Thursday, June 28, 2007

Again With the Fabric Porn

Firstly, go check out Modern in MN for an update on what's been up this week.

Then, I bring you fabric porn volume two:

It just keeps getting better and better, and I'm particularly excited about these because I've been searching for that one in the back for MONTHS. As it turns out, it's not my favorite of the bunch, but it's probably a good thing my shipment from last week got screwed up because if it all would have arrived at once I might just have blown a gasket from all the super delicious fabric-ey fantasticness.
And since I realized last week while prepping for a dinner party that I am sadly under equipped in the cloth appetizer/cocktail napkin category, I'm putting that on my to-do list immediately with these fabrics in mind...
Oh, yea, and don't you think PupCake would just be the bomb in the dotty one?

Is it weird to have cocktail napkins to match your dog?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Weird Random Stuff

These are my new green Keens, the Malibu, and I got them for like four dollars (OK, really like $30) which is a hella deal considering they are like $130 in reality and which explains why they are kind of an obnoxious shade of kelly:

They're billed as a trail running shoe, the accuracy of which I can't speak to as of this minute but they're quite a bit more sturdy and stay-on-ish than you'd think by looking at them and their weird little MaryJane bands.
I think this latest acquisition makes for my sixth pair of Keen shoes. They look absolutely ridiculous with my capri running tights and match nothing else I own, but Keen are the best most comfortable shoes EVER so I don't care.

This is M-Ah loving yesterday's new box:

She is a box-a-holic. Anytime, anywhere, she'll challenge even the smallest possible box to a napping match. She always wins. She was sound asleep in there right before I got my camera out. And yes, that is the smallest size priority mail box.
I also always manage to get her with her tongue out, which, with any other cat, I couldn't do if I tried all day.
She's whack.

This is knitting:

Yes, that's right, actual knitting that I have actually done, as in this year. Knit-Whit will be so proud when she sees this. It's the monkey sock from Knitty, and I have only one more pattern repeat to go before I can start turning the heel, and that equals about ten times more knitting than I have done in like the last forever...

Monday, June 25, 2007

More About Cookie Baking

The comments are still rolling in about the "Cookie Baking 101" post. You guys are are full of questions that need answers and I've got a few more things to add:

First, Monique tips us off to using the food processor to make bakers (superfine) sugar from regular granulated sugar. I've heard this before and never tried it but I'm sure it would work nicely. And also along the superfine sugar line, I told you that I didn't think it was essential, but wanted to add that I do really think it makes a difference, particularly if you're impatient with the creaming thing. I've read and see it says on the box that it's supposed to measure the same as regular granulated sugar but frankly, I think that's a geometrically impossible convenience for sugar producers that just gets us to use more and works out OK because a little extra sugar can't hurt much like, say, a mismeasurement of leavener or salt or something.
I find that it makes more of a difference in cakes (giving them a nicer, finer texture), than it does with cookies.

Anonymous asks for the BH&G molasses cookie recipe. Technically, they call it "Gingersnaps" in my 1965 edition (and it has a mistake in it!), and the following is the recipe with my modifications. I changed the name because I don't like any "snap" in my gingersnaps:

Molasses Cookies ala Casa Splatgirl

OVEN 350

3/4 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. dark molasses
1 egg
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour*
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground clove

Cream butter and brown sugar until smooth, light and fluffy. Add molasses and then egg, stirring to combine and then increasing mixer speed to return mixture to light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients.
Portion dough using #16 ice cream scoop. Roll scooped dough balls in coarse sanding sugar (regular granulated sugar works fine too but coarse sugar is prettier and adds a nice crunch), and place on sheet pan 3"-4" apart. Baking time will be between 10-15 minutes depending on your crispy vs. chewy preference. Don't be afraid to bake a test cookie and let it cool to evaluate.
If you're a chewy fan like me, take them out when they're still puffed up and rounded on the top but have started to crack slightly. They will look quite underbaked.
Makes about 18 big cookies.
*this measurement is approximate and depends on how flat or fat you like your cookies. As I've said, don't be afraid to bake off a test subject to evaluate your flour content before scooping the whole batch of dough. Too flat=add more flour, 1/4 c. or less at a time up to 1/2 c.

