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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
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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

Travelogue: Florida, 1997

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2007 by uglydudefood

We took a crazy and fun family road trip to Florida in 1997. My sister Amy/”Melvin” was keeping a running log that actually stopped before we hit Disney, but all is forgiven because she was ten years old and apparently retarded. Anyway, here is an illustrated Travelogue through the eyes of the coolest ten-year-old girl I knew.


87/2/97

We left for Florida! Things went off to a rocky start. Mike asked Dan to get a comb for him when mommy asked him them to get their combs. Mom said Mike was a “Lazy fat Ass”. Mike jumped up and said I’m not going and left. We got him back in the car and we stopped for gas. Now it’s off to drop off our mail and off we go. Mom wants to get to South Carolina today. We’re making bet’s on which day the door handle will break. Amy day we get to Disney 9th. Dan takes the 10th Mike says tomorrow (3rd). Mom say’s 14th. Dad says it just won’t. We’re playing the lisence plate game the hole time. 9:22am we’re in Maryland.

We are in Virginia 11:02am. We ate lunch at the Virginia Welcome center. Now to Mad libs. (We already played tribond Mike won). continued

We reached North Carolina 3:46pm.

We played Yatzee

We arrived in South of the border (South Carolina 6:52 pm

I got a south of the border coin and Keychain. We stopped at day’s Inn. It would be about 55 dollars. We decided to look on. We might go back. We checked out the prices at the Comfort Inn. It’s full. We decided to check travelers inn. It’s way to expenseve. We’re going back to the day’s Inn. We went swimming and took a dip in the hot tub. We went to Burger King. We traveled 564.1 yesturday today.

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87/3/97

We woke up but the boys wouldn’t get up they wasted like ten minutes. We went and got a continental breakfast free. Now we’re at a Pilot travel center for gas. We’re in Georgia 11:42am. Dan is a Bad driver. He almost killed us twice. No driving for him. We’re in Florida 2:15. We went to Quincys Mom said it was dirty. (It was). Dad said “Florida’s a long ass state”. Dan says “It is a penis”. We went swimming and then went to McDonalds for a snack. We’re staying at is stinky Mirage (Best Western). Today we drive 603.2 miles. Oh yeah! I got a yak at Mc D. It’s name is yacity.


8/4/97

We took showers and went to Ihop for breakfast. When we left mom and dad kepy driving the car back and forth in the car cause mom couldn’t read the map right. We went to the Philly’s Spring Training feild. We were just in the gulf Of Mexico. It was fun. We jumped in to wave and colleted shells. Mom and Dad didn’t come in swim with us. (they walked into there knees). We went to the Yankee’s spring training place next. We weren’t supposed to park but dad did. Mom just wanted to leave. We stopped at a Shoney’s for supper. We drove on a little and stopped at a Red Roof Inn. Dan, Mike, and I went swimming While mom and dad went to wash the car. When they got back they swimming also. There was a spa but it was to hot. Plus there were guys drinking beer. We all (kids) took showers, and went to bed.

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8/5/97

We all got up. When I was the brushing my teeth, and I saw a lizard. We left and stopped at a gas station with gas. We stopped ata Burger King for Break. Then we headed to the EverGlades. When we got there we went to a gater park. Then to a hike, and on a boat ride. On the hike we saw little crabs that looked like spiders. On the boat ride we saw racoons and alligators. We got to hold a baby alligator mom and dad choose not to. After that we had the 1 hr. boat ride we went to the national park for a two hr. tram ride. We saw a white herring and a blue one, We saw volchers, we saw a bird with a snake in it’s mouth. We saw deer, (which are smaller then P.A.’s and a buck fawn), alligators. and a neat turtle all black!! The tour guide sort of sounded like Cristian in my oppinion. (Cristian was a A.D. at camp!) After that was over we went to a Wendy’s where we decided to go all the ways to the Key West. (We crossed 49 bridges to go there. Once hear it took us like an hour to find a hotel. We ended up at a Howarad Jhonson’s. It’s a Motel but across the street it was a resturant. We walked to the resturant we had dessert. it was the only thing we had time for. (Mike didn’t have any he said non sounded good) We walked across the street to a K’s market. We got drinks and candy bar’s. Then we went back to H. J.

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8/6/97

We left H.J.’s and dropped the car van off at a parking lot. We got tickets to ride a tram around Key West. Werode by alot of interesting places. We got off to go to the Hemmingway House. There were alot of cats. 52 to be exact. (Hemmingway was a writter). We got back on. Then we got off at the Southernmost point. (90 miles to Cuba. Then we finished the tram ride. When we got back we went to Sloppy Joe’s to have lunch Then we looked around in shop. Now we’re on are way to Miami but. We stopped at a Dairy Queen. Daddy’s kidney hurts. We are staying at a days in. I hope it’s nothing real serious. He had a kidney stone.

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UNDETERMINED DATE

Sorry i stopped writing i will put certain things i remember–


The end.