Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So Sorry!

Ok, so we have been bad bloggers. Life kinda got in the way for a bit, with family issues, a show opening and finals kicking my butt. Jay and I have done two different battles, photos and all that we haven't posted yet. One of which was muffins and the other was gluten free desert pies for Thanksgiving. Muffins has photos up, and I'm going to be culling though the Thanksgiving photos soon. So that's what you've got to look forward too. When the semester starts up again in early January things should even back out again, as chances are things are going to be a little crazy around home for a while. (And that I was kicked out of my dorm for Christmas break, so the battles would then have to happen at mom's house...) But I promise, we WILL get this going again. I just had way too much fun doing this to let it drop.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, a day late.

I apologize for us missing Battle Saturday again this weekend. We will be battling this coming Saturday. That I promise.

Tonight though, I am waiting on the delicious that will be tomorrow's Indian dinner. We have a great little Indian grocery in town, and as Jay and his car were in town I had a ride to it. Wee Indian food! Jay and I were discussing the fact that he believes that you cannot perfect cuisine that you didn't grow up with. Essentially as neither of us are of Indian decent, neither of us would be able to perfect Indian cooking. I'm not sure I am completely with him as my mother makes some damn fine Cuban cuisine for someone who never tried it before marrying my dad. So I'm going to eventually try my hand at making real Indian food as an effort to prove him wrong. 'Cause I'm competitive and argumentative like that.

I love Chicken Tikka Masala. Love it. So much. So very much that I bought two separate types of prepared sauce to make it for myself here in the dorm. I learned to love it while studying abroad one semester, and brought it home al la a jar from publix that shortly after publix has stopped carrying. Which made my mom sad, as she really liked it and the jar was really quick and easy. Today I bought a jar of tikka masala concentrate and a bag-o-instant sauce. As of right now I have mixed plain yogurt, cubed chicken and the concentrate marinating in a bowl in my fridge. Tomorrow will be the test to see how it comes out.

I've also got veggies to add to it, like green beans and asparagus (which I will note, I am learning to like, but really only within curry). I also bought something called Papad. I'm not sure exactly what it's made out of, all I know is that one of my favorite restaurants in town, a Nepalese/ Tibetan restaurant, closed down and they served it with everything. Think like a crepe in thickness but really crunchy with a strong cumin flavor to it. Crispy happiness is what it is.

I will man up after this attempt to see if I can really do it from scratch. Though spice is expensive, and this jar-o-delicious-concentrate wasn't so... I guess we'll see when it's gone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Battle this weekend.

Due to holiday plans and unforseen problems, Jay and I didn't get a chance to have our normal food battle. I'm sorry. Hopefully we'll be back next weekend.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh Tuesday

I love the fall.
This is my favorite time of year. Hands down. Too bad for me that here in the south it's not really a season, but a delineation on the calendar reminding us that for a significant portion of the country the weather is changing for the cooler and prettier. That and Hurricane Season is over, which is always a relief. It also means cooking, especially things that take a long time in the oven or on the stove. Things that warm up the house and make it smell awesome.

Thanksgiving has almost always been one of my favorite holidays because it means all of my family from in state flooding my parent's house full bringing their own treats on top of what my mother has already made. When the family makes to leave, that's when friends start dropping by to partake in left overs, pie and conversation. We easily have 30 + people filter through our house in the course of the day. It's such a good feeling to get to sit down and enjoy the company of this many people. I can't imagine the small sit down Thanksgiving.

I'm really really looking forward to it. More so than Halloween, as I've never been much one for the huge party-drinking-craziness that people my age are really into. I actually much prefer sitting on the drive way with a big bowl of candy watching the little kids run around and act silly in their crazy costumes. But being away at college kinda keeps that to nothing, as the little kids that are fun to watch aren't on or around campus.

Sorry there's no recipe here tonight. Like I said last week the show has kept me really busy and I just felt more like sharing food traditions rather than the recipes themselves. Though if you have read this far and have any good dietary-specialty recipes you'd like to share, I'll all ears as this year Jay and I are going to visit friends in another state who are either vegetarian, can't eat wheat or are lactose intolerant. Which means there that weekend's battle will be an interesting one.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Once again, we here at Saturday Night Fights have fallen victim to technology. Or, more aptly, a lack thereof. Adri forgot to bring her camera over this week, so we'll be reproducing our efforts in MS Paint. Don't laugh, it took us over 9000 hours to do this. The photos we DO have are cell phone photos.

This weeks battle was savory pies. Since I'm forbidden from using organ meets (apricot and kidney pie is very, very tasty) because they gross Adri out, I decided to again consult the internet.

This week's entry would be portabello and tomato pies topped with blue cheese and pecarino.

