Archive | July, 2010

A Special Three-for-One PMAT Live! Episodes 5a, b and c All About Bread Basics

28 Jul

I’ve been working and working on these videos.  Making a bread video is a bit of a Challenge, because it happens in stages.  And in between those stages, I’m doing Other Things.  So I have to take my big girl chef coat off and on while I do other Tasks, lest I sweat too much on it.  The things I do for you people.  You’re welcome.

A couple of things to note:  1) Emmet died in the making of these videos.  His wee leg broke, and a bipod doesn’t work nearly as well as a tripod.  Go figure.

2) In PMAT Live! 5c, note a cameo from two deer wandering in our yard and adding to the Bucolic Splendor of Southern Trace.

3) The bread is already gone.  It was Awesome.

Thanks to Tracey from Tangled Noodle for suggesting that I make a bread making video for beginning bakers who might be a bit intimidated by the process.  I’m happy to take requests, so suggest away.

And now, without further ado, I present to you The Latest Episodes of PMAT Live!

Theme Parties, Plus a Prize!

21 Jul

Last year, The Beloved and I hosted a Ken’s Korny Corn Maze party.  Everyone had to bring a dish that contained corn.  We had everything from corn chowder to corn dogs to candy corn, and it was Loads of Fun.  In a couple of weeks, we’re having a Thanksgiving in July party.  We’ve been in The Beautiful House for just over a year, and we’re thankful for our new friends and neighbors.  So, we’re inviting them over for a special Thanksgiving meal.  We’re providing happy turkey, dressing and a Dessert (more on that later), and everyone else will bring their favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  We’re even going to play Alice’s Restaurant, since that is the Thanksgiving Theme Song.

A few days ago, I was talking on the phone with Cousin Ken, and I told him about our upcoming Thanksgiving meal.  He told me about a party that he and his first wife hosted:  everyone had to bring a dish from the home culture of their maternal grandmother.  They ended up enjoying a wonderful multicultural meal, from pierogi to Parmesan.

This got me thinking about theme parties in general.  I think we’ve gotten away from having theme parties, and it’s time to bring them back.  Theme parties don’t have to be dusty affairs from the 1970s, and they don’t have to be cheesy or hokey.  Unless you’re having a cheese party.  Or a Hoky party, for that matter.

If you are Dead Set against the theme party as a viable option, please think again.  For your edification, I present unto you Some Theme Party Ideas.

Some Theme Party Ideas

  • Color theme:  orange foods, red foods, etc
  • Sneaky foods:  foods that are masquerading as other foods: a scoop of mango sorbet on a pool of coconut cream looks like a fried egg
  • Local foods:  made only with foods grown locally
  • TV theme:  foods from Seinfeld or another favorite show.  Marble rye and Junior Mints, anyone?
  • Ingredient theme:  everything must contain (insert ingredient here)
  • Fondue!
  • Diner party:  burgers, dogs, onion rings, shakes.  You know: diner food
  • Favorite band theme:  All the foods must appear in the artists’ body of work.  ex: Beatles–strawberries, rice, crackers, marmelade, marshmallows, etc.
  • Scattergories party:  all the foods have to begin with the same letter
  • Elvis party:  self explanatory
  • Grill party:  take it outside–all courses grilled, from apps to desserts

Okay, that’s just a few.  I’d love to hear your ideas.  And I know you have some Amazing Ideas.  Or, use one of the themes I’ve listed and tell me what you’d make for that theme.  I wanna know what you’re gonna make for Sneaky Food night!

In the spirit of our Thanksgiving in July party, I would also like to thank you guys, my readers.  Without you, I’d just be throwing wee pebbles down a bottomless well, figuratively speaking.  So, for the reader/commenter with Coolest Idea (chosen by the Impartial Beloved), I’ll send you a copy of one of my favorite quirky cookbooks:  The Surreal Gourmet Entertains:  high-fun, low-stress dinner parties for 6 to 12 people. Check it out. I’ll be taking submissions through July 31st, and The Beloved will make his decision on August 1, so comment away and tell your friends.  And thank you all again for being so keen.

