Sunday, June 28, 2009

Craig Cooks Baked Mac & Cheese

This week Craig learns how to whisk and how to butter a casserole dish.

Water was boiled.

Pasta was weighed.

Cheese was shred

A roux was made, though the book didn't call it that.

Sauce was poured on pasta:

Pasta was poured in a casserole dish and baked

Then we ate it. It was good, creamy and crunchy at the same time. Held up well as lunch the next day as well.


Yeah, I'm a week late with this post and didn't make the Fruit Focaccia this week. I'm the worst Baking Beauty, but whatever.

Mostly I found this recipe a little boring. I've never made biscotti before, so it was new to me. It just wasn't all that challenging.

This was the worst part. Julia says the dough is going to be a little dry, but this was like the freaking Sahara dessert or something:

This is me measuring out my 12 inch log before I realized it was supposed to be 2 logs.

And, well then there was biscotti, sorry cantuccini

I dipped some haphazardly in chocolate. The chocolate ones have not survived.

They tasted like biscotti - which I'm not terribly fond of, but they were alright.

Also, I made a strawberry rhubarb pie with some of my leftover pastry dough crust.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Craig Cooks Sausage & Beans

There really wasn't much to this recipe. Store bought sausage, boiled beans, thrown in the oven with some spices and olive oil.

Here's the part where Craig feels like Jon Gosselin in "Jon & Kate + 8 + Emeril" (you really need to have seen that episode to get my joke at all here):

However, Craig's a little happier than Jon was... and let's face it, a little less high:

The beans were boiling for about an hour. Neither of us have cooked dried beans before, so we were really sure what we were doing and had to follow the book exactly. There was actually a point where I said out loud "Why is he trying to make us burn these?" Seriously, it told us to drain the beans and put them back in the pot for another 10 minutes. No liquid, no heat reduction. What the crap, Mark?

Craig basically just stuck the sausages in a pan, no brainer there:

Cooper gets a little concerned when we cook sausage. Or hungry, hard to say really:

And ladies and gentleman, I hate to say it, but we have our first dinner fail.

It was alright, it's just the beans were really dry. Craig followed the recipe exactly, it's just that boiling them for an hour and then leaving them in a pot with no liquid for 10 minutes and then putting them in the oven for an hour with bread crumbs... well they'd have to be made entirely out of liquid not to be dry at that point.

I think of this as our penance for the very tasty and very quick salmon from last week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

French Apple Tart

I made this yesterday, I promise. I just got sleepy and went to bed before posting. Maybe that has something to do with this taking FIVE HOURS to complete.

First I heeded Kristina's advice to make half the pie crust dough recipe. The actual Tart recipe says to make a quarter of the recipe, but I can't do that kind of math. If you want to know what 6 minutes and 30 seconds minus 2 minutes and 45 seconds is I'm your gal. If you want to know what a quarter of 5 1/4 cups is I can't help you.

Trouble is, I got distracted watching my mixer to see what the constitency of the dough was... Then I read "ice cold water" and panicked because I needed to pour it in and it was not ice cold. So I start running the water and dump it in. Then I read "just mix until combined" and I thought, "geez, that's going to take forever... why is this so wet?" Ah crap, I forgot to halve the water amount.

So I started again, and at the point of adding the water I just threw in the sopping wet dough.
I froze the other 3/4 of the recipe. I guess I need to make three pies this month.

Problem #2 - apparently the only difference between a pie and tart is sloping edge vs. straight edge of the crust. I made a pie.

Problem #3 - that's a lot of apples to peel. Whoever made my peeler didn't take into account that metal piece stabbing into my thumb while I peeled 8 apples.

Problem #4 - I really should have taken heed when they said "large bowl". Basically I should always use a bowl one size larger than I think. If only to help with my clean up later.

I don't think this is what Julia had in mind when she said to use a potato masher to mash up the baked apples, but this is my potato masher:

I thought I'd bake the apples while the pie chilled, but then didn't realize the crust was supposed to bake at 400 degrees, while the apples were 375. So after baking my crust looked like this:

Not exactly flaky and golden brown. So I threw it back in for about 15 minutes.

Mandolin sliced up apples (thanks Jackie!):

Mashed apple filled crust:
Putting the slices on the tart/pie:

Craig likes the look of this:

And, five hours later (with Craig's urging of peace in the background) she's DONE:

Just missing a small part of the crust that fell into the oven:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Craig Cooks Salmon

We skipped one week in there, but Craig's back and he's making awesome salmon. And this is how he feels about it:

Our very own herbs from our very own window sill:

Essential kitchen tool - measuring tape:

Rubbing some oil on the salmon:

Sprinkling with herbs:

Getting the asparagus ready to grill:

Et Voila:

Foil Packed Fish with Herbs & Lemon and Grilled Asparagus:

It was the best fish ever served in this home.

Ginger Snaps

Tonight's going to be busy over here at Not Julia.

First up - last week's Baking Beauties assignment was Ginger Snaps, which I did last Sunday but totally forgot to post.

I have no fond childhood memories of ginger snap cookies. Mostly it just reminds me of this movie
Turns out I might not have had these because my mother hates them. I mentioned the project and she said that she had them constantly as I child and didn't like them.

Have I mentioned that I hate mollasses? I hate it. It's just sticky. And annoying. And it doesn't even taste all that good. So I end up using tonnes of flour to stop it from sticking to everything. Including, apparently, the dog:

In the end I wasn't overly impressed. They were alright, we ate 'em.
They were "snappy" at first but then I stored them in the fridge and they became just thin chewy ginger cookies.