TBM (to be made) List

I read a lot of books – yep – I’m another kind of book nerd besides being a food nerd. Jane Austen, Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, P.D. James. And cookbooks.

And I read other bloggers that like to read too. Apparently they all have a TBR pile – to be read. But I have figured out that I have a TBM list = To Be Made. It is an on going and ever changing list. No big surprise there. Lists are a thing with me which is kind of annoying. During the week, usually when I’m hungry, I write down things that sound good to make – it helps me make the grocery list – ugh yet another list – but then I get practical and start to cull the list of unrealistic things that I always seem to plan.

So right now, what are the things on my TBM list, you ask? – or not, as the case may be. Here’s the mental jumble that is my thoughts on being in the kitchen this upcoming week.

Roasted Potato Salad – with tiny new red potatoes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Sugared Lemon Cookies – made them this week, by the way -Post to follow
Salted Lemons
Chicken Francese
Hot Pepper Jelly
Blackberry Jelly – from blackberries from a friend. In the freezer until I’m ready.
Cheddar Pepper Jelly Thumbprint. These are so good.
Pecan or Walnut Tassies
Brown Sugar Pecan Scones
Off-to-bed Butter Cookies
Lemon Doughnut Muffins
Pecan Cream Cake
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Couscous Salad – unless the Boy drinks all the orange juice. Which I am pretty sure he will.

There it is. My list of lists.

Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables

I have had this recipe printed and in my cracker binder –  yes, I have a cracker binder, and have had one for donkey’s years. No comments about that because I am just that girl. I Just have never made this until now. It uses way more butter than normal for cheese crackers, but comes together easily. And I let the dough sit in the fridge for a couple of days before baking. That is one thing I like about cracker recipes. Make them and then bake a few days latter … no biggie.D&D_9562

9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. baking powder
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional – not really)
1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze
Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling

Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts, sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to over bake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Notes: These were only slightly amazing. So light, so crispy. I cannot think of anything I would do different. Except make them again and again.  I really cannot imagine it took me so long to make them.

Source: Fine Cooking. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/cheese-sables.aspx

M & M Cookies

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M & M Cookies

These are strangely Christmas cookies for me. We probably had them other times, but in my head, they will always be Christmas cookies. I do remember when there were tan M & M’s. Damn blue things – ugh. Yes, I’m showing my age once again. Sigh.

Nevertheless, M & M cookies are only slightly amazing. The dough is not too sweet, but has a good bit of brown sugar that makes them slightly chewy and lovely. They do remind me of my mom. And the Boy loves them any time. So I made them for his trip to Bonnaroo music festival. I really don’t want him to go so far, but … yep being the “mom” again. Although, I have to admit I’m jealous of all the bands he’s going to see. Dang it.

I like these cookies because there is no thawing butter. You just use vegetable shortening – Crisco for lack of a better word. It’s kind of funny that I never had my Mom’s recipe and it took a good bit of work to find the one that was pretty much perfect – even on the interweb. I’m guessing when I go see my dad that I’m going to have to sort about and look for recipes. I think the one thing I want – recipe wise – is the yellow cake with the fudge frosting. If I could do that just once, I would be happy. It was the cake that we all enjoyed. Dale liked it for his birthday. But for mine – it was always Pecan Pie.

Okay – best M & M cookies ever

1 cup Crisco

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp table salt

1 1/2 cups M & M’s, plain

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together Crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add vanilla. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 batches, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed. Add M & M’s and stir to combine. Spoon onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden.

Classic Blondies

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Blondies – yep they are amazing!

Well the Boy got me a book for my birthday (yes, we are all astonishment) and I flagged a few thing that sounded good and told him to pick something to start with and this is what he picked – and I am not surprised at all.  Not in the least. Blondies.

8 ozs Ghirardelli White Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces or whatever … just saying.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet or Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper.

In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the eggs until foamy. With the mixer running, add the sugar in a slow steady stream. Add the vanilla. Add the melted butter and white chocolate mixture in a thin stream. With a spatula, fold in the flour, salt and chocolate chips until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Let the brownies cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in air tight container at room temperature.

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook: Recipes and History from America’s Premier Chocolate Maker.

