Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out – Shortbread fail

I wanted to share one of my fails with you today because it’s just real life as I see it.  Not everything turns out perfect all the time, at least not for me.  I have begun my looming task of sifting  through my haphazardly stored hand written recipes and saw one for shortbread  I just don’t remember but it was in my handwriting.  I suspected right off the bat that there was something not quite right about it.  It required vegetable oil instead of butter.  Oh well,  I tried it anyway.  It looked okay although I do not have the correct size pan but found one that was similar.  See they look okay, they are quite flaky and do melt in your mouth ….

That is where the problem came, what an awful taste!! OMG  where did I get this recipe? Or did I write it down incorrectly?  I honestly don’t remember, I have so many!

I happily tossed this piece of paper in the recycling.  From now on, I think I will stick with shortbread recipes that require butter.

Does anyone else have a recipe fail they would like to share?  I would love to know that I’m not the only one this happens to!  🙂

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Simple things – new kitchen stuff & snack cake

It obviously does not take very much to make me happy.  Case in point – Saturday I came home from TK Maxx with 2 brand new Cuisinart dish towels and a cookie sheet.

In fact, it was Happily Mr. that saw the dish towels, which were on sale for only 3€!  He actually noticed that my dish towel supply was quite sad and diminishing.

The cookie sheet – well, it’s quite an amazing story.  I did not bring any kitchen things with me when I moved overseas and they just don’t sell or use cookie sheets here.  I have been looking for an “American Style” cookie sheet for six years!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to bake my White Chocolate Chip cookie recipe for you all tomorrow using this new cookie sheet.

I am really glad they put in a TK Maxx in our small town.  Oh, in case those of you who live in America are thinking I misspelled the store name, I didn’t.  For some reason TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx over here.  I wonder what it’s called in Canada?

My other simple pleasure this past week was enjoying a slice (okay… 2) of this delicious chocolately and easy snack cake.

It so quick to make and also does not require eggs, if you prefer eggless recipes.  I found the recipe years ago here at BettyCrocker.Com.  

I was really craving something chocolate and don’t keep much in the way of snack or junk food in the house.  It was the perfect addition to a little coffee break!

Sometimes the simplest of things are just so satisfying and make a day, perfect!

Merken

My first time…. making an omelet.

Finally getting back on track with the cooking-through challenge, I decided to try my hand at an omelet.  Not just any omelet but a french omelet aux fines herbes found on page 259 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

I never attempted making an omelet before because it holds a bit of an intimidation factor for me.  I was amazed to find out it is not complicated at all!

This is how my first omelet ever turned out.

I  toasted  some Brioche on the side.

Not bad for a first try.  Now the recipe for “aux fines herbes” I was drawn to as I love anything french.  It seemed quite glamorous, even for an omelet.

I honestly did not quite care for the taste.  It was a big too “herby” for my liking, if there is such a thing.  I even admit to adding barbecue sauce to it.  (blushing)

The good thing is that I tried something new.  Won’t Happily Mr. be surprised when I whip up a ham and cheese omelet for him this weekend!

Keep or Toss?:  I will definitely keep making omelets from now on.  In fact the picture instructions for the french omelet key recipe were easy to follow.  I can’t believe I was so scared to make them before!! As for the Aux Fines Herbes part? Sadly, I must toss.  It just wasn’t to my liking.  Maybe if I added a bit of cheese to it, it would have been better. Next time!

Merken

Merken

One basic white sauce for a variety of recipes and creamy sauces.

This key recipe I learned before the arrival of my precious Betty Crocker cookbook.  White sauce, roux, whatever you call it can be the basis for so many recipes.  My mom taught me how to make macaroni and cheese using this white sauce, which surprisingly takes about the same amount of time as opening a box of Kraft.  Here in germany where the “cream of” variety of condensed soups are not sold, I found I needed to use the white sauce in order to re-create many of my American recipes, like hamburger stroganoff, a chicken and rice casserole and my favorite cheesy potatoes.  I also use this as the basis for my southern gravy and alfredo sauce.

Since I have been cooking-through my cookbook, I find now that it was used in so many recipes during the fifties and that I can even make a short cut to white sauce and keep it on hand in the refrigerator.

This is how I make my white sauce, which also seems to be the same recipe in the cookbook.  Makes sense I guess, since I learned it from my Mom who used this cookbook too when it first came out in the fifties.

Let’s get started.

First, melt the butter over low heat.

Next, blend in the flour and seasonings cooking over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat to stir in milk.  Then bring to a boil for about one minute.  Here, you have to stir constantly.

Sometimes, I switch to using a whisk if there happen to be any lumps in the sauce.  When the sauce is your desired consistency, it is done.

The recipe states for the best flavor to cook for 10 minutes.  I never knew that.  It also states to use a wooden spoon, so next time I will try as Betty suggests.

The measurements for a medium sauce is 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1 cup milk.

For the shortcut to always have the basic roux (butter paste)  on hand says to blend to a smooth paste equal amounts of soft butter and flour.  Keep in jar in the refrigerator.  I will be trying this too, it will save a lot of time for me.  When ready to use, heat to scalding the milk, stock or other liquid and seasonings. Stir constantly until mixture boils for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

I thought it was time to share this method today, as throughout this month I will be trying out a few new recipes that require this white sauce and sharing a few of my own in the near future.

I can’t tell you how many times this basic, simple, little white sauce has saved my dinners!

