Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cooking Challenge Weeks 3 and 4

So I missed week 2- Polish food.  I went through the trouble of getting my mother's pierogi recipe but then got too lazy to make them.  I may still do them sometime soonish because I do love pierogi and its not something I've ever made.

I also didn't manage week 3 or 4 in time- and combined them when I did.  I guess I'm not so great at this thing :)  For the One Pot (week 3) and Ingredient You Hated As A Kid (week 4) I decided to make French Onion Soup.  I despised onions as a kid and now French Onion is my favorite soup- with or without the hefty coating of cheese.  Unfortunately for me, I still can't seem to master it.

I found a recipe that involved caramelizing the onions in a slow cooker all day then adding the broth and cooking another 30 minutes.

It looks okay.  French Onion-y.  But something was off with the flavor and I can't figure out what.  I got a different recipe recommended to me, so I'll probably be borrowing my mom's dutch oven and trying again soon.

Stay tuned for week 5- Vanilla and some pictures of my newest creation for my etsy shop!  I'm super excited about it!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Christmas: The third and final installment

So here they are finally.  My Christmas knitting projects.

I made 4 cowls.  Each in a different color.  One was already wrapped and given before I could take a picture, but here are the other 3.

I found the pattern through ravelry (did you guys know about this site?  It's awesome!)  You have to create an account but its way worth it.  I found this pattern on it and got knitting.  It was my first time ever knitting from a pattern and required some help from a coworker in figuring it out.  I made mistakes and none of them are perfect, but overall I'm pretty happy with the turnout.  I did one big button on three of them and the three smaller on just the one.  Just because.  :)

Most of them came paired with hot chocolate truffles.  No pictures of them because mine didn't come out looking pretty, but if you'd like the recipe you can find it here.  They taste good- mine just don't look nice.

I paired the one I had to mail with homemade cheese crackers instead.  They came out looking nice and tasting delicious.  Check out full instructions here.  My additions/changes are that I did all butter instead of a T. of shortening and I salted before they went in the oven.  My other note is that they taste better fresh out of the oven when rolled thicker and taste better the next day when they are thinner rolled.

Anyone have any recipes/patterns/ideas to share that they used for Christmas?  Or something that you got that you absolutely loved?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge

If you've stuck through my on again off again blogging attempts (or read the archives) you may remember the 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge I did a few years ago.  Well it's still going on and I've decided to give it another go this year.  I figure it works well with this month's eating in challenge and since I'm only doing the cooking challenge this time and not also the baking challenge I may make it just a little bit farther into the year.  I also have no major plans for the year (no move or huge vacation) so hopefully I can manage.

Week One's challenge is eggs so I decided to try a new method of poaching eggs (I love me a good poached egg)

This one was not so good a poached egg.  (okay these two were not good poached eggs)

I used the method from my new cookbook purchased with Christmas Amazon funds:

I love the cookbook.  It's my new best friend.  I think, however, I'm not listening to it like I should be in a good relationship.

The recipe calls for 2 T. vingear and 1 t. salt in the water in a saucepan.  I got that right.  See?

Well okay you can't see as vinegar is clear and the salt dissolved.  But trust me.  It's there.

Where I think I failed is bringing it to a rolling boil.  I thought it was a rolling boil.  It had been cooking long enough and it looked rolling boil-y to me.  I tipped my eggs in from a teacup (okay coffee cup we don't do tea in this house), covered the pan with a lid and removed it from the heat to cook for 3.5 minutes.

After checking the eggs they were decidedly not done and I continued to cook them for another minute and a half.  Then I gave up and ate them anyway.  They were okay.  But they were also probably the worst eggs I've ever poached.  The whites were not set right and the yolks were more done than I prefer and the only conclusion I can come to is the water wasn't hot enough when I put the eggs in.  

I also think now that I'm looking back at it- I should have left it on the same burner just turned it off.  Could that have made enough of a difference?  Mayhaps its poached eggs again for dinner.  I'll report back if I can get them right with this method.  Otherwise its back to my old simmer in a saucepan method.  Those cooked right, but never looked pretty.