Groovin' in the kitchen, dancin' in Missoula.

Tag: Kitchen Experiments

So not Sloppy Joes

So not Sloppy Joes

“Don’t tell my wife these are Sloppy Joes or she’ll hate them.” I overheard this line coming from the kitchen after I’d thrown together what I thought was a brilliant new concept for dinner. Seriously? How did I not catch on? It was one of […]

Dinner I pulled out of my…

Dinner I pulled out of my…

Brain. I pulled this dinner out of my brain. I completely made it up on the fly, and pretended to know what I was doing. I’ve heard of people making roux, and figured I could pretend to know how to do it too. This is […]

How about dessert?

How about dessert?

Apple Pie

More specifically, how about some pie?

Apple? With caramel sauce and ice cream?

Yeah, let’s do it!

I used local Fuji apples, and they were so juicy and delicious! I’m going to do this again, because this was seriously the best apple pie, but I’m going to use Granny Smith, cause that’s what I’ve got. It’s gonna work, don’t worry.
Apple Pie

I also didn’t follow a recipe. It was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever done.
Apple Pie
Don’t make fun of me. There’s no feeling like the pounding in your heart when you have no guarantee that the pie you’re making could be epic or awful.

I also used cinnamon chips, and I think I need to have them permanently stocked in my pantry. You should too. What can’t you use them for?
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

I ALSO LEARNED THE COOLEST TRICK!!

Sorry for yelling, but this tip changed my life. For real.

Instead of crying over flour and mangled pie crust, roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Then all you have to do is gently peel off the top layer,
Apple Pie

flip it over onto a pie plate, and peel off the other layer!
Apple Pie

I know!! Amazing!
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

I took the decadence an extra step this time and brushed the top crust with butter, and then sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar.
Apple Pie

Apple Pie
Clearly I’ve made no New Year’s Resolutions.

Apple Pie

No big deal.
Apple Pie

Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
Makes two crusts

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.

Cinnamon Apple Pie

3-4 medium apples
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice the apples very thinly, and then add the apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apple slices get covered in the lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch together. Add the cinnamon chips and stir them in.
Add the sugar mixture to the apple slices, and make sure the apples get coated in the sugar mixture.
Roll out the first pie crust (see above for rolling instructions, or use a well floured surface), and gently put it in a pie pan. Pour the apple filling into it, and then roll out the next crust. Lay the second crust over the apple mixture, and pinch together and trim the edges. Cut vents in the top of the pie, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the edges look like they’re starting to burn, wrap them with foil. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving. If you’re very very hungry for pie, you can put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. Just don’t melt your refrigerator shelf.

Craft Project

Craft Project

I’m not a crafty person. I could reiterate, but it’s ok, you can take my word for it. Lately I’ve had the urge to make stuff. Not food stuff, though I’ve been doing plenty of that, too. It started with some alterations to a dress. […]

Citrus Glaze with Pork

Citrus Glaze with Pork

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to like pork. Here’s the thing–I can admit when I’m wrong.  About food.  I can totally admit when I’m wrong about food. This was one of those recipes that I’ve never tried before, and hadn’t really put much […]

Poaching Victory!

Poaching Victory!

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We all know I suck at presentation. It’s something I’ve learned to deal with, because for the most part, I can make it taste good.

I’ve made cheesecake without the top cracking.  I’ve made creme brulee the perfect shade of golden, caramel brown.  I’ve even made chicken pot pie without a pie dish!

But there was one thing that I’ve just never been able to achieve. I’m not talking “It didn’t look pretty, but it was edible” or “I made some mistakes but ended up with something almost as good.”

No, since I started this fun, laughable, delicious culinary journey, I have always wanted to poach an egg. Folks, it’s harder than it looks.

I’ve seen the tutorials. I’ve watched Julie & Julia more times than I’ll admit.

