Silly poll

I saw this “getting to know you” poll over at Brownie Points, and figured I’d answer it and pass it along.

metal or non-stick?
I assume this is about pans and not utensils. Non-stick for eggs, metal for things that need a good fond. Otherwise, whatever happens to be clean.

cast iron or stainless?
cast iron, unless my arms are sore and I can’t lift it out of the cabinet.

cutting board: silicon or wood?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cutting board made out of silicon, or silicone for that matter.  Polycarbonate (AKA “plastic”) for me, unless it’s exclusively for non-staining veggies.

knife: carbon steel or stainless?
carbon steel

Kitchen Aide or hand mixer?
Kitchenaid, unless I’m making Chocolate Lava Muffins or too lazy to carry the mixer into the kitchen.

cooktop: gas, electric, induction?
is this a preference, or what I actually have?  I love gas, but am stuck with electric at good ol’ PLV. I’ve never used an induction range.

side-by-side, freezer on top, fridge on top?
again, if this is preference, fridge on top. Currently, freezer on top.

apron or whoops?
whoops, unless I’m deep-frying or wearing black pants; in that case, half-apron. Never full-apron.  If I had a chef’s coat, I’d wear it.

mashed potatoes: by hand, ricer, or mixer?
My order goes “by hand”, then “ricer”, then “break out the potato flakes”.  Mixer turns potatoes into glue, not food.

sandwich or wrap?
sandwich, unless “mission style” burritos from Freebirds or Chipotle count as wraps.

pb & _________ ?
the rest of the ingredients that go into peanut butter cookies.  Oh, you meant on a sandwich? Molasses. Or bananas and honey. Or strawberry jelly. Or “more peanut butter”.

pancakes: syrup or applesauce?
I’d forgotten about putting applesauce on pancakes until I saw this question.  It was really good when I was a kid.
Tends to be lite syrup these days.

cake: scratch or mix?
The cake is a lie. I mean, from scratch if I can get it, but any cake is better than no cake. Except for Red Velvet cake; “no cake” is better in that case.

chili: beans or no?
I’m from Texas. No beans means it’s not chili.

napkin: cloth or paper?
Napkins? Hah.  Paper towels (or “kitchen paper” if any Europeans are reading this).

BBQ: takes the whole weekend to make or take out?
As long as I get barbecue, I don’t care. I’ve never made BBQ myself though, so I guess I’ll have to go with “take out”.

chicken: white or dark?
Depends on what it’s in.  Dark meat for fajitas or in braises like my chicken pepperonata, white meat for other things (including sandwiches).

ice cream: cone or dish?
I waver on this one. I really like waffle cones, but can’t stand having sticky hands from the run-off, so I usually eat it from a dish (or straight from the carton).




I made some biscuits this morning, partly because I’d posted a comment over at my friend Katelyn’s blog little woman, but mostly because I just wanted some biscuits with breakfast.  They turned out OK, although I’d have liked for ’em to be a little more brown on the tops.  Ah, well.  “Read More” for the recipe.

Continue reading Biscuits!

Mmm, bread

Well, bread and soup.  For dinner the other night, Heather and I made some tasty vittles, a roasted garlic soup (which was actually more of a tomato and onion bisque than a garlic soup) and some Blitz Bread.  And I have to say, it’s the tastiest meal that we’ve thrown together in a long time.

A pointer about the bread (which you could also get by reading the comments on the post to which I’ve linked): if you use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast (because that’s what you buy), you’ll need to soak 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast in all of the called-for water (which should be at “blood temperature”) for about 5 minutes before mixing everything together.  This is called “blooming” the yeast, and it’s necessary because of the high temperatures at which active dry yeast is, um, dried.  When the yeast dries at those temperatures, lots of them die, and the ones that survive are encased in a shell of dead yeast.  Blooming allows the dead yeast to separate away from the live ones, making the rise much more effective.  Instant yeast is dried at a relatively lower temperature, resulting in fewer dead yeast cells, meaning you can add it directly to the dry ingredients without blooming.  Ah, the things you learn by watching Good Eats.

In lieu of the optional ingredients listed in the bread recipe, I opted to simply sprinkle some “Italian Seasoning” and black pepper over the dough before baking.  You get a 9×13 loaf of bread that’s very similar to foccacia; Heather and I ate at least 2/3 of that bread the evening that we baked it.  And it really was done in less than 2 hours.

Now, the soup:

two 14.5-oz cans of stewed tomatoes, undrained
one 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, undrained
1 medium-sized squash, sliced into rounds, half-moons, or chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper/capsicum, diced
1/2 cup white wine (we used a Chardonnay)
6 large garlic cloves, diced
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 C Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1 C Romano cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer all of the vegetables in a “baking pan” (we used an enameled cast-iron dutch oven; as long as it has a lid, you should be good).  Pour the wine over the vegetables, and add the herbs and spices.  Dot the top with small pats of butter.  Cover and bake for 1 hour, then remove the pan and set the oven to 325 degrees F.  Uncover, stir well, then add in the cream and cheese.  Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.

No pictures, unfortunately, but it’s hands-down one of the best soups I’ve had the opportunity to eat in a long time.  I’m not exactly sure where the recipe came from, but my thanks to whoever came up with it.