Courtney wants to know if I substitute butter for shortening 1:1.
Yes, but you need to up the flour content or your cookies will be flat and spread more than with shortening.

I agree with America's Test Kitchen about smushy butter being too warm, but I don't think that it can ever be too cold. It just takes a little more working time when it's straight from the fridge.
Absolutely NO SOFTER than the bend thing would be a good rule of thumb, IMO.

Dear Wende: Try that with an angelfood cake and see how it works :)

Hi Kathy! Let us know how your next batch turns out, and I think that as long as the sheet pans you're using aren't insulated, lining it with parchment will be fine. "Pan liners" from the baking supply are parchment, which, incidentally, is typically silicone coated and not the same thing as wax paper.
Aside from my ban on insulated sheet pans, the most important thing about the pan you use, IMO, is that you're familiar with how YOURS perform. Picking some that you like and sticking to them will help you produce more consistent results.

I had occasion to bake a cake this weekend, and, as if I was being cosmically paid back for thinking I'm cool and talking smart around here lately, I burnt it and it went into the trash. Really, I blame the fact that I haven't ever baked that particular cake in this house and in this oven using convection mode and that I was having an all-around hideous day, but still, rather ironic, eh?
Anyway, prior to burning and then trashing it, I was careful to heed my own advice about proper creaming and wanted to reiterate that it really does take quite a few minutes of beating AND SCRAPING DOWN THE BOWL to achieve that proper, very light and fluffy texture.
I also had a good look at my bags of brown sugar. The C & H bag that I have clearly states "cane sugar" and tells you the difference between real and "fake" brown sugar on the back. But I also have some Crystal Sugar, and not only does that bag NOT say cane sugar, the ingredients list says "sugar, molasses".

Finally, if you're curious to know more about baking chemistry or food science and want more details about this kind of thing that you could ever digest in fifty years, check out Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen".
I keep my copy next to my bed.

Does that make me a food geek?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bring on the Deep Fried Asparagus

I'm off to meet up with Ms. Knit-Whit and an old Moto-Knitter pal at Psycho Suzies this evening. Here's to knitting under the umbrellas on the tiki-patio, and the battered, deep fried asparagus!

Not wanting to arrive empty handed, I had to whip this up for our pal's special pup:

I think I like this fabric as much in a narrow collar as I do in a 2" I hope Ebbie likes it!

And then, I've been on a little bit of a fabric bender are a few of my recent acquisitions:

I would have three more to show you but the vendor screwed up my order and sent me something completely wrong (and ugly!) and hasn't gotten me the right stuff yet.
I'm feeling flap bags for a few of these, and the Zinnia I may use as a wall hanging if I can ever make up my mind about it.

Have a great evening everyone!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Billy is Banished

I loved you Billy, I really did, but you just weren't big enough or deep enough and I got sick of moving your stuff around all the time.

No, it's not porn.

Well, maybe craft room porn.

What I'm trying to say is that I've traded Billy for Expedit and I think we're going to get along much better:

I realized the other day that I was spending an inordinate amount of time moving the stuff in my studio back and forth from one part of the room to another and that's SO not what I love doing or how I have envisioned the space to function. I had been thinking about IKEA's Expedit for quite a while, and it just so happens that the biggest 72" unit and the smaller 53" unit fit perfectly along one wall, giving me plenty of uniform, pleasing-to-the-eye storage and a landing strip/display space next to the doorway.
Notice I added some 8" legs under it all. I just couldn't bear the though of not having to vacuum under something in this house.
I'm not done organizing yet (gotta save some for my organizing friend Ms. Knit-Whit) but I'm already thinking this was the right choice.

