Sunday, June 28, 2009


How have I not done a post about bread yet? I make at least one loaf of bread every week and occasionally some kind of pita bread, tortilla, pizza dough, etc. I swear by King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. If I'm going to be eating bread, it had better be at least mostly whole wheat, and this flour makes that possible and delicious.

More to come...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Let's talk about brownies for a minute

Well, only one kind of brownie really, Wuollet's Brownies Enourmous. Wuollet's has several locations in and around the Twin Cities; neither I nor my boyfriend had ever heard of them, so I was surprised when I came across them on the internet. I plan on seeking one out next time I'm up there.

I was looking for a chocolaty dessert for the beer and wine tasting dinner that the boyfriend and I hosted in Minneapolis when I ran across this recipe. I found it on the Food Network website, which directed me to Wuollet's website. They have the recipe right there on the webpage; how could they give away gold like that‽ Needless to say, I loved these. In fact, these may be my go-to brownies, like the brownie recipe that I pull out 30 years from now. I'm excited. 

I've made them twice. I haven't even gotten them right yet, and I still feel this way about them. I overcooked them the first time I made them; they were pretty hard, delicious, but hard. The second time I undercooked them; they were gooey, but not in that good way (well, still good, but not perfect). I'll post an update and pictures next time I make them (hopefully third time's a charm). 

OK, without further ado, Wuollet's Brownies Enormous:

• 3/4 cup butter
• 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 t vanilla
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup large walnut pieces and chunks of premium-grade bar chocolate 

  1. preheat oven to 350∘ F
  2. either microwave (on high for about 2 minutes) or melt in a double boiler the chocolate and butter
  3. mix in the next four ingredients - add each ingredient slowly and incorporate as much as possible before adding the next
  4. when the batter is well mixed, fold in the walnuts and chocolate (I prefer leaving the walnuts out and using all chocolate - Cadbury's dark chocolate bar is pretty killer here)
  5. pour into a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with "fudgy crumbs" not clean. if it comes out clean, the brownies will be over cooked
  6. cool and enjoy (or you know, just enjoy)
Wuollet recommends serving the brownies warm (nuked) with a dollop and/or giant scoop of vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries or other seasonal fruit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I just returned from a swank two week vacation in Minneapolis, MN, which is a super cool city, and my boyfriend lives there, so that ups the appeal significantly. I was supposed to be doing research for one of my professors while I was there, but that kind of fell through last minute. So I decided to take advantage of the boyfriend-at-work time and the nearby grocery store with the most amazing bulk section (I can't believe I didn't take pictures of it). The rest of the store is average, but that bulk section, man...I think there was one week day that I didn't go to the grocery store...I cooked A LOT.

Besides my favorite bulk section in a regular grocery store, Minneapolis has some neat food, not to mention BEER, options. Though I cooked a ton, we did go out a couple of times. My favorite outings were to ice cream shops. I loved both Izzy's and The Pumphouse Creamery. Izzy's gives you an 'izzy' scoop to let you try a new flavor (they also give samples, but this allows you a more complete taste experience, which is good because some of their flavors are so intense that getting an izzy lets you know that a whole scoop might send you into hyperglycemic shock).

Izzy's. I adore the izzy scoop on top!
(praline pecan with a norwegian chai izzy and cherries jubilee with a licorice izzy)


We also went on the (free) Surly Brewery Tour. It's super fun and you get 5 free samples (probably about 1/3 a pint each). You have to make reservations a good bit ahead of time, but if you have the forethought to do it, it's pretty great. Make sure to eat before hand or designate a driver...I recommend eating before! Surly makes some delicious beer that you can only get in the midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin and apparently Chicago). Jealous. I particularly love the Coffee Bender.

