Yesterday, we talked books!
Oh how I love books!
But there is something that rivals my love of books: COOKING! AND BAKING!
I love to be in the kitchen and I’ve had a lot more time to be in the kitchen.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we baked a lot. I also gained a lot of weight. While we tried a number of new recipes, hand’s down my favorite recipe was Ina Garten’s cheesecake. It is fail proof. You do need a springform pan – ours didn’t get a lot of use before because I was terrified of cheesecake. And you do have to do the bit about letting it sit with the oven door open at the end. We didn’t do raspberry though. We made her base and the first time we topped it with fresh strawberries (YUM!) and the second time we topped it with a lemon curd I found through Southern Living (also yum and another new technique, CURD!). Bray never hands out compliments and he said this cheesecake was amazing!
(We also tried out a lot of cake recipes, I have a strawberry lemon cake and a carrot bunny butt cake recipe if you’d like it!)
As temperatures have heated up though, I’ve wanted cool things for dinner. So less of my chicken enchiladas and pot pie (though those still make appearances, it’s just rarer) and more salads and crisp dinner features.
I love gazpacho. So I started with that. You know I’m obsessed with the Pioneer Woman, so I started with her gazpacho recipe, but I also added a couple of adjustments from Ina Garten’s recipe, and I added more cucumber because it’s the freshest, and I added a little red pepper to add some more spice.
On the salad front, I’ve tried several, but nothing beats a cobb salad. They are simple but spectacularly delicious and everyone in my family gobbles them down. They’re all avocado/egg/tomato/bacon enthusiasts. The only adjustment I make for the kids is the blue cheese which Bray and I love. I follow the Pioneer Woman’s suggestion down to the letter except I did not make our own salad dressing (wah-wah, but in the summer you just want to be outside).
To round out my summer cooking list, I’ll highlight my deviled eggs and potato salad.
I never have enough deviled eggs. I sit them out before lunch or dinner and they are gone before we can even fill our plates. We all five LOVE deviled eggs. I use a pretty basic recipe. I boil a half dozen eggs, which makes 12 deviled eggs, but clearly I need to boil an entire dozen instead. However, this base is for a half dozen total eggs. I don’t have exact measurements but I use a little less than ¼ cup of real mayonnaise and a more than a tablespoon of yellow mustard – you’ll see this theme in my potato salad too – I like them more mustard-y than mayo-y. Then I add dill pickle relish to taste, at least a tablespoon. I pour in a splash of dill pickle juice and then salt and pepper and mix together. After filling the eggs, I top with paprika. MMMMMM!
For potato salad, it’s not very exact either. I make big batches when Bray’s family gets together. I use, big surprise here, the Pioneer Woman’s recipe as my template. Except I use more potatoes, less mayo, and more mustard. She calls for 1 ½ cups of mayo and 4 tbsp of yellow mustard. I would say I don’t use more than a cup of mayo, and I use more than 4 tbsp of yellow mustard as well as a splash of Dijon mustard. I absolutely love dumping in a bunch of sliced small dill pickles (never sweet for me) and because I add more potatoes I also add more egg. Further, I only partially peel my potatoes because I like some skin on and I prefer red potatoes to russet. Finally I just cut and mash them after they come out of the pot because I prefer there to be some chunks in my potato salad rather than just having it smooth.
So that’s what I’m cooking right now.
What about you?
I love new recipes!!! Please share what you are baking or cooking over the pandemic and we’ll take some pictures of us making it!