Anyway, that’s about it for today.  I’m off to work on my Riveting Video of How to Make Bread Even if You Don’t Think You Can.  You’re welcome.

Newsflash: Cinnamon Rolls Should Not Contain Baking Powder

16 Jul
cinnamon rolls

Look out, Dough Boy; I'm coming for you.

In an effort to save you from Strange and Unpronounceable ingredients, high fructose corn syrup and crappy food in general, I give you The Cinnamon-Buns-in-a-Cardboard-Tube.  I’m not giving them to you so you’ll actually eat them but so you won’t want to eat them (if you are currently a Fan) or to reaffirm your commitment to Real Cinnamon Rolls (if you already Eschew Tube Buns).  Thanks to Wegman’s, my go-to site for The Ugly Truth about ingredients in tons of different food-ish items, I now present unto you the ingredients for Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, with Icing:

Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)–pretty standard.  I’m not saying it’s Best, mind you, but it’s just about what you’d find in national brands in the store
Water–Sure
Sugar–Sure
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil–I guess depending on what truck shows up first that day
Dextrose–More sugar. Yay.
Wheat Starch–I assume to thicken…something.
Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda)–Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).  Yes, it’s a real label that means “nobody has died from it.  That we’ve heard about.”  For a listing of all GRAS ingredients since 1998, please check this out.  Truly riveting reading.  Oh, and guess who gets to decide what is GRAS?  The company that produces the Ingredient in Question.  Sweet.
Whey–faux milk
Salt–‘kay
Cinnamon–Num yummy

*I’m Putting the Break between Bun and Goo here, because I think that this is where the bun stops and the goo begins.  I’m not sure, though.  They could’ve thrown some corn starch in with the buns, too.

Corn Starch–I assume to thicken the icing
Corn Syrup Solids–sweetener (corn syrup with almost all of the water spun out of it)
Mono and Diglycerides–emulsifiers and preservatives
Xanthan Gum–Another thickener
Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)
Polysorbate 60
–Another emulsifier
Artificial Flavor–because Mono and Diglycerides taste icky.
Yellow 5 and Red 40–because everyone wants orange icing on their cinnamon buns

You know, after reading back over the icing ingredients, the only “real” ingredient is Corn Syrup Solids.  All the other stuff is to thicken it or preserve it or hold it together or color it.  Nice.  But I’m not here to talk about the icing.  I wanna talk about the buns Themselves.  Let’s arrange those ingredients in a way that makes some sort of sense:

Water-Type Liquids

  • water
  • whey

Fats

  • Partially hydrogenated some-kind-of-oil, depending on the delivery schedule

Dry

  • Bleached, enriched white flour
  • Wheat Starch

Sweetener

  • Sugar
  • Dextrose

Leavener

  • Baking powder

Flavorings

  • Salt
  • Cinnamon

I don’t know about you, but in my book, a Doughy Item raised with baking powder is either a biscuit (scone) or a quick bread.  And also in my book, a cinnamon roll should be made with an enriched yeast-raised dough. Period.  My blog; my book.  I’m willing to bet, though, that you think of cinnamon rolls in the same way.  What Pillsbury is selling us is some kind of biscuit-ish item topped with preserved, colored and emulsified-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life corn syrup solids.  Num Yummy.

Back away from the colorful Tube of Doom.  Yes, I know that it’s fun to WHACK the can on the edge of the counter, but dang, people.

“But they’re so easy to make.” “But I don’t have time to make real cinnamon rolls.” “I can’t bake.” Okay, I hear you.  Let me Respond to each of these excuses.

1) Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you should make them.  Anybody can learn to make meth, although it’s not Generally Recognized As Safe.

2) Make the time.  It’ll be fun.  Or ask a friend to make them for you.  A little wheedling is a small price to pay for Freshly Baked Goods.

3) That’s what your oven is for, silly.

