Thursday, July 29, 2010

cooking woes

I figured I'd have better luck if I post this on a blog that's actually public...

I can't figure out why I suck at cooking.

Nine times out of ten, if I try to throw something together it turns out funky-tasting. Even if I follow a recipe, it's never really good. I recently tried a fettuccine alfredo recipe that I found on one of those well-known recipe websites, and it sucked! It had a strange bitter aftertaste, and I followed the recipe exactly.

I can bake like it's nobody's business, but I can not figure out WHY I suck at cooking. I need to find a very simple, beginner's cookbook to cook my way through and gain some confidence.

I mean, I'm not completely clueless. I can boil an egg or make mashed potatoes, and spaghetti is a good standby, but I don't have the slightest idea how to check out the ingredients in my fridge and say, "Hey, these flavors would be awesome together."

One problem I have with the 10 cookbooks that I do own and the eleventy billion recipes on the internet is that they're full of crazy recipes that I wouldn't normally make. Really? Apple Fennel soup? Deviled Crab?? Sounds delicious, but that's a far cry from chicken noodle soup from a can and spaghetti.

And I really want to get away from using pre-made, pre-packaged stuff because we all know it's full of crap. If I'm going to learn how to cook, I'm going to do it the right way.

I need a cookbook full of down-home, standard recipes. Like pot roast. Everybody likes pot roast.

Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe the library has some good cookbooks...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ingredient-based recipe search engines

There are so many times that I've thought to myself, "Man, I have [insert ingredients here] that I need to use up, but I have no idea what to make.

Fortunately, I've found a few recipe search engines that let you search based on ingredient.

Supercook is one that I like. You just enter which ingredients you want to use, and recipes pop up. They also have a neat "exclude gluten" button.

Recipe Key is the same way. I don't like the format as much, but you can refine your search by cook time, cuisine type, difficulty level, etc.

Recipe Matcher is another one, but the popup ads are super annoying and most of the recipes I've found don't have pictures. I like pictures.

If you've found another great site like this, please share!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Coffee Cake

How's that for alliteration?

I'm going to be honest with you, this cake freaking ROCKS. It's amazing. It started off as a basic coffee cake. Cream cheese and pecans really make this cake rockin'.

Cream Cheese and Pecan Coffee Cake

1/3 c. applesauce
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. flour mix or 1/3 c. each of brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and corn starch
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon


1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. GF flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. nuts
1/2 block of cream cheese

Preheat your oven to 375.

Mix the applesauce, egg and milk in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together, and stir them into the wet ingredients. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.

For the topping, mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut small cubes of cream cheese and place them evenly on top of the batter. Sprinkle the nuts on top next, and finish with the brown sugar mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (If you don't hit a cream cheese pocket)

Let it cool for a while until you try and cut into it, because the cream cheese needs to set. It sinks to the middle of the cake as it bakes, creating this great middle layer of cream cheese wonderfulness.