Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apricot Preserves Pork Marinade and Summer Vegetables Salad

Pork tenderloin, how I love you.  You're quick, easy, go with a variety of sauces, and always come out perfect.

Really. I love me some pork.  Normally I just throw my standard soy sauce marinade on it but I was in the mood for something a little lighter, more summery and citrus so I went with a gingered apricot version instead.  Also, I was feeling especially lazy so was all about the easy. (Recipes after the break)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Banana Walnut Muffins

Ah, rainy Sunday.  One of those days that just begs for the warm smell of baked goods to be wafting around the house.  Lucky for me, I had a bunch of overripe bananas sitting on the counter that I had to do something with--so I did my usual "what to do with leftover fruit" thing which is bake muffins.

Now why muffins?  Sure, there are breads, jams, tarts and pies which all would have easily used up the bananas, but for me muffins are the best because if well wrapped, they can go in the freezer and last for months.  Then, for a healthy-ish dessert, I just pop one of them in BabyBella's lunch box (still frozen) and it's defrosted by the time lunchtime rolls around.  (Recipe after the break)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things We Like Thursdays -- Food Jewelry

I don't normally do "cutesy."  This is a general statement covering everything from movies to fashion to home decor.

Except for one little exception--I'm a total sucker for realistic mini food jewelry.  There's just something about wearing tiny bits of squee-worthy yumminess about your person that does it for me. Yes, cutesy out the wazoo.

I totally own these:
Seriously, if it wasn't for the earring hooks attached you'd so want a bite of that cake.

The genius behind these earrings is mmagda who sells, at ridiculously awesome prices on Etsy, a ton of different confectionary jewelry treats.  mmagda even does custom work.  Sadly, the rainbow cake earrings are no longer for sale, but these others are on my wishlist (click caption to go directly to Etsy listing):  
Chocolate Cupcake Bracelet
Sandwich Pendant
Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Ring
Waffle Bobby Pins
Cuteness overload!! (And no, I don't know mmagda and they don't know I am writing this. I'm just being a total fanboy.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Full baking day

As Bella posted we made another recipe together.  I bit of planning as I really did want to bake on Saturday, but I came home from work pretty darn wiped out.  So what did I learn from this recipe?  I didn't bother with precise measurements.  No matter what Bella says, I really don't measure that much.

Where's the windex?
Hmm, I seem to have gotten Bella dirty.  Well when in the kitchen messes do occur.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Everyday Chocolate Cake from Smitten Kitchen

Another weekend where the stars aligned and both Jo and I managed to catch up to cook together.  This time the project was Smitten Kitchen's Everyday Chocolate Cake (I told Jo we need to pick another blog to do recipes on so no one feels picked on...teehee).

(What happened after the break)

Friday, August 06, 2010

Things We Like Thursdays -- What's New Cupcake?

I harbor deep, unrealized fantasies of learning to decorate cakes, cookies, and cupcakes like a pro.  But honestly, the quest scares me a little bit.  There's fondant and gumpaste, gel coloring, rollers, and a whole slew of specialty language and tools to learn before I can even begin.

Or so I thought.

What if creating gorgeous, fun, whimsical cupcakes was easy?  What if anyone could do it with stuff they picked up at their local 7-11?  Well, seems Karen Tack and Alan Richardson have unlocked the secret code to do exactly that and shared it in their two cookbooks Hello, Cupcake! and What's New, Cupcake?.
Easter Flower cupcakes from Hello Cupcake's blog
Autumn Leaves and Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
Recipes located here


















What I love about these books is that the recipes use everyday items like M&Ms, Tootsie rolls, jelly beans and Circus Peanuts to make gorgeous cupcakes.  And the recipes are all accessible.  Instead of being intimidated I find myself inspired that I, too, can do this.  I don't like all of the recipes (a lot of dreaded CCC's. If you're a Cake Wrecks reader you know what I mean) but what I find most important about the books is they give you confidence, flexible ideas and techniques with examples that you can then leverage, like any technique, to make pretty much whatever your imagination fancies.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Roast Chicken Dinner

Jo has previously posted her Roast Chicken recipe which is much fancier than mine.  Admittedly, Jo is a much more precise and imaginative cook whereas I'm rather slap-dash with things.

