Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Play-Doh Peach Cobbler?

Peach cobbler is one of the few desserts I actually enjoy, but it is often very difficult to find fresh peach cobbler here.

There is nothing like the syrupy, sweet cinammon and slight chew that a perfect cobbler yields. And when the crust is perfectly browned with a tiny bit of char -- brilliant! It is delectable. Lovely. Wholesome. Full. 

While home a couple of weeks back, I worked alongside one of my cousins to produce a cobbler from scratch. She worked on the peaches; I worked on the dough.

But I did add some vanilla and brown sugar to the cobbler mix, that and a substantial amount of nutmeg. The smell and flavor were ideal.

The dough looks, quite literally, like Play-Doh, doesn't it? Weird, eh? But, no. No real Play-Doh was utilized in the making of this fun and fancy cobbler. I mean, come on! Look at that cross stitch!

I think it needed more sugar and milk. Being that I am not a baker, I wasn't sure, so I went skimpy. Also, I did not want it to be too sweet. I should have gone against instinct.

But it was still pretty good, and the family polished it off, so that's a complement. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Bundt Full of Fists

So, one day I decided that I wanted to take a little treat in for my office mates. Desserts seem to be popular. I have tried a couple of things in the past -- mostly breads and little sweet things.

But nothing quite like this.

Really, this wasn't my initial idea or intention for my office mates. 

It happened on day that I decided I want to take a treat to the office.

I was at the grocery store and I ended up going for these lovely-looking mini-raspberry pastries.

They looked delicious but, alas, they were pre-made.

So I asked the office to challenge me to a homemade dish.

The first recommendation that came over: Monkey bread.

You know by now that I am not a tremendous fan of desserts.

Not even a little bit.

I'm all savory, all the time.

But I love cooking for other people. 

Still, I didn't even know what monkey bread was.

Yep -- had to Google it. And what I saw was terrifying! The intimidation factor was intense!

It seemed there were two common methods: Make the dough from scratch -- something I was attracted to doing -- or use biscuits.

I opted to use biscuits. Yeah, not my favorite method.

But I would have had to get up at 3 a.m. (slight exaggeration) in order to get the monkey bread ready for a morning delivery to the office.

I wanted it to be fresh, and I didn't want to go wrong, and since this was my first attempt I took the easy route.

That's allowed, eh?

So, yes, the recipe was quite simple. It basically, and simply, called for:

Brown sugar

Please don't laugh at me about the biscuits. I added some vanilla, which turned out to be a good idea.

But, yes -- next time I do intend to make the dough from scratch.

Moving on.

It was also so much fun putting this together.

There is something about the touch of pillowy biscuits that puts me in a gentle mood.

And the whole process of saturating them with the cinnamon and sugar was quite fun.

I cannot quite explain -- I suppose it reminded me of arts and crafts during elementary and high school.

I used a zip lock bag for that purpose, and the method was oh so simple but also so much fun.

Then, gently pushing each biscuit cutout into the bundt pan -- how wonderful!

...really, am I getting too giddy over this or what?

It was just all so unusual for me.

And I was preparing something I have never tried and never heard of, thus all the fun.

After placing the biscuits in the bundt pan, I poured melted butter and sugar over the top and placed this in the oven for about a half hour to 40 minutes.

It may have come out about five minutes earlier because it was slightly overcooked on the flat bottom -- which spilled over the top just a little bit.

But that was OK. It did not burn, thank goodness.

In all, it came together nicely. Visually, it was very appealing.

And my office mates seemed satisfied.

By lunch hour, half of it was gone. By the end of the day, another 1/4 of it was gone.

They polished it off the next morning! That's was the best complement.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Homemade Sushi: My Fail-Safe Method

I am doing much better producing good sushi rice. The key: Patience!

Also, I have been meticulous about my measurements, carefully measuring the rice and the water. I find this to be crucial.

With a timed rice cooker, it makes the cooking process much easier. But as soon as the device beeps, I set to work. I find this also is essential.

I leave the warmer on, but immediately fluff the rice while still in the cooker, trying to remove as much moisture/steam as possible. I then allow it to sit no more than to minutes with the lid up.

I do not have the bamboo bowl and fan, so I use a glazed stoneware bowl. I find that plastic bowls and glass bowls only lead to disasterous results.

I have my rice vinegar prepared with salt and sugar and ready. Immediately before placing the rice in the bowl, I add a little bit of vinegar and swirl it around in the bowl. I then lightly fold the rice in and over itself, using a kind of chopping motion while I add the additional vinegar and blowing on the rice.

Yes, blowing on the rice.

If you are thinking about a circus show at the moment, that may well be what it looks like as I am doing this. But, thank goodness, I have yet to faint while doing this.

As for the ingredients, I have been experimenting with vegetables, panko and shrimp. That's another thing -- I haven't advanced to nigiri or sashimi. It can be difficult to find fresh, reasonably priced sushi-grade cuts in Tucson -- especially sustainable types. But I find that if I toss shrimp into a boiling mixture of soy sauce and mirin, it gives it a nice lovely, sticky-sweet flavor for the rolls. It's a good start at preparing sushi at home for, literally, something like 60 percent less than it would cost to go to a restaurant.

The only thing, though, is I know that it will take at least an hour before I am able to begin rolling the sushi because between cleaning, soaking and cooking the rice, this takes about 45 minutes. But it's well worth it.

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