We used a fairly standard puff pastry recipe. Combine salt and flour in a bowl and cut in half the butter. Add just enough water to make the dough stick together. Use your hands. I did. Cause I still don't have a mixer. Maybe I should try being Amish. Anyway, roll the dough out on a floured surface and spread remaining butter on 2/3 of the dough. Fold so that the unbuttered third is in between the other two, like folding a letter. Roll out, fold, and roll out again to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.

The really important part of the whole thing is to keep the dough cold and well floured. If the butter starts getting runny or the dough is sticking, pop the dough back in the fridge. I cut the dough into about 3" squares.

The topping is easy, just chop the mushrooms and tomatoes. Toss them on the dough then add crumbled blue cheese and shredded peccarino. Fold the dough to make a little basket, because the cheese will melt and run all over everything. Like a lactose lava flow.

I should have made a little egg wash for the crust, but I was too busy eating the filling. Yeah, I'm a fat kid. Life is goooooood.

Adri up. I actually started cooking about 1 in the afternoon, because my filling was Picadillo. These meat pies where ones that my Abuela used to make for us. I've snuck these things into a movie theater. I can't get enough of them. When I make picadillo I never quite make it the same as the recipe calls for, I kinda mix two of them together to get my favorite combination. This time I tried the typically recipe with ground turkey instead of ground beef or the suggested ground beef+ground veal+ground pork.

So as you can see by my wonderful illustration you need meat of choice, a half onion, 2 tomatoes, a half an onion, a half a green pepper, 4 olives with pimentos, a 3 oz jar of capers drained, a half cup of golden raisins (yeah, the golden bit matters to me) which are totally optional, and the spices which are a tablespoon brown sugar, a tablespoon wine vinegar and a bay leaf.

Brown the meat, add veggies and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the rest plus 1/4 cup water and let it cook for no less than 45 minutes, no longer than to dinner time. We let it stew for the next few hours on super low. Honestly, this stuff is better after it's sat in the freezer for a few days, or at least in the fridge overnight.

I should have let this cool a bit, but really it doesn't matter. I rolled out my dough and kinda treated these like you would ravioli. Through some filling down on a strip of dough, then place another on top and press it closed. Cut them apart and onto the cookie sheet and go. In the oven until the dough is good and cooked. Eat them warm, or wait like I do, 'cause I like them cold.

Since we had some leftover dough this morning, we decided that apple turnovers would be good breakfast. Roll out the dough in the same way as the other pies, cut into 3" squares, and top with sliced apples (we used granny smith), brown sugar, cinnamon and a little butter. Wrap the edges to hold in all that wonderful apple-y goodness. The syrup leaked out all over the pan, but I poured it back over the tarts. It was delicious.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Night Tastiness

Adri here, getting in late on a Tuesday night. Working in the shop all afternoon has be hankering for some chocolate-ly goodness in the way that only my mother really would make. And that is what I consider the most awesome version of Hot Chocolate ever. Really perfect for long days with just the edge of chill to them when you're dead dog tired, but still hankering for sweets.

You only need two things for this hot chocolate:

1 box cook and serve chocolate pudding
milk as required, less than 2 cups I'm pretty sure.

Make the pudding as listed on the back of the box, but before you put it in the fridge, put it in mugs and top with marshmallows or whipped cream. And done.

I promise this stuff is awesome. Awesome for the lazy or the tired or both. I realized that there are probably a billion more wholesome, tasty and amazing ways of doing this. But this version? Comfort food. I can't eat too much of it though, which is another reason this is great. What you don't eat now becomes pudding for later! Yay!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Battle Cookies

This week features another baking battle. Through a quirk of subconscious thought both Adri and I decided to do pecan related cookies. Her's were pecan pie cookies and mine were pecan bourbon oatmeal cookies.

This night be as much about my battle with my own impatience as it was with Adri.

We begin with toasting the pecans. Easy as cake. 350F for about ten minutes.

Toss with a little salt and 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside.

Here's where impatience gets the best of me. Mix the butter, sugar, and shortening until "light and fluffy". Sure, I can do that. I'm a great, strapping young man. I've cut trails through rugged mountains, felled mighty pines with naught but my double-bit axe. Never mind that the recipe explicitly states that she used a stand mixer because the process takes a long time. Never mind that a culinary inclined friend warned me that, not only was this step important, but that doing it by hand would suck. My testosterone would carry the day!
So, I stir. And stir. And my arm's getting tired, but this doesn't bother me. I have set my Herculean strength to this task and no amount of stirring will deter me. And I stir. What is "light and fluffy" anyway? What scale is it even measured on? I bet it's one of those obscure measures, like the dram..... Stir, stir, stir. Why would anyone want to do this for a living? Stir, stir, stir. Man, this is boring....... I wonder how much longer I have to do this......stir, stir, stir..... WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME LORD? AM I SISYPHUS, DAMNED TO PUSH MY ROCK FOR ALL ETERNITY? WILL MY PEOPLE NEVER REACH THE PROMISED LAND? WHAT DOES LIGHT AND FLUFFY MEAN? MAN, MY ARM HURTS. HAS IT REALLY ONLY BEEN THREE MINUTES? GOOD ENOUGH!

