Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Thursday Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving! Like last year, it will be just the two of us here at home. We are being safe. Avoiding coronavirus. We will be making a small turkey, stuffing, green beans, cranberries, and a pumpkin roll.

What We're Eating (besides Thanksgiving this week):

  • Smoked Ribs with salad
  • Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with salad
  • Dessert: Rugelach 

What We're Watching:

  • We finished the first two seasons of Babylon Berlin and started season 3. I keep mixing up characters and getting confused but I love the show!
  • We started His Dark Materials Season 2 (HBO). It's OK.  

What I'm Reading:

  • By Book Or By Crook by Eva Gates. It was better than I expected for this kind of book.
  • The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly. Another excellent book from Connelly, this one about Mickey Haller, not Harry Bosch, though Bosch does make a few appearances.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020



Cook's Country Dec-Jan 2021 has a recipe for Snickerdoodles that differs a bit from our go-to Snickerdoodle recipe in Baking Illustrated. We decided to give the new version a try and are glad we did because they're delicious! The main differences are the addition of cream cheese, vegetable oil (instead of shortening), less butter, less cream of tartar, and 1 egg (not 2).
I think we have a new go-to recipe for Snickerdoodles! Lots of cinnamon flavor, tangy, soft, chewy. It was very easy to eats 3-4 at a time!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Rugelach (Nutella & Jam Flavors)

We made Rugelach from Baking Illustrated back in 2010 and that was the one & only time we made them. It wasn't because they weren't tasty. They were. It was because the cookie was a bit on the large side and I prefer smaller cookies at the holidays because that way, you can eat more kinds rather than being full from just one large-ish cookie. It also was because they were a lot of work. Chill the dough, roll dough, freeze dough, add filling and shape into crescents, freeze crescents, bake crescents. So time consuming.
When I saw a Rugelach recipe in the current Cook's Country (Dec-Jan 2021) I was excited because there wasn't multiple chilling/freezing steps and because the cookie crescents were smaller. Plus, Nutella. Yum.
There were several filling suggestions: Nutella, cinnamon-walnut, and jam (raspberry or apricot). It's very easy to use different fillings on the same batch of dough. 
The dough is rolled into 2 12-inch circles. Each circle is topped with 1/3 cup filling before being cut into 16 wedges and each wedge rolled into a crescent.
We topped one circle with Nutella. For the second circle, we cut it in half and spread one half with raspberry jam and the other half with apricot jam. 
So we have 32 rugelach cookies: 16 Nutella, 8 raspberry, and 8 apricot. They all are delicious. There is sour cream and cream cheese in the dough so the cookie part is really yummy. My favorite is the Nutella. SP's favorite is the apricot.
These were much easier and less time consuming than the other rugelach we made plus the cookie is smaller, which I like. The egg wash and Demerara sugar on top make a delicious, sweet crust on top.

Definitely a Make Again cookie.

Recipe here: Rugelach


Friday, November 20, 2020

Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those dishes that my mom never made when we were kids. I think of it as a frozen food meal. Maybe Stouffer's or Hungry Man. Do they even make those? Point is, it's not on my radar of meal possibilities.
But then the latest issue of Cook's Country (Dec~Jan 2021) had a recipe for Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie and it looked delicious. Suddenly, it was on my radar. And SP's. So we made it. Note, this recipe was published years ago and is from the Cooks' Country archives. We didn't subscribe back then so it's new to us.
It's not too difficult. It is a bit time consuming, but we made it in stages. I chopped the vegetables Sunday morning. SP made the crust Sunday morning & got it chilling. After lunch, he rolled the crusts and got them situated while he cooked the chicken (we did not use leftovers from a rotisserie chicken, we cooked breasts/thighs in the oven). Then after the Steelers game, we assembled the filling and got the pot pie baking.
It's delicious. The crust does not get soggy. Not even when, two days later, we reheated the leftovers. It stayed flaky & yummy. The filling wasn't too wet. I know in the photo it looks like it ran out/leaked everywhere, but it wasn't a thin, wet filling, it was thick. We'll definitely make this again.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

I have a lot of thoughts today (about politics, pandemic, family, holidays, social media), but it's probably best to keep them in my head!

What We're Eating:

  • Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Dessert: Snickerdoodles

What We're Watching:

  • We are really enjoying Babylon Berlin (Netflix). We finished Season 1 and started Season 2.
  • His Dark Materials started on HBO. Not my favorite show, but I did stick with it all of the first season, so I'll give season 2 a try.
  • I'm not sure what to make of the most recent Fargo episode. Two more episodes.
  • I'm also not sure about Grey's Anatomy. Are we really going to have a 3rd, or 4th, "Meredith almost dies" storyline?

