Archives for the month of: February, 2013

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I almost didn’t make this one.

It wasn’t for lack of wanting, but one of exhaustion, an exhaustion that only those of new parents know. Where the likelihood of a successful day relies upon which child you’ve seen during the night. Is it the one that can easily be soothed by feeding/changing? Or one that continues to fuss throughout the night?

Now that DH is back at work, planning for a recipe involves more than a trip to the grocer and turning the oven on. Timing the trip to the store, finding a way to keep DB healthy in this cold weather, organizing the baking efforts around feedings/naps….it has made me grateful that I picked up so much project management experience before becoming a mother.

But last night we had a good night. And with the sun shining on this cold February day, I thought we might just make it.

And I’m sure you can all guess which prep method I used. :). I do love my FoodPro, and with it, this became a pretty straightforward dump and mix effort.

I made this one along with the recipe, with the exception of replacing the bourbon with leftover coffee from this morning. :). The coffee is especially good in the white chocolate cream. Oh man that’s good – creamy, sweet, with the bitter coffee aftertaste which I absolutely love.

Other high points? I love making syrups on the stove because I think they make the prettiest boils.

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And mixing the batter in the FoodPro made a beautifully creamy batter.

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And the baking went OK, but I needed another 5-7 minutes in the oven. This made the top a little firm, but the bottom was still soft. But I was still able to flip the cake successfully! (Sorry for the shadow…)

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Oh man, this cake is rich and GOOD for being so easy! I may hold on to this recipe for my office annual bake sale, as the best chocolate cake can go for over 500 dollars for charity!

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Visit Cathy’s site at A Frederick Food Garden for he recipe and more info about this glorious cake! I am looking forward to viewing everyone’s results!

Also, to those of the TWD bloggers who use blogspot, I am having difficulty commenting on your sites (I browse through my iPad, and Blogger locks up at the point where I’m asked to sign in with the little pop-up). So until I sort that out (and if anyone has any workaround, pls tell me!) please know that I love your sites, and will hopefully be able to tell you so directly soon!

Beth

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After last weekend’s efforts in the kitchen, I haven’t had much energy this week to do much more. The little miss has taken up quite a bit of time, and the frequent nighttime waking has scrambled my brain. But I was inspired by Lunar New Year and Appetite for China’s post about an opportunity to receive a copy of her new cookbook, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook for trying a recipe. I can’t seem to get enough Asian cookbooks – half of my cookbook collection are Asian cookbooks, so of course I can’t resist! (And in full disclosure, I will be entered in a giveaway for posting as well).

DH and I love homemade Kung Pao Chicken, and Diana’s recipe seemed manageable to try with only one set of arms (the other holding the babe).

So DH got to work. First, he tenderized the chicken. While this wasn’t called for in Diane’s recipe, it is something we often do with our stir-fries as it makes the meat really soft after cooking (also, it makes it more forgiving if you have a tendency to overlook the meat). To tenderize, DH soaks the cut meat in 1tsp of baking soda and 1-2 tsp of rice wine vinegar. After about 10 minutes, he rinses the meat and then we get started on our recipe!

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Chicken marinating in a bag does not a good photo make!

Once the sauce was made, scallions chopped, meat was tenderized and marinated in Diana’s marinade, we were ready to stir-fry. One great thing that stir-frying has always taught me is that to stir-fry right, you have to have everything ready to throw in the wok before you start to cook.

So into the wok (yes, our electric wok since we know of no good wok pan that can be used with a glass top cooktop), went our oil and chiles (this is also where we added the Sichaun peppercorns, as I like mine whole and roasted in the hot oil). Then in went our chicken.

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After the chicken was cooked, we added the onions, peanuts, and sauce to finish off the dish.

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Compared to other Kung Pao recipes we’ve tried, DH and I appreciated the simplicity in this version, and found it to be quite tasty (although, I’m afraid my Sichaun peppercorns have seen better days and that it’s time to head down to the Spice Shack and pick up some new ones). The balance of heat from the chiles with the sweetness of the sauce was pretty much spot on. The ingredients called for in this recipe are pretty straight-forward, with only a few items that are not likely to be included in the typical grocery store (but very easy to find at a global market).

Given how easy this was to whip up, I imagine we’ll be making this again as DB is amazing at taking up our time.

Enough effort for the weekend, I think!
Beth

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I wasn’t sure I was going to try my hand at this one. Yes, it seems to be like many of the bread recipes we’ve been making for Tuesdays With Dorie…..make the starter, form the dough, let it rise, remember to plan ahead because it will need plenty of time to sit. All do-able, but see, last Tuesday DH and I were blessed with this:

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And like any new parents, our world was turned upside down in a matter of hours. But by day 5, with lots of help from DH, DB (Domestic Baby) and I were ready to try tackling the kitchen together. After all, we’re going to need to learn how to work together before DH goes back to work, and keeping me out of the kitchen is a no-go!

So into the bouncy seat she went (yes, we were blessed with a daughter. The infinitely cute baby clothes are already inundating the nursery). And Mom got to work mixing the dough.

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I learned two things while mixing this recipe:
1. I have GOT to get the locking mechanism on my KA fixed as this time it almost walked itself off the counter!
2. Any fear I had that DB would be alarmed by the KA seems to be misplaced. I guess if babies like vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, than a KA mixer whirring away probably constitutes the same level of noise (assuming, of course, it stays on the counter)

After mixing, we let the dough do its rising during the Super Bowl (I say this every time, but yeast is amazing!)

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Then put it in the fridge.

Now here is where, in my fatigued state, I took a shortcut that I shouldn’t have. See, I put my dough into the same freezer bag, thinking that there was plenty of room for the dough. Yeah, that whole concept of having yeast in the dough completely skipped my baby brain then (only five minutes after marveling how well the dang dough had risen while sitting on the counter)!

Imagine my surprise when I grabbed the dough out of the fridge Monday evening before dinner, learning the it had managed to grow all over my apples.

Ah well. I removed the dried out parts of the dough, grabbed a hunk, and started working with it again. I had trouble figuring out how to get the “bubbles” the book was looking for. I was able to use DH’s monster knife to get the texture in the Focaccia itself.

Add some olive oil, salt, rosemary and thyme and placed it on a silpat for baking

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My dough was ready within 20 minutes of baking (finally, a recipe that seems to have the right time on it for my oven! At first I thought it was too dry, but once we cut into it, it was the perfect texture inside.

Beats the focaccia served at our favorite Italian restaurant as it’s so light and fluffy. And, I’ve frozen the rest of my dough for another day! All in all this one is a winner, although I probably won’t make it too often as it’s not a bread that I find myself wanting to eat all that often.

Hope everyone’s bread turned out well! Visit Sharmini’s site at Wandering Through to see her beautiful results and to find the recipe! I’m off to get some newborn snuggles.

Beth