In retrospect, the conscientious application of technology would have saved me considerable woe. Unfortunately, neither Adri nor I have a proper mixer, so I was damned to use the vessel at the end of my arm. Needless to say, we will be investing in a mixer before another baking battle. My own refusal to embrace 19th century technology and the deleterious effect television has had on my attention span would be my undoing.

Mix in the vanilla, an egg, and the bourbon. For the purposes of this challenge I was able to purchase exactly two tablespoons of bourbon from my local booze-monger. Any picture showing me consuming a liquid which may in some passing way resemble bourbon is to be disregarded. It was apple juice, Mom.

Combine your dry ingredients and spices and mix into the batter small portions at a time. This keeps you from having a great big mess all over the apartment. Chop the pecan (I used the worlds smallest food processor for this) and fold in to the batter.

I ran a test batch first, just to see how it went. It didn't. The cookies spread all over the place, were gooey in the middle and burnt on the outside.

No matter. Thermodynamics will save me! Pop the dough in the fridge to chill for a bit. Have another glass of bourb....apple juice while I wait.

Better this time. Still spreading all over the place, but at least they're cooking evenly. Very crunchy. Dad will love these.

So, I'm a bit disappointed with the final result. They're very tasty cookies, but I seem unable to get the desired result. I lay the blame fully at the feet of the liberal media!

Now, before I start my half of this post there are a few things I'd like to point out. 1) Jay DID try to use the tiny food processor to get that light and fluffy thing going, which I have done in much larger, much more respectable machines. This baby tried, but nope, was NOT having it. 2) Everyone involved was of drinking age. Just so you know. Not that we do that often or to excess, but apple juice is totally cool. 3) We did not take nearly enough photos this week and WILL do better next week. I promise. 4) It's all my fault this is a day late, I was very tired all Sunday and fell asleep before Jay finished his bit. At like 8 pm. I am my mother.

So, My cookies, you say? They were delicious. They were a recipe from a butter box, so they are not by any means fantastic for you. But they do really really taste like tiny pecan pies, and HAVE to be better for you than a big ol' slice of that stuff. They are two different parts, a sugar cookie on the bottom and pie filling on top.

Like Jay I had to cream my butter by hand. Unlike Jay, I knew I was going to be doing this and took it slow. Real slow. In fact let the butter get way way too warm for these cookies to really hold together. The cookie batter itself is just a simple vanilla sugar cookie. Butter, vanilla, brown sugar, egg, flour, baking powder. Now, something else came up this evening that I feel I have to point out. Instead of every other weekend we've done this where we go shopping together to get ingredients, this weekend Jay had to go by himself. I had work to do in the land of pretty things and shiny objects, which sadly took most of the day. Jay looked over both lists not so well and ended up short on brown sugar and got baking SODA instead of baking POWDER. Now this wouldn't be an issue if I were a real person with a real stocked kitchen and had cream of tartar to substitute in. But I'm not, I'm a "college kid" and therefore lack normal rational kitchen things. So Thankfully Katie our guest judge had arrived by that point and I was able to get a ride out to the store while Jay wrestled with his "Light and fluffy". Katie saved the day. Lemme tell you.

I guess I did have a leg up on this. I've made these cookies for several years now, always at Christmas time for family and friends on our massive cookie plates that we give out as gifts. I have played the trails and tribulations game with them. I have learned to out wit the spreading, gooey mess that these can easily turn into. I have learned that mini muffin tins can do so much for you beyond tiny awesome muffins. They can make misbehaving cookies into little pie shaped angels. And that's exactly what I did. The topping for the cookies IS pecan pie filling. Delicious. I didn't get a photo of the precooked topping, but it's very like the cooked look. Only liquid-y and not crispy.

Gaze people! This may be the ONLY time where I have baked/cooked something that resulted in greater beauty than James. I am GOOD at cookies. He really picked the wrong person to battle here.

He conceded and Katie agreed that I had made a superior cookie. He still swears that he will beat me at a baking challenge yet. Katie was an awesome judge for us, but did keep us a good bit distracted, hence the lack of photos taken. She was awesome enough to teach us more about wine and how to pair it with ridiculous things like cookies. I'm always up for a new lesson about things that will make me a better more cultured person. We appologize to everyone at the local sandwich shop that cookies where not furnished on Saturday night! We did NOT forget you! We just didn't remember until after that shift had ended.

Of course, there will be a poll this week, so that you can tell Jay and I how YOU
would vote.

And the Interwebs support our in house judge! Adri Wins!