Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season for Sweets!

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's a cozy 65 degrees in NC today, not exactly feeling a lot like Christmas based on the temperature. Based on the pile of sweet things accumulating on my desk and in my house, though, it definitely feels like the Sugar Holiday. Cookies, fudge, breads, I feel like I'm gaining weight just LOOKING at this stuff! And I'm not helping myself, either. This year, I made my two usual Christmas confections and added a new one to my collection. They're all recipes so simple, even I can't mess them up. All three only use three ingredients, and they end up completely delicious!

Peppermint Bark
This was the first Christmas candy I ever made. Very simple holiday treat.

2 bags prefered brown chocolate chips - dark, milk, semi-sweet
2 bags white chocolate chips
peppermint candies

1. Lay out wax paper over a standard cookie sheet.
2. Unwrap the peppermint candies (I use 10 to 15 round mints, although candy canes should work too) and pulverize them. I like to put them in several ziplock bags and smash them with a hammer, although I imagine a blender or food processor could do the job just as well.
3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the brown chocolate, heating it 30 seconds at a time for the first minutes and 15 seconds after the first minute, stirring after every heating interval. Once the chocolate is all melted and smooth, pour it onto the wax-paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle this layer with peppermint dust, no large chunks. Put into the fridge to set.
4. Once the first layer is solid enough, repeat the melting process in step 3 with the white chocolate. Pour over the brown chocolate layer. Evently sprinkle the remaining peppermint dust and bits over the chocolate. Put into the fridge to solidify.
5. Once the entire tray of chocolate is cool and solid, break the chocolate into chunks. This is easier to do if you've let the chocolate come to room temperature, otherwise it'll shatter. You can use your hands to break it or cut it with a knife. After several years of hand-breaking it, I found this year that deeply scoring it with a knife lets you break it easier and into nice straight lines.
6. Enjoy!

Last year, I began making Oreo Truffles along with the peppermint bark, and they were a huge hit!

Oreo Truffles
(makes 30)

1 bag of regular oreos
8oz cream cheese
1 bag chocolate chips, whichever kind of chocolate you prefer

1. Open the oreos and set aside four to six. Finely crush the rest (food processor or blender will do this fine. If you don't have one of these, you can fill a few ziplock bags with oreos and use a rolling pin to crush them. The first time I made these, I didn't have ANY of those. Not even a rolling pin. I ended up using a bottle of rum like a rolling worked!)
2. In a large bowl, mix together the crushed oreos and cream cheese thoroughly. Roll the resulting mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Pop them into the fridge to solidify.
3. Using a double-boiler (or following step 3's melting method for the peppermint bark), melt the chocolate. Dip the chilled oreo balls into the chocolate, coating them entirely. Use a fork to scoop the chocolate-covered truffle out of the chocolate and sift off any extra chocolate. Return to the cookie sheet and make sure there's no holes in the chocolate. Use a little extra to cover any up.
4. Once all the truffles are covered in chocolate, crush the remaining oreos you set aside earlier and sprinkle them on top of the truffles. Let the truffles chill in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened.
5. Enjoy, and prepare to have the recipe ready for everyone who will undoubtedly ask for it!

This year, wanting to add a new recipe to my repertoir, I scanned my Pinterest "Edible Gifts" page and settled on these. I got these for Christmas at a secret santa exchange last year and LOVED them. When I stopped by a store, most of the ingredients were on sale, so it made the choice even easier. I did change the recipe up a bit by using peanut butter M&Ms instead of regulars and Window Pretzels (I don't know what the preper term for these are, they're the square ones that look like 9-pane windows), and I definitely like the change! You can make as many or as few as you want, but I've shared the sizes per bag that I found while making these, so buy as many bags of each ingredient as you need to make as many as you want. Warning: these are so poppable and delicious, you will be tempted eat them all instead of giving them to anyone.

Pretzel Kisses
Recipe inspired by Megster Meter.

Hershey Kisses (~50 per bag)
Peanut Butter M&Ms (~100 per bag)
Window Pretzels (A LOT PER BAG!!)

