Entries Tagged as 'other'
November 25th, 2010 · 8 Comments
September 22nd, 2008 · 25 Comments
Ok, now I am really back in action. So much has happened in the last month — we’ve moved to a new apartment, gone on an amazing vacation, and are currently in the process of furnishing our new space! Right now, I don’t have a kitchen table, a single kitchen chair, and I’m sitting on my kitchen counter to type this up. However, I do have a very exciting new addition to my little kitchen.
Chad and I were sitting around our first full day in the new apartment, and decided to go out for lunch. As we left, we noticed a “Sorry we missed you” delivery slip from UPS. Thinking it wasn’t anything important, I just figured we’d pick it up that night from the shipping center, which is fairly nearby. Chad, however, was really annoyed that they hadn’t rung our bell or even attempted to deliver the package.
I couldn’t really figure out why he was so annoyed until he called and it turned out our package weighed 32 pounds. 32 Pounds? What could it possibly be? Not, apparently, one of the bathing suits I’d ordered from J. Crew. Too small to be furniture, too big to be anything else I could think of.
I didn’t figure it out until a few minutes before we picked up the package, but if I hadn’t been so frazzled from moving, I probably would have realized earlier. A month or two ago, Chad mentioned that my very kind soon-to-be mother in law wanted to get me something off our wedding registry.
And, honestly, there was ever only one thing on our wedding registry I cared about, and you can probably guess what it was. Chad joked that when we went to Williams Sonoma to pick things out, it was pretty much an entire trip just to register for a Kitchenaid Mixer.
And guess what the mystery package was?!?
So even without a table or chairs, my kitchen is feeling quite spectacular lately. And this post is, unfortunately, totally unrelated to these granola bars, which did not remotely require my amazing new Kitchenaid, but were pretty spectacular themselves, as well.
Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars
1 cup plus 2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp corn syrup
1 egg white
1/2 cup raisins
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp canola oil
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until evenly distributed. The granola should stick together but no liquid should pool at the bottom (if there is excess liquid, add another tablespoon of oats and stir again).
Pour the granola out into a small baking pan lined with parchment paper and mold it into the shape you want (I used my fluted tart shell because it was nearly the perfect size, and the fluting wouldn’t show through the parchment paper). Bake for about 35 minutes, or until granola is lightly browned on top and no longer feels wet. Allow to cool, and cut into bars.
I stored these in plastic wrap and it ruined their texture. Eat them within a day or two, or store them in an airtight container, not too close together, unrefrigerated, for up to a week.
Makes 8 small granola bars.
September 8th, 2008 · 76 Comments
Baking is so sad for my dogs. Â Inevitably, they will sit at my feet for hours while I bake some delicious treat, and then I will completely refuse to let them have even a tiny bite — chocolate is poisonous for dogs (poor dogs — life without chocolate!), and sugar isn’t good for them either. Â So one afternoon, I decided to bake something especially for my little puppies.
There are actually two of them — Calvin is the one in the first picture, sitting patiently and staring at his treat hoping that I’ll let him have it, and Coco is the one in the next picture, happily biting hers right out of my hand. (Coco is also the one who had a little cameo at the end ofÂ my last podcast!)
Also, I am a dope because I cut these out using heart and sun shaped cookie cutters, and realized later that I had bought dog bone cookie cutters at some point, and then forgotten all about them. Fortunately, Calvin and Coco didn’t seem to care too much.
Last but not least, Chad and I are actually going to Hawaii (!!!) so there won’t be any new updates on this site until next week. Â Fortunately, our dogs will have homemade treats to remember us while we’re gone — and in case any of you have hungry pooches in the meantime, I suggest making a batch of these!
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Add wet mixture to dry, and mix well.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 20-30 dog biscuits.
March 20th, 2008 · 126 Comments
I think it is probably hard to convey, in writing, exactly how giddy this photo makes me. Do you see that beautiful, clear, golden liquid? That’s duck fat. Otherwise known as, “one of the most delicious substances you could possibly ever consume.” Also known as, “nearly impossible to find without paying a fortune.” Finally, known as, “the substance Katy is so in love with that her parents worry she will die of a heart attack at 26.”
Heart heath aside, I am so incredibly excited to have this little jar in my fridge (and two others in my freezer). And I am extra, extra, extra excited to share it with all of you! So let me start at the beginning.
Sometime in early 2008, I came to the conclusion that many dishes, be they vegetable, soup, or sauce, could be improved with a richer, more flavorful cooking fat. I like olive oil as much as the next girl, and I’ll use butter on occasion, but I was intrigued with the idea of cooking with other types of fat. I experimented with sesame oil, dabbled in truffle oil, but finally I realized what my dishes were lacking: duck fat.
So, I started looking. None of the grocery stores in my neighborhood sell duck, except in the prepackaged D’Artagnan ziplocs — no duck fat scraps to be had there. But in the back of my mind, I remembered the meat sellers at the farmer’s market. If you can buy a duck breast or leg at the farmer’s market, I figured, the rest of the bird is pretty likely to be for sale as well (the same is probably true of a good butcher, if there’s not a farmer’s market near you).
Sure enough, the following Saturday, I asked at the farmer’s market if the duck meat vendor had any fat for sale. The man gave me a curious look, and said, “we don’t bring it every week, but if you give me your name a week in advance, I can take an order.” I gleefully gave him my name, and asked for a pound of duck fat. And as I was about to walk away, he called out, “I’ll just get you the actual fat — you’ll have to render it yourself, is that ok?”
Brightly, I responded, “of course!” Inwardly, I thought to myself, “um, what is rendering, exactly?” And, I will admit, I was a little bit intimidated when I was handed this:
Somehow that is not exactly the culinary delicacy that I had in mind. But after a little bit of research, I did figure out how cooks render what’s pictured here into that gorgeous golden liquid that one can actually cook with.
And now I’m going to share it with you, because it’s actually quite simple.
Take the fat from the animal, and put it in a flying pan. Cover it with about 2 cups of water per pound of fat, so that the fat is entirely submerged in water. Turn the heat on the burner as low as you possibly can, and just barely simmer for about 60 or 90 minutes, until the water has cooked off and you are left with a beautiful golden fat.
Here’s what it looks like after about five minutes:
After fifteen minutes:
After forty five minutes:
When it starts to look as though the simmer is dying down, watch the fat very, very carefully. It should be a warm golden color, with little lighter-colored bubbles emerging from the center of the pan where the heat is strongest (the water). As there is less and less water, those bubbles will become closer and closer to a boil, and the remaining liquid will turn a darker golden. Eventually, the boiling bubbles will suddenly become much smaller, just back to a bare simmer, which means all the water is gone. At that point, remove the fat from the heat immediately — if you burn the fat, it’s useless and you have to start all over.
In my (humble) opinion, it’s better to have a slighly watery duck fat than to lose a whole batch that you burned, so once it hits the right color and the bubbles start to die down, you’re done.
Next, let the fat cool in a heat-proof container, uncovered, for about fifteen minutes. When it has cooled slightly, strain it through a fine mesh strainer at least three times, and pour it into a small glass container or two.
Allow to the rendered fat to cool, uncovered, for about 2 hours at room temperature, than transfer to the refigrator for 24 hours (it will solidify again). After 24 hours, move any containers that you plan to freeze to the freezer.
My pound of duck fat made about 1 cup of rendered fat. It will keep several months in the refigerator or up to a year in the freezer.