Now that I’ve hopefully talked you out of whacking and baking the contents of the Tube of Doom, let’s make some Real Cinnamon Buns with real ingredients.  Let’s do it now.

No-Tube Cinnamon Rolls

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 3 oz melted butter
  • 6 oz buttermilk
  • 20 oz AP flour
  • 3/4 oz fresh yeast (1/4 oz dried)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

You can make this dough using the Straight Dough Method.  That means that you can just dump everything in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and Let Her Rip.  Make sure your yeasties are alive and kicking before you do this:  proof a little bit in some warm water with a pinch of sugar.  If the water gets foamy and/or bubbly, you’re good to go.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, whisk the salt, dry yeast and the flour together.  Mix all the other ingredients in, and then add the flour, stirring and stirring, until you have a soft/sticky dough.  Since the dough will be sticky, it’ll be kind of a pain to knead, so use your bench scraper to help you.  Knead and knead until the dough is nice and smooth and springy.

Shape the dough into a ball and tighten it by pushing it in small circles on your counter top.  Why?  Because tightening the gluten skin/matrix around the outside of the ball of dough promotes an even rise.

Place the dough, lovely rounded side down in a greased bowl, then flip the dough so the lovely rounded side is up.  That way, the whole thing will be greased.  Why?  Because this prevents a skin from forming (the outside from drying out) on the ball of dough.  If a skin Happens, it’ll impede your rise.

Cover the dough with a cloth and let rise until doubled.  Since there’s a lot of fat in this dough, it’ll take a long time.  Fat hinders yeast Action.  Count on at least a couple of hours.

You can also cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.  This’ll free up some time for you, and the slow, cold rise will help develop some complex flavors in the dough.  If you do that, you can go ahead and roll it out while it’s still cool.  It’ll be easier to handle.

Once your dough has doubled in size, plop it out on a lightly greased or oiled surface (adding more flour will just toughen it), press out all the gases, and knead a couple of times to redistribute the yeast.  Roll out into a large, even rectangle–keep the dough at around 1/4″ thick.

Then, spread on a mixture of Goo of Choice

Goo of Choice should include

  • softened (not melted) butter
  • some sort of sugar(1:2 butter to sugar works well)
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Goo of Choice can include

  • orange zest
  • raisins/currants/other dried fruits
  • crystallized ginger
  • other spices–don’t limit yourself to just cinnamon
  • a little espresso powder
  • mini chocolate chips
  • a little cayenne
  • toasted chopped nuts
  • crushed red hots
  • a couple of drops of cinnamon oil

Take the goo you come up with, and spread it Rather Liberally all over your dough rectangle, leaving about 1 1/2″ clear on one end and about an inch clear on the sides.

Roll up the dough into a snug-but-not-tight cylinder.  Seal the seam by pinching.  Cut off the uneven ends.  Make sure you bake those, too–cook’s treat.  Cut the rest of the cylinder into 1 to 1 1/2″ pieces.  You can either use a sharp serrated knife or a piece of dental floss.  Just stick the floss under the log o’ dough, pull up the ends, cross and pull, thus slicing right through the log.  Magical.

Now, you have a couple of choices.  If you like the browned outsides of cinnamon rolls, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 1/2″ apart. If you like your cinnamon rolls to be all soft and inside-ish, put them in a buttered baking dish with sides and place them about 1/2″ apart.  If your pan is too big for the number of rolls you have, make a fake pan side with some heavy duty aluminum foil and hold it in place with an appropriate-sized oven-safe implement.  Metal cutter/spatulas/clean, empty cans–whatever.  Either way you like them, cover with a towel and let rise until poofy-but-not-doubled–about 45 minutes or so.

Bake at 350F until nicely risen and golden brown.  Your oven is most likely different than my oven, so start checking at about 20 minutes.  If one side seems to be browning more than the other, turn the pan.  Just to be sure, use a Thermapen or instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the Middle Bun.  It’s done if it’s at least 190F and up to about 205F.

