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Monthly Archives: January 2009

My Recpie

Why does Julie get to have all the fun with the recipes? I am including one of my own, that my friend Doug Allord clued me in to. I had seen it before, but this one contained an actual recipe.


Here’s what you need:

Bacon Explosion

2 pounds thick cut bacon
2 pounds Italian sausage
1 jar of your favorite barbeque sauce
1 jar of your favorite barbeque rub

Follow the instructions here, and then dial 911.

I personally think a nice twist would be to add a bunch of cheese and then beer batter the whole thing and deep fry it, along the lines of the video below. If you end up trying it, let me know!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Chunky Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Learn from my mistakes.  
For the sake of all that is good and right in the world (and your hips), 
do not make these cookies.  
And definitely do not add peanut butter chips to 
the dough.  

And definitely, whatever you do, do not sample the dough as you are scooping it onto the cookie sheets.  

Definitely do not bake the whole batch. 
 

BUT, in case you do not heed any of my warnings and go against everything I advised, will you please invite me over to help?
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
3 Cups Quick-Cooking Oats
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter (I used Jif Super Chunky)
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup (packed) Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
8 ounces (a little over a cup) Milk Chocolate Chips
4 ounces (a little over 1/2 a cup) Peanut Butter Chips
1. Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.  Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add in oat and flour mixture, beating only until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips.  
3. Chill the dough for 2 hours.  I find it easier to scoop the dough onto cookie sheets and then chill, rather than trying to scoop rock-hard cookie dough.  The dough can also be frozen at this point.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Place mounds of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets (if you have not already done this in step 3).
6. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet(s) half way through (front to back, top to bottom, if baking more than one sheet at a time).  The cookies should be golden and just firm around the edges.  Lift the cookies onto cooling racks with a thin metal spatula, they’ll firm up as they cool.
 
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Posted by on January 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

What goes on in our house

I thought I would share a story to explain what happens in our house. On Wednesday, Julie and I had pretty bad days. It started on Monday, when the furnace broke at our house, and we thought we were going to have to bring in a repair man. Luckily, I was able to fix it (fingers crossed). On Wednesday, Julie was using the treadmill and managed to statically shock the main control board, rendering it broken. Also on Wednesday our bank called and reported a fraudulent charge, so we are currently without debit cards.

In the midst of all this, Julie and I were a little “short” with each other, and Trav, sensing the tension in the house, decided to try to remedy the situation. In his words: “Party mustaches make everything better”

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Whole Wheat Bread with Hazelnuts and Currants

I was pretty bored last night, and as I was flipping through my bread book deciding what to make, I kept going right by the good (but boring sounding) “Country Bread” and landed at the “Whole Wheat Bread with Hazelnuts and Currants.”  Yep, that sounded quite a bit more interesting than country bread!  And as I had both hazelnuts and currants on hand, I decided to go with it.  I mixed up the pre-ferment last night, and then this morning mixed and kneaded the final dough.  In a day marred by multiple malcontent moments, this bread is a bright spot.  The baking bread smelled incredible, and the final loaf tasted even better than I would have guessed.  No single flavor overwhelms the loaf, but the mixture of whole wheat flour, the tiny Zante currants, and the coarsely chopped, toasted hazelnuts blend beautifully.  Definitely not a boring bread, and perfect with a schmear of peanut butter. 

Quote of the day: 
“Anything with peanut butter is food filled with Jesus.”  –E.M.
 
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Posted by on January 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

My Favorite Knives

After having several conversations regarding kitchen knives in the past few weeks, I feel compelled to throw my two cent’s worth out into the world.  I’m not saying you should rush out and buy all new knives, or continue on using that set of knives you got as a bridal shower gift 10, 15, or 30 years ago.  However – be forewarned, I very likely will bring my own kitchen knives with me if I come to your house to cook!
I actually have quite a few knives, but more and more often, I fall back on these same five knives.  Honestly, I’m thinking of getting rid of my drawerful of still-very-good-but-I-don’t-use-them knives.  I just like these five and use these five over and over and over again, with complete disregard for all the others, and would highly recommend each of these knives to anyone.
First off, I have a bunch of pairing knives.  And I am a sucker for bright, colorful little knives.  Blue!  You Bet!  Red!  Hooray!  Yellow!  Fantastic!  Useful?  Not really.  I’m not really into the “color-coded” tool movement (use red for poultry, blue for beef, etc), as I usually forget what color was for what food, and usually just use the yellow one for cheese because cheese is kinda yellow, etc.  Sorry, got on a tangent there.  Here is my favorite pairing knife:

