Monday, February 26, 2018

Snickerdoodles


A snickerdoodle is a long-winded confusing name for a cinnamon sugar cookie.

Spiced cookies are a bit of a balancing act. Too much spice and your cookies will taste like soap. Too little and you can’t taste it at all. Too many other ingredients and you might as well not add the spice to begin with. That’s why following a recipe like this one is best.

These melt-in-your mouth cookies are great with a cup of tea or coffee and are nice treat when you want something sweet but not TOO sweet.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Baking time: 15 Minutes

Makes about a dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

¼ Cup Whole Wheat Flour

¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg – You can buy nutmeg whole and grate it yourself or buy the stuff pre-ground. The latter is easier and weaker in flavor, so ideal if you have any fussy eaters in your home.

½ Teaspoon of Salt

¾ Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 Large Egg

2/3 Cup Butter at room temperature – You can get it to this temperature by cutting it into cubes, putting it on a plate, and leaving it in a warm place for 15 minutes, or popping it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

1 Tablespoon + ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon – Divided

1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar –Divided

½ Teaspoon Vanilla extract or Rum – Optional – It adds nice flavor, but it’s not necessary.

Equipment

Parchment Paper

2 Baking Sheets

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Medium Sized Mixing Bowl

1 Large Mixing Bowl

Electric Beaters or 1 Whisk

1 Wooden spoon

1 fork

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, the salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, stirring with a fork to combine.

In your big mixing bowl, beat the butter and ½ cup of sugar together until fluffy.

Beat the egg and Vanilla (if using) into the butter and sugar mixture.

Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until it forms a slightly crumbly dough.

Stick the bowl in the fridge and walk away for at least 30 minutes. Chilling the dough will keep the cookies from spreading out too much while baking.

Preheat the oven to 325 oF.

In the same medium sized bowl you kept the dry ingredients in, combine the 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon with 1 Cup of Granulated sugar.

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take the dough out of the fridge.

With clean hands, compress the dough into balls about an inch and a half across and roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Place them on the baking sheet a couple of inches apart to allow them to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Cool on the pan for 10 minutes and serve!

-Samantha R. Gold


Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.

















Sunday, February 11, 2018

Creamy Shrimp Pasta


Hello All!

After a long hiatus to settle some health crap, I’m back Baby! And I’m ready to teach you all the great recipes and techniques I can to make 2018 a little tastier and a little healthier while still making cooking a lot more fun!

Today, I want to teach you a recipe for Valentine’s Day!

Since last year I did sweet, this year I’m going savory with a delicious creamy shrimp pasta! This dish is not only impressively tasty but you can have it on the table for your loved one(s) in 30 minutes without the exorbitant restaurant price!

It also happens to be red and pink ;)

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep and Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

1/2 a Can of Ground Tomatoes OR plain Tomato Sauce

1 Pound of Shrimp - Peeled and De Veined - Raw or Cooked, it doesn't matter much

1 Cup of dry White Wine OR Clam Juice - You can get the latter in the grocery store - I think it's kept with the canned tuna

1 Cup of Whipping Cream

Pinch of Chili Flakes - Optional

4 Tablespoons of Fresh Garlic, peeled and finely minced

½ Teaspoon of Basil or Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil - Divided

1 Tablespoon of Butter

1 box of Pasta of choice – 375 g - Angel Hair cooks fast but Linguine works great too!

Equipment

1 Whisk

1 Deep Frying Pan

1 Pair of Tongs

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Knife and Cutting Board

1 Large Pot and Strainer to cook your pasta with

Season the shrimp with oregano or basil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

Start getting your pasta ready.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil in a deep frying pan and warm - if the shrimp are already cooked - OR - cook the shrimp JUST until they turn pink.

Turn off the heat for a second and transfer the shrimp to another bowl for a bit.

Heat the same pan again and add the remaining Olive oil and butter.

Dump in the garlic and cook until it softens and becomes smelly - cookbooks call this "fragrant" but we know what's up ;)

Add the clam juice or white wine and simmer for a minute.

