Monday, October 11, 2010

Have you missed us?

As you've noticed, we've been kind of slacking on posting to our beloved blog. I'm not really sure how people like Ree and Kelle do it, but we just can't get our act together to post every day (or even every week lately). But, we know you love us and that you'll excuse us. If you didn't know this already, two of us bitches are going temporarily insane in graduate school while we learn about swallowing disorders and reading disabilities, how black tea consumption is linked to prostate cancer in China and doing biostatistics like nobody's business. The third bitch already suffered through graduate school a few years ago and is now busy chasing after a precocious and all together WAY TOO ENERGETIC almost two year old. Said bitch is also trying to get a little baby blanket business going. Oh, and watching Madmen.

So...what this leads me to is that we're having trouble making time for our own posts and we're going to cheat today and post a tasty recipe contributed to us by our dear cousin, Liz, of bake sale and Manterview fame. Enjoy!

Lizzy's Oatmeal Buckwheat pancake recipe
Vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, high nutrient

For pancakes for two:

½ cup rolled oats
1 cup soymilk
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon canola oil
capful vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon egg replacer (see note)

1) Put the oats and ½ cup soymilk in a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes or so until oats are
softened.
2) Put ½ cup soymilk and vinegar in a bowl. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes or so - the
soymilk gets a little thick.
3) Mix dry ingredients. Add spices if desired: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger,
etc.
4) Mix vanilla and oil into soymilk and vinegar mixture. Add egg replacer.
5) Heat pan on med high with canola oil. When oil gets hot, you may want to turn pan
down a little bit.
6) Put oats and soymilk into soymilk mixture. Mix a bit. Add that to flour mixture. Mix
only until combined. (Do not overstir)
7) Pour 1/3 cup batter into hot pan to make one pancake. Fill pan with cakes. Cook on
med heat until edges are dry and bubbles are forming across the entire top of the
pancake. Flip cakes and cook on other side. The trick is to have the heat hot enough
to make a nice crisp edge and top but not so hot that it burns the cake before it is
cooked through.

I serve these with bananas, pecans, syrup, strawberry sauce (frozen strawberry, orange
zest, oj, syrup, arrowroot), Earth Balance spread.

Note: Egg replacer is easy to find at any natural food market, it keeps very well in the
cabinet, and it is easy to use. I am sure you could just use an egg in this recipe as well and
it would be great!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Bacon Explosion

Men, this one is for you. No doubt it's important to know how to properly cook Swiss chard, and who can refuse a homemade oatmeal cookie?! But let’s face it: we know what you really want. Bacon. Lots of bacon. Bacon with sausage. Lots of sausage.

This is the Bacon Explosion. We made it, ate it, and lived to tell about it.

We deviated somewhat from the original Bacon Explosion recipe, so here’s our take on it. This is what you’ll need:

• 2 lbs of sliced bacon (2 packages)
• 2 lbs of sweet Italian ground sausage (you can take the meat out of the casing by hand if you can only find links. If you do this, press the loose sausage together meat in a bowl before using)
• ½ a pepper, chopped (we used green, but you can use any color)
• ½ a medium onion, chopped
• 5 or 6 white mushrooms, sliced
• Barbecue rub
• Barbecue sauce

Step 1. Fry up one pound of bacon in a frying pan, as crispy as you like. Once it has cooled, break it into small pieces with your fingers. This is part of the filling.

Step 2. Sauté the pepper, onion, and mushrooms until soft and the onion is translucent. For added deliciousness, you can do this in the leftover bacon fat.

Step 3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees (the original recipe calls for it to be smoked. We don’t have a smoker, but baking it worked pretty well. If you choose to smoke it, you’re on your own).

Step 4. Weave the remaining pound of uncooked bacon: place several slices down side-by-side, touching. We used 6, but the width of your bacon may differ. Starting at the bottom, weave one slice of bacon at a time across the slices you already laid down. Do this until you have created a bacon mat.

Step 5. Admire your work. Who says men can’t weave?! If you have extra bacon after making your mat, lay them on top of the weave. Who says you can't have extra bacon?!

