That Sweet, That Nasty, That Gushy Stuff

Marshmallow Brownies

Oh sweet Lord...

Simple recipe here. Take your favorite brownie recipe and about 2/3 of the way through baking, top with marshmallows. When they have melted and turned all toasty brown, they’re done.

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Lack of Cinnamon, Lack of Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls...sort of

I made cinnamon rolls the other day. Scratch that. I tried to make cinnamon rolls. What you see is what I ended up with. Everything went well until I had to actually roll it up. The dough was too wet and stuck to the counter. In addition to that, most of the cinnamon filling oozed out because it was way too much. So what did I do? I threw out the excess filling. Big mistake.

When I was able to get it rolled as best I could, I pretty much plopped it into the casserole dish and went from there. The result was less than ideal. The cinnamon flavor was barely there. I suppose the silver lining was that it was actually cooked all the way through. I’m notorious for par-cooked, sometimes raw breads.

 

Not Really Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3 1/4 c AP flour
  • 1 envelope of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 egg

Cinnamon Filling

  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, softened

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in the milk. Allow it to cool. Combine 2 1/4 c flour, yeast, sugar, salt. Add water, egg, and milk/butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add rest of flour, 1/2 c at a time, just until dough forms. Knead until smooth and allow to rest in warm place for 10 minutes.

Combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl. Roll out rested dough into rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Spread cinnamon filling all over and roll up. Cut into 12 equal pieces and allow to rise.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes.

Since I couldn’t get it to roll, I didn’t really let it rise the second time. Meh.

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Apocalypse Now-ish…

Yesterday, at about 3:30pm there was a massive power outage in the Southwestern region of the US, including all of San Diego county, parts of Orange and Imperial county, parts of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as parts of Baja California. This power outage left over 6 million people without power.

I was in Downtown San Diego at Horton Plaza for a meeting when the power went out. We thought it was just a minor blackout at the mall, but we soon realized that it spread to all over the county. There were sirens blaring in the distance, which wasn’t a good sign. We were told to evacuate, which we did. Since Horton Plaza in the middle of Downtown, I was parking in a multi-level garage. I found an exit and was waiting in line for probably 30-40 minutes. The people ahead of me had the bright idea of having everyone backup, find parking and just chill at the mall until traffic dies down. We did, but fortunately the parking garage has several exits. I ended up finding a way out and was able to make my way home quickly.

It was an odd experience at home. We lit candles and broke out the flashlights and the one battery powered radio we had. It was unusual. But it was enlightening. We realized we weren’t prepared for such emergencies. Cooking was relegated to our gas stove cooktop. Probably not ideal or safe, really. But it did the job. It was a bacon and eggs sort of night. A lot of food had to be thrown out though. All dairy products, any leftovers, anything that wasn’t stuck in the freezer before it got warmer inside. All gone.

Fortunately, the power did manage to come back at my house at 9:50pm. So it was about a 6 hour outage. Not terrible, but not something I’d like to experience again without being more prepared for.

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Eye of the Gorgonzola

Pear-Gorgonzola Pizza

Almost gone.

A few weeks back, I was jonesin’ for CPK’s Pear & Gorgonzola pizza. This was my attempt at making one. I used store-bought dough from Trader Joe’s. While there, I also picked up some arugula, a couple pears, and some crumbled gorgonzola. I also had some mozzarella and bacon on hand.

A few deviations: I caramelized the pears after the onions. I also decided to top the pizza with greens before baking so that they could wilt into the cheese and I wouldn’t have to use any dressing. The bacon was added because… it’s bacon.

 

Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza

These are all approximations…

  • Pizza dough
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 cup sliced caramelized pears
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Flatten out the pizza dough onto a baking sheet. Make sure you dock the dough in the center with a fork so that it doesn’t rise. You can drizzle olive oil now or not. Your call. Now you’re gonna go down the list of ingredients, one by one, and layer them evenly all over the pizza. I am not going to sit here and repeat that 6 times. Place pizza into oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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Bacon Care of Business

Peppered Bacon

What real bacon looks like.

A few days ago, I waxed my disdain with so-called Canadian bacon. It was not bacon. It was fancy ham. People lambaste Spam all the time for being some sort of fancy ham, but I think it’s because they’ve never encountered Canadian bacon. At least Spam doesn’t try to sell itself as any other sort of deli meat.