Let cool to warm, and then Apply Icing.

Icing #1

  • confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • milk or cream

Mix everything together until you have a smooth, thick glaze.  Drizzle–or pour–onto warm buns.

Icing #2

  • Equal parts butter and cream cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • milk or cream

Cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Add confectioners’ sugar until you reach Frosting Consistency.  If you want, thin it out with a little milk or cream.  Slather on warm buns.

Of course you can add whatever you want to your icing.  Leave the cinnamon out, if you want.  Add some zest.  Use a little lemon extract.  It’s your party.

And I think that’s all I have to say about that right now.  Now go make some Real Cinnamon Rolls with Real Ingredients.  Looks like you stocked up on Polysorbate 60 for nothing.

PS Cinnamon Rolls are NOT diet foods.  They are high in fat, high in sugar and are Extremely Addictive.  Make and eat at your own risk.  Of course, they’re practically celery sticks coated with wheat bran compared to what’s in the Tube of Doom…

*Update:  Oh, my–I just thought of this:  what if all those ingredients are for the buns and the goo ingredients aren’t even listed?!  That makes the second half of the list (plus the cinnamon) be part of the swirl! Dear Lord, the horror.

Taste Carolina. Thanks; Don’t Mind If I Do.

14 Jul
Taste Carolina

Happy, happy gang finishing up the tour at Foundation.

Friends, I have never enjoyed someone else’s birthday celebration more than I enjoyed Friend Roberta’s 40th Birthday Shindig.  Okay, so maybe the Birthday Activity was partly my idea, but still.  Several months ago, Friend Roberta’s husband, Thomas, sent me a facebook message asking for ideas for a cool Celebrational Endeavor.  Friend Susan and I Googled “cool stuff to do in Raleigh July” or something like that, found this Thing, and sent the link to Thomas.  He liked the idea, added tickets for all and a limo ride from the house, and we were Ready To Go.

Here’s what we found to do:  a walking/riding tour of Keen Places to Eat in downtown Raleigh through Taste Carolina.  I had been looking forward to this for a long time–sampling food and beer at various restaurants.  And then, as some of you might know, I started to change the way I thought about food.  Interested in that?  Read this or this.  Otherwise, keep going.   I was a little concerned that I might not be able to sample everything, especially if they couldn’t tell me where the meat came from and how it was raised.  Thomas messaged me to find out if we had any dietary restrictions (other than No Cannibalism), and I let him know that we were eating only humanely raised and slaughtered meats.  So I began to Steel Myself to the possibility that I’d have to eat bread crusts, cheese rinds and lettuce.

But guess what?  I was delighted to find out that all of the restaurants on the tour were committed to using local, organic and humanely raised meats and vegetables.  We had goat cheese from local farms, house-made tortillas, local heirloom tomatoes.  Local-almost-everything.  And the meats!  Local, grass-fed beef; local happy pork!  I was thrilled that a) farm to fork is alive and well in Raleigh and that a) I could eat everything.  Not necessarily in that order, I admit, but still.

The Beloved and I were thrilled to find such a thriving and vibrant restaurant scene away from the looming shadows of chain restaurants.

And now, without further ado, I give you Itinerary, The Menu and a few Illuminating Photographs:

1.  Dos Taquitos Centro–hibiscus-pomegranate beverage and grass-fed beef and queso fresca quesadillas with sliced mango.  You wish you were me already, right?  Great atmosphere; fresh food.  Fabulous.dos taquitos centro

2.  18 Seaboard–heirloom cherry tomato bruschetta with aged balsamic on house-made focaccia.  Bright, fresh and amazing.  A casual fine dining restaurant, 18 Seaboard specializes in Southern cuisine in a laid-back atmosphere.18 Seaboard

