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What are you baking these days? Part XIII/13 1/2/11 [old]

I tried out the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Baked (is anyone else cooking from this?), which I have out from the library. Not that impressed. The cookies spread more than I thought they would, even after sitting in the fridge 6 hours (first batch) and then 2 days (remainder of batch). Since they were chocolate chips, no one's complaining, but I didn't think the cookie merited the extra time.

Could be that my baking soda is dead, though. Will have to replace it before I try the peanut butter and milk chocolate cookie recipe. Also baking banana bread for kids' snacks.

Jan 05, 2011
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What are you making for Christmas dessert this year?

Tartine's banana cream pie. By special request. I have bananas that have PIE written on the skin so they do not get eaten before tomorrow night.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Dec 24, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What cookies are you baking for Christmas this year?

Since I will be baking for two parties of school aged children, I'll be focusing on cutout, iced and/or sprinkled cookies. A chocolate reindeer with a red icing nose and other Christmas cutouts in a vanilla sugar cookie.
Recently made rugelach and refrigerator pistachio cookies. Will probably make chocolate chip cookies before too long. Too many yummy choices this time of year.

Dec 07, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Pie Crust Question

1. Yes. This is my usual pie crust. Shortening for texture and butter for flavor.
2. Yes. Sometimes the crust is better if it's ripened a little.

Good luck!

Nov 23, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

November/December 2010 BCTM: Maida Heatter's COOKIES- Rolled

Rugelach, from MH's Book of Great Cookies, p 201.
I have to admit that I haven't made any other rugelach recipes, but I've made these a few times now, and they're lovely. The dough is a little fussy-- a traditional mixture of butter, cream cheese, flour and salt which ripens overnight-- but making the crescents is easier than I'd thought. This time, I used two other fillings: raspberry jam and mini chocolate morsels.

This is a substantial, flaky cookie, and folks at work wanted the recipe when I brought them in. A solid rugelach recipe if you're looking for one.

Nov 23, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

OMG- Roasted Cauliflower

LOL on "cauliflower... on Fibonacci numbers"... that is so exactly right! I always thought of Romanescu as the vegetable form of fractals, but I like your description as well.

My kids always want to buy them just 'cause they like the way they look.

Nov 05, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

November/December 2010 BCTM: Maida Heatter's COOKIES- Drop & Icebox

I've made these a few times (family member adores them)-- I find them to be a delicate cookie. I have to let them cool on the baking sheet and then use a thin spatula to remove them. But they are delicious, a plain vanilla butter cookie.

Nov 02, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What were your last three cookbook purchases? - [Old]

Thanks, buttertart, that's great to know. Were you the hound who posted about the pasta rosettes? Sounds intimidating but good. Are there any favorites of yours that come to mind?

I've found her recipes to be reliable and tasty, for three dollars, just couldn't pass this up.

Oct 25, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Halloween Bake Sale

Our school just had a bake sale, and the kids and I made a combination of cookies. I had all these grand ideas for iced cookies but then came down with an awful cold, so we had to simplify.

We made chocolate bat cookies, a very simple chocolate dough with orange sprinkles for eyes. (Amazingly like the Martha Stewart cookies, which I hadn't seen.) Then each bat was paired with a vanilla cookie: either a pumpkin cookie with orange sprinkles, or a ghost cookie, which was iced with white icing and had black bat sprinkle eyes. The kids did all of the decorating except for the white icing (and I only had to make one color of icing).

They were eyecatching, pretty simple, and they sold out quickly. I packed each set of two cookies in one of those ziploc snack bags for easy transport.

Have fun!

Oct 24, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

November/December 2010 Baking Cookbook of Two Months: MAIDA HEATTER'S COOKIE RECIPES & READY FOR DESSERT, David Lebovitz

I love her rugelach recipe (in MH's Book of Great cookies) and was planning on making them even before this COTM. That book was the first baking cookbook I ever had-- I remember really liking the Farmer's Wife's Pecan cookies, though now I wonder if I would find them a bit tough. My sister has always loved the Vanilla Bar Wafers, a very plain cookie (the phrase "shortbread gone wrong-- but in a good way" comes to mind).

