Strawberry Muffins are Fucking Good.

12 05 2010

Insert dirty muffin joke here.

So, I know I’ve discussed here before about how I’m a child of the Great Depression. My biggest pet peeve is wasting food. I will cram any sort of leftover produce about to turn bad into anything that I am making, whether it is burgers or some halfassed bowl of oatmeal. This time, the victim was about a pound of strawberries I had bought because they were on sale and I had lofty aspirations of feeding myself a bowl of homemade whipped cream with strawberries, possibly drizzled in bittersweet chocolate. Then I remembered I used all of my bittersweet chocolate to make Irish Carbomb Cupcakes for my friend Alex’s surprise birthday celebration. While that chocolate definitely went to a good cause, I was pissed anyway because OMG FUCKING STRAWBERRIES, WHIPPED CREAM, AND CHOCOLATE. So I got mad and forgot about the strawberries til I went to Kroger again last night and got some asparagus. Whilst placing the asparagus tenderly in its crisper, I noticed the strawberries. They beckoned, “Eat us! Eat us before we moooooooold!” Terrified of the prospect of (god forbid) wasting food, I hopped on to ye olde Google to find a recipe involving strawberries. I finally decided on muffins, mainly because I watched Betty White host SNL over the weekend and saw this and was grossed out, then laughed hysterically. So strawberry muffins it was! I got the recipe off of Allrecipes, but made quite a few additions, so I’ll post it here. These are easy, and FUCKING DELICIOUS. I recommend making them STAT.

Fucking Good Strawberry Muffins (adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk (I’m thinking coconut milk might also be delicious)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used white, but I think brown would be nice too)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries (I used most of the 1 lb. container, if that helps?)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients, through vanilla. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, through ground ginger.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix til just combined, then mix in the strawberries.
  4. Pour evenly into muffin tin. Bake for….oh, about 23-25 minutes. Let them hang out in the tin for about 10 minutes, then put them on a rack to cool completely. If you haven’t eaten them all already. Because they are that fucking good.

The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak! Rat-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-tatata!






Stop Whatever You Are Doing and Make These Brownies.

25 04 2010

I like to entertain. A lot. Since I’ve had a kid, it’s a tetch more difficult to go out and get hammered at bars anymore, so I like to throw casual little dinners where people can come to me and get hammered. Or just delightfully tipsy. So last weekend I had some people over and made some drool-worthy steak fajitas. (Not to toot my own horn, but MAN, they were fucking delicious. The secret is to put the lime juice on AFTER you take the steak off the grill or frying pan. Ta-DA!) My friend Leigh was coming over too, and she isn’t really a big sweets person, but loves her some brownies. I’ve been using the ATK Lunchbox Brownie recipe for quite some time and I love it, but I just get so boooooooooooored sometimes. They’re perfectly acceptable, fudgy and cakey and they take well to add-ins. But, you know, boredom. I’d read on someone’s blog post some time ago about a Dorie Greenspan recipe that I’d never tried. Being someone who describes herself as a “batter whore,” I was intrigued because they were described as being really fucking fudgy, almost to the point of not being thoroughly cooked. DING! SOOOOOOLD to the batter whore in the back. So I made them. And 5 of us polished off nearly the entire goddamn 9×9″ pan in one night. I put my own little Mexican chocolate spin on them, and, well, yes. These were unfuckingbelievable. Leigh is making me make them for her upcoming birthday. I want to make them every day and roll around on the floor with glee. I want to marry these brownies. I want to spend a day in bed with a spoon and these brownies and a series of my favorite movies. I want to sing to them “Always and Forever” over and over again because they are that good. No lie. I will say to pay attention to the directions, as they’re a little different from your run-of-the-mill brownie directions. So stop watching The Tudors, or eating a bowl of Life, or knitting something for your grandmother and make these. DO IT! (Oh, also, one cool thing about these is that they were originally created for Julia Child!)

Rick Katz’ Brownies for Julia (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Put a 9×9″ baking pan on a baking sheet. (Note it doesn’t say to butter it up at all.)
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and chipotle.
  3. Put butter and chocolate into a double boiler. Stir until melted, but don’t let the butter separate. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup of sugar and vanilla.
  4. Put the remaining 1 cup of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and stir in the eggs with a whisk.
  5. NOW. This is where shit gets tricky. Take half of the egg/sugar mix and pour it ever so slowly into the chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula. Make sure you do it slowly so you don’t ruin everything by cooking the eggs.
  6. Go back to the remaining egg/sugar mixture in the bowl of the electric mixer and, using the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer if you’re sans Kitchen Aid), beat it for about 3 minutes until it doubles in volume.
  7. Very lightly and using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate. Lightly sprinkle the dry ingredients over the chocolate and mix juuuuuuuuuuust until its folded in.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. The top will look dry, but the insides will be ooey-gooey awesomeness. Attempt to eat one at a time, but fail miserably.

