Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Recipe: Spinach Emanadillas from Felicity Forster's Soups. Recipe online here.

The Substitutions: None

The Verdict: Delish! These were pretty easy to make (and I usually avoid anything pastry-related because they're too fussy) and really yummy. The filling features spinach, raisins, pine nuts, and anchovies and it's a really nice combo. You could go totally veg if you omitted the anchovies, but they really add a lot of flavor, so only skip them if you absolutely must.

These are listed as an appetizer, but I served them alongside soup and it made for an amazing meal. Plus it was a tricky way to get my kids to eat spinach. Win!

Southern Sausage Stew

The Recipe: Southern Sausage Stew from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's America

The Substitutions: I skipped the chiles because my kids don't do hot.

The Verdict: Meh. Maybe this would have been better if I had added the heat, but I don't really understand what makes this "southern" or "Cajun." It's basically just sausages cooked in chicken broth with tomatoes and peppers. The flavor? Okay, but bland. This is an easy and okay dinner, but there is nothing at all special about this dish.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Cooky Book: Cinnamon Slices

The Recipe: Cinnamon Slices from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book

The Substitutions: Butter for shortening, per usual. I also opted to add cinnamon, turning regular Vanilla Refrigerator Cookies into Cinnamon Slices.

The Verdict: Booooooooring! Wow, these cookies are a total snoozefest. While the first two refrigerator cookies I did were taste sensations, these are beyond boring. And that's with the addition of cinnamon -- I can't even imagine how lame these would be without it. As a result, no one is reaching for these. It might be a while until I get to my next Cooky Book entry, because the taste of these things does not justify the butter content.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Devil's Food Cupcakes

The Recipe: Devil's Food Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. Recipe online here.

The Substitutions: I used my family's secret recipe icing rather than the suggested chocolate ganache frosting. It was delicious.

The Verdict: It pains me to say, but meh. "Meh," "Martha" and "chocolate" are three words that shouldn't go together. But these were not moist enough, not chocolatey enough, and just not good enough. Part of my problem was that they got a little overbaked, which is weird because my oven notoriously underbakes everything. But these guys were dry, dry, dry. They were still tasty, but I was expecting a rich and amazing explosion of deliciousness.

The other problem, is that Martha always adds salt to her baked goods, which I generally like. These were way too salty. I could deal with them, but my husband, who is usually our resident cookie monster, was not into it. Like he won't eat another one. Which means I have to chalk these up as a fail.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Cooky Book: Ginger Almond Cookies

The Recipe: Ginger Almond Cookies from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book

The Substitutes: Butter for shortening

The Verdict: Another success from the Refrigerator Cookies section of the book! These are basically really delicious ginger snaps with some almonds thrown in for good measure. They're buttery and have just the right amount of spice in them. I will warn you, this recipe makes a lot of cookies (I ended up with almost eight dozen), but that just means that you'll have plenty to share. Highly, highly recommended. I will agree with the little note that appears in the recipe: "A taste delight for everyone!"

Sticky Saucepan Carrots

The Recipe: Sticky Saucepan Carrots from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie.

The Substitutions: Not a one.

The Verdict: I haven't picked up Jamie Oliver's Cook for a while because while most of the stuff in here is really yummy, it tends to be pretty time consuming. But, I had some time to kill while cooking the other night, so I decided to go for a veg recipe that I've been wanting to try but have never had the hour of spare cook time to attempt. These carrots are super easy to make, but they do have to sit on the stove for almost an hour. As a result though, you get the softest, juiciest carrots that you ever will taste. Very yummy, if not terribly convenient.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Cooky Book: Coconut Apricot Strips

The Recipe: Coconut Apricot Strips from Betty Crocker's The Cooky Book

The Substitutions: Butter for shortening, plus I used peach/passionfruit jam in place of pineapple jam, which is seemingly impossible to find.

The Verdict: Hmm. The recipe, which advertises these guys as being "fancy and oh-so-rich!" advises you to serve them the same day you make them. Which is completely essential, seeing as they barely survived from me making them in the afternoon to being served in the evening. My guests described them as being tasty, but "unstable."

The cookie is essentially a layer of crust, a layer of jam, and a layer of coconut meringue. The crust gets pretty soggy and the meringue, which I got nice and fluffy, falls pretty flat once you add in the coconut. As a result, you get a bar that needs to be eaten with a fork (or spoon) and is really really intense in taste. These are definitely not a keeper and I'm officially glad to be officially finished with the bar cookie section of this book.