Archive for baking

Tuesdays With Dorie – Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

Posted in baking, food, tuesdays with dorie with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by uglydudefood

I was really good this week, I swear!  After I made the decision to use an ice cream maker for this week’s recipe, I went right out and bought one.  I had all the ingredients in my fridge so that I could get right to it when I got back from my trip to Ocean City, MD.

Ice cream was a new and exciting challenge for me.  I conquered the oven and mastered the art of the leaky food processor.  I could make Dorie’s “Good For Anything Pie Dough” with my eyes closed.  I would even be able to tell you what a gallette was!  Then Dorie threw me for a loop–“baking” without baking.

I’ll tell you this much:  the recipe came together easily enough.  I had initial hesitance in bringing the solid items to a boil, but one should learn never to question Dorie Greenspan.  Ever.  If Dorie Greenspan told you to walk off a bridge, you should do it.  It would be a delicious and fattening trip.

And then to my shiny, new ice cream maker!  I opened the box and took stock.  I had managed to purchase an incomplete ice cream maker.  It didn’t have the metal ice cream canister or the lid, which were arguably the most important pieces of the ice-cream-maker.  I got what I deserved for buying an $18 ice cream maker at Wal Mart.

I went in to exchange my ice cream maker at Wallyworld, and they were out of stock.  I refunded my purchase onto a gift card (which will give me an excuse to purchase $5 DVDs in the future) and wandered away to Target.  I picked up a nicer (and complete) ice cream maker there.

When I returned home, I looked in the garage for what my parents assured me was rock salt.  Not rock salt.  It was chemical ice melt, which would probably cause my ice cream to eat through my esophagus.  And so I hopped into my poor car and began my second journey of the night.

The grocery store did not have any sort of rock salt.  It was only after asking three different associates at the Home Depot that I found my way to the “water softener” salts and ice cream salvation.

I huffed and puffed my way into my home carrying the sixty-pound bag of salt that I had purchased.  Sure, I only needed about half a cup of salt, but I had to get the best deal!  I’ll have enough salt to make ice cream when I’m dead.

By the time I got home, it was 8:00, meaning my ice cream wouldn’t be frozen to eleven or midnight.  Then, I’d have minimal turnaround time to take photographs, eat the stuff, and type out a silly blog entry for the next morning.

Was all the trouble worth it?  Well, yeah.  All of the pain and strife and gasoline expended on making Dorie’s creation only enhanced the obviously-delicious flavor.  Dorie:  you’ve not done me wrong yet.  Good show.

Random thought:  I’ve never had sour cream before.  It is disgusting on its own, and amazing in ice cream.

Here’s nutrition info for 1/4 of the recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 119 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories

255
Calories from Fat

157
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

17.5g
27%
Saturated Fat

10.8g
54%
Cholesterol

50mg
17%
Sodium

32mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates

24.4g
8%
Dietary Fiber

0.9g
3%
Sugars

20.4g
Protein

2.1g
Vitamin A 13% Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 7% Iron 1%
Nutrition Grade C-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

And since I have a captive audience!

Here is my girlfriend (Rachel) eating my sister’s (Melvin’s) face. The Ugly Dude is oddly indifferent.

And here is the Ugly Dude all cleaned up for his job interview. This is the first time in years that he has not looked like a dirty, dirty hippie.

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Tuesdays with Dorie – Cherry Something Cobbler

Posted in baking, food, tuesdays with dorie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by uglydudefood

cobbled

The comment turn-out was huge for my last TWD entry.  Maybe if I make stuff explode every time, people will continue to love me.  I just got back from a five-day vacation, so I have a lot of reading to do.  I’ll be meme-ing and reading your blogs in the near future.  At any rate, I should fail more often!  At least I know people will read what I write!

This week’s recipe was Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.  I was super pumped, because I love fruit; I love cobbler; and I’ve not yet had a chance to taste rhubarb.  Looks like I’d have to wait a little longer for my last dream to come true.  I walked to the spot in my grocery store that I KNEW had rhubarb the other day, and it was all gone.  Same in all the other grocery stores.  No rhubarb!?  What if I wanted to throw a late-summer rhubarbeque?

Dorie sez: “The biscuit topping is a great crown for almost any kind of cobbler or crisp.”

Emboldened by the words of the second-most-powerful Greenspan in the world, I decided to replace the rhubarb with Granny Smith apples, which I happened to have sitting around.  12 oz. of peeled, cored Granny Smiths replaced the directed 12 oz. of rhubarb.