That's what I love about roasted chicken--it's easy, throws together quickly, and is flexible on ingredients but is still really tasty.  With my decided lack of preplanning these are all key elements in getting something on the table around here. Recipe follows below...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Berry Easy Cheesecake

I have mentioned my love of all things pie, right?  Well, let me expand that now to include all things made in a pie dish.  As part of my "hey, I'm inviting myself over for dinner along with the whole family, but no worries I'll bring the food" I decided to throw together a second dessert.  As I was already up to my eyeballs in other food prep I decided to keep it simple with a basic cheesecake smothered in seasonal berries.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things We Like Thursdays

This week Jo and I are starting "Things We Like Thursdays" to randomly rant or showoff anything fun, nifty, cool of entertaining we found this week.  Whether it be a new blog, a beautiful looking recipe, extra-yummy restaurant, a squee-worthy puppy licking a kitten in a room full of stuffed animals and rainbows, or anything else that crosses our beady little minds, Jo and I will be sharing our obsession of the week with you.

To kick off the inaugural edition of "Things We Like Thursdays" I present to you one of my top ten completely-unnecessary-but-OMG-I-want-it kitchen items: Geeky Ice trays.
That's right--the Overlords at ThinkGeek have brought us the coolest (argh, really?) nostalgia-inspiring drink accessory since the resurgence of 50's style milkshake blenders in the form of Space Invader Ice Cube trays. Imagine geeking out your favorite drink with these little dudes then rhapsodizing for hours with your friends about the gazillions of hours you spent crouching progressively lower (as if that ever helped) to avoid the alien descent.  Oh...was that just me?  Come on, you know you just like totally had an 80's flashback. Fer shure.
Fred and Friends Ice Invaders

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You May Experience Technical Diffculties

Now that Bitch and Bake has been up and running for a few months I've decided it's time for a bit of a site design overhaul.  Admittedly the current layout is made up of a few graphics I slapped together one afternoon plus some basic widgets.  Not exactly high-class design, but it gave me time to learn a bit more about this platform.

What I need from you, dear reader, is twofold--first, your patience because as things get changed I will likely break parts of the site by botching up new code elements.  I promise nothing will be broken long so your patience while certain content is unavailable will be rewarded.  Second--if there is anything you'd like to see, have any feedback, or requests in layout or functionality or anything else (including "hey Bella, this over here is still broken) please let us know by leaving a comment below.  Jo and I want to make your visits to our cooking journey as much fun and easy as possible.

Oops, there is a third thing--if you're a reader and want us to post a link to your blog leave us the URL below and we'll add it in (disclaimer: nothing NC-17 or plus please...Jo and I are both parents of impressionable youngsters).

Thanks everyone!  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blueberries Part II


Jo has all the essentials covered in her version of our happy baking escapade.  I love it when a plan comes together and we get to Skype our way through a recipe.  As a note, BabyBella is a big fan of Jo's to the degree where every time she's helping me make something new and unusual she always reminds me to either Skype Jo or take pictures.

In case you're wondering what Jo looks like, here's a picture of her as we're talking (after the break):


Monday, July 26, 2010

Blueberries!

Today, I went blueberry picking with a friend. I came home with 3.6 lbs of blueberries. I threw about 2lbs into the chest freezer and the rest, I've been planning to make Blueberry Boy Bait Not that I'm trying to catch a boy, lord knows there are 2 human males and one canine male in this house and they drive me batty. But come on, like anyone else, the name is the draw! I pulled my butter out of the freezer and started laying out the ingredients and pulling up the recipe on my laptop, and of course, there was something missing. My baking buddy! I sent Bella a text, asking if she was interested in baking with me and the planets, gods, nature, whatever were aligned. Bella was available and she had blueberries in her fridge to boot! Fortuitous! So of course, now it's grab our laptops and set up the skype and let her rip. I decided to make a full sized pan and Bella went with a 9x9. The excuse for me is that I can take it to work tomorrow and have people help me eat it all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pecan Pie

I love pie.  Any and all pies.  Peach pie, apple pie, cherry pie, chicken pot pie, shepherd's pie...they make me happy.  Of course, just saying the word "pie" makes me think of David Cross' guest appearance in Just Shoot Me. 

