Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Homemade Not Quite Croissants

Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm doing.  None.  I have big dreams and no concept of how to make fancy things like croissants.  I think, "Oh, I'll just follow the directions, that works, and then I will dazzle my friends and family with these.  They'll be so good that Prince Charming will come knocking on my door, because this is why he's been holding out on me for so long (or he might be stuck in a tree - poor guy)."

Yeah, no.  Realistically, I made some decent dinner rolls, that in no way resembled croissants.  My friends and family were in no way dazzled (although, my kind and wonderful parents politely ate a few).  As for PC, no idea where he is.  Probably still in the damn tree.

The basic process seems fairly straightforward.  You make a dough, roll it out, fold it over, chill, repeat.  I did all those things, but it still didn't work.  I'm going to try again, using pastry flour instead of the white/wheat mix I used.  And now I will leave you with some pictures.

If you want actual croissants, go to a bakery.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Rosemary, Kale, and Potato Tart

When I open my fridge, I often have two goals.  To finish up things that are on their way to the trash can and to eat more vegetables.  So, when I saw this tart on Pinterest the other day, I said to myself, "self, you should make this, because it will accomplish both your fridge goals".  And it's always nice to reach your goals.

You probably have many of these ingredients already - all I had to buy was some more kale (I always seem to need more kale), ricotta, and rosemary.  Everything else is pretty much a pantry staple.  It's a really straightforward, easy recipe, although there are a few "hurry up and wait" kind of steps, like pre-baking the pie crust.  They have you making a pie crust, but I used the second one from my Thanksgiving pie.  I personally believe that those come two to a box for just this reason.

Rosemary, Kale, and Potato Tart  - The Kitchy Kitchen

You will need:
3-4 Small Red Potatoes, Sliced VERY Thin - use a mandolin for this (and don't cut your hand, it will never heal...)
3 Springs Rosemary - 2 with the leaves pulled off, 1 finely chopped
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Kale, chopped
1 Cup Ricotta (for the love of all that is good in this world, use full fat)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
1 Pie Crust

First, pre-heat the oven to 425 and prepare your pie crust.  Pre-bake it for 15-20 minutes, until it no longer looks raw.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the onions.  Allow to cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Next, add the kale and cook down.  You don't want to cook it so long that it starts to turn brown and mushy, but it should lose most of it's volume.

Take off the heat and add the ricotta and chopped rosemary, stirring until it's melted.

Place in the pie crust and top with potatoes, parm cheese, rosemary, a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake at 425 for approximately 20 minutes, then broil for a minute, to get it all nice and crispity.

Allow to cool for as long as you can stand it, then slice and serve.  I'm sure there are delicious things to serve alongside, but I just ate it on it's own.  The kale makes it healthy, the ricotta has protein, this is definitely a complete meal.

Question of the Day: 

What's your favorite use for an extra pie crust? 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Superb Christmas Sunday

Christmas is almost here!!!  I'm very excited - my parents arrive on Tuesday and I have a really ghetto Christmas tree.  I am looking into getting a real one, it's on the list for tomorrow.  Milton got an excellent present from his Aunt Liz, which he is eagerly tearing to shreds.  And to think, it was so clean the other day. Oh well.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, this Superb Sunday is all Christmas themed.  Enjoy.

Superb Present: Milty Koozie

My neighbors know me really well, and therefore gave me a present that combines two of my favorite things: beer and Milton.  Needless to say, I was very excited to open this.

Superb Christmas Tree: Mine

I've been doing some organizing lately, and in the process have found a lot of random stuff.  Most of it went to Goodwill, because I figured if I hadn't seen it in 6 months, I'm probably not going to miss it.  One of the things I found was a package of air fresheners, shaped like trees.  So now I have a super ghetto Christmas tree and my apartment smells VERY strongly of laundry.  I'm getting an actual tree, I promise.

Superb Cocktails: 25 Holiday Drinks

I personally believe that vodka is appropriate for any day, but some people like to get fancy.  If you're looking for ideas, this is basically one stop shopping.  There are also some non-alcoholic options as well, because apparently letting little ones have booze is frowned upon.