What I'm Reading:

Buried Bones, Splintered Bones, Crossed Bones from Carolyn Haines (Books 2, 3, and 4). 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Asiago Cheese-Black Pepper Breadsticks

We made these Asiago and Black Pepper Breadsticks from Baking Illustrated a few weeks ago. They were pretty easy to make. We made them on a weeknight but wouldn't do so if SP ever returns to working in the office because the rising time is 1.5-2 hours. It's nice now because he's home all the time and we can make things like this during the week.
We didn't use the onion powder because SP thought we didn't have any, but we do. Maybe next time. The grated cheese is in the dough and sprinkled on top before baking. Yum! There is a tablespoon of fresh grated black pepper. It's tasty, but we found that the more we ate, the more the pepper overwhelmed us a bit. Next time, we would use less pepper.

The recipe makes 18 breadsticks. That's a lot for 2 people so we froze them. On the nights that we want a breadstick, we thaw 2-3, wrap them in foil, and heat them in the oven.

We'd make these again, maybe adding the onion powder, maybe trying another flavor like pecorino & herbs.

Recipe here: Asiago Cheese-Black Pepper Breadsticks (page 170)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

The weather earlier this week was wonderful. SP reached a "use it or lose it" point with vacation accrual, so he took this week off for vacation. We can't do much or travel anywhere (thanks coronavirus) but on Tuesday we took a drive to Mingo Creek Park. The park has relatively flat and paved walking trails, so that was good for the wheelchair. There are 2 covered bridges and the historic Henry House, a house built in the early 1800s. There's also an observatory, but it's closed now because of the pandemic. We drove up to it and wished we gone a couple weeks earlier when there was still fall color because the view from the parking lot would have been a fantastic collage of color.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • The Queen's Gambit (Netflix). We finished this and it was excellent.
  • We started Babylon Berlin (Netflix). We're 4 episodes in & enjoying it so far even though sometimes we're a little confused. 
  • Tonight Grey's Anatomy is back! As is The Unicorn. 
  • The Amazing Race continues to be fun. It's always fun watching people try to drive stick shift in Europe. And when people get hopelessly lost.
  • The Undoing is still holding our interest but I was disappointed at the turn the show seemed to take in the last episode. In my mind, I'd been wondering if that was going to happen but I was hoping not because it seems such an obvious choice but maybe it's just a distraction? I don't want to be too specific in case people haven't watched.
  • Fargo Season 4 continues to bore and with the latest episode, disappoint because while the train station scenes were great, my favorite character was killed, so boo.
  • The Great British Bake Off (Netflix). Oh gosh I feel terrible for saying this, but watching them create ice cream cakes in a 90+ degree tent was amusing.

What I'm Reading:

  • The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer. Not a Milo Weaver book. It was good, although for soem reason I had trouble remembering everything/keeping it all straight as I read.
  • Triptych by Karin Slaughter. This is the first Will Trent book of the series. It was good, I couldn't put it down, but also, yeesh the villain was disgusting. 
  • Them Bones by Carolyn Haines. This was better than I expected although the main character has conversations with a ghost.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

On the morning of November 1, I saw Christmas posts/photos in my social media feeds. Really, people? Nov. 1 and you're posting about Christmas? During a pandemic? What about Thanksgiving? Gah! No Christmas until Black Friday!

Tuesday was a big day. We voted by mail, mailing ours back in early October. We spent Tuesday, and yesterday, and today, trying to not obsessively follow the election coverage. So stressful! 

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:
  • We finished Schitt's Creek. We both really liked the show. Moira was a little much at times, and Johnny could be a jerk, but almost always we were laughing a lot. A very good escape from current events.
  • Holiday Baking Championship started. It still seems a bit early to be watching Christmas themed competitions, but maybe watching will get me in the mood.
  • Fargo Season 4 continues to bore me. Four more episodes. 
  • We started watching The Queen's Gambit  (Netflix). It's based on the book about an orphan chess prodigy and her quest to become the world's top chess player. We've watched 2 of the 7 episodes. 
  • The Amazing Race. We're 4 episodes in and our favorite team almost came in last! The watermelon stack challenge gave them a lot of trouble. 
What I'm Reading:
The Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer. This is the 4th and final of the Milo Weaver series. It was good, if also seeming a little crazy pants and convoluted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chips

I've been baking these cookies for a very long time. The recipe is from the February 2003 issue of Bon Appetit. So I guess I've been making them for 17 years?!! Wow! These Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chips are one of my (our) favorite cookies.
They use orange zest and orange extract so there's a terrific orange flavor. They're simple and quick to make and so very tasty. We use semisweet chocolate because that's what we always have on hand. Sometimes we've used dark chocolate, sometimes bittersweet, they all seem to work just fine. We don't butter and flour a cookie sheet, we use parchment paper or a silpat. 
The only down side is that the recipe only yields about 2 dozen cookies. It does not take the two of us very long to inhale all these cookies!
These taste a bit like Chocolate-Orange Milano cookies, only better because they're homemade and they're shortbread cookies. 

Recipe: Orange Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chips