Lately, a common refrain in my life (besides the “why do you want to go to law school?”) has been, “Could you teach me how to cook?” Most of my friends can feed themselves. Rarely, however, do they feel that they make something that is truly yummy and satisfying. The goal of this blog is to share some recipes, techniques and tips that I have slowly developed (and am still working on) over the years. It will not be perfect but I hope that it will help give you some ideas that you can use to develop your own style of cooking.
I have been cooking since I was very young. My mother raised us on the principal that “If you can read, you can cook!” (although I was cooking before that). I was always welcome in the kitchen. Learning to cook is about following the directions and then, as you become comfortable, learning to make substitutions and experiment. I tend to stray often and make up my own things so I am going to try to make my creations into actual readable recipes. I currently live with two scientists so they will make sure I follow the directions. It is important to remember that sometimes you will mess up but you need to have fun!
Ok, enough talking, you will never learn “if you don’t jump in and get floury” (Wow! That was corny! First and last time I will say that…).
I want to share with you, as my first post, the very first recipe I remember making and mastering: my brownie recipe. This has been adapted from the Betty Crocker Alpha-Bakery
Cookbook, my very first cookbook.
Fudgy Brownies (as adapted from the Betty Crocker Alpha-Bakery Cookbook)
This recipe makes a 8x 8 pan of brownies. If you don’t have that (and I don’t), a round cake pan also works fairly well or double the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan.
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ stick of butter
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
⅔ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease the pan with butter.
- Melt butter and chocolate together, over the stove in a saucepan on medium low heat.
- Once melted, remove from heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients. In the absence of a trivet, you can place a towel or pot holder on the counter to protect it from the heat. Add the vanilla last. Mix well to make sure there are no chunks of flour or sugar.
- Pour into pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (if you use a cake pan, reduce the baking time to 25 minutes).
- After 30 minutes, insert a toothpick or knife in the center of the pan, if it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. If it is still gooey in the middle, put it in for 5 more minutes. Watch the edges of the brownies, they will be the first to burn.
Ginny’s Butter Rules:
RULE #1: USE REAL BUTTER (unsalted is normally better) IN BAKING!!! It will taste 100% better. If you are worried about being healthy, the trick is to have a small piece and bring the rest of it into work…your co-workers will love you and you will not eat the whole thing yourself.
RULE #2: NEVER CUT THROUGH THE PAPER WRAPPER TO MEASURE BUTTER—for example, you only need ½ stick of butter (4 tablespoons). Count on the outside of the wrapper until you reach the appropriate line, take a knife and gently press on that line, making an indention, but do not pierce through the wrapper just make it so when you take off the wrapper you will see the line. Unwrap the butter and cut the butter on the small indention. If you cut through the wrapper you often get pieces of the wrapper stuck to the butter, which you need to pick off (A pain!) or it will end up in your food (Gross!).
P.S. This blog is a work in progress as I figure out how to write about the food I make, how to take nice photographs of the food and how to use all this blog technology. I welcome all suggestions, comments and questions. Please email me.