What's the one thing you just can't cook/bake...

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by nubka, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Here's the direct link to the recipe. I don't want to raise expectations too much, but seriously, these are fantastic.

    Note: I've never used nuts in mine, and my batches always come out smaller than theirs - I think the cookie size in the recipe must be quite small.

    Do you like beer bread? Because this one is super-easy to make.

    Another note: when I make it the bread is done in about 35 minutes.
  2. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    Rob, the secret to thin crackly brownies is to use a slightly larger pan than called for & decrease the baking time. I've been using this recipe from the Dallas SPCA Cookbook for years & everyone raves about them:

    3/4 cup melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (I put 2 tsps)
    3/4 cups unsifted flour
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    (optional - 1 cup pecans or walnuts)

    Blend butter, sugar, vanilla. Add eggs, beat with spoon. Add baking powder, cocoa, salt, & flour, blend well. Add nuts if desired. Spread in greased & floured 8 inch square pan (I use a 8 X 11 1/2 brownie pan) & bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes (I bake for about 38 mins) or until brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.

    I occasionally ice these with fudge icing but they don't really need it.
  3. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Wow, those look amazing! I may curse you later as they look like the type of cookies I'd end up eating waaay too many of ... but for now, thank you!

    My biggest baking challenge is pastry. It's not a big deal, since I actually don't care for pastry or pies very much, but every once in while there's a need for it. Like at Christmas, for tourtière (I make a kick-ass vegetarian tourtière). Luckily my mother is the pastry queen so I usually get her to do the shells and I do the filling. Of course then she gripes about it because, in her view, the best pastry uses lard, but she has to make a vegetable shortening version for me ...
  4. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I always make sure that I have plenty of people to share them with! And I only make 2/3 of the quantity in the recipe, too. FWIW, my main challenge is not eating too much of the cookie dough and the leftover Nutella.
  5. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    ^^^my DD thanks you Zemgirl!
  6. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I can make pretty good tuna salad, but some folks might not like it. I always buy the best tuna and drain it really well. The regular stuff is pretty much like cat food. I use boiled eggs, which I grate instead of chopping because that's the way my mother did it. I add some chopped, unpeeled apple (I like the taste and it gives a little color), chopped green olives, and chopped pecans. If I have celery, I'll add that too. I like it a little bit sweet, so I may use Miracle Whip instead of mayo if I have it on hand. I use the dressing sparingly--just enough to hold everything together. Really good!
  7. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    Grannyfan, my mother made it like yours except no green olives. She used grapes cut in half instead.
  8. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Tourtiere is a meat pie - do you make it with tofu instead? All the French Canadians I know are very fussy about their tourtieres, and very opinionated as to the best way to make it (theirs of course :)) and I'm trying to imagine a few of them if you were to say it's filled with tofu!

    re tuna salad - in addition to mayo, onion, celery, salt and lots of pepper, I'll often add fresh parsley if I have it, and to really zing it up, finely diced red pepper and fresh cilantro. Also, in Canada you have the choice of tuna packed in water or oil, whereas all the canned tuna I saw on US store shelves was packed in oil - that can make a huge difference to flavour.
  9. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    That's odd because I have a hard time finding tuna packed in oil. Maybe it's just the area of the country you're looking in.
  10. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Admittedly yes - this was when I lived in NY a few years back.
  11. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I live in NY; there is tuna packed in either water or oil all over the place. Neither one is hard to find. Although I eat tuna a lot, add me to the list of those who can't make a decent tuna fish salad.
  12. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    OK I stand corrected :) I just remember that I couldn't find any packed in water in the 3 stores I shopped at (including Fairway, Citerella, the local market), so I brought a few cans from time to time from home, along with the cat food brand I couldn't find in NY either. This was a few years ago.
  13. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I want tuna packed in oil!! Can't find it here easily.
  14. Patsy

    Patsy New Member

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    Potato salad!

    I know, totally pathetic but mine is never as good as store-bought so I gave up making it myself years ago.
  15. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Have you tried adding a bit of bottled Italian dressing? I find that gives it that "kick" it needs.
  16. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    Just in time for the holidays, I stink at making latkes (potato pancakes) from scratch. I end up with so much of my fingers in the mix that it's really a meat dish.

    I stick to the box mix, now. :shuffle:
  17. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    Crispy potatoes of any kind - fries, roasted potatoes, etc. I've tried the soaking in salt water, using extra oil, etc. and they just do not crisp up. I know it's just me because I've moved a lot in the last few years and FOUR ovens cannot all have the same problem :( Any advice?
  18. jamcan

    jamcan New Member

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    rice!!!! either not cooked enough or soggy :(
  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I have that problem with roasted potatoes. I've tried everything - parboiling, roasting raw - everything. If a Brit could please chime in and tell me how to do it I'll be forever grateful. :) I did hear something about dusting them with flour but I'm scared to try it. :lol:

    Secret to good rice is (IMO) less water (I use 1 and 3/4 cup for a heaping cup of rice) and a long cooking time. After it comes to the second boil turn it on the lowest heat and let it sit for about 45 minutes.
  20. jamcan

    jamcan New Member

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    thank you!!!!