That brings me to another beloved location in the cities. I found this while I was walking around the neighborhood. Actually, I had changed neighborhoods; I found myself in St. Anthony Village staring at a store that had 'gourmet' in the name. I wanted to go in. And I did. And I'm glad. Annona Gourmet is a cute, bright little store that packs a punch. It's filled with kegs (tanks?) of olive oils and vinegars. Jeanie (I think that's how you spell her name) is super friendly and really knows her stuff. You can sample anything you want (with bread) and she will help you mix oils and vinegars (black cherry and picholine? pomegranate and garlic? [better than it sounds]). They are kind of expensive, but they are delicious, and you can buy smaller sizes in the store than you can get online. They make a great gift for the culinarily minded in your life. They also carry flavored pastas, flavored salts and flavored sugars (try the green chile sugar - whoa!).

Annona Gourmet. Row upon row of fancy oils and vinegars.

The Twin Cities offer plenty of opportunities for good eating and drinking. These are just a drop in the bucket. There are so many bars, so many great great bars that I haven't even talked about.

Anyway, if you have the opportunity to go, you should check it out for yourself. The summer is especially nice. Minnesotans are so excited that it's not frigid out; everyone is outside enjoying the weather and the lakes. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nemesis part one: Pizza

Over the past few years I've become pretty comfortable with cooking almost anything. Challah? No problem. Chutney? Sure. Chana Masala, Granola, Creme Brulee, Hamburgers? Obviously. But one of the things I just can't master is pizza - specifically pizza crust. I've made it plenty of times, but it never seems to work out - dry and crunchy on the edge, soggy in the middle, raw the whole way through, you name it, and as long as it's not good I've made it. It's usually not a disaster, and certainly edible, but making a really good pizza crust would make me feel pretty darn accomplished.

I did make a grilled pizza last week that was perhaps my best attempt so far. The crust was pretty tasty. It had a full cup of beer in it...maybe that has something to do with it. The best part about it was that it wasn't soggy in the middle. Hoorah!

Grilled pizza is really appealing, especially during the summer when, while it's too hot to be outside, it's way too hot to heat up my whole apartment by cranking my oven to the max.

I got the recipe out of He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Sam Calagione, owner of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware; he credits Chef Marcel LavalĂ©e from Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats for the recipe. I definitely recommend the book - it's superbly interesting, and helps you purposefully pair beers and wines with food. 

Boozy Pizza Crusts
serves 4-6
  • 1 cup of Pale Ale (no pale ale in sight, I used a Belgian and I think that was fine)
  • 1 T yeast (I usually use instant yeast, more on that later, but I wasn't in my own kitchen so regular rapid rise yeast was all that I had on hand)
  • 2.5 cups high-gluten bread flour (I used part white part whole wheat)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 t canola oil
  1. warm the beer in a saucepan on low. you just want to bring it up to a little above room temperature (lukewarm)
  2. pour beer into a mixing bowl and whisk in yeast
  3. slowly add the flour and sugar, stirring as you go (or use a stand mixer with a dough hook on low)
  4. mix this well before adding the salt and then the oil
  5. knead or mix until smooth and then cover (tightly) with plastic wrap
  6. let this proof for about 45 minutes - until it doubles in size
  7. somewhere in here heat up your grill to medium-high. if you're using a charcoal grill heat it with the charcoal heaped in the middle but distribute it to the edges before putting the pizza on.
  8. divide dough into 2 equal parts (or leave it whole for one large pizza or into 4 for individual pizzas). shape the halves into balls.
  9. flatten the dough balls with your palm and roll them out with a rolling pin (or you know, a wine bottle...classy!)
  10. through the discs on the grill for a few minutes (3-6) until they set up a little. flip them once during this time.
  11. take them off and top pizzas
  12. return them to the grill, which has preferably cooled a little at this point, and cover.
  13. check periodically. remove when the cheese has melted and the bottom is golden brown (make sure the bottom doesn't burn; if it's getting a too dark slide some aluminum foil underneath).
  14. let the pizza rest a few minutes if you can stand it and dig in!
If you have any tips for me in the pizza dough making department (or in any department really) please let me know. These pizza recipes seems promising:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

*MY* Burgers

I'm so proud of myself