Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moving Day!

Dear loyal readers (Hi Mom),

Some of you may know this, but I have accepted and am moving for an internship in New York City.
It's a one way ticket.
Though the  Juneau umbilical cord is stretching, it hasn't snapped.

So, the question that lingers on every one's mind is...
What does this major change mean for Kitchen Dance Party?

The answer:
Not a whole lot.

We live in "The Age of the Internet, " and as we KDP bloggers and guest bloggers begin to spread out in the world, KDP has unknowingly become an experiment in one of the many forms of communication that are available to our eager fingertips and how we can make this over and (sometimes) un-meaningful communication worth something.

Sorry if this becomes sentimental in the coming weeks as we try to figure out how to go on without directly cooking with one another, but know that you are watching a major shift in KDP and it's contributors.
There will still be recognizable elements. I'll still nag the shit out of everyone else to post, scones will be judged and drunken cornbread will be made, never fear.

Upcoming at KDP- it's going to be a little patchy on my end. I have some back log posts to take care of, but it'll be a little while before I can start cooking in NY.

Be very excited for the New York cooking though, because I am bringing this out of storage

It's been a while, dear Cuisinart, hope your processing abilities are up to speed.

So keep reading, Dear Readers (even you Mom). I promise that change is good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Banana Bread, Chocolate Pudding Trifle

Banana Bread (adapted from the Moosewood Favorites)

1 c all purpose flour
Sign's like this are required when cooking at my house.
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c rolled oats
1 egg white
1 egg
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 c mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1/2 c plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 c dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 c raisins

-Preheat oven to 400, spray loaf pan with Pam.
-Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
-Food process or blender the oats until they reach cornmeal-like status. Add to the dry ingredients.
-Whip the egg white for 3 mins, until foamy and increased volume but not stiff peaks.
-Stir in the egg, oil, banana, yogurt, chocolate, walnuts and raisins.
-Fold the wet ingredients in with the dry ones. DON'T overmix.
-Put the batter in the loaf pan and bake for about 40 mins, do the toothpick thing to check.  Cool in the tin for 5 mins and on a wire rack.

Chocolate Pudding! (Also from the Moosewood)

3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

- Combine the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and milk in a sauce pan. Whisk until smooth.
- Cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the pudding comes to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let the pudding simmer, whisking constantly for 3-4 mins.
- Stir in the vanilla, pour into a bowl and let chill for at least 2 hours.

Low-Fat* Banana Trifle 

Sliced bananas
Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Chocolate Pudding
Banana Bread- sliced into 1/2 inch slices

- In a clear pan/jar layer the ingredients in this order: Bread, pudding, banana, yogurt, bread.. and so on. 
- Make sure to end with a pudding or yogurt layer, make it look pretty with banana slices/whip cream/melted chocolate/cinnamon mix. 

* It would be lower in fat if you cut the good shit out...or if you ate celery instead. "Low-Fat" is a made up term to make us feel good about ourselves and I fully embrace it. 

Every time I start to lose faith in humanity, something like the Muppets Green Album comes out. It's really good as inducing childhood nostalgia.
In fact, I'm going to go play in a treehouse.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hunter Gatherer Roots (i.e. KDP is really obsessed with blue berries)

Every August one can find me out picking blueberries.
I'm obsessed.
No matter where I go, I carry a vessel to collect them. Movie theatre, bars, it doesn't matter because there is always a chance there might be some decent berries.
Global market crisis? Who cares, because the best berries can be found _____.
I have spent an entire day driving around Juneau surveying the best spots, determining how much more time they need, how the shaded vs. sun-ed berries compare, how picked over they've been etc...

The funny thing is that I don't actually like blue berries, but there is something very satisfying about using ones own collected/grown food in the kitchen. I would garden, if my black thumb didn't kill all plants that I look at.

The Best Blueberry Pie Ever (from America's Test Kitchen)

Note- this is going to be very specific. Pie making is a science.

Vodka Double Crust Pie Dough- for a 9in crust.
Note- why the vodka? I've made a lot of pie crusts in my day and vodka makes it flaky and improves the texture, but leaves no flavor. It'll be easier to work with, but it makes the dough wetter than the standard, so use more flour when you roll it out. Plus, you're cooking with vodka. Win win.

2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in pieces and chilled
1/2 c vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1/4 c cold Vodka
1/4 c cold water

- Pulse 1 1/2 c of the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined, 2 pulses.
- Add the butter and shortening and process until a dough just starts to form, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and redistribute the dough around the blade. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is even and looks broken up, like corn meal, between 4-6 pulses. Empty the mix into a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle the water and vodka over the mixture, use a fork to toss it together, just until the dough sticks together and is tacky. Break into 2 even balls and flatten each into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

1 recipe of vodka double pie crust
6 c fresh blueberries, de-wormed.
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated (apples have a lot of natural pectin, to help set the filling without using too much tapioca).
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp instant tapioca- ground into a fine powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 1/4 in pieces
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
Sprinkle of sugar

