Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Total Utilization; Simplicity

Okay, so the title is boring, but it gets my point across.

For dinner last night we had my cousins over for a make-your-own-pizza dinner. We ended up with extra sausage, squash, caramelized onions, tomatoes and red peppers.

We didn't really feel like making pizza again, but he and I really enjoy total product utilization. We're taking the left over products and tossing them with garlic, olive oil and serving it over pasta.

Matt just jokingly asked me if "I'm blogging about "his excellent culinary skills again"

"I'm blogging our enjoyment of using our leftover ingredients in a different and tasty way; so yes, I am blogging about your excellent culinary skills."

It's a really simple dinner. We're kicking it up a notch with the carbs with the addition of well seasoned bread sticks, made with the left over pizza dough.

Not much of a post; just wanted to point out that using left overs is a nifty idea and an easy way to stretch the grocery bill....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Corned Beef Hash Love

The first time I can recall eating Corned Beef Hash was about a year ago. Matt and I were on our way to Ikea to look at apartment stuff. We stopped at a diner on the way up, and something on the special's menu intrigued me: Corned beef hash with eggs.

I couldn't remember ever eating such a thing, but I knew I liked corned beef, and any food ending or starting with "Hash" (Hash browns being a favorite). I knew it was simple diced beef with diced potatoes and pan fried to a crispy savoriness. What omnivore doesn't like diced meat and potatoes?

I was presented with an incredible serving of corned beef hash with two scrambled eggs and a generous portion of home fries...And a slice of melon...And a side of buttery rye toast. There were so many different aromas going on in my plate. I picked up my fork and dug in; feeling something like an idiot for having such a large plate of food, while Matt opted for fruit with some oatmeal.
"Why is it whenever I order a big breakfast, you order fruit? I feel like you're Jack Sprat, or something." I said, jabbing the air with a fork of melon at him.

Meanwhile, my breakfast was delicious. The hash cooked to a crisp, moist, salt and peppery mass of deliciousness. I was in love. I feasted and savored...I admit it, I gorged. It was some of the best breakfast I had in a long time. The most simple dishes are the best dishes.

A year later and I'm excited to try Matthew's Corned beef hash. Last night we braised corned beef. For lunch today I enjoyed a corned beef pressed Reuben (regrettably sans rye bread). The only natural plan of action would be corned beef hash. And possibly eggs cracked into it. It is going to be an explosion of flavor and textures.

Matt's small dicing the potatoes, almost when he would occasionally make brunoise potatoes; a delightfully nastily difficult small dice. He'd then cook them with diced onions into an incredible crisp and crunchy breakfast side dish only edible with a spoon.

It smells garlicky in here. All the flavors are canoodling. It's sensual. The sound of frying, the oil popping and the steam rising from the cast iron skillet. It's a dance. A rehearsed tango of sounds, smells and flavors.

This is the hardest part. He's just cracked the eggs in....And now I need to wait until the eggs are cooked. Agony! It just smells like breakfast with the meat, crispy potatoes and now the cooking egg.

At first bite, I am enamored. This corned beef hash is better than I remember. The small diced potatoes, crisp but soft, the tender of the beef, the egg playing backup. It is crisp, it is crunchy, tender, salty, starchy and satisfying.  The crunch and mouth feel is a lot like a tator tot: outer crisp with a meaty inside.  Completely delicious and simple meal. I can't put into words the delight the crunch of potatoes and meat bring, but I know you know exactly what I am talking about.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Old Bagels

I know your secret. You have some day old bagels in your kitchen somewhere. I also know you will probably never eat those bagels, and it will sit there, getting harder and older and less attractive.

Matt came home from work with a paper bag of two-day old bagels (that he obviously was allowed to take home because they obviously wont sell one day old products, let alone two). At first I was incredulous. Why bring all these old bagels? We don't even have chive cream cheese to eat it with. We're never going to eat seven old bagels.

But then the light-bulb went off. Bagel chips. Of course. The perfect solution to old bagels or bread: slice or dice them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and dry them out into a tasty snack/salad topping.