Anyway, with that said, I invited myself over my brother's for dinner the other night.  I absolutely adore big family dinners but my house is too small to fit our ever-expanding extended family in so my solution is to invite everyone over my brother's then bring the food.  It's a good solution all around--he has the space, I enjoy cooking for a small army, and we both like any excuse to get everyone together.  With it being summer, dinner was traditional family picnic favorites such as seasoned burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and tortellini salad.  But I was in the mood to do a little something different for dessert so decided to tackle my very first pecan pie. (More after the break)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Everything but the kitchen sink

kitchen sink pasta salad This will be a quick post. I've been working and dealing with the summer heat. So I'm not interested in coming home and heating up my kitchen. I've grilled chicken the other night and some nut, not me decided to bake MONSTER chicken breasts last night. I mean really big hormone induced white meat, that takes an hour to bake because they are so big. So I have left over chicken and I do not want a repeat of a hot house and my poor electric bill rising exponentially for our comfort as the oven flames on. One of my go to meals in the summer is macaroni or pasta salad. I toss everything and anything that sounds good to me. In the photo you can see sliced olives, celery, carrots, and chickpeas. What is also in there is finely chopped Vidalia onions, chopped eggs, sliced grilled Thai style thighs, and baked breasts, thinly sliced napa cabbage, chopped parsley, and pickled jalepeno slices. I like to season the salad with a bit of black pepper, lots of paprika, a bit of salt, and Sirracha sauce, besides the requisite mayo. I like that heat the chili sauce brings. Now if this was my non mayo salad, I would make a simple vinaigrette with the pickled jalepeno juice, a bit of oil, and the usual seasonings.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

When it's time to clean out the fridge what do you do? Make quiche

slice of pie! Sometimes even if it is hot, I still turn on the oven. One of the reasons, well I have to clean out the fridge. Nothing is better than a quiche or a frittata. I can pass most any vegetable past my kid as long as there is plenty of cheese in the quiche. I use whatever meat I have too, but usually it's bacon. Hey we always have bacon in this house.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Caffeinated cool drinks

Holy smokes it's hot out there! Atlanta has been in the 90s with humidity and heat index making everyone feel like it's 110* in the shade.

One of the pleasures I enjoy during the warm months is iced tea. We drink iced tea by the gallon daily. I also brew my own tea. Now, I appreciate sweet tea, I really do, but the tea that is consumed out here, will make you a diabetic. Also I'm a tea snob. Hey, I can't help it, my ancestors figured out tea was a beverage.

iced lychee scented black tea w/ mint

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is in our food?

I saw this on Serious Eats US nuggets and followed the link to CNN's Sanjay Gupta section.

Which also had me looking for this clip.




Now that's Jamie's take on the prepared nuggets, he didn't add multi-syllable chemical agents to maintain form and what little texture there is.

Here is another clip of real chicken nuggets.



So tell me which one do you want to eat?

Monday, June 28, 2010

15 Minute Bay Scallop Alfredo

Cooking during the summer in this house can be a chore.  It's a darling house that I love dearly, but having been built in the 1800's and gone through several owners, the quality of the various upgrades/changes varies.  The kitchen, for example, was a later addition done on the cheap--they literally plugged an 11'x10' box onto the back of the second story with no insulation and minimal underside supports.  Therefore, besides having to shore up the room before I moved in (nothing like having to ask the question "well, is it going to fall off?") my kitchen, being the outside wall on four of six sides, is pretty much the same temperature as outside.  During the winter I just make a lot of breads, stews, and other long-cooking items to keep the room toasty, but in the summer anything which adds heat to the room makes the entire floor unbearable.
Not being a takeout kind of girl (it's fine once in awhile, but all summer? Expensive and unhealthy!) instead I've made it my mission this summer to come up with recipes that minimize my time in the kitchen and don't use the oven.  Yeah, I know, there are millions of 30-minute cookbooks out there but really--isn't that aiming too low?  Dinner is totally possible in 15 minutes which I proved last night with my 15 Minute Bay Scallop Alfredo. (recipe after the break)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We're on Vacation

Neither Jo or I have posted in a bit because we're on vacation.  We really should've warned you that we'd both be on summer break and not posting.  For Jo, well she's been busy back at work and her Stinky is off from school.  For myself, I don't tend to cook as much during the summer because it's a gazillion degrees here (and humid) and with the crappy lack of insulation in my house any cooking just defeats my poor over-worked air conditioning.  Never mind that, I decided to redo my kitchen which means it's been lots of takeout around here.

