Saturday, January 28, 2017

Winter Cooking

Long time, no update! I need to be more diligent about taking photos of what I cook and updating this blog. Maybe I'll make that a goal for this year. I don't like to do new year's resolutions per se but I will set some realistic goals for myself.

So back in December, I baked some bread for the church bake sale. It sold out pretty quickly, which is always gratifying.

I love to make stews in the Crock-Pot in the winter, and vegetarian chili works perfectly. I like that you don't have to take the time to brown any meat, you just dump everything in the pot, stir it, and turn it on. Three to four hours later, you have a feast fit for kings.

Have you ever tried making homemade pasta? It's easier than you think. You can mix the dough by hand or in the food processor, and you don't need a special machine to roll and cut the dough. I rolled out this dough with a rolling pin and used a pizza wheel to cut it into rectangles. Then I pinched the centers together with my fingers and used a fork to crimp the edges to make bow-tie pasta. It's not perfect but that's the charm of making something by hand.

I hope you're feasting well in 2017, my friends.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

There Is No Family Biscuit Recipe

My family is from Kentucky on both sides, and they all love to eat biscuits, but oddly enough, there is no family biscuit recipe passed down through the generations. In fact, both my parents never made anything except biscuits from a can. I don't know whether their mothers never bothered to show them how to make biscuits or if it was something that didn't interest them. To be honest, neither of them was much of a baker, so I pretty much taught myself how to bake by using cookbooks.

Unlike my parents, I love to bake biscuits from scratch, and my current favorite biscuit recipe is from Mark Bittmann's How to Cook Everything. It's easy and yields great biscuits every time.

If you're afraid to make biscuits, I highly recommend that you try Bittmann's recipe. You'll be surprised at how easy it is.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Year, New Recipe

Happy 2016! Hope your holidays were filled with lots of wonderful food. So far this year, I've mostly been cooking favorites from my old cookbooks. However, I did try this new recipe for potato kugel from the New York Times.

This is what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

And this is what it looks like sliced and served.

The outside was brown and crispy but the inside was perfectly fluffy and tender. I will definitely be making this recipe again, but I plan to double the amount of onion next time. It was a little bland.

Yesterday for lunch I made pasta with brown butter and sage. It's very simple but completely decadent, with that butter coating everything.

The recipe is from Mark Bittmann's How to Cook Everything. Here's the abbreviated version: Cook a pound of pasta. Reserve a cup of the cooking water before you drain it. While the pasta is draining, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and cook 20-30 sage leaves in it until the butter turns brown (watch carefully, because it goes from brown to burnt in seconds). Turn off the heat and return the pasta to the pot and toss to coat with the butter. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Use the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What I've Been Cooking Lately

OK, we have a lot to catch up on, so let me get to it. For Thanksgiving, a good friend invited me to spend the day with her. I made biscuits and a pumpkin-cheesecake pie (the same one that won the ribbon at the South Side Pie Challenge earlier in November). She made the rest. It was nice not to have to do much cooking for a change.

Last weekend, I had my annual nondenominational holiday potluck. I have a ham for the carnivores, a vegetarian entree (this year I made chili mac and cheese, and it was a big hit, even among the meat eaters), and a dessert. I made a chocolate-sour cream pound cake and covered it with orange-infused chocolate ganache. Isn't that a gorgeous cake? It's very simple but looks amazing and tastes even better.

Finally, winter has not really started yet in Chicago, but we have had a few cold blustery days. On one of them, I made chicken-noodle soup for lunch. It was nice and comforting on a chilly day.

Hope you're enjoying this holiday season and eating lots of good food with those you love.