Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally! A successful batch of Gingersnaps!

After my last failed attempt at Gingersnaps, I was left brokenhearted for a while...

But I figured I'd try this recipe today... kind-of out of sheer boredom, and kind-of because of a full bottle of molasses that is rotting away in my pantry.

Mmm... now don't tell me this first picture doesn't look delicious!

Too bad these cookies blend in with my lovely butcher block countertop...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chocolate Salty Balls, round 2

Today I tried this recipe.

It allowed me to use my double-boiler - a wedding gift I've never actually used until today!


I followed one person's review and stuck toothpicks in the peanut-butter balls before putting them in the fridge. However, I found that the toothpicks did not aid that much in the dipping. It would be just as useful to keep ONE toothpick next to your double boiler and use it over and over again to stab the ball after you douse it in chocolate, then place it on the cookie sheet.

Fun with the double boiler.
I also followed another review and put in about a tablespoon of shortening to make the layer of chocolate a little thinner on the balls. Uh... if that was a "thin" layer of chocolate, I'd hate to see what it would be like without the shortening. I ran out of chocolate before finishing all the balls!!!

Ahh. Chocolate ball goodness! I was just kidding about the salt. Tee hee, "balls."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Danny is 2!

Happy Birthday to Danny!

Happy Birthday to Danny!

Happy Birthday to Da-a-anny...

Happy Birthday to Him!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mountainview Cemetery

I went to a cemetery today. I was uninspired...
We are quasi planning a trip to the south in August, and mom says the cemeteries down there are out of this world!

She didn't actually say they were "out of this world."

And on the subject of creepy: Whilst on vacation, I read the short story, "The Lottery." Then I requested the movie via Netflix, and I watched it tonight. It's very made-for-TV-ish, but super creepy! I encourage you to go to a cemetery and watch The Lottery all in one day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I made my first Chicken Cordon Bleu last night. I've always thought this recipe was way too hard, but I had nothing better to do last night, and we weren't having dinner til after 8:00pm anyway (my parents were coming over for dinner, and they had a high-intensity work-out from 7:00 - 8:00pm believe it or not!), so I figured, "What the hey?"

I got the recipe from - Chicken Cordon Bleu II.

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
3. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

(You'll notice from the following pictures that I did not perfectly follow this recipe; for instance, I couldn't get six chicken breasts to fit in my oven dish, so I just used four.)

First thing's first:I've decided I'm really not fond of pounding poultry. Last night, it was so loud, I was nervous our next door neighbor was going to knock on our door. Ideally, you'd have a box of those really large, sealable bags instead of one flimsy piece of plastic wrap, but I don't live in an ideal world. And I must say... this piece of plastic wrap held up nicely.

Isn't it pretty? The reviews of this recipe suggested using no-water-added ham, but I couldn't find any unless I looked in the deluxe meats section (that's what I call it), and the deluxe meats section is out of my price range.

For some reason, I have "party picks" instead of "toothpicks," so that's why mine are so festive looking. Please, do not be ashamed of regular, non-dyed toothpicks. They will work just as well.

Okay, I forgot to take a picture of the raw chicken covered in the flour and paprika mixture, but that step did transpire, I promise. I also added some garlic powder b/c one reviewer told me to, and I follow orders. Look at how delicious this nicely browned piece of chicken looks! I thought the toothpicks - I mean, party picks - would really hamper the browning, but they didn't. I was able to flip that baby, no problem! (and my nonstick pans have already really disappointed me with the non-long-last-ability of their non-stickiness, that I really didn't care if the party picks wreaked more havoc upon them)

I then followed one main review many of the reviewers suggested. Instead of leaving the poultry in the skillet to fully cook, I popped them in a 350-degree'd oven. I had the butter/oil mixture (that's another review I followed... 3T butter and 3T oil instead of just 6T butter) left to work with for the sauce. In this pic, I had already added 1 cup of white wine... I used Pinot Grigio. Cheap Pinot Grigio. (Also... I doubled the ingredients for the sauce b/c again... reviewers told me to do it.)

I added the heavy cream/cornstarch mixture...

And I took the chicken out of the over after 20 minutes. The chicken was not fully cooked at that point, so I decided to pour all the sauce over it and pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Mmmmmmmm..... it was fabu (remember, pronounced: fab-yew!)! It was seriously delicious. I must say... I've come to an epiphany in the past few months. I - and most people, I'll assume - overcook chicken. I have overcooked chicken so many times when following recipes to the dime. For a long time, I thought I just didn't like chicken, but from time to time I would taste really excellent chicken! So lately, I take chicken out when I'm still a tad uncomfortable with it... when I still think there's a chance I could catch ill with salmonella from eating it.

And I haven't regretted it yet! Just as long as there's no visible pink, I go for it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I've finally started!

It took me three days to finish cutting all my fabric. I completed my first block! Isn't it darling?