Monday, March 30, 2009

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use chunky)
1/4 cup shortening, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients. Shape into 1 1/4" balls and place 3" apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten them with a fork in a crisscross pattern and bake until browned, 9-11 minutes. Cool for a minute on the sheet then transfer to a rack.


Ok, I know some of you are looking at this recipe and thinking "Wtf? Why so simplistic?" Well it's so simple because it's from a kids cookbook, Alpha Bakery. It's a little book that has a recipe for each letter of the alphabet and it's one that my girlfriend has many fond memories of. Specifically the banana bread. The main changes I made to the recipe are adding the chocolate chips and using chunky peanut butter. But I also don't just dump everything into a bowl, mix it up and call it done. I... I just can't. It's not right, dammit! Sure, it's fine for little kids, but I'm a big kid now, so I cream my sugar and fats, whisk together my dry ingredients (sometimes...) and I eat chunks of dough raw. Well, I guess little kids would do that too, but... I don't know where I was going with this. How about I just show you what I did.

So first, the fats. I like the mix of shortening and butter in these, it gives them a little more body than normal peanut butter cookies but they still have that crispiness that is so good. Plus they need to be a bit more sturdy than average peanut butter cookies for what I am ultimately doing with them. But I won't tell you about that today. Because I'm mean. Heh. I added the sugars and creamed them a bit. Then the peanut butter. I always use chunky peanut butter in these cookies, I just love the extra texture and peanutyness. It does make it less pretty since forking it doesn't work as well with all the chunks, but frankly that's more than made up for by having more peanuts. Once I've worked in the peanut butter it's time for the egg. I started mixing before I remembered to take a picture, but you get the idea. Then the dry ingredients. I don't always whisk them together beforehand, although I know I should, but if I do just dump them in I give them a quick stir before I mix them into the other stuff. That counts for something, right? Right. Ok. Once that's all almost combined, I toss in the chips, then finish off the mixing. Then I formed up some big balls of dough. I needed the cookies to be big for what I had planned. The thing that I'll hint at again, but not clarify. Muhahaha! Heh, 'scuse me. Now, forking. Once each way, to make that crosshatch thingie that is synonymous with peanut butter cookies. Then baking, at 375, till brown and delightsome. And there you have it, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Good enough to eat on their own or to use to make... something even better.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Cats and a Wrap

Before we get to the cats, here's a shot of a killer wrap I got from a local restaurant a while ago.It's called a New Yorker and it's basically a Rachel wrap. For those of you who don't know what a Rachel is, it's basically a Reuben with cole slaw instead of saurkraut and sometimes pastrami or turkey instead of corned beef. This one is corned beef, cole slaw, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. Not kosher, but wicked good. I'm going to be recreating it at home some time soon with all homemade parts. I'm thinking of even doing a flat bread for it, although I probably won't corn my own beef. Maybe though. Anyway, on to the cats.

So this is it. My last post from my old blog Bob and Noodles. This means from here on out I'm going to have to actually come up with new cat posts every Sunday. Next week I'm going to introduce you guys to my brothers cats (the non-kitten ones). I was going to do it this week, but my cameras batteries died while I was trying to copy over the pictures. It worked out fine though since I have just one more old post to put up.

Holy Crap It's Been Two Months (originally posted 11/26/08)

Good thing I don't have any readers here. Heh. Well, here are some random pics. I actually lost hundreds of pictures (yes, hundreds. I take hundreds of pictures of my cats. I'm not ashamed.) to an emergency hard drivereformat recently, so these are all new. Since it's been so long I will even give little explanations. Woot!

So, Noodles likes to cover her nose with her tail. Kind of like a fox. For some reason she decided to hold it in place and sit like that long enough for me to get the camera. It might be the most cooperative she has ever been.

My girlfriend refers to Bob as "her big, living stuffed animal". This is why.He'll just lay there, being held, and making happy-cat faces for whole stretches of time.Noodles likes getting under my girlfriends flight jacket.
I don't know why Bob sat next to her, but it's like "Housecat Gothic" or something.Then Bob heard something.
And took off.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wine Review: Pinot Noir

Here's a Bakespace wine review for you guys.

Coastal Estates Pinot Noir
Price: 11.99
Year: 2007

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: Elegant and silky, our Pinot Noir expresses aromas and flavors of ripe cherries, plums and spices. Smoky oak nuances weave through the soft, fruity flavors and linger on the finish. This versatile, medium-bodied wine complements wild mushroom soup, roast turkey, grilled lamb, pork or whatever excites your taste buds.
Review:Very rich smell, earth and berries mostly. It is very smooth, with a light body (medium body my ass) and taste. Much lighter than I thought it would be, just a little fruity. Slightly tannic/dry finish. I didn't notice it expressing aromas or weaving nuances, but that might just be my unsophisticated palate. Heh.
Would you buy again?: Maybe, but only for something specific. Not to just drink.
Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes: I'm not sure what I would pair it with. I could easily see drinking it with turkey. It went well with black pepper, so maybe a pepper crusted steak or something like that. Although it would be fairly easy to overpower this wine, so you might want to be careful with really strong flavors.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flank Steak Lo Mein, Revisited