I made the filling according to recipe.  I made the topping according to recipe.  Everything really, truly was going swimmingly.  And boringly.  How was I supposed to draw the readers back into my ugly website?  I’d have to create a ruckus.

So I punched my sister in the head

cobblerAfter that?  Well, the cobbler tasted fantastic.  And despite the fact that I am in my mid-twenties, I was grounded for three months.

By the way, I made another batch of last week’s Chocolate Pudding over the weekend.  I replaced the whole milk with 2% (just because it was handy).  Excepting the leaky food processor, nary a mess was made and it was a huge hit with my family.

For 1/12 of the recipe:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 108.8g
Amount Per Serving
Calories

206
Calories from Fat

57
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

6.3g
10%
Saturated Fat

3.8g
19%
Cholesterol

16mg
5%
Sodium

151mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates

35.7g
12%
Dietary Fiber

1.3g
5%
Sugars

11.2g
Protein

2.2g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 6% Iron 5%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional details are an estimate and should only be used as a guide for approximation.

Tuesdays With Dorie – Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

Posted in baking, food, tuesdays with dorie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2008 by uglydudefood

I’m learning to bake through the power of Internet bloggery.  The gist is, every Tuesday I will post about a different baked good from Baking:  From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan.  This is all part of the wonderful Tuesdays With Dorie blogroll.  You’ll see my disasters and far-less-frequent triumphs at the oven.

I started out by picking up a few kitchen items I didn’t own–namely a food processor and a pie plate.  My parents have all of this stuff, but I’m imagining someday I’ll be gainfully employed, out of the house, and in need my own versions.  As that annoying guy from Rage Against the Machine says, “What better place than here?  What better time than now?”  I get most of my baking advice from Rage Against the Machine, by the way.  With a pocket full of shells.

I didn’t see any 9″ pie plates at Target (which was the extent of my lazy shopping), but a 9.5″ pie plate would fit the bill just fine, right?  RIGHT?

I had some free time while my girlfriend was driving into town, so I made the crust on Thursday evening.  Pretty simple ingredients–vegetable shortening, butter, flour, sugar, salt, water.  Food process the beast, wrap it, and stick it in the refrigerator.  Easy peasy.  I was given a little boost in confidence when my dough actually came out looking like dough.  Is this baking?  Baking is easy.  All of those Keebler elves need to stop their bitching, because they are living the life of kings!

After refrigerating the dough during a dinner date, I came back and rolled it.  The recipe had a suggestion of freezing the dough into the pie plate, and that appealed to me.  That way all I’d have to do was fill the crust and bake.  Simple stuff.

Here’s where my stupid, oversized pie plate came into play.  Apparently 0.5″ is a lot of room when it comes to pies, you see.  I was supposed to have a fair amount of overhang with my crust, but my crust barely came up to the top of the plate.  I tried to make up for it by squeezing the crust a little thinner, but how thin is too thin?  Something told me that having a nearly translucent layer of pie crust holding a pound of sugary-sweet blueberry goo wouldn’t exactly work out.  Furthermore, the second half of the dough (the top of the pie) probably wasn’t big enough to drape atop the pie.

All the same, I didn’t have the time or ingredients to make another crust, so it would have to do.  I froze my crust and went on to do weekend things with weekend people, fancy-free of all the pie woes that would later befall me.

Flash forward to Monday evening, where I was free to pie the pie that must be pied.  I had bought a 2-quart container of blueberries at Costco earlier, so I had enough berries to fulfill the recipe and gorge myself while I waited the hour for the pie to finish baking.

I mixed the ingredients together (as Dorie says, “gently stir”), but my pie filling didn’t look too much like pie filling.  It looked like salt and sugar piled below a bunch of berries.  It didn’t come together until I started smashing a few berries.  “Gently stir” must have a wide variety of interpretations, because you’re going to want to mush some of your berries to get a decent filling.

I filled my frozen pie crust with unflavored breadcrumbs and the sugarberry mix.  I placed the frozen top atop my pie.  It just about fit over the whole thing, which I took as a small victory.  With some fork-smashing, I managed to seal the top of the pie (although the “crust” looked pretty dismal).  As a result of having to finagle the crust, the pie wasn’t necessarily the prettiest thing in the world.  Thankfully, my website had the word “ugly” in the title twice.  Paydirt.

