Monday, April 7, 2014

a hot oven & raw dough.

So this weekend consisted of a couple things: a hot oven & raw the title suggests.  To explain, I spent a couple days this weekend cooking (i.e. a hot oven) and also mixed up some cookies (i.e. raw dough).  Now I know some of you out there take pleasure in eating raw cookie dough and cake batter and if you don't - you're missing out.  Some days I would rather eat the dough than the actual baked good!  Just sayin'!

Also, I live in Wisconsin so I don't just cook and bake for pleasure...I do it for warmth!  Even with the heat on our house can be a bit drafty and if all I'm doing is sitting on the couch then I freeze.  Solution: make something!  Anything to do with turning on the stove or oven provides instant heat or "Insta-Heat" as Andrew would say when we start the car on a winter's day, praying that the heat will turn on instantly!  At one point this winter, it was so cold that I actually turned the oven on and left the door open in order to warm up the house a bit without maxing out the thermostat! 

But as I was saying, on Friday night (or was it Thursday?) I went all out and made: Red beans and rice with andouille sausage, cornbread, and butter shortbread cookies.  Delish.  It was my first time making all of these things, but the cornbread - I've made it several times and could possibly do it with my eyes closed (its that easy).

Quick Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage:
I found this recipe on Pinterest, it belongs to the lovely lady at Can You Stay For Dinner.

Here are the ingredients:   

3 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups dry brown rice
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 links smoked Andouille pork sausage, each sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in their own juices
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning (strongly recommended: Tony Chachere’s or Zatarain’s)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves             

First I prepped the veggies.

Then I sliced the andouille sausage (I used Johnsonville.  I was going to get some fresh andouille from Festival foods, but all their homemade andouille was frozen.  Boo!)

Before I started my prep work, I started my pan of chicken stock and 
bay leaf at high heat to bring it to a boil.

Then I browned the sausage in a  pan (not shown).  I took the sausage out once browned and added the onions and peppers right into the sausage fat.  I sauteed the onions and green peppers for a few minutes until the onions became soft.  I then added the garlic for only 30 seconds until it became fragrant and right before it started to brown.

Then I added the drained and cleaned can of red beans, the diced tomatoes, cayenne pepper, Creole spices, salt and pepper.  This cooked and warmed through for a couple minutes.

I then added the fresh thyme and rice (totally forgot to add the parsley, but it didn't make any difference).
Side note: I totally screwed up the rice - a big mushy mess. Yuck!  Being half-Asian, this is a disgrace.  And I have no idea why I made the rice in a pot.  At the last minute I made rice in my Rice Cooker and instead of water used chicken stock and added a bay leaf.  It was done in about 20 minutes, so during that time I turned the stove off and set the veggies aside.  Once I knew the rice would be done, I turned the veggies on to warm through, THEN finally added my perfect rice!  Thanks handy-dandy rice cooker!  You can totally still cook the rice in the stock pot, just be careful with how much liquid you put in - too much and it turns to mush (do exact measurements).  I sometimes think its okay to eyeball ingredients.

Honey Butter Corn Bread:

Just before the rice was done cooking, I started mixing up the ingredients for Honey Butter Corn Bread 
from Dine & Dish (also found via Pinterest).


    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
I halved this recipe since it was just me and Andrew eating.

It was super easy to make.  Basically: A) mix all the dry ingredients.  B) mix all the wet ingredients (in a well).  C) mix all ingredients together, but don't overmix.

Also, as a note it actually took longer for it to cook than the 20-25 minutes.  I'm thinking its because I used a loaf pan (seeing as I halved the recipe, thinking I would need less room) and not a 9x13 (so it was still raw in the middle, UGH).  So I had to cook it a bit longer - next time I will definitely use a bigger pan.

Golden deliciousness.

Et Voila! 

You betcha I smothered this bad boy in honey butter 
(recipe: 2 parts honey to 1 part butter).

Shortbread Cookies aka Fossil Cookies:

And I'm not done yet!  Remember those shortbread cookies I mentioned?!  Those buttery, delicate melt-in-your-mouth biscuits!?  Well I found that recipe on A Beautiful Mess.  They entitled these bad boys: Fossil Cookies.  I altered my cookies to a much simpler circle shape.  You'll find out why.

Fossil Cookies, makes three dozen.
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) softened butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (also called confectioner's sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg

These cookies were super simple to make!  Mix up the butter and sugar - Emma suggests doing so with your hands, which I did.  Very messy, thus no pictures of that fun mushy mess!  Next mix in the egg and vanilla.  Last, the dry ingredients.  

The next step is to roll this dough out.  But as you can see (above) it is one big soft, mushy mess and it wanted nothing to do with being rolled out.  So, I just took about 1/2-1 T. worth of dough and rolled it into a ball, put it on a baking sheet and pressed it down with two fingers.  Perfecto!

Ta-Da!  Perfect with coffee or hot cocoa.

Dough makes me happy! Yum! 
(No I did not eat the spoonful!  Maybe a couple swipes of the bowl!)

What food makes your heart (and tummy) happy?

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1 comment:

  1. Oh it was all so scrumptious! That red beans and rice recipe is to die for! I always use the boxed Zatarain's mix, but it is so over I decided to try a healthier version! I was so surprised at how good and authentic tasting it was!! It took me back to vacation in South Carolina. The South and their food...YUM. I could eat comfort food all dayyyy. Let me know what you think! ;&hearts