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Welcome to COOKINGSKEWL!!

The name can be pronounced in two ways, and that's exactly the dual purpose of this site: Cooking IS kewl and I really hope it's gonna be a kewl community Cooking School!


So let’s get started...



Love your Coffee? Try adding these!
I've made some new friends on my new job, and when telling them about this blog and how I like to try new recipes and ideas on a regular basis, Russell's first reaction was “BISCOTTI?!?”, lol. I said “sure”. So the next time I had the urge to bake, I did some searching.

An article titled “Seven Biscotti Recipes We Love” caught my eye, and I actually had all the ingredients for the first on the list: Bacon Chocolate Chip?!? Sounded like a dream to me...


This goes together so quick and easy that I completely forgot to take pictures – this one is from the recipe site. You fry some bacon, cool, then pulverize. Cream some butter and sugar, add a flour mixture, stir in the bacon and chips. I used dark chocolate chips, as they are my favorite and what I had on hand... It was NOT a mistake, and quite enjoyable.

My only issue had nothing to do with the recipe but with my oven – it simply doesn't hold a low temperate well. So after slicing the rolls and cooking at 200F to dry, I found myself checking every 10 minutes or so for multiple times – touching the slices to sense the first bit of crispness, then turning the oven off to let them sit for another half hour.

Light enough to enjoy on their own, dry enough to hold together while dunking. And that little bit of saltiness and texture from the bacon?!? Outstanding! I'll share my own photos in the various steps when I make these again - oh yeah, I WILL make these again

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 27 August 2017 - 14:18:02
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Just try it!!
Sometimes I just do a Google search of the ingredients I have on hand – today that was pork chops, tomatoes, and some squash and zucchini a neighbor had dropped off. The results of the search were interesting, and as I often do, I “mixed and matched”

I really liked the blend of seasonings in this one, - oregano, thyme and sweet paprika. - but it's a beautiful day and I felt like grilling! So I doubled the measure, and instead of just salt used some of my lemon salt. (it just felt right).. Used half for a dry rub on the chops...

and the rest with some olive oil and lemon juice on the veggies.

This guy chopped the veggies coarsely, and became my guide to cook times!



Serve it up, a squeeze of lemon and sprinkling of feta...


Gotta say, the juiciest pork chops in quite a while – yum!

Don't be afraid to play – you never know just how good it can be


Posted by Linda :
Sunday 23 July 2017 - 16:13:03
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Have you done this?
[Just started a new job with lots of studying and homework, so I must apologize for my absence once again. Brain is fried, so this is a quick tip ]

You know those "tubes" of meat? They're common for bulk sausage and also used for ground beef...


I saw my neighbor do something silly the other day. I'm not laughing at her, 'cause I've done something similar once or twice. Maybe you have, too.

She sliced the metal clip off one end of the tube (a tedious process), and then tried to squeeze the entire contents out of the tube from the other end. As this requires some strength (substantially more than squeezing a tube of toothpaste, lol), she actually put the uncut end that still had the metal bit BETWEEN HER TEETH(?!?) as she forcibly coaxed the contents out using both hands.

No, I didn't take a picture, but you get the gist, right?

NOT GOOD!!!

The simple fact is that if you slice the tube in THE MIDDLE, the contents practically fall out!




How many of you are saying something like "oh for Pete's sake" right about now? If you are, my work is done for today

Cookingskewl cares <3


Posted by Linda :
Friday 16 June 2017 - 17:45:44
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DO NOT MAKE THIS
You won't get what is promised Flavorful and so promising in many ways... but so disappointing.

Let me explain. I came across this recipe for a Jalapeno Pretzel ring - sounds lovely, doesn't it? I really, really wanted this one to work... I hadn't worked with “sprouted” flour before, and I bought some just for this task (BTW, it's lovely!).


Beautiful, isn't it? This pic is from the original site. If only it were true.

Let's start with the dough. A cup and a half of water and four cups of flour is not unreasonable. But then you add 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) of butter and pureed jalapenos and you've got a sloppy mess! I've made plenty of breads and more than a few pretzels – this was unacceptable. I ended up adding almost 2 cups more of flour? Even then it was a very soft dough. You might strain the jalapenos or use less water... but they were already in there, so adding flour (somewhat equal parts of both types) worked for me.

