Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemon Bars

I should preface this blog post with a disclaimer of sorts: I in no way condone the use of citrus in desserts. Key lime pie sounds gross. Lemon meringue? Yucky. Don't get me started on the crazies that mix orange and chocolate. Citrus is citrus. Healthy, light, tangy. Tangy has no place in dessert. Dessert should be warm, rich, savory, comfortable. Not tangy. Not citrus based.

Now that I got that out of the way, a coworker brought in some lemons from their tree to share. As I've mentioned before, I don't buy produce, so I was like, hey, free lemons, score. I took 2 home. I cut one in half and made a lemon Italian marinade for a chicken breast that I made for husbinator on the stove Sounds fancy right? In reality, I squirted lemon juice on a chicken breast that was sitting in Italian dressing and added pepper. He claimed to like it.

Anyway, I have 1.5 lemons left. Not enough for lemonade. Lemon cake doesn't appeal to me. No idea what to do. so, being the nice person I am, I decide I'm going to make lemon bars for husbinator. I don't like them, but he always drools over them at bakeries and stuff, so I figure he'll like the surprise.

Not being picky, I decide to use this recipe because it had good reviews. Looked easy and I had all the ingredients down to the last 3 eggs in my fridge. I have about an hour between the time I get home and he does so I figure if I work fast, I can pull it off. I am throwing all the ingredients for the crust into the mixer, and then it happens. I throw in the 3 eggs. Then I look at the recipe. The eggs were for the lemon mixture, not the crust.


So what do I do? Improvise. I toss out the last mix and start over. Luckily, I had enough of the other ingredients so that I could start again, except for those stupid eggs. While the crust baked, I mixed the up lemon mixture (with fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice) and replaced the missing eggs with Ener-G egg replacer. In hindsight, I probably should've doubled the lemon mix, they came out super thin, but all in all, husbinator was very pleased with them.

So, after all that, I present to you my first attempt at lemon bars.

I tasted them. Not bad, but still. Citrus has no place in dessert.

Oh yeah, I got a new camera, so hopefully better photos in the future :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I was really excited today because I was going to bake Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cookies for a coworker's birthday. I even went to the grocery store to get butter, eggs, and brown sugar. I get home and...

I am out of flour. I am NEVER out of flour. I actually always buy extra flour thinking that I am out, so I have usually have an extra bag stashed away.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Slightly Less Lazy Penne Pasta

I'm a lazy person. As a lazy person, I usually make pasta once a week. Not Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. Not Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce. I mean penne pasta or spaghetti with sauce from a jar. It's easy, and I can take leftovers to work, so there you go. Oh, and if I only use half the jar, I freeze the rest until next time.

Well, this week I had a tomato, parsley, and an onion in the fridge. Because of my aforementioned laziness, it is rare that I have fresh vegetables in my fridge. They're usually bagged in my freezer. When I have kids that will probably change but with just me and husbinator, stuff goes bad before we get around to using it. So I started boiling up the penne and heated up a pan with olive oil. Onions in the pan. Garlic in the pan. Tomato chopped up and in the pan. Frozen bell pepper strips (trader Joes ftw) in the pan. Parsley in the pan. I poured it over the drained penne and got this.

It looks good, but unfortunately I underseasoned the pasta so the penne itself was bland. A lesson for next time. On the bright side , I'm eating it now cold and it makes a pretty good pasta salad. I can see this being delicious with some forbidden soft cheese on top.

This picture doesn't show the side order of shoestring fries with garlic salt I made in the deep fryer. I'm on my way to that third chin already.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jelly doughnaaaaahs!

OK, well donut holes.

So for about a hundred years now, I've wanted to buy a deep fryer. I have a horrible french fry obsession. If I could only eat one thing to the rest of my life, it would probably be fries. Anyway, my sister and husband have always forbidden be from buying a deep fryer because I would gain 200 pounds. About two weeks ago, I finally said nuts to them and bought an $18 deep fryer at Big Lots. It's a small Rival Cooltouch fryer with no temperature settings or anything. Not fancy or very big, but it does the job and doesn't take up too much room.

So the first thing I wanted to try (besides fries) was donuts. I've been craving a Krispy Kreme for a while but have not had any because of the lactose thing. So after browsing the web, I found this recipe, which was supposed to replicate a Krispy Kreme. I made a few modifications though. My baking yeast was a bit old, so I was worried they weren't going to rise enough, but they turned out pretty puffy. I also only had one yeast envelope so I halved the recipe. This also gave me an excuse to try my fancy pants bismark tip to fill them with strawberry preserves. Instead of milk and eggs, I used soymilk and Ener-G egg replacer and they still came out good. Lastly, I did not make the glaze, I just sifted powdered sugar over them. The half recipe made about 30 donut holes and they lasted about 8 hours :)

Crispy and Creamy Doughnuts

  • 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons hot water or as needed

  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.