It is a strange recipe for Blondies – at least in my opiniou. I’ve never seen one that uses white chocolate as part of the batter. I wasn’t entirely convinced that this would work,  to be honest, but the proof of the pudding is in the making – or something like that – I think. And the Boy totally took care of them – yeah!

Baked Beans – not a recipe at all.

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My cobbled together baked bean

This is not a recipe. Consider it a guide line of sorts because that’s really all it is. This is a comforting food to me. It reminds me of many things all at once. This started largely on my mom’s recipe, but modified into more of my former mother-in-law’s recipe. Loura used to serve it as part of Thanksgiving in her special bean pot. The bean pot was kind of a robin’s egg blue – really pretty. I had never knew anyone who made baked beans for Thanksgiving, but it totally works. I mean it. Really.

These beans are tangy, sweet, mustardy, oniony, and smokey with bacon. But for many years I did a vegetarian version and still do when I don’t happen to have bacon in the fridge. I buy Bush’s vegetarian baked beans to start because they are blank canvas-ish (they were on sale this week, buy one get one – yeah!) and then doctor it up with the favors I like best.

So here are the ingredients:
28 ozs can Bush’s vegetarian baked beans (a pantry staple)
Small to medium yellow onion, minced – I happen to like lots of onion in my baked beans
Worcestershire sauce – required – well, pretty much everything here is required. It is.
Brown sugar
Mustard, yellow or Dijon – I prefer Dijon now, but either will do.
Bacon – not necessary, but really good.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Bake the mac n cheese first. Oh yeah these two things go together well. Anyway. That’s another recipe for another time. Another family recipe.

In a baking dish – I use a blue ceramic baking dish from Portugal that’s about 10″ by 7″ that I purchased in a Stein Mart in Durham, NC, and one can of beans works perfectly. I just mix everything else in there, but not the bacon – that’s for the top – again not a recipe. Here’s the thing though – you really have to taste it after mixing the beans, Worcestershire, brown sugar, onion, and mustard together and decide if you like the flavor  – is it well balanced? If you don’t like it then – well, you won’t like it any better when it’s become more intense after baking. So taste and adjust. It’s pretty important.

I wish I could give you an exact recipe, but sometimes you just can’t and that means you’re just making food you love. Is there anything wrong with that? I think not.  Thanks to Becky and Loura. Great inspirations.

Butter Usage by month – May

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Homemade Vanilla Wafers – they are amazing!

10 May 2015 – 4 Tbs – Vanilla Wafers

11 May 2015 – 14 Tbs – Mrs Lankh’s Cheese Sables

14 May 2015 – 4 Tbs – Vanilla Wafers

28 May 2015 – 8 Tbs – Blondies

30 Tbs = 3.75 sticks = .69767 pounds
I think. Math is pretty much a nightmare.

But once again, this butter count is seriously disappointing.

Lemon Hummus

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Lemon Hummus

I have a hard time buying ready-made hummus – even when it’s on sale. I can’t rationalize that since it’s so easy to make at home. I’ve been making this since the Boy was young, maybe before that. Another thing I make with no recipe, just wing it. I usually have tahini on hand, but even if I don’t, I make hummus anyway. There are some things that are necessary though: garlic, lemon, and garbanzo beans. I know, I know, some people make hummus with edamame or white beans or even boiled peanuts, nope sorry, I’m, once again, a traditionalist about making it, but not a traditionalist about eating it. I don’t eat it with pita chips or crudités, I use it as a sandwich spread. Specifically, my favorite sandwich – super sharp cheddar, hummus, and a little mayo. It sounds boring, but it’s a simple pleasure of mine. The biggest thing for me though is that hummus has to sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight – the garlic mellows, the lemon and salt flavor the beans. It’s only after the flavors comes together that it really becomes hummus.

Here’s what I do.
Rinse a can of garbanzo beans – really rinse them well. This is a key step. While they are draining, mince two cloves of garlic in the food processor, add the garbanzo beans, and the juice of two decent-sized lemons. You can add less, but why would you? Add two big tablespoons of tahini, making sure it’s mixed well because of its maddening habit of separating. Add a pinch of salt and whirl away. If it needs it, add a little water to make it smoother. That’s it. Pretty simple really. Then wait till tomorrow to eat it. Advanced planning required.