    Roasted potatoes rock in foil, butter, onion and garlic on the bbq ;)
  21. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    No!!!!!!! Can't you use a food processor or something similar? Latkes should only ever be made from scratch.

    If you're ever in Israel during the holiday, let me know and I will take care of this alarming situation ;)
  22. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Here's what Jamie Oliver did on one of his Christmas specials that I just watched on the weekend - lots of good tips here, but ignore the picture as it's for another recipe - Perfect Roast Potatoes.
  23. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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  24. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    Also - thank you to the poster who offered egg advice. I had the most perfect scrambled eggs this weekend!:hat1:
    milanessa and (deleted member) like this.
  25. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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  26. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

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    This helped so much. Thank you!
  27. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    INTERESTING. Never heard of this before, but Jamie Oliver's page also gives the same advice. I'll have to try this next time, thanks Jenny and TheGirlCanSkate!!

    PS Milanessa - I tried the flour trick - didn't work for me either :lol:
  28. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Not tofu but soy (either TVP or packaged "ground round" like Yves.)

    And yes, I have no doubt that most Québécois would shudder at the very thought of a vegetarian tourtière. Luckily I've never had to serve it to anyone from la belle province.

    When I first became a vegetarian we'd make a veggie tourtière and a carnivore one. But after trying both even the meat-eaters in the family proclaimed a preference for the vegetarian one ... so that's the only one we make now. And it makes sense, really -- unless you're using a really strongly flavoured meat like venison, which we never did, it's the spices (and, to a lesser extent the beer) that really gives it the unique tourtière taste.
  29. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Interesting! I remember being at a big holiday party and talking to the MIL of the hostess, as we sampled the mini tourtieres at the buffet. I said I was interested in a good recipe and might ask the hostess for hers; the woman immediately declared that her own recipe was far superior, and when I said "but this one is quite good, no?" she said, "but I am a LeBlanc!"

    :rofl: For those not versed in French Canadian history, the LeBlancs are one of the original Acadian families who settled in Nova Scotia centuries ago.
  30. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    I stink at frying potatoes, too. I've tried everything, but they always end up looking like mutilated hash browns... :(
  31. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    When my husband was alive and my kids were at home, I cooked rice a lot because he preferred it to potatoes. I never had a problem with it turning out alright except that it would always boil over at some point and I'd have to add more water. I eventually started cooking it in the microwave, and it came out perfect every time, and no boiling over. It's been a long time, and I don't remember the proportions exactly, but I think it was about the same as stove top. I do remember that I always used a Corning Ware dish, about a 2 quart size, one of the old square ones with the blue flower.
  32. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    I feel like I should have advice on the rice front, being Asian and all, but I have to admit I cheated and just bought a rice cooker. :shuffle:
  33. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Rice cookers rock! :respec:
  34. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Rice cookers suck - at least the 2 I've tried.
  35. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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    My household is Asian and in all the Asian families we know, everyone has a rice cooker (and a hot water machine) ! You don't have to watch it and it's perfect every time.
  36. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    Agreed, unless you're my dad, who always thinks he knows better than the rice cooker so he fiddles with the water level as he sees fit :rofl: We had to ban him from using the rice cooker, as he was the only person in our family who somehow managed to consistently make undercooked or overcooked rice.
  37. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate New Member

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  38. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Sometimes an appliance is the answer - I love my egg cooker. No pot, no need to turn on the stove, no timer, no complicated instructions of when to remove from the heat, etc. Just set it and when the buzzer goes off, they're done exactly how you want them, and never a grey ring. I even fake poached eggs (which I've never been able to do) by doing a medium-soft and then carefully peeling for awesome benedict or florentine eggs. I have a cheapie one by Toastmaster that I've had for 20 years and used too many times to count.
  39. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I also suck at roasting potatos. Never, ever turn out decent. Now, rice on the other hand....I buy the Jasmine rice from Walmart and follow the directions to a T. Simmer 20 minutes, remove from heat for 10 and fluff. I swear it turns out perfect every time. If you take the lid off of the pan and mess with it (as my hubby is want to do) it ruins it. My job on stir fry night is to make the rice because it turns our perfect; but it is SO easy. I add a little olive oil to the mix and it seems to prevent it from sticking to the pan even though it is a sticky sort of rice.
  40. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    That's too bad. How do they suck? Rice too dry, too wet?