Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

I made the vanilla fro-yo from The Perfect Scoop for the French dinner last week (along with this cake, lest you think I was being un-francophilic).  I meant to post about it, but then I blinked, and it was Sunday again.  But it’s too good to skip entirely.  People, you need to know about this yogurt.  So, I’m going to go with, “Yeah, what she said.”

Gingerbread Cookies

Dear Martha Stewart Baking Handbook gingerbread cookie recipe,

I just wanted to say how sorry I am about last Christmas.  I strayed, and it was wrong.  I didn’t think I was ready to be tied down to one gingerbread recipe.  I let myself get led astray by the description in the ATK book.  At the time…I thought a less finicky dough was what I wanted.  But now I understand how great we had it.  I promise I will never again leave you for another gingerbread contender.

Love,

K

I’m back…again.

First of all: I’m really terrible at this “blogging” business.  I don’t actually have any readers at this point, do I?

*crickets*

Okay, thought so.  But I have excuses!  First, I went to Seattle for the summer.  I lived in an efficiency downtown, in the shadow of the Space Needle, with a two-burner hotplate and a couple dozen fantastic restaurants within a fifteen-minute walk.  Then I came home; to a new home, in fact–a charming old house downtown that my roommates found while I was gone.  I also came home to my lab, which I missed very much after three months of simulations.  And I quickly realized that 10-12 hour work days plus race/tri training are incompatible with my hell-for-leather pursuit of domestic self-sufficiency.  I had to pick a hobby.  I picked cooking.

The long and short of it: I love my job, I haven’t touched my fabric stash in eight months, and this blog will continue will crappy iPhone photos only (because getting pictures off my camera is just not happening).

Now that that’s out of the way, may I wax self-congratulatory for a moment?

*crickets*

Oh, right.  I guess that’s a yes.  So, that two-burner hotplate?  It taught me how to cook without a recipe.  Or, more accurately, it showed me that I don’t need them like I used to.  I would pick up something beautiful at Pike Place Market or Whole Foods and let it guide me to its best use.  At first it was really difficult, until I realized that it wasn’t.  I’ve finally cooked enough meals to have an internal database of flavors and methods, of ingredients and ideas, that I can mix and match according to whim or weather.  It took me a long time to get to this point; but when you consider I’ve only been cooking for seven years (not twenty-five), and only got serious in the last three, I think I’m making fair progress.

The whole summer was like that.  I came back different, but not because I changed.  I came back different because I realized I’ve changed.  I’ve grown so much since I left college, and I think I’m making fair progress here too–fair progress towards the person I want to be.  And I don’t think I would have understood how far I’ve come, in my kitchen or in my life, if I hadn’t skipped out on both of them for a while.

Iced Sugar Cookies

(Note: this post was originally written in early April.  Sometimes it takes me a while to get pictures off my camera.)

I’ve written about these cookies before.  They are still frakkin’ perfect, though, and I want to spread the word.  Preach, prosthelytize, whatever you want to call it: if I can save others from the wasteful distractions of the search for the perfect sugar cookie and direct them here, then it’s a blog post well spent.

Whole Wheat Pitas

(Note: this post was originally written in early April.  Sometimes it takes me a while to get pictures off my camera.)

In these days of “WTF?” and “C.F.” and “D-bag,” PITA has come to mean “pain in the you-know-what.”  That’s funny, because it turns out homemade pitas are anything but.  I used this recipe, my KitchenAid Kiki did the kneading, and after one rise and a short baking time, I was looking at two pans of gorgeous, puffy pitas.  I didn’t really believe that a pocket would magically develop–I figured I’d have flatbread–but it did.  Like magic.

One caveat: these babies get willfully, stubbornly stale.  The shape precludes toasting and they refused to soak up soup.  On the upside, they are so good that you shouldn’t have leftovers.  Unless, of course, you make them at 8 PM the night before you leave for a trip, because you promised them to your roommate a week ago.  (Whoops.)

Whoops.

I am a failure as a blogger.  And it’s not the blogging that gets me.  I make things.  I take pictures of them.  I draft posts talking about the things I’ve made.  The bottleneck here (the rate-limiting step, if you will) is getting the pictures onto my computer.  First my camera was at home, but my cable was at work; and then I brought my camera to work, but got busy actually working and never unloaded the pictures…and so on.

It took me a while, but I have finally accepted that the pictures of tapenade and whole-wheat pitas are not going to make it onto the blog.  So take my word for it: I made tapenade and whole-wheat pitas.  They were both surprisingly easy and very delicious.  There was butternut squash and barley risotto, and while I’m on the B’s, you should know that I won a brownie bake-off.  I’ll be a better food blogger next month, I promise.  Maybe.

Silky Butternut Squash Soup

Since the start of 2010, I have finished four pairs of socks.  (Lay off, I’ve been busy.)  But right now I’m going to talk about the soup I made last night, because it was just. That.  Good.

I was first dragged down this particular rabbit hole by the America’s Test Kitchen weekly email, which advertised a silky butternut squash soup that tasted like butternut squash instead of liquid pumpkin pie.  I am as guilty as anyone of taking a “throw in every spice you can find” approach when seasoning butternut squash soup.  So I was intrigued.  The recipe was not available to miserly me, but I found a transcription of it here.

And can I say, “wowsers?”  This soup delivered.  I don’t know if it was the method, or the onions and garlic (I was out of shallots), or the seeds-and-fibers step, but there was a full, rich flavor rounding out the taste of the squash without overwhelming you with spices.  Even without the half cup of cream (I was out of cream, and besides using cream in dinner dishes makes me twitchy), it was still plenty silky.  I did use the full four tablespoons of butter, which also made me twitch a little, but I’m trying to learn to deal with it.

I do have one side note.  Scooping the flesh from the (hot!) peel at the end of steaming was a pain.  Next time I will just peel the squash before I steam it.  Less effective steaming technique, happier Kat.