I haven't baked from her in a long time, though I have very fond memories of trying her recipes and actually having them turn out the way she described (a new experience at the time). Really looking forward to trying out some different recipes this time and baking alongside the 'Hounds.

Oct 24, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What were your last three cookbook purchases? - [Old]

After borrowing both of these from the library 4+ times:

Tartine by Pruitt
Arabesque by Roden

and finding this for $3 on the friends of the library shelves:

Marcella's Italian Kitchen by Marcella Hazan.

I've been trying very very hard to pare down my cookbook shelf, so adding these three will mean that others have to go. I think I'll purge that slow cooker cookbook, and maybe Cooking with Claudine...

Oct 24, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Arabesque: Main Courses


This is a wonderful lamb dish. I bought lamb shoulder, braised it for a little over 2 hours, and it turned out meltingly tender. Couldn't find baby onions so substituted sweet onion slices.( I also made four side dishes, posted on the other thread. ) Interesting note: kids liked lamb, in fact preferred it over pears. Go figure!

I'd made the chicken tagine with almost the same spices a few weeks earlier, and I have to say I prefer the lamb. Roden says that the effect is quite different, and she's right. This dish is much less sweet than the chicken. The spices mask some of the gaminess of lamb. Definitely a keeper.

Oct 18, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Arabesque: Starters, Kemia, Meze, and Mezze

Sorry to be so behind the times. So many of her ingredients are still in season now, I couldn't resist trying a few new recipes.

ORANGE, OLIVE and ONION SALAD (p.48) won't repeat what everyone else has said-- great addition to this meal.

STUFFED QUINCES (p.215) I saw quinces at our local farmer's market and bought two. They were much smaller than the ones she had-- about half a pound each-- so they only needed to bake 40 minutes before they softened. When I bought them, I asked the folks at the stand what to look for, and they couldn't help me, because they'd never cooked with them! This recipe was good-- the tart quince balanced against the savory meat stuffing. We liked the pine nuts especially. I did think the stuffing was a little dry (beef not lamb) and might try to add something to keep it moister if I made this again.

EGGPLANT SLICES WITH POMEGRANATE, YOGURT and TAHINI (p. 261) This was a definite keeper. I saw a bottle of pomegranate molasses in Target, of all places, so I knew I had to try this dish. I'd bought baby eggplant which cooked very quickly. Really liked the sweet/sour balance in this dish and the mellowness of the eggplant vs the crunchiness of the pomegranate seeds/ pine nuts.

RED LENTIL and RICE SOUP (p. 284) So easy! and tasty. Kids really liked this one, always a plus. I did not do the fried onions for garnish, but we did add lemon to it.

I have to add that one thing which impressed me was the simplicity of the preparation of these dishes. Rarely do I attempt five new dishes at one meal (I also made the lamb tagine with pears and onions, which I'll add to the Main Dishes thread); these all came out well. The consensus around the table was that every single dish was good.

Oct 18, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking



Mostly because I already have her books sitting on my shelves.

Thanks for organizing, smtucker!

Oct 18, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Arabesque: Main Courses

Hello, TDQ!
I am delighted that COTM is going along... and going so well. It warms my heart to see the chowhound community cooking together and swapping recipes.

The Chicken was a little sweet, but no one seemed to notice. (Keep in mind that I cook for two kids, so "too sweet" is a rarity ; ) I added less honey than Roden suggests because I wasn't able to add as much pepper. The other dishes were a spicy eggplant dish and yogurt sauce, so there was nothing else sweet on the plate. That helped us adults.

Oct 01, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Arabesque: Main Courses

wonderful to see all these reviews on this book.

Tonight, I made from the Morocco section

Chicken with Caramelized Baby Onions and Honey (p.85)
Cucumber and Yogurt Salad (p.156)
with rice and an improvised eggplant side dish.

