Archive for June 4th, 2008

Thirteen Things I Like to Cook/Bake

  1. Bread. I absolutely love baking bread. I made my first loaf when I was around 12, and I didn’t realize that you had to let it rise a second time. It was as hard a brick of bread as you can imagine. Tasty, but hard. My favourite recipe is from an Amish cookbook I bought some years ago. The book has seen hard times, and is in two separate pieces without covers, but the recipes still work.
  2. Soup. I almost never use a recipe, unless I’m trying something completely new. The point of soup is to experiment and see what wondrous things you can create with a hodge-podge of ingredients. That also means, of course, that I never make it the same way twice. I remember once 10 years ago making my husband take some soup to the bishop late one Sunday when the bishop was still at church. His wife called me the next day and wanted to know how I made it. I told her the steps and ingredients I used, and she dolefully told me the following Sunday that her husband said hers was good, but mine was better. 😀
  3. Christmas cookies. That’s what I call them, anyway. They’re oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts, and they’re absolutely delicious. I’ve made variations, that I call kitchen sink cookies, that have oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, nuts, and whatever else I feel like experimenting with. Either way, they’re good.
  4. Brownies. I have a tried-and-true brownie recipe that makes an incredibly rich, fudgy 8″-square pan of brownies.
  5. Lemon bread. I first encountered it when I was living in Austin, and my roommate gave me the recipe. After you pull it out of the oven, you pierce the loaf with a large fork, and pour a lemon-glaze over it. We devoured at least half the pan that evening.
  6. Meatloaf. Like soup, I never use a recipe except as a starting place, and it never tastes the same twice. And when you pair it with mashed potatoes and lightly wilted cabbage, it’s a truly droolworthy meal.  I particularly crave it in the winter after I’ve watched A Christmas Story.
  7. Corn chowder. I know I already  listed soup, but my corn chowder is a thing apart. I actually do have a recipe for my corn chowder, and autumn hasn’t officially arrived until I’ve made a pot.
  8. King Ranch Chicken. It’s the ubiquitous Texas casserole with layers of shredded chicken, onions, and bell peppers in a creamy sauce, tortillas, and cheese.
  9. Seven-Layer Dip. The homemade version is way better than the stuff you buy in the produce section at the grocery store.
  10. Butterscotch brownies. My husband is very sensitive to chocolate, so I rarely have it around the house. The butterscotch brownies, made with brown sugar, are sweet and chewy, and he really likes them (not as much as the chocolate stuff, but there’s not much I can do about that).
  11. Cornbread stuffing, the kind where you start with a pan of cornbread that you made a day or two ago. By the time you’ve tossed the crumbled cornbread with celery, onion, melted butter, turkey stock, sage, salt, and pepper, it tastes so good you could eat it before it ever makes it into the oven.
  12. Coffee cake. This is another recipe from my Amish cookbook, and it’s really a simple recipe. After you’ve put the dough into two cake pans, you poke little bits of butter into the dough and sprinkle on a mixture of brown sugar and lots of cinnamon that into gooey goodness.
  13. Fudge, the easy kind that you make with marshmallow creme. Even in the years that I didn’t do any other cooking or baking to speak of, I made at least one pan of fudge every year. The best part? Scraping the bits out of the pan that hardened too quickly to get them into the dish to cool. Fudge is something I make with the incomparable Izzybella, and we’re pretty good about sharing the scrapy bits.

If you want any of my recipes, leave me a comment with your email address, and I’ll send them your way. Well, there are no recipes for the soup or meatloaf, but I can tell you approximately how I put them together. And if you want to share any recipes, please do!

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