Add the ground tomatoes or Sauce and whisk to combine.

When it starts to bubble, whisk in the cream until well combined.

Taste and adjust for salt.

Add the freshly cooked and drained pasta and the shrimp - adding the shrimp last will keep them from overcooking.

Toss everything together and serve!

Enjoy!

And HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.





Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Good Roast Beef

With Gravy


With the holidays ‘a coming we all want to do something hearty and protein rich with which to warm friends and family . Unfortunately, with employment opportunities in the dumpster for anyone born after 1980, buying a roast beef can seem like a BIG expense for something you’re only going to enjoy once.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A roast can be a great investment if you’re frugal and willing to learn how to stretch it. With a few clever tricks, you can use a roast for over 3 meals instead of just the big one. I’m ready and willing to show you how.

But first, you need to learn how to make a roast beef.

The trick a moist, tasty roast is patience and a good gravy.


Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium -Easy
Prep  time: 15 Minutes
RoastingTime: 60 to 90 minutes or more depending on the size of your roast

Serves 4 to 12 depending on the size of the roast you get and the number of side dishes you serve with it


Ingredients

1 Rib Roast of Beef - I’m not specifying a size here because I’m going to give guidelines that you can tweak based on how big a roast you get. A three and a half pound beef roast will serve 4 people. Add a half pound for every meat eater you’ll be serving to estimate the size you’ll need. To save even more money, buy when it’s on sale and freeze. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months and you can thaw it out in the fridge three  or four days before you need to cook it.

Salt and Pepper OR Montreal Steak Spice – I prefer the latter as it has more dimension in flavor, but salt and pepper is easier to come by.

Vegetable Oil

GRAVY
Yields about 2 ½ Cups of Gravy

2 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Teaspoon of Worcestshire Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar

½ Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon of Canned Cranberry Sauce (Optional) – It adds wonderful sweetness and depth, but it’s not necessary

Salt – To Taste

1 Tablespoon of Softened Butter Mashed Together with 1 ½ Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour

Equipment

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Whisk

1 Frying Pan

1 Baking Dish

1 Pair of Tongs

1 Small Mixing Bowl

1 Large Cutting Board

Kitchen scale – You can get one of these for as little as 10 bucks.

1 Serrated Knife

ROAST

Weigh your roast as its weight will determine the roasting time.

Preheat the oven to 350 oF.

In the small mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and salt and pepper.

Rub it all over the meat.

Heat your flying pan on high and brown the roast on all sides, turning it once one side is brown using your trusty tongs.

Put the roast in your baking pan and pop it in the oven. Set the frying pan aside but don’t wash it yet. You’ll need it to make your gravy.

For a Rare roast beef, roast it 15 minutes for every pound of meat you have. For Medium Rare, 20 minutes per pound. For Medium, 25 minutes, per pound, and if you like it well done, 30 minutes per pound.

Once your roast is done, take it out of the oven put it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. DO NOT CUT INTO IT! Cutting the meat before it has rested will dry it out!

Instead, use the time to make your gravy.

Dump the beef stock and wine in your baking pan and whisk it, making sure to scrap all the brown bits that came off the meat from the bottom of the pan.

Pour everything into the frying pan you used earlier and put the heat on medium-high.

Add the Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Vinegar, Cranberry Sauce (if using) and Dijon mustard and whisk to break up the cranberry (it’s a bit gelatinous and needs some work) and evenly combine everything.

Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third (about 10 or 15 minutes).

Whisk in the butter and flour mixture, a little at a time until the gravy is thick enough for you.

Salt the gravy to your taste and pour into your desired serving vessel – a coffee mug and a spoon will work fine for this if you don’t have a gravy boat.

When the meat has rested long enough, carve it against the grain of the meat using a serrated knife and serve!

Wrap up the bones and any leftovers  and put them in the fridge. Stay tuned for next time when I’ll show you how to transform them into amazing meals!

 Enjoy!


-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.