Thursday, May 31, 2007

nice buns!

alright....i can only guess, but i am fairly certain it has taken me almost a full week to post about these glorious apple cinnamon brioche buns because that is how long it is taking my poor body to come out of shock over the 4 lbs of butter i consumed....either that or because that is approximately how long they took me to make. one or the other. either excuse is fully applicable. they were worth every single second of waiting, every minute of standing, sweating over the insanely hot oven on a 92 degree day (at least the dough rose quickly!), every HOUR of waitng for the dough to rise, then slap it down, rise, then slap it down....

i don't believe i have ever received the amount of fanfare for something i cooked that i received upon the unveiling of these little beauties....unfortunately, the road to heaven was occasionally a rocky one...i learned a few things that will make the next batch a little easier on the blood pressure. the caramel sauce took much longer to come together than i expected....while it was worth the time it took, i really misjudged my timing and the buns had cooled before i could put the sauce on them and then i had to run out of the house because i was late, so rather than being able to make a beautiful presentation after my 22 hours of work, i had to just throw the icing on and run out the door, which is why i am only posting a picture of the unbaked buns. the finished project was, while being a festival of unprecedented deliciousness on the tongue, not so hot to look at. but the unbaked buns are pretty cute, regardless. i had to really fight the urge to just stick my hand in the dish and SQUSH them...the recipe is from Peabody, who i currently deify.

of course, there was also the butter incedent....

upon waking with a wicked hangover after drinking almost 2 bottles of wine while waiting for my dough to rise the night before...slap...rise...slap, i found that i had to get on the ball quickly to get out of the house with these little bundles of joy by 1:00 for a party at our friend's house....but of course, the plugra was hard as a rock. i'm pretty smart you know? OF COURSE metallic things like gold butter wrappers cannot go in the microwave!! what kind of dummy would think they can?? so since i am so smart, and i just needed the butter softened and not fully melted, i wrapped my stick of butter in a paper towel first to TRICK the microwave into thinking there was no metallic wrapper. as smart as i am, the microwave is STILL smarter....and after huffing and puffing and resorting to THROWING a jug of water into the oven, the fire was put out, the butter was saved and i lived to tell about it.

buns...glorious buns....i have a feeling i will be making these for every winter holiday for years to come.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

carbs, glorious carbs....

when all else fails, i make a salad. truth be told, i love a good medium rare filet with whiskey cream sauce as much as the next carnivore, but if i had to choose just one food to eat for the rest of my life, i would probably choose salad. the possibilities are endless and there's something about the cool crunch and tang of a really delicious dressing that makes my tastbuds happy.

my favorite combination is the classic fruit, nut, blue cheese....i usually don't get too wild with the lettuces and just do a rough chop on some hearts of romaine. the nuts are always walnuts though. i'm not a pecan kind of gal, unless we're talking pie. i like them candied but have yet to find my go-to candied walnut for the fruit, anything will do. green grapes, pears, apples, strawberries, craisins....a sweet, tart champagne vinaigrette always closes the show and i am a happy girl.

sometimes though, a salad just screams for croutons. to me, few things are as exciting as the last dressing soaked crouton at the bottom of a salad bowl. i make a mean caesar, which will make it into this blog one day. the dressing is from scratch, right down to the homemade mayonaise and i don't skimp on the garlic either. if there is one thing on which i will not compromise, it is the quality of my croutons. the bagged marie callendars ones in the produce section rarely cut it for me. making croutons is so simple, there's no reason not to do it and the difference in flavor is truly amazing. different salads call for different croutons though, and you have to be aware of what taste sensation you're going for. for the caesar salad, i create little mini garlic croutons, using a french baguette, because the french bread has a subtle flavor that lends itself well to a full flavored olive oil and garlic. for a good old fashioned veggie salad with ranch dressing, i go for a tangy crouton made from a sourdough baguette. i find that the olive oil flavor really clashes with the sourdough and prefer to use a light vegetable oil/butter combo...either way, i am a fan....

Garlic Croutons
1 french baguette, cut into 1'' cubes
extra virgin olive oil
garlic powder
salt & freshly ground pepper

put the bread cubes into a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil to coat but not saturate. sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper and mix.

spread bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or untill crunchy and golden. let cool and try not to eat them all before they make it to your salad.

Sourdough Croutons
sourdough baguette, cut into 1'' cubes
vegetable oil
melted butter
salt & freshly ground pepper

put the bread cubes into a bowl and drizzle generously with butter & vegetable oil to coat but not saturate. sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

bake at 375 for 20 minutes or untill golden brown and crunchy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

i made it onto the foodie blogroll!!

which feels pretty darned fabulous to a girl with no entries on her blog to speak of....i've been meaning to, but starting this blog in the first place put a voo doo hex on me in the kitchen and i got a bad case of stage fright with my next attempt at dinner. what resulted was a dried out "stuffed" chicken breast with raw garlic suspended in spinach and not enough goat cheese, and rosemary potatoes a la oven....if you're wondering if "a la oven" is a new preparation you haven't yet heard of and are a bit intrigued, don't be. my sweet husband came home with flowers for me and in my excitement, holding the pan of potatoes with my non-dominant hand (because i have yet to find a left handed oven mitt), i flipped them over, flinging them and a whole heck of a lot of olive oil all over the kitchen. the tray landed bottoms up (of course) on the open oven door. the potatoes underneath it were salvaged and that was dinner....unnatractive and undelicious.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"

...And so it begins...
Inspired by the culinary greatness contained in the many food blogs I have been lurking around lately and also, quite honestly feeling somewhat....make that HUGELY inferior, I have decided to step up my game! Cooking loves me and I love it. Cooking well is in my blood. Why have I been fighting my inner chef? laziness? fear?
Eating is one of my favorite adventures. It frustrates me to no end when others don't share that passion for food. I feel judged by the Holier Than Though who live by the motto "Eat to live, don't live to eat!". To me, they might as well be saying "Listen only to hear relevant conversation, not to hear birds sing or waves crashing or your mother's laughter."
I hope one day to be the kind of foodie I so admire. The kind who fearlessly eats at an elegant restaurant alone and orders escargot. I had foie gras once and it was devine, you know?
I also hope to become the kind of cook who can whip up a show-stopping meal with what's in the pantry and not once need to look at a cookbook....

...I'm definitely going to need a bigger cutting board....