Did your Baked Bread Bomb? Turn it into Toast.

You may be familiar with that loaf that looks okay, but doesn’t taste so okay.

bad bread

A little butter and syrup hides a multitude of sins.

Baked bread mishap turned into toast

Happy Gardening Cooking

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Can’t bake bread? Be a cookie cooker.

I may not be able to bake bread like Annie’s Grannie, but I can make a mean chocolate chip cookie…and so can you.  Here’s the recipe I used for the last batch I made, which were so good (and easy) I wanted to share. Some people might think baking cookies is more difficult than it is.  It’s really easy, it’s really inexpensive, and the lucky folks who get to eat them will think you’re the greatest.  Depending on which ingredients you use, this batch of cookies will cost anywhere from $2.50 to $6.00.  You’ll get about 5-6 dozen, depending on size.  Where can you buy a dozen homemade preservative free cookies for $1 a dozen?

Here are a few tips for baking a great cookie:

  • Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature.  The butter is easier to cream and the eggs will incorporate better
  • If you don’t want super sweet cookies, you can reduce the recommended amount of chocolate chips by as much as half
  • If you don’t want nuts, you don’t have to add them
  • You can use all margarine, a margarine/butter mix or all butter
  • It’s imperative that the cookie batter chills before you bake the cookies, otherwise they flatten out too much and are more hard and crunchy, as opposed to soft and chewy
  • You can form dough into logs by dropping large spoonfuls of dough along a length of plastic wrap and then folding plastic to make a tube – kind of like you see the cookie dough in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store.  (I wish I had pretty step-by-step pictures like The Pioneer Woman).  Once the dough chills, you can cut sections of the log and place sections on a cookie sheet to bake.  I usually cut a section and then cut that section in half.  This step is not necessary.  You can leave it in a bowl with a lid and use a spoon to scoop out the dough.
  • You can also use an ice cream scoop to scoop dough from the bowl to make uniform cookies – I don’t own one, so I make the logs.
  • Baking cookies at a low temperature insures a chewy cookie
  • Remove cookies from oven when they start to brown on the edge
  • The dough can be frozen and baked later.  Just remove from freezer, place on cookie sheet and bake at about 325 for approximately 10 minutes.  What I have done in the past is lined a cookie sheet with waxed paper, spread an even layer of dough in the pan, covered with another sheet of waxed paper and stuck it in the freezer.  Before it froze solid, I removed the pan from the freezer and cut dough into separate individual pieces.  I laid the individual pieces of dough on a sheet of waxed paper making sure the sides of the dough didn’t touch, covered with another piece of waxed paper, repeat, repeat, repeat and put into a Ziplock bag. 
  • If your cookies are harder than you like, reduce the cooking temp by a few degrees.
  • To save at clean-up time, you can sift the flour (after measuring) directly into egg/sugar mixture, but make sure you mix the salt and soda with the flour so you don’t have spots with too much salt.
  • Salt can be reduced if you like
  • Can be mixed by hand, but it’s easier with a mixer

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (regular white sugar)
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed firmly in measuring cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (12 ounces- any brand)
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter until softened.  Gradually add both sugars and vanilla (break up the brown sugar to help avoid lumps), beat until well incorporated.  Add eggs one at a time, beat until well incorporated. 

In separate bowl, sift flour (after measuring), salt and baking soda together.  Slowly add to egg/sugar mixture.  Once flour is incorporated, fold in chocolate chips and nuts.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Bake at 325 for about 10-15 minutes on a lightly buttered cookie sheet.  Remove from oven when edges of cookies start to brown.  Leave cookie on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove to wire cooking rack to finish cooling. Enjoy.

Happy Gardening Cooking

The Cabbage that was Cooked Continuously

http://www.postiv.com/GreenCabbage.htmlThis post is about a cabbage.  Just your regular run of the mill cabbage.  Not too big, not too small.  Truly your average cabbage.

I haven’t eaten meat-meat since I saw that video on animal cruelty.  I’ll spare you the hyperlink.  If you’re interested, you can search the Chicken Poo post. 

Lately since I’ve been avoiding cooking or buying meat we’ve been eating  a lot of  vegetables and beans and rice with the occasional fish and chicken thrown in.  A strict vegetarian would consider fish and chicken to be meat, but old habits die hard.  And fish is supposed to be good for you with the Omega-3 fatty acid…unless, of course, it’s tainted with lead and chemical runoff.  Sometimes you can’t win for losing.

A few days ago I bought some wonton wrappers to make egg rolls, and they came out pretty good (I even snuck some tofu in and nobody noticed).  But since everybody in the house didn’t eat egg rolls, I made smothered cabbage with cornbread.

Yesterday I was in a cooking mood, so I mixed up some more filling for egg rolls and made the egg rolls.  And then since I was making egg rolls, I figured I may as well make something to go with them, so I made fried rice.  And then I figured since I was chopping cabbage and carrots for the egg rolls I’d make a little cole slaw.  And when I finished filling the wanton wrappers I had two left, so I figured I’d try apple turnovers…which came out great by the way.  It kind of reminded me of the children’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

So, out of one cabbage, a package of wonton wrappers, one carrot, an onion, a piece of ginger, some left-over rice, some left-over peas, 1 1/2 apples, seasonings and condiments I cooked:

  • 16 Egg Rolls
  • The equivalent of a large order of vegetable fried rice
  • Smother cabbage for three
  • 2 apple turnovers
  • about a cup of coleslaw

If I had to estimate how much the ingredients cost I would say $5.00, less than the cost of an order or fried rice. 

You can find any basic recipe for egg rolls to make the filling and grab a $2.00 packet of wonton wrappers and save a ton of money when you compare ordering from a restaurant.  The secret to success is the ginger.  Fresh ginger.

Foliage of ginger plants.

The root of the ginger plant is what’s used in cooking.  You can get a large piece from the grocery store and grow it at home and harvest your own home-grown ginger.  If you’ve ever grown canna plants, the root systems are similar.  Here’s a picture of the foilage of a ginger plant that came from a  site with very good information on how to grow ginger.

Happy Gardening!!!