Official

Well folks, it’s official. I have GRADUATED! 6 years and God knows how much money down the drain :P What do I have to show for it?
Ta-da!!! Thanks Mom :D
My very own Cuisinart Elite Collection 14-cup food processor!
I have so many things planned for this baby, it’s not even funny.
Macaroons.
Pesto.
Mayonnaise.
Ratatouille.
But first…
CAKE BALLS.
Each Christmas my father’s side gets together for dinner and a cookie exchange. This year I’m bringing cake balls. My first attempt at cake pops turned out well, except I didn’t have a food processor so instead I chose to crumble the cake in the blender. No bueno. Eventually I gave up and crumbled the cake by hand :x
But this time… this time I’m doing it right fancy with my new toy!
Gamer Man will be helping, of course.
I CAN’T WAIT!

 

GamerGirl

Crust-tastic!

I’ve made plenty of pies over the years. Apple, berry, pizza (that’s still a pie, right?), but my favorite is pumpkin. Not the taste… I could care less about gourds. It’s purely the simplicity of it all.
Crust. Filling. Bake. Eat.
Easy as… well… pie!
Typically I would have purchased my crust at our local market because let’s face it, the filling comes from a can… I’m really not that concerned about what the crust tastes like. But this year I decided to care and went on a search for the perfect pie crust.
Subject A, or as I like to call it, DELICIOUSNESSAMUNDO, comes from The New Homemaker. Great site, even better crust.
Deluxe Butter Pie Crust:
1 1/4c flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8c shortening
1/2c butter, cubed
3-4 Tbsp ice water
Cube your butter and measure out your shortening. Stick them both in the fridge, along with a glass of ice water. You want everything to be super cold when you make pie dough. Ideally you should work in a walk-in refrigerator. Seriously.
While everything is chilling, measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and make sure they’re well combined. I used a fork, you can use a sifter. Or you can get all fancy on me and use a food processor for this entire dough-making experience. I won’t judge you :)
Chilled butter? CHECK. Chilled shortening? CHECK. Icey ice water? CHECK.
Good, now you’re ready to start cutting everything in!
Using a pastry blender (or whatever you have: knives, food processor, etc), cut the chilled butter into the flour/salt/sugar mixture. Work quickly, but avoid spilling flour all over the counter. Once the butter is in super tiny bits, cut in the chilled shortening. Again, work super fast and when you’re done, everything in the bowl should be in small balls no larger than a pea.
Next, find your tablespoon and measure in two units of ice water. Mix quickly using your hands. The dough will look dry, but should just hold together when grasped in your hand. If you need to, add more ice water a few drops at a time until the proper texture is achieved. No screencaps of it, sorry. This is a learning process, so you’ll have to figure it out like I did :)
Now, shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and pop it back in the fridge for at least an hour.
Wonky picture… apologies!
After an hour or so, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper. I went the wax paper route because we have grout and I didn’t want dough stuck between the tiles, nor tile pints in my pie crust. I’ll definitely reconsider next time as I had some major issues with sticking. Anywho, roll out the dough to your desired thickness. I like thick crusts, so I made mine barely bigger than the pie dish. Your choice, your pie.
Trim the edges and do some fancy fluting :)
It started to get warm on me, so I had to stop messing around and fill it with canned pumpkin filling.
But not before one last shot.
oOo
Straight from the oven!
So, next time you’re about to make a dash for that refrigerator aisle pie crust, don’t! This recipe is so easy and majorly tasty. And I guarantee it will impress your in-laws. Especially if you include some leafs or acorns to cover up your testing gouge :P

 

GamerGirl

For the soul

Last weekend, Gamer Man professed to me his love for soup. He spoke of all the soups I’ve created for him and noted one I’d missed: Chicken Noodle. So basic, yet somehow it had fallen off the list. Well, no longer is this going to be true because tonight I made the tastiest chicken noodle soup I’ve ever tasted :) The joy is shared below.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup:
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, quartered
7 baby carrots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4lb chicken breast, defrosted and diced
Salt, pepper, basil, mustard powder
2 celery stocks, de-ribbed and sliced
1 32oz box low sodium chicken broth
1c dry egg noodles
1 bullion cube
1c water