I really love Google Image.





Lo Has a Productive Weekend! (Co-starring Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies)

11 04 2010

Banana bread! IN A COOKIE!!!

YOU GUYS. SERIOUSLY. I WIN AT THIS WEEKEND. Check it out: Friday night I got a good night’s sleep so I could wake up on Saturday, do some Jillian Michaels (level 3, ya’ll), tend to my squirrel-ravaged seedlings, go to the DMV (where my child was not a methamphetamine-riled hellion!), go grocery shopping, find SOMETHING to do with my old, black bananas (they were seriously black. And kind of shriveled. And the sugars may possibly have fermented.), and hang out with the Greek. Check on ALL COUNTS. Then today? TODAY??? I cleaned. For FIVE HOURS. I cleaned my fucking baseboards. BASE. BOARDS. And I finally cleaned off the desk in our guest room so I could have a spot for my laptop and printer! And I feel very accomplished, and those 4 tacos I ate for dinner don’t count for anything because I was SO PRODUCTIVE!!

Anyway, the point of this post was not to make you feel bad about yourself (I swear), but rather talk about these delightful little nuggets of yum I stumbled upon using ye olde Google. I’m SO TIRED of making banana bread (I’ve mentioned this before on this site). I love banana bread. If you offered me some right now, I’d eat the hell out of it. And talk about how fucking good it was. Because I LOVE banana bread. But I also get sick of it. Look, I love my kid too, but I don’t want his batshit crazy ass around me all the goddamn time. Life is about variety people. Deal with it. So, back to these cookies. I went cruisin’ the old internet for some recipes involving bananas. Then I got the wild hair to include oats in my search. Then I decided to just go balls-out and say, “HEY INTERNET! Fetch me your finest recipe using banana and oats and make them COOKIES!” And the internet obliged, giving me this. I’m going to post it down below, though, because I made a few changes to it. These cookies are like little banana bread pieces, but not quite. I kind of love them, and they’re so easy to make and to consume, I think these will be my new banana bread until I get sick of them and find a new way to use decomposing bananas.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temp.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves (or less – the more you add, the more it’ll take away from the banana flavor, which as you know, makes me MAD)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini. It was a good decision.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line some baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 4 sheets).
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in an electric mixer til smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamons, and salt. Slowly mix into the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in the oats, then then the chocolate chips.
  5. Plop by the spoonful (I used a regular ol’ teaspoon) on to baking sheets, keeping in mind that these guys spread pretty good. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer to wire rack.
  6. Shove into mouth and be glad that I exposed you to this recipe.




Springtime for El and Lo! Or, Lo Makes Lemon Lime Bars for El’s B-Day.

4 04 2010

I really suck at food photography. Oh well.

I had grand plans this past weekend. For some reason, our company has Good Friday off, so I thought I’d be slick and take off (good?) Thursday to make a delightful 4-day weekend. I’d clean and organize on Thursday and part of Friday morning, then my friend would come over and we’d day-drink mimosas and grill some burgers. Did I also mention that my parents were taking Big Easy for a few days? HALE YAY-ASSS! Then on Thursday morning I woke up and felt like death. Full disclosure: I fucking hate the doctor. FUCKING. HATE. I never go except for my annual lady-business check up. If I’m sick, I just wait it out til I’m either half-dead or fully recovered. Or, at least, I did this for years until last year when I waited 3 days to go and it turned out I had strep. 2 days of antibiotics and I felt SO MUCH BETTER. So this time, I wasn’t fucking around. Woke up, felt horrible (a little strep-y, as a matter of fact), dragged my ass into the urgent care clinic (no, I don’t have a GP – GET OFF MY BACK), they told me I was negatory on both strep and mono (MONO!) and sent me home with antibiotics. Next day? I woke up feeling decidedly less deathy. I was still pissed because I wasn’t caught up to my mental cleaning list, but I still got to drink mimosas with my friend, albeit at night. But it was still nice out!

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, El’s birthday is verra soon and I wanted to make something for her since I’d be up in her area on Saturday to retrieve my son. I had my heart set on that Lemon Sugared Snack cake I made that one time but as it turns out, the only trip I managed to make to Kroger (because of my debilitating illness) was to purchase orange juice and champagne (side rant: apparently, Andre champagne’s prices have been HIJACKED lately. I’m talking $6.58 for a bottle! On SALE! That’s ridiculous!! It used to be less than $5 on sale! Times they are a-changin’…) and I was totally out of sugar (I KNOW!). So when it came down to making a delightful springtime birthday treat for El, my options were limited. I turned to Google for help and found this Martha Stewart recipe for lemon bars. LEMON BARS! And it uses sweetened condensed milk, of which I have many cans in my cabinet for no apparent reason! Huzzah!

