Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rock the Vote!

I am volunteering on Tuesday to work the polls for the election. The hours are long, the pay is low, but I think it'll be a fun experience. Plus, it's a day off of work, and since I'm out of vacation time, this is as close as it gets as time off.

I was told that the hours are 5:30am to 7:30pm or until all the voters in line at 7:30pm have voted. I was also told that it's highly recommended that you bring breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the day because it will probably be too busy to go out for any breaks.

I thought I would be nice for the other poll workers and make some cookies for the day. What better thing to make than elephants and donkeys, the symbols for the Republican and Democratic parties.

I made more elephants than donkeys, because let's face it...the elephants are going to need a majority of something on Tuesday, and it's probably not going to be votes!

I'm happy to say that I've already voted several weeks ago for Barack Obama. It surprises me that there are still "undecided" voters out there. How is this even possible? You're either for a rational, intelligent individual, or you're either racist, ignorant, or an idiot. If you don't think any of those apply to you, then it's probably the last one. Who the hell thinks it's a good idea to elect a grumpy old man who's a 72 year old heartbeat away from putting in the dumbest bitch in the free world?

So my request is that if you're voting for Obama, get to the polls early and place your vote if you haven't already, and if you're thinking about voting for McCain, either don't go out, or do what Ms. Palin thinks should happen and just let "God do what's right" on election day.

Onto the cookies....

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely. (I baked mine only for 5 minutes because I love soft, chewy cookies.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

I recently bought some lemon pound cake at meijer, and it was excellent, but I think I can do better. We will see. It's in the oven now, and I'm going to bring it to work tomorrow, so I'll have to update this once I've taste tested it.

If it's shitty, I'll just pawn it off on the coworkers.

Pound Cake Ingredients:

3 cups cake flour
6 large eggs
1 pound butter
1 pound sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder


Sift the flour, baking soda,and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in salt and
the sugar. Use a large spoon for this. Next, add the butter.

Add the eggs, whole. At this point begin mixing on slow and slowly add the buttermilk, and then add the vanilla extract. After it is thoroughly stirred, turn the mixer up to medium for a few minutes, and then finally on high. If the mixture is a little thick add just a touch more buttermilk. If you don't mix things thoroughly you will have lumps that will form air bubbles in your mixture and leave holes in your finished cake.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take your standard tube cake pan and oil it with butter. Then lightly flour the oiled pan. Shake the excess flour from the pan.

Pour the mix in, bake the cake for about an hour and twenty minutes. Keep looking at how your cake is doing through the oven door but avoid opening the door too much while it is cooking as I have seen this, or jarring a cake, cause it to collapse. When you think it is done, do the toothpick test. Stick a wooden toothpick into one of the thickest parts of the cake. If it's dry when you pull it our, the cake is done.

Allow the cake to cool 15 or 20 minutes in the pan. Then gently remove it, and stick it on your favorite decorative cake plate.

Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice


Mix the above two ingredients until smooth, and pour over warm pound cake.

I'll update this with a picture later on if I remember to take a picture before I bring it in to work.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Banana Bread

I hate bananas. I think it's the texture that just makes me want to gag. However, I love banana bread. There's nothing better than warm banana bread fresh out of the oven with some melting butter.

Since I've been craving banana nut muffins all week, I decided I'd make some banana bread instead.


1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ice Cream!!

Well, I decided that I'd start a new blog specifically for ice cream. I just purchased a new ice cream maker, and knowing how much I love ice cream, I'll probably be making more of that than any other thing. I may give up eating real food.

My new blog, I Dream of Ice Cream, will be updated later this week with the first recipe.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Hello. My name is Jared, and I'm an italian food whore.

I love italian food, and could probably live on it day in and day out (if there wasn't mexican or chinese food around).

This weekend, I decided I wanted some chicken fettuccine with of my favorites. I stole this recipe from another food blog, but made some slight modifications to the original - I Have to Cook Anyway, so thanks for the recipe!

I didn't roast the garlic, and I also didn't use the mustard powder since it's optional, and I don't have any. I also used the milk and cream, since I have a ton of cream left over from the salty caramels.

My favorite pasta to use is the Barilla Fettuccine - they make the best pastas in my opinion. I also like to use peas, and according to my friends, that's really weird, because I should be using broccoli (eww), but I really like the sweet flavor of fresh peas, so I'll stick with my (superior) recipe.