And then, because I love this fabric way too much and I was sick of looking at all the overflow crap piled in the doorless closet in here, I whipped up a nifty little curtain for some concealment pizzaz:

You'll be pleased to know that I unloaded the entire closet for this event and managed to purge a major amount of stuff. Then I hung the curtain and since it was doing such a great job of concealing the space, I restocked with a bunch of new crap from under my worktable. But hey, I figure I only need to re-enact that process another time or two and I'll be completely purged and pristine AND have a tidy closet :)

BTW, if anyone local is interested in a couple of IKEA Billy bookcases in the long ago discontinuted silver finsh, let me know. One has frosted glass doors and the other is open. Also up for grabs pre-Craigslisting is a pretty nice drafting table with adjustable height and pitch, a frosted glass and metal computer desk from Elements and the purple velveteen Barney chair and ottoman...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cookie Baking 101: So You Think You Know How To Bake Cookies?

First I want to say hurray for whoever you are who told us about the existence of Cod Casino! Thankyouthankyouthankyou. You were just what I was hoping for...someone to come out of the woodwork and teach me about something new. And I just have to laugh, really, because Cod Casino seems like SUCH a Wisconsin thing to do!

And then I'm here to give you few of my well researched and hopefully helpful tips on cookie baking with the hope of redeeming myself for not giving you MY recipe the other day. The truth is, you don't need my recipe because spending a few minutes learning about cookie theory ala Casa Splatgirl will serve you much better and more completely than any one single recipe ever could anyway.

I should start by saying I am a connoisseur of the thickish, chewy, toothsome cookie and that what I am about to tell you applies only to cookies of that ilk. If you're a thin crispy person I can't help you or your cookies.

So, first and foremost: there is no acceptable substitute for butter in a cookie under any circumstances. Real, fresh, unadulterated stick butter.
If you don't have any, don't bake cookies. Anything other than butter is a violation of cookie union rules and punishment for breaking this rule will be swift and severe. Forget anything you may have heard back in the 80's about shortening doing x, y, or z for your cookies, because it's bunk and it will make them taste like sand. And don't even think of using that "butter" flavored junk. That stuff shouldn't even exist. Eu.
Anyway, I can detect a cookie made with shortening without ever taking a bite, and for me, it's a deal breaker and deplorable waste of calories. I'm such a fanatic about this no-shortening (or margarine...gack!) rule that I've even gone so far as adapting recipes that call for shortening, like my absolute favorite, molasses cookies from the old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook:

(thanks to Knit-Whit for the pic)
to be made with all butter and they're so, so much tastier as a result. But do make sure it's fresh, because using stale butter will make your cookies taste like stale butter. Imagine that.

I happen to use regular salted butter because I always have it on hand, and because the salt it contains helps it stay fresh longer and I don't have to worry about how long it's been in my fridge as much as if I were keeping unsalted butter. Plus I figure the store sells more of it which makes it likely to be fresher to begin with.

Second: Turn down the oven! The Toll House recipe and many others you'll come across ask for a temp of 375, but this is TOO HOT! I read some place long, long ago that a cookie should never bake at hotter than 350, and this advice has served me well ever since. If you need to, get an oven thermometer to make sure, and don't be afraid to go down to 325 if you need to depending on what you're baking. And don't be too lazy to rotate your pans halfway through cooking. Every oven I have ever used, including expensive convection ovens has had hotter and cooler areas, so rotate those pans 90 degrees and swap racks if you're doing two pans at once.

And speaking of pans, forget about those expensive insulated, textured and frou frou cookie sheets. At best they're unnecessary, and at worst they'll spoil the texture of your cookie. And if you think you need an insulated sheet or your cookies will burn, take heed of the above and reduce your oven temp!
All you need is a couple of aluminium restaurant sheet pans. They're inexpensive, durable, multi-purpose, and available everywhere. I get mine at the local restaurant supply, but you can order them online from any number of suppliers. Get a few in half-sheet and quarter sheet sizes and they'll likely never need replacing plus they'll deliver consistent, predictable results batch after batch.
I'm also going to hang myself out there and proclaim my dislike for baking cookies on a Silpat. First of all, they're expensive and I hate trying to wash and store them. Plus I find they insulate too much and interfere with browning and, as a result, texture. I do have and use a Silpat or two, but never, ever for cookies.
I prefer baking parchment to line my pans, and I buy mine in full sheet pan-sized leaves from the restaurant supply but it's also available at the grocery store in rolls. In a pinch, foil will work but again, I think parchment yields superior results.

