Profile

Happy_Baker

I love to be in the kitchen, creating. Doesn't matter whether I'm cooking or baking, or using some other random kitchen appliance. I love to cook!
This is convenient, because I also love to eat!

  • Website
  • Location: ucnclmeal@yahoo.com
  • Favorite foods: Mom's country style ribs
    MIL's harvest apple pie
    Dad's paella
    Sister's white chili
    Carrabbas' minestrone
    My chocolate chip cookies
  • Last bite on earth: Freshly baked bread, thinly spread with (real) butter and topped with cinnamon imperial apple butter.
    Its the simple things, you know?

Slippery Dumplings?

The dumplings I grew up with are essentially biscuit dough that has been rolled thin and cut into strips, the dropped into boiling broth. You MUST keep stirring while the dumplings cook. I never encountered the other kind until I was in my twenties (mainly because, the family recipe is usually better than any restaurant's, and also since they are a traditional Christmas food for us, it's weird to eat them out of season!)
In my head, I differentiate them as rolled dumplings, or dropped dumplings. (Like dropped cookies? You don't have to roll them out, just drop the appropriate amount in the soup.) Also, it seems that the dropped variety are generally served on top of a chicken soup, while the rolled variety are served as a side or over pieces of roasted chicken.
As far as I am aware, rolled dumplings are more of a Kentucky/Tennessee thing.
And you could use torn up flour tortilla strips to sub for raw biscuit dough (essentially the same ingredients) but I don't like the texture as much. Leavening in ingredients tend to vary from recipe to recipe depending on how that cook makes their biscuits, or if they want any rise in the dumpling at all.

I am a Xmas cookie swap freak...

Some years, depending on my schedule, I'll make several batches of cookies to gift to family/friends/coworkers in tins. But I always make a point of wrapping the cookies from each batch in wax paper to try to avoid "flavor contamination". It seems to work pretty well.

American-style casserole recipes

I think our favorite casseroles are poppy seed chicken and corn pudding. The first is a main, the second is bread/vegetable.

For poppy seed chicken, boil 3-4 chicken breasts & shred.place them in a 9"x 13" baking pan (like what you might bake brownies with.)
Mix together a can of cream of chicken soup (or mushroom, celery, potato, or broccoli) with an 8 oz container of sour cream. Spread the mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle 1/3 c of sliced almonds over the creamy mixture. Crush up one sleeve of Ritz crackers. Mix this up well with a melted stick of butter (8 tbsp or 1/4 lb) and a tablespoon or two of poppy seeds. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the almonds. Bake at 350 for about a half hour, or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Serve alone, with egg noodles or rice.

For Corn Pudding:
Mix together 1 15 oz can of corn (undrained), 1 15 oz can cream style corn, 1 box of Jiffy corn bread mix, 3-4 eggs*, 1/4 c sugar, and 1/2 c milk (or sour cream). Mix well. Pour in a 9" x 13" pan. Melt a half stick of butter and pour it over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*We usually use just 3 eggs, because I feel like 4 makes it a little to egg-y. But to each his own!

The Best Way to Store Ice Cream in Your Freezer

What are the three fruit ice creams (gelatos?) in the pictures? I'm guessing mango, watermelon, and raspberry.

Cook the Book: 'Little Jars, Big Flavors'

My favorite preserve is apple butter, but sweet and spicy tomato jam runs a pretty close second!

Low Carb Birthday Dinner

How about a summer salad: tomato, cucumber, red onions, and bell peppers, dressed with a mixture of oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, & garlic.

Where should I eat in Kentucky? Which distilleries to visit?

Some of my favorites from when I lived I the Ville.... Cafe Lulu, The Butterfly Garden Cafe, Havana Rumba, Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Marks Feed Store, and if you venture across the river into New Albany, the Onion Tea Room.

What are you eating on JULY 4TH?

Leftover Chinese for lunch (because I have to work...) And ribs, shrimp, slaw, mashed potatoes, & green beans for dinner, followed by sundaes for dessert.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Graeter's black raspberry chocolate chunk. Its available in pints at the grocery store, but is actually much better from one of the local shops in Louisville.