1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
2. Lay out a bunch of pretzels on a baking sheet. Unwrap the Kisses and place each one on a pretzel. Put them in the oven for three minutes.
3. Push a single M&M down on the top of each Kiss. Let cool and enjoy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Pillows

I am not an improviser. Actually, I suck at "spur of the moment" anything. Which doesn't work well when trying to cook and finding out I don't have the exact ingredients called for in the recipe. But I ended up doing it last night, and for once, it WASN'T a disaster!

The recipe I was attempting to make were these Chicken Roll Ups. I thought I had all the ingredients. Aaannd I was wrong. See, the recipe calls for one package of 6 crescent rolls. I have NO idea where you get ones that are that big, but I had two packages of 8. Whoops. Okay, time to start (gulp) improvising.

I cooked the two chicken breasts with some spices in a pan until done, then dropped them into my Kitchenaid mixer's bowl. Did you know you can shred cooked chicken in your Kitchenaid mixer? I learned it from Pinterest, and it works like a dream! No forks, no hand-shredding, just drop it in with the paddle attachment, set the speed to 4 or 6 and let it go to town! Perfect shredded chicken. When the chicken was done, I mixed an 8oz package of cream cheese with a random amount of Mexican 4-cheese mix. The original recipe called for 2.5 cups of various cheeses, and we only had the one package already opened, so in it all went. For spices, I sprinkled some garlic powder, cayenne, and oregano into the mix. I went to town on the cheeses mixing by hand with a pair of forks, then dumped the chicken in. After about a minute of struggling with that, I stopped and asked myself "What am I doing?" and put the whole thing back into the Kitchenaid mixer. Oh Kitchenaid, you make things so much easier.

The guts completed, it came down to what to do with the crescent rolls. I unrolled both tubes, separated the dough into rectangles (2 precut rolls together, 4 rectangles per tube) and gently pinched the perforations together on each. About an ice-cream scoop size of the chicken and cheese mix went in the middle of the dough. I then folded the dough over it, pinching closed the edges so the mix was sealed in. All done, they got popped in a 375 degree oven for about 14 to 15 minutes until golden brown. They came out beautiful and smelling great. And miraculously, they tasted good too! They were like homemade, actually tasty hot pockets. The nice thing about the chicken pillows as I'm calling them is that they're something adaptable. Different cheeses, add some veggies, use different spices, you can mix it up. I will warn you though that we had a lot of leftover chicken and cheese mix. You could probably use 3 tubes of crescent rolls safely on this recipe to use everything up. Luckily, I think the remainder will be good on sandwiches. Will have to try it.

Cheesy Chicken Pillows
Adapted from Jenna's Journey Blog

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Mediterranian Sea Salt
3 pkg Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8ct)
1 pkg cream cheese (8oz)
2 to 2.5 cups of Mexican 4 cheese
Dashes of garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne to taste

1. Bake or fry the chicken until cooked through with the Mediterranian sea salt to flavor. Shred when cooked.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Mix cream cheese, cheese and spices. Add in the shredded chicken and mix until fully combined.
4. Separate crescent rolls into rectangles. Pinch together the perforations. Drop an icecream scoop-sized serving of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center. Fold one long side over the mixture, then the other to seal it. Pinch together the sides and fold up.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back Soon

Sorry for the radio silence, everyone. Hubby and I moved into our first house recently and it's been a mess, literally and figuratively. We're finally able to go grocery shopping tonight, so we'll return to your regularly scheduled disasters shortly.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tangy Pork Chops

Hubby and I found this recipe in a cookbook I'd had for years but never used. It seemed easy, and I wanted a new way to make pork chops that wasn't chopped into pieces and tossed into a pot with a box of Zattaran's Jambalaya and some Antonie's sauce. It's since been a "Hubby" dish, but a few weeks ago, I finally rolled up my sleeves to make it myself. It truly is an absurdly easy way to make pork chops.

Tangy Pork Chops

3 to 4 pork chops
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 325. While oven is preheating, brown the chops.
2. Mix the honey, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup together until fully combined. Lay pork chops evenly in a baking dish and pour the honey mixture over them.
3. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for 15 more minutes.
4. Serve, spooning extra sauce from the dish over the pork chops and enjoy!