If you are curious about learning more about this basic white sauce, you can find all the little hints and techniques in the sauces section of the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Merken

Betty Crocker’s potato salad & what we ate for dinner

There are hundreds of different variations to potato salad but today I’ll be sharing one specifically from my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook; part of the cooking-through challenge.

Interestingly enough, the French Dressing I just happened to try a few weeks ago, so it was quite easy to whip up a batch.

Potato salad is such an easy make ahead dish and a great accompaniment to those summer barbeques.

As you know, I am trying to stay true to the ways things were done in that decade, so I went to my number one source, my Mom who was married in 1950, to find out if I am supposed to peel the potatoes after boiling or before.  I had vague memories of her peeling them after.  She confirmed that is how she did it, but it was no big deal to peel them before.

Potatoes are a much softer, floury consistency and the skins are quite thin here in Germany, I found it was easier to peel them before boiling.

Here is a picture of the potatoes  after mixing in the French Dressing.  I then let them chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, like the recipe states.  They really don’t look “cubed” to me, I probably could have done a better job there but I was in a bit of a hurry.

I then added the salad dressing and eggs just before serving and of course garnished it with some parsley.

This particular evening I needed a quick dinner so I just served it up with some mini würtschen(frankfurters) and this is what our light, evening meal looked like.

Keep or Toss? Happily Mr. said definitely a keeper.

My Thoughts?  It had a nice creamy texture and the taste was very mild which is a switch from the vinegar taste of many potato salads in our region.

Thats it for this week!  Be sure to pop back in next week as I am going to attempt one of the more difficult salads in this cookbook.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Merken

Merken

The perfect salad topper – It’s as simple as French Dressing!

Last week, for the cooking-through challenge, I shared Betty’s version of the basic green salad.

Of course every salad needs a dressing and as I was looking through this section of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (my book for the challenge), I thought, why not try the recipe on page 335 for French Dressing.  Typically, I am not a fan of it but… I felt like trying it this time.

My guess as to why I like it now, because it is a basic key recipe.  Nothing extra added to tweak it and most likely I don’t care for the taste of those “tweaks”?  I don’t know, I am making this up as I go along and it sounds right to me.

Anyways, on with the ingredients needed.

Sugar, salt, paprika, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, salad oil and onion juice.  I have a glass jar that I always use for dressings.  Funny thing, a creamy french dressing came in it and we didnt’ care for it, but I liked the jar.

Mix everything together and shake and voila!

You have a really tasty salad dressing!

Keep or Toss?  Another keeper!

My Thoughts?  I  definitely could have found a better way to photograph the dressing for you, now that I think about it!

Be sure to stop by Mary’s blog to see what recipes she is cooking up during this month.  She is using the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. 

 

Merken

Basic Green Salad – “There can always be a salad!”

As I am cooking my way through the “Salads” category this month, I thought why not go back to the basics.  Today I am preparing a  green salad just as Betty Crocker suggests.  Although she states, “There can always be a salad”, meaning just by glancing in your refrigerator, cupboard, or garden, will convince you that you will always have the available ingredients.  Of course she is very considerate and gives the housewife a general plan on how to use what you happen to have on hand.

For this salad though, I took the amounts suggested for 3 people and used only the ingredients mentioned in the Amounts for Green Salads section, found on page 339 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Since I am trying to stay true to the recipes for this challenge, I used romaine and a little spinach.  Those were on the list of  “A Variety of Salad Greens gives interest to salads” list, found on page 337.

Before I show you my result, can I just add, I thought it was interesting that onion was not mentioned in the vegetable amounts for green salads and have never added celery before either.   I am learning so much  this month, even the proper way to wash and prepare lettuce, add the dressing and so much more.  Yes, I did say we will be discussing salad etiquette and don’t worry, we will as manners and etiquette are a favorite subject of mine.  Okay… I know, I can get chatty when I talk about something I enjoy.

Here is my very basic, Green Salad.

I chose to make French dressing to go on it and I will happily be sharing that adventure with you next week!

Funny thing, I can’t find my salad tongs anywhere!

I’m curious… Do you put onion in your green salad?  Or celery for that matter?

Merken

Merken

How to remove stains from white dishes

I finally discovered a way to remove dark stains and scratches from some old white dishes that I inherited.  They weren’t dirty, just marked from years of use.

I tried to photograph the stains, but the camera did not seem to want to focus on it.  This plate in particular was quite bad, brown stain over most of the plate.  I always kept this one on the bottom of the stack, although I only own five.

First I sprinkled some baking soda on the plate.

Rubbed fairly gently with a damp cloth.

The stains on this plate were so bad that I needed a little reinforcement, so I added just a dab of vinegar.

I’m not sure if this would be recommended, but I rubbed this plate again and it took the stains off and even some of the scratches.

Only one of the five plates needed this treatment, the rest came clean with a bit of baking soda and some gentle elbow grease.

I don’t know if this process would work on all white dishware.  These are about 30 years old and were made in West Germany.  It is good solid porcelain, so if you do attempt this way to remove stains from your dishes, do try a small area first.

I am so glad I decided to try this.  I didn’t want to have to buy new plates, just because these were stained, but I couldn’t keep using them when I had company over.

Sometimes, it’s just the simple things that make such a big difference.

In case you live in Germany and wonder what the equivalent to baking soda is – the proper translated word is Natron and you can find it sold in little packets in any grocery store and in a larger box (like Arm and Hammer baking soda size) in your local drug store.

 

Merken

Merken