1 bulb of Roasted Garlic
2 cups milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream)
1/3 of an 8oz pkg of cream cheese

3 tablespoons butter (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cups grated parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder (optional)

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (you decide how thick you want it)

1 lb chicken - cubed
Garlic Sea Salt - to taste


Cube the chicken into small pieces. Heat a pan on high with a little EVOO and then add the chicken. Cook until it's nice and done. I like mine seared until it's golden.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups milk and butter together, stirring frequently until smooth and heated through. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, dry mustard, and reserved 1/2 cup milk. Stir slowly into the sauce and heat until thickened. Remove from heat. Mash as much roasted garlic as you want and stir it into the sauce. Stir in the parmesan and the chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to the directions, and then add the pasta to the sauce and stir.

I also have a little helper who whines and begs for food, and of course, I always give in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

S'mores Brownies

I needed some inspiration for something to make this weekend, so I looked over some food blogs, but eventually landed on food network's website. I was searching for something that looked good, so after browsing the site for a while, I found the top 100 recipes of 2007. At number 8 was this recipe for a smores brownie. My insatiable sweet tooth decided for me that the brownies would be what I made.

I ended up cheating a little because I'm lazy, so I didn't use the aluminum foil since I was using a silicone pan (bad idea!!!). I also found that when cooking the crust in the silicone pan, it only took like 10 minutes to cook, not the 20, so it looks a little on the crispy side.

I also added some chocolate chunks to the batter because I have a ton of chocolate that is about to expire.

While the brownies were good, they weren't the life altering brownies that I expected them to be, considering they were #8 on the top 100 list.



6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

I also added some chocolate chunks since I had some and they were about to expire. Plus, more chocolate is always a good thing.

4 cups large marshmallows - I used mini marshmallows


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Salty Caramels

Fleur de Sel is a little harder to find than I thought it would be. I found several flavors of it, but none that were just plain salt. I ended up just purchasing three different types of Hawaiian sea salt:

  • Black Lava Sea Salt
  • Red Alaea Sea Salt
  • White Sea Salt
After tasting all three, I think I'll be using a lot of the red alaea sea salt. It has a very unique flavor that I can't describe.

Well, back to the caramels. I started making these a little late, so I ended up only making the caramels, even though I wanted to dip them in chocolate.

I also should have been smarter when making these. The original recipe said it would make 24 1-inch squares...I consider myself a smart person, but I didn't catch that this was being made in an 8"x8" pan or 64 1-inch squares, and I doubled the recipe, ended up with a ton of caramels and brought them into work to share.

Onto the recipe...


canola or vegetable oil for pan (I used peanut oil)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling (I used just plain white hawaiian sea salt)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water


Place a piece of parchment paper inside an 8"x8" dish and brush with the vegetable oil.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, butter, and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a boil, and then remove from the heat and set aside.

In a 4 quart heavy saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. After it has dissolved, boil without stirring the pan until the mixture is a light caramel color, swirling the pan to keep it from burning.

Stir in the cream mixture that you made earlier (but be careful, it totally starts hissing and popping when you add it) and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is 248 degrees on a candy thermometer

Pour into the 8"x8" pan and sprinkle with some more of the sea salt. Let the caramel cool for two hours, and then cut into 1" squares.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Unwanted Addiction(s)

Even though I told my sister I wouldn't be doing a food blog, I have become addicted to them recently thanks to her blog, and all the links on it.

Beginning tomorrow, I'll be one of millions of food bloggers on the net. I've already picked out my first recipe as inspired by some ice cream that I had today called Salty Caramel from Jeni's Ice Cream here in Columbus, Ohio. If you've never had salty caramel ice cream, I would not recommend starting since it's probably the most addictive ice cream I've ever had, and it's about $10 a pint! (Thanks Peggy for picking me up 2 pints today as a gift!)

Before I delve into trying to recreate that ice cream, I want to test just making salty caramels, so tomorrow's post will be dedicated to making Fleur de Sel caramels. long as Trader Joe's or Whole Foods has Fleur de Sel.

By the way, my dog apparently is a caramel fiend. I had a drop of ice cream on my shirt and he went crazy for it, and wouldn't stop licking my shirt for about 20 minutes, even with nothing left.

Isn't he cute!