This dish goes wonderfully with mashed potatoes and garlic bread. The sauce is without a doubt the best part of the dish. It adds an extra kick to everything on the plate, but I prefer to use a piece of garlic bread to soak it up. These pork chops are so good, even our pickiest friends asked for the recipe to make it at home after we made it for them. And so easy, even I couldn't mess it up (although it helped that Hubby was the one who learned the difference between "cook through" and "brown". That took us a few tries to get right.)

Just in case you're not sure either:
Cooking through - Fully cooked, ready to eat
Brown - Just cook the outside, inside still raw

The time in the oven finishes cooking the chops. We had a few days of overcooked pork before we learned the difference and REALLY started to enjoy the meal.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Rogue Noodle

I learned about cooked spaghetti sticking to walls and ceilings when I was a young girl and they showed a character on a TV show doing it to try and find the winning lotto numbers in the shape the spaghetti made. Later, when I moved into my first apartment, I noticed two pieces of spaghetti dried on the ceiling where my roommate had tossed them to test their doneness and they hadn't decided to come down. I know now that you can just take a bite of a piece to find out if pasta's done cooking, but where's the fun in that when you can sacrifice a noodle to the ceiling?

A few weeks ago, I was making dinner, most likely the shrimp scampi pasta and the timer went off on the pasta. Scoop out a piece carefully, try not to burn myself picking up a piece, aaaand toss!

Now, fresh cooked pasta is a little sticky, which is why it sticks to the ceiling. It also sticks to you. So although I threw the noodle upwards like I'd done a hundred time before, for the first time, it stuck to my fingers and, in a move that Einstein would be proud of, altered its trajectory accordingly when it finally detatched. At first, I didn't see where that trajectory landed it. I assumed it was somewhere on top of the cabinets.

Aaaand I was right.

That, ladies and gents, is my rogue noodle, positioned for perfect visability upon entry to the kitchen and most difficult removal. It has been there for several weeks now. And because Hubby and I are getting a house soon, it's going to HAVE to come down. I have no clue how to best go about doing this, but hopefully I won't have to put on a hospital report "busted skull open removing a noodle from the wall."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cookie Catastrophe

We got new neighbors a few months ago, a very nice young couple with a little boy. I met them while going to work and we bonded right away over similar interests. I decided I was going to make them some cookies to welcome them to the neighborhood! I'd made cookies before and they were great, so I wanted to try a new recipe. While scanning my selection of cooking blogs, I found a recipe for some called "World Peace Cookies". Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips. Awesome, perfect, let's roll. Printed the recipe, bought the ingredients and that weekend, prepared to bake.

(recipe from Becky Bakes)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used milk chocolate chips)

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic; chill until firm, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

I mixed the dry ingredients, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and ready for the flour. How much flour did the recipe call for? A cup and a quarter.

Now, before I go further, let me explain that I have several measuring cups. One of them is a two-cup measuring cup with different measures on the side for liquid, sugar, and flour, because an ounce, being a unit of weight, varies between substances. The cup measure is only on the liquid.

So I have this cup ready to measure out flour for these cookies and think "hold on a minute. 8 oz is a cup, but according to this thing, 8oz of flour is much larger than 8 oz of liquid. So I need 10 oz of flour to make a cup and a quarter."

Logic, at this point, has obviously led me very far astray. I measured out 10 oz of flour, put in the cocoa and baking powder, and slowly dumped it into the butter mixture. Mix. Mix. Mix... well geez, I think, this isn't coming together at all. It was still completely powder. Not even kneading it was making it come together. So I threw in some more butter and it finally became a dough-like substance. Make into balls, squish 'em down, pop 'em in the oven, and 12 minutes later, we have...

Hockey pucks. Little brown hockey pucks that tasted like flour. Oh my god they were so inedible. Hubby, being the sweetheart he is, said they were fine dunked in milk, but they were still pretty horrible to me. It was like eating flour that vaguely tasted of chocolate. Needless to say, those ended up in the trash can and I got to work on batch two, which ended up much, much better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cat's Story: Egg-splosion

Here's a story from Cat about how not to re-boil an egg if your hardboiled egg comes out runny.

