinking for a while that I should invest in a kitchen thermometer, this trip helped solidify the decision to get one.

Then for the main course we had Icelandic mountain lamb with angelica, baby potatoes, and a beet salad. I was focused on the beet salad and used a mandolin for the first time. Everytime the chef walked by he told me to watch my fingers. That blade did look sharp, but I didn’t injure myself and the beet salad turned out great. :)

Then for dessert we had Semi-frozen Skyr mousse with wild blueberries, thyme, and toasted oats. Skyr is like a mix between greek yogurt and mascarpone cheese. According to the way it’s made, it’s technically considered a cheese, but people eat it like greek yogurt and in desserts. I didn’t have a hand in making this one. This was made by the other group in the class. And it tasted delicious.

5th April
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Week 11 – March 12, 2014 – March 18, 2014
Made on March 16, 2014

This week was the week of St. Patrick’s Day so I figured I would pull out an old recipe for the occasion. This week I decided to try the Guinness Cupcakes with a chocolate-irish cream ganache filling and an irish cream buttercream frosting. I made this recipe years ago when I was doing my photo a day project. The main recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen. This recipe calls for Irish Whiskey as part of the ganache filling. I didn’t have Irish Whiskey, nor did I want to buy some because I would never drink it. So I decided to replace the whiskey with Irish Cream instead.

I made mini-cupcakes instead of regular sized ones. But the baking time seemed to remain the same, which I was surprised about. It may have been because I kept checking the cupcakes for done-ness (with a toothpick) and so each time I opened the oven door, I was letting out too much heat. In any case, I would probably do the same if I were to make these again, just to be sure I’m not over baking them. The reason I want to make sure they aren’t over-baked is because this recipe creates nice and moist cupcakes. One of my least favorite things about cupcakes is that they are always dry, but not these. :)

I don’t have a fancy cookie cutter to make the hole for the ganache. These were mini-cupcakes anyway, so the cookie cutter would have had to be pretty small. Instead I just took a small knife and carved out a hole from the top of each cupcake. I had a friend visiting from out of town and she helped fill them (as well as helped with many other parts of the baking process which I am very grateful for). And then I put a dollop of frosting on top of each, added some sprinkles and that’s it! For both the filling and the frosting, we put each in their own plastic ziplock bags, sealed the top, and then cut a hole in on of the corners. That made the filling and frosting process go by much faster.

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