Cooking : new recipes via Pinterest

I’ve spent today doing quite a bit of cooking. I’ve been loving Pinterest as its helping me explore new recipes and try different foods. What’s weird is that I have a ton of cookbooks that never get used. Lately everything I make comes from the net and usually Pinterest.

Today I decided to try a Sriracha chicken recipe and this cheesy creamy potato dish. Am going to have some steamed broccoli on the side, too. For dessert s’mores bars. So while the has taken me a good chunk of the afternoon, I also made several other items to get me through the week.

I just love these little pep/pinch bowls. It makes a few extra dishes to wash, but its also nice to have everything pre-measured. These are the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Some oil, Sriracha, garlic, rosemary, lime juice and Greek yogurt. This is the marinade and another of my favorite kitchen items is this handy little mini whisk. If you don’t have one, get one, I probably use this every time I make something.
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For breakfast, quinoa breakfast frittata type things – baked in a muffin tin. The recipe was for minis but I used my jumbo tin. They look delish, but I’ve not tasted yet. I’ll throw these in the freezer and grab one to take on the go and reheat at work. Quick fast and healthy!
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It’s no big secret but s’mores are probably one of my most favorite treats. I found this a short time ago and have had it on my mind ever since. The recipe was pretty quick and easy however one of the main ingredients is marshmallow cream. That stuff is REALLY hard to spread and sticks everywhere. It was a little trying but the end result looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it!
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Since the breakfast recipe called for quinoa and I’m making another dish tomorrow that uses it I decided to make a big batch. Tomorrow’s dinner is grilled steak, green beans and quinoa Mac & cheese. Obviously there’s no Mac in this but I’m sure the cheesy quinoa will be delicious. It has green onions and garlic in it, so I minced those up and placed in a labelled baggie.

I’ll also be making quinoa burgers tomorrow for a reheat quick supper this week. Again, the quinoa is already prepared, I shredded the zucchini, onions, garlic etc and placed em in labelled baggies and will throw that together tomorrow.

So my next couple of meals will be very quick and easy. And if you sense a quinoa theme here you are quite correct. It’s my new super food. It seriously goes with everything. It took me a bit to get used to the taste but now that I have I’m totally subbing it for anything that uses rice. Last weekend I made a cheesy broccoli quinoa recipe that I loved. You can serve it hot or cold,sweet or savory. It’s so versatile and the texture is more pleasing to me than couscous. By the way it’s a great source of fiber and protein. I’m on the lookout for new quinoa uses so if you have them, please share!

Ps all recipes discussed here are on my Pinterest food or dessert board.

Food : first Poolish, part 1

Today, I decided to start my first try with a “starter” bread. In the past I’ve made that amish friendship bread, which is technically a starter bread, but I’ve never started my own. Poolish is also a term I hadn’t heard of before. Basically it’s just a pre-ferment.

And why would you want a pre-ferment? Well some types of bread need it, like sourdough for instance. This process gives the breads a different taste. It also creates those nice big bubbles in the dough.

I started this process today using the recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman’s book,
BREAD. He’s a master baker and instructor that I learned about in the workshop I went to last week. Since he’s the best, I’ll try it out. The dough I’m making is technically his baguette recipe however, we used it last week as a great all purpose dough. We made the grissini, focaccia and pizza dough from this same recipe. Our ciabatta was a much wetter dough. I may try a starter for that tomorrow.

So part one is the Poolish and this is what it looks like. Tomorrow, I will add the rest of the ingredients to the poolish and make the dough, which will need to rest and be shaped and rest again.

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Food: Baking bread, what I thought I knew

Today, I took another class at Sur La Table. It was an “Italian Bread Workshop.” I LOVED it! I’ve made my own pizza dough, focaccia and other hand shape artisan breads for years. But today, I learned so much and I think and hope it will vastly improve what I was doing.

Now, I am a lazy bread maker. I use my bread machine because I love it. And because I don’t really know how to knead. I may throw the machine out after today! We shall see. 🙂 I always use the machine to mix the dough and after it’s ready, I do my hand shaping.

I learned so much about dough consistency, wetness, fermentation and yes kneading and shaping today. Our instructor advised us, that dough needs to be wet. This dough was wetter than any I’ve ever touched, yet it wasn’t too sticky. We used flour on the table surface and sprinkled the dough, but using the extra tools, made everything so much easier to work with.

I bought the 2 items below.