"So, a couple evenings ago I decided I wanted to make some egg salad for a sandwich to take to work for lunch the next day. I put the eggs on the stove to boil, then went to go fold some laundry. I came back and saw that the water was already boiling. I didn't want the eggs to be overdone, so I immediately took them off the burner. Unfortunately, they must not have been boiling enough, because when I peeled them, the yolks were still gooey inside. Oops.

I grabbed a microwave safe bowl, filled it with water and popped the eggs in, then stuck them in the microwave for two minutes. I have a lot of friends who hard boil eggs in the microwave, so I didn't think anything of it. Well, the beeping goes off, so I reach in and carefully pick up the eggs....

BOOM! The eggs EXPLODE everywhere! Boiling water flung all over my face. My boyfriend was immediately there. After I ran to the bathroom and washed out my eyes, he helped me clean up the mess. Getting egg off the CEILING sucks. I held a box of frozen vegetables against my face for a while and soon the ouchies yeah...all good. And lesson learned. And now I have post-traumatic stress disorder from hard boiled eggs."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Broccoli and Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti

Know what food I'm ga-ga for right now? Shrimp. Know what food I used to refuse to eat unless it was the smallest possible size and deep-fried? Shrimp. And by "used to" I mean approximately a year ago. There was just something about the texture and shape that always bothered me. When we went to a hibachi joint for dinner that gave shrimp appetizers, I'd pass mine over to Hubby and would turn down the shrimp tempura he'd offer me. Popcorn shrimp I'd order if it were the only thing on the menu I'd want, and I wouldn't eat the big ones. Sometime last year, though, I decided to widen my tastes and actually tried a piece of the offered shrimp tempura. Now we fight over who gets the last one, I happily eat my own appetizer, and I get cravings for shrimp. Now, I haven't actually cooked with large shrimp, but when my friend JQ shared her recipe for Broccoli and Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti, knowing just how much Hubby loves shrimp scampi, I was determined to give it a try.

(Original recipe from Hudocks to Haddocks: The Life, Times and Food)
8 oz spaghetti
¼ cup butter
2-3 tsp minced garlic
(approx) ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
(approx) ¾ cup dry white wine (I'm sensitive to alcohol, so I use the same amount in chicken stock. Works just fine.)
10 oz small shrimp (I use frozen salad shrimp)
½ pounds of broccoli chopped into florets
¼ tsp of each of the following seasonings: cumin, red pepper flakes, basil & onion salt

1. Cook pasta al dente
2. Boil broccoli
3. In a skillet, melt butter and sauté minced garlic. Add in all seasoning & wine (or stock), simmer for a moment. Add in shrimp and cook, tossing frequently, until pink. Slowly (a tsp at a time) mix in breadcrumbs. You may or may not use all the bread crumbs, just continue adding until your mixture has thickened up a bit. (Note: If it gets too thick, don't panic! Just mix a little extra wine/stock in until it gets to the consistency you like.)
4. Drain pasta, do not rinse. Put back in hot pot with drained hot broccoli and mix in shrimp scampi.
5. Serve garnished with freshly grated Romano cheese

Of course, this wouldn't be "Learning By Burning" without SOME kind of incident. First attempt at making this dish, I've got the ingredients ready, the water boiling for the spaghetti, the shrimp dethawed, the broccoli cut, and as I'm looking at the recipe, I realize - I have NEVER 1) cooked broccoli and 2) sauted anything, so I have NO idea when either of them goes from "Not Done" to "Done" to "Overdone". Crap. Luckily Hubby was home with me at the time, so he ran a quick google search while I worked on what was already going on the stove (melting butter and boiling spaghetti). We got the broccoli boiling and the garlic was, well, not a problem really. Surprisingly, I have never managed to time this dinner as perfectly as it ended up being for that first harried meal. I've gotten closer (especially since we remembered we got a food steamer as a wedding gift. Whoops. We've been steaming the broccoli since and it's great) but something always finishes a little too early.

