Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

January 25, 2013

A Little Perspective

Normally this blog concerns the happenings of my kitchen in Texas.  Today I thought I would break that norm and look at a broader issue.
photo by Dominic Bracco II

Egypt has many social and political problems at the moment, but this is one I had not heard about until Bracco's photographs brought it to my attention:  people cannot afford bread.  This has been one of the most basic forms of nourishment for populations worldwide, and yet the bakers in Egypt are working insane shifts to try to eke out a living off of a product that many cannot afford.

photo by Dominic Bracco II

Not to get all serious on everyone here, but it put a few things in perspective for me.  First off, how fortunate are we to be able to sit at a computer and write about things we don't even need to eat to survive, like S'mores brownies?  While a group of people sleep on the roof of the bakery and work 12 to 24 hour shifts, I have the option of choosing what kind of chocolate I want to put in my cookies.  Secondly, the Egyptian government has a lot of concerns at the moment, and I don't know how long it will be until this becomes a present issue (there were bread riots in 2008).  I wish there was something I could do to help.

I am going to be motherly here for a minute and remind everyone to count their blessings.  Eat your leftovers, or make just enough for that day.  Use up all of those cans and oddities in your pantry before going to the store again to get more.  And be grateful, if you have the option to, for the choices you are able to make freely.

Here's the link to his photos and where I got my resources:

This week:  something healthy to help you recover from the brownies...

January 20, 2013

S'mores Brownies

This might be one of my favorite pictures I have taken for the food blog thus far.  This new lens is so great for getting low-light, short depth-of-field pictures.  My inner photo nerd is highly pleased.  Thank you awesome family for supporting my hobby!

These also might be some of my favorite brownies I have made yet.  Though not the gooey, traditional-style brownie I usually pursue, s'mores brownies are still plenty moist, equipped with a pie-like crust of vanilla wafers, and smothered in a melted ensemble of lightly-toasted marshmallows.  They remind me of childhood, and why I should never fully allow myself to grow up.  Oh, and The Sandlot.

A word to the wise with the whole "lightly toasted" concept with the 'mallows: watch them carefully!  As with anything else you subject to the direct heat of the broiler, pay attention!  Sit there at the window of your oven (or open and peer neurotically into its depths if you don't have a window) and make sure they don't burn, because the middle of mine absolutely did.  However, if you enjoy the burnt crispiness of a flaming marshmallow on the fire, I noticed (unintentionally) that my gas broiler tends to cook the center of the dish much quicker than the sides.  
Also, I say to broil for 2 minutes; I think broiling for only one minute will keep the finished product a bit neater and less...well...melty...if that's your style.

All of that being said, these are enjoyable for any time of year (Fourth of July dessert, anyone?) and I highly suggest wet-naps for the kids once they are done getting their faces all smeared with marshmallow goodness.  I recommend serving these warm, letting them cool at least 20 minutes or so or reheating them briefly in foil.  They are still good room temperature, but the wonderful gooey-ness of marshmallows is key to the full s'mores experience!

January 3, 2013

Drop Biscuits and Gravy

 Happy New Year!
     So, so much to tell!  For starters, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in December.  Yaaaay!  Finally!  After eight years of working and going to school on and off, I am finally finished.  Don't ask me what I'm doing after this because I haven't got the slightest clue.  For now, I am helping my husband run our small business and from there we shall see.  In the meantime, I will be cooking.  A lot.  My grandmother recently gave me three boxes of cookbooks and magazines that I need to plow through, so there will be lots of experimentation and (hopefully) documentation.  

My graduation/Christmas gift, a shiny new Nikon D3200, is going to help me show you the results.  Woo!  I also got a nifty fifty lens to boot!  Needless to say I am delighted to be snapping some photos once again, although a little reluctant to retire my ten-year-old Canon.  You'll have to forgive the color/focus on my photos until I get used to the switch...

So here is my first recipe of 2013, baked on the last day of 2012.  If you're going to end a year, do it right!  I made these with almond milk and they were slightly sweet, which was very tasty when paired with some maple glazed ham and a fried egg, or smothered in gravy.  Mmm, gravy.

While I fully endorse making biscuits with almond milk, I do not recommend using it to make your gravy.  I was feeling both too lazy to go to the store and just advantageous enough to give it a whirl, and the result was less than extraordinary.  So make the effort that I did not and use milk if you're going to make gravy.  I have posted both the biscuit recipe and the gravy recipe I used after the jump.

The nicest thing about making drop biscuits is that you simply drop them in sticky goo mounds onto the greased cookie sheet.  No need for rolling pins or biscuit cutters.  Just scoop, drop, bake.  Oh, and these make excellent New Years Day (or any day) hangover helpers.