Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits, TWD

I have never really gotten the hang of making biscuits. Or basically anything that requires cutting the butter and flour together. I remember my mother-in-law trying to teach me how to cut butter and flour for pie crusts using a knife and fork. Maybe it isn't just the butter thing. I worked in a fast food restaurant for awhile as a biscuit maker. They had a mix I would pour in a giant bowl and all I had to do was add buttermilk and mix and cut. Even those were not turning out right and rather than demanding some retraining, I quit. (That was also with a three month old baby and getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go make the biscuits. Maybe that is why I quit.)

I felt a little intimidated by this week's Tuesdays with Dori recipe, Sweet Potato Biscuits, chosen by Erin at Prudence Pennywise. It actually was a very easy recipe and I did a decent job getting the butter cut in. It may have been too floury still, but next time I am going to try grating the butter in and see if that helps. I mashed canned sweet potatoes with a fork and left them a little lumpy. I really liked the little sweet potato bits in the biscuits. These were really delicious and simple. I think mine did not rise much because I scraped baking powder out of the bottom of the can. It was pretty old.

I am going to get some new baking powder, grate the butter, and try these again soon. You can get the recipe on Prudence Pennywise or on page 26 of Baking, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Two Tuesdays with Dorie

I have been trying to get caught up on my Tuesdays with Dorie baking. I have actually only missed one recipe since I joined in January, the chocolate souffle. But my baking and posting has been late for many other recipes. Last week, I finally made the Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, chosen by Carla of Chocolate Moosey, on Thursday. We had a our house and I didn't use my kitchen for several days. My brother knew we weren't using our kitchen and invited us over for dinner the day our situation was resolved. I decided to try to whip this tart up really quickly, and I did! I threw the dough in the food processor, pressed it in the pan, put it in the freezer, ran a kid on an errand, called home to have the other kid preheat the oven, came back and baked it while microwaving cream for both the caramel and the ganache and just threw this baby together to be chilled during dinner. The ganache was still a little runny, but I thought it was really great and even better the next day when it had set up nicely.

This week, I also made some super speedy split level pudding this afternoon and I am going to get my post posted today...on TUESDAY, god willing. I got called to substitute teach today and had a marching thing to do this evening. I came home from school, read P & Q, and decided to use Romaine's suggestion of using the microwave again. I had leftover ganache from last week's tart and made the vanilla pudding in the microwave. It was so simple. I also took someone else's suggestion of putting it in wine glasses to see the split levels. So thank you fellow TWDers whom I don't have time to link to for the great ideas!

And thanks to Garrett of Flavor of Vanilla for this week's pick, which can be found on pages 384- 385 of Baking, From My Home to Yours.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cottage Cheese Pufflets; TWD

Or as we called them, just "Pufflets" (so cute). I knew that my family would not like them (probably not even try them) if I called them anything with cottage cheese in the title. Jaques, of Daisy Lane Cakes, picked this interesting recipe, found on pages 148 and 149 of Baking, From My Home to Yours.

The cottage cheese is pureed in the dough, giving it a nice tanginess. I wish I had strained the cottage cheese, due to the stickiness of the dough. I know problems could have been overcome by repeated chilling, but I was too impatient and just kind of scooped and mangled some when I needed to. I also wish I had put more preserves in the middles. I think I will make these again soon. My family really liked them and I know I can do them better.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Flaky Apple Turnovers: TWD

Apples mean fall. Fall means back to school. Back to school means I am super busy, especially this year. I have just started substitute teaching. For so many years,my main job has been caring for my kids and my grandma. I have worked slinging drinks a few nights a week. It feels so weird to have a real job.

I am excited and loving it though. My grandma's sister is helping me take care of her. This is a huge help, but it is also a huge stress because her sister isn't as able to care for her as I had hoped. My life is a whirlwind right now.

This week, I did make the apple turnovers. The dough gave me fits. I don't know what I did but it was a big crumbly mess. Well, I do know one thing I did, not cut the butter fine enough. I was afraid of overworking it I guess. But when it came to rolling it out, I may have overworked it a bit as I tortured it (and myself) with a marble rolling pin. I hated working with this dough. When the option came in the recipe to gather the scraps to re-chill and re-roll to make more, I quickly and emphatically gathered the scraps and threw them in the trash.

All in all though, I guess it was kind of like childbirth; the pain was forgotten once I had that delicious little turnover. I think I undercooked mine a bit (unlike childbirth with my late, 10 and 11 lb. babies). They turned out tasting better than I thought they would after fighting with the dough.

Thanks to Julie of Someone's in the Kitchen for picking this recipe which can be found on pages 317 and 317 of Baking, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

I don't even know what to say. It is Monday night and I am writing last week's post. I shouldn't even post at all probably. But once again, I *did* make the TWD project. I just didn't post about it. So nothing like the last last minute, I wanted to say I did it; I loved them, and here they are:

Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell chose Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, pages 104 and 105 of Baking From My Home To Yours.