OH CRUD.  Twenty minutes into the hour of baking, my crust was brown and soon-to-burn.  Too thin.  Way to go, Mike Spoodles.  Way to make a pie. I moved the pie up to a higher rack in the oven, and I turned the heat down to the “second thirty-minutes'” temperature early.  I tented some tinfoil loosely over the pie, as Dorie recommended.  I had no idea what this would do, but I was flying on my feet.  I had to use all the instincts I had honed through twenty-three years of microwaving everything I’d ever eaten.  Oh dear.

I finally swallowed my pride and went to my mother for help, who told me to put the pie back on the bottom (where it is less likely to brown, apparently), and to stop running around screaming like a little ninny.  Apparently pie is pie, and pie is good.  One of life’s lessons.

I crumbled off a lot of the offending crust.

The final product?  Ugly, of course.  The taste?  My mom says, “Mmmm!  This is good.”  She specifically liked the crust.  I liked it just fine, too.  The fact that it came out tasting like an actual dessert damn near brought a tear to my eye.  My dad and brother did not eat it, but they probably would have if I had replaced the blueberries with ground beef.

A bit of a madcap first week of Tuesdays With Dorie for me, but I can only imagine that things will get smoother from here (they won’t).

So, things I bought:

Black and Decker PowerPro II Food Processor ($40)
Pyrex 9.5″ Pie Plate (“Grip-rite”)
(approx. $10)

Things I learned:

Use proper-sized dishes, or adjust recipe accordingly
How to make a pie crust
How to use a food processor
How to make a dang pie
Pie crust tastes good before you bake it

Here is nutritional information for 1/10th of the pie (which is less than Dorie’s recommended 6-8 servings, but COME ON LOOK AT THOSE CALORIES.  Haha.

Serving Size 212.2g
Amount Per Serving
Calories

593
Calories from Fat

279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

31.0g
48%
Saturated Fat

16.8g
84%
Cholesterol

80mg
27%
Sodium

482mg
20%
Total Carbohydrates

74.9g
25%
Dietary Fiber

3.7g
15%
Sugars

35.3g
Protein

6.4g

Tuesdays with Dorky (and the temple of chocolate)

Posted in baking, food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2008 by uglydudefood

Gold, I tell you! Everything I touch turns to gold! I’ve been winning grand awards left and right!

I recently won a contest at Tuesdays with Dorie, giving me a free baking cookbook (and a seat among the hallowed TWD blogroll). TWD is a baking event. Every week, a recipe is picked from the pages of Baking:  From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Then, every blogger and their mother bakes their own version of that recipe.

I’ve not done a particularly good job of baking in the past. Most of my baking is f’aking, and then there’s some that just kind of falls apart (Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes, Amazing Black Bean Brownies).

Until I receive the book in the mail and get to babble endlessly about my failures as a baker and as a human being, here’s a mega-update about my adventures in chocolatey things.

I’m a…hungry girl?  That can’t be right!

In my neverending quest to eat delicious treats that somehow don’t bust my gutline, I stumbled across a newsletter called Hungry Girl. Is it run by a hungry girl? Is it a site for hungry girls? Either way, I’m emasculated by e-mail messages five days a week.

Now that we can put aside all of that macho posturing, I’ll inform you that Hungry Girl is the real shizz. I’ve been perusing years and years worth of bizarre recipes and bookmarking almost every page. The recipes are fast and easy; frequently they are made with junk you have laying around.

My first completed recipe was Yum Yum Brownie Muffins (click that link for the recipe). It’s pretty simple–a box of dry cake mix and a can of 100% pumpkin. I used Pillsbury Reduced-Sugar Devil’s Food Cake Mix, which is sweetened with a mix of sugar and Splenda. In the end, the muffins were each 153 calories. That, my friends, is a drop in the bucket. The muffin bucket.

The muffins were dense, and fudgy. Nothing in the flavor indicated that they were “diet muffins.” They were subdued enough to eat as a breakfast treat, but substantial and chocolatey enough to frost in cupcake form.

Reactions weren’t glowing, but generally positive. My mom and sister scarfed them down, and coworkers enjoyed them too.  For a quick-fix recipe, that’s really all you can ask for!

More photos of Hungry Girl’s “Yum Yum Brownie Muffins.”