Open Thread: What's One Food You Wish You Liked?

Raw tomatoes, any variety of olives, and mushrooms. I can do tomatoes in any way except raw, so I do benefit from the summer glut of heirlooms here in TN. Can't stand the taste of olives, though I keep trying them, thinking that someday I will like them. Mushrooms, most unfortunately, give me terrible tummy trouble. But I think they also smell/taste terrible, and the texture gives me the heebie-jeebies. So I refuse to consume them ever.

How do you like your potato salad?

The blend I like best has hard boiled eggs, finely chopped onion and red bell pepper, bacon, mayo and sour cream (or plain yogurt), a little bit of mustard (like a Tbsp), a packet of Italian dressing mix, and potatoes of course. Sometimes I like some chopped dill pickle in it, but not usually.

The Food Lab Turbo: How To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I think our favorite so far has been day old sliced Italian bread, buttered with a slice of Muenster and a slice of American. With tomato soup, of course. And for me, the ultimate in comfort food is to spread my still hot grilled cheese with a thin layer of homemade apple butter. Tomato Jam works well too.

Homemade Condiments You Keep on Hand

During the summer, I stock up on homemade jams, tomato sauce, and pickles. I also keep my own seasoning mixes around for tacos, and a container of Emeril's Baby Bam that I have to make more of every 3 months or so. But I don't usually keep things like homemade salad dressing, tartar sauce, or ketchup around. I might make them every now and again, but to tell the truth, they usually go bad before I use them up.

Childhood pizza memory - does this place still exist?

I don't know whether your childhood pizza memory place still exists, but I wonder about mine every now and then, too. Frank's on NJ route 206 in Flanders. It was the first pizza I ever remember having that didn't come from the Hut. Huge pieces that you had to fold to eat, cheesy and greasy and completely wonderful! I hope its still there!

What is your favorite shape of pasta or noodle?

Rotini or Gemilli here.

Dinner Tonight: Eggs in Purgatory (Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce)

I made this last night. I REALLY wanted to like it. But I REALLY didn't. Don't think its the recipe(so I'm not rating it), I think I just really never realized how much the egg/tomato sauce combination doesn't do it for me. The hubs didn't like it either. :(

What is the most expensive/least used tool in your kitchen?

The vacuum sealer Mom gave to me three years ago. Dad gave it to her, and she never used it, but thought I would. Actually, at the time, I thought I would use it, too. But I never have. Not once. So it sits in the top shelf of my appliance-and-less-frequently-used-kitchen-stuff-closet, gathering a layer of dust so thick that I doubt I would use it even if I made the opportunity. Perhaps it will go in the next bag for Goodwill...

Lay's Sriracha chips

I had the chance to try them today. I enjoyed them- sort of a cross between salt & vinegar and barbeque flavors with a little bit of heat that creeps up on you. Warm, but not hot, in my opinion.
The garlic parmesan ones tasted a lot like the cheddar onion ones. And I thought the syrup-y element of the chicken & waffle flavor was a little off putting on chips.
Good luck finding the sriracha flavored ones.

Please Reminisce about Birthday Cake

@smsingram- 7 minute frosting is a fluffy white frosting that is made with egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and other assorted ingredients depending on the recipe (corn syrup or cream of tartar, various amounts of salt, etc...) You cook it all together in a double boiler and beat it on high for 7 minutes. Its pretty easy and fool proof. And delicious.

Please Reminisce about Birthday Cake

When I was a small child, birthday cake was white sheet cake with frosting and whatever decoration I happened to request. One year, that was the Muppets, the next, it was the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard. Around the time I turned 10 though, I started requesting more sophisticated cakes. The one I finally settled on, and still have, if I can bribe anyone to make it for me (or get up the oomph to make it myself) is a Mt Vernon Cake. This is a three layer white cake with tart dark cherry filling and 7 minute frosting. So good with a cup of milky tea.

My sister, whose bday is a week after mine, prefers a Buche de Noel for her cake (even though her day is 2 months AFTER Christmas!) Mom's is Italian Cream Cake or Carrot Cake, and Dad's is a simple yellow cake with fudgey chocolate frosting. The Hubs gets lemon cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate frosting.