The chicken dish turned out very well, though I didn't reduce the sauce down as much as Roden suggests, because I wanted some gravy for the rice. The smell of the seasonings was wonderful (ginger, cinnamon, saffron), and it was a pretty straightforward recipe. Added bonus: kids liked the chicken (honey and cinnamon). One of the eaters, who doesn't like onions, went for an extra helping of the carmelized baby onions because they were so tender.

The yogurt I made without dill or mint because they weren't readily available, but it was still a nice foil for the chicken and eggplant. Also, we're suffering a heatwave here, and I really appreciated not having to turn on the stove for that dish.

Would definitely make these again, and maybe try the chicken variation with pears.

Sep 28, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

February 2010 COTM: Louisiana Kitchen PORK, BEEF, VEAL & LAMB

Cajun Meatloaf, pp. 112-113

This is the only meatloaf we make at our house. The only change from Prudhomme's recipe is that we reduce the peppers. My husband doesn't even like meatloaf, but he likes this recipe.

Feb 09, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

2010 is here and I'm ISO vegetables that even my kids will eat.

I have two very young children and have found that bringing them with me to the farmers markets really encourages their love of fruit and vegetables. They are often enchanted with the colors of different veggies and ask me to buy them.

In terms of cooking, what I find works best is a simple saute in butter. I use a very moderate amount butter, probably less than a tablespoon for a whole head of broccoli. Basically, I heat up the sautee pan, let the butter melt and swirl it around, then add the veggies. I stir the vegggies and sprinkle them with water occasionally if I think they are starting to stick. A little salt at the end, and you're done. My kids love all sorts of vegetables cooked this way: broccoli, green beans, carrots (though those are often served raw), mushrooms, etc. The vegetables have a lot of the mellow butter flavor without a lot of actual butter.

The other thing I'd like to add is that not all vegetables are equal: home grown (yours or a neighbor's) are always first choice, farmers markets (where I am) generally second, etc. If you really want your family to enjoy vegetables, it's worth it to find good ones, not just the ones in the supermarket that have spent two weeks in shipping. It's like buying meat-- buying a better cut or grade can make a large difference in flavor. I find this especially true for vegetables, because in my family we cook them so lightly (whereas I can marinate a cheaper cut of steak).

Finally, we stumbled on something that may or may not work for you. With some veggies, we didn't even offer them to our kids but instead ate them ourselves, with relish, in front of the kids. And over time, the kids got curious and asked to taste them... so now they both like artichokes and collard greens. Go figure. Of course, if you have older kids, this reverse psychology probably won't work, but with young ones, it might be worth a try.

Best of luck to you. It's an admirable, achieveable goal--

Jan 06, 2010
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What's your "secret ingredient?"

Bacon grease.
Chicken bouillon.
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.
Marie Sharp's hot sauce.

Dec 16, 2009
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?

Courtesy of my officemate. She says they're delicious but go stale after a few days.

Chocolate Mint Snowdrop Cookies
This recipe was doubled from original; makes 6 dozen

Melt in microwave for one minute on high power:
2 cup mint chocolate chips (or plain chips combined with 1½ tsp peppermint flavoring)

Combine in small bowl:
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cream in large mixing bowl:
1 cube + 2 T softened butter
2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp vanilla
Beat in
4 eggs
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in
1 cup mint chocolate chips

Cover and chill until firm. Shape dough into 1¼” balls; roll in granulated sugar then again in powdered sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350 ºF oven for 10-12 minute or until sides are set but centers are still slightly soft. Cool for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks.

If you make them, let me know how they turn out!

Dec 16, 2009
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

From the magazines:
Raised waffles (2004)
Asparagus in salad
Pad thai

From the original BR book:
Pork medallions with rosemary
Thin crust pizza (though I modify to half reg flour and half bread flour)

My husband likes the basic ribs recipe in the rib book.

