Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cooking and Eating with Kids

Ah, February. With your icy snow, brutal winds and gray mornings, no wonder we turn our backs on you and set up camp in the kitchen.

Cooking and eating with kids has been an unofficial theme over at Simple Bites this month (well, that and sympathy meals). It's only natural to hit the kitchen when it is nasty outside.

It started with a guest post on healthy snacks for kids. Cindy's easy recipes for Apple Chips & Sun Butter Bites showed how easy it is to reform snack time. Even I was ready for an update.

In another post, I shared how winter is the best season for encouraging kids in the kitchen and Noah made a Baked Apple-Gingerbread Pancake almost completely on his own.

Simple Bites contributor Lynn then gave us a thorough post on baking with kids, not to mention a fantastic giant oatmeal cookie recipe. She provided a simple breakdown with doable steps and tons of super smart tips. She is not called The Cookie Baker for nothin'.

On a similar note, I guest posted over at Food for My Family on the (much discussed, often heated) topic of picky eaters. I give 5 Tips for Surviving with a Selective Eater and try to avoid pointing fingers at the parents. Seriously, can we stop giving parents guilt trips and just accept that kids are kids?

Last weekend, Danny, the boys and I ate nothing but pancakes as we were taste testing five varieties of homemade pancake syrup. There was no complaining to speak of from the picky eaters.

Look for a few new pancake recipes coming up just in time for Pancake Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WW: Hawaiian Party Photo Booth Fun

All photos courtesy of Tim Chin.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pink Pickled Onions (for your Valentine)

I've had it up to here with Valentine's blather and there's still a few days to go before it ends. Enough with the sugar (I know, you never thought you'd hear me say that, right?), the chocolate, and the red food coloring saturated sweets.

It's such a silly Hallmark holiday. Every day is Valentine's around here (go ahead and groan all you like) and I've got three sweethearts that I bake for regardless of the calendar date.

So, here, a very un-valentine recipe for you.

Pickled onions are pink of natural causes as the skin from the red onion bleeds into the brine. So skip the red food coloring and sugar this year, and instead create a naturally pink condiment that will make him pucker.

Quick-Pickled Red Onions with Cumin

I made these for a garnish over a warm smoked salmon 'pizza'. We since found out that they are pretty tasty on much, much more.

Good thing they're quick to make.

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a small pot or saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, spices and seasoning. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Peel onion and thinly slice in rounds. Add to hot spiced vinegar and cook gently for a minute or so.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a small glass jar, top with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pickled onions are ready to use 24 hours after making and will last for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Yield: 250 ml or 1 cup pickled red onion.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Browned Butter Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Home from an intense blogging conference and what am I doing? Baking.

Right now it is the best way to sort through all the info crammed into my head on topics such as viral marketing, blogging curation, and advanced monetization, to name but a few.

There's also the song from the surprise flashmob that I performed in at the conference close; can't get it out of my head. Baking seems like the best thing to do at this point. At least it can help me avoid unpacking for a few more hours.

I mentioned these cookies in my holiday cookie swap recap, and promised the recipe sometime. It was a 'bake-the-best-cookie-of-your-life' swap and I made these, so that should tell you a lot about how good they are.

Browned Butter Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm not going to get into the whole 'Best Chocolate Chip Cookie' debate, although I do think mine can compete with the best of them. Browned butter gives that extra nutty flavor, extra vanilla because I can, and three types of chocolate goes into the batter just to be sure they're deluxe. Enjoy!

Adapted from Alton Brown's chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup, or half a pound)
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chunks
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (I use Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate baking chunks)

Melt the butter in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook slowly until browned, about five minutes. Set aside and cool.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Pour the melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until creamy.

Add the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.

Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

Stir in all of the chocolate chips and chunks and try to resist eating all of the dough.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for a minimum of twelve hours, and ideally 36 hours.

To bake. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a sturdy spoon, scoop approximately 1 tablespoon of dough from the bowl and roll into a ball. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 12 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes and rotating the baking sheet for even browning.

Cool completely on wire racks.and store in an airtight container.


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