Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweet Treats to Share

Last week I mentioned how I have a full college schedule and often get home late. One of my classes is a Low Incidence Disability Support class on Tuesdays from 5pm to 8pm. Paying attention is often difficult because around 7 o'clock my stomach starts grumbling. I decided last week that I wanted to bring in some snacks for the rest of my table after we all discussed how we'd love to order a pizza and put it in the middle of the table. (No desks, just a few round tables) I decided chocolate chip cookies would be perfect and I even had a recipe I'd been itching to try out. The Cooks Illustrated Best Chocolate Chip Cookies are my current favorite but I've read some good things about Alton Brown's "The Chewy" and decided to give those a whirl. Unfortunately, the natural light was really bad that day, I think it was storming, so the photos are limited. I need to get a light box or something.

I didn't change the recipe at all so I won't write it all out here.

Here's the dough all mixed up. It was really soft. I think I would add more flour next time because the cookies turned out flat. (See below) Very good to eat though, I love raw cookie dough.

The cookies baked at 350 for 12 minutes though the recipe called for 15. I'm glad I checked them because they would have burned.

Surprisingly, even though they were really brown, they were still quite chewy and delicious. The flavor is not as deep and "caramelly" as the Cooks Illustrated and I'll probably stick with that recipe. Sadly, the class ended of being cancelled for the week but that meant I could eat them all myself! Oh and I gave a few to DB.

DB liked them. Mostly because...well...they're cookies and how could he turn them down? He also loves cookie dough. I let him lick the bowl.

He was giving me the evil eye because I took his picture. Yeah...we're kind of strange sometimes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Friday

Whew. What a busy month September has been so far. College classes started at the beginning of the month and I also was hired at a new part-time job! Balancing a full time class schedule with work has been a learning process and I feel bad that my blog is being neglected.
Most days of the week I do not get home until after 8pm which makes it hard to find to cook (Thank you DB for cooking and helping out with household-y things these past few weeks!!!) and on the odd day I do have time, I  forget to take a picture of whatever I made. Thankfully, I have some recipes stocked up and photographed and I just have to get them from computer to here.

I admit I made this recipe a few weeks ago but happliy enough the weather took another cool turn so I think it's fitting that I share it with you now- Homemade Beef Stew. This was a really easy recipe and totally customizable to your personal tastes. The original recipe was for a slow cooker but I used a dutch oven on the stovetop instead. Serve this with buttered biscuits.

Homemade Beef Stew
adapted from Down to Earth

2 Tbsp oil
2 pounds of stew meat cut into cubes. I used chuck
2 tsp paprika
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into rounds
4 medium-ish potatoes, I like a lot of potatoes
1 sweet potato, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
bay leaf and a sprinkle of dried thyme. Rosemary would also be good.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Get it really smokin' hot then toss the meat in there. Let it sit a minute then stir it around. When the meat is well seared, remove it to a plate and set aside. Add a teeny bit more oil to the pot if it needs it and toss in the veggies. Get them nice and brown then add the beef back in. At this point the bottom of the pot should have a lot of brown crusty stuff of the bottom. This is your delicious-ness. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Next, pour in the water, be sure to scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom. Bring this to a boil, then turn down the heat and add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer on low until the potatoes are tender. While it's cooking, get to work on the biscuits! Stew need biscuits!
Veggies all chopped up.

The finished stew. This amount of flour does not make it super thick like a canned beef stew. More like a thick sauce. I prefer it this way because I like to mush up all of the veggies with the gravy. Sounds gross but I love it.