Step 6. Press the ground sausage over the bacon mat evenly.

Step 7. Spread the sautéed veggies and bacon pieces evenly over the sausage (unfortunately, this is when you have to stop munching on the cooked bacon pieces, since they’ve now touched the raw sausage).

Step 8. Drizzle barbecue sauce and sprinkle the rub over the veggies and bacon.

Step 9. Roll just the sausage, veggies and bacon from the bottom to the top of the mat, separating from the mat as you go. This will form a nice big sausage log.

Step 10. Roll the sausage log and the bacon mat towards you, covering the sausage with the bacon mat. Be sure to press the bacon mat into the sausage, getting any air bubbles out. Your bacon explosion has been constructed and now it’s time for cooking.

Step 11. Place your Bacon Explosion in the oven on a baking sheet, covered in aluminum foil. We used a slotted sheet placed over a deeper sheet to catch the drippings. Bake covered for an hour, then removed the cover and bake for another hour and a half or so. When the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees, remove it from the oven. Slice, slather with barbecue sauce, and enjoy. Don’t make plans for the rest of the day. Tomorrow, plan to shop for larger clothes. This might not be your last bacon explosion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Bitch is Still Gardening....a long overdue update!


Hi all. I know you've been chomping at the bit to find out how my gardening is going, especially after I left you hanging with my previous riveting posts about my Adventures in Gardening. Okay, I admit - this might be a bit of an exaggeration. But, I'm dying to tell you, so here you go!

I've decided I will never grow a viney or bushy squash-bearing plant ever again. Sorry zucchini, sorry summer squash. I do love you so, but after being plagued by the absolutely nasty, totally disgusting, worse-than-anchovies Squash Vine Borer, I have left the squash business forever. Seriously, the "frass" (poo) they leave behind is gross enough to make me want to stop gardening forever. Anyone out there agree with me? Ugh! I'd rather look at a potato bug all day. Hmmm...actually that's a toss up. Those Jerusalem Crickets (another name for potato bugs) are pretty grody. See for yourself (if you dare.....).

Okay, moving past icky bugs (and I'm the resident bug remover in our house so you know these bugs must be pretty nasty for me to be bothered by them), another reason I am never growing any kind of viney thing is that my garden doesn't have a lot of ventilation because of the wooden fence around our yard, so plants that are prone to getting powdery mildew get it with a vengeance. I know there are actions I can take to take to help control the pesky whiteness that took over the leaves of my cukes, mystery winter squash and summer squash, but I am more interested in low-maintenance gardening. With a little one scampering around and getting into everything, the last thing I want to be doing is spending half my day washing my plant leaves. I'll leave the squash growing up to my neighbor, Milt. He has quite a green thumb when it comes to squash and a much better ventilated garden.

So, the powdery mildew led to a cathartic 10 minutes pulling out my squash/cuke plants and chucking them over the fence into the arms of my amazing husband who didn't know what he was getting himself into (when he happened to walk by the fence, not when he married me, which is what you were thinking, right?). Now, I have a lovely 3'x5' area in my garden ready for some late beets and peas (if I ever get around to planting the seeds!). Speaking of beets, I just harvested a few this week. My hopes for a bumper crop of beets were dashed when I discovered that most of my beet plants were mostly just leaves with these piddly little "beets" for roots. About 1/2 wide at the most, my beets were a big disappointment. I was able to get about four that were about 2 inches across. When I cut into one this week, I discovered one of the most beautiful vegetables I had ever seen. Check it out!


I also grew potatoes this summer and last week, I harvested about 15 potatoes from 5 plants. I expected to get a lot more, but I recall saying that I would be happy if I only got one, so I'M HAPPY! My carrots are still growing, but I did pick a few this week. Tasty! I roasted the beets and some of my potatoes and carrots. Roasting vegetables and potatoes is fun because it's easy, it smells good and seems really fancy so you can impress your eating partner. It's a great way to cook if you're just starting out. Just chop 'em up, throwing on some olive oil and seasoning and pop 'em in the oven at 400 degrees until they're done (usually about 15 - 30 minutes depending n what you're cooking). Here they are before I roasted the heck out of them.


