Monday, April 26, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

My wonderful group of girlfriends up in SF got me a gift card to Sur La Table for my birthday and specifically labeled it "cooking classes". I knew as soon as I saw a class on CHEESE, that it would be an excellent choice for said gift card spendage. We made Mozzarella, Ricotta, Queso Blanco, Crème Fraiche and... drum roll please: Homemade Butter!

I realize I am leading you off topic here, you're seeing the headline about biscuits or somesuch and thinking why is she going on about the cheese class?

For a couple of the cheeses, you need buttermilk. Have you seen the smallest size carton of buttermilk in the store? It's a quart. When you need 6 tablespoons of the stuff to make a batch of Crème Fraiche, you have to find something to do with the other 58 tablespoons.

So, I turned to my trusty copy of Baking Illustrated. This book is my BFF.

Page after page of the most useful baking advice you can ever hope to get. These guys tinker, test and experiment so we don't have to. The goal is to have a foolproof recipe that will work every time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Impossible Cheesecake?

Not to brag, but I rarely have a mishap in the kitchen. I don't think I have ever burned anything in the oven. I've never forgotten an ingredient. And never ever have I had something come out so bad that I couldn't eat it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lovely Leeks

I am going to do some free advertising for a minute here...

Planet Organics = Awesomeness.

I signed up for their services for a couple of months to test the waters. I really enjoyed the front door delivery of fresh, local organic produce. It is great knowing you're supporting farmers in your area while getting your fill of pesticide free, vitamin laden fruits and veggies. You fill your online cart with what you want, or you can let them do a random selection of what's in season if you're into that sort of thing. I did that once and ended up with a cute little mini pumpkin looking thing that I had to google to even know how to prepare. Anyhow, this service is really convenient and totally worth the money. One of the only downsides to this produce was how very perishable it is! You simply must eat everything within a few days. Though I count this as a 'downside' it is really a great thing. It means these veggies are not sprayed with all kinds of chemicals to preserve their appearance or extend their shelf-life. This is real fresh food, people. Real fresh food has an expiration date.

Even my indoor cat knew something was different about the crate of veg in my living room.

Another item in my random selection cart was a bunch of leeks. How happy I was to see those guys. Leeks, unlike that Sweet Dumpling Squash, I know exactly what to do with....

I LOVE LEEKS! I just love them. Their earthy scent, their soft, never over-powering onion flavor. They remind me of my time spent in France. I guess I was eating a lot of leeks at the time because without fail, every time I cut into one I am transported back to my little kitchen in Toulouse... my balcony doors open, sounds of cars on the cobblestone street below, curtains fluttering in the warm afternoon breeze. Me, chopping and cooking and listening to the hustle and bustle. Ohhhhhhh La France.

OK. I'm back.

I didn't really have a recipe in mind for these leeks. I think Leeks sautéed in a little butter with a sprinkling of salt are just heaven. I had a pie crust left in the fridge that needed to be used up so my first thought was a tart. This is such a simple recipe with very few ingredients, I should have made the crust from scratch :( Next time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Good Friday!

Easter is a time of joy for me because it is essentially the reason behind the faith I have. As the book of Isaiah says, "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." With whatever craziness/struggle/heartbreak/stress or hurt we experience in this life, we can take heart knowing that He bears our burdens so we can have peace. We are a new creation in Christ; the old has gone and the new has come! How awesome is that?