Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Croque monsieur (p. 181)

I needed something fast for dinner and Croque monsieur (p. 181) was one of the only things that I could find quickly and had all (four) of the ingredients on hand.

I buttered some white bread (TJOC specifies home style white, I used WonderBread, which I think is pretty homey but I don't think is probably what the cookbook meant) and added a thin slice of ham:

I then added the Gruyere cheese:

At this point I actually managed to read the recipe--the cheese doesn't go IN the sandwich but rather ON it, so I knocked it all off and stuck the sandwiches in the broiler for a couple minutes:

The cheese was added to the sandwich for the second time and into the broiler it went:

The sandwich was good and easy although a little boring. I like my cheese in the sandwich rather than on it, less messy that way. The ham was delicious though!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Randomly Generated List #2

As I mentioned before, I'm stealing an idea from Teena of the Gourmet Project. She uses a random number generator to generate page numbers and she has to cook something off of them every so often. It's a good way to make sure that you aren't avoiding recipes--otherwise I could end up with a year of really nasty-looking foods that I didn't want to make.

I'm going to post my list (that way I can't cheat!). I plan on making at least one recipe every two weeks. I can make any recipe off of the page but the recipe has to start on the page in question. I have to make them all before I can move on to the next set (we will see how that works!).

**One major change and some of you might think this is cheating--I have decided that I can carry over up to five dishes once (and only once)--and add as many other dishes to get to 25**

Here is the list (page number, abbreviated chapter title, (eventually) what I made and the date):
ETA: I decided to list all the possibilities per page so I could easily refer to this page. When I make something, it will be linked and the discarded choices will be deleted :)

77, Appetizers and Hors D'Oeuvres: Marinated goat cheese with fresh thyme 2/18/10
139, Stocks and soups: Scotch broth, pepper pot
145, Stocks and soups: Cream of onion soup, 1/6/10
166, Salads: Pickled beet salad, 1/25/10
175, Salads: Molded cranberry salad, 11/26/09
201, Egg dishes: Spanish omelet, egg white omelet
237, Fruits: Tamarind dipping sauce, 12/31/09
381, Shellfish: Grilled, broiled, or roasted soft-shell crabs, Steaamed blue crabs, Poached (or boiled) hard-shelled crabs, Crab cakes
431, Poultry and wildfowl: Chicken paprika (paprikas csirke), 2/10/10
440, Poultry and wildfowl: Sauteed chicken livers, 1/6/10
448, Poultry and wildfowl: Roast duck a la orange (bigarade), 1/16/11
586, Savory sauces, salad dressing, marinades, and rubs: Teriyaki marinade, 8/30/10
600, Breads and coffee cakes: Oat bread cockaigne, Buttermilk potato bread, Challah
611, Breads and coffee cakes: Parker house rolls, 1/16/11
649, Pancakes, waffles, fritters, and doughnuts: Buckwheat crepes
691, Pies and pastries:Apple, peach, or plum cake cockaigne, 7/14/10
731, Cakes and cupcakes: Strawberry icebox cake, Mocha ice cream cake, Sicilian cassata, Moors' heads (mohrenkopfe)
776, Cookies and bars: Chocolate icebox cookies, 3/8/11
814, Desserts: Pineapple snow, Snow pudding
823, Desserts: Cottage pudding, Perisimmon buttermilk pudding, Pumpkin buttermilk pudding, Indian pudding, Sticky toffee pudding
838, Frozen desserts and sweet sauces: Lemon sherbet, lime sherbet, cranberry sherbet, Ice pops I, Ice pops II, Snow cream

Hold-overs from the last list:
127, Soups: Jellied soup, jellied tomato soup, jellied beet soup
520, Meat (variety of joys...): Baked stuffed heart, 1/16/11
791, Icings: Fluffy nut or coconut icing, luscious orange icing, chocolate fudge frosting
816, Desserts: Chocolate mousse, chocolate mousse with gelatin, white chocolate mousse with toasted almonds

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scalloped potatoes II (p. 296), Glazed carrots (p. 266), and Chicken and sweet potato fricassee (p. 100)

First off, don't forget to enter the contest!

