I have some catching up to do! I didn’t do a food post last week, but I have a bunch of pictures which I shall now dump on you so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my life. Yes, that is how it works. I don’t make the rules.
Today’s post was so long, I split it into two pages, so be sure to click on “next page” or the little “2” at the end to get to this week’s recipes. There are some doozies in there.
Last week was Halloween, which means I was inspired to transform regular meatloaf into SPOOKY MEATLOAF. Jump to Recipe
Whole other kind of scary when baked:
I eventually got around to roasting pumpkin seeds:
I like to leave a certain amount of pumpkin pulp in there, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle generously with kosher salt, put in a 250 oven, and then leave the house do to several errands and completely forget about the pumpkin seeds. *mwah*
I signed up for cookies for school parties this year, using my no-fail sugar cookie recipe with dough you do not have to chill. Any time you need cookies that will hold their shape, this is your recipe. Jump to Recipe
For the icing, I just used confectioner’s sugar and milk and food coloring. If you let the decorated cookies dry for several hours, the icing becomes firm enough to stack. I did use store-bought “cookie icing” for the details. Not my most deft work, and it’s possible I yelled at everyone kind of a lot, but those kids sure ate those cookies.
Benny had her heart set on Frankenstein rice krispie treats for her class, so this is what we came up with. I made the first one, and then she made the rest all by herself!
For all you pedants who want to shove your glasses up your nose and explain that actually Frankenstein is the one who made the monster, I direct you to the photo on the above right, in which Benny is making monsters.
Also last week we had a lovely chicken pomegranate salad: Roast chicken breast, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and toasted pecans with wine vinegar. Yum.
I got ambitious and decided to make challah. I really rushed and didn’t measure properly, so it didn’t rise enough and was pretty dense on the bottom. It still got gobbled up. Jump to Recipe
I used “everything bagel” topping instead of poppy seeds, and I shall now do that forever. Here’s a picture of a past challah that turned out better, although I skimped a bit on the egg wash:
Let’s see, what else? Maybe you would like to see our Halloween costumes! I don’t yet have a photo of Clara, which is a shame, as she spent many hours sewing leaves and tulle onto a dress to be a lovely autumn fairy.
Moe was Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors:
Dora was Wirt from Over the Garden Wall (and learned how to use the sewing machine during the making of this costume):
Lucy and Sophia saved up money and bought themselves fancy costumes so they could be Naruto and Sasuke:
My contribution was to talk Lucy out of spending a lot of money on orange pants, and buying a pair of Merrells at the Salvation Army for $5 and stoically forcing myself to chop the toes off to make into ninja shoes.
Corrie’s dream came true and she was Scooby Doo, and with only a little bit of sewing, Benny made a lovely Daphne:
And finally, Irene saved the universe as Star from Star Vs. the Forces of Evil:
She made the wand all by herself, completely out of foam sheets! I added the collar and octopus (?) to the dress with felt and made the boots. I am extremely proud of those boots. Duct tape, man. She wore them for three days before they started falling apart.
Whew! I think we’re all caught up. Here’s the recipes for last week. After the recipes comes page two! Please don’t skip it! There are some awesome recipes in there.
No-fail no-chill sugar cookies
Basic "blank canvas"sugar cookies that hold their shape for cutting and decorating. No refrigeration necessary. They don't puff up when you bake them, and they stay soft under the icing. You can ice them with a very basic icing of confectioner's sugar and milk. Let decorated cookies dry for several hours, and they will be firm enough to stack.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1-2 tsp vanilla and/or almond extract. (You could also make these into lemon cookies)
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together butter and sugar in mixer until smooth.
Add egg and extracts.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and mix until smooth.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch. Cut cookies.
Bake on ungreased baking sheets for 6-8 minutes. Don't let them brown. They may look slightly underbaked, but they firm up after you take them out of the oven, so let them sit in the pan for a bit before transferring to a cooling rack.
Let them cool completely before decorating!
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk OR red wine
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
plenty of salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
- 2 onions diced and fried (optional)
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.
Challah (braided bread)
- 1.5 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
- 2 eggs
- 6-8 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp yeast
- 2 egg yolks for egg wash
- poppy seeds or "everything bagel" topping (optional)
- corn meal (or flour) for pan, to keep loaf from sticking
In a small bowl, dissolve a bit of the sugar into the water, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir gently, and let sit for five minutes or more, until it foams.
In the bowl of standing mixer, put the flour (starting with six cups), salt, remaining sugar, oil, and eggs, mix slightly, then add the yeast liquid. Mix with dough hook until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl, adding flour as needed. It's good if it has a slightly scaly appearance on the outside.
(If you're kneading by hand, knead until it feels soft and giving. It will take quite a lot of kneading!)
Put the dough in a greased bowl and lightly cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for at least an hour, until it's double in size.
Grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle it with flour or corn meal. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll three into "snakes" and make a large braid, pinching the ends to keep them together. Divide the fourth piece into three and make a smaller braid, and lay this over the larger braid. Lay the braided loaf on the pan.
Cover again and let rise again for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 350.
Before baking, make an egg wash out of egg yolks and a little water. Brush the egg wash all over the loaf, and sprinkle with poppy seeds or "everything" topping.
Bake 25 minutes or more until the loaf is a deep golden color.
Don’t forget to click on the “2” to see the whole other page! I need to work on a way to make it more obvious next time, because this is stupid.