If someone buys this for me I will totally try it. I imagine that it will be completely horrible but I do love almond roca.
We walked down to Cupcake Royale for Corbin’s half birthday the other day and I have to say, it impressed me. I’ve never liked their coffee or cupcakes all that much, to be honest. Verite Coffee has a somewhat strange taste and when the cupcake place first opened I thought the batter tasted like it had too much almond extract. For a while now the cupcakes haven’t tasted like that but I still haven’t been a fan. Most of the flavors I’ve had are just too dry. That being said, I have a lot of respect for the owners and their community commitments so I always give it a live and let live attitude. It’s an easy walk from the house though so I’ve been a few times lately and the staff has slowly softened me with their sweetness and great attitude towards the kids, especially given that the majority of their clientele are people with laptops. ANYWAY. Back to the walk. We got a babycake for each kid and Corbin immediately dumped his on the ground outside. When I went back in to buy another they gave it to me for free. How nice, right? I had the strawberry shortcake flavor and it was perfectly moist and a good flavor. AND they now serve ice cream.
If I can figure out the technology I’ll post a picture.
We only have 3 kinds of mustard in the house – I think this means we are at a state of emergency here. Spicy hot (beaver brand of course), regular yellow and dijon are my only choices for our grilled hotdogs tonight. Yes, I’m grilling by flashlight. So good to be back out there!!
As you can see, no meat in sight on this grill!
I’m loving cooking with our new grill, which is a new thing for me. Previously with our charcoal grill Slanky was the primary “controller of the flame” and did a lot of the cooking on it. Don’t get me wrong, the taste of the charcoal is totally yummy but I’m finding it so liberating to be able to go outside and turn the gas grill on and go! Also, for some reason I’m less leery about messing with our gas line than I am putting fire on coals. Go figure!
Anyway, the other day I grilled fava beans for us to peel at the table and toasted bread with tomato and a ricotta, blue cheese spread with some tomato and basil. All turned out well!
Ok, so, cauliflower. Again.
I tried roasting it and it turned out really really good. We’ve been cooking a lot with Slanky’s new grill and so I thought I’d try grilling a few of the big pieces and making a foil tray for the small ones to roast in the grill as well. The ones I set on the open grill got a nice crisp but were drier than the foil ones so I think I’ll stick with the roasting rather than grilling method. Also since the roasting takes longer I think those pieces got a little more cooked through than the direct grilled ones. I’m glad I experimented though!
Today I baked two loaves of soda bread. After baking the first one I thought I’d try another recipe since I had everything out already. The first one is from Cook’s Illustrated and the second is a Mark Bittman recipe. There are some pretty major differences between the recipes and so I’m curious to taste both. The Cook’s Illustrated one gets pretty fussy about the ingredients, calling for low protein flour and cake flour, cream of tartar and sugar. Soda bread is something that’s been around for a long time, being made by Irish and non-Irish the world over, so a less complicated version (not that either is very complicated!) seemed like a good idea to try. Another major difference between the two is that the Cooks Illustrated version calls for butter both within the bread dough and melted on top. My guess is that the more complex recipe (CI) is going to win out for taste since what’s not to love about butter? But I’d imagine a lot of people make a simple one to go with soups and stews.
Pictured below are both loaves. Mark Bittman on the left and CI on the right. As you can see, the CI one looks a little more nicely browned.
No, no, the blog hasn’t been spammed. Slanky’s just been test out some different formats for uploading, hence the random messages and videos. Soon things will be back to normal and MAY even be made easier for uploading purposes!
I LOVE poached eggs. Yellow, soft, warm, runny, what’s not to love? Okay, well, apparently some people (Pat) do not love them. Actually, that does not adequately describe Pat’s feelings towards poached eggs. They completely gross him out, and I think he’d rather eat grass than poached eggs. Which makes me curious, how do my fellow Roses feel about poached eggs? Anyway, despite my adoration for poached eggs, I did not make them very often because they can be such a pain. Until I came across these fabulous little silicone egg cups at King Arthur Flour.
Ingenious!! I coat the cups with a little butter and the eggs slide right out of the cup. No mess, no fuss. Hooray! I enjoy poached eggs a couple of times a week now.
