Archive from January, 2010
Jan 25, 2010 - File Icon Hints/Tips, In The Kitchen   Comment Icon Comments Off on Oven Safe Cooling Rack

Oven Safe Cooling Rack

This has to be one of those things that I can’t really believe I’ve ever lived without. Its a cooling rack that is oven safe. Awesome.

Using this I can make chicken parmesan without having the bottom get soggy, let the fat drain off of a meatloaf, or make some pretty awesome bacon.

Meatloaf can be a little tricky to make on an open rack through, right? Its just a loaf of ground meat balanced on a wired rack. I wanted to find a way to drain off the fat, but I really didn’t want to buy one of those loaf pans with holes in the bottom. To me, meatloaf should not resemble a loaf of bread.

So I took some heavy foil (another kitchen favorite) and put it over the rack. Now that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to just have it on foil. So I poked it.

I poked it a lot. This is why I wanted to have heavy foil, so it’ll stand up to the meatloaf weight and also the poking. I used a large pen to make the holes, so there would be lots of places

The foil worked really well. The fat drained off and out of the meatloaf and it didn’t have a whole lot of congealing fat attached to the sides of it. Sounds yummy huh? Plus I could cook my potatoes on the same rack and have dinner ready at the same time.

Awesome!

Jan 12, 2010 - File Icon Bread, Dessert, Pie/Cobbler, Yeast Bread   Comment Icon Comments Off on Simple Bread Pudding

Simple Bread Pudding

I’m not normally the type of person to really enjoy eating puddings or a custard. Yogurt is even a stretch for me sometimes. Mouth texture is a huge thing for me with eating, crunchy I can do but soft and custard-ish or gooey really doesn’t do it for me.

So why in the world is this chick doing a bread pudding? Grandma was very generous and let us stay with her during our Christmas traveling, but her one request was that I would cook with her and make her some home made bread pudding. So I had to practice!
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Jan 9, 2010 - File Icon Hints/Tips, Pork   Comment Icon Comments Off on Storin The Bacon

Storin The Bacon

The love affair with bacon is hard to deal with when you really don’t want to be eating a whole pound of bacon at one time because you don’t want it to go bad, especially when there are only two people living in your house.

The Husband was trying to be a good man and cook me dinner one night. Dinner was bacon sandwiches. His version of a BLT is just bacon, bread and mayo. I appreciated it, gave him a hug and told him never to do that again.

I can’t eat that much bacon. I need balance. I need veggies!

So I’ve found a great way to store bacon when I know we won’t get to that much bacon in one sitting.

Well… Ok we COULD get through that much bacon in one night but we really don’t need to be doing that to our poor arteries.

I saw this method somewhere, I don’t remember and its been a while, but I LOVE it. The idea of individually frozen pieces of bacon just make my life better. And easier!

Take some parchment paper, and place a piece of bacon down. Fold over. Place another piece on top. Fold over. Place, fold, repeat, then freeze! Forgive the lack of picture, lighting has been weird lately with the weather/time changes.

This way you can pull out as many pieces as you need. Only have to unroll and stick them in the oven or pan. You don’t really need to defrost bacon, it just goes with the flow. Just store it in a freezer safe zip-top bag and squeeze out as you can. It’ll stay good for probably a few months, but then again I wouldn’t know since it doesn’t last that long in my house!

Jan 7, 2010 - File Icon Hints/Tips, Pork   Comment Icon Comments Off on Bakin Bacon!

Bakin Bacon!

Husband calls bacon the gateway meat. It has to be one of the most addictive meat products you can buy in the market. I’ve known a few vegetarians who would randomly crave bacon from time to time.

It’s an addictive substance that I am so glad is socially acceptable.

The one thing I really hate about cooking bacon is the splattering, popping and eventual burning flesh and running away from the angry grease. So I’ve been looking for a way to make bacon without the fear I have of the burny fleshyness.

And the time. It takes too long for the bacon to cook in my opinion.

So after watching so many foodie shows on TV I’ve decided to start baking my bacon. Awesomeness. I don’t have to worry about splattering grease on myself and it’ll have it all be cooked and done at the same time!

Mmmmm… Bacon…

I bought this nice and wonderful contraption at Kohl’s before Christmas, an oven safe cooling/baking rack, and it has truly been my favorite thing ever to lower the fat in cooking. It can handle up to 475F I believe, but you don’t really have to use this, you can just lay the bacon on the tray and it’ll work great also.

Always line your baking sheet with a large piece of heavy duty foil, this way you don’t have to do much clean up at all and you wont mess up your pans with all that bacon grease. To bake your bacon, always start with a cold oven. That’s my opinion at least. It seems to cut down on the splattering and grease craziness in the oven. It also helps your meat strips to lay flat.

Lay as much as you can in your pan without overlapping the bacon, the more bacon the better my life.

Cook the bacon at 375F for about 15-20 minutes or until the crispness that you want. Thin bacon cooks MUCH faster than thicker cut, so you really have to watch your bacon the first few times until you get the hang of it. It also seems to take a little longer to cook on the rack, probably because its not cooking in the grease.

There is a definite texture difference if you cook it on the rack rather than just on the pan, it still tastes great but it does feel different in your mouth. Cooking it without the rack will produce bacon very similar to cooking on the stove. Either way its great. I think I just like the fact that the grease is draining off as it goes. It probably doesn’t make much of a difference calorie wise but it makes me feel better.

Jan 4, 2010 - File Icon Rants/Ramblings   Comment Icon Comments Off on I Have Been To The Edge…

I Have Been To The Edge…

Do you ever get those weird voices in your head as you’re about to do something? Like sitting down to write after a long absence do you suddenly hear a creepy voice in your head saying “I have been to the edge…and back! And I survived… Only slightly…” It’s as though a pirate has stolen into my head and taken over for a brief moment…but without his parrot…and he might be high also.

Or it’s as though I look at a quilting project, full of needles and other such poking things and my inner toddler becomes giddy and squeals “I am on pins and needles!!!”

And yes that does happen. Often.

But I digress, my self imposed radio silence is ending. I finally feel as though I’m in enough control of life that I can come back and start talking again.

Because you know I’m from the generation who loves nothing more than to hear themselves talk and document their life. Well not really, I’m actually quite shy, but I’ll take that excuse to talk to the unseen masses anyways.

I’ve been busy in my absence though, baking, cooking, drinking (gasp!) and finding ways to get through the rough second half of 2009. I did take up drinking sometime after my radio silence, as a way to forcibly make myself relax.

It strikes me as funny that I refer to taking up drinking as having more than one wine cooler in a 3 month period. The real shocker was when it turned into two in one night. Husband had fun with me at that point.

I feel as though 2010 is a turning point for the Husband and myself. New ventures, new surprises, new…life.

This was also the first time I ever had a blast on New Years, celebrating the event with friends and chocolate shots.

And then much laughter when my friend realized we were doing one more shot to celebrate… And she had already started eating her chocolate shot glass.

Too much laughter to get a clear shot. Happy New Year everyone.