Superb Elf on the Shelf: Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Adults

In general, I'm not a huge fan of the Elf.  For one thing, he's creepy looking, like hide in the closet and hope he doesn't kill you in your sleep creepy looking.  For another, it's just more stuff to do.  Nanny of the year over here totally forgot to move him the one time she was asked, which of course brought a bunch of questions and sadness that I really didn't need in my life.  Luckily, the bad feelings were easily put to rest with some cupcakes (emotional eating FTW).  However, these adult themed ones are epic.

Superb Feel Good Story: Real Life Miracle on 34th Street

It's really easy to get very caught up in your own stuff, especially around the holidays.  Let this lovely story, of a little boy who needed a Christmas miracle, remind you of all the good in the world.  Also, if you're not already, please consider becoming an organ donor, it saves lives.

Superb Silly: Milton Clause

I have a Santa outfit for my dog, because of course I do.  He HATES it, but I make him wear it anyways because it's so freaking cute.  Yesterday, he wore it to the hardware store and everyone loved him.  I'm pretty sure he's currently plotting my demise, but it was totally worth it for this picture.

Have a wonderful holiday!  For more pictures, follow me on Instagram.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blogger Holiday Gift Exchange

The lovely Michelle, who blogs at A Healthy Mrs, hosted a little bloggy gift exchange, which I participated in.  She sent me a name and address of someone to send some presents to (I sent food - because that's what I do), and then you get a gift as well.

I love getting presents, so clearly I was super pumped about this and eagerly checking the table by the door for packages for a week.  And then it arrived.  A delightful package from Michelle herself, which included:

Two Chocolate Bars (fun Canadian ones that we don't have here)
A Mint and Lemon Facial Mask
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix
A Holiday Tea Towel
Four kinds of lip gloss/balm
Fuchsia Nail Polish (my fave!!)
The Best Socks My Feet Have Ever Touched
Hand Cream (unpictured because I already put it in my bag)

I'm not even kidding about the socks.  They're spa socks and have aloe in them.  The angels sing when I put them on.  If it wasn't completely socially and hygienically inappropriate, I might never take them off (you're welcome world).

Needless to say, I am delighted with my gift.  The hot cocoa is calling to me right now.  Thank you so much Michelle, for the lovely gift and for hosting this.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love making cookies, it's long been one of my favorite kitchen activities.  It's just so...fun.  Yeah, I know, this is some super descriptive writing right here.  I'm sure that my high school English teachers would be impressed.  But I really don't know how else to put it - I just love making cookies.  These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are definitely one of my favorites.  They're basically just a standard recipe, but there's a little bit of honey in them, which makes a huge difference.  The little bit of extra sweetness goes a long way.

My sister gave me this recipe forever ago, and I have no idea where she got it.  Maybe from a friend?  Or maybe she created it herself, which would be awesome.  If so, I had no idea you were such a talented baker and recipe developer...why you holdin out on me?  Wherever it came from, they're good and you should go make them.  Like right now, we'll wait.

Also, can we just take a moment to admire her perfect handwriting? Notice that I've never put a picture of something I wrote on here...not that it would matter, as there is no possible way you could read it.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 
1 Cup Quick Oats (not instant)
1 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup White Sugar 
1 Cup Salted Butter, Softened 
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Teaspoons Vanilla 
2 Large Eggs 
1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips 

Pre-heat the oven to 300.  Cut the butter into chunks and put it somewhere to soften (like the radiator).

While that's happening, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and oats in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, blend sugars together.  Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the honey, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips; blend on low until just combined.  I like to do the flour a bit at a time, so there isn't a giant explosion.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until they are light, golden brown.

Transfer to a cooling rack and wait impatiently for them to cool enough to eat.  Serve with milk.

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite kind of cookie? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cranberry Sauce Bread

My lovely friend Miya brought homemade cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving dinner.  Like gallons of it.  It was amazing, but I wasn't entirely sure what to do with all the leftovers.  I did make a few epic post-T-day sandwiches with it, but after that, I was out of ideas.  And what's a cook to do when she's out of ideas? Why, go to Pinterest, of course.  I searched high and low, and then came across this delicious idea.  Make bread out of it.  It's much the same process as making banana bread, but you use the cranberry sauce instead of bananas.  It's really good toasted with some marscapone cheese slathered on top.  Or just plain.