This has quickly become one of our favorite meals, and I'm confident enough in making it now that I actually made it for my mother during her last visit as it's similar to a dish she used to make. She loved it! And it reheats well, making it great leftovers for the next day too (assuming you HAVE any leftovers and haven't licked the plate clean).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Emily's Story 2: WARNING - Hot Glass

Here's the second story from Emily with a bit more danger and explosions.

"I have 2 good friends who are sisters, and they used to be roommates. A few years ago, I was at their apartment. One sister "A" was making baked french fries. The other "B" had just put water on to boil for hot chocolate. (Their names actually do start with A and B. haha) A took the fries out of the oven, which were in a glass baking dish, and put them on top of the stove to cool. A and I were standing in their small nook of a kitchen when all of a sudden, the glass dish exploded. I somehow jumped my uncoordinated, slow-reflexed self out of the kitchen and into their living room area. A just stood in the corner of the kitchen, shocked. No burning, broken glass touched either one of us! It turns out that B had turned the wrong burner on for hot chocolate, and placing a glass dish on a very hot burner does not work well. There were pieces of glass melted to their kitchen floor. Of course B felt terrible, but we were just thankful that none of those pieces were embedded in our skin."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emily's Story 1: Piece of Cake

Thanks to Emily for her two stories about education through experience in the kitchen. Way to think under pressure!

"Last month, I wanted to make a cake for my husband's birthday. I tried to take the easy way out and use a mix. As I started to open the bag, I thought, I should use scissors, but then I figured I almost had it open. The bag finally opened, and the mix flew everywhere! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, throw it away and make one from scratch, or just give up. I looked at my mess: about half of the mix was still in the bag, with some on the floor, and some on the counter (and some in the skillet from last night's dinner). I tried to remember the last time I had wiped the counter down and how thoroughly I had done it. I remembered wiping it down the night before, and hadn't used the counter since. I decided that was good enough, and I scraped the mix into my bowl. As I did this, I saw a piece of shredded cheese on the counter. Maybe it wasn't as clean as I thought...but at least baking it would kill any germs! I still had to make up for what was on the floor, so I looked up a cake recipe and added a little bit of all of the ingredients and hoped for the best. The cake actually came out great! It was fluffy and moist, and no melted cheese was found in it! And since I only had whole wheat flour on hand, at least the cake ended up being a little bit healthier."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Steak and Taters!

A usual day for me involves spending a full day at work and coming home to Hubby, who cooks dinner shortly thereafter. He's a good cook, and we're pretty much learning things together. Wednesday nights, though, Hubby's schedule keeps him out later than me, so it's up to me to see us fed. A few weeks back, a friend of mine sent me a recipe for Ranch Roasted Potato Wedges and swore by them as an amazing side dish. "What does it go well with?" I asked, and she replied, "Steak."

Steak and potatoes. A classic. A classic I have never before attempted in my life and has nearly smoked out our kitchen on previous attempts at meaty perfection. Hubby's pretty much perfected his stove-top steak method now, and tonight, a bag of baby red potatoes and a pair of ribeyes at my side (with plenty of directions), it was time for me to test my might against this mammoth of meals.

Roasted Red Potatoes
2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Place potatoes in a gallon-size Glad® Food Storage Bag and add oil; seal bag. Toss to coat. Add salad dressing mix and toss again until coated. Bake in ungreased baking pan at 450°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are brown and crisp.

Easy peasy. Cut, shake, shake some more, and into the-

Oh, the directions want a baking PAN. This is a baking SHEET. Okay, scramble into the drawer under the oven, luckily we had at some point purchased a lasagna pan (which I totally forgot we even had). Problem solved. Spray some PAM (recommended by my friend who gave me the recipe, the skins stick), and into the oven! A few minutes later, Hubby got home just in time for me to get started on the steaks. No recipe here, we just sprinkle the steaks with a Mediterranean Sea Salt mix, pepper, and garlic powder, rub it in, pop those babies into a pan with a small amount of butter and olive oil, and let them go.