I had some peppered bacon for breakfast this morning. The exterior was coated in cracked black pepper and was lightly smoked. It was cut into slices about 2 mm thick. It was a harmonious balance of salty, fatty, and crispy, baked to glorious perfection. I know what you’re thinking: “Baked bacon?” Yeah. I’m trying to be healthy here.

Peppered bacon is typically reserved for a steakhouse setting. You would usually use it to bard larger cuts of meat like roasts or even steaks to help keep them moist and juicy during cooking. For further reference on barding, I suggest you consult the Epic Meal Time series.

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Absolutely Fabulous

And now, a drink recipe from Whitley. She calls it a White Virgin.

 

White Virgin

  • 2 parts Franzia White Zinfandel (IT HAS TO BE FRANZIA)
  • 1 part Cherry-Limeade

Mix two together and enjoy.

 

(from Boobs and Bravado)

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Focaccia ‘Bout It

What's left of my focaccia.

I had a hankering for some focaccia bread. It actually stemmed from my visit to Souplantation during lunch a few days ago. I was feeling pretty sick and I just wanted some soup to fill me up. While there, I also picked up a couple pieces of quattro formaggio focaccia. Those were devoured on my drive back to work. As tasty as it was, it also cost me $1.29 for those two bites.

I thought I could make something more affordable at home. The result of which is what you see. The bread was tender and the crust was crisp. But instead of four cheeses, I only used the two I had on hand: parmigiano-reggiano and good ol’ mozzarella. I guess this is more of a Due Formaggio Focaccia. Next time, I think I’ll tweak it with some herbs and even sun dried tomatoes.

 

Due Formaggio Focaccia (adapted from Fleischmann’s Yeast recipe)

  • 3 1/2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 envelope of active dry yeast
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add warm water and 2 T olive oil. How warm? Warm enough that you can stick your finger in it without it being uncomfortable. I’d say about 45 seconds in the microwave (~1100 watts). If it’s too hot, stick it in the fridge for a minute.

Mix dry and wet ingredients together to form a loose dough. Because this was my first time making this, I had no idea what the dough should have looked like. But it was pretty wet. Allow the dough to rise in the bowl in a warm place for about 30 minutes. I covered the bowl with a large plate. I then nuked 2 cups of water in a measuring cup for a couple minutes and placed that on top of the plate. The radiating heat from the cup was enough to keep the dough warm, but not enough to cook it.

After it has risen, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dump dough out onto a greased baking sheet. Using a little bit of flour, spread the dough out on the sheet. Take your pinky and poke holes into the dough. Drizzle the remaining olive oil all over. Sprinkle with cheese. Here, you’re supposed to let it rise another 15 minutes, but I didn’t bother to do that. Bake about 30 minutes, checking occasionally, until golden brown.

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Six Degrees of Canadian Bacon

This is not bacon

Canadian bacon is a travesty. It besmirches the good name of bacon. You expect a symphony of salty, fatty, crispy, smoky goodness. Instead, you get a disc of ham. That’s it. That’s all there is. There’s nothing special about it. It may be a healthier alternative, but why bother?

I should sue for false advertising. Bacon, as defined by the Paula Deen-English Dictionary, is meat that has been sliced from the depths of porcine fauna, salt cured, and smoked. Those slices are then fried to a state of crisp perfection. I think Oprah’s hetero life partner Gayle would agree: Bacon is better crispy.

I tried to fry this so-called Canadian bacon and it turned into a gloopy mess. The exterior casing/rind caramelized and left unappetizing streaks of what appeared to be motor oil residue all over the face of the meat.

Frankly, that extra surface area just doesn’t work for me. It means uneven cooking as the meat will tend to curl in on itself like normal bacon. Curling and name DO NOT MAKE BACON.

There’s a slab of peppered smokehouse bacon in my fridge that is calling my name. It may be embellished bacon, but at least it’s actual bacon.

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The Jay of Cooking

After falling asleep in the middle of Julie & Julia, I decided to start a blog chronicling my journey in the kitchen. Hopefully I don’t fall asleep through this though.