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Whole Wheat Apple Fritters

21 Jul

whole wheat apple fritters

Back from Seattle!  What a yummy city.  Lucky for me, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation.  That’s true right?  God, I hope so.

The flights gave me a good 5 hours of reading time.  So I buzzed right though Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.  Apparently, he’s a fancy pants food guy, who like, knows everybody who is anybody in the world of food.  Since I’m not in a bad high school movie from the 80s, that’s not really all that important to me but I do like food science and the why’s and how’s of what makes good food happen so this book piqued my interest.  The idea is that a chef (or home cook in my case) armed with these standardized ratios will be freed from recipe slavery.  I have to say that, having read it, I do feel oddly liberated.  Not that I have it all committed to memory quite yet, but having an understanding of what proportions of flour to liquid to fat to baking powder to etc., etc.  goes into making certain types of foods that we create on a regular basis has given me instant confidence.  My balls are feeling brassier already.   The book really helps take the mystery out of the standard preparations for things like bread, cookies, pasta, batters, stock, sausages, and some basic sauces.  He does a great job of making cooking and recipe creation accessible to the masses.  Of course, there’s a learning curve and you have to be willing to relinquish long held fears like measuring by weight as opposed to volume.  This required that I purchase a scale, which I did.  I even measured stuff on it and it was easy.  Continue reading


Me Oh My! I Love Pie.

8 Jul

Black and Blue Berry Butterfly Pie

Pop quiz.  What movie is the “Me oh my, I love pie” song from?  Here’s a hint, it’s crappy, stars post-Grease/pre-Pulp Fiction John Travolta (hence, the crappiness), also features the world’s biggest ball of twine.   If you guessed “Michael”, you are correct.  You should also march straight over to Travolta’s house and demand two hours of your life back.

For guessing correctly, I reward you with a recipe for what I’m now calling the Black and Blue Berry Butterfly Pie.  If you’re one of the lame-Os who didn’t get it right, why don’t you celebrate not spending $8 bucks to see that tripe by having a slice of pie. Continue reading

Peach + Blueberry Cobbler

6 Jul

peach and blueberry cobbler

You may not be able to buy happiness but this carby, fatty goodness proves you sure as heck can bake it up in the oven.  If you’re on a diet, quit now and shove a mouthful of this stuff in your face immediately.  Whoever it is you’re trying to impress is definitely not worth missing out on this summery dessert.  As far as I’m concerned, it can take the place of breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I think the fact that peach season coincides with bathing suit season is further proof that god does not exist or if he does, he’s a sadistic prick.  No benevolent creature would create peaches, make them taste so good in a cobbler and then only make them  available during the time of year that’s also perfect for parading around half naked at the beach.

Regardless, I’m totally willing to start clothes shopping in the fat girl section if it means I can indulge in a bowl or twelve of fruit cobbler this summer.   Continue reading

Lattice Topped Fresh Cherry Pie

28 Jun

lattice topped cherry pie

Warehouse shopping is often the impetus for my culinary (mis)adventures.  Yesterday, I bought enough fruit at Sam’s Club to feed a large army.   Most likely this is because, last weekend, my dad made a beautiful fruit salad that I didn’t get to partake in due to a very unfortunate hangover after an impromptu guzzling of several bottles of wine with our neighbor.  Long story short, my chicken coop collapsed and neighbor guy spent about 6 hours helping us fix it so the least we could do was help him drink his wine afterward.  Continue reading

Foods of Unnatural Colors

2 Apr

trix treat

Sorry for the hiatus.  An unexpected medical issue has taken up my mental energy the last few weeks.  But enough of that nonsense.  It’s Easter time!  Nothing says Easter like food coloring and refined sugar.  While I generally attempt to avoid all that stuff as much as possible, an Easter without ’em would be just plain un-American.  For anybody over the age of about 12, these are disgusting.  Actually, I’m lying.  I totally dig Rice Krispie treats.  The trix treats on the other hand, are vile.  My kids LOVED them.  Paying homage to his bachelor days, my husband bought a box of the Trix Swirls a few weeks back.  I was transfixed by all the pretty colors and decided I had to use them for something.  I also had this idea for multi-colored Rice Krispie treats that I’ve been meaning to give a shot. Continue reading