- Remove one of the crust disc's from the fridge and let stand at room temp for 15 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 12 in circle. Move the dough to the 9 in pie plate, ease it into the plate and leave any overhang. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 mins.
- Remove the 2nd disc and let stand at room temp for 15 mins. Roll it out on a floured surface to an 11 in circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a small biscuit cutter (or anything small and circular), cut 6 rounds from the dough, in a circle with 1 in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 mins.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place in oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put 3 cups of berries in a saucepan and mash over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until half the berries have broken down and the mixture has thickened, about 8 mins. Let cool.
- Wring/dry out the grated apple and place in a large bowl. Add in the cooked berries, 3 cups of uncooked berries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, tapioca and salt. Mix. Pour into the pie pan and scatter the top of the filling with the butter.
- Cover the filling with the other dough sheet, pinch the edges together. Trim the layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2 in. Fold the dough under itself and flute the edges to seal.
- Brush the top and edges of the dough with the egg mix and sprinkle with sugar. If the dough is very soft, throw it in the oven for 10 mins.
- Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake for 30 mins. Reduce oven temp to 350 and bake for another 30-40 mins, until the juices bubble and the crust is golden brown. Let cool.
- Wear your purple dyed mouth with pride.

Now you could do a lattice top with this crust, but I'm lazy and I failed 7th grade home ec because I couldn't decorate a cake (I also broke the egg baby and made lovely shorts for twins conjoined at the knees). I'm more into what goes in the food then how it looks, sue me.

I'm in berry overload. I also made these:

Sorry, you won't see the recipe for these muffins here.
They are the best damn blue berry muffins ever and I've made the executive decision to keep the recipe secret. My own mother doesn't know it.
If you're really jones-ing for one, check out Mag's post from a little earlier. They're not as good, but you'll survive.

The gatherer-hunter lifestyle is best when accompanied by the swelling horns of Beirut's new album, available on NPR First Listen for a little while longer. It's really good when you're playing the "this is the soundtrack to the movie about my life" game.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blogger Birthday!

Margaret just joined the rest of us in the "really f-ing old" club.
We drank, we ate, we danced...a lot.

Food included:
Pulled pork sandwiches (all I know about this is that Val had to get up at 5am to start smoking the pork. The things we do for Mags....)
Grilled tofu and vegetable kebabs
Gin and Tonics
An epic dessert spread, including red velvet cupcakes, lemon raspberry cupcakes and I made a pie!

Go big or go home here at KDP. Photo by Michael Partlow

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

9 Graham crackers, crushed
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter, melted

-Preheat oven to 325.
-Throw graham crackers, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a food processor, grind it all up.
-Put crumb mix in a bowl, add the butter and stir to blend.
-Pack the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9in pie/tart pan.
-Bake until golden brown, about 15 mins. Let cool

8 large egg yolks
12 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 c butter, room temperature
1 c creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

- Mix yolks and 6 Tbsp sugar in the bowl of a mixer/food processor. Beat at high speed until ribbons (I'm not sure what that means either) form, about 2 mins.
- Combine milk, the rest of the sugar and the vanilla bean (scrape the seeds into the milk, then add bean)  in a large saucepan, bring to a boil dissolving the sugar. Remove the bean.
-With the mixer running, add the hot milk to the yolk mixture, scrape it all back into the sauce pan. Clean the mixer bowl.
- Bring the custard to a boil, whisking constantly. When it boils, remove from heat and whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Admire your new whisking guns.
- Return custard to mixing bowl, mix on high until cool, about 4 minutes.
- Mix in the butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, add peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt. Beat to blend.
- Pour custard into the cooled crust, chill to set about 2-3 hours.

1 1/2 c sugar
3 Tbsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp baking soda

- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and honey in a LARGE (very important) sauce pan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil. Cook without stirring, just swirling the pan until the sugar turns pale amber.
- Add the baking powder (heads up, it's going to foam like no other), quickly mix to blend and then pour over prepared sheet. Do this as fast as you can.
- Let sit until cool, about 20 mins.
- Hit candy with the handle of a knife to crack into pieces.

1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4 c roasted, salted peanuts

- Stir chocolate and butter in a bowl, set over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler style) until melted and smooth.
- Drizzle some of the chocolate over the peanut butter filling, making a circle in the middle.
- Pile the honeycomb and peanuts over the chocolate, drizzle the rest of the chocolate over.

- Show it off: make new friends, fix broken relationships, solve world peace. It's that good.

Couple of things:
-It's really really sweet. Maybe a little too sweet for my taste. Next time I'm going to decrease the amount of sugar.
-Keep it in the fridge until right before you serve it. Otherwise it turns to soup and you must communally consume it with spoons. Like so:

Growing up, on every Saturday morning the sounds of Car Talk over powered every room in the house. My dad would (and still does) turn on every radio available, so he wouldn't miss one second of Click and Clack.
Even though I don't have an affinity or understanding of cars, I still continue that tradition of listening to Car Talk, on the rare occasion that I'm awake and moving that early. And no, I don't download the podcast, I'm old school with my Car Talk.

And anything that is cool enough to be on Arthur is solid in my book.