The only recipe I really remember disliking was one for a Chinese chicken dish. Should have known better! Though after the pad thai success, I thought, why not? Oy.

Dec 16, 2009
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Mac n cheese?

Our favorite is a blend of sharp cheddar and smoked gouda, with a tiny bit of dried mustard (stirred well!) for seasoning. The gouda does not melt as smoothly, but we don't mind because the flavor is worth it.

Dec 16, 2009
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?

I am in awe of all you bakers out there. We are bringing cookies to both my kids' holiday parties, so I am making another batch of iced cutout vanilla cookies for one and chocolate reindeer cookies (with pretzel horns and a red M&M noses) for the preschooler. But my wish list would include Maida Heatter's rugelach, lemon bars, a mint chocolate snowdrop recipe a colleague just gave me...

Dec 16, 2009
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

Village Cheese House, Palo Alto - (Re-Opened)

I've eaten here since the re-opening, and I'm happy to report that the sandwiches are as good as ever. The renovated store doesn't feel as crowded as it used to-- but I think they must have eliminated a few of the hundreds of items they used to have. The sandwich counter is more spacious, and I think the line goes a little faster (though I would still avoid the weekday PALY rush if possible).

As for hot sauces, I found Marie Sharp's wonderful hot sauces there this summer. We grew very fond of those when we visited Belize this past spring, and I was sad that I had not brought more back with me. Lo and behold, there they were at the cheese house!

A great place.

April 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Vote Here

A tough choice.. I'd be happy with either, but will vote for Wells now. Thanks again, Katie, for shouldering the organizing! I appreciate all the work you've put it--

Mar 12, 2007
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

March 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Votes Here

Great post, Katie! And a difficult choice... I think I'm going to go with Leite's as well. Glad to see they have some recipes from familiar names (such as Fuchsia Dunlop). I look forward to participating as a fellow hound.
And thanks to everyone for your thanks-- you've made it worthwhile for me by participating.

Feb 12, 2007
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

March 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Votes Here

Hello, Hounds,

With our voting for a new cookbook of the month comes a new organizer...

introducing Katie Nell, who will be taking over the cookbook of the month project. I'm sure you've seen her posts-- she has a love of cooking and great enthusiasm. Take it away, Katie! And thanks!

Feb 10, 2007
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

What do you have the most difficulty cooking?

It's funny reading all these posts. For me, two things come to mind: rice noodle dishes and hash browns. I think part of the problem is that I don't cook either of these very often-- maybe twice a year-- but when I do, it's usually because I have a craving for them. And then I'm disappointed. One of these days I'll just have to cook them several times in a row until I've gotten the technique or whatever it is worked out.

Feb 02, 2007
redwood2bay in Home Cooking

February 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Hot Sour Salty Sweet

Welcome to the general discussion thread for the February 2007 cookbook of the month, Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Use this thread to make general comments about this cookbook or to discuss the whole cookbook-of-the-month idea.

You may wish to bookmark this thread, as it contains links to all the other threads on this cookbook. Because this cookbook again has so many sections-- 12 in all which contain recipes-- I've posted one thread for every two sections. The first thread, for example, covers the section on sauces, chile pastes, and salsas and the section on simple soups. In addition, I've started one thread for recipe planning, links, and previous picks and pans.

Here's the thread for recipe planning, links, and previous picks and pans:

Here are the links for full length recipe reviews. Please select the appropriate one.
For sauces, chile pastes, and salsa or simple soups:
For salads or rice and rice dishes:
For noodles and noodle dishes or mostly vegetables:
For fish and seafood or poultry:
For beef or pork:
For snacks and street food or sweets and drinks:

Stay tuned for the announcement of a new cookbook of the month organizer, coming soon. Happy cooking!

Hot Sour Salty Sweet: snacks and street food/ sweets and drinks

February 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on snacks and street food and on sweets and drinks here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating.

Feb 01, 2007
redwood2bay in Home Cooking