Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blackberry Jam Crumb Cake

I'm afraid this is one more without step by steps or anything. Mostly, this time, because I was making it at night and I just can't get decent pictures at night in this place. Yet. But it was so good I had to share it. The recipe is here, although I saw it over the The Hungry Dog. It's a very simple cake that uses melted butter instead of softened, which is great for whipping it up on the fly. I used some blackberry jam that one of my sisters made. I've had it sitting in a cupboard for months, trying to decide what to do with it. I could just make pb&js with it, but that seems kind of like a waste, you know? So I used some of it in this cake. Good times kids, I highly recommend it if you are looking for a cake that's not too sweet. It's perfect for breakfast and it's easy to put together, what more do you want from a crumb cake?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Marinated Skirt Steak with Red Potato and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

I've been slacking on the recipes here, haven't I? Well, I promise to bust something out this week, although what it will be is still hidden in the mists. But in the meantime, here is some steak and bread. The steak is a skirt steak that I just marinated in some POM/tangerine, garlic, crystallized ginger, honey and soy sauce. The flatbread is the recipe I've posted before only I used red potato, with the skins chopped up in there to add some earthy flavor, and some caramelized onion. I put some lettuce and red pepper on it, it didn't need a sauce since the steak had plenty of flavor and moisture. Skirt steak is like flank steak, only fattier.It was really, really good. I still have some of the dough for the bread in the fridge, I wonder how long it stays good for. Also, when I made the flatbread I brushed the butter onto the skillet instead of the bread. It browned the butter a bit, made the bread a little darker and gave it a bit of a crisp. It's good times, I'm definitely doing it that way from now on. So who else out there makes their own flatbread? How do you do it?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday Cats

So, one thing we learned while moving is that Noodles actually likes chaos. The real Bob, not so much. But her? Give her the most precarious perch in the house and she's all about it. The cushions are usually a little less furry, too...

This one doesn't look too bad, but that box that's half her width isn't very stable I assure you.

The real Bob prefers the floor. Or the bed. You know, safe stuff.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Croissant Bread Pudding

Here's another quickie with no recipe. I had a couple stale croissants and I wanted to make something with them. I figured bread pudding would be the way to go. I had actually never made a bread pudding before or even really eaten one to remember. I mean, I know I've had bread pudding, but I can't for the life of me remember it in detail. So I checked out a few recipes, realized that I didn't have enough of the croissants to make any of them and just kind of winged it. It came out really good, tasted pretty much like a big bowl of french toast. Next time though, I'm definitely going to make sure I have enough croissant to make a full recipe, so I can write it down and post it.

I also want to wish everyone a happy holiday, if you celebrate something around this time, since I'm going to be fairly scarce around the 'nets for the rest of the week. Have a good time and stay safe!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tiramisu Blondies

A while back Goldie from Confessions of a Serial Baker asked me what I thought of the concept of tiramisu brownies. I thought it was a fantastic idea. I mean, really, what's not to like? So she made something, which you should go check out, and I made these. I decided to do blondies, since I'd been craving them, and a cream cheese filling like the one from the strawberry cream cheese brownies I made a while ago. I used this recipe for the blondies and for the filling I just added some rum and some very strong brewed coffee (a couple tbls each) to the same one I used for the above mentioned brownies. I put 2/3 of the batter into a parchment lined 8x8, then the filling on that, then I piped fingers of batter over the top. The goal was to have it look vaguely like ladyfingers, but as you can see it didn't quite work. I still think it's a cool effect though. Anyway, I didn't get any step by steps, but they were really good. Next time I make it I'm going to use a light brown sugar blondie instead of dark brown or maybe a cookie bar kind of thing. I think a lighter flavor base would be better, the admittedly delicious blondies were a bit distracting. The filling was wicked good though, you could really taste the rum and coffee. All in all these were a good time, I'm glad Goldie challenged me to make them. And they freeze well, too. Which is good since my girlfriend thought they were too boozy. Heh.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fried Mashed Potatoes and the Cookbook Winner

First, let's give away the cookbook, shall we? The winner, per, is #5.... Jenn of Bread and Butter! Excitement! So toss your mailing address towards and I'll have them get the cookbook right out to you. Congratz!

Now, for the fried mashed potatoes. This is something that's been bouncing around in my head for a while and I finally had some leftover mashed potatoes to work with. I know, leftover mashed potatoes is a weird concept. Heh. When I make mashed potatoes they aren't super soft, I like some body to them. So I figured I would just make a little patty, press it into some bread crumbs and fry it up. You know, kind of like a croquette. And that's what I did. It was very good, but not quite what I was going for. They were quite soft and didn't hold their puck shape to speak of. Not that a pile of mashed potatoes with little crispy, brown fried bits wasn't delicious, it was. But I think next time, and there will be a next time, I'm either going to dip the patties in egg (although I'm not sure how they would hold up to that) or mix an egg in with them so they get a little more firm. I'll also get step by steps, but this was breakfast and I was wicked hungry. What do you guys think, egg dip or egg in the 'tatos?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Chili Sloppy Joes

~1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced orange peppers
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (plain)
8 oz diced green chilies (2 of those little cans)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the onions then add the garlic and saute till fragrant, about 30 seconds. You can saute the peppers here too, if you like them very soft. Add the beef and brown it well. Add the chilies, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and spices. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes or until as thick as you like. Add the peppers at the end to keep a fresher flavor and crispier texture.