I was really hoping that the Scalloped potatoes II (p. 296) would be terrific. The recipe was simple enough--I combined a can of cream of mushroom soup with cream, heated it up, and then added cheddar cheese and sauteed mushrooms:

I thinly sliced three pounds of potatoes (which would have been easier with my mandoline--the slicer, not the instrument--but I couldn't find all the pieces), which was about six Yukon Gold potatoes, and layered them in a casserole dish:

I poured the mushroom soup mix over the potatoes:

And cooked until it was done:

Absolutely amazing. This honestly took me about ten minute of active time and was soooo good. It was just as easy as the boxed mixes and was at least a thousand times better. And, sadly, I think the cream of mushroom soup made it even more homey for my American tastes.

I meant to make Glazed carrots (p. 266) last Thanksgiving but ran out of time. I was trying to think of a vegetable that I could make and I didn't have almost any produce in the house except carrots. It was an easy recipe--I quartered the carrots and layered them in a skillet, adding chicken stock, butter, brown sugar, brandy, and salt. I cooked the carrots until the glaze formed:

SO SO SO SO good! So good that Josh almost didn't manage to wrestle any away from me. They were sweet but not cloying and reminded me how much I love carrots while making me wonder why I don't make them more often...I can't recommend this recipe enough. Fast, easy, and cheap, the TJOC trinity.

I decided that I could get one more meal out of my crock pot before wrestling it away (actually, I'm so sick of trying to fight it into the cabinet that it's going out into the shed with the roasting pan). I thought that Chicken and sweet potato fricassee (p. 100) would be perfect.

The first thing I did was chop up my chicken with my brand-new Wulstoff cleaver (thanks, mom!):

The cleaver is terrific and my former coworker Phil told me that they are perfect for cutting a pizza, which I'm pretty excited to try. That being said, the cleaver is difficult to use--you have to swing it down where you are aiming it without chopping off your finger, which is harder than it sounds. Even so, I still have all ten fingers *knock on wood*

The chicken was browned briefly, then removed to a plate.

I fried up some smoked ham, although not the cubes that TJOC asks for, but rather sliced-up slices. I added an onion, carrot, and celery rib and sauteed for a while, and then added (homemade) chicken broth. The whole concoction was poured in to the slow cooker.

Cubed sweet potatoes and water were added:

And then the chicken was layer in the top. I cooked the fricassee for about five hours and then stirred in a little heavy cream (although stirring around the chicken was extremely difficult):

Yum! It was really good, although really strange. I loved the tender sweet potatoes and the delicious broth but the broth was really thin--so thin that it was more like a soup than an entree. Are you supposed to pour it over something? I will make it again, although I'm going to transition it into chunks of pork rather than the chicken, and I'm going to drink it like a soup. A little cilantro would be great too...just thinking out loud here...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

TJOTJOC's anniversary and a GIVEAWAY!

***I love comments but I've had an influx of very annoying Japanese spam comments and they are driving me crazy. So please, send me your comments or comment on another post because I'm closing comments on this one***

I missed it! I missed the big day!

What big day?

The blog's birthday!

September 23rd was TJOTJOC's second birthday! Two years ago, I made Becker Brussels Sprouts and started this journey!

So what has changed in the last two years?

I have gotten over my fear of phyllo, learned how to beat egg whites, and made an entire Thanksgiving meal. In the last two years I have traveled to Japan (twice), China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mexico (three times) along with about two dozen states. I have gotten married and blogged about my engagement, finding my dress, and the wedding (with more to come!). I have learned a few recipes that I have made 10+ times including (among others) chicken stock and tortilla soup (with the requisite homemade tortilla chips). I have gained more fans on my Facebook fan site (make sure to become a fan!) and followers to this blog than I would have ever expected. TJOTJOC shows up within the top ten choices when you google "the joy of cooking" and just about any food--and first if you google "joy of cooking blog", before The Joy of Cooking's actual blog.

So for my anniversary/birthday I am giving away a copy of TJOC!!

