Thursday, February 25, 2010

BB: Baked Shrimp Scampi

February is almost over and I'm trying to squeeze all my cooking and baking tasks in along with project deadlines and my Last Week of Work at my second job.

Yep. Last Week.

As much as I like the library and my co-workers, it's causing way too much stress that is impacting my freelancing, income-supporting job. So, it's back to no benefits and no regular paycheck. But life is always changing, so who knows what the future holds.

Anyway, I try to keep frozen shrimp on hand for a quick meal. This Barefoot Blogger recipe is just that -- quick and delicious. Even my shrimp-wary daughter liked it, which says something. She is not a fan of squeaky shrimp, so I'm very careful not to overcook it.

I made only half a recipe, which was plenty for dinner for two and lunch for one. Plus, my bag of frozen, butterflied shrimp from TJ's was exactly one pound. Basically, I just eye-balled the topping ingredients, figuring a little more than half wouldn't hurt. Since I don't own a small-enough gratin dish, I used one of my pie dishes.

This recipe was chosen by
Jill of Insanely Good Food and can be found either on the web or in Ina's book, Back to Basics. Other Barefoot Bloggers have made the scampi this week, so go ahead and check out their results.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TWD: Honey Wheat Cookies

When I was a kid, I hated wheat germ. As an adult, I have learned to like it and usually have a jar in the refrigerator. I have a great recipe for baking powder biscuits with wheat germ. It's a family favorite.

Before going out to buy more honey for this recipe, I conducted a pantry search and found two jars of honey, hidden away in dark corners. I used the local honey for these cookies -- Piru Canyon Honey made from happy bees in the local avocado orchards. It's dark and thick and sweet.

I also used lime zest instead of lemon, since I have a large abundance of limes at the moment.

The cookies turned out just fine, in my opinion. My daughter, on the other hand, ate only one and declared they were just ok, not something she would be requesting in the future. I've rarely met a cookie I didn't like, so, all the more for me. I'm using my "cookie on demand" technique with these -- baking half a dozen or so at a time using my toaster oven.

I'm wondering how these would work out as cookie sandwiches using lemon or lime curd as the filling. Might have to just give that a try with my remaining dough.

Thanks to Michelle of Flourchild for a nice change of pace. For the recipe, go to Michelle's blog; for other comments, go to the TWD site.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


See the carpet.

See the nasty-looking plops.

Is it a doggie accident, perhaps?


It's what happens when one bakes frozen chocolate chip cookie balls in a toaster over and doesn't check thoroughly to see if the centers are baked through because one is dying for a cookie --

only to leave a trail of gooey middles all over the carpet and oneself before realizing what has occurred.

Carpet- and dog-hair covered gooey middles are not tasty. One would know.

Cleanup was much easier after the chocolate hardened. The dog was useless in this matter and didn't earn her keep.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: My Best Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are one of those foods where having variations is a good thing. Sometimes you're hungry for thin, sometimes for chewy, sometimes for cakey. You get the picture.

My personal favorite recipe is from Shirley Corriher's Cookwise. The cookie formula allows for three kinds of textures. The household choice is In-Betweens.

But I have to say that Dorie's version is delicious. Texture aside, the cookies have a wonderful flavor, allows for some ingredient variations, and the dough freezes beautifully so you can have cookies-on-demand.

I didn't do anything special when I baked these. Once I had scooped out the dough, I just popped them into the oven and baked for 10 minutes exactly. They flattened a bit, but not dreadfully so.

The frozen dough balls don't need to be thawed, just placed in the preheated oven. After 10 minutes of baking time, I start watching them for doneness and pull them out when I think they're ready. Slightly underbaked works well for these cookies.

This week's treat and recipe was brought to us by Kait of Kait's Plate. Stop by the TWD site for more cookies and comments.

Remember, having more than one chocolate cookie recipe is never a problem.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Almost Mezze

The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

My most precious commodity at the moment is Time. I'm baking and cooking what I can fit in to my reduced number of leisurely hours, so for this challenge, I succeeded in making the two mandatory items, pita and hummus, but fell short of making the full mezze. By the looks of other folks' attempts, it is something I must do in the future. All those tapas-like dishes look so delicious.

I've made pita before, but I always enjoy trying out a different recipe, as this one was. I'm pleased with the results.

The same goes for the hummus. I've usually purchase store-bought hummus in expensive, small-quantity plastic containers.

No longer.

This is a terrific recipe. For just pennies, comparatively, you can quickly make a ton of hummus, flavoring it however you wish. It disappeared too soon.

For both recipes, head over to Michele's blog, and to see the clever mezze from all the Daring Cooks, stop by the Daring Kitchen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

BB: Coconut Cupcakes

I nearly had butter shock when I read this recipe.

Six sticks of butter?

You're kidding me, right?

I immediately calculated a third of a recipe so I wouldn't have to be hauled away blathering about butter overload.

Even so, one third of this recipe produced 12 cupcakes and more than enough frosting. I hate to think how many the full recipe would really have made.

I used some of my unsweetened coconut stash for these, toasting the top-bound coconut to give color and added taste. My daughter, who isn't fond of coconut, did admit that she liked these. A hit! The frosting is great, too, and I'll have to remember to use it for future cupcakes.

Thanks to
Jamie of Jamie’s Green Kitchen for a delicious, non-chocolate dessert. You'll find the recipe on her blog and other renditions on the Barefoot Bloggers site.

Friday, February 12, 2010

TWD: Gooey Brownies

This week I'm only a few days late with my TWD post. Almost caught up! These brownies were a big hit here, mainly because my daughter loves under baked and/or gooey goodies. As delicious as they are, though, they are challenging to remove from the pan.

You might as well just eat them straight from the pan with a spoon.

I only got two bowls dirty with this recipe, since I couldn't see the necessity of transferring the melted butter and chocolate to yet another bowl. It worked out fine. I did bake the brownies about 8 minutes longer than required as the center was just too, too under baked after 28 minutes.

Tanya of Chocolatechic was the perpetrator of this week's choice, Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia. No surprise, since she's a sweet, chocolate-loving lady. Now I have one more brownie recipe in my arsenal thanks to Tanya, and you can have it, too, when you visit Tanya's blog.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TWD catch-up

Because I am super swamped with work right now, I decided that I would stop baking for a short while. I've missed several favorite blog challenges as a result.

Only, it's not working out. I'm suffering from baking withdrawal and it's all I think about, so my work projects are suffering as well.

So, I give up. I will request a deadline extension, and then try not to go too crazy. The second job may have to go.

I had all the ingredients for the for the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes except for the mini bundt cake pan. So, I decided to use my giant muffin tin, which worked just fine.

I also made the glaze that comes with the recipe. It set fairly quickly, so I just swirled it around the tops of the cakes. No decorative drips.

We decided that these cakes were so big and rich that half a cake would make a nice serving size.
Adding ice cream would be good as well.

This week's treat was chosen by Kristin at I’m Right About Everything. Go to Kristin's blog for the recipe and to the TWD blog to see the results from the other bakers.