And on another note, the butter in this picture is Bordier butter I picked up in Paris when we were there last June with the Stewarts. I froze a couple packages, and that was the last of it. Sigh. The Moveable Feast people are a bit wrong about the butter, I think. I personally was not a huge fan of butter (other than being a firm believer in using loads of it when baking) until I tasted the Bordier Butter. Amazing. Instead of the thin, meager layer of butter I normally put on toast, with Bordier butter I spread on an overly generous, very thick layer. (white bread is best, but on this particular day I only had brown on hand). And then lick the butter knife afterwards. Though again, like poached eggs, there are apparently differing opinions on the fabulousness of Bordier butter (weirdos).
Ha, I started this days ago! Man, how life has a way of setting up roadblocks to my blogging life!!
We just got back from the world of no internets, a.k.a, my Grandma’s house and I have to say, I think I’m done with Thanksgiving now!
On to a recap of our Thanksgiving.
The turkey turned out pretty well. We followed the New Best Recipe version of turkey cooking and even though I feared for a while that we’d cooked the wrong side up first (and completely berated slanky for it! it totally would have been his fault too because he was paying uber attention to all the pictures so I thought he’d have it covered) it turns out we had it the right way and it didn’t dry out like my mom feared it would. We should have cooked it for less time and that would have made it even better so next time I’ll start checking it earlier.
My mom wasn’t completely happy with her stuffing because she used bread crumbs insteadof cubes and she didn’t like the consistency as well. I thought it tasted fairly similar to her past versions.
Next up, the green bean casserole. I thought this turned out rather well even though I’d fussed with an Alton Brown recipe (since I was not putting mushrooms in). The coolest part was that you cook it in a cast iron skillet. It was pretty easy, just a roux, onions, fresh beans. Instead of making my own fried onions though I used some Trader Joes ones and they worked out fine. I think it helped add back a bit of nostalgia to the soup can version.
Slanky made buttermilk biscuits and they turned out nice and fluffy even though I forced him to use half whole wheat pastry flour. I think they would have been even better if we’d freshly baked them but time and oven space wouldn’t allow.
The potatoes were very straight forward, just cream, milk, butter and plenty of salt and pepper. I was originally thinking I’d try and do some sort of roast garlic mashed potatoes but with the gravy being a little more complicated I’m glad I didn’t because the flavors would have probably competed.
The gravy was a mixed bag. I decided that rather than worry about the state of the drippings after the turkey was done I’d follow a recipe for gravy from the New Best Recipe. It involved making a broth with the neck and other parts, then starting a roux with butter and flour and adding the broth in and then finally adding the pan drippings from the turkey. Before adding the drippings you were supposed to deglaze the pan with wine and I think that complicated the flavors a little bit (my mom and brother didn’t like the result as well as straight up gravy). I thought the flavor was good, though the gravy was a bit on the thin side but it was the last thing to be completed so I didn’t want to simmer it any longer. Overall, I’m glad we had actual gravy and not screwed up lumpy flour tasting stuff but next time I might try it the old fashioned way.
We also had a former coworker of Slanky’s over and she brought brussel’s sprouts and apple pie, which were quite tasty.
For appetizers I made some baked olives with spices and they turned out really good, though with the rest of the food not many of them got eaten. I also baked some brie and put cranberry sauce on the top and the flavors were good but I learned the hard lesson that brie is best baked in a whole wheel rather than a wedge. It got a little gooey and runny.
For our first run at our own Thanksgiving I was really proud of how well we did! I probably won’t be doing anything like it again for a while but it was a nice accomplishment.
We are here in the process of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, independently, for the first time. Why are we not in PA, you ask? Well, family work schedules being what they are, Grandma is now hosting Thanksgiving on Sunday so we’ll go over later this weekend. This gap in our actual Thursday schedule left us with a unique opportunity to try and cook the meal on our own. Many of you have already been doing this for years but in our family we don’t mess with tradition. Grandma cooks the meal with a few additions from select family members. Always the same dishes. Always the same great taste. Anyway, my mom’s very skeptical because I’m cooking the turkey differently, we’re all a little skeptical that I’m making green bean casserole without the soup cans and who knows what will happen with the gravy.
So far it looks like the turkey is going to be a little late getting finished but hopefully by the time it’s done it’ll be good! I’ll post an update of our adventures in cooking later this evening.