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Showing posts from December, 2019

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I was working at home and wanted a small meal that didn't require a lot of thought to prepare. My answer was grilled cheese. I assembled the sandwich with some mozzarella I had in the fridge and put it in a buttered cast iron pan. I applied a little pressure. The result was hearty, very tasty, and quick.

Decatur: Highland Bakery

A break in downtown Decatur gave me the chance to try their outpost of Highland Bakery. The space is open and inviting, matching the welcome given by the staff. I went with a very comforting pain au chocolate along with a sumptuous coffee. Coffee and croissant balance themselves very nicely, with the acid in the coffee offsetting the butter in the croissant. The dark chocolate encased in the croissant makes another wonderful complement.

Bread Pans

A post by PJ Hamel of King Arthur alerted me to the possibility that my bread pan may be too big. I bought an 8.5 inch pan from the cake decorating store in sticker. You can see the smaller size. As predicted, the smaller pan have a much nicer dome.

Chicken Pot Pie

I haven't made chicken pot pie in awhile so I put it on the menu. I roasted the potatoes, coated in oil, to give them texture. Sweating the onions. Pie dough for the crust. I only use a top crust for savory pies. The dough ready to go. I browned chicken thigh meat that had been cleaned to the best of my limited abilities. Gravy for the sauce. Chicken stock from the freezer. In goes the chicken plus some frozen vegetables. The pie assembled and ready for the oven. And the pie out of the oven. The single crust gives just enough crunch without dealing with a soggy bottom. When I freeze the leftover pie, I lift off the crust, scoop out the filling, then lie the crust on top. This process keeps the crust in good shape.

Marscapone French Toast

I passed a stack of marscapone tubs in the store and decided to give it a try for breakfast. The consistency is of cream cheese, the taste funkier. The taste gives basic toast a different twist that is a nice change of pace. When combined with fruits, such as my classic combination of fried bananas and strawberry preserves, the funkiness subsides into the background.

Arthur Bryant's Barbeque Video

My Atlanta etc. YouTube Channel gives here a video on my road trip stop at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City. Just a quarter mile off I-70, Mr. Bryant's emporium is possibly the most accessible James Beard Award winning restaurant. Just look at those delicious burnt ends...

Christmas Morning Croissants

My first thoughts for a special Christmas morning went to sweet rolls. But I eventually decided to make croissants, something that I make even less often than sweet rolls. I used the baker's croissant recipe from King Arthur Flour with some variations. First, I made a half recipe, a slightly risky step given the particular ratios required for croissants. Second, I used bread flour because I was low on all-purpose. I started by kneading the dough, or at least letting the Kitchenaid do it for me. While the dough was worked I prepared the butter sheets. I split two sticks of butter, placed them between sheets of wax paper, and added a little flour. (Wax paper is an oldie-but-goodie that still comes in handy.) I rolled out the butter to make sheets. Once the dough was properly kneaded I rolled it out and added part of the butter sheet. I folded the result in thirds and added more butter, then repeated one more time. I wrapped the dough in plastic and let it rise i

One Dinner, Four Desserts

A meal at Wilderness Ridge ended with one dessert for each person, all delicious.

Lincoln NE: Dinner at Vincenzo's

My dinner at Vincenzo's in Lincoln's Haymarket district was replete with classic Italian-American dishes. The meal started with fried calamari: wonderfully crunchy crust and soft interior. My main course was eggplant parmesan: tender eggplant with a crunchy interior, sauce that combined sweet and tart. I passed on the pasta and was served some excellent potatoes and vegetables. The meal ended with two classic desserts: tiramisu and cannoli.

Dunwoody: Los Rancheros

Los Rancheros is tucked away in a strip mall in a corner of Dunwoody. A crowd waited patiently for tables on a Friday night. The staff more than kept up with gracious service. I started with this rich and flavorful guacamole. For my main course, I ordered chicken mole enchiladas. The mole was pretty darn good with a nice variety of flavor notes. Everything about the dish was comforting and it didn't last long. I finished my meal off with this eggy, creamy flan.

Onion Soup

Soup is always welcome in winter. I haven't made onion soup in quite some time and a confluence of ingredients made it an attractive choice. I started by slicing about four pounds of onions as thinly as I could and putting them in a pan with butter. I cooked the onions way, way down. I then put them in a pot with beef stock and some apple juice to simmer. I then put the soup in a bowl with bread crips and some Gruyere. I chose to make the cheese an accent rather than the thick mat that one often sees. A couple of minutes under the broiler finished it off quite nicely. The apple juice's sweetness helped to balance the savoriness of the stock and onions. The cooked onions give the soup texture without making it anything other than soup. The blistering heat of the concoction encouraged me to enjoy it slowly.

Thursday Night Road Food

I needed dinner west of St. Louis and I didn't want to spend a lot of time. I stopped at a Freddie's near the highway. The place was packed with families enjoying a night out, parents and kids everywhere. It was good to see, even if it meant that my hot dog took a few extra minutes to arrive. The hot dog was quite good, by the way. Freddie's is, in my experience, a very enjoyable and reliable stop.

Pressure Cooker Beef Stock

I made a batch of beef stock for safekeeping. I typically boil it all day but I decided to use the pressure cooker for this batch. I started by blanching the bones. That produced a head of green foam that I'm glad didn't end up in the final pot. I next roasted the bones. Here they are before... ...and after. I next put the bones in the pressure cooker along with onion and celery. Internet recipes are all over the map as to cooking time. I decided to cook for two hours. That is on the high side of the recommendation scale but much faster than the non-pressure cooker method. The result was satisfying. A night of cooling showed that it wasn't quite as gelatinous as I had hoped but still very flavorful and rich.

Sicilian Pizza

I made a Sicilian pizza for a department party. Sicilian is a treat in the Northeast and little known elsewhere. It has a thicker crust but isn't a deep dish pizza. I made a recipe of pizza dough and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I warmed it up and coated the pan with olive oil, the secret to the crunchy crust. I stretched the dough into the pan, a process that takes several rounds of stretching. I wasn't paying attention and made the first round with sauce on the bottom, not the traditional sauce on the top. After baking for a few minutes in the oven, I added a second layer of cheese and sauce on top to protect everything from the heat. Here it is, plentiful and tasty. It didn't last very long.