Now that we've got those technicalities out of the way, lets talk about the actual cookie dough making process.
IMO, the single most important thing you can do for most any cookie is to cream properly. You know, the beating the sugar into the butter part? Most people pay much less attention to this step than it warrants without knowing any better, but it's where many a cookie starts to go bad, so be as patient and thorough with this step as you can be.

I always start with cold butter, but if you don't have a heavy duty stand mixer, it's OK to let the butter warm up just a bit, but ONLY a bit, until it's the consistency of modeling clay. Warmer than that and things have the potential to go wrong in a hurry. What you absolutely don't want is warm or even room-temp-on-a-hot-day butter because it melts and gets weird and misbehaves.
Add the sugars to the butter and start beating, keeping in mind that the point of this activity is to get the sugar to DISSOLVE into the butter and the whole thing to change color and become lighter and fluffy, and that this is going to several minutes of beating. LIGHTER in color, and fluffy, so that the sugar granules are smaller, almost to the point of disappearing and the mixture has increased in volume and is soft and airy. Are you hearing me? THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP in making the perfect cookie, and the closer you can come to having the sugar crystals completely dissolved in the butter, the better off you'll be. This will happen more quickly if you use Baker's sugar (sold in a carton by C&H) which has a finer texture, but I don't consider this an essential ingredient. Regular granulated sugar works fine, it just takes a bit longer to incorporate well. And if you're not sure if you've beaten enough, take a bit of the mixture and rub it between your fingers. You should only be able to just barely feel the sugar granules if at all.
Incidentally, this advice about creaming holds even more true for cake baking. Get a good, light and fluffy cream with the sugar fully dissolved and your cake will be miles better for it.

BTW, did you know that not all brown sugar is the same? For the record, I almost always use dark brown for cookies because it's moister and more flavorful, but whether you prefer dark or light, read the label and look at the bag or box, because some "brown sugar" is beet sugar that has been sprayed with molasses, and this is NOT the same thing as real brown sugar which is cane sugar that still has some of the molasses left in it. Checking my pantry, I have C & H brand which is definitely the real thing. And when it comes to measuring, pack pack pack. The firmer the better, so put some muscle into it.

Now, once you've gotten to light and fluffy with the butter and sugars, add the eggs one at a time and start mixing them in on a slow speed until they're broken up and incorporated. Then turn up the speed and give everything a good whip for a few seconds, being sure to scrape down the bowl completely at least once or twice. The point here is that eggs contain water, and whatever sugar is left undissolved after being creamed with the butter (butter contains some water) will melt with the addition of the eggs. Starting out mixing slowly gives the sugar time to melt without letting the eggs get over beaten. Once everything is stirred together and friendly, you want to re-emulsify the mixture and get it back to the light and fluffy state without going overboard. I also add the vanilla or flavorings at this point, too. Again, look for a lightening in color and smooth, fluffy texture and once it gets there, stop beating and start stirring in your dry ingredients.

Ah yes, the dry ingredients. I should tell you here that I consider the flour requirement of cookie recipes as just a suggestion. Humidity, brand and your own measuring style will all affect the volume of flour in any given measure and the volume of flour is close behind the butter/sugar mix in it's ability to make or break your cookie. Even if you're scaling your ingredients as would be the professional method, 8 oz of flour in a dry climate will affect the recipe differently than 8 oz of flour in the thick humidity of a Minnesota summer. So don't be afraid to experiment by adding more or less flour and baking off a test cookie evaluate your proportions, keeping in mind that more flour equals a thicker cookie (in excess turning them into fat, dry lumps), and less flour equals a flatter, crispier cookie. And have a little patience here, as well, because it takes the flour a few minutes of mixing to start to absorb moisture and really incorporate. Likewise, I find that the longer the dough sits once I've thoroughly mixed in the flour and before I bake, the happier I am with the end result, presumably because the flour has had a chance to fully hydrate.

