Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yeast Dinner Rolls

Here's a recipe for some yummy yeast dinner rolls that we made during the first week of my Baking and Pastries class. They were so good I had to come home and make them! Not only that, but this recipe will be on my midterm in a few short weeks so I figure the more practice I get, the better! It's an easy recipe to make; however you will need a scale to weigh out the ingredients.

I used to hate when I would see a recipe that I wanted to make and it was listed out in pounds and ounces instead of cups and tablespoons and teaspoons. In fact, I would just skip over it since I had never tried weighing out the ingredients and didn't have a digital scale at home. So I am sorry for those of you like this. I get it and totally understand; however now that I am in culinary school I must say that I now understand how much more accurate it is to measure by weight rather than volume. And now that I have a digital scale (we had to buy one for class), I actually like weighing ingredients out. It's fun! So if you can, give it a try. Otherwise, you may miss out on some really great recipes.

*Note: I made only 1/2 the recipe below.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Culinary School - Week 3

This week was very hard on my waistline! On Wednesday we baked Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Spritz Cookies, Fudge Brownies, and Checkerboard Cookies. Then yesterday we made Pita Bread, Roasted Red Pepper Almond Butter, Traditional Shortbread Cookies, Sour Cream Muffins with a Streusel Topping, and Cream Scones. I honestly would not be surprised if I tipped the scale a little more than usual this week, but it was so fun! It was a rather easy week since I've had a ton of experience baking cookies in the kitchen.

My group had a small incident when we saw some smoke coming out of our oven. We got so busy with everything that was going on in the kitchen that we forgot to take our shortbread cookies out. The commercial ovens in my school don't have the handy dandy timers on them like our one at home does. Besides, we usually have about 3 or 4 things baking at one time in about 2 or 3 different ovens so it's always a challenge to remember to check on things! The cookies were as black as could be and hard as a rock. Needless to say, they had to go straight into the trash. Oops!!! Oh well...we are only human. :)

During my Baking and Pastries Concepts class the instructor has been pounding us with baker's math quizes. I think I know every ounce, tablespoon, teaspoon, pint, quart, and gallon conversion there is to know! That's definitely a good thing to have under my belt. I always had to look it up on Google before but now it's implanted in my brain!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Marsala Chicken-and-Mushroom Casserole

Sorry for the abundance of dessert recipes lately! What can I say...that's what I love making (and eating!) the most! :)

To change things up a bit, here's a great dinnertime recipe for you. A friend of mine shared it with me awhile back. So glad I finally got a chance to make it. The recipe calls for rotisserie chicken which makes prep work that much easier! I'm all about quick, simple, yet great-tasting!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raspberries with Chocolate Chips

Ever have one of those moments when you wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!?!" Well, this is one of those ideas. This is so simple yet such a great idea! We bought a quart of raspberries at the farmer's market the other day and I turned some of them into these little delights. They are so fun to pop into your mouth. The raspberries were so sweet and the little bites of chocolate made them even better! Give it a try...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simple Heart Cake Dessert

I love summer. One of my favorite things about summer is our local farmer's market. My preschooler and I headed there this past weekend and came home with fresh green beans, tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Yum!

I needed to use up some of the raspberries so I searched some of my favorite food blogs and saw this adorable dessert. Not only is it such a great idea but it also tastes great and only takes a couple minutes to throw together.

It was a big hit with my family. I'll have to remember this recipe once Valentine's Day rolls around. Or perhaps I'll make it for our anniversary next year. It's too cute of a recipe to not make again...and again!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week Two is over already!

This set of classes is flying by! I'm really enjoying my Baking and Pastry classes and trying to take in as much info as my brain will allow. This week we learned all about laminated doughs. We made: Puff Pastry, Brioche, Challah, Jalapeno Corn Muffins, Palmiers, Vol-au-vents, Bouchee, Pastry Cream, and Brioche a tete.

The puff pastry took quite the effort and was a two day process. We had to put a layer of butter inside the dough and then very carefully fold it up and roll it out a number of times in order to get all the layers and flakiness that comes with puff pastry. After each roll/fold we had to refrigerate it for 30 minutes to ensure the butter did not melt and seep out of our delicate layers. The end result was delicious but it also made me appreciate store-bought puff pastry sheets much more! Not many people have the time or patience to make puff pastry from scratch.

It was also my first time making Brioche (bread with LOTS of butter inside) and Challah (a Jewish egg bread). I have confirmed that I LOVE making bread! Don't get me wrong, I loved my Cooking Fundamentals class last quarter but this class is just right up my alley!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I didn't get this posted in time for strawberry week but here is yet another great recipe to use up any strawberries you may have. This recipe caught my eye because I've never seen anything like it before. I wanted to give it a try so I whipped them up one afternoon. They were so good right out of the oven! Would have been even better with a little ice cream on top! :) This recipe says they are best if eaten within one day. Hmmmmm...don't think that will be a problem. Hahaha!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cherries on a Cloud

Cherries are in season so I made this for dessert the other night. While stirring up some of the ingredients, my preschooler walks into the kitchen and asks me what I'm making. I said, "Cherries on a Cloud." The kitchen is instantly filled with little giggles and he looks at me a bit confused and says, "Mommy, how are you going to jump so high to get a cloud in the sky?" Ha! You have to love the mind of a 4 year old! :)

This recipe turned out great and my little guy gave it 2 thumbs up!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fresh Potato Salad

This is the easiest potato salad I've ever made! If you love simple recipes with fresh ingredients then you will love this recipe. I was first introduced to this potato salad at an Olive Oil Taste Testing at Zingerman's. It was one of the things we tasted while sampling several of their popular olive oils that evening. It was so simple and tasted so fresh that I fell in love with it. I also love that I have an abundance of mint in our garden so the only thing I didn't already have on hand were the potatoes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Quarter of Culinary Classes

Wow. My three weeks of summer break from culinary school flew by! A little too quickly if you ask me! :) This week my new classes started up. I had to get back in the habit of setting my alarm clock for 5am for 2 days a week. This quarter may be my favorite set of classes so far. I am taking Introduction to Baking & Pastry which is a 5 hour lab class on both Wednesdays and Thursdays. Thursdays are my long days because I also have a 3 hour lecture class called Intro to Baking and Pastry Theories.