3.  Market–Stewed pork and hominy soft tacos with crack fries.  And what’s a crack fry, you ask?  Allow me to enlighten you: they hand-cut fries  tossed in truffle oil, parmesan, and fresh herbs.  They’re served with homemade ketchup.  Oh, and fried in duck fat.  Crack fries, indeed.  Very cool place in a renovated laundromat.  Young owners and staff, dedicated to serving excellent food made with local ingredients and Animal Welfare Approved meats.Market

4.  Escazu–Artisan chocolates made from South American beans.  And the cool thing?  They make the chocolate from the beans right in their very own store!  I think the guy is like one of just a handful of folks making their own chocolates from scratch in the US.  Plus, they’re right next door to Market.  Yay!  In the fall, I’m going back for their locally-famous hot chocolate.  If you like Hershey bars, maybe this place ain’t for you.  If you taste chocolate like you’d taste a rare bottle of wine, you should definitely check them out.

Escazu

The antique Spanish cocoa bean roaster-nee-coffee bean roaster at Escazu. Looks a bit like Darth Vader, no?

5.  The Cupcake Shoppe–It’s your typical cupcakery, but I will say that their cupcakes are quite good and obviously made from scratch.  Their icing is also nice–not too sweet and very buttery-tasting.  I had a lemon cupcake, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.The Cupcake Shoppe

6.  The Mint–Shrimp and Grits.  Absolutely the creamiest, tastiest grits I’ve eaten since I left the restaurant in Florida.  Lovely, plump shrimp and lightly roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes that burst  in the mouth like wee umami-bombs.  The tomatoes, not the shrimp. The ultimate in fine dining atmosphere with a focus on local, farm-to-f0rk cuisine.  The Executive Chef, Howard McCall, offers not only inspired cuisine but also brings a mean business sense to the table–the kitchen operates at about a 26% food cost.  That’s amazing.  Whoever said you can’t make money using organic ingredients hasn’t met Chef Howard.The Mint, Raleigh

7.  Foundation–2 local beers.  A wheat beer and a pale ale.  Lovely.  Plus, I bought a house-made ginger ale–very gingery and refreshing.  This place is serves drinks only, and as such is a private club.  Well worth seeking out.  Specializing in US spirits and local beer, there’s no tequila or Scotch, but they feature a ton of bourbons.

Foundation, Raleigh

Foundation was dug out of the red clay foundation of the building above. Those bricks behind the bar are part of the original foundation. Very cool place.

And there you have it.  Much fun was had by all.  Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Taste Carolina for putting together a Plethora of amazing food tours in the Triangle.

Now, I’m gonna have to go back to all those places at least four times.  Each.  Busy, busy, busy…

A Special Weekday Edition of Sunday Suppers: Happy Drunken Beach Lasagna

9 Jul
lasagna

How do I love thee, lasagna? Let me count the ways.

We interrupt our usual weekday pastry program to bring you a special edition of Sunday Suppers.  Why?  Because if I wait until Sunday, I might forget everything that I put in it.  And I don’t want to do that–it was really, really tasty.

The Beloved and I spent the extended Fourth of July weekend at the beach with wonderful friends.  Julie and her kids are there for a total of three weeks, and our time there overlapped with theirs (of course) and one other couple’s.  So, for the three nights that all three (and kids) were there, each of us picked an evening to cook.  And then Lisa, who has very Good Ideas, suggested that we each be in charge of an Adult Beverage of the Day along with dinner.  I baked some white bread to take down for Sammich-Making along with some homemade pimento cheese for said sammiches.  Incidentally, if you want to make very simple pimento cheese, all you need to do is shred up your favorite cheese, add some chopped pimentos (or roasted red peppers work just as well) and some mayonnaise.  Season it however you want.

Moving on.  Our Drink of Choice was Pitcher Mojitos.  Always refreshing.  And for the dining portion of the show, we chose to make a lasagna.  Not just any lasagna, mind you.  One made with humanely raised meats; one made with a Whole Bottle of Wine; one with tons of Flavor.   I’m pretty sure we accomplished our goal.  This was quite possibly the best lasagna I’ve ever made.  Granted, I never make it the same way twice, but still.

