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Category Archives: Back to Basics Cooking

Pastry Pr0n

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Cookies!

Mrs J has made these a few times with the Splenda blend recipe and they are way better than the ubiquitous Toll House cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted butter
1 cup SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

Mix butter and SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend in a large bowl. Stir in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Fresh Tomatoes

We’re still turning out nontrivial numbers of tomatoes and the odd pepper or two.  You can deal with them one at a time with a simple sammich.I like these on fresh bread or toast with mayo and plenty of salt and pepper.  The classic summer salad of tomatoes and cucumbers in vinaigrette is good but were are just about wore out eating it.To deal the rest I’ve gone to, mainly, stewing them with onions and peppers.  Mac in stewed tomatoes is a simple pleasure.The classic version of this is made with elbows but I ran out of my favored jumbo, ridged elbows to I subbed these small shells.  I like mine with Parmesan and a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes.The rest of the latest batch went into this chili.  I’ve been using annatto in my chili and I think it adds an interesting flavor.  Masa flour makes a nice thickening agent and adds a nice flavor to the dish, as well.

We’ve more tomatoes on the way…

Pan Biscuits and Chicken with Veggies in Gravy

This has all the parts of a biscuit crust pot pie but I can’t call it that.  I was going to go with the chicken in gravy over noodles but changed my mind about the noodles and made these pan biscuits.  I found a small bag of frozen mixed vegetables and tossed that into the saucepan with the chicken and gravy.  The gravy was made with a chicken fat/flour roux, chicken stock, and milk.

Mmm… Lasagna

More on that lasagna I teased in the previous post.  It turned out great!  Very tasty.  The noodles were the Kroger branded, no boil kind, they call theirs “oven ready” for whatever reason but they helpfully add a text balloon in the upper right that clears it up.I used the recipe on the back with a few mods:My recipe variation was to use a quart of my stewed tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, some of the meatballs (crumbled) I froze a while back along with their sauce, and a bit of hamburger leftover from making sliders.  I first browned the ground beef, then added the rest of the above to the pan and brought it to a simmer.

My lasagna pan was smaller than the printed recipe called for so the cheese mixture was adjusted accordingly (halved), and it used only 10 of the noodles, in 2 layers of 5, leaving 6 in the box.The noodles soak up the water they need from the sauce, I did add 3/4 cup of water to my sauce to make sure they had plenty.  Mine cooked uncovered, the mozzarella layer on top browned nicely.  It turned out well, the noodles were just like noodles that had been boiled first with the same texture you would expect, the sauce was not runny. They were much easier to handle, too.  Two thumbs up!

Tidbits

French toast and those teeny breakfast sausages are a big hit around here, Mrs J is up for this anytime.  Me, too!This is another Harvey rescue.  Cute as a button and already adopted.  SQUEEE!Kroger has these chicken quarters on sale pretty often.  I think they are asking about $1/lb.  I usually buy several packages and put them away in vacuum bags.Crinkle fries and baked beans with the chicken are just perfect.  Mrs J is the crinkle fries fan, but I’m no slouch at putting them away.More of that crockpot Italian beef, this one on a deli bought roll.This is a really hopeful looking kitteh.  It’s not a Harvey rescue but don’t let that stop you!  http://www.stfrancis-care.org/One moar!I just pulled this lasagna from the oven.  It’s made with those no boil noodles.  We are going to have it for dinner tonight and I’ll have more photos later.

Tidbits

St Francis sent a crew down to Texas with pet food and bedding to help out with the Harvey effort.  They brought back some cats and dogs to help make space for the influx the shelters down there were experiencing.  These were animals that were in the shelters pre-Harvey.  This is one of those – he has since been adopted out to a family with two boys who seem thrilled to have him.Sliders-to-be!  I’ve had the best luck by starting these on a bed of thin sliced onions.  A mandoline is perfect for this.  I add a wee splash of olive oil to the onion pile before laying the on the patty.  Cook on med-low until the onion browns a little then flip it over.  Give it a minute then add cheese and a pickle slice or two.

The swallowtail caterpillars are busy on the parsley.  I framed this shot to get the most caterpillars I could in it, there were a few more on the plant.  I don’t begrudge the loss of the parsley because I like the butterflies they turn into.Random chicken noodle soup.  I add a little sesame oil and a dash of Chinese five spice to give it a little Asian flavor.  I love love love to dip the grilled cheese into the broth – Heaven!Random shelter kitteh – this is not one of the Harvey rescues – they were still in quarantine due to a treatable but highly contagious skin condition.  This handsome boy is named Netsi, he was born in June and is available, hint hint.This is Riley, a girl born in May.  Like Netsi, she is waiting for a human to call her own.Random ribeye.  Classic steak and potato dinner with a side of roasted sprouts.  The steak was cooked sous vide and finished in a smoking hot cast iron pan.

Butter Beans

These went from dry to done in just a couple of hours thanks to the Instant Pot pressure cooker.  It probably could have been done quicker but I was a little leery of the cooking tables.  I have a vague memory of being disappointed in some pintos I cooked following their data.  I decided to simmer them for an hour then give them an hour in the cooker.  They cooked in chicken stock with a chopped onion, bay leaves, pepper, salt, dried thyme, and a couple chunks of cured ham.

Stuffed Mini-Peppers

I’ve been growing these in a container in the patio garden.  They are green bell peppers in all but name – I’m not sure what the tag said.  I managed to stuff about a tablespoon or so of my Italian beef/rice filler into each one.They are cute as can be!  Here they are after blanching.I went with cooked and crumbled Italian beef mixed with rice and some stewed tomatoes.  Actually, I started with the stewed tomatoes – Mrs J delivered a dozen or so ripe ones that I de-skinned and boiled down with onion and jalapeno peppers.  We had a regular sized green pepper in the fridge so I made sure to make enough stuffing for it, too.Mozzarella made the perfect topping, I cooked them side by side in the toaster oven, the taller pepper browning better than the minis.  Since the filling was already cooked, they just needed enough time in the 375 degree oven to make the peppers tender.Each one was two bites and gone – note that they have relatively thick skins compared to other small peppers.

Breakfast Pr0n