Friday, October 2, 2009

Hold on tight!

Though I may have been neglecting to write this week, that does not mean I haven't been cooking from MWL. Life was a bit busy this week with extra work, and a lot of the free time I had ended up being directed towards my 14-day free trial of Cooks Illustrated and all the AMAZING information, recipes, and videos they have. It might just be worth the 15 bucks to keep the membership. I really do recommend trying the trial, if you are interested in cooking and the way food works.

So, now, hold on tight as I try to run through the dishes I've made this week.

19. Stir-fried Broccoli, pg. 224

Having made this recipe before, I knew generally that it is a simple dish, an easy meal with rice, and fairly fast to whip together with no super-special ingredients.

I didn't measure my broccoli -- but I used one medium-sized head, with part of the stalk. I think I should have increased the amount of sauce, as not all the broccoli got some to soak up. So, perhaps, if you're guesstimating, a small head of broccoli including stalk is probably about a pound. Also, make sure to cut the stems small enough so that they fry fast and evenly, without cooking them to a mush.

For a meal, I recommend either adding cashews or peanuts at the very end of the cooking time or sautéing a bit of extra firm tofu in after the onion is done and before the broccoli.

Overall: 4 out of 5

20. Whole Wheat Rolls , pg. 64

Straight from the MCC Dining Hall, these rolls have likely pleased many taste buds. A standard, low-frills recipe that is predictable and predictably yummy.

This recipe is easy to halve, and can be whipped up in about 20 minutes, including kneading time. I think I said this before, but I tend to shy away from bread recipes that have non-fat dry milk powder and eggs in them. I like to keep my bread dairy free and I typically don't like the taste that eggs make in the dough. However, for these dinner rolls, I decided to let them be, and just go with it.

By halving the recipe, I got two nearly over-full 8" round pans full of rolls. I would probably suggest two 9" round pans. One pan, after shaping them into rolls, rolled them in cinnamon-sugar (as "easy" cinnamon rolls). The other pan, just before baking, I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled sesame seeds on top for a more sandwich roll approach.

Overall: 3.8 out of 5 Super tasty when fresh and eaten with a meal, but goodness wanes after the first day

21. Chunky Granola, pg. 92

Another day, another granola! Not to be confused with "Crunchy Granola" across the page, chunky granola was my latest attempt at finding the perfect granola ratios.

I don't know what it was with people in 70's and 80's, but this gol-dern powered milk is EVERYWHERE. It simply seems wrong to make milk into powder just to increase the protein in everything. I don't know. What do you all think?

Anyways, what a simple, straight-forward recipe! I liked the pre-toasting of the oats. Seems like a really good idea to let them retain their own flavor before dumping sweeteners and oils on top. I had run out of wheat germ, and so used coarsely ground whole wheat flour instead, with no ill-effects. I decreased the amount of honey to about a half cup, thinking that 2/3 c. seemed a bit much (though, looking at Crunchy Granola over there with 1 c. seems even worse...), and Tester Husband still (independently) commented on how sweet it still was. We liked the hint of vanilla.

With a short baking time, this recipe is great for an after-dinner bake without worrying about having to stay up late to stir it every so often.

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 Fairly frill-less, fast and easy to make, but just a little too sweet

22. Vegetable Chowder, pg. 200

If you're looking to make a standard veggie soup/chowder and have lots of random veggies to use up, this might just be your recipe.

I strayed for this recipe, basically just following their guidelines to create a recipe that suited what we already had. You'll want to use a longer-cooking rice (no white rice!) as it cooks for 45 minutes. I used a red rice which gave a great, nutty flavor. Veggie stock easily replaces chicken. I used a red onion, a pint of corn, and about a cup of cubed sweet potatoes as my veggies. Unless you're using salt-free bouillon, don't add the extra salt. Once everything was cooked, I added a little less than a cup of soy milk, and stirred in some cheese.

Overall: 4.3 out of 5 Very easy, very tasty, versatile, and a perfect Fall meal!

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