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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...



Ghoulish Pizza
SO sorry I'm late with this!!! I happened to catch the tail end of the show, and Mario Batali had prepared this perfectly ghoulish pizza - which I simply HAD to make!



Awesome, right? And it tastes even better. I already had some pizza dough that I'd made using King Arthur's recipe, but I cooked them using the skillet technique from Mario - you've got to try it!!! Just like grilling pizzas, you've got a partially cooked crust with a crisp bottom that all you have to do is add your toppings and bake or broil a bit more. A "keeper" technique

So, you slowly saute your onions in an oil/butter combo, and then simmer for a bit in some diluted balsamic vinegar with just a touch of sugar. This element I've made before, and even if the idea of the pizza escapes you, these onions are delicious!!! You spread some creamy goat cheese over the top of the crusts and garnish with the onion!!!


A couple comments here: as a viewer pointed out in the comments, add the olive oil to the goat cheese to make it easier to spread. I ended up adding more than the recipe called for, but I got the texture I wanted. Personally, I'd go with a bit more cheese as well... I hadn't purchased enough cipollini and that's why you see some sloppy rings. I made a second batch of the balsamic glazed onion, using plain old yellow onions... The cipollini were definitely the "ghoulier", but we didn't really notice a difference in the flavor.

Now, we can't forget the "blood sauce" - a simmered mixture of equal parts red wine and sugar. I simply couldn't resist this brand -


Only a cup went into the sauce, and this was a very nice, dry Cabernet Sauvignon at a very reasonable price.

Pop the pizzas under the broiler to your desired "darkness" and drizzle with the sauce.



You need not make it horrid looking, but the flavor combinations are sublime. I found a bit of salt and pepper accentuated the sweet, salty and savoriness of the dish. This a dish worthy of year round enjoyment!

Posted by Linda :
Friday 10 November 2017 - 16:41:45
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Sweet and Salty and Seasonal ;-)
This makes an incredibly big batch, so have some airtight containers ready!!! But it's easy as can be:

Toss the "salty" together (rice chex, pretzels, bugles)...


Gently bake with a glaze (butter, brown sugar, vanilla)...


Now, ME? I would have stopped here - those are peanut butter and chocolate pieces...


but it IS a holiday that's all about the sugar !!


It's on dozens of sites, but this is the one that I used for Harvest Chex Mix!

Posted by Linda :
Sunday 29 October 2017 - 18:18:10
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The Best Brownie that isn't QUITE a brownie – that you'll absolutely LOVE
I've made this recipe more than a couple times – and it's awesome! What bothers me is that the last time I went to the saved link to get the recipe I was told that after over a year, I no longer had privileges?!?

Okay, lets all shake that off. We're about to make Banana Foster Chocolate Crusted BLONDIES. That's MY name for them, and very appropriate. Bananas Foster is a pan seared, deep caramel, rum sauce that is flambeed as the bananas cook, often served over ice cream. Here you have all the flavors baked into a chocolate crusted BROWNIE. Repeat after me...


I use my food processor to crumble the chocolate grahams, a touch of sugar and the melted butter.


Press all of that into the 13”x 9” and bake for a short while, then cool.


Now for the fun ingredients! Obviously missing are the bananas, which I'd frozen and well, they really aren't very pretty after that...

Bananas, eggs, rum, flour, salt, walnuts... Shmoosh them all up in your food processor or mixer.

The KEY to this recipe is browned butter – I've posted about this technique before and promise: I took lots of pics and will post a simple tutorial soon.


That gets mixed into the batter that gets poured over the crust and baked. And then...

OH PHOOEY!!!! I don't have any pictures of the finished product!?!? I've got to make these AGAIN?



to be continued...

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 14 October 2017 - 18:00:49
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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.

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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