Archives for posts with tag: baking

A lot going on this week… including my update pattern.  I think it’s very ironic that right after my blogging class concludes that I have increased motivation to write everyday.

Class at the University is wrapping up (I only have one, awful, long paper left to write), and then it will be S-U-M-M-E-R.  Not the real season, but the ridiculous, long four months of what should be planting season in our previously agriculture-based society, and like every year for the last six or so years, I am in a quandary of what my plans will be.  I have a general outline (working, reading, cooking, and blogging, of course), but there’s an anticipation for something wonderful, something exciting to happen, and I don’t know what that something is!

Obviously, one of my goals for the summer is to be coherent. =P

My usual state, which doesn't require verbal articulation, unless... something's on fire.

Anyway, this Wednesday, I practiced the favorite art of procrastination by baking; my un-studying was made better by the fact that a). it was done with friends and b). we brought joy (and cookies!) to other people.  I have a very self-focused philosophy of living to enjoy myself, and most other people’s happiness is of negligible import, but I do find it self-affirming to occasionally spread good cheer.  Happy people munching on my baking is like getting hugged, except I don’t even have to touch a person (long story short… I had a traumatizing experience with superglue as a teenager, and now have extreme aversions to physical contact).

My Bible study group got together at the apartment of our Fearless Leader (aka Rosalie), and we spent three hours baking cookies to pass out to hungry, harried students studying in the libraries on campus.  It was part outreach in that there were Bible verses printed out and wrapped with each cookie, but it was, for me, mostly another way to avoid studying and fun to do a random act of kindness.

The boys, left to right, Josh, Nathan, and Sassypants (Andy), at work.

All the eggs and butter we used... mmmm butter.

Benefit of unorthodoxly using one's hands to make cookie dough: eating the residue.

Fearless Leader/Rosalie taking over. That's Nathan in the back, still eating cookie dough.

The chocolate chip cookie dough Nathan was eating.

Sassypants Andy trying to mix the oatmeal raisin cookie dough with a spoon. When that failed...

...he decided to emulate Nathan's hands-on method (not... really sorry for the pun. =P). Josh is in the middle, and Jodi and Iris are working on sugar cookies to the right.

I was assigned white chocolate macadamia cookies. They're my mother's favorite!

Bert, the oven mitten monster that took over Josh's arm.

The overflowing box and basket of wrapped cookies. We made a lot of students happy. =3

And… finally… the last part of this post.  The Life of the Humble Sugar Cookie:

Iris creaming the butter and sugar together for the sugar cookie.

Rolled out and dusted with sugar before baking...

...and here they are, out of the oven.

There were good ones. They got wrapped up and paired with a Biblical message; don't really agree with Matthew here... but who reads inserts when there's a cookie right there? Besides with fortune cookies. =P

The many rejects. :D


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On February 12, the guys of AIVcf 2013  (Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Class of 2013) threw us gals a Valentine’s Day appreciation dinner; one month later, March 12, we girls did the same for White Day (an Asian holiday of reciprocation).  As my roommate Grace and I are the only sophomore girls who live outside of the dorms, we hosted the party at #8.

This photo's by my roommate Lily, who does some sweet landscape photography in her free time. The ugly photo down below is mine. =P

It took ages for me to decide what to make, but finally, remembering this old Martha Stewart recipe and being in the mood to play with puff pastry, I decided to make an asparagus tart.  It’s awesome that it’s super easy, but super pretty. :D

The original version involves Gruyere, which I couldn’t find in my rush at Meijer, so I grabbed Fontinella instead–Gruyere is nuttier and slightly harder, while Fontinella is softer, a little creamier, kinda like fancy cream cheese. I also like prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham), and sun-dried tomatoes, so I added those.  The natural oils and saltiness of the prosciutto also act as additional seasoning, so I’ve taken out the olive oil, salt, and pepper from the original.

Asparagus Tart

Ingredients
1 pound asparagus
1 sheet puff pastry
1 1/2 cups fontinella cheese, grated/sliced
4 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 slices prosciutto
flour, for rolling surface

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out the puff pastry on your floured surface into a 10 x 17″ rectangle; transfer to baking sheet. Using a knife, score a rectangular 1″ border, then score the dough inside your rectangle every 1/2″ or so. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden.

Remove the puff pastry from the oven, then spread out the cheese in an even layer within the rectangle you previously scored.  Trim the asparagus to fit within the square, and then begin layering the stalks atop the cheese, alternating tips and ends.

Spread out the four slices of prosciutto atop the asparagus and sprinkle with the sliced sun-dried tomatoes. (If you still want the taste of sun-dried tomatoes but don’t want them to get burnt, sprinkle atop the cheese before you layer the asparagus).

Bake for another 20-25 minutes, then enjoy!

Coming back to #8 from a week back home for Spring Break was, to say the least, disgusting.  Living in a bi-level apartment means there are two floors of space, but also two floors to clean up, which we most certainly neglected to do in the weeks leading up to the mid-semester vacation; returning to papers strewn everywhere and dust in every corner and some very moldy, green bread on the shelves was the consequence of our laziness.

The boys, ever terrified of doing real housework beyond throwing out the trash, escaped; Rocky walked his girlfriend back to her dormitory and went to study, and Jason ran off to play volleyball for a few hours.  In the girls’ room, Grace, Lily and I stared at each other, thought about the mess of the floor below, and decided–we would each tackle an area and clean, else we go mad (MAD!).

I, of course, lay siege to the kitchen, where the shelves became ordered, various plastic food containers stacked, the counters scrubbed, etc. Post-cleanse, I felt the urge to, well… eat.  Something easy to throw together, something with a little kick, and something with carrots, because I love carrots. :D

For me, there are so many goodies that can come out of the oven; I’m really more of a baker than a cooker, so any meal I can pull out from under the stove versus throw together above makes me gleeful.  The wonderful thing about baking a meal is that you can just pop it in and then in half an hour, an hour, a day, you have something yummy and fantastic.

With roasted vegetables, and especially roasted roots, it’s very easy to put together something to bake–just wash, peel, cut, and toss with whatever spices and seasonings you have on hand and deign to throw in.  These roasted carrots are on the sweet and savory side, with some crushed red pepper for a little, barely perceptible kick of fun.

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients
1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon, paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel and cut the carrots, and then toss with the olive oil, honey, and spices.  Spread on a baking sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Nom!