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    Entries in gimme some sugar baby (25)

    Tuesday
    Apr102012

    Open Faced Pie In Your Face

    So, half way through studying for my fluid mechanics final, I realized I needed to write a blog post. And the only thing in my fridge is a jar of pickles, a bag of dried out baby carrots, and half a bottle of wine.

    I did however have three very ripe pears...

    Pear Tart

    (yup, that's all the intro you get; it's finals time)

    What you need:

    • 1/3 c butter
    • 1/3 c sugar
    • 2/3 c flour
    • 3 pears
    • 1 tbsp wine

    Okay, I thought I was being extremely clever with all of the threes until I realized I'd managed to lose my 1/3 cup measure. How the hell does someone lose a measuring cup?? And no, it's not buried somewhere in a stack of dirty dishes. I actually washed them all yesterday. :P

    What you gotta do:

    Preheat the oven to 400.

    Make sure your butter is very soft. Cream it with the sugar.

    If you wanted to do some fancy tricks with this, try a bit of lemon or lime zest in here. You could also replace up to half the butter with cream cheese if you have any. I didn't.

    I really hate measuring dry stuff in my liquid measure. Liquid measuring cups are made for liquids. No, I'm not just being fussy. They're designed to account for the surface tension of liquids and how it affects how we see and perceive the level in the cup.

    Mix in the flour until just combined. Your dough should be soft and sticky and you should need a bit of flour on your hands as you press it down onto the parchment.

    Mine was a bit too dry. I'd like to blame it on the cup, but I may end up having to cut the flour down to 1/2 cup. Try it that way. Let me know how it works.

    Peel and slice your pears. If you want to be all fancy with them, and try to segment the to get all the wedges the same size, that's your choice. Me, I'm okay with different sizes. It's "rustic". Yeah, rustic. We'll call it that.

    Toss the pear slices in a bowl with the wine, or lemon juice, or lime juice. Lemon juice on the pears and lemon zest in the crust would work nicely, I think. I didn't have lemon. I had booze.

    Pile the pears on the crust in as artful, or as "rustic" (not messy, rustic) a manner as you want or have patience for.

    Bake this at 400 for about 20 minutes. The crust will be nice and browned, the pears soft and juicy and just starting to brown a bit on top.

    Pull the parchment off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack. This giant pear covered cookie (really, that's kinda what it is) will be very soft. Let it cool to room temperature before you even think about cutting it.

    (do some calculus while you wait)

    If you don't have any cream to whip, a bit of thick vanilla yogurt works just fine.

    What's your favourite kind of pie?

     

    Tuesday
    Mar132012

    Muffin Win!

    I really needed something to go right today.

    Today was one of those crappy days. I didn't sleep well last night, we started double iterated integrals in calculus class and the prof warned we're going to speed through it toward the final, the grocery store told me they wouldn't exchange the buttermilk I accidentally bought for the real milk I really wanted (some stupid rule about not exchanging perishables after they leave the store.... um, I didn't notice when I grabbed it, how the hell am I supposed to notice before I get home??), it's quarterly report time at work, the line up at the post office was ridiculous and then the clerk took like 10 minutes and three phone calls to find the right form (yes, Recipe Guy, I mailed your headphones back to you), I forgot to get eggs on the way home and had to go back out for them, and then the applesauce I'd been planning on turning into muffins had turned into mold.

    If I had railroad-train pajamas, someone would probably make me wear them.

    Gah!

    It was 8 pm and I hadn't even had dinner, nevermind finish the assignment that's due in my mechanical engineering class tomorrow.

    And so, I decided to wing it.

    Again.

    I have now decided that March is wing it month. No clue what I'm going to make next week, but I'm sure as hell not going to have a recipe handy when I start.

    So, with no applesauce, and utter determination to make muffins, I came up with these:

    Oatmeal Date Muffins

    What you need:

    • 1 c quick oats
    • 1 c flour
    • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
    • ½ c sugar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp cardamom
    • 1 c chopped dates
    • ½ c butter, melted
    • 1 c plain yogurt
    • 1 c pear juice (or apple, or orange, or even milk)
    • ½ tsp vanilla
    • 1 large egg

    What you gotta do:

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Holy crap I remembered. Win! This is looking good already.

    Put all the dry ingredients (oats, flour, flax seed, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cardamom) into a big bowl,

    And mix them together.

    In another bowl stir together the yogurt, egg,

    vanilla (crap, there’s no vanilla in the ingredients pic), and butter.

    Now, I wasn’t sure I’d need the juice, but once I had the wet ingredients all together I figured the mixture wasn't “liquidy” enough. It seemed too... gloopy.

    So I decided to add ½ c of pear juice.

    That helped. More liquidy.

    Now the dates. They’re so sweet that sugar has started to form on their surfaces.

    These things are sticky and sweet. If they were hot, you'd have Def Leppard in your head now wouldn't you?

    They’re also really soft and easy to chop up. And if you use the same butter knife that you used to cut up the butter, and to level the flour in the measuring cup, you only have to dirty one knife. What? I had to use an extra bowl, I’m going to conserve any way I can.

    Pitted dates. Yup, pitted. See the pit? Bastards.

    Once you’ve mashed/chopped a packed cup of dates… hm. Add to dry or wet? I opted for wet. But the wet bowl was a little on the small side, and it was tough to bust up the packed cup…

    So I just dumped it all into the dry ingredients and started stirring.

    About half way through, I realized I didn’t have enough liquid. This is where I added the other ½ c of pear juice. This is a dangerous thing to do. (not easy to photograph either)

    I've had to add liquid at the end of a muffin recipe before and what came out of the oven was more like a hockey puck than it was a muffin.

    When you make them, put all the juice into the wet bowl.

    Mix the wet into the dry just enough to get it all combined. The dates seemed to break up nicely as I stirred. The reaction between the baking soda and yogurt had already started and the batter was nice and fluffy.

    Divide the mixture into 12 muffin cups.

    Bake for 20 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. If you don’t have toothpicks, and I never do, spaghetti works just as well.

    Let them cool in the tin for a few minutes before taking them out to finish cooling on the rack.

    I was a little worried about how these would come out since I had to add that emergency ½ cup of juice at the end, but OMG muffin win. These things are soft, dark, moist. Just barely sweet, and with nice chunks of dates.

    And since Taneasha's always piling muffins up into little pyramids, I thought I'd try too...

    So, what went right for you today?