1 lb flank steak
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 a bunch of asparagus
1/2 a medium onion
1 red pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-4 tbls hoisin sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbl minced ginger
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
couple turns of pepper
1/2 lb noodles, cooked al dente

Combine the soy sauce, hoisin, sugar, ginger, garlic, vinegar and pepper in a zipper plastic bag. Add the flank steak, squeeze out as much air as possible and let marinate for at least an hour or as many as 4-5. Chop the onion into whatever size pieces you like. Cut the asparagus, broccoli and pepper into bite sized pieces. When the steak is done marinating, take it out of the bag, scrape off as much of the marinade and chunks of ginger and garlic as you can. Reserve the liquid. Pat the steak dry and cut it once along the grain, then into thin slices against the grain. Stir fry the vegetables, in several shifts if needed, till almost done and put them aside. Stir fry the steak in several shifts, then set it aside. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the cooked noodles and stir to coat. Add the vegetables and meat, stir to combine. Keep stirring for a minute to finish cooking everything. Then serve.


Here is another updated recipe. Well, sort of updated. Lo mein is never the same way twice when I make it. One odd thing happened this time around, there wasn't as much sauce as there usually is. I think it's because I added the hoisin to the marinade instead of doing it the way I usually do, adding it at the end when I'm cooking the sauce. Or maybe I accidentally used more noodles than normal. I don't know exactly what happened. But it was still wicked good. Anyway, the original post for this was also my very first post. It was more than a little rough around the edges, but that particular version of this dish is by far my favorite. This one is really just an example of how you can make it with whatever you happen to have. I had asparagus. So that's went in there. I guess that makes it kind of a east/west fusion kind of thing. Some of the pictures didn't come out so hot but fortunately I'm not vain, I just use what I have. Why don't we just dive right in here.

First things first, I made the marinade. A quarter cup of soy sauce in a zipper freezer bag thingie, a couple cloves of minced garlic, a big chunk of ginger. This is the ginger that I've been keeping in vodka, it still has lots of flavor even after twenty days. I minced it and tossed it in there. Then I put in the hoisin. This I think was a mistake. If anyone decides to make this, add the hoisin after you bring the marinade to a boil at the end of the recipe. I'll point out when. But this is the way I did it and pretending I did it another way would be like lying. And I couldn't do that to you guys. Heh. Now toss in a little sugar and the vinegar, mix it up and slap the beef in there. Get out as much air as you can and stick it in the fridge for a couple hours. When that's about done, prep your veggies. This time around I'm using asparagus, a red pepper, half an onion and some broccoli. Why? They're what I had on hand. Lo mein is kind of like a casserole that way. Anyway, I diced the onion, cut the asparagus into thirds,chopped the pepper into bite sized chunks and floretted the broccoli. Is that even a word? Well, if not it is now. Next, the steak. Mmmmm, flank steak. Man, I love flank steak. I have no idea what it is about it, but I just can't get enough. You want to take it out of the marinade and scrape off most of the garlic and ginger stuck to it, put the chunks back in the liquid and set that aside. That's the sauce. Pat it dry and cut it in half along the grain. That's the way the strips of muscle go. You want a short grain in the end product, makes it more tender. Then cut each half into thin strips against the grain. Now you're ready to stir fry. First you want to do the veggies. I usually do them one at a time, just to make sure they are all done just how I like them. But if you aren't as fussy as me then you can do them all at once. Well, if you have a big enough pan that is. You would probably wind up doing them in batches anyway. But here's how I did it. First the onion. I heated up my stir fry pan wicked hot, with a little canola oil in the bottom. I browned up the onion pretty well. I much prefer it that way, especially with yellow onion. Then I tossed the asparagus in with it and cooked it for a minute or so. You don't want it cooked all the way since it will finish cooking at the end. Then I pulled that out, added a little more oil and tossed in the broccoli. Once the broccoli was almost done I put in the peppers and just tossed them around little bit to sweat. No squishy peppers. Pulled those out and put them aside and put in about a third of the meat. You want to cook the meat in shifts, otherwise it winds up braising in it's own juices. Once the meat was done I pulled it out too, poured in the leftover marinade and brought it to a boil. Here is where I normally would have added the hoisin sauce. I don't know what I was thinking adding it to the marinade. Heh, I never said I wasn't a flake. Once the sauce has boiled enough to kill any critters that might be in the raw beefyness reduce the heat to a simmer and toss in the noodles. I just use spaghetti. I know, I'm a savage. You want the pasta not quite done when you put it in, that way it will absorb the sauce and be extra good. Toss it around to coat it then dump everything back in. Now mix it all up and let it all finish cooking, stirring it every once in a while. This also lets the flavors mingle a bit. And there you have it, flank steak lo mein with the veggies I had in the fridge.


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