December 30, 2009

The Discovery of Making Good Foods

Let me just start off by saying that I didn’t say cooking or baking in the title of this blog because dear readers, I have tackled BOTH in these last couple of days. I am not one to toot my own horn but the results have been pretty fricken awesome if I do say so myself.

First up - Baking. Ok, so, I actually kinda shuddered at the thought of baking because 1. I never took chemistry and 2. I’m not the best at following directions in an exact way (shocking, I know). What does chemistry have to do with baking you ask? EVERYTHING.

Example: I was attempting to make chocolate mint cupcakes before my Christmas party on December 19th. Now, while the cupcakes were from a box mix, the directions stated things that I had never seen before, such as “Cream the butter”. Wtf is that? Isn’t butter already creamy? I googled it and apparently it means to combine sugar with butter. First problem. The directions on the back of the cupcake box did not call for sugar. Mind you, this is just the frosting. Now for the real bitch - the cupcakes. OKKKKKKK SOOOOO the recipe called for unsalted butter aka sweet cream butter to be beat with a hand mixer. Ok, no problem right? WRONG. I had taken the butter out AT LEAST an hour before so that it would soften. Apparently it wasn’t soft enough and got caught up in the… beater thingys and refused to be beaten. Of COURSE I get the rebellious butter. Now here is where I made my huge mistake. I figured well hell, why not throw a stick on the microwave and THEN beat it. Logical, right? I do that and the butter melts (I can hear all those familiar with baking saying Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh! or Nooooooooooooo!) but I figure no big deal right? It’s going to melt in the oven anyway, right? NOPE. I combined everything else, put the mixture in the cupcake tins, put them in the over and set the time timer for 20mins and walked away. 20 mins later the cupcakes had not solidified. 15 more mins. Still a liquidy consistency. I was already stressed because the kitchen was a disaster and the party was supposed to start in 2 hours so you can image my howls of frustration. I ended up just throwing everything away and vowing to never attempt to make that brand of cupcakes again.

Due to this previous experience you can understand why I was a bit nervous when I got a wild hair up my ass to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch, right? ANYWAY, my mother is a lean, mean, baking machine. She can make pretty much bake anything and doesn’t even need a recipe (bitch). So I called home with the intention of getting her chocolate chip cookie recipe only to have my dad answer and remind me that my mother was up north visiting HER mother. So my dad went through my mothers MANY cook books and found a few recipes. I copied one down and entered my kitchen determined to make my butter scream TOBY. Learning from my past mistake I made SURE the butter was super soft but NOT melted. I figured that since the other recipe called for combining the sugar and butter first, I’d do that. Then I added the vanilla extract, then the egg. I had already mixed the flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl and SLOWLY added that to the butter mixture. After everything was mixed I stirred in the chocolate chips. I greased the cookie sheet (yay spray on butter!) and plopped some of the dough onto the sheet, shoved it in the oven and vowed that if these cookies turned out bad I would never bake again.

How did they turn out? FUCKING AWESOME! Because I am a firm believer of “Pics or it didn’t happen” you can see a picture of one of the wonderful, fluffy cookies below. They came out perfect. I mean REALLY perfect! They were soft and hard in all the right places (what does that wound like I’m describing a man…..) and yummers.

I felt triumphant. It was awesome.

Ok, now on to the cooking. I can honestly say that I think I’m becoming a pretty damn good cook. I’m like my mom in that I only really need basic guidelines and I can go by taste. On to the cooking awesomeness. We (Stu and I) subscribe to Farm Fresh to You which is a company that delivers fresh produce, right from the farm to you, hence the name. The quality is AMAZING and it’s given me the chance to try vegetables and fruits I never would have. Example, I had never had a leek before. I had no idea what it was and thought it looks like a green onion on steroids (I’m not kidding, the size of the ones we get would make a great weapon). We had gotten leeks before and had either given them away or ended up throwing them away because they went bad. When our box came yesterday it had more leeks. It also had potatoes. A couple of friends have talked about potato leek soup so I thought, what the hell, I’ll try it. I found a recipe on one of the MANY online recipe places and it called for bacon as well. For the recipe I used, the first thing you’re supposed to do is cut up the potatoes and bring them to a boil in chicken broth. I wanted to add a bit more flavor so I added, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and some dried minced onions. That alone tasted yummy so I was excited. The next thing you do is fry up the bacon and then keep some of the grease to sauté the leeks in. Easy peasy. When the potatoes are tender, add the leeks, bacon, and some heavy cream.


Seriously. Stu went back for doubles and I have some left over that I’m going to eat for lunch. A pic of the awesomness is below.

So, the moral of this post is… try new things, keep on trying, AND food is awesome. Like, realllllllly awesome. *looks at thighs* ahem… food is also awesome in moderation….