Recent shopping finds

I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday.  I picked up a couple of things that I hadn’t seen before and so far like.

Tastes like taste no. 5 umami Bomba paste. I approve.

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But much more affordable than buying Taste No. 5 Bomba paste… since that gets imported from England.  I’m tempted to stock up on this out of fear.  I hope TJs never stops making this!

 

Also from TJs

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It’s a smidge sweeter than I like.  Not really a surprise, since sugar is the first ingredient, but it’s much tastier than buying hot cocoa packets.

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How to take a break from studying…

… feed yourself.

Case in point, Trader Joe’s coconut cashews:

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O.M.G.

Pure love right there.  I bought a bag to try out on Sunday.  I might already be halfway through the bag, 36 hours later.

While I was at Trader Joe’s, I also perused the cold cuts section.  I was stopped in my tracks by a package of Spanish brand deli cuts.  I tried to walk away, really I did, but the chorizo called to me.  Yes, I bought an entire package of sampler deli cuts just for the chorizo.  I’m looking forward to trying the other cuts too, but chorizo is a personal favorite.

While I was supposed to be studying (yes, studying… holy cow I’m cursing my desire for career development), I made chorizo pizza instead.

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The sauce was one I whipped up with things I had on hand.  I don’t think it would taste particularly well on pasta, but it tasted fine on my pizza.

Emergency Pizza Sauce 1.0

8oz can of plain tomato sauce
1 tsp of dried herbs (oregano, basil, combo, or cheat and use an Italian mix like I did)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix everything up, and set aside.  I suggest making this first so that the flavors can sit and make friendly while you go make your dough and let it rise.

Depending on how heavy handed you like your sauce, this is enough for one pizza or barely enough for two.

As for the dough, I decided to use the measurements given on a recipe from Sorted Food.  I used a bit more yeast though, just 1/2 tsp seems too little to me.  My kitchen is getting cold, so it took my dough a full hour to rise enough to my liking while parked near the oven light bulb.

I baked it at 475F until the color was to my liking.  My crust wasn’t very chewy but that’s my own fault.  I used all-purpose flour since I’m all out of bread flour.

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In a word, bliss.

I also tried my hand at making bread in a slow cooker.

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I totally forgot to take a picture of the bread when it was done cooking, so all you get is a picture of my slow cooker lined in parchment.  I took the instructions from the kitchn, and the only change I made was to set up the parchment before plopping in the dough.  My 4 quart cooker took about 2 hours on high.  I’m not 100% sure on the amount of time because I lost track.  I set a timer for 1 hour and then started to check every 15 minutes or so.  Once I had reached 195F, I turned it off, put the loaf on a sheet pan, and broiled the top for five minutes so that the top didn’t look pathetic.

(For the record, I used the all spelt bread recipe that I posted a while back.)

Flavor-wise, it’s not brilliant.  The dough doesn’t even need to go through a rising stage.  It will rise as it cooks.  It’s a bit denser, but the cooking method works.  I might recommend letting it rise some in the slow cooker before turning it on, but whatever.  I don’t see myself utilizing the slow cooker method during the winter (hey, a hot oven helps to warm my apartment) but this is definitely what I’m going to do during the summer.  I hate baking bread in the summer, and then I really miss it.  (I can’t stand store bought bread anymore if I can help it.)

And on that note, I’d like to point out that I need to read two chapters about Java because I didn’t do it over the weekend.

Reference Links:

http://sortedfood.com/#!/pizza/

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-bread-in-the-slow-cooker-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-192421

A Tale of Two Cookies

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Sometimes, a person comes across something so intriguing that action must be taken up at once.

I had that moment recently, and it was called Peanut Butter Rosemary White Chocolate Chunks cookies. Peanut butter and rosemary? When a blogger mentions being a trained pastry chef in a meme, you don’t take such odd recipe posts lightly.

Asano-mama didn’t sound very optimistic about this recipe, which only fueled my determination. I set about making these cookies, starting even with the rosemary powder.

I think the rosemary powder is an excellent idea in general. However, I admit that it was my stumbling point. After one whole hour, I only had 3 tsp of rosemary powder. Why? I was using a tea strainer as my “fine mesh” accessory, and this tea strainer had really, really small mesh holes. Plus, the strainer was a little deep for the size of my hands, which just made an arduous task more difficult. o_O

The most evil part of the whole night? Realizing when I went to bed that I had a strainer/skimmer that would have been the perfect size for the task. *facepalm*

Oh well, 3 tsp was pretty close to the original 3 1/2 tsp requested in the recipe. The cookies came out just fine.

So, back to the idea of peanut butter and rosemary – wow, they paired really well! Once I smelled the cookies baking, I knew that there was no question regarding the yumminess factor of these cookies. Straight out of the oven, the peanut butter pretty much was the dominant flavor. If I hadn’t known that rosemary was in my cookie, I might not have noticed it. The rosemary was delightfully subtle. Overnight, the rosemary flavor has gotten stronger, but nothing to worry over. Without question, I’m keeping this cookie recipe in my favorites.

cookie recipe here – http://clumbsycookie.blogspot.com/2009/03/pbrwcc-cookies.html

rosemary powder instructions here – http://clumbsycookie.blogspot.com/2009/03/rosemary-powder.html

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And then this morning, I tried a batch of Trader Joe’s Cranberry and Oatmeal cookies. They’re “break and bake” cookies, except without the breaking part. These cookies are frozen in their individual, pre-measured amounts. And you know what? They’re wonderful. Great for when you need to impress people (or in my case, share with my cello classmates) but with very little effort. Such a stark contrast to my one-hour-making-rosemary-powder! Plus, it’s a nice change from chocolate chip break and bake cookies.

Thumbs up for Trader Joe’s. ^_^

(I admit, there are a number of Trader Joe’s products that I’m in love with. I’m considering posting reviews and pictures of them. I haven’t totally decided yet.)

~Mikan