The small print:

1. You have to live in the US--I'm sorry, it's just too heavy of a book to send outside of the US.
2. You have to post to this blog with some way to get a hold of you if you win. You will get a second entry if you post a comment onto a different blog post.
3. Know that I plan on personalizing the book to you, so if you want to sell it to the used book store or return it for cash to Borders, this is not the contest for you.
4. The contest will officially end November 2nd.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Individual molten chocolate cakes (p. 729) and Liquor-flavored whipped cream (p. 755)

I know I'm like a broken record but I really want to finish the randomly selected list. I'm so bored by it! It's time for a new one. Rachel had pointed out that I had managed to make almost none of the desserts on the list, which was true, so I decided to start to rectify that and make Individual molten chocolate cakes (p. 729).

I started by melting my semisweet chocolate and butter (equal parts! I liked the looks of that!) in my double broiler until smooth:

TJOC says you can microwave the chocolate but I like using the double broiler more. I almost forgot to fill the bottom with water, which would have been counter-productive and idiotic. When it was smooth I mixed in some unsweetened cocoa powder--TJOC says to sift it in but I didn't want to get the sifter dirty and I couldn't see why it would matter, since you would be sifting after measurement. I didn't do it (I'm such a rebel!).

In a clean bowl I whipped four egg whites from this:

to this:

I don't know if those are stiff peaks but they looked good enough--I didn't have any cream of tartar so I used lemon juice instead. My thought process was that people have been whipping eggs for hundreds of years and I doubt everyone had access to cream of tartar--it must not be completely necessary. (I looked it up in On Food and Cooking--it's not)

I folded the egg whites into the chocolate:

And poured them in to the prepared muffin pan (which was buttered and sugared):

About seven minutes later they were done. They shrunk away from sides and when I turned the pan over they all popped out with no problem into adorable little individual cakes!

I thought, what is better with little lava cakes than some whipped cream? And what is better than Liquor-flavored whipped cream (p. 755), flavored with Kahlua?

The cream whipped right up--TJOC says to whip the cream and then add the sugar and liquor, I added the sugar and liquor and then whipped, and it was fine.

A little whipped cream on the cake:

OMG--it was so incredibly good! This might be one of my favorite desserts I've ever had! The inside was molten and it was extremely chocolatey but it wasn't overpowering because the cakes were so small. I think it would be EVEN better if I had a little squirt bottle of chocolate sauce to drizzle over the top, like the restaurants.

I think that this would be the PERFECT finish for a dinner party. One of my biggest arguments with most "dinner party" desserts is that they would require active time in the kitchen during the meal--and who wants to be in the kitchen cooking when all their friends are in the house? The chocolate cakes can be made the day before and popped (cold) into the oven so that you would have hot chocolate cakes with almost no time in the kitchen. And THAT is perfect. Plus they are elegant and look much more difficult than they are--a perfect dinner party dish.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Boiled new potatoes (p. 295) and Hunter's sauce (sauce chasseur) (p. 555)

I had trouble with my camera for some reason so please excuse the quality of the pictures.

As most of you know, I've been getting really tired of the randomly selected list and really really really want to make a new one. I made brown sauce a long time ago (although I didn't blog about it--I fully expect to make it a few more times) and had it in the freezer for when the urge to make a sauce from the RSL hit me.

I bought a couple strip steaks at the grocery store and decided it was the perfect time to make the Hunter's sauce (sauce chasseur) (p. 555) which was actually pretty exciting since they just made one during a sauce-making challenge on Top Chef.

The sauce was pretty easy. I cooked some sliced mushrooms and shallots in butter and then added some dry white wine and brandy, simmering until it was reduced by half. When I got to the line about brandy, I got very worried--we aren't brandy drinkers (who is?) and I assumed I was going to have use something else. But I had forgotten--I've meant to make this sauce for months--I had bought brandy in preparation at some point.

I added a cup of the brown sauce (grossly gelatinous), a half cup of tomato puree, and salt and pepper.

Right before serving, I added parsley and swirled in a little butter.

The sauce was good but strange--it tasted like a hearty spaghetti sauce poured over my steak. I don't think it added much. That being said, I think it would be extremely good on pasta! TJOC says it's good on game and roasts, so I might try it again.

I thought that Boiled new potatoes (p. 295) would be a good compliment to the meat. Easy--small, washed new potatoes boiled in water until done.

Easy! The potatoes were really good but extremely simple--I don't really need a recipe to boil potatoes. Even so, I enjoyed them with the sauce and will make them again (as I've made them in the past, they aren't difficult).