Just a quickie today kids. Hands up, who likes sloppy joes? Yeah, I thought so, they're a good time. I originally made this with ground turkey, to lighten it up a bit, but it's even better with beef. The green chilies add a mellow spiciness to it and change it up just enough so it's not the same old sloppy joe. I also like to add the orange peppers at the very end so they stay a little crispy and give a brighter, more fresh taste. No step by steps I'm afraid, but the process is as simple as you can ask for. So if you're looking to change up your joes, try adding some green chilies! It's some wicked good stuff.

And just in case you haven't already, don't forget to enter the Cheaters BBQ cookbook giveaway. Also a good time.

Green Hot Chili Peppers on Foodista

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cheater BBQ Brisket and a Giveaway!

Cheater Basic Dry Rub
1/4 cup paprika
2 tbls kosher salt
2 tbls coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbl garlic powder
1 tbl dry mustard

Combine all ingredients.

Nashville Crossroads Cheater Q Sauce
1 small onion, grated
2 tbls vegetable oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 tbls bottled smoke (optional, but awesome)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

Cook the onion in the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened and smooth.

For the brisket:
Rub a 4-5 lb brisket with the rub, place it in a rimmed pan lined with enough foil to wrap the brisket tightly. Pour about 1 cup of sauce over it and wrap it up tight. Put it in a 250 degree oven for 6-8 hours or until ~190 degrees. Chill in the fridge for several hours before slicing, then reheat it, wrapped in foil (with a little more sauce, if you like) for 30 minutes at 350.

recipes are from Cheater BBQ by Mindy Merrell and RB Quinn


I love free stuff. I admit it, it's part of the reason I started food blogging, I'm not ashamed. Heh. I also love BBQ, even though I keep living in places where I can't have a grill, let alone a smoker. So when I got an email asking if I wanted to try out a cookbook called "Cheater BBQ" which is about indoor barbecuing I was all over it.

See in my new apartment I can't have a grill. Even though I have a porch. When we asked our landlord about it his response was "grills burn down houses". I really wanted to argue with him, but I restrained myself since we wanted to get the apartment. Heh. So I have to make do with other methods. Now I've done indoor barbecue a few times before, I've made bbq pulled pork, pulled chicken, pulled beef and spare ribs, so I'm not really a stranger to these kinds of things. But I have had some issues making my own barbecue sauce and with, you know, details. Like time and temperature and little things like that. This book helped a lot with all that. But enough rambling, it's time for brisket.

The cookbook has a couple different methods, one for the oven and one for a crockpot. I don't have a crockpot that would fit a brisket, so I opted for the oven. It's wicked simple, but first you need a brisket. See this? That's the fat cap. You want that. I know, fat is bad, but the only reason a brisket without one would help you lose weight is because no one would want to eat the dried out, tasteless thing. So, if you're going to be spending 6-8 hours doing this, you might as well do it up. Right? Right. Now, all you have to do is take your rub and rub it in there. I picked the basic rub, it sounded good and was nice and simple. Plop the brisket down on enough foil to wrap it up in and pour on some of that sauce. Oh, you do have to make the sauce it first, but it's also really easy. You could use bottled, but this was really good, a great balance of tart, sweet and smoky. Good times. If this book has done nothing else, it showed me what was wrong with all the bbq sauces I was trying to make. Not enough anything. Good to know. Anyway, wrap it up and toss it in a 250 degree oven for 6-8 hours, until it's about 190 degrees inside. I had a 4.5 lb brisket and it took almost exactly 6 hours to cook. It was wicked, wicked good. Don't let the nice neat slices fool you (you get that by cutting it after chilling it for a while, makes it much easier), we cut this stuff with a fork it was so tender. The flavors of the rub mixed with the sauce was just awesome. I actually have half of it left in the freezer, waiting for a day when we need a little taste of summer.

Now, I've heard some people voice concerns about liquid smoke, but there is no need to be afraid of it. Allow me, if you will, to quote Cheater BBQ:

"Liquid smoke is exactly that- smoke from smoldering hardwoods or fruitwoods, condensed in water with impurities and carcinogens removed. It is not chemical or synthetic. It is safe, consistent, time saving, economical and environmentally friendly smoke in a bottle."

Embrace liquid smoke people. It's a good time.

