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    Entries in fancy schmancy (12)

    Monday
    Apr012013

    It's almost cookie time

    Engineers are lazy.

    I'm not sure if you've seen the wiener dog and the tennis ball launcher, but that's the best example I've seen on the internet lately. People see it as so innovative and creative... dude invented a machine so he wouldn't have to throw a ball for the dog. Lazy as fuck.

    Lemme tell you, if someone hadn't already invented a dishwasher, I'd have a prototype hooked up to my sink right now.

    And when a prof gives tells me I have to do a 5 minute free form presentation on anything I want (as long as I can somehow tie it to the class material), I spend hours trying to figure out how I can do this without actually doing any work.

    Totally figured out how to have cookies be my schoolwork.

    Which covers off this week's blog post.

    Double lazy.

    Ginger-Orange Brown Sugar Cookies

    totally lazed out on the name too.

    • 1/2 c butter
    • 1 c brown sugar
    • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
    • zest of one orange
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp orange juice
    • 1 1/2 c flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder

    This is a bit of a variation on a typical sugar cookie. The brown sugar makes it a lot more caramelly, but also means you really have to watch them in the oven. Which you should preheat to 325. Lower temp for the brown sugar too.

    Cream the butter and sugar with the ginger and the orange zest.

    Beat in the egg and vanilla until it's light and fluffy and looks like it would make an awesome icing for a cake.

    Don't forget the oj.

    There was no baking powder in the picture. Dammit.

    The dry ingredients will turn this into a very soft dough. Very soft. Might be worth letting it chill in the fidge for an hour or so, but I was impatient so I started rolling it.

    If I was going to cut this into anything other than rectangles, I would have chilled it.

    But, rectangles. Easiest thing you can cut a cookie into. Lasy person's cookie shape. Only drop cookies are lazier, but I had a goal here so I had to cut them.

    And bake them. For barely 10 minutes.

    I really need an oven thermometer. I looked for one today, but all I could find were fridge thermometers. Fridge? Really? Have to admit, I've never worried about that temperature. Brown sugar cookies in a nearly antique oven with serious calibration issues, I worry about.

    Once they were cooled, I had to turn them into strain gauges.

    Yes, strain gauges.

     

    Yes, strain gauges. This is a school project remember.

    But from this angle, they look like scary monsters.

    The other way, and we have happy little music notes...

    A bit of melted chocolate in a small sammich bag goes a long way. But be careful about explosions.

    For another purpose, I'd say make these circles and put the chocolate around the edges. The bittersweet chocolate works really well with the zesty orange, and the fresh ginger (yeah, you could use dried, but seriously, try the fresh) gives the familiar warmth but with a sharpness that seems to lighten the usually warm and heavy spice.

     

     

    I'm going to have to make these again once I'm done school. Perfect for sharing at work.

    What's your favourite lazy way out of work?

     

    Tuesday
    Jan152013

    French but not Fried

    And you thought I was nuts making a whole crock pot full of caramelized onions.

     

    One of the best ways to use up those deliciously dark alliums is in soup. Particularly one that also uses up stale bread.

    French onion soup seems like a treat a lot of the time. It's usually in the realm of restaurant fare only, which is strange given how easy it is to make. Particularly if you make the components in the crock pot and then freeze them until you want soup.

    A few weeks ago I dumped a frozen pound of stewing beef into the crock pot, covered it with water, and let it cook while I was at work all day. I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I got home, but I figured the meat would be ready, at least.

    Turns out, I also ended up with a crock pot full of beef broth. Well, into the freezer with that!

    Really, if you don't know what to do with something, toss it in the freezer. You'll find it one day and be totally inspired. And if you tend to forget what's in there, you can always keep a list on the door.

    So, I had a few things in the freezer, and I wanted something fancy looking for dinner.

    French Onion Soup

    • 3-4 cups beef broth
    • 1/2 c white wine (if you want)
    • a sprig of thyme
    • a bay leaf
    • black pepper
    • about a cup of caramelized onions
    • a few slices of stale-ish bread
    • ementhaller or swiss cheese

    You can use some kind of already prepared broth for this if you'd like, but please simmer it with the herbs for at least a few minutes. I mean, you have to bring it to a boil anyway, you might as well toss more flavour in at the same time.

    Get your oven broiler going and slice the bread if it isn't already.

    But before you do, move one of the racks up. I prefer to use the second highest spot.

    Combine the broth, booze, and herbs in a pot, and bring to a boil.

    Exactly half a cup. I don't need to measure.

    Let them simmer for asshort or as long as you'd like. I suggest about a half hour. The onions will need that long to thaw anyway.

    Once the onions are thawed and the broth is hot and simmered, divide them up between your bowls.

    Dinner for two in Corningware. I do have some oven proof bowls that were leftovers from the restaurant my parents owned, but they were smaller than the ramekins, and I wanted lots of soup. Any oven proof dish will work. And the look of the bowl won't change the flavour of the soup. I dare you to make it in a loaf pan.

    Trim the bread slices to fit the bowl as best you can and lay them out on a baking sheet. Toast each side under the broiler for a few minutes. Just golden. You can do this in a toaster, but I wasn't sure about the size and shape and didn't want to have to go digging in there with a fork.

    Have your cheese ready to go. Grate it if it's a block, or tear it if it's slices. We had slices because we'd just made another epic sammich.

    Set the toasty bread on top of the soup, cover it with cheese, and put it under the hot broiler right away.

    In no time at all the cheese will be a gooey golden lovely coat on top of the bread that's already half soaked with delicious beefy oniony broth.

    And dinner is served. And since that bottle of wine is already opened... may as well pour yourself a glass.

    Have you ever served soup in a loaf pan? What kind of serving dish have you had to improvise?