It rose nicely and was easy to work with and shape, though still very soft.




I finished the dough to make three small rings instead of one large one, thinking I could freeze two for later.



But then came the baking soda “dunk”. Quite common in making bagels as well as pretzels, I used a wide pot for the solution and a shallow skillet to scoop and drain – no mangling whatsoever!

While it was in the pot it looked great


But once it was set on the baking sheet, even for a moment...


They never recovered. A close up doesn't look too horrid...



But as a whole, it was kind of ugly.



I gotta say, it tasted so close to great I couldn't stand it!!! And the cheese sauce is nothing new, but that made this all worthwhile.

So here are my ideas: Strain your pureed jalapenos, or measure and then add very warm water to equal the 1 ½ cups asked for; be prepared to add more flour. Shape and prep as individual pretzels – I suspect the original photo was baked without the “pretzel making soak". I now doubt that a large amount of dough can be processed at one time in the average kitchen – I think it's a temperature thing More research needed...

The flavor is there! By the time I got back to the original post to comment, that section had been “closed” – guess I wasn't the only one with objections. The idea is good, but the application very lacking. Play with it at your own risk and let me know how you make out!




Posted by Linda :
Friday 19 May 2017 - 21:13:57
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Anyone like eclairs? Cream puffs?
It was a few days before Easter, I had been asked to bring Aunt Pat's Salad... I called Papa back and asked what was for dessert. “I haven't decided yet.” “I have time – what do you want? Pie, cake, cookies, cream puffs... “ I went on a bit further but in the background I heard him - “Mmmmm – cream puffs!?!” And the rest is history If I say so myself...


I'd made Paris-Brest before, actually, several times. In fact, I thought I'd posted a bit about it here... It's a circular eclair, a giant cream puff if you will. Though I've been sorting and purging and organizing a TON around here, I didn't find the cookbook that held the recipe I'd used in the past, so I googled a bit and found Chef Philippe’s recipe - loved, Loved, LOVED the idea of the nutty butter cream filling, BUT...

It's probably a conversion complication, but his directions for pate a choux (cream puff pastry) had almost twice the flour required and not nearly enough bake time. I followed it, and ended up with a very dense underdone ring of inedible dough. I ended up using Martha's recipe, piped per Philippe, and baked per Martha. Got all that? Or just use Martha's...

But Philippe was spot on with the filling!!! I've used pastry cream, whipped cream, ice cream, various puddings... Of course I made my own praline, using this video


Here's my result:

Looks like brown sugar, doesn't it? Pop a bit into your mouth and it melts into a decadently smooth, richly flavored butter. A tiny bit of grit will remain unless you've got a professional strength nut grinder, but oh my – this alone is worth the experiment!!!

Making the french silk butter cream (a first for me – and SO worth it) is very straight forward. I used about 8 heaping Tablespoons of MY yummy praline.

Have I bored you yet? No, I doubt it.

So the wreath of baked pate a choux – your round eclair – gets cooled and sliced horizontally. Not necessary, but if you're a perfectionist, use toothpicks to mark a matching point on both the top and bottom before you set the top aside.

Pipe in your filling. PRO TIP: scoop some dollops within the center of the wreath, and then pipe around the edges where it will show!

Place the top back on – align as needed... Now traditionally, as shown in both recipes, a Paris-Brest is topped with slivered almonds during the baking process. For Easter I wanted to somehow add some pastel shades as well as a “crown of thorns”, and cracked Jordan almonds seemed perfect! I just HAD to experiment and as I suspected, the candy covered nuts exploded in flame when heated in my toaster oven, lol. So how to make those delicious chunks stick to the round? Why, CHOCOLATE, of course!!!

My brother and his son, neither of which usually partakes in dessert... well individually they told me that this was definitely a keeper! That's high praise indeed.