Well, that's it for the gardening update. I hope your gardens are happily producing. I'm off to see about harvesting my peppers. Fun! I'll leave you with a few pictures.



Cubanelle peppers enjoying the sunshine.



Some flowers living up to their name.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Cool Groupon up in Vermont

Hey readers, we thought you might like this groupon. It is a two-night stay at a Vermont resort plus a cooking class for two for $349. If you're new to Groupon, it is a website that posts short-term deals in certain regions and the deal only becomes valid if a certain number of people sign up for it. This one is already "tipped", which means enough people signed up. If you're new to Vermont, it's gorgeous. If you're new to cooking classes, hmm, so am I.

The deal is valid for stays from November through April and there is a load of classes you can choose from. Some noteworthy classes are Make Like a Bear on November 7 or Holiday in Spain on December 11.

If you're in the New England area or want to be in the New England area, check it out! The deal expires at the end of the day.

If you don't yet live by Groupon, check out the website here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And the winner is.......

The day you've all been waiting for! We reached 400 Facebook fans!!!! As promised, we've randomly selected a winner (using a random number generator and everything!).

And now....

The winner...

Of the 2010 The Bitch Stopped Cooking product giveaway...

Marilyn Downs!!!

AND!!! There's more!!! We are also giving away a prize to our 400th fan!

Wow!!!

Our 400th fan was......

Dawn Yardeni!!!

Marilyn and Dawn, contact us on Facebook so we can mail you your choice of an apron or dishtowel.

Didn't win? That's okay! Check out our products so you can own your very own The Bitch Stopped Cooking gear.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another Manterview!

Our amazingly talented cook and cousin, Liz interviewed her hubby about his experience cooking. He's got some really intelligent answers and tips that can really help someone who is new to cooking. You know Liz from our bake sale at Sophie's Sale. Her incredible vegan cupcakes wowed everyone. You can also read Liz's testimonial about how The Bitch Stopped Cooking helped her relationship with her husband and her own experience in the kitchen.


Liz: Do you like cooking?

Andy: Yeah, sure, I like cooking. It depends. I really don't like it in a small kitchen. It is not nearly as good as when I have room do to stuff.

L: What about cooking do you like?


A: Figuring out what combinations work with others, making healthy meals, sharing a healthy meal with others. Trying to make something that others like is part of the fun. Part of the goal is you want to make something others like or appreciate. If it doesn't happen the way you wanted, you move on. Another chance will come again.

L: What about cooking do you dislike?

A: Manterviews! Just kidding. Timing – having everything come out poorly because of lack of experience with a new dish – being able to time the steps accordingly – it never goes by the book if you don't have the experience; improper equipment - not being able to experiment without the proper array of kitchen equipment; Hofstadter's Law

L: What advice would you give to men who are just starting in the kitchen?


A: Don't bite off more than you can chew to start. Start with small recipes that you are familiar with. Learn about your ingredients. Watch good home cooks and help them. Sous Chef at family gatherings. Something simple can be as good or better as something complex. Simple can be really pleasing to others.

L: What is your favorite dish that I make?

A: Hmmmm It is between the lemon-caper tofu and the tofu with mushrooms and pasta. That's a tough one. There are a lot of things that you make really well that I wouldn't say is favored one over another.

L: What is your favorite thing to make?

A: LoMein. That's a lot of fun. Its a project, but it is fun. Because it is a project you don't get to do it very often, which makes it even better when you do get to have it. It satisfies a wide variety of culinary desires. The things that make a meal satisfying, the LoMein has checkmarks in a lot of those boxes. It is juicy, unctuous because of the oil combinations, it is crisp because of the veggies. It is a balanced meal all by itself – carbs, proteins, wholesome array of veggies.

L: What is one of the biggest challenges that you have overcome as you have gotten more comfortable with your cooking?

A: Being able to improvise and having the knowledge not to totally offend or malign the food that I am improvising with. That comes from my earlier statement about understanding your ingredients. For example, now I know it is preferential to roast potatoes. I used to fry my potatoes all the time, but now I roast them. It is much easier to do and healthier. That is what I mean about understanding your ingredients.