Mano Amano

You may remember that I blogged about $21 of free Amano chocolate that I received.  I asked for suggestions as to what I should do with the bars, and I received some interesting ones.  While I considered Conor’s suggestion of intravenously feeding myself, I ended up following Joli’s advice and letting the shizzle dissolve in my mouth.  It’s about as close as I’ll ever get to snooty “chocolate tasting” given my level of patience.

Amano creates chocolate in three forms–Madagascar, Ocumare, and Cuyagua.  All three bars have 70% cacao content.  Texturally, these chocolates were heads above “similar” items from both the mass-market brands and the more widespread organic options.  When it comes to flavor–eh.  Some were better, some were worse.  The Madagascar was revelatory.  Amano says it “includes hints of citrus and berry,” and I’ll be damned if my untrained palate actually found them!  This is by far the best dark chocolate I’ve ever eaten.  The Ocumare was pretty good.  Although the tasting notes mention “hints of plums and other red fruit,” this one tasted (to me) pretty close to a generic dark chocolate bar.  Cuyagua (including “notes of spice”) was my least favorite of the three.  The spice seemed to be nonexistant.  The chocolate seemed somehow blander than the other products.

Are any of these products worth $7 for a bar?  I don’t think so.  I can appreciate the amount of work and care that went into each of these bars, but when you can get a (larger) bar for $2.50 in the organic section of your supermarket it seems like an awful waste to pay triple that for similar quality.

More Free Chocolate Crapola

I received a free sample of Betty Crocker Warm Delight Minis:  Molten Chocolate Cake.  It’s the Easy Mac of cakes!  Just add water, stir, microwave, and you have fresh, steamy cake.

The pack comes with a small packet of cake mix, a condom wrapper filled with fudge sauce, and a small plastic bowl.  Prep was fairly easy, requiring only two minutes of work.  The end result wasn’t bad.  It was cake-mixy and clearly not baked from scratch, but the fact that it was fresh from the “oven” improves the little cake’s value tenfold.

At 150 calories, it’s a nice (albeit expensive) calorie-cheap dessert.  It has trans fats, with partially hydrogenated oils in both the cake mix and the fudge.  Despite its caloric value (which is more a measure of its diminuative size and not its “healthiness”), this is not for the dieter.

More photos of Betty Crocker Warm Delight Minis:  Molten Chocolate Cake

In the near future, you’ll be seeing a lot more failed baking (and, presumably, a little bit of success)

And…well, maybe everything I touch doesn’t turn to gold. I have a feeling there will be a lot of baked goods that turn to black before this strange, mystical journey is over.

Amazing Black Bean Brownies: good for your heart, make you etc.

Posted in baking, food, recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2008 by uglydudefood

My last post was a recipe post, I guess. More, it was just a suggestion post. This here is my first post where I actually experimented with ingredients and made foods that did not taste like crunchy water!

I have an ever-increasing backlog of recipes that I kinda-sorta want to try, but will probably never get to. Homemade Marshmallow Peeps. Vegan, fat-free carrot cake. Pumpkin muffins recommended by my friend Silliker. Various veggie burger recipes. They all incite some sort of interest in me, but not enough to send me right to the oven to work the ol’ Spoodles magic.

I was blogrolling on Monday; The moment I saw the phrase “Black Bean Brownies” on 101 Cookbooks, I knew. The words made absolutely no sense to me. I mean, sure. I knew what they all meant individually. Black–an absence of color. Bean–a protein-filled treat that develops in pods. Brownies–chocolatey delights. When you put the three together? The phrase “Black Bean Brownies” sounded like “Cotton Ball Checkbook” or “French Fried Pants.” The words simply did not go together in any decipherable way. I was going to have to create this recipe. Immediately.

Closer inspection of the recipe showed that black beans were not the only experimental item. These brownies were sweetened with agave nectar, a sort of natural, healthier (although, obviously, by no means healthy) corn syrup.

The recipe initially comes from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener, which at $11 is actually close in price to what you’ll pay for damned agave nectar in this one recipe. For the sake of trying new things, I did spring for the organic agave nectar, but 101 Cookbooks says that you can easily replace the nectar 1:1 with honey.

I won’t reprint the recipe here (as I probably don’t have permission), but here are my notes. This was only my third time baking, so I was prepared for it not to go…smoothly.