Like I said, I'm super excited about all there is to learn in these classes. I think I gained 20 pounds just reading the course syllabus! Lots of breads, pies, cakes, custards, and even ice cream are in my near future!

We jumped right in and started baking on the first day! We made blueberry muffins, lemon poppyseed muffins, and country biscuits. Yum! Yesterday we made soft yeast dinner rolls, whole wheat hamburger buns, rosemary focaccia, chocolate cherry scones, and zucchini bread. We aren't allowed to bring any of our creations home with us because of health code rules (Boo!) so I feel obligated to completely pig out at the end of class because everything is always so good. The chocolate cherry scones and rosemary focaccia were my favorites!

My theories class talks about the science behind all the baking and reinforces everything we learned in lab. I feel like I learned so much and it's only Week 1!

The first thing learned (and the biggest surprise and thing to get acquainted to) is that the difference between baking at home and commercial baking is this...they weigh everything in commercial baking. So in class we are no longer allowed to use measuring cups and rarely do we use measuring spoons. Each student was required to buy a digital scale and we have to measure everything in ounces and pounds. Baking is an exact science and weighed measurements are more accurate than volume measurements.

Next week we are learning all about laminated doughs...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homemade Raspberry Pie

Have you noticed how my last 4 or 5 food posts have been dessert-type recipes? I'm still sharing with you all the yummy things we ate while at the lake house. Notice how healthy I eat while spending a holiday weekend with my family? Oh yeah! It was all about sweets, desserts, and calories while we were there. I just pretended everything was fat free while eating it. Ha ha ha!

Look at this beautiful pie! My mom made it to share with us all and it was mighty tasty! It's similar to her famous strawberry pie only made with raspberries instead!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Ingredient Cookies

These cookies only take 3 ingredients to make! No need for flour or eggs for these yummy delights! My sister and her husband happened to come across this recipe while in the waiting area of Cracker Barrel. They were intrigued so they mentally noted down the ingredients and tried it out at home. They are now quite popular in our family and will forever be the no-name cookies that are famous for only needing 3 ingredients. The reason I say that is because they remembered the ingredients but failed to notice the name of the recipe. :) So call them whatever you like.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Bars

Here's another snack/dessert I made to share at the lake house. These things were addictive and I wanted to eat the whole batch! Needless to say, these did not last long. They were devoured rather quickly!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Snickerdoodle Bread

We had a fun and relaxing 4th of July weekend at the lake house. My entire family was there so we all pitched in and bought or made things to share for all the meals while we were there. I made this snickerdoodle bread for breakfast and it was delicious! Nice and sweet and sugary just like snickerdoodle cookies. Yum!!! It was a big hit and everyone enjoyed it. It made 5 mini loaves so there was plenty to go around.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lemon Curd

Some dear friends of mine bought me a jar of lemon curd this summer. My immediate thought was "Lemon Curd?!?!?! What the heck is that?" Well let me tell was like eating a little bite of heaven. It was simply amazing!!! It's hard to explain but that first tiny taste test on the end of a spoon was packed with as much flavor as an entire lemon pie! It was such a wonderful experience and I've thanked them several times since then for such a yummy gift! In fact, the jar of lemon curd only lasted a week! I would like to say that I shared it with my family but I'm pretty sure I ate more than 3/4 of the jar! Lemon curd is great to make little fruit tarts with, to spread on top of scones or to layer in between a cake. I'm a simple gal though and I dipped mine in Nilla Wafers.

Last week I was in downtown Ann Arbor enjoying a fun night at a Summer Festival. We weren't far from Zingerman's (which is where the original jar of lemon curd came from) so I told my hubby that we had to swing by there so I could get some more lemon curd. I go directly to the shelf that it's normally located and am devastated to see they don't have any. I ask the salesperson if they have anymore and he tells me they will be getting a new shipment in soon. So I ask, "Will you have some by Friday?" His reply was, "It will probably be the end of August but we can call you when it comes in." End of August!?!?! For a foodie like me that seemed like enternity! So low and behold, the next morning I surf the web for recipes and create some lemon curd from scratch.

Pure deliciousness even if you just eat it straight out of the jar!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Stained Glass Jello

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Here's a fun red, white, and blue jello recipe to share with you today. Cut them out in shapes (like stars) or into squares.

I hope everyone has a very blessed Independence Day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

How To : Make Dishwasher Soap

This article on Yahoo sparked my interest a few weeks back. Here's a couple paragraphs from the article:

"According to the latest government data, Americans spend an average of $659 a year on housekeeping supplies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides that figure, also says the average American earns about $787/week -- which means many people are spending most of (if not more than) a week's pay every year on dish soap, laundry detergent, and other cleaning products.

If that sounds crazy, here's a better idea: Make your own."

I already had a huge box of Borax (from the slime recipe I made awhile ago), baking soda, and salt. The Kool-Aid was 10 packages for $1 so I was able to make this for practically nothing. I gave it a try and the dishes came out really clean.

Somebody (or something...dishwasher) has to clean ALL those dishes that I get dirty! Why not save a little money while doing so?

Dishwasher Detergent

1 c. of borax
1 c. of baking soda
¼ c. of table salt
2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid

You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea too since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.