But I saw this yesterday and had to share.  I was in the local kitchen store looking for a new pot rack (darn those things are expensive!) and as I'm browsing this caught my eye:
A Monkey bread pan? Really?  Now, I know there are all sorts of specialty cookware items out there for pretty much everything imaginable but sometimes it makes sense because its an essential (e.g. bundt pan, bread pans) but this just seems silly.  One day I will have a huge kitchen with plenty of storage for all my random specialty toys, but even then I don't think this is going to be something I'll buy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salad Nicoise!

nicoise salad


It's spring out here! Well in a few weeks it will be the unofficial beginning of summer. Once Memorial Day hits out here, it's summer for all intents and purposes. The kids are out of school until early August.

Since warm weather means room temp or cool foods, this is a tasty one. I used leftover vegetables, and steamed some not quite so tiny baby red potatoes.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Slow smoked pork picnic

absolutely tender

So my husband has been working on this cooking method for a while. When in the South, smoke meat!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sweet & Spicy ribs... Where did they go?

sweet & spicy ribs

This is my follow up on the sweet and spicy marinade. This is the preferred sauce for ribs or pork in my house. Now Bella has her way of cooking ribs, and this is my way.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Pho

steaming hot pho

I love soups, quick soups especially. Pho is not a quick soup, well the process is not quick unless you use a pressure cooker. Steamy Kitchen's Pho or Steamy Kitchen's crockpot Pho I have found that using a pressure cooker takes about 5 hours off the process. Does it taste as good? Yea it's not bad, slow cooking is the best, but crockpots are never big enough!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Pass, One Fail--Ruhlman Rolls and Monkeybread

Cooking is one of those things where sometimes you just fail.  I've set the frying pan on fire, dropped pan loads of lasagna fresh out of the oven, exploded soup in the blender and all sorts of other entertainingly spectacular (and messy) disasters.  Other times, cooking results in absolute hits where impressed guests clear the dinner platters and ask for the recipe.

This week had both.

First was the monkeybread.  Jo's pics and rave reviews had me drooling over the thought of some gooey yumminess.  The recipe was easy to follow and mixed up easy as could be.

The first and second rise went great.

As I was planning on making them the next morning for breakfast, I put them in the fridge overnight.
This is the monkeybread after the second rise.  Looking perfect and wonderful.






The next morning, unfortunately, didn't go so well. I pulled the bread from the fridge and it looked very sad and deflated.  I popped it into the oven anyway...not one of my better ideas.

Ah well, so it didn't turn out to be the prettiest breakfast in the world. But I will say, it was tasty.  But yeah, pretty much a fail. Oh yeah, I call it Monkeybread instead of Monkeyballs because, after my six-year-old daughter went skipping off to her Catholic school singing "I love Monkeyballs, Monkeyballs" I decided maybe we'd keep it a bit more G-rated.
On the other hand, the buttermilk rolls from Ruhlman were amazing!  Admittedly, I was bit nervous after the Monkeybread incident, but decided to go ahead with them anyway.  OK, so I didn't weigh the flour or be as precise as Ruhlman suggested I be...but I referenced the two other recipes cited and just kind of went with it.  First, happy little dough balls.















Which rose exactly as expected.

Then baked up nice and golden.
And were some of the most tender, delicious rolls I ever ate.  Total win.
So there you have it--sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  At least with food the results, no matter what they look like, it's almost always delicious.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dublin Coddle

So, let's see, it's been over a month since I promised I would post the results of my St. Patty's Day dinner.

Admittedly I have a good excuse for my lapse:, but instead of giving you excuses, let's skip right to the food. :)