Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Cocoa Nana Bread

After a couple of weeks' hiatus from TWD we're back with this week's entry, a quickbread using chocolate and bananas as the main components. I love bananas and eat one probably every day, but John is allergic - he can't even touch a banana. A few people on the TWD boards said they were substituting either Greek yogurt or sour cream for the bananas, so that's what I did; I used a cup of sour cream in place of the two bananas called for in the recipe. As a further disclaimer, I believe I undercooked it somewhat because, as usual, I was baking late at night and I just had to go to bed regardless of whether my bread was ready!

After cooling and cutting, I decided it looked pretty dense and needed something to lighten it up, so I thought of whipped cream. Because really, what can't be improved by adding whipped cream? I defy you to name one thing, unless it's something that could be improved by adding bacon fat. Go on. I'll wait over here while you think about it, my non-vegan friends.

Anyway. I took the bread to my seasonal care-package-for-our-college-girls group where it was very well received, and the whipped cream was an excellent call. Thank you for this week's entry, Steph of Obsessed with Baking!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Geek Knitting

Baby booties, several pairs for homeless teen moms. Cascade superwash, various patterns.

Let's all cheer for a bit of knitting content on my supposedly knitting-centric blog! First, while you peruse some of my ongoing knitting (the tiniest tip of the WIP iceberg, my friends!), a link to some geeky knitting. You know, if my husband wasn't such a big guy I would seriously contemplate knitting him a periodic table sweater, just so I could watch him walk out the door every morning and say, "Wait, you forgot YOUR SWEATER!"

Then there's this one. I read a caption for this photo somewhere that called it the world's biggest bully magnet. Luckily nobody in my house is Mario obsessed so I don't have to commit that particular act of intarsia. And since I wrote this post a couple of days ago there are now a lot of other gaming sweaters making the bloggy rounds if you want to see more. (Edited to add: a Tetris blanket!!!)

In other knitting news, I helped someone cast off yesterday. Fellow knitters, do you remember those days? It's the scariest thing for non-knitters. The cast-on isn't such a big deal - you don't have too much time invested. But after slogging through miles of garter stitch rectangular knitting, screwing it up at the end is an overwhelming prospect.

Get Ziggy - the back. Not too Ziggy yet.

Imagine what it was like before you could go here! Seriously, my non-knitting friends, I'm happy to cast on and bind off (and pick up dropped stitches, or tell you why you suddenly have more stitches, or how a hole appeared out of nowhere, or whatever) for you as many times as you'd like. But some of you have expressed embarrassment at having to ask more than once...go to that link. Or go ahead and bring it by - you know I wouldn't tease you if I didn't love you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Relief

All politics aside, if you're wondering what you can do to help the people of Haiti, go to the Clinton Foundation website, where there are links that enable you to choose from MANY different organizations that are working on relief. You can also donate $10 immediately to the Red Cross by texting "HAITI" to 90999, or through the Clinton Foundation by texting "HAITI" to 20222. In either case, $10 will be billed to your cell phone and given to relief efforts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Collapse of Western Civilization

This is where we jumped the shark, right here. I don't care how much omega-3 it has - there is no part of a chicken shaped like this. Or at least, no part I'm willing to put in my mouth.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Apple Tarte Tatin

In the spirit of Julia "Never Apologize" Child, I'm just going to pretend my Apple Tarte Tatin is flattened ice cream topping and call it a day.

PS It would have to be the one I had to take pictures of.

PPS It still tastes divine.

PPPS Next time, don't overthink the flipping.

Happy anniversary, Tuesdays with Dorie and thank you for choosing this week's Apple Tarte Tatin - practically perfect in every way.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Holiday Baking

Cardamom Crescents

Here it is, 2010, the Monday after the holiday break. There was so much baking, cooking, knitting, wrapping, decking, and general revelry that I completely forgot to post my Tuesdays with Dorie entry for last week (chocolate cheesecake, which I even baked two weeks ahead because I knew I'd get entangled in the day-to-day) and I haven't taken pictures of any of my knitting.

Hazelnut Shortbread Sticks

There were holiday concerts to go to, dinners to host, trees to trim, and movies to watch, and we topped the break off with a trip to see the snow yesterday (more on that to come). Fiona was home so of course we had to see New Moon (a thinly-disguised excuse for a bunch of baby men to take their shirts off, if you ask me) but we also saw Avatar and Up in the Air, both of which were excellent. Plus how amazing is George Clooney? He even manages to be cute in Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Coconut-Orange Snowballs

Snoopy turned three on New Year's Day, and even though we didn't throw him a party he marked the day himself by accidentally falling into the pool, which was exciting because he hates the water and completely overreacted and then dried himself off by running under bushes which necessitated a trip to the doggy spa and a second dunking. He's so small, and loves being inside so much, that it was the first time he'd ever gotten dirty with actually dirt.


Anyway, I thought I'd wrap this post up with a few pictures of my holiday baking. The cookies, well, you've gotta have Christmas cookies. In addition to the sablés, molasses ginger, and chocolate crinkles I've made before, I tried three new recipes as well: coconut, hazelnut shortbread sticks (these were voted the best) and cardamom crescents. I probably won't make the coconut ones again, and although we all liked the cardamom ones, the hazelnut ones were so amazing I'll stick with those.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

For dessert after Christmas dinner, I made flourless chocolate cake with warm caramel sauce and a French pear tart so people could choose chocolate or fruit. (Or both. I'm looking at you, Self.) This was the first time I ever made frangipane...so good. The tart proved to be very popular so I will definitely make that again next year and the chocolate cake is a recipe I make often because it's fast and delicious.

French Pear Tart

And just in case you think we didn't have enough sweets, the leftover caramel sauce became the topping for homemade ice cream on New Year's Eve, forever spoiling me for caramel out of a jar. Happy 2010!

Molasses-Ginger Chewies