Thursday, July 10, 2008

the ultimate food for comfort

I've been down in the dumps lately. Way down. And although, I'm still not feeling all that, this has made me feel a little better, if only for a split second. Why, with all the butter, cheese, white bread, and milk, how could it not? This is Martha's mac-n-cheese stolen from this wonderful website. This is the second time I've made it, only the first time it was better because my croutons were smaller, which, in 6 months (because that's how long it'll take to work off the calories), I will make that way.

I guess my trip home to Hawaii has made me even more homesick to go back. This, in turn, has strengthened my desire to win the lottery, so I can breathe in the salty air from the porch of my imaginary beach front cottage. Working at my job with all its crazy management issues has not helped any. I need another vacay, a forever long trip to the spa, where I can receive lomi lomi massages everyday and pay someone to remove my blackheads (again, another reason to win the lottery).

Instead, I'm off to wal-mart to buy hangers and bleach. Maybe, I need another smidgen of that mac-n-cheese.

hubby's 29th!

I had some of his favorite dishes planned for dinner. But, he had other ones in mind. He got word today that he's going to Germany in a little more than a week for a twenty-four day business trip. So, he was rushing to get paperwork done, thus, making for a long work day. In addition, he had already made plans to hold his fantasy football draft with a bunch of his buddies at their local hangout, since I really had not planned to be home.

So I spent the day making this easy chocolate trifle using the homemade brownies in the previous post, chocolate mousse I made with heavy whipping cream and a box of instant pudding, actual instant pudding, and some whipped cream. I garnished with some chocolate cigars. It didn't really look pretty (quite ugly actually) since I kind of made a miniature trifle, but he seemed really pleased with the little taste he was able to have between a change of clothes and looking for his draft kit. I told him I would sing for him when he gets home, which, really isn't a treat.

I made some sticky roast chicken and the sweet italian sausage stuffing pictured below. The recipe can be found here, I'm not sure if I've blogged about this recipe before, but, I will always volunteer to make stuffing at Thanksgiving because of this recipe. It is truly wonderful and decadent; sure to make you poke a notch on your belt. It also makes a ton if you don't stuff your bird, so great for leftovers. Happy Birthday Bub!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

basic brownies

Happy post 4th! Having been saturated with every which way to make ribs on tv, in magazines, etc., my very own husband, made a batch oh so delicious very good ribs. I don't know what he did, something about mustard and a spice rub, but jimeny crickets, they were even good cold. I had to work, but I made a batch of brownies from my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. I had all the ingredients and they were so super easy, I didn't even need my mixer. Her recipe can be found here. I prefer this more fudgy brownie over the cakey kind, but next time, I'd probably experiment with a better chocolate, I used 2 4 oz. ghiradelli bittersweet bars, but maybe callebaut or something of the like next time. I bet these would even be more decadent with a ganache or a cream cheese frosting.

I have not been very inspired in the cooking department lately. Maybe once I get my thyroid under better control, life will run more smoothly. I have even seriously thought about cutting my hours at work and hiring a housekeeper to conserve my energy. In fact, I have definitely decided on the latter, and am excited at the prospect of me not having to scrub bathrooms and tile floors each week. My husband joked, "now, this isn't the sort of deal where you clean before the housekeeper comes to really clean, is it?" Haha, probably. Below, lifted straight out of the pan, slightly warm, because there's nothing like a warm chocolate something with some cold, cold milk.

Friday, June 27, 2008

the spanish rolls that weren't meant to be

Occasionally, my dad would bring these delicious things home when he had time to bake on the ship. These made for an absolute breakfast delight, and while my parents ate them with coffee, I usually had them with milk or guava juice. I had never been able to find a recipe until I visited this delightful page. I immediately got a pencil out and started writing this recipe down, triple checking and making sure I had every step written word for word.

Unfortunately, due to my excitement, I didn't take the same care in making sure I had enough flour, nor bread crumbs to make this recipe. So, after burning a loaf of bread, and trying to figure out how to flour my work area, the hulagirl version of spanish rolls came to be. I will serve this recipe justice and redo them later on today, after a very long nap, and after my mess is cleaned up. But, take a peek, they will make for awesome future meriendas (afternoon snack, usually with coffee).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

technical difficulties

My computer crashed! While I'm waiting for a dell representative to help me fix it without losing all of my recipes and pictures (yes, I was a dummy and didn't back up my hard drive), hulagirlcooks will be down for just a little bit. Sorry folk(s).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

THE hulagirl meatloaf

I've had many meatloaf disasters. I don't know why. Meatloaf in a pan, free form meatloaf, ground sirloin meatloaf, I've even tried turkey meatloaf, all of them disappointing. I've been on an Alton Brown kick lately and we've had this recipe, once already this month, and I've got another one in the oven as I type. Forewarning, a good size food processor helps, which, I don't happen to have, so I've had to grind up my stuff in batches. Yes, it's good enough for me not to even have to dig down deep and find the patience for that. Oh, and this makes a lot of meatloaf. It could feed a couple for a week, I bet they would make awesome sandwiches.

Filipinos have a version of meatloaf called embutido which I love and my mom used to make. They roll theirs up like cookie logs, wrap them up in foil, and steam them (I think). Some of the things they mix up in their embutido are raisins and whole hard boiled eggs. When sliced, it makes for a succulent presentation.

I added a few things to Mr. Brown's recipe. The first time, I added just a bit too many croutons so I had to add an extra egg. This time, I didn't have enough meat, and dumped in the croutons before even thinking about it, so I had to do the same thing. I also added a pan of hot water while I baked the bad boy, so it wouldn't dry out too bad. I omitted the cumin in my half of the ketchup sauce, just because, well I think it kind of smells like B.O. but, the hubby, loved the cumin.
This happens to be a free form meatloaf, you can use a loaf pan if you like. I wasn't too concerned with the cracks, because it is just that good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

cherry stained hands

I will forever be envious to people who own cherry pitters. I just got through reading a book called Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer and she writes about an amazing cherry clafouti; she even provides a recipe at the end of the book. Coincidentally, I was walking through my local grocery store when they had bags and bags of them on sale. Upon, getting home and popping one in my mouth, they were one of the best on sale cherry batches I had ever bought. I was so excited. Cherry clafouti is a French dessert, a cross between a pancake and custard. I hear that, traditionally, you keep the pits in. I found this recipe through by the man, Alton Brown.

I found several ways via the world wide web on how to pit a cherry beyond using a paring knife, like the paper clip method. Four cherries later, and many more curse words, contemplating just a leaving the pits in or dumping out the cherry halves that had the pits, I found the best way is to split the cherry in half, grab a pointy end, and pull the pit out. To the right, my pitiful pitting job.

After making the recipe (not in a dutch oven), instead of dumping the cherries in the pan and shaking them in a flat layer (mostly out of impatience and frustration), I would probably face all of them, with the open side down, in a single layer. I would probably also add some almond extract for some depth. Over all though, this would make an awesome brunch or dessert dish. I tried the dish with a serving of whipped cream, then, a dusting of powdered sugar. Go with the powdered sugar. And every cherry season from here on out, I vow to make cherry clafouti.