And I’ve wasted so. many. eggs. It saddened me. So I tucked it away in the back of my mind, in that place where I store things that nag me. Things I can’t admit to anyone else for fear of ridicule. What self respecting food blogger can’t even poach an egg?

Me.

Months after I had given up on my poached egg dreams, I got a call from my mother in law. She was visiting family, and someone brought up how delicious but difficult poached eggs are. In her sweetness, her blind faith, she said, “I know someone who can do it for sure!” And then she proceeded to call me.

I had to admit–out loud, no less–that I had never successfully poached an egg. The shame! It was too much. I knew I had to do it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. On my very next try. I freaking did it!!

Start with hot water. Put it on the stove over medium/high heat.
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Crack an egg into a bowl. Cracking it right into the water isn’t going to cut it. You don’t want it hitting the bottom and then spreading out everywhere. Putting the egg into a bowl allows you to gently tip it in right at the surface of the water.
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When bubbles just start to form:
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Place the bowl right at the surface of the water and tip the egg in.
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And then leave it be!
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You don’t want to move the water around and break up the egg. After about 30 seconds, you can gently ever so gently start to lift the edges from the bottom of the pan.
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After awhile, you can gently ever so gently start to move the egg around.
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Then, after about 7-10ish minutes in the water, you can lift it out with a slotted spoon.
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I was so excited to try making a poached egg that I hadn’t really thought about how I’d serve it. Fortunately, I had some feta and an English muffin. Perfecto!
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I feel it is my duty to inform you that runny yolks can pose health risks. You’ll notice that my yolk wasn’t runny at all, but I didn’t know that until I had bitten into it. To be on the safe side, make sure you err on the side of more done, probably at least a 10 minute cooking time, depending on how hot your water stays. (It felt like it took foooooreverrrrrrrrrrrrr to cook, but I was really hungry at the time.)

Poached Eggs

Add about an inch and a half to two inches of hot water to a deep skillet, place on the stove over medium high heat. Crack each egg into its own bowl.
When the water starts to form bubbles on the bottom of the pan, turn the heat down slightly.
Place the edge of the bowl right at the surface of the water and let the egg slide into the water.
After about 30 seconds, use a wooden spoon to gently nudge the edge of the egg to loosen it from the bottom. If you get too overzealous with your nudging, the egg will separate and you’ll have a pan full of nastiness.
The more done the egg, the easier it will be to move around. Eventually it will “solidify” and you can take it out of the water.
***It’s important that you never actually allow the water to fully boil. Especially when the egg is in the water. You just want it right on the verge of bubbles.

Try this soon, and if it doesn’t work, give it a few months. Don’t give up!
Poached egg victory tastes so sweet.

Whole Wheat Bagels

Whole Wheat Bagels

Remember awhile ago when I made bagels? Yeah, those were delicious. I noticed something, though. They had the perfect hard on the outside, soft on the inside texture for the first few days, and then after that they became…chewy. And not in a good way. […]

Single Jo Food

Single Jo Food

No, I’m not technically single. But Nick has been gone for over a week, so it’s kinda like being single. It seems like when Nick is home, there’s all kinds of things I want to try that he’s just not that into. But as soon […]

White Asparagus:  Answers

White Asparagus: Answers

I got some amazing feedback from you guys about my white asparagus debacle.  There are tons and tons of great recipes out there, but the overwhelming consensus has been to peel it first!

Who knew?  I mean, besides all of you.  And Google.  And Food Network.  And eHow.com.  And Chow Hound.

Ok, so everyone knew but me.  I guess next time I’ll do my research first.  Seriously though, I had no idea it would be so different from green asparagus.  It was fun hearing from all of you though, so let’s just pretend that this was a pop quiz.

Congratulations!  You passed!  Can I come eat white asparagus at your house?

White Asparagus

White Asparagus

Ok, for once, I had a kitchen disaster that wasn’t my fault. At least, I don’t think it was my fault… Passing through the produce section of Costco, something strange caught my eye. Something unique. What on earth could that be? How can asparagus be […]