Archive for February, 2008

TWD: Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was pecan sour cream biscuits. Baking biscuits is sort of John’s thing (and he makes amazing biscuits) so I’ve never made them before. So far it seems like the early group reaction to these biscuits was lukewarm, but not at my house! We loved them! In terms of total calories consumed, these may have been worse for me than last week’s gateau, because I just couldn’t stop myself from reaching for another…and another. The flavor was just slightly sweet, and although we are nut haters around here and left them out, I can really see how the pecans would have worked well. But when I suggested leaving them in next time, John made a face. Perhaps I’ll do half with, half without so we can compare and contrast.

A split and buttered biscuit

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Black and White (Pan)Cake

I had my first complete fiasco since starting this blog today. Even worse, it was a birthday cake! John’s sisters turned 22 today, and I thought that the Black and White cake that TWD baked a week before I joined would be the perfect way to celebrate. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Much like Lemon Tartlet did when she baked it, I ended up with pancakes. Sad, dense, pathetic pancakes. Also much like Lemon Tartlet, I used silicone cake pans. Coincidence? I think not. Looking at the recipe, this cake should have been just fine, and plenty of other people had great success with it. I’m certain it was the pans. I hate my silicone cake pans a great deal, and this is not the first birthday cake they’ve ruined. But it may be the last! I whined to my mom about my terrible results, and she promised to mention that to the Easter Bunny. So here’s hoping for a brand new set of old fashioned metal cake pans in the near future.

A very flat cake

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Taste and Create: Sushi

In the midst of all my school stress this month, I decided to join Taste and Create this month. Because another deadline is just what I needed, right? I was fairly freaked out when I discovered that I had been paired up with Sushi Day, a blog dedicated entirely to making sushi. Although I love sushi, I couldn’t picture making it at home. I was a little nervous at the thought of trying to find sushi-grade anything around here. But as I discovered, Allison has made an amazing assortment of creative sushi, and I had no trouble finding a recipe that used readily available ingredients. I settled on her recipe for a Shrimp n’ Apple roll, and decided to deal with the small issue of finding a rolling mat when I came to it.

A piece of sushi

As it turned out, it seemed as though the entire world was against me making my first maki. First I was too busy dealing with school to even think about cooking something outside my comfort zone. Then there was a snowstorm the day I planned to make it, and I couldn’t get to the grocery store. Finally, I managed to make it today, and it was an experience. I started by burning the rice. Since there was enough left that was salvageable, I kept going. Once I came to the rolling mat issue, I used a paper towel. I used Muenster instead of pepperjack for the cheese, but otherwise stuck to the recipe.

My sushi was hideously ugly. I probably overstuffed it a little, and the paper towel didn’t make the best rolling mat. But I really didn’t expect any more than that for my first try, and it tasted really good! You’d think that these ingredients (apples? cheese?) would make for some really weird sushi, but somehow it worked really well. It was a great first try, because it made me want to keep trying. Perhaps I’ll eventually end up with a presentable sushi roll!

Go check out Sushi Day for more creative sushi combinations!

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The Best Buttermilk Pancakes

The first time I made pancakes was like that episode of Friends where Monica wants to make the best chocolate chip cookies. Phoebe’s family’s secret recipe (which turns out to be from the side of the Tollhouse chocolate chip bag) burned up when Phoebe’s apartment caught fire, and Monica makes twenty batches trying to recreate it. When she gives up, she says something along the lines of, “So I won’t be the Mom who makes the best chocolate chip cookies…but I make the best duck confit. Kids like that, right?” My first few attempts at pancakes had me convinced that my future kids would never know the joys of Pancake Morning. They were that bad: flat, bland and unevenly cooked. I gave it a good effort, trying several recipes three or four times, and gave up.

Pancakes drizzled with maple syrup

But then, a couple of weeks ago, John decided he wanted pancakes. He turned, as he usually does, to Alton Brown. Even if AB’s recipe doesn’t turn out to be the ultimate, it’s always a good starting point. This time, Alton outdid himself. The pancakes John made were perfect. They were the quintessential plate of pancakes, like you would get at your favorite breakfast place. Light, fluffy, perfect vehicles for maple syrup. I would go so far as to say that these are the best pancakes I’ve ever had. This is a wonderful change in our house. Suddenly, we can have amazing pancakes whenever we want. Like, say, for dinner tonight!

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TWD: Almost-Fudge Gateau

It has been an ugly week. There’s no other way of describing it. There have been tests and taxes and quizzes and more tests and projects and a couple of failing grades. Posting has been light since it all started and will probably continue to be light until the end of this week. But I couldn’t skip this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, which was her Almost-Fudge Gateau. Really, the timing for this recipe was perfect. It was exactly the boost I needed…except now it’s gone and I need another boost.

A slice of Dorie’s Almost Fudge Gateau

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Maple Granola

There are some things that are so simple it’s hard to believe you haven’t made them yet. For me, one of them was granola. It’s hard to believe it took me this long to get around to making my own. There’s no special equipment to buy, most of the ingredients are things I tend to keep around the house, and it doesn’t require any special skill. So I finally made myself do it over the weekend. It was just as delicious and as easy as everyone says it is.

A bowl of granola

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TWD: Orange Berry Muffins

This is my first week doing Tuesdays with Dorie, and I’m already breaking the rules. You see, everyone else is posting about Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake. I’m posting about muffins. More specifically, the Orange Berry Muffins that everyone else made on January 29th. My first reason for this is that my copy of Baking is still hanging out with the kind people at Amazon, because paying for shipping goes against everything I believe in. But my second (and more honest, since I could go pick up the book from my town library) reason is my aforementioned cheesecake hatred. If I hadn’t just made cheesecake last week, I would have done it. But it was just a few days ago that I threw out the leftover cheesecake bars, and I couldn’t bring myself to make my least favorite dessert again so soon. So you’ll have to forgive me, but I’m doing Tuesdays with Dorie retro-style this week.

Orange Blueberry Muffin

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