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The white plastic one is a very flexible, scraper and mixer. I used this to mix the dough we made and it was so much better than using a spoon! Next the metal scraper, is used to cut into pieces if needed or to move the dough around on your floured surface. Maybe at some point I can take a video of this technique. Basically the instructor dumped this huge tub of wet dough onto the floured surface. She then used this tool to move the dough around, gently folding and kneading as she went. The wet dough became this pliable, workable blob. It was a really neat transition.

Our instructor also gave us a recipe for a really great basic Italian dough. Today we used it to make Pizza, Focaccia and grissini. We also used a separate dough to make our own Ciabatta loaves.

While I was a little disappointed about the lack of hands on in yesterday’s class, today, MORE than made up for it. I brought home all kinds of nice treats to eat and I can’t wait to try more breads with the new techniques I learned! Below is what I made in class today. Delicious!

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Food: cooking class

Today I branched out and took a cooking lass at Sur La Table. It was enjoyable but a little lacking for my expectations. it’s billed as hands on, but there isn’t quite enough for every one to do everything, which does make sense. Anyway, the class was called Thomas Kellers American cooking. If you’re like me, I had no idea who Thomas Keller is. He has a Wiki though.

For the class, we made an iceberg wedge salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. It was delicious. Next was our main course, braised beef short ribs with mashed marble potatoes. For dessert apple fritters. We all did some chopping, listening and asked questions. It was nice and informative. Of course I realized that while I know how to cook well, you can always pick up new techniques or ideas.

So tonight I’m braising a pot roast instead of the way I normally cook it. Used a lot less liquid and I used some wine this time.

Life: An organized life? And a new place for lunch.

So today while out doing errands I stopped off at the container store. This place has been in my top 5 for quite some time. The last few weeks Brian has done a tremendous job cleaning dishes and cleaning off the counters and actually putting things away. We’ve been keeping up with the dishes daily so they don’t mount up and pile up and take over. It’s been a better place to cook and live.

So when all those items are clean at the same time, I found we’ve really run out of room and drawer space and especially cupboard space. I’ve slowly been getting rid of larger items not being used, but this weekend I decided to tackle the drawer spaces. Hence my trip to the container store.

When I walked in a gal found me a guy to help with solutions. His name was Charlie and he was absolutely delightful. We talked a good while and he showed me tons of options. After he left me I milled about the store picking up various items. I’m not sure what is going to work best in certain drawers, so I grabbed different things hoping to test em out. What doesn’t work can go back. So I’m very excited to go about this project. Once my drawers get organized, I’ll spend some more time on the cupboards but that could get costly because I’m thinking I want to install those roller shelves for the bottom of the cupboards. I can never reach anything in the back and consequently lose space. The upper level of the cupboards already have the rolling shelves, but I think the bottom space would definitely benefit from them.

So I’m in this completely great mood, the sun is out, I’m happy, decide to head off to Temptations for my book they’ve been holding forever… and I get all the way across town only to get stopped with all these road closures because of the damn parade!!! I literally can not get even close enough to park and walk to the store. Dublin is such a nuisance, I truly hate this place. Anyway, I decided to check out Dibella’s since it’s lunchtime.

Let’s talk Cheesesteak for a minute. I’m a plain jane when it comes to subs. I like meat and cheese and bread. Now I WILL eat other items on my sub, but for the first try out I want the true flavors to come through. Sure any toppings can make things better, but does that mean the core is any good? So I went with plain bread, steak and provolone cheese.

So on the 1-5 scale, 1 bad, 5 good:

For Flavor I give a 1. Bread was boring, decent texture, but no flavor. Meat was very boring, no flavor at all and even the provolone was tasteless.
For options I give a 5 – they have quite a few sizing options and meats and cheeses and toppings.
Staff: 2 they were polite, but not friendly or smiley or anything

Other pros: Free wireless which I’m on right now. Great soundtrack… loving the big band sounds they have playing!!!! Seriously I feel like I should be in old fashioned garb. Totally digging it. Place is also pretty spacious and since I sat off from the regular area, I’m over here alone and it’s nice and relaxing. Also place looks pretty clean. And though the parade is going on streets away, there was really no waiting to place or receive my order, of course everyone else may be stuck in traffic. 🙂

I think I would probably try the place again, get something different. Prices seem on par with other places, but in my opinion, Penn Station still has the best cheesesteak around Columbus. So later today perhaps I’ll post a before/after of the drawer organizing, I can’t wait!