Before I share with you the extremely long list of ingredients, let me present you with some Lasagna Rules.  These might not be your Italian great-grandmother’s rules for making lasagna, but I think they’re useful.  Take them or leave them, but here they are:

  1. There is no reason to purchase No-Boil lasagna noodles.  Regular, dry lasagna noodles will work just fine.  Honest.  No need to boil.  I promise.  Kudos to the Marketing Geniuses that came up with the product, though.
  2. Lasagna is a dish of layered components.  If you want, you can just layer two components:  noodles and sauce.  Maybe put some cheese on the top.  If you don’t like the ricotta layer, don’t use it.  If you want to add a layer of roasted red pepper, do it.  Lasagna is Open to Interpretation.
  3. You don’t need a hard and fast recipe for lasagna.  If you can make a tomato sauce and Stack Items on top of each other, you can make a lasagna.  (See #2 for more information).

The Lasagna I Made

For the sauce:  I’m not giving any measurements for the sauce.  It’s scalable.

  • organic happy mild Italian sausage
  • happy, 100% grass-fed ground beef
  • some chopped up organic happy bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning–I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset
  • red pepper flake (since the happy sausage people didn’t make hot Italian sausage)
  • bay leaves–I used three from our very own wee bay tree (bush-let)
  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • garlic
  • bell pepper
  • some roasted red pepper (left over from the pimento cheese)
  • shitake mushrooms
  • tomato paste
  • canned diced tomato
  • a little fresh thyme, oregano and basil
  • a bottle of red wine (I used a cheap-but-drinkable Merlot.  Chianti would be a better choice.  Even so, if you use Merlot, I’m pretty sure you won’t spit it out)
  • Champagne vinegar
  • sugar

The first thing I did was to cook the bacon.  Then, I took the bacon out and saved it, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.  I sweated all the veggies–onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms and roasted red pepper–in the bacon grease along with salt and pepper.

Reserve the vegetables and brown the sausage and ground beef.  Add some Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.

Once the meat has browned, add the bacon and vegetables back to your pot and bring everything up to a nice sizzle.  Add the tomato sauce and let caramelize for a couple of minutes, stirring.

Add the bottle of wine, and then cook down until it has reduced by 3/4 or so.  Correct salt and pepper.

Add the diced tomato and fresh herbs, bring up to a simmer.  Taste and correct seasonings.  I’m including the vinegar and sugar in the seasonings category.  I ended up using a lot of sugar.  What with all the wine and tomatoes, there is a lot of acid in the sauce.  The sugar will temper that.  Once you get to the point that you think you have almost enough salt, finish it off with a splash of vinegar.  Yes, I know it’s even more acid, but it’ll add the spark that salt alone can’t add.  Sorry, salt.

Hit the whole pot with your stick blender and blend until the sauce is as smooth as you want it.  If you like it really chunky, you don’t have to use the stick blender at all.  It’s up to you.  By the way, feel free to use this sauce for spaghetti or any other pasta-type dish.  If you finish your pasta with a little cream, you’ll end up with a lovely Bolognese-style sauce, thankyouverymuch.

For the ricotta layer

  • one large tub of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • an egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a few scrapings of nutmeg
  • a little Italian seasoning
  • a couple handfuls of shredded cheese–I used some kind of Italian four-cheese blend, I think

MIx everything but the egg together really well.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Stir in the egg until well combined.

For the other cheese, because you can never have too much cheese

  • provolone cheese–just sliced from the deli
  • mozzarella cheese–ditto
  • more shredded Italian cheese blend

How I put the whole thing together (You can do it the way you want)

  • coat the bottom of the baking dish (I used an 11″x17″ sheet pan–I was cooking for a crowd) with a thin layer of sauce
  • place the dry lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.  Make sure the noodles are touching–a little overlap is a good thing
  • add another thin-ish layer of sauce
  • put spoonfuls of ricotta mixture all over the sauce and then carefully smooth out with an offset spatula
  • cover with slices of mozzarella cheese
  • add another thin-ish layer of sauce
  • add another layer of dry lasagna noodles
  • another thin-ish layer of sauce
  • add more spoonfuls of ricotta
  • cover that with slices of provolone
  • add another thin-ish layer of sauce
  • dry noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta
  • sliced cheese
  • sauce
  • dry noodles
  • sauce
  • sliced cheese

Cover the top with parchment and then wrap tightly in foil.  Bake in a 375F oven until bubbling (depending on the size of your pan, this could take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour or more).

