Friday, December 30, 2011

Angel Food Flop

Just when you thought the domestically inept housewife knew a thing or two about baking...

About a week ago my very dear friend Ashley had a birthday. Since I'm always looking for an excuse to get into the kitchen and lavish delectably good treats on my friends, I immediately promised her any cake her heart desired.  And Ashley, being the sensible girl she is, asked for an Angel Food Cake.  With all the holiday treats floating around, she desired something a little lighter and healthier.  Now I have made Angel Food Cake a few times before so I clicked my heels and said "no problem, your wish is my command!"

So it was settled, I was to bring the cake into work one evening.  I had the whole day to bake it.  I was so excited because I was going to try something really different to top the cake with.  My plan was to do a cranberry glaze, and top the cake off with some whipped cream (real stuff, not that crap in a can) and a dollop of chocolate ice cream on the side.  Why cranberries you ask?  Well cranberries are in season and red is Ashley's favorite color...and quite frankly, I just wanted to try it.

So, the morning of Ashley's birthday, I got up, went to my recipe book and pulled out Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake Recipe.  This is the same recipe I have used several times to make homemade Angel Food Cake.  So I had absolutely no doubt I could do it...I think I even yawned while mixing together the ingredients.  Needless to say, things did not go as planned.  My first cake came out of the oven, looked beautiful but upon cooling it completely collapsed!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meatballs

Christmas is over!  Whew!  Now here comes all the New Year's festivities!  Hosting a party?  Need some great party food that doesn't take a whole lot of time?  Well then this recipe is for you!  This is my Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe, which I adapted from my mom's Sweet and Sour Meatball recipe.  The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of chopped onion rather than garlic.  I don't care for onions so I substitute garlic, then I also add a little ginger to balance out the garlic.  I also like to use fresh flat-leaf parsley.  I think it adds some color and elegance to the dish, but you can omit it.  This recipe is always a hit and its great any time of the year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rugelach

Rugelach, meaning "rolled cookie," is a traditional Jewish recipe.  It can be eaten any time of the year but is most popular around the holidays.  Lots of variations exist, but the most common types involve a crescent shaped pastry dough filled with cinnamon sugar, dried fruit and nuts.  This is a delicious treat to make for the holidays, and a welcome change from the usual heavy, chocolate laden goods (not that we're complaining)!  This recipe is derived from Ina Garten's Rugelach Recipe.  The dough is made from very simple ingredients: butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and flour.  That I have kept the same.  I've come up with my own twist on the filling.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Buckeyes

Everyone is a baker around the holidays and we Ohioans are no exception.  I would argue, however, that perhaps we do it just a little bit better than everybody else.  Here in the great state of OH-IO, in addition to all the other confectionery goodies being made during the holidays, it's TRADITION to make buckeyes.  It's a tribute to our great state, and for those of us lucky enough to be alumni, to our dearly beloved Alma mater THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.  And to be quite honest it's actually a bit more than tradition....more of like an unwritten law.  If you are from Ohio, you MUST have buckeyes at Christmas.  Otherwise, its not Christmas.
So today I'm going to share with you my family's recipe for buckeyes.  Probably every family in Ohio has their own, all slight variations of simple ingredients.  These include: butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar.  Hey, I never said they were healthy.  I only said they were tradition!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cutout Cookies

One of my favorite memories as a kid is making Christmas cookies with my mom and sisters.  Usually this involved and all day cookie baking and decorating frenzy.  By the end of the day the kitchen was covered in flour, icing and sprinkles.  Were the cookies Martha Stewart quality?  No, but they were special because we made them together.  I've always wanted to recreate those memories with my children and this year I felt they were old enough to help and get some enjoyment out of it.  I have to admit, I've been secretly dreading this in some respects, anticipating the huge mess it would make.  But actually, things turned out pretty good and the mess wasn't too bad.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not So Awful Falafel...

Have any of you out there ever had falafel?  You may have seen it in the foreign foods section of your grocery store, not really knowing what it was.  It's a wonderful middle eastern dish that is made up of ground chick peas, fava beans, and spices.  So what's the awful part?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

S'more Cookie Brownies? Yes Please!

Okay, so this isn't exactly a story of baking success.  After all, us domestically inept people are bound to have a few failures now and then...or perhaps quite often.....Anyways, I've been dreaming of S'mores lately.  Unfortunately, its too cold to sit outside and build a fire on the patio and microwave S'mores just aren't as good.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

It's the holiday season which means most of us will find ourselves attending (or hosting) several Christmas parties.  Want to make a delicious and stunning holiday treat that everyone will go ga-ga for?  Well then chocolate crackle cookies are the answer my friend!  They are by far the most delicious, most beautiful, most requested cookies I have ever made.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grandma's Vegetable Beef Soup

December is here and the days are getting shorter, colder and busier.  For me, nothing refreshes and warms like a hot cup of Grandma's Vegetable Beef Soup.  This is one of my favorite things to make and is a weekly staple in my house during the winter.  The best part is it is OH SO EASY to do...so easy even a domestically inept individual like myself can do it!  This meal is made in the slow cooker...which means you mix it up and forget about it.  Go to work, do your shopping and come home to a piping hot cup of healthy goodness.  The hardest part is browning the beef...promise!