 

In your favorite soup pot, melt butter and sweat the onions over medium heat. Once semi-translucent, add in garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Time for celery!
And pepper and salt and mustard powder, if you’re so inclined :)
Cook for a minute or two, just so the celery is warm and has a chance to mingle with the spices. Then add your diced chicken. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Pour in one 32oz box of chicken broth and bring the pot to a rolling boil for 15 minutes. I tossed some basil in there and was pleased with the outcome… If you don’t like basil, add something else. Experiment with your spices – they’re your friends!
At this point I was so excited by the yummy smells in my kitchen that I completely forgot to toss in the noodles. Oops! Luckily GM wanted bread and crackers to go with his soup, and having none of either, he ran to the store which bought me an extra 15 minutes :) Hooray for unstocked pantries!!!
Moral of the story: Add your noodles here.
Mmmm…. noodley. I always like to add salt when cooking noodles, however I didn’t want my soup to be overly-salty so I tossed in a bullion cube and an extra cup of water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
TA-DA!!!! Serve with crackers or bread, and you’ve made a delicious soup even GM’s brother enjoyed! :) Seriously, pat yourself on the back for that one because if you thought my man was picky…

 

GamerGirl

Tater-gator!

From an extremely young age (read: straight from the womb), I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for potatoes. So much so, that my grandfather dubbed me the “Tater-gator” and my mother swore someday I’d move to Idaho and marry a potato farmer.

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Today they both stand corrected as I’m currently not an alligator, nor am I marrying an Idahoan (though Gamer Man does have a green thumb and could absolutely grow me a potato).

 

I do, however, still dearly love me some spuds. Particularly mashed potatoes.

 

I’ve had several people say these are the most delish mashed taters they’ve ever tasted, while loading up their plates with 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths (they are that good). I even turned my sour-cream avoiding GM into a believer with this recipe… now to get him to move to Idaho…

 

Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
2lbs peeled, diced, and blanched potatoes
1c low-fat sour cream
1/2c butter
Salt & pepper to taste

 

If you know how much 2lbs of potatoes looks like, good for you.

 

If you like math and want to calculate how many spuds 2lbs is out of your 10lb sack, be my guest.

 

But if you’re like the rest of us, reach into your potato sack and grab 4 of the biggest spuds you can find. I’m talking can’t-fit-in-your-hand big here, ladies.

 

Briefly rinse them off because you don’t want any of that dirt to turn into mud on your hands while you COMMENCE PEELING! GO GO GO! Peel those babies any way to feel comfortable… knife, palm peeler, hand peeler, etc. Just make sure you get the skin off.

 

Once you’ve finished, dice your potatoes into 1 inch cubes. No larger or it will take FOREVER to cook them. Place them in a bowl and rinse them a few times to get the excess starch off, then fill to just-covering with cold water and let them chill on the counter for 5-10 minutes. While you’re waiting, clean up the potato peelings.

 

After blanching, rinse and pop the diced potatoes into your favorite stock pot and fill to, you got it, just-covering! Hot water this time, of course. And a pinch of salt. Set on your favorite burner (mine is the POWERBURNER!) and turn up the heat to medium-high and let boil uncovered for 15 minutes.

 

 

In the meantime, we’re going to beat together the butter and sour cream until combined. I’ve found this makes the flavor much more even, and the texture FAR more creamy. TIP: Cream the butter first, then add the sour cream and beat again until you have a nice cream color going on :)

 

Once the potatoes are done cooking (test for doneness with a fork… it should easily slide in and out of the largest spud cube in your pot) drain them of excess water and return them to the burner with the lid on for another 2-3 minutes. You just want to be rid of the extra water in the potatoes so you don’t end up with soupy spuds.

 

Send your nice dry potatoes over to your mixer with the paddle attachment, where they’ll meet the butter and sour cream mixture. Beat on low until the potatoes are mostly broken down, then flip to medium and whip it good for 5 minutes. Be sure to push down the sides every so often.

 

There should be minimum lumpage at this time. Taste to make sure.

 

Taste a couple more times so you’re doubly and triply sure.

 

Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Hello Gamer Man!

 

Fin!

 

GamerGirl