If you're using nuts (I wholeheartedly prefer almonds and insist on them and only them in my chocolate chip cookies) toast them in that same 350 oven for 7-10 minutes before you chop and they'll stay crunchier be more flavorful than if you hadn't toasted. Just be sure to let them cool completely before adding to the dough.
And buy your nuts whole! Shelled, yes, but those pre-chopped nut crumbs are absolutely forbidden and don't have any flavor anyway. Plus, whole nuts keep much longer (in a ziplock bag in the freezer if you don't use them up within a month or two, otherwise just a ziplock in the pantry is fine).

Once you're ready to bake and you've verified that your oven isn't too hot, consider the baking time. I rarely pay attention to the recipe in this regard, both because I'm usually not making my cookies the size that's called for, and because, as I've said, I've probably lowered the oven temperature at least 25 degrees.
If you're unsure, scoop out one cookie (as I said in my earlier post, my gadget of choice is a #16 ice cream scoop but you can choose any size you like...also avaliable inexpensively at the restaurant supply) and bake it off, checking it every minute or two as it bakes. I look for something on the verge of underbaked...just barely starting to brown around the very edges yet not wet looking in the center. You may need to bake one or two off and let them cool to evaluate because often, what looks underdone when it's hot from the oven is delicious and chewy and perfect once it cools. And keep in mind that a whole pan will require a couple of minutes longer than a single test cookie to achieve the same level of doneness, likewise two pans baking at once vs. one.

So...there are my secrets. If you weren't bored to tears and with your eyes glazed over, you should now be armed with several things to try to improve your own favorite recipe. Let me know how it goes! And do store your latest batch of lovelies in the freezer, won't you? There's nothing worse than a was-great cookie that's gone stale and tired from sitting out on the counter. Put them in a ziplock and freeze them to enjoy, fresh as the day they were baked, for as long as they're likely to last anyway.


Friday, June 15, 2007

The Cookie Police

I don't wanna toot my own horn or anything, but I've got some mad skillz in the chocolate chip cookie department.
Anyone who has ever had one of my moist, chewy and chunkie lovelies cross their lips will tell you so. Case in point: My neighbor, the other yellow Aprilia Mille person, aka my motorcycle doppleganger, came over the other day to help out with a motorcycle maintenance project and, being the good hostess, I put one in his hand. We were all standing around chatting, when, mid-sentence, he interrupts himself to say "wow, this is a really good cookie".

Um, yea. I know, because I spent a lot of my twenties perfecting the recipe.

I always bring a batch or two to the track with us to share, because they're the perfect are-we-all-crazy-for-spending-the-day-on-ashpalt-wearing-leathers-when-it's-95 degrees-out energy boost when you can't bear the thought of getting back on the bike with a bunch of food in your stomach.
As a result, people we don't even recognize have been known to stop by our pit asking after a cookie. And, often, shortly after seeing our rig pull in to any of several road course venues in the midwest, people we do know will happen by and, instead of the the typical "hey, good to see you again" greeting I'll get "did ya bring any cookies?"

Splatgirl here, and I aim to please...

Anyway, I typically scoop these babies with a #16 ice cream scoop which makes them big enough that you're completely satisfied by the end but still small enough that it is possible to eat two if you give yourself a little time-out in between. But today, in an effort to distract myself from the insanity that is turning on the oven when it's 95 degrees (oh, yea, and have I mentioned we still are sans A/C here at Casa Splatgirl?), I decided to make minis by dosing them out with a #40 scoop.
Sweet Martha's got nothing on me...

These are getting gifted to friends this evening in celebration of their recent marriage, because they insisted "no gifts, like really", and I figure food doesn't count.

Oh yea. And I'd give you the recipe but then I'd have to kill you :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

There is No Cod

I have a few things to say today.

