Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Unrefreshing Disaster - Peppermint Patties

I don't know why I decided to make peppermint patties. Maybe I was longing for something minty. Maybe I just wanted some candy. Maybe someone should have told me I was cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
evil minty patties
Everything seemed so simple - mix confectioners sugar with condensed milk (yum) and peppermint extract.   I used a hand mixer (instead of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) because that's what I had. Is this where things went awry?

My peppermint "dough" was super sticky and had the consistency of a thick batter rather than a crumblier wet dough. Crap. I threw the bowl into the refrigerator and flopped on my couch with a huff. 30 minutes later the dough was still kiiiiinda sticky but with some well floured and light hands, I was able to quickly roll it into balls onto parchment. I should have just given up there.

Then I had to temper the chocolate. and messed that up too. All this time I was worrying about overheating the chocolate but I didn't know about "seizing." Yeah. One drop of moisture and the perfectly melted chocolate "seizes" or gets all dry and lumpy looking. Weird right? But you can fix it by adding MORE moisture. I ended up making chocolate milk sauce.

Then I was thinking screw it, I'm just gonna try putting it all together and guess what. I made a big goopey chocolate mint condensed milk ball mess. What the deuce.

Lesson learned here, kids, just buy the drugstore brand. It's cheaper and there's a reason no one makes homemade candy bars.

What's one of your kitchen disasters?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Panko Pork Chops & Napa Cabbage Slaw

I was inspired by this Bon Appetit story to make the "Father's Day Pork Chops." I've never cooked pork chops before...my range of pork cooking extends primarily to bacon and even then I'm a little uncertain if I can handle that. This recipe made it sound pretty easy and a family affair (if, say like the writer, you had little ones running around. I just had Buddy sniffing at my feet for rogue scraps).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Salty Peanut Butter Deliciousness

I made these the other day to pass the time until the Bachelorette came on TV. Do you also have 20 minutes to kill? Then make these easy cookies which are a childhood favorite.

From FoodNetwork's 5 Ingredient Fix
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter (natural or grocery brand)
1 cup sugar (adjusted down slightly if using grocery brand peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten

Topping: coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in upper middle of oven. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

In medium bowl, lightly beat egg (to avoid another bowl to clean). Add peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined and batter forms a dough consistency. If mixture is too loose, add a bit of sugar.
Spoon one tablespoon of mixture onto baking sheet making sure cookies are about 1 inch a part. Flatten peanut butter mounds with the back of a small spoon or fork to make cross hatch lines. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. I added a couple blackberries to some.
Bake until edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes to get slightly chewy in the middle texture. Halfway through baking, rotate sheet to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven, allow to cool about a minute on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy with a glass of milk.
Want more options?
  • PBJ - add dollop of jam instead of salt
  • Peanut butter cup - add chocolate chips or a chocolate dollop
  • Don't like peanut butter? - try almond with almond extract perhaps?  
What's your favorite quick cookie recipe?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

NoshGirl Chef: Sweet and Spicy Strawberry Ribs

This weekend I participated in the NoshGirl Chef Challenge with secret ingredients...strawberries and black pepper! I love the flavor combination of spicy and sweet. Throw in some salty and my taste buds are going crazy with excitement!!

I made Sweet and Spicy Strawberry Ribs baked in the oven showcasing the special ingredients in a black pepper dry rub and finished with a sweet, tangy strawberry glaze.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bizarro Buddy

Remember the Seinfeld episode with Bizarro world? I found Bizarro Buddy in the dog park with only a crack in the concrete separating Bizarro Buddy from our Buddy. Same but opposite. Weird.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer's Here! Shake Shack

Opening today near me! Shakes and burgers available 12 hours a day.

I feel a hankering for a shake which I didn't get last time I was at the Shack. This is so bad news for me.
DNA info
You've noticed things have been quiet around here. Well...I've been cooking still but have had a couple disasters I'm still getting over emotionally. I may or may not ever write about them. Happy June 1st!
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Post lunch UPDATE: I've been caught by the Grub Street blog post Yup There Are Already 45 Minute Lines at the New Shake Shack. That would be the back of my head in the lower right.