THE PROCESS

  • The recipe stated that canned black beans worked just fine for this project. I bought canned, no salt added beans, and they seemed to work fine. With the usual, high-sodium canned stuff, you would probably want to spend a good amount of time rinsing the beans.
  • I made the decision not to include the walnuts. My family is fairly picky when it comes to such things, and I thought these brownies were weird enough due to the beans and the sweetener. Didn’t want to rock the boat too much. As mentioned in “Final Thoughts,” this may have affected my final batch.

THE TREAT

  • Inexperienced as I was. I was unsure what the instruction “Bake…until the brownies are set” meant. Did I want them to come out of my oven looking like I wanted my final product to look? Or did I want to take them out a little soft (still solid), and the heat from the baking process would finish it all the way? I checked on my brownies at thirty-five minutes and they seemed a little…shiny. Internet research seemed vague at best, although if I had followed Slashfood’s direction I probably would have fared better. At forty minutes , I removed the pan and hoped for the best.
  • After cooling (and after refrigerating, as specified by this recipe), my brownies were still gooey. Not uncooked-gooey, and not inedible-gooey, but certainly too gooey to cut out of the pan with any confidence. I knew that if I put these things back in the oven after they’d cooled, they would only burn. I was left with some extra-gooey fudgeypuddingbean brownies.
  • That said, these things tasted really good. There was no bean taste to them at all. They tasted like super-decadent, fudge brownies. The coffee flavor was pretty strong, but not bad at all. Even the consistency wasn’t terrible. Certainly softer than I would have liked–and softer than any brownie I’d ever eaten before–but I could pick them up with my hands without them falling apart, so that was good enough.

THE REACTIONS

  • Mom: “Is there coffee in this?” She didn’t seem entirely unimpressed, but didn’t enjoy the flavor all too much. I offered her another the following day, and she accepted. Conclusion: not poison.
  • Dad: “I’m not that adventurous.”
  • Brother: I didn’t even bother asking. He ate a cheeseburger instead.
  • Coworker 1: “I’m impressed!” “This is more like fudge than a brownie.” Later, “I have a brownie craving!” As one of my better friends, she might have been tempered by pressure not to hurt my feelings.
  • Coworker 2: “Those brownies were…interesting.” After some hesitance, she came out and said, “I think I’m so used to [regular sugar] that these just don’t hit my craving.” She also expressed that she liked my previous two baking attempts far better (Toll House Cupcakes and Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper Cupcakes). Note to self: less adventurous baked goods for the office. This was actually my favorite bit of feedback, simply because it was actual, constructive criticism. I’ll come back to her because I know she’ll actually tell me how she feels about the food. I’m hoping it will be complimentary, but I know it won’t be needlessly so.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I’m wondering if other types of beans would work in this mixture. Black beans seem to be a common Internet trend in this brand of baked goods, but the flavor of a canned black bean tastes fairly similar, for instance, to a canned pinto bean or a canned white bean. This is one thing I would change if I ever made this recipe again, just to learn whether these are acceptable substitutes. Maybe white bean “blondies?”
  • I loved the taste of these brownies, and specifically how the instant coffee offset the chocolate flavor. However, the coffee did tend to come front-and-center. I think the amount of coffee could stand to be cut in half (unless it was used to mask some sort of beany aftertaste that I didn’t sense at all). This would, I think, make my family far more receptive to these brownies.
  • I left the walnuts out of the recipe, and now I’m wondering if they would have helped to bind the mixture and make for a more cohesive and less goopy brownie. I don’t believe nuts actively bind food, but you never know. Since my family didn’t eat more than one of these apiece anyway, I would probably leave the nuts in next time for a more full and textured brownie.
  • I was too much of a wuss to pull a fast one on people. When consumers asked me about the brownies, I came right out and told them they were full of beans and alternative sweetener. It would have been interesting to put these brownies to a blind taste test. Would these just seem like “super-fudgy” brownies, or would people notice something awry?
  • I really like the idea of using beans in a recipe instead of flour. It adds a world of protein and fiber that you aren’t going to get in a regular brownie. This makes them more substantial, more filling, and–dare I say it–more satisfying than a normal baked good in a lot of respects.

NUTRITION (for 1/45th of batch)

via Caloriecount.about.com

Serving Size 30.0g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
98
Calories from Fat
53
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
5.9g
9%
Saturated Fat
3.5g
18%
Cholesterol
30mg
10%
Sodium
11mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates
10.8g
4%
Dietary Fiber
1.1g
4%
Protein
1.6g
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 3% Iron 7%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

There is always room.

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2008 by uglydudefood