Cranberry Sauce Bread - from education.com (which looks like an amazing resource for all you teacher types out there)

2 Tablespoons Softened Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Cranberry Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Flour
Pinch of Salt

First, soften your butter using the most sophisticated of methods - put the bowl on the radiator.  Only the best here at Cooking with Milton.  Alternately, you can put it on top of the oven as it pre-heats to 350.  Or, you can be organized enough to take it out of the fridge to soften (butter not pictured, because it was radiating...).

Add butter, sugars, vanilla, egg, and oil to a bowl and mix.

Then, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cranberry sauce to the bowl.  Mix until incorporated.

Put batter into a well greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour.  Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before attempting to slice.

Slather with butter, cream cheese, marscapone cheese, nutella...whatever makes your heart sing, and eat.

I'm thinking about trying this with some other kinds of jam/jelly.  I have several kinds lurking about in the pantry, and since I'm not a huge jam eater overall, I'm thinking that this would be a great use.  If you're all creative-like, you can do these in little loaf pans and then tie them up in adorable packaging and give to all your friends and family for Christmas.

Or you can eat it all yourself, I'm not here to judge.

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite way to use up leftovers? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Superb Sunday

Well it's been quite a week here at Cooking with Milton.  I tried to do some adminy things, like get us an email address that I will actually check.  And then I promptly wrote it down wrong.  On multiple occasions. This just highlights my need for a new planner.  Or I just want a new planner and I'm using my own stupidity as an excuse.  Whatever.  If you're interested, it's cookingwmilton@gmail.com.  If you see some other form of this, please tell me so I can back track and correct it.  Good lord.

In other news, my job situation has recently changed.  Milton is pumped because now I get to spend more time with him, cooking.  And trying to figure out how correctly write an email address.  Big win all around.

Superb Planner: I Heart Organizing

After the intro, you had to know that this was coming.  I'm definitely ordering this; I love the design and layout.  Please note that when you order it, it doesn't come in the mail as a planner, instead it comes in the interwebs as a PDF.  At first I thought it was going to end up being mega expensive to get a book for it, have it printed (since I don't own a printer and no longer have access to an office one), etc, but then I looked at prices for pre-done planners and you will definitely break even, if not come out ahead.  Also, it's exactly as it would be if I designed it myself, which is totes worth it.

Superb Healthy Side: Garlicky Cheesy Broccoi Gratin

Much like the 4 year old that I am inside, I struggle to eat vegetables without assistance.  This casserole looks awesome; I think that it strikes the balance between having enough cheese to make the broccoli tasty and still being something that resembles a health food.  Well done!

Garlicky Cheesy Broccoli Gratin © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Superb Mean Girls Reference: When Attractive People Compliment Me

It's been at least 2 minutes since the last time I made a Mean Girls reference, but don't worry.  They're back.

Superb Vegetarian Main: Mustard Crusted Tofu with Sweet Potato and Kale

Man, I feel healthy just writing the name of this dish.  I've actually made it several times in the past, and let me tell you, this stuff is DELICIOUS.  I usually feel that anything that doesn't include cheese can be complimented by...the addition of cheese.  However, I swear, this doesn't need anything else, it's prefect just the way it is.

Mustard-Crusted Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato

Superb Workout: How I Met Your Mother

So my two besties and I have been going to the gym on the reg, which is awesome.  However, sometimes it's hard to get out the door.  I mean, you have to put on shoes, shovel out your car, chase your Milton back into the house 129074 times.  Ugh.  So, I'm thinking that trying this would be a good idea.  God knows I watch enough of the show to get in a good workout...

Superb Sweet Treat: Chocolate Glazed Raspberry Cream Puffs

Oh Martha.  You sure do know how to fatten me up.  And, there aren't as many steps as I thought.  I might actually project cook these someday.  Amazing

Chocolate-Glazed Raspberry Cream Puffs