Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
This past winter, I left my fear at the door, armed with two baby sized tubs of shortening, I got a little crazy with Mr. E… in the kitchen. It’s become a tradition of ours to get donuts at Craigie every Sunday, which proves miracles happen since I’m not the size of a house. I had to run and knock on the nearest piece of wood after typing those words.
We vowed to be more active members in our own kitchen and I’d been whipping up healthy eats during the week with some little cheat meals on the weekends. To jump start us, we forewent our typical Sunday donuts. Instead, we shuffled to the mall Saturday afternoon, picked up a donut cutter ready to make our donuts for the next morning. Mind you, I’m aware this was not a healthy move, but we were taking baby steps. Our impatience got the better of us and we headed to the store late Saturday night for some cider donut fixins.
I have such a wonderful memory associated with cider donuts. Earlier in last year toward the end of September, Mr. E and I drove up to Apple Crest Farms in New Hampshire for their fall festival and ate hands down the most amazing cider donuts.
Piping hot and super cidery from Apple Crest Farms
Seriously, game over. All other cider donut makers, just hang your hats and go home. I figured if we were going to make donuts, it would have to be the apple cider variety. Now I’ll admit, the amount of shortening you need to use is not for the faint of heart. Shortening really does improve the grease factor of fried goods, as I’ve learned with fried chicken. Just think as it sits, the fat solidifies back to its room temperature form so you’re not left eating an oil sponge.
A whole lotta’ shortening
Going at the dough
Cinnamon sugar and cider glazed cider donuts!
Ready to fry the remaining donut holes
For the dough, I used a minimal amount of concentrated cider that boiled down to about 1/4 of its original volume. In hindsight, I should have pureed apple to pump up the apple flavor. If I’m eating a cider donut, I’d like to know I’m eating a cider donut. That being said, I thought we made a pretty solid showing for our first time. Will I be making donuts on a regular weekly basis? Absolutely not. Let’s leave that to the experts. Craigie on Sundays and Apple Crest in October. See you guys there.
The NY Times article I read a few years back first put Portland, Maine on my radar as a dining destination, but back then, I already moved out of Boston and was adjusting to the more French and Southern inspired DC dining scene. When I moved back this winter, I made a goal to take a trip out with Katie and Krissie and as of this past weekend, I could cross it off my list. Sadly, we did not make it to any of the restaurants mentioned in the list, although Duckfat was by the same people who created Hugo’s.
Summer always makes me happy because it’s berry season. Growing up I loved the favor red so you could always count me in for watermelon, cherries, raspberries and strawberries. Blueberries grew on me because of the deliciousness that are blueberry bagels, muffins, pancakes and scones. Yet when I buy blueberries from the super market, eating them by themselves just doesn’t do it for me. Days pass, and I stress on what to do with them and it inevitably gets tossed into a baked item. The cycle repeats itself every year, and I don’t have any plans to stop it.
Last week I made blueberry muffins in my non-air conditioned kitchen during a heat wave. The kitchen got so hot that the butter in the crumb topping started to melt before I could finish pouring the muffin batter into the cups and sprinkle the topping. That made for ugly muffins, but today the heat wave ended and I’m at it again with blueberry scones.
Double recipe from Cooks.com
4 cups All Purpose Flour
4 tbsp. White Granulated Sugar
5 tbsp. Baking Powder
3/8 tbsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups Butter (Melted)
4 Eggs (Beaten)
1/2 cup Milk (I used skim)
1 1/3 cups Blueberries (I used closer to 2 cups to use up the rest of my blueberries)
Get Ready for a 20 Minute Super Heat Wave
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with vegetable oil or butter.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In separate bowl, mix butter, eggs and milk. Pour liquid into dry mixture and stir until everything is combined. Fold in blueberries.
Separate dough/batter into two equal sizes. Dump one pile onto a floured surface and flatten into about a 9 inch disc. Divide into 8 wedges and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with second pile.
Update: I added a dusting of powdered sugar because I can. I also would have liked to add a squirt of lemon juice and some lemon zest.
There is a laziness that goes along with vacations. While in Paris, I tried to take advantage of the cute market nearby without having to cook with too much heat in our non-air conditioned apartment. I grabbed a baguette, some extra virgin olive oil, ricotta, figs, orange, honey, and black pepper.
The recipe is simple. Cut the baguette on the bias, giving yourself as much surface space for crostini goodness. Toast the bread slices until golden brown. Mix orange zest, juice of half the orange, and ricotta. Spread the toasts with the ricotta mixture and crack black pepper on top. Place sliced figs and honey on the bread. Eat, smile, smile some more, and repeat.
I’ve decided to come out of my hell hole to give Ray a break. Ray, you can thank me later by posting a video. If you don’t, you will be sorry. Please refer to crazy statue monkey below.
I have his number… don’t make me call him
Haha, I am too much sometimes. On this past Friday, I cooked dinner for my extended family and built the menu around my grandma’s favorite foods, cauliflower and salmon. Though the result was out of this world fantastic, I neglected to bring my Nikon with me for the trip home since I told myself I would focus. Damn it for being responsible and studious!!!!! However, I loved the salmon en papillote and roasted cauliflower puree so much, I’ll probably do it again when I go back to Boston. I vow to be a cooking/photographing/blogging monster. Pinky swear!
In the meantime, I will post about a guilty pleasure of mine… pancakes! I have a thing about ordering pancakes when I go out for breakfast. And by a thing, I mean I don’t. When I visited Ray, I ordered over easy eggs at the Original Pancake House. Really? you’re thinking. Yes, really.
NO PANCAKES, NO!
I am by no means a snob because Lord knows I make terrible pancakes from scratch. I also loudly and proudly support the use of Bisquick. Yes, I said Bisquick. Deal with it. When I make my “lazy man’s” pancakes, I’ll jazz them up with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and some combination of mushed up bananas, blueberries, and/or chocolate chips. The result? Always a perfectly fluffy and satisfying stack of pancakes. Do I doubt the pros can do this better than I can? Maybe. Perhaps I’m just not willing to let them win.
Fortunately, I “the lazy man” have not resorted to the shake and pour Bisquick. I would not allow myself to
fall plummet from grace like that. And so the mystery continues as I will never concede defeat to restaurant/diner pancakes.
Good to be back for 15 minutes. Until the 28th guys!