Friday, February 15, 2013

Cook Club: Week 5

This week I went back to making more than one new recipe.  If you're going to go through the hassle of making a new recipe on the weekend, you might as well make more than one, says I.

First, I made dessert.  Mostly because dessert needs to set.  I made two this week; both from the Hershey's Best Loved Recipes cookbook.  First recipe:  Chocolate Mousse for Two.  The recipe took maybe about 20 minutes to make, and it was easy.  The only problem I had with the outcome is that the texture was more pudding, less mousse.  The flavor was wonderful, though, so I'll try it again.  4/5 with one star being removed because of the consistency.  Second Recipe:  Peanut Butter Chocolate "Fudge".  How could you go wrong? Peanut Butter chips, Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips and a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Super easy to make and decent fudge-like consistency.  The only main problem was that it didn't really have a good peanut butter or chocolate flavor - it was much more of a plain 'sweet' flavor.  While Shawn didn't like it, I thought it was alright, and the coworkers seemed to love it. (no pictures - I'm apparently really bad at taking photos of dessert...though in my defense, the mousse was served in pint glasses even though they were less than half full.  I didn't have any photos of the fudge because it only looked nice when I had cut it all up into pieces and put them on a plate for my coworkers).  3/5 - I'd make it again, but it's most definitely not Shawn's favorite.

Second we started in on the Roasted Carrots from the Cook's Country Cookbook.  I went off-recipe and used baby carrots instead of the normal carrots like the recipe required.  While the carrots weren't necessarily roasted (the problem with using baby carrots per the recipe), they did taste good - sweet, but not too sweet.  Also not cooked to mush - my biggest complaint with cooked carrots.  4/5 - I'll do this recipe again, but maybe use real carrots instead to see if I like it better.

Finally, we made the Lemon Chicken which came from a recipe my Aunt gave me when I graduated from college (she had given me a nice Caphalon pan, a cookbook, a set of her favorite recipes and a bunch of Penzey's spices).  Shawn called the chicken, "chicken nuggets with lemon sauce."  Shawn wasn't much of a fan because he's not a fan of lemon flavor, but I liked them.  I'd have these again, but I'd add some veg and maybe some rice.  3.5/5

Served with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls since i wasn't positive that they'd go well with rice.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Cook Club: Week 4

After last week's Mac and Cheese, we decided to make the other Mac and Cheese recipe in the same cookbook (skillet mac and cheese).

It was a disappointment.  It was perfectly cheesy, but the mouth-feel was gritty.  I'm not really sure why (other than I figure it was the cheddar cheese).  So even though the other recipe, Potluck Baked Mac and Cheese, does take an extra 20 minutes and dirties an extra container, it's a much, MUCH better recipe.  Plus, if you plan it right, the container you put in the oven can be used to keep the left overs.  And that recipe made good left overs.  Honestly, this recipe was worse than just making Kraft or Velveeta Mac and Cheese.   Will I ever make this again? No.  1/5 (it was edible, and we did eat all the left overs, but that was out of laziness, not because they were good).

(also, no picture because, while I did take a picture, it just looks like cheese soup).

More importantly, on Saturday we ate at Spin: Modern Thai Cuisine.  Holy Amazeballs, Batman. I think we just found ourselves a new go-to sit down restaurant. 5/5

We didn't get any appetizers, Shawn had the Belly on Fire (Panko breaded pork belly) and I had the Panang Curry Fettuccine.  We also didn't get any drinks or dessert.  But we sat at the bar and got to watch all the food be made, the guys doing expediting and veg were very nice, kept asking us if there was anything else they could get us, etc.  Next time I think I'm going to try the Chrysanthemum tea.  mmmm....tea....

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Cook Club: Week 3

So there I go - all promising an entry a week and then I immediately blow it. 

We did do cook club on the 20th.  I chose everything from the Cook's Country Cookbook I got for Christmas.  I don't know why I like the Cook's Country stuff, but it probably has something to do with the combination of watching America's Test Kitchen and then getting like ONE magazine of theirs that had a delicious Blueberry Grunt in it.   They also have a really good 1 skillet meals cookbook.

After cleaning the kitchen, I made Peach Squares - essentially they're like lemon bars only made with peaches.  I made them because Shawn's not a fan of lemon bars.  In the end, they were so much work (and they would have been less work if I just chopped the peaches with a knife instead of putting them in the food processor as instructed (of course, if I had a 12 cup processor, it would have been easy peasy).  I didn't take a picture (I meant to, but totally forgot).  Will I make them again?  maybe.  Did I like them?  not really - I would have preferred lemon bars.  2/5

So then I cleaned the kitchen again.  And then I started in on the rest of the meal - Oven Fried Chicken, Green Bean Almandine, and Pot Luck Baked Mac and Cheese.

First the Chicken:  It's not quite as good as real fried chicken, but it was easy to make and had good flavor - the marinade (buttermilk, dijon mustard and hot sauce) was wonderful and I'd be willing to use that same marinade but pan fry the chicken.  The biggest problem we had was that the chicken breasts I used were massive so I cut them up into pieces and we had 9 servings when it was all said and done.  4/5

Green Bean Almandine:  Or, as my coworker calls them, "Green Beans with dem little Almandines."  Easy-peasy and yes, there is an actual recipe for it. 5/5

Pot Luck Baked Mac and Cheese:  Oh. Em. Gee.  It comes out of the pot looking essentially like cheese soup with some macaroni thrown in, but then it goes into the oven and becomes a delicious, wonderful little casserole.  It has a slight kick to it (hot sauce), but it is WONDERFUL.  5/5 and even more importantly, this will become something that we'll make with some regularity.

Then I cleaned the kitchen again.  And that is the point when Shawn said that we should only do one recipe instead of a whole meal because we're essentially throwing a dinner party for ourselves.  So next week, we're only going to do one recipe instead of 4 or 5.