Up for tomorrow: Find a suitable souffle pan or substitute, take Grandma to aqua aerobics class, bake souffle, shampoo carpet in three bedrooms, take Little E to music lesson, Chaperone Big E's evening marching band practice for 3 hours, and write a post about the souffle, assuming it even turns out. Right.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie, TWD

This was quite a pie. (With quite a lot of butter.) I got excited about making this when Jennifer brought it to book club. Our host provided a wonderful citrus themed dinner, including dessert, but Jennifer provided another dessert, serendipitously citrusy as well. (And Ms. PH brought an incredible pesto dip, which complimented the citrus theme too!)

The lime cream for the pie has a hint of ginger. I stole a page from Romaine's book and made my cream in the microwave. I have done curds in the microwave before, and it is so simple and getting it to 180 degrees just took a few minutes. Then I strained it into the blender and slowly added the two and a half sticks of butter. The cream was nice and thick, so I think the microwave cheat was fine.

One advantage to procrastinating when making the TWD recipes, is I can learn from Jennifer's suggestions. She felt her crust was too dry and crumbly and suggested doubling the butter. As if this pie did not already have enough butter? But I followed her advice and the crust turned out fine.

I was worried about burning the meringue and may have pulled it out a tad to soon. Next time I will be braver and toast that top a little more.

Thanks to Linda at Tender Crumb for choosing this pie. She made tartlets from this recipe that are the most beautiful I have seen. You can get the recipe on her blog or on pgs. 337-339 of Baking, From my Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Peoria Dining Tour Books

Big E is a junior this year in the Washington Community High School band. He actually has a (4 note) solo in the song "Going to California" by Led Zeppelin. Yes, the marching band is doing The Music of Led Zeppelin for their show this year. I'm sure later in the season I will post a video of their show, showing all their hard work (and Big E's 4 note solo).

One of their fundraisers is selling Peoria Dining Tour books. This is a book full of Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons for area restaurants. These are really nice to have. I am happy to have purchased my own this year. The past few years, I have had a relative who bought one of these to our family Christmas gathering and we all passed it around and shared the coupons. (These make great gifts!) Using it just a few times recoups the cost of the book. The book costs $30. You can buy them other places, but if you purchase one from the WCHS band, the band gets $10 of that.

I am listing all the businesses included here. If anyone would like to purchase one of these from the band, please call Scott or Vickie Williams at 309-745-5020 or you can email me at and I will hook you up.

Fine Dining, Casual Dining & Theater
Aachis Indian cuisine
Adams Street Café
Angie’s Family Restaurant & Buffet
Bananas Ale House
Bar Louie
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
Burger Barge
Butler’s Chicken
Café Evergreen
Carnegie’s 501
The Chateau
CiCi’s Pizza Buffet
Club Lacon
Cornerstone Family Restaurant
Cracklin Jake’s
Dairy King
Davis Brothers Pizza
Double A’s Pizza Pub
Eamon Patrick’s Public House
Eastlight Theater
El Sombrerito
Firehouse Bar & Grill
Firehouse Pizza
The Galley
Geo’s Pizza
Germantwon Grille
Godfather’s Pizza
Good Tequila
Hickory River Barbecue
Jane’s Ice Box
Kelleher’s Irish Pub
Khoury’s Cuisine Knickerbockers
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
Kouri’s Bar & Grill
Lian Wang
Los Jimadores
Maid Rite
Michael’s Italian Feast
Nick & Willy’s
Par-a-dice Hotel Casino
Peoria Pizza Works
Peoria Players Theatre
Pita’s Mediterranean Wraps
Pizza Inn
Pleasant Hill Antique Mall
Ponte Vecchio
Rhythm Kitchen
Richard’s on Main Street
River Beach Grill
Second Street Bar & Grill
Sizzling India
Star Struck Hollywood Grill
Tailgaters Sports Bar
Taj of India
Thanh Linh
Village Inn
Water Street Café
Yesterday’s Bar & Grill
Youssef’s Deli
Zim’s Diner @ Campustown

On The Lighter Side
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
Baskin Robbins
Burger King
Charley’s Grilled Subs
Chicago Hut
Chicago Pizza & Grill
Cold Stone Creamery
Cookies By Design
Dairy Queen
Domino’s Pizza
Dunkin Donuts
Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins
Garner’s Pizza & Wings
Kentucky Fried Chicken Lou’s Drive Inn
Mister G’s Chicago Style Hotdogs
Nut House
Papa John’s Pizza
Roly Poly Rolled Sandwiches
Smoothie King
Spotted Cow
Sweet Treats
Taco John’s
Trefzger’s Bakery
Udder’s Ice Cream
Velvet Freeze