Monday, March 5, 2007

Now we're cooking?

This past fall I was learning to bake on the backs of the dance teachers at our studio. I don't consider myself a very good baker, because of that whole chemistry thing: I tend to be lazy about amounts, timing, and pan sizes when cooking, and that doesn't work for most baked goods. However, the dance teachers dance all day and work from the early afternoon until late at night (occasionally I drive past the studio around midnight and see bodies moving on the dance floor), and are always hungry.

A request for butterscotch blondies on the Recipe Exchange tribe resulted in two recipes, one of which was a lot like the blondies we used to make as kids (I forget at whose house). These blondies are thicky and gooey; if they were chocolate you'd describe them as fudgy. I made them three times the week I first made them because they got inhaled so quickly. Cutting them into small squares didn't make them go any slower.

Last night at the Showcase one of the women at the studio asked me for a favor. She slipped me a black Arthur Murray apron, saying, "I'll trade you this for a batch of your butterscotch brownies." Of course I said yes, so I have to remember to make these for her before Saturday. And I won't even have to wash an apron to do it!

Tracy's Butterscotch Blondies

1 lb brown sugar
1.5 sticks butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t vanilla

--> The recipe also calls for one cup of toasted walnuts or pecans, but I do not believe in nuts in baked goods or ice cream.

Melt sugar and butter together in a saucepan. Cool. Add eggs. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla (and nuts) together. Add butter mixture and mix well. Bake in a greased 9"x13" pan at 350F for 30 minutes.

--> See, this is why I'm not a very good baker. I have never baked brownies in anything bigger than a 9" square pan so without thinking I baked Tracy's Blondies in the same pan I bake brownies in. Hence their gooeyness. If they're too raw on the inside for you, bake them longer, or add more flour, I suppose.

Later another woman came up and said, "I saw your recipe in the newspaper!" Zirpu and I haven't been receiving our paper since I cancelled the vacation hold (I think our carrier is easily confused, or she hates us) and I'd forgotten I'd submitted a recipe in response to someone's request in the "Second Helpings" feature, the column where people ask for help finding lost recipes. When I got home I looked it up and there was my Irish Stew recipe.

I don't think I'm much of a cook, maybe because of my food blog reading (see sidebar) and my friends who not only cook but can discuss El Bulli and Ferran Adria while I'm trying to figure out how to use leftover cilantro and parsley. Imagine my surprise to get two recipe hits in a week.

Tomorrow I'm going to the office of the Hayward Review (warning: the Inside Bay Area website, which covers the seven ANG papers, is really awful) to ask for a copy of Wednesday's paper and to either cancel my subscription or make them promise to get it delivered. It's not much of a paper, but if it mentions me it must be worth reading, right?

1 comment:

Samatakah said...

Inside Bay Area has moved the recipe to some far-off place (the archive search says it doesn't find the phrase "Irish stew"). Here's the recipe:

I make this in a slow cooker, but there's no reason why it couldn't be done on the stove top. I often make this with beef instead of lamb and serve it with cornbread or biscuits.

Irish Stew
serves 4-5
1 lb. boneless lamb, cut into 1" pieces
2 T cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces (2.5 cups)
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces (1.5 cups)
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2" or less pieces (1.5 cups)
2 medium onions, cut into wedges (I cut the onions into eighths)
1/4 c quick-cooking tapioca (do not substitute cornstarch)
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t dried thyme
3 c beef broth

1 10 oz. bag of French-cut string beans

Brown lamb in oil with garlic. Drain well.

Combine vegetables except string beans in slow cooker. Stir lamb/garlic and beef broth into the pot.

Cover. Cook on low setting for 10-12 hours or on high setting for 5-6 hours.

Fifteen miutes before serving, add string beans and stir.

If using the stove top, simmer for several hours.