I nearly sliced my middle finger tip off trying to slice a way word chunk, but my bagel slices were thin, heavily seasoned and blood free. They only took 30 minutes in a low oven, and ta-da! Bagel chips. Cheaper than any chips you can buy in the store, seasoned to your liking, and fresh. I was a little too trigger happy on the garlic powder and some are just a little overly crunchy (to the point where I eat one all I can hear in the middle of my head is the *CRUNCH* of the chips. But generally, I like them. I went light on the oil, and they are salty and carbtastic. Everything you'd want in a crunchy snack.

Old bread? Croutons! Old bagels or pita? Chips! You will never waste a leavened  (or unleavened) product again.

Okay, so this isn't my 190th post, I deleted the old draft entries and now it's only a few away from 190..Guess now I can save it for something good!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Pierogies

I'm so excited to play with a recipe. I made some sweet potato Pierogi dough this morning, Matt and I are going to fill some of them with some sauteed ground beef and onions...A little like a Shepard's pie but absolutely not Shepard's Pie.

The dough is soft, smooth and pliable, like the normal dough for pierogies. I wasn't sure if the dough would come together any differently, but it's as soft and smooth as the standard. I'm sure cooked crispy and topped with sour cream they will be as good as any of the pierogis we've made...Except this time they are filled with beef instead of mashed potatoes.

We're having a bit of a "late" start with dinner. We went to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch with some family and I ate too much good food.  When we got home, I made an Apple Tartin for Matt's co-worker. He knew I was a little bored and looking for something to do on the weekends, for weeks he'd been joking to Matt that I should make a Tartin for him. Finally I told Matt if he got the ingredients, I would.

Anyway, between not being hungry and the deliciously apple caramelly smelling dessert, we began cooking around 6:30.

Matt is cooking the ground beef with the usual various spices. Matt waited to cook the onions so they could cook down with the little bit of beef fat...For an extra shot of tasty.

So far, these look a lot like empanadas....Which is making me fantasize about all kinds of savory filled pockets of dough from all over the world. Empanadas, pierogies, pasties, eggrolls, dumplings, ravioli....but I digress....

Usually we pan fry our pierogies, but we're going to try baking them tonight. Mostly in the interest of saving time and oil.

I'm really excited to try these pierogies. Our first batch of piergoi dough was made with leftover heavily seasoned mashed potatoes. With this batch I kept it clean; adding only salt and a little sugar. Along with the fact I used sweet potatoes I'm not sure what to expect; except that it will probably be crispy, sweetish and meaty.

Baking them in the oven gave them a characteristic of nearly every cultural pocket listed above: crispy like eggrolls, soft inside like dumplings, and they smelled a little like empanadas.

These are such good pierogies I have left my plate to express to you exactly how good they are. The beef flavor is so prominent and full bodied...Beefy and so moist. The onions blending with the beef and crust...the crust is tender, not even close to being overworked. The sour cream bringing it home like a cold, creamy back-up singer. It all comes together like the perfect melody.

The crust is unique. It's almost a pie crust. The standard pierogi dough that I've made has a more chewy taste to it...But the dough made with sweet potatoes is tender, almost flaky and a little crisp. It brings another layer of flavor that is subtle, but without it I know I would miss it.

Savory filled dough fashioned into a pocket is one of my favorite special meals. I love it for its prominence in every culture, for their adaptability, but especially for their reliable deliciousness.

I am so lucky to be marrying a guy who is such an amazing cook. Delicious.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pierogies and beer, Take Two

Matthew and I are simple folk. We're not the type to go out at 9pm and come in at 2 am. Occasionally we'll splurge on a nice meal, but more often than not it's our old favorite, Edo's , where the service is good and the food delicious.

On this chilly March night, our anniversary, we're staying in and making pierogies (again) and kielbasa. A favorite and always delicious.It's from the freezer from the last time I made the dough, but I want to use it up; I'm eager to make sweet potato pierogi dough and perhaps do a sweet filling (or ground beef. or pork, or veggies....).

Looking forward to seared polish sausage, crispy pierogies and caramelized onions.

Excuse the quick post, but there's beer to be drunk and kielbasa to be eaten!