Martha says that approximately 3 lemons will equal 3/4 cup of lemon juice. Maybe I just have incredibly weak hands, but I needed more than 3 lemons to make that much juice. This led to a minor freak out because I only had 3 lemons. But! I also had 3 limes! So I decided to make some slight changes to Martha’s well-reviewed recipe and added lime juice til I got 3/4 cup of LIMON juice (remember those old Sprite commercials?). I also added zest to the crust and to the filling. It was noted by both my father and by El herself that some coconut would be delightful too. Well, I had considered putting it in, but didn’t want to fuck around with a recipe I had never tried before. SO BACK OFF. But, you know, next time, I think I may top it off with some coconut. So have fun with this recipe, it’s suuuuuuuuuper easy and perfect for spring and perfect for people who love citrus AND for sickly people who can’t go to Kroger except to buy alcohol. The End!





Whiskey, Guinness, & Baileys: A Weekend Full of Win

29 03 2010

That's not a tiny bottle of whiskey! They're GIANT bottles of Guinness and Baileys!

O HAI! What’s the haps, friends? El figured out how I can upload photos so I can quit being so full of fail all the goddamn time. Speaking of NOT being a giant pile of fuck-up, get a look-see at them-there cupcakes! They’re full of booze and they are how El and I spent our summer vacation weekend. El came down to see me here in the good ol’ RVA because she stole my hairdresser (hi Missi!) and wanted to hang out. She suggested making these Irish Car Bomb cupcakes (I know, I know- that’s kind of offensive because of the terrorists and whatnot, but it just sounds dumb to call them Guinness, Whiskey, & Baileys cupcakes.) Her plan had been to make them on or near St. Patty’s Day but pulled a Lo and totally didn’t. Whatever. All it meant was that I got to eat them instead of Kona.

The cupcakes were simple, though kind of time consuming because you have to wait for them to cool before you can fill them. I used a Wilton decorator with a filling tip (for the first time ever!). I liked it, until the ganache hardened and got stuck in the pump. (I then got the genius idea to nuke it, but nuked it for a tetch too long and spilled chocolate whiskey ganache all over my kitchen and microwave thereby springing me into a comical cleaning frenzy before my son got drunk on its remnants and I had to go to Mom Jail.) But it was definitely faster that cutting a cone into the top and filling the cakes that way. Some of the cakes kind of overloaded, but who’s going to complain about a nipple poking out of their cupcake filled with whiskey, Baileys, and chocolate? (And before you object to the Glenlivet, we KNOW it’s Scottish, but they didn’t have Jameson in airline bottles. Harrumph.)

We stuck pretty much to the recipe, but we used a glaze instead of frosting. The recipe for that is basically 2 cups of powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons Baileys, and a couple of of tablespoons of Guinness (you’ll have more than enough left over from the cupcakes.) Whisk together and drizzle on top. Anyway, without further ado, HERE is the delightful recipe which brought us much happiness, as well as our friends down at Sumo San and Wonderland. I will definitely make these again. But I’ll make sure my kid isn’t anywhere around.

Heh...he looks waste-y. He's not. He's just a little spazzy.





Lo’s Not Dead!

22 02 2010

Pretty accurate representation of what happened.

But my computer kind of died. So I bought myself a kicky new laptop and I’m back in business! Mostly. The goddamn laptop doesn’t like my camera, so I can’t show you pictures of how I spent my winter vacation. Yet. I’m still working on getting the desktop fixed so they will appear at some point. ANYWAY. Did you miss me? Yes, I know. What have I been DOING all this time, since I couldn’t update my blog OR check Facebook? GOING OUT OF MY FUCKING SKULL, THAT’S WHAT. Also, I’ve been cooking. A lot. Steak fajitas, pot roast, cookies, brownies, and, as a special treat for my Sig Ot for finally after all this time NOT getting me anything for Valentine’s Day, cinnamon rolls. From scratch. Awwwwwwwwww yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Since I am always looking to use yeast more in my baking, I thought that this would be a delicious experiment. Verdict? FUCK YEAH IT WAS. I’m not sure I can ever eat a piddly from-a-can cinnamon roll again. The Pioneer Woman has a fine looking recipe on her site, but she lives on a goddamn cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere with a kitchen I am fairly certain is the size of my entire house, and we all know I suck at fractions, so I didn’t want to fuck up her recipe by trying to whittle it down (even if you halve it, it makes 25-30). SOOOO, I turned to my old friend in the bow tie, America’s Test Kitchen. This particular recipe rules for a lot of reasons, but the main one is that it’s easy. I highly recommend starting the dough the day before. Then, after it’s all risen and assembled, cover it and stick it in the fridge. The next day all you have to do is preheat and pop ’em in. (Note: El came to visit this past weekend and I was all “Yeah! I’ll make cinnamon rolls!” and she was all “AWESOME!” and then we went out for sushi and got a little tipsy and there were naps and they never happened. ::sigh:: Next time. Right? Right.)

Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup butter milk, warm (110 degrees)
  • 6 Tbl. butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/4 cup AP flour (note: I wound up using closer to 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope (or 2 1/4 tsp.) instant rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Whisk the liquid ingredients together in a large liquid measuring cup (or a bowl if you aren’t fancy, like me). Combine 4 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the liquid ingredients and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until dough is smooth, elastic, and coming away from the sides of the bowl (stuck to the bottom is okay). If the dough is still wonky looking after about 5 minutes, add the rest of the flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
  4. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute, til it forms a ball. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover that shit with some plastic wrap, and let it hang out somewhere warm for about 2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.
  5. Get yourself out a little 9×13″ metal pan and grease that baby up. I’d use butter if I were you. Mix up the filling:

The Filling

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I added more, uhDOI)
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbl. butter, melted and cooled
  1. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten into a rectangle-ish shape, about 16×12″. Brush with melted butter.
  2. Sprinkle with filling, taking care not to grab a spoon and shove it into your mouth. Leave a 3/4″ border along the top edge.
  3. Loosen the dough from the counter and start rolling into a tight log. Pinch it closed and put it seam-side down. Stretch the log out another 2″ so it’s about 18″ long. Try to even the ends out. Grab a serrated knife and start slicing. This recipe makes about 12 of these puppies, so you might want to make little marks with the knife before you fuck it all up and make too few. DON’T BE A FAILURE.
  4. Arrange the rolls cut-side down in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. (If you’re making these the night before, refrigerate right after you arrange them in the pan and let them rise for 1-1 1/2 hours when you take them out of the fridge).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 and bake these suckers for 25-30 minutes. Revel in the fact that your house smells better than anyone else’s in your neighborhood. Unless they’re also making cinnamon rolls.
  6. While you’re waiting, make the glaze:

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbl. softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tbl. milk or buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Whisk together the ingredients.
  2. Pour over cinnamon rolls while still warm. ATK says to turn the rolls out on to a rack with parchment underneath, but I left ’em in the pan.

Impress your friends (unless you get drunk and forget or nap and forget) and forget about that new workout regimen you just began…





WTF, More Snow? Molasses Cookies Are the Order of the Day, Then.

31 01 2010

Hello? Is it...ME you're looking for? (yes. it is.)

So, the last time it snowed, I didn’t believe the local weather team. They are, after all, habitual liars. And so I was stuck with no milk, no bread, and most importantly, no booze. But THIS time…THIS time, I braved Kroger on Friday evening and stocked up on the essentials: champagne, flank steak for fajitas, and baking necessities. Saturday rolled around and it looked like this by noon:

Doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door. Into a snowpocalypse.

I’m a winter person. I love the cold, I love snow, I love BOOTS. This worked out for me. What didn’t work out was El’s visit to my house! She was down for a class and was supposed to take her test on Saturday morning and then stay the night so we could, you know, get kind of drunk and bake. But instead, I had to go it alone. I asked my Sig Ot what he was in the mood for, then blatantly ignored his pleas for chocolate chip cookies. I wanted molasses, what can I say. And I’m a huge bitch. (Srsly. Dude puts KETCHUP on his FLANK STEAK that has been marinated in LIME JUICE. His opinion is null and void.) Anyhoodles, here’s a delicious, simple molasses cookie recipe from our buddies at ATK. As usual, I amped up the spice numbers, but I’ll put down what they wrote. Also, be sure you spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before you pour the molasses in so it slides right out. (That’s what she said?) (No. Nevermind.)

Molasses Spice Cookies (from the ATK Family Cookbook)

  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup sugar (*I only used 1/3 cup to roll them in.)
  • 2 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbl. butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (I used light because it was all I had)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (*you can only do 1 sheet at a time, otherwise the cookies don’t bake evenly. Put 1/2 cup sugar into a shallow dish for rolling.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients through the salt.
  3. With a mixer on medium, cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and brown sugar together for about 3-6 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in yolk and vanilla. Beat in molasses, making sure you scrape down the bowl.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients until combined, then scoop out 2 Tbl. of dough, rolling it in the reserved sugar and placing it on the lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the ONE SINGLE PAN halfway through. Let set on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack, or shove them into your gaping maw, happy that you didn’t listen to your Sig Ot about making no damn chocolate chip cookies. Happy snow days!