Monthly Archives: November 2010

Baking!

When I went up to Fairbanks for Thanksgiving I had lots of time to teach myself to bake! A few of the treats below:

Blueberry Muffins (delicious Chow Recipe linked)

Blueberry Muffins!

Close Up!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookie jar peanut butter cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup. (1 stick) unsalted butter. ROOM TEMP

1/2 cup crisco. ROOM TEMP

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup peanut butter ROOM TEMP

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Sift together flour,baking  powder, baking soda, salt.  Set aside

Cream butter, shortening and both sugars in a large bowl with electric mixer, at med speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in peanut butter.

Add the reserved flour mixture by the cupful, beating on low speed to mix well.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Press each cookie twice in each direction with the back of a fork to make a crosshatch design and to flatten to cookie to about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer to a rack to cool. Store in airtight container for up to one week.

Yum!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake (this one came out a little burnt) Woops…

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Filed under Baking, Cookies, Muffins

Women’s Chefs/Baking

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Annual Women Chef and Restaurateurs Conference in Pasadena. My mother has been a member of this group for just about 10 years and it’s such an incredibly creative, warm, welcoming, helpful environment of wonderful women chefs. It’s so inspiring to be around women who have cooked their whole lives, opened restaurants, started their own companies, and been in the business for years. I stuck close to my mom as this was all new to me and I am NOT a chef. But yesterday afternoon I decided to try a break out session on my own… Cookies. I expected a cookie decorating class/putting frosting on or a lecture on cookies. Boy was I wrong. The Cordon Bleu teacher handed out recipes and told every team (yes we were broken into teams) to recreate the recipe given (it was from the 1940s). Well everyone went their separate ways picking new ingredients and rewriting recipes. I sat staring at how to get my mixer attached to my kitchenaid (Chef Linda helped)

Chef Linda

Then I made the mistake of not “creaming” my sugar and shortening. A word I had never heard of before. I also added pumpkin here (what I thought would be my GREAT addition). Linda came by in a panic. She looked at the recipe, looked in my bowl, looked at the recipe, looked in the bowl. She asked me where I was in the recipe and when I pointed she said, No that’s not possible and I said yes, yes this is where I am. She had my restart my recipe from the beginning. A little disheartening as my peers were adding curry powder and chopping mexican chocolate, I was struggling with adding flour to eggs and milk.

At the mixer!

But with Linda’s help, I persevered and got a good cookie dough out. I slapped it on a tray, made a ganash (milk, powdered sugar and cocoa powder) and had cookies!

Frosting!

The best part was trying everyone else’s cookies at the end! What an inspiring and amazing weekend, more to come!

Packing up cookies to go!

 

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Filed under Baking, Learning

Osteria Mozza

I had big expectations for this restaurant- Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton in one restaurant.

Mozza

I couldn’t have been more pleased. We arrived 40 minutes late due to traffic from the westside and we were taken right to our table (a miracle at a trendy restaurant). The service was amazing and the food was incredible. We started with the mozzarella taster plate – three delicious pieces of cheese and warm garlic bread to put it on.

My dinner!

Then the Orecchiette with sausage & Swiss chard (picture above). The menu is here and everything looked insane. My mom got the Maccheroni alla Chitarra with Early Girl tomatoes & garlic breadcrumbs, so delicious. For dessert we had two yummy fried things (both tasted like doughnuts with sweet sauce). The bread was incredible , the portions were perfect, the wait staff couldn’t have been more helpful. I cannot WAIT to go back and try more of the menu. So worth it.

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Filed under Restaurants, Review

Christmas Music?

I can hardly believe how fast October flew by. And now we are two days into November and it feels more like December. The true sign of the Christmas spirit is of course the holiday cups at Starbucks

Holidays are Here!

And Christmas music time! We got a couple free CD’s today at work:

Starbucks Christmas 2009!

With such jams as:

Baby, it’s Cold Outside” by Ray Charles and Betty Wright

Sarah McLachlan’s “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

“It Don’t Have to Change” with John Legend and the Stephens Family

And we got this jem at work for free too:

Santa Baby, Starbucks 2006

Another personal favorite is Frank Sinatra Christmas… just sets the mood. I can’t believe it’s 3 weeks until Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to head up to Alaska to have a snow filled holiday! Nothing like the smell of cinnamon and cooking while there is snow falling.

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Filed under Entertaining, Inspiration