It has a nifty little case, is bright red, and is stinkin’ sharp.  It is a 
Kukon Rikon Colori pairing knife, and costs about $10.  This is a great little knife for slicing cheese, cutting and coring apples, and doing more detailed work, like separating broccoli florets for a veggie tray.  
Next up is my utility knife:

  I really like this knife.  It is a Kyocera micro-serrated utility knife with a ceramic blade.  Prices range from $40-$70.  It is just a little bit bigger than a pairing knife and a little smaller than a chef’s knife, so this is kind of a catch-all-jobs type of knife.  This is one that I’ll throw in my bag if I’m heading over to a friend’s or family member’s house if I’ll be doing any sort of cooking.  It is lightweight, a good size, and crazy sharp.  And the ceramic blade doesn’t dull like steel knives – definitely a plus.  It doesn’t come with a knife/blade guard, but they’re easy enough to find online.
If you’ve seen Rachel Ray cook, or read The Pioneer Woman blog, you’re probably familiar with a santoku knife.  It is a combination between a chef’s knife and a butcher’s knife.  I have two of these, which I go back and forth between pretty often, depending on my mood.  

I have a Wustof Classic Santoku knife ($70) with a 7″ blade and 

a Komachi Fish Knife  with a 4 1/2″ blade ($25).  If I’m chopping a bunch of onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, etc, I’ll go with the larger knife.  And if I’m only dicing half an onion to add to something, I go with the little one.  My thought – big job = big knife, little job = little knife.  The Wustof knife is THE one that got me through culinary school.  Oh, and I don’t just use the Komachi one for fish.  
However, if I were to combine these two knives into one, I’ve been eyeing up this knife.  Awesome blade – check.  Great size – check.  Price – errr…..
Last up is my bread/serrated knife.  

I just got this one with a gift certificate for Christmas. It is only $20 and is also made by Kukon Rikon and is their Non-stick Colori Bread Knife.  It is by far the sharpest bread knife I’ve ever had.  I love when knives come with sheaths, as this one does.  This one came in handy for our “Bread and Blankets” day at my aunt Ruth’s house.  
I won’t talk about Ruth’s knives.  My culinary soul is saddened when I open her knife drawer.
  
Also, a note on sharpening knives.  I have one of these sharpeners and love it.  It is cheap, easy to use, and is magnetic so it sticks to my fridge.  After I use a knife four or five times, I run it through the sharpener 6 or 7 times.  That keeps the knives sharp and ready to use with minimal effort.  These only cost between $5 and $10, and I find them at ShopKo or online.  I usually replace it each year.
So there you go!  I hope you have enjoyed this tour through my knife drawer.  
Oh!  I realized I forgot to mention one of the most important ones!

Got to get butter on my toast somehow!
 
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Posted by on January 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Bread and Blankets

Today I went up to Wausau and met up with my mom, Aunt Ruth, cousin Laura, friend Katie, friend Shelley and her daughter Morgan for what we coined “Bread & Blankets.”  For a fun project, Shelley thought of making tied fleece blankets to donate to one of the local hospitals’ maternity wards (do they still call them that, or do they now have fancy names like “Happy New Birth Center?”) where she works.  Each of us brought enough fleece to make a blanket or two, and then I also brought bread dough to bake bread while we worked.  We had a great time admiring the fabrics others brought, laying them out, cutting the sides and tying the edges to make cozy, soft blankets. In all we made nine blankets to donate, ate the whole loaf of bread, and are looking forward to doing this again soon!  If you are interested in doing something similar with your friends, let me know and I can connect you with Shelley!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Cats

This is a pictorial reason why we don’t buy our cats toys very often. Julie splurged on a toy we affectionately call a “smacky”. It’s a weird toy that has a hole in it you fill with catnip by jamming that catnip plastic cylinder into it. Nothing morbid about that…

Here is what happened:

Norm: Oooh! New toy, fun!

10 seconds later: Toy scary! Run away!

Storm: Hmm… New toy

10 seconds later: Loss of all interest

Next 12 hours: Pure sack of lazy

Ah the joys of having a cat….

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2009 in Uncategorized