Friday, March 5, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

So, I tried to make butternut squash once before, and it came out icky. I was not a fan. The recipe seemed to try to make it a sweeter soup, rather than a savory one. Maybe it's like taking a big sip of lemonade when you think there's milk in the cup, and the shock turns you off of both for a while.

Anyway, I bought a bag of frozen butternut squash chunks from the frozen food aisle. Not really sure why. Maybe out of desperation, because of that pumpkin puree drought threat? It sat in the freezer for a while, until one colder night when a lighter, warm dinner was in the cards.

I pulled up this recipe, mostly because it didn't call for cinnamon, which I associate with sweets. And threw in some toast for good measure.

This changed my opinion on butternut squash soup (and so did a carton from Trader Joe's). With the added benefit of not having to chop up a whole squash!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, time to start knocking posts out and catching up on the kitchen escapades.

I've mentioned before and I'll do it again: I'm really not good at the traditional, wonderful, chocolate chip cookie. Nope. I've tried different recipes, different tricks, different places ... nothing. I halfheartedly saved this recipe to try, figuring I'd get the craving at some point and that would be the one I'd try.

It ended up that a game night at our house, a glass of wine, and yelling "who wants cookies??" is a completely appropriate time to try a new recipe.

Check these babies out!

Forget the Tollhouse recipe. This is the one to use. It doesn't make too many cookies - and I'm not a fan of making especially large ones. They were gone almost immediately!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentine's Day. I'm a little behind, aren't I? Things have been going on. Lots of ... things.

I was planning on making something to send to my very dear friend who sent me rugelach right when the water heater decided it wasn't longed for this world after all. So, I was a little (lot) behind. What I wanted to make was something like this. Aren't they amazing? Guess what. You can't make macaroons with regular flour when you're out of almond meal. We ended up eating them, but they weren't decent enough to leave the house.

I still wanted to send something. But now I obviously was attracted to the more foolproof. So, back to my most-amazing-sugar-cookies ever.

I had a bunch of white icing left over from some other project, and made up some red royal icing to decorate the cookies. But, even these weren't failsafe.

Don't worry, they came out just fine. But it's like I was cursed:

  • I forgot to set the timer for one batch, and they were very overcooked. Edible, but not that pretty sugar cookie color.
  • Do you know what conversation hearts say? Neither do I. And it was hard to come up with ideas!
  • Piping took for-ever. And after piping a whole rack? Dropped them, face down, on the kitchen floor. (Don't worry, those didn't get mailed either!)
The ones that did turn out, did so beautifully. And they're sturdy enough to travel well. So I made more to send to my parents!

As for our Valentine's day plans? We had a fabulous day in Irvine. Someone told me about the Great Park Balloon almost a year ago, and I was dying to go. We didn't get on the morning rides, so we had to wait until the evening. I had the California Roll appetizer at the Yardhouse - a lot of food, but really fancy! When we finally got boarding passes for the balloon around 7:30 that night, it started to occur to me ... the balloon would go 500 feet up in the air ... tethered only by a cable ... with a bunch of people ... all standing on a donut-shaped platform a yard wide. Whose idea was that??

FYI: I survived.