FYI: that's a bowl of “plain” whipped cream filled little puffs in the center. They should have been dusted with powered sugar, but they were disappearing so fast, I needed to take the pic

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 29 April 2017 - 16:40:45
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That looks good!
Hadn't decided what to make for dinner tonight, and it was getting late. Something light was in order - I really wasn't that hungry if I'd waited so long, right? Well, as I was flipping through the channels a commercial for that copper pan came on - you know the one nothing sticks to it, never scratches... It's that lady who did the "dump" cookbooks? Well, when she got to that tortilla thing, I gotta admit it looked just right!


Some leftover chicken breast coarsely sliced, seasoned black beans straight from the can, a generous sprinkle of cheese... Folding it wasn't quite as easy as she made it look (maybe because I'd already started to heat the pan), but it came out fine. Topped with a splash of salsa and a dollop of plain greek yogurt?


For about five minutes effort, quite satisfying - and hey, only about 400 calories! Not worth buying the pan, but definitely worth a try


Posted by Linda :
Saturday 08 April 2017 - 17:44:43
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I did it! I DID it! THIS TIME I REALLY DID IT!!!
I wrote this article whose title was similar, but ended "no, (sigh) I really didn't" about six years ago, and yes, the topic was the same - my Grandmother's Refrigerator Rolls. Uniquely her own, never duplicated or experienced from anyone's hands but her own... I can honestly state that this is a personal mission the equivalent of my family's Holy Grail! With me as the primary bread baker in the family...

Here's the recipe as was observed on numerous attempts - Grandmother never wrote it down:

Ingredients:
1 cup Milk
1/3 cup Crisco
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup warm water
1 small yeast cake or 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 large potato
2 eggs, well beaten
4-1/4 cups flour

Method:
Scald milk – do not boil. Add Crisco, salt and sugar.
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Cook and mash potato, add well-beaten eggs. Add mixture and yeast to warm milk mixture.
Stir in flour. Turn onto well-floured board and knead into a smooth texture.
Place into a well-greased container with tight cover. For best results, refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Make into rolls and place in greased pan. Leave to rise until size has doubled, about 2 hours.

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350F.

Seems simple, right? Problem was, I could get delicious yeast/potato flavor, or the light as air texture - never both. I've tried dozens of times... How many kinds of flour are there? AP, bread flour, self-rising... even cake flour! I tried them all. I found numerous similar recipes, but none panned out.

This past weekend it was my neighbor's birthday, and the silly gal decided to throw her own party! She'd planned on cooking up a storm and when I asked what I could bring... you guessed it, she asked for rolls So I tried these once again. I've been enjoying the exploration of King Arthur Flour, and they had an Amish roll that was somewhat similar to my elusive goal.
http://www.cookingskewl.com/e107_images/newspost_images/nelms%20rolls.jpg

Batch One: Made strictly to their recipe with the exception of using Crisco instead of butter. I'm sure butter would be good, but NOT what Grandmother used. Result was a great texture, and everyone enjoyed, but not enough of the potato flavor. Batch Two: This was actually my first attempt but served later on at the party. I'd started the same as above, but earlier that morning so it could rise in the fridge for several hours. Result: More of "the right" flavor!!


Encouraged, Batch Three was started the next day, using a full 24 hour rise in the fridge. Surprisingly, even with the slow rise in the cold environment, it grew more than either of the previous batches. It was easier to shape into rolls, though I need some more practice to make them all uniform I allowed more time for the second rise... PINCH ME NOW!!! They smelled, looked, and felt "just right"!!!

This is the batch I shared with my Mom, the only remaining local critic with factual knowledge of "the" original - and I wish I'd let my machine answer the call. "They're good, they're really good!"

In my favorite purpose, I have always split two rolls, schmeared with Hellman's Sandwich Spread, topped with a single slice of American cheese, quartered, a generous grating of black pepper. and then toasted - Absolute Heaven!!! These live up to that standard, I'm proud to say.

Fresh out of the oven I don't feel as if I've found that "perfection" . We obviously had far too much liquid in our note taking, and the current version omits the milk - at least one more round of tweaking is needed - but enjoy, folks.

Grandmother's Refrigerator Rolls WILL live on!