Want to try this stuff for yourself? One of you lucky kids can get your own copy of Cheater BBQ! Just leave a comment and you're entered. Want another chance? Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave another comment telling me you did. That's it, I'm keeping it simple. I'm going to give you guys until Friday. Good luck!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Cats

So things are starting to get settled, which is nice. We can see the floor now and I've used my new stove a couple times. The kids have adjusted just fine, we were a little worried that since this place is smaller they might not get along as well. But here they are, practicing their synchronized sleeping. There's a big competition coming up, I hear. The real Bob likes to rock out and doesn't really care who knows it. You can tell by the look on his face. Heh. Noodles likes sleeping on the corners of the bed. We aren't sure why, especially after she's been knocked down from there if we have to get up in the middle of the night. But whatever, it makes her happy and it's not like we could stop her.

So tomorrow I'll post about the first thing I made in my new apartment and there's a giveaway! Excitement!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Camera Cleanup, the Final Act

Ok, last camera cleanup, I promise. I have something really good coming up on Monday and a giveaway to boot! So make sure to tune in then.

But first, allow me to give you some advice on baking muffins. You see, when a recipe says "preheat the oven to 350" it means 350. Not 250. Like I did here. See that? That's what happens when you realize the muffins have been in there for five minutes at the drastically wrong temperature so you turn it up to where it's supposed to be and hope for the best. They came out perfectly edible, but the texture was... odd. It was more like those Drakes coffee cake things than anything else. Not quite what I was going for. They came out much better the first time.

Here we have some french toast made with french bread. Awesome. It's the only time my girlfriend can eat 6-7 pieces of french toast. Heh.

This was a sandwich I made, it was roast beef that I wrapped in a foil packet with some fresh basil and oregano and heated up a bit, just so it released some juice. Then I smothered it with cheese, poured the juice back on and ate it. Good times.

And finally I leave you with a failed western omelet. It was really good, but it wasn't an omelet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fruit Compote with Cheese

1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Dash gray sea salt
1 cup Granny Smith apples, diced 1/4-inch thick cubes
1 cup pears, 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 wedge sharp Cheddar
1 wedge Gorgonzola

In a 4-quart saucepan or pot bring the first 6 ingredients to a simmer. Stir slowly to dissolve the sugar in the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and the cheese. When the liquid comes to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the fruit. Turn off the heat then stir in the lemon juice. With a slotted spoon remove the fruit to a bowl. Bring the remaining syrup to a simmer and reduce until lightly thickened or when the bubbles formed on the top become small. Remove the syrup for the heat and when it is cool pour it over the fruit. The compote can be held in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

from here


A recipe! For real! I know, it's been a while. Of course, it's not mine, I didn't make it and there aren't any step by steps. But, this is that compote my sister in law made on Thanksgiving. It was wicked, wicked good. We ate it on crackers with sharp cheese. The contrast between the cheese and the sweet, spiced compote was just awesome. I could have filled myself up on that alone if my basting duties didn't remind me of what was to come. So that's really it, no rambling, no babbling. Just make this stuff and watch it disappear.There will probably be at least one more cleanup post, but I've got a few things in the works. There will be more recipes next week, I promise.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Camera Cleanup Part 4

Well, this dude needs a break from unpacking. So I'm going to post a couple pics from my cleanup folder. Heh, I'm running low on these, I might need to dig my way to the stove sooner rather than later.

Here is the last box of pastries we got from the bakery near our old apartment. There's a lemon/raspberry danish, some turnovers, some pastry stick thingies.. I have no idea what was in the bag, but I'm sure it was good. Pretty much everything from that place was.

But this, this is what I could use right now. A nice, cold oatmeal stout. If you're into stout you should try this, it's a good time. I had meant to do a whole review on it but I can't find any notes. I don't think I took any, I think I just drank it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Cats

So, we've managed to move in without significant difficulties, despite Noodles and the real Bob wanting to help. But my thinking that I would be back to blogging like normal this week might have been a bit... optimistic. Heh. I forgot how much moving takes out of me and I failed to take into account just how much stuff we have. But, so far so good and hopefully at some point this week I will be able to do some cooking. Until then, it's more camera cleaning. Right now though, it's sleep. Definitely sleep.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Camera Cleanup Part 3

I made panna cotta for the first time a while ago. I made it with Baileys, which was tasty. But I just couldn't get a decent picture of it, which was frustrating. So I didn't post about it and now I have no idea where the recipe went. But here is a texture pic. My girlfriend couldn't eat it, it was too boozy. Heh.

Meatball pizza! Good times. This particular one was quite good, I'm not sure why I never posted about it. I'm almost certain it was these meatballs that I used in it.

So, we are almost all packed. Which is good since we will hopefully be starting the move tomorrow. We will be in our new place by Saturday night, if all goes well. Hm, I wonder what the wine of the month is over at Bakespace. I haven't had time to check but I expect I'll be wanting a nip at some point this weekend!


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