L: Do you think that women belong in the kitchen?

A: Yes! Barefoot, pregnant, and makin' me a sammich! Actually, no, but traditional gender roles have offered me an experience of women being culinary mentors. You know, your mom taught you how to cook and her mom probably taught her and her mom's mom and so on.

L: Is there any question that I should have asked you but I didn't?

A: Yes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guest Blogger Testimonial: Mary Connealy

From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers here at The Bitch Stopped Cooking. Today's guest blogger is Mary Connealy, an author (romantic comedy cowboy tales!) who stopped cooking after 27 years. Check out her story below. If you're interested in being a guest on our blog (or having us as a guest on yours), please let us know!

Any pictures, opinions, views, formatting and all content in our guest blog posts belong solely to the guest blogger. If you are interested in borrowing anything, using a picture or quoting them, please contact the guest blogger directly. Contact information for Mary follows her post.

Read on!



I was a stay-at-home mom for 27 years. I had a very traditional marriage.
I raised four daughters while my husband worked his backside off. He came home at night tired and hungry. He’d shower and I tried very hard to be right there, putting the food on, when he collapsed at the table.
Our last daughter was a bit of a straggler. Five years between her and her next older sister. So all the older girls were grown and out of the house and the ‘baby’ (she hates being called that) was in high school when we decided he could either quit or lose his mind.
I believe my exact words were, “What’s your mental health worth, because you seem to be going crazy.” (well, my exact words were probably not quite so sassy. But I’m trying to make this more interesting than the truth. Yes, some fanatics might call that lying, but still. . .)
So he couldn’t really afford to quit his second job but we decided he just had to and we had to take our chances at surviving with less money. So, one day, I got this strange phone call offering me a job.
I had never applied for it. I’d never heard of this job. I had no training for it.
These were, as it turned out, not impediments.
It was to teach GED.
And I was no teacher.
I told the man all the reasons I wasn’t right for the job and he said, “So, do you want it or not?”
Sure.
And it was a good job. Federal, full time, benefits. I suddenly had a freakin’ 401k.
My husband quit his second job.
And here came these checks.
It’s call a salary. I know this sounds naïve but I just hadn’t ever seriously considered earning money. I was a stay-at-home mom. It was how I defined myself. Except I was just a stay-at-home WIFE at this point, because my last ‘MOM’ project was pretty much grown.
So my husband started cooking. (you knew I had to get to the cooking part eventually)
He was just so delighted with his much increased free time and the money coming in from such an unexpected source (me!) that he said he was going to pitch in.
He’s a very simple cook. He broils meat and boils vegetables. That’s pretty much it. But you know what? It’s a really healthy way to eat. No more cheesy casseroles. No more dessert. No more fried zucchini or gravy or potato salad.
I miss that stuff. But there is NOTHING more wonderful than stepping into a house and smelling food and knowing I can now just collapse at the table and have a meal laid before me. What a beautiful thing!
I really recommend to every woman, stay at home for a while. Hopefully when/if you go to work he’ll appreciate it enough to step in at home. And if he doesn’t, then he’s really kind of a jerk.
I’ll add here that all those years I was at home I was also writing. Trying to get a book published. And two years after my first lovely, full-time paycheck started rolling in, I did it.
I got a contract for my first romance novel. I write romantic comedy with cowboys.
Since then I’ve gotten fifteen more books published, with contracts for ten more stretching out four years, with hopes for much, much more. And I continue to work teaching GED. (I can multiply fractions like nobody’s business. So, if you’ve got any questions please contact me directly.)
My husband, I think because he was so completely comfortable in our traditional marriage was really acutely aware of the change, which is why he stepped up so willingly.
He now mows the lawn. Cleans the house. Does the laundry. And cooks, I’d say 90% of the meals. And as I write this, I realize that I now work at two jobs. But no heavy lifting, so I’m good with it.
I help with some of it, but you know—it’s really not my job.

“If they’re sassing each other and falling in love while running for their lives, then I’m happy.”

Mary Connealy writes books that bring humor