OMG, I’m So Sick of The Cupcake Trend…

1 Mar

mocha cupcakes

So here’s yet another cupcake recipe.   This cupcake is slightly special though, I promise.   Made with spelt flour and Medjool dates, this cupcake is fibery (shut up, it’s a word) enough to make your grandma give up her Metamucil.  Plus, one of the nice things about cupcakes is that they are easy to share.  You have to admit it’s slightly ghetto and creepy to bring 1/2 a cake over to someone’s house but you bring a plate of cupcakes and you’re the super rad, trendy friend who just saved them from spending $20 at the gourmet cupcake shop.

Disclaimer:  I used Deglet dates because that’s all they had at my grocery store and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know the stinkin’ difference.  However, I used the handy dandy internet to look it up when I got home.  Apparently, Deglets are the shriveled, dried up, red-headed stepbrother of the Medjool.  That being said, I used them and the cupcakes turned out great.  I make no representations as to the awesomeness of the cupcakes if made with Medjools.  Who knows, they might suck. Continue reading

Blood Orange Polenta Upside-Down Cake

23 Feb

The family and I got home late last Sunday from a wedding in Solvang.   Happily, I found my new March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit waiting for me in the mail pile.  I have a strange habit of reading magazines from back to front or randomly as the subscription inserts dictate so the first page I opened to had a gorgeous picture of their Blood Orange Polenta Upside-Down Cake with Whipped Creme Fraiche.   Ok, so the picture looks great but honestly, blood oranges with peel on?  On a cake?  That sounds suspect.  Actually, it sounds awful.  Naturally, I must try it!

Last night I went to Henry’s to hunt down some blood oranges.  All they had were these beasts that look like they came straight out of the Jurassic period – I was hoping for something a little more ladylike.  I bought ’em anyway but I think I’m going to try again at Albertsons or Vons (my only other options).  Fingers crossed.  Anyhoozle, I’ll update with pics and a scathing review.

A couple days later…

Work lead me to the aptly named Orange County which lead me to none other than the elusive WHOLE FOODS.

Blood Oranges Which lead me to none other than the sweet, dainty, Kristin Chenoweth of blood oranges.  [Lame joke alert]  My original blood oranges must have been juicing.  [Groan!]

I think I’m now all set to actually cook the darn thing.  More on that when we return.

The verdict:  Plain and simple, I was right to begin with.
Orange peels do not belong on dessert.  At least not prepared as instructed in this recipe.  The polenta cake and whipped creme fraiche were very tasty once you remove the oranges.  My only complaint with the polenta cake was that some of the polenta didn’t cook entirely so there was a bit of grit to contend with (maybe a more finely ground polenta would work better).  The oranges tasted like an exteremely sour grapefruit in a bad way.  Once removed however, I actually enjoyed the cake.blood orange array

A few details to consider if you are going to try this recipe.  I used a cast iron skillet because it is the only oven safe vessel that I own that is10″ diameter.  While preparing what the recipe called the “caramel” I noticed that the sugar was prone to forming crystals.  I had to make it again because it got so crunchy the first time around.  I’m not sure if the pan choice was to blame.  I’d probably try a stainless steel pan next time around.  I never did achieve what I would consider a caramel.

On a health note, I switched out the all purpose flour for some whole wheat pastry flour.  I’ve found so many ways to sneak whole grains into the family diet and this recipe lends well to whole wheat flour.  Of course, the cake still isn’t a health food but it doesn’t hurt to up the nutritional ante at every given opportunity.

My cake certainly didn’t turn out as pretty as the picture either.  My pan may have been the culprit here too.  Perhaps a smooth sided pan would lend better to a more perfect cake wall.

Blood Orange Polenta Cake I plan to play around with this recipe a bit.  I think it would be great with strawberries.  Perhaps an upside-down shortcake of sorts.  There might even be a way to candy the oranges prior to baking…

It wasn’t perfect and I wouldn’t make it the same way again but I’m glad I tried it.