Thursday, 29 March 2012

Signs of Growing Up: My First Meringues

Pin It

I had a bunch of girlfriends over for dinner a couple weeks ago, and one of them (whom I nonetheless love very much) is a serial dieter.  Not in a fad-diet kind of way, more in a oh-no-I-shouldn't kind of way.  It makes me sad, since I show my love through sugar and butter, but I was determined not to either a) do without dessert at my dinner party or b) make her watch everyone else eat pound cake while she tried not to salivate.  I did a bit of research, skipped a lot of recipes that involved Splenda or other unnatural ingredients (no offense to people who use that stuff, but I always find I can taste the difference, and anyway my dieter-friend is a bit of a purist), and wound up back at Joy the Baker, where I reacquainted myself with a recipe I'd bookmarked weeks before, for vanilla bean and cocoa nib meringues.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Slapdash Baking with Delicious Results: Banana Nutella Pecan Muffins

Pin It

I wasn't going to write a post about these muffins... They weren't anything special, as far as the process went, just something I threw together to get rid of some old bananas and buttermilk and feed a friend who needed comfort food in her life.  I didn't even plan on adding the nutella until the last minute – as is often the case when I make spur-of-the-moment baked goods, I was ad-libbing the whole time.  For once, I was baking to eat, rather than baking to blog.

Hence the terrible photographs.  I didn't take any pics until after we'd tried the muffins and declared them delicious – moist, banana-y, and chocolatey, with a nice crunch from the pecan bits – and multiple Facebook friends had read my status update and demanded the recipe. 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Failure and Fallbacks: Let-Down Lemon Tart and Brilliant Backup Brownies

Pin It

Can I tell you the truth?  I don't always turn out amazing baked goods, despite what people say.  The reason my friends think I'm such a good cook/baker is because I usually only serve things I've already tested myself, ideally multiple times.  And there are plenty of failures along the path to deliciousness.

For example, back when I made that amazing lasagne, I also made a failure of a lemon tart (well, semi-fail, and not a fail at all according to my ever-polite guests) – trust me, it looks better than it was.  I spent all that time zesting and juicing and whisking, only to find the end product lumpy and terrifying.  I think the eggs had been cooked a bit by the acid in the lemon juice, maybe... whatever the reason, it looked foul.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Another Family Favorite: Mashed Rutabagas

Pin It

My family's Thanksgiving celebrations are different every year.  Some years it's a relatively small group, just my immediate family, a few close friends, and whoever else can make it, and some years we have 35 people, half of whom aren't technically family, and we have to rent tables and silverware and cook three separate turkeys three different ways.  Sometimes we have traditional roast turkey, or Moroccan spiced turkey, or deep-fried turkey – one year we even had turkey tacos, which went over like a lead balloon with the younger generation.

No matter where we are, though, or how many of us gather, or what we decide to do with the bird, there are always a few dishes that are absolute must-haves.  Pumpkin pie is the most important, of course, followed closely by some kind of crisp.  We always have turkey of some sort, and gravy, and a big salad.  And we're likely to have mashed potatoes, but much more important (an absolute must, in my opinion) are the roods.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ain't Nothin' Wrong with a Classic: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pin It

 Can it be?  Can it really be possible that I haven't ever posted a recipe on this blog for that most classic of classics, the chocolate chip cookie?  How can that be so?

Well, I guess it doesn't matter how the omission came to pass – the important thing is to rectify it.