First off. To the chef whose name rhymes with "boil" who was the "instructor" at the cooking class I attended last night:
When I Google "cod casino recipe" and get exactly ZERO hits, I think it's safe to go out on the limb of proclaiming that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS COD CASINO. As I pointed out, it's a CLAM dish in it's original form.
Good save though even if it was at the expense of "teaching" blatantly incorrect information.
And you were correct about the east coast thing, but really, cod casino? I'm still laughing.

Second, to the person who left this on my truck in the parking ramp:

I'm sorry, really, but It's just not my fault.

First of all, it's simple math. The distance between the lines in the Calhoun Square ramp is literally like ONE FOOT more than with width of my truck. SO, while I have no doubt that the six inches left next to my door and the line made it difficult for you you exit your vehicle, I feel I must point out that YOU CHOSE to park next to me when you could have had your pick of any number of cramp-free spots the ramp on a Wednesday evening. And do you think I like having to squeeze myself back into my vehicle any more than you liked having to squeeze out of yours?
It's a BIG FREAKING TRUCK, and it takes up a lot of space. And, since I don't have the luxury of being able to own or drive a special Uptown-sized car to make both our parking experiences more enjoyable when I come to Uptown, and since I can't swallow the idea of sitting on my motorcycle wearing a helmet and leathers during rush hour when it's 93 degrees outside so that I can arrive and sit in sweaty, rumpled jeans smelling like hydrocarbons for three hours while worrying about who's trying to steal my ride, you're just going to have to deal, OK?
But be nice, because next time, if I find you, I'm going to make YOU park the freakin' thing. Maybe then you'll fully comprehend the agony that is parking and driving a 23 foot long vehicle ANYWHERE in Uptown. And after that maybe you'll realize that I'm about as tidy and as careful about it as I can be.
Just ask my friends who have seen me parallel park it like I'm driving a Mini Cooper.

Ok, then.
Did you hear about the Target survey that made people "uncomfortable"? Well, I happened to have received and responded to that survey, and yes, it was weird. I even told Boy "I took the weirdest survey from Target today". But "uncomfortable" to the point that people complained enough that they stopped it? That's just stupid, and people need to quit whining or, HELLO????, NOT PARTICIPATE???
One article I read said people were offended by the "personal" questions. Um, ok. A personal question is like "what was the date of the first day of your last menstrual period?" or "what kind of underwear do you prefer?", not, "I can be sarcastic and cutting when I need to be?" (to which, can you believe it?, I responded "strongly agree" :) )
And again HELLO? IT WAS ANONYMOUS, people! Get a grip.

I truly think that something is happening with our collective consciousness that is making us stupider, because the stuff I have seen and heard people doing in the last week just cannot be explained in any other way. It's like we're all acting in response to some mysterious force without realizing it....kind of like when a whole pod of whales beaches itself...

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is NOT a Pastel Life

Have you noticed that there's always a lot of color around here? I can't imagine life without it. Whether "it" be paint, fabric, yarn, flowers or whatever, I'm hopelessly addicted and constantly seeking my color crack. So when I disappear for days at a time, it's almost always safe to assume I've just gone on another bender :)

The acre of Naples Blue has been completed, with more pictures over at Modern in MN.
Ms. Knit-Whit joined me for a post-breakfast-at-Good Day Cafe knit and lounge and proclaimed it much better with the red in person, and I have to agree. And it's growing on me since finishing up upstairs.

And, speaking of Ms. Knit-Whit, she's just opened a fab Etsy Shop, with some of the awesomest fabric-y stuff around, like these great doggie blankies:

That's PupCake enjoying snuggling up under his in the glory of post-bath doggie dampness. (He's scared of the hairdryer and thus must always drip dry.)

And then, another new collar?

Yes! Because I finally scored some yardage of this that you'll recall I originally purchased a fat-quarter bundle just to get a single square of.