Nice lookin', huh? Six to seven minutes on a side, and the steaks finished just before the potatoes did. Move the steaks to a plate to sit, pull out the potatoes and...

Hm. A little crispy. Whoops, but the crispy bits pull right off.

There we go. Nice looking potatoes. A salad on the side with a vidalia onion salad dressing, and we've got a nice meal.

Victory! Steak and potatoes - Conquered!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Red Lobster Copycat Biscuits

Last week, I decided I was going to make my darling husband a wonderful dinner. His favorite is meatloaf and mac & cheese. I make the meatloaf myself, and I've attempted the mac & cheese, but so far, Kraft does it better (two different recipes, either just bad or bland. Third time's the charm?) Well, I figured I'd kick the dinner up a notch with some imitation Red Lobster Biscuits from a recipe I had. I used the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything (found on Pinterest)

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
4 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Butter Glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl with a pastry cutter or, if you don't have one, two forks. Don't worry about mixing the butter in completely; there should be small pea-sized chunks of butter in the mix. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined into a dough, but don't over mix, there will still be small chunks of butter. Warning: it will be sticky!

Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

While they're baking, make the glaze by melting the butter is a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. When the biscuits are done and out of the oven, use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. optionally, sprinkle a little kosher salt on the freshly coated biscuits (I didn't do this and it didn't taste necessary). Makes about one dozen.

Pretty simple, right? I set the oven to preheat, laid out some wax paper on the baking sheets, mixed up the batter and laid out 11 biscuits.
Do you notice the problem in that previous statement? Read it again if you need to, I'll wait.

Got it yet?

If you said "Wait a second Maxwell, wax paper's not supposed to go in the oven!", then ding ding ding, you're right! And you see, I had that same thought. But I checked the box of wax paper and saw that you could put it under a cake mix for easy cake removal. So it's okay to go in the oven! Pop those babies in and let's get started on the loaf!

A few minutes later, while I'm wrist-deep in a mixture of ground beef, egg, ketchup, breadcrumbs and milk, I notice the stove's back burner is smoking. That's weird. The burner's not on. It feels really hot hovering over it. Must be something wrong with the stove. I'll let Hubby know to contact the office tomorrow. It's still smoking. Okay, let's get the vent on high. Oh crap, the apartment's getting hazy! Open the windows, start flapping towels! No fire alarm, no fire alarm, no fire alarm... no fire alarm. Phew. All right. Oh, there's the timer. Biscuits are done. Let's take 'em out and see how they...


So that's where the smoke was coming from. Hubby got home while I was attempting to detatch the biscuits' utterly burnt bottoms from the crispy sheet of wax paper. Luckily he had the common sense to turn on the living room fan (DURP! I still don't know why I was running around flapping a dishtowel like an idiot when I could have just done that...) No alarms were set off, and after a bit of research, we figured out that
1) Wax paper only gets baked when there's something COMPLETELY covering it, like cake mix
and 2) You will not die eating something cooked with burnt wax paper. When topped with the garlic butter, the biscuits were actually quite good (more than could be said for the homemade mac & cheese that meal. Way too much sauce and there was something bitter about it.) Next time, I'm gonna listen to my gut instinct and put down aluminum foil instead. And there will be a next time because if they were as good as they are baked with wax paper smoke and partially burnt, they'll be divine done up right.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Learning by Doing, the Maxwell Way!

Hi, and welcome to Learning By Burning. I'm Maxwell and I'll be your chef-in-training today!

Let's get to the point. I like food. I like making food. Buuuut I've never been all that trained or practiced at cooking food. I've recently starting making more dishes and working with more ingredients and appliances, getting my hands dirty so to speak, but I don't always have the foresight to do some research on things I'm not 100% sure about. Needless to say, cooking for me is an experience of "learning by doing", or, in some cases, "learning by burning."

As this blog grows, I'll share the recipes of whatever delicious meals, sides, appetizers and desserts I'm attempting this week. And as long as I don't burn down the kitchen, I'll share what I learned from the dishes that didn't exactly go as planned too. So join me as I learn my away around the kitchen, appliances, ingredients and recipes and do some learning by burning!