BBQ in Louisville, KY?

Haven't lived there in several years, but if I recall correctly, Mark's Feed Store is pretty delicious. There's one in the Highlands, and one across the river in Jeffersonville. Something appears to be wrong with their website right now, but you can also find them on facebook.

Thanksgiving Breakfast Ideas

We are doing bacon and eggs with Monkey Bread and cut up fruit in the (late) morning this year. Substantial enough (with light snacks later) to hold until a 5 o'clock dinner, but not so heavy as to make us NOT hungry for the main affair.

Steel cut oats for oatmeal cookies

I've tried cooking oats before cooking with them, but I really dislike the texture of the finished product. I think (but have not tried it) that simply soaking the oats for a little while first would do the job without negatively affecting the texture of the cookie.

Better to...

This is the question I'm debating for T-day this year. Do I dry brine and spatchcock the turkey a la Kenji, which I believe will work, but have no proven track record with, or do I do the recipe I've done before and risk dry turkey syndrome, which sometimes occurs, and sometimes does not. Throw into the mix that this is the first year we're hosting Thanksgiving and I'll be cooking the whole shebang for my husband and my in-laws. I'm rather conflicted.

What do you make in big batches?

Meatballs. I almost always have meatballs and spaghetti sauce in the freezer because it makes a quick meal!Lasagna. Brunswick stew. Most soups, unless they contain dairy, which doesn't reheat as well. I also like to freeze individual slices of quick bread (banana, zucchini, or pumpkin); it defrosts in the toaster pretty well. Of course, this also works with muffins.

Dinner Clubs

Recently, a coworker mentioned to me that she was involved in a dinner club. They've been meeting once a month for the past 5 years or so, rotating homes each month.

This was such a novel idea to me. I don't know why it never occurred to me before!

Are any of you involved in dinner clubs? What are your ideas for starting/organizing one? How well do they work, and how do you keep them fresh?

Mystery Dish

I was thinking about what to make for dinner tonight and came up with the idea of a shepherd's pie like filling with a savory bread-pudding top. No idea if there is a name for something like this but I'm... More

The Food Lab: The Science of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never been able to get a chocolate chip cookie exactly the way I like. I'm talking chocolate cookies that are barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate. I made it my goal to test each and every element from ingredients to cooking process, leaving no chocolate chip unturned in my quest for the best. 32 pounds of flour, over 100 individual tests, and 1,536 cookies later, I had my answers. More

20 Quick and Easy Dinners in 25 Minutes or Less

Not everybody is in a position to devote an hour or more to prepare an elaborate dinner, especially on a weeknight. That's why we've dipped into our recipe archives to find meals that are both seriously quick and seriously tasty. In this roundup, you'll find 20 dishes that you can prepare in 25 minutes or less (fast enough to make Seamless blush). More

The Food Lab: Hasselback Potato Gratin (These Might be the Best Potatoes Ever)

I woke up in the middle of the night the other day with an idea: what if I were to combine the concept of a Hasselback potato—that array of crisp ridges at the top—with a creamy potato gratin, the king of all casseroles? I went into the kitchen and got to work on the first batch of what would end up being my favorite potato recipe in years. More

Cheddar Crusted Apple Pie

This recipe is designed to honor the cheddar cheese served along side. The crust has grated cheddar cheese baked into the layers, which causes it to brown more quickly than traditional pie crust, and creates an addictive, toasted cheese taste. The filling is also tailored to be paired with cheese, using firm, tart apples, and less sugar and cinnamon than traditional apple pies. A nice hit of freshly grated nutmeg is the prefect complement to the sharp cheddar, both inside and outside the crust. More

Steamed Pumpkin Custard

This is a streamlined version of the famous Thai steamed pumpkin custard -- you know, the kind where you steam a whole pumpkin along with the custard filling, the kind that isn't as easy to make as many recipes want you to think (I'll talk more about this in due time). You get pretty much the same taste out of it without nearly as much fuss. This appeals to a lazy person like me who's always looking for a faster, easier way to do everything. More