And finally, the fruits of some recent R&D on remaking one of my favorite bag designs in fabric:

Doesn't that black mod floral pattern just completely rock?! The strap has clips to allow it to be worn across the body or around the waist, and this design has been my absolute A#1 go to bag for when I need to carry a few necessities and still keep my hands free, for shopping or eating or both, for years.
I think I'm going to call this new version the State Fair bag, and they'll be available over at my Esty shop shortly.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New Food Times Three for WFDW

First, the starter salad, Raw Asparagus and Mache Salad with Pistachios and Parmesan:

Surprisingly good. Eating asparagus raw is new to me which was pretty much what made me want to try this recipe. It seemed weird cutting off and not using the tips, but it was good enough overall that I'd make it again. The pistachios were a nice complement and it's impossible to go wrong with shaved parm. Plus, what's not to love about mache, aka lambs ear lettuce?

Then, Orange Soy Glazed Baby Back Ribs and Scallion-Corn Fritters:

I've officially decided that there just isn't a good quick way to make ribs. These marinated for an hour and then baked for an hour and I found myself wishing they had had more time in the oven and then been finished on the grill. The marinade/glaze is decent, basically just equal parts soy, orange juice and brown sugar with a teaspoon of cumin but I think it would have done well with some grill action to carmelize and intensify a bit. I did end up mixing up some extra and reducing it to put over the top.
Then, the corn fritters.
I think fritters are one of those things that you have to grow up eating to really love. I just wasn't feeling them, and kept wondering what I could put on or dip them in to make them more tasty and worth eating. Maybe I'll look for a different recipe to try, because had they been good, I think it makes for a good combination with ribs.

So, aside from the salad, I wasn't impressed. Granted the recipes were fast and easy as advertised (all of them came from the little recipe book I got free in the mail for renewing my Gourmet magazine subscription), but there's much better quick stuff out there than this. So I guess I'm not going to feel too bad that none of them appear to be avalaible at, either.
I'm going to give myself points this week for trying three new recipes instead of the typical one or two, but I'm also getting demerits for not trusting my gut that these simple recipes probably wouldn't wow me like I was hoping. On the other hand, I guess it makes me appreciate those few really simple recipes that really ARE wow, right?

Did you play this week? What was on your Wednesday menu?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wildlife Highway

Welcome to Sunday morning at Casa Splatgirl, where I looked up from reading the Times online to spy this making it's way across our backyard:

It's a little freaky, really, the up close views we get at wildlife right outside our doors around here. The other day it was a pack of four or five deer leisurely moving through about 10 feet from the edge of my patio that, at first glance, put me into a panic that somehow PupCake had gotten outside and was strolling around unattended. Come to think of it, that PupCake looks just like a deer may explain why the Beagle around the corner goes berzerk every time we walk by, too.

So, this was a pretty freaking big turtle, but still quite a bit smaller than the largest one we've seen here. On a previous occasion, there was a REALLY huge one in the road at the end of our driveway, and I had to freak out until Boy picked it up and moved it back to the grass so it wouldn't get hit by a car. I did a little research and discovered that a snapping turtle of that size could very well be over 50 years old!

So, does this count as a reasonable excuse for why I haven't gotten around to landscaping or planting a garden in the back yard?

Friday, June 01, 2007

WWDW, Ladies Lunch and Weekend Dogtivities

And yes, I did mean WWFD, meaning what wasn't for dinner Wednesday.
I didn't cook. I had sushi from the grocery store cold case and a cup of deli soup.

I did, however, host a lovely girls lunch on Thursday for which I prepared one of my absolute favorite recipes EVER, Curried Turkey Salad with Cashews. Unfortunately I don't have a picture, but it's not the kind of thing that makes for fantastic food porn anyway, so you'll just have to imagine. But I BEG you to go get this recipe and try it, because you won't be disappointed, particularly if you're a curry fan, and there is not one single person that's tasted it and hasn't fallen addictively in love.

Anyway, the recipe has you just making a salad, but since I first discovered it, I've been putting it into wraps and serving it as a sandwich or just wrapping it up in leaves of Boston or leaf lettuce and eating it out of hand which is my favorite way.

Today we're off to play with PupCake and his kin at Greyfest. Enjoy the day everyone!

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