Remove the foil, sprinkle on some more shredded cheese and then broil until the cheese is bubbly and browned in places.

If you want nice, clean slices, let your masterpiece sit for about a half an hour before slicing.  If you don’t care that you end up with an ugly-but-tasty pile of sauce, cheese and noodles, cut immediately.  But blow on it before you take a bite.  It are Very Hot.

And there you have it.  Enjoy!  And enjoy your weekend.

The Great Search Term Round Up: Volume VI

1 Jul

In Which we find ourselves at the end of another month (okay, the beginning), ready to help answer your burning pastry questions.

Yes, it has been Quite the little While since I’ve done a search term round up.  But I have a reason.  Wanna hear?  Okay.  I keep seeing the same search terms over and over again, and frankly, it was getting a little boring.  So just for fun, today I decided to look up the stats on search terms for All Time.  That’s since October 2008.  And here are the Top Ten Search Terms:

  1. quinoa
  2. butter
  3. ice
  4. jack o lantern
  5. creaming method
  6. jackolantern
  7. biscuit method
  8. jack-o-lantern
  9. jack-o-lanterns
  10. cool whip substitute

Apparently, my Typical Readers are cake-making, pumpkin-carving, ancient-grain-eating, cold-fat-loving Cool Whip haters.  At last:  I’ve discovered my niche.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can add anything to that Top Ten.  Therefore, I am taking the liberty this Independence Day weekend of making my own Top Ten List.  One that more truly reflects PMAT and all for which it stands.

Don’t forget:  I’m here to help.

1.  How do you make Cool Whip from Whipping Cream? Do you see what I have to deal with, people?  It’s a wonder I’m not sniping from a rooftop somewhere.  By the way, mercifully, the answer to that question is you can’t.

2.  Brother Spectacular Chicken There are no words.  Maybe they meant, “Brother, that is one Spectacular Chicken!”  Or maybe Brother Spectacular, from the Order of Poultry, is a chicken.  In that case, it should say Brother Spectacular? Chicken.

3.  Ice cream with apples and caramel If you’re asking, don’t mind if I do.

4.  What items do you need to make a cheese cake? Is this a trick question?  They could be talking about this.  Or this. Confuzzling.

5.  If You Me More So Maybe I not you.  Less so.  Maybe not.  You’re welcome.

6.  White things that float in the air What about them?  make me sneeze?  are from outer space?  are only real in my mind?  mean that I’m at the pillow factory?  I give up.

7.  Are there any salted caramel sorbet recipes? Generally speaking, there is no dairy in sorbet, so you can’t technically make a salted caramel sorbet.  So, no.  But, you could call it ice cream.  Make your caramel.  Add salt to taste.  Add some milk.  Do the egg test.  Add more milk if the egg is floating too high or some corn syrup if the egg is floating too low.  Chill and spin.  Put in face.

8.  Water kitchen Possible responses:  a) Call a plumber.  b) I’m glad you have a boat.  Good for you.  c) No, water plants.

9.  How to make Cool Whip stiff Hit it with some liquid nitrogen.  Then throw it away.

10.  How do you whip whole eggs? Contrary to popular belief, you can whip whole eggs.  And it’s much more stable than just whipped whites because of the lecithin in the yolks.  So, why would you want to whip whole eggs?  1) Sabayon.  Nice!  2) Genoise.  Ditto.

And there you have it.  Happy Heart-of-Summer, everyone.  See you in a few days.

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