Posted by Linda :
Monday 03 April 2017 - 13:13:54
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Exceptionally Enjoyable Use of Cabbage Part II:
You might have heard - the Northeast got clobbered with a snowstorm this past week, and according to the Governor my town got hit the hardest. Just for fun, this video was taken within 10 miles of where I live...



Being snowbound and all, we do the best with what we got, right? Actually, that's pretty much all the time, but I digress... With what I had on hand, I decided to make Halupki Soup! Halupki(?) I hear you ask. Stuffed Cabbage. Rolled Cabbage. REALLY YUMMY CABBAGE!

So I browned some ground beef with onion and garlic. Tossed about a half head of chopped cabbage into the mix and simmered, covered about 20 minutes...


Now, you can do this all in a Dutch oven on the stove top, but I had some shoveling to do, so I adapted this recipe so once I prepped, it could finish all on its own in the slow cooker.

Into the crockpot (set on "HI") went some beef stock, sugar, vinegar, rice, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes - and the cabbage/beef mixture. A couple hours later...


About five hours total, this was my reward for all that snow removal!

I never added the smaller can of beef broth. I waited to see if it was needed, and you know, I didn't think it was - it was just the thickness I wanted. And I rarely use boullion cubes or granules - as always, your choice!


I can't tell you just how satisfying this was for "the duration", lol! BTW, that bread peeking in? I made that, too.

But more on that another day Stay warm and dry, folks!

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 18 March 2017 - 15:52:52
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Ya gotta try this!
I recently found myself with a couple heads of cabbage - one was on purpose, but... In search for something other than coleslaw, I stumbled upon this really kewl recipe from Mr. Food - Aunt Nellie's Cabbage Fritters! If you like potato pancakes, you're gonna love this - faster, easier, and healthier. And guess what? It has bacon!!!

So for my new favorite, you start with a bunch (actually a fourth to a third of a head) of cabbage, a little onion, and a little bacon...


A little flour, a couple eggs... Season of course - I like salt, pepper, and a generous grating of nutmeg... Mix well.


Plop some into your frying pan. I used the pan I had just cooked the bacon in, drained of most of the fat with some Crisco added. My "plop" on the top is just a little small; the one on the left a little big; and the one on the right was just right


Brown...



Drain on paper towels (or my preference, cardboard) and serve.


And why not add a dollop of sour cream?

For real, not counting the sour cream, this entire batch of 9 or 10 fritters INCLUDING the oil for frying, is only 1000 calories! Lots of fiber and calcium, some protein and a whole bunch of other "good for you stuff".

Ya really do gotta try this!!

Posted by Linda :
Wednesday 08 March 2017 - 13:13:56
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Sooo Yummy! And made with leftovers?
I think I've mentioned before that my neighborhood is lucky enough to have a mini Farmer's Market come visit us on a regular basis. Last week, the produce truck had poblanos! Roasting on the stove is so quick and easy if you only have a couple: just wrap in foil (double layer for regular, single layer with heavy duty), and then place directly on a burner set at medium. Rotate every 4-5 minutes (total of about 20) until peppers are soft - USE TONGS and/or kitchen mitts for this!!! Let rest 15 minutes in the foil, and this is what you get.


Gently peel most of the charred skin, slit lengthwise and remove as many seeds as you can. Leave the stem and its inner core to help stabilize these now really soft peppers.

Now to make the filling. I had a leftover chicken breast, some chunky salsa, cheese... added a few spoonfuls of (cooked) brown rice to soak up any excess moisture... Very kewl way to clean out the fridge!! After tasting, I added some garlic powder, oregano, and believe it or not, a dash of cinnamon - very classic Mexican.


Scoop your filling into the peppers and shape them something like this. Lookin' purty, right


Ooops! Can't forget to top them off with more cheese


If my filling ingredients had been warm, I would have just popped this under the broiler - but since I was pulling pretty much all of my ingredients from the fridge, I baked at 350F for about 20 minutes...


Oh YEAH!!!! We'll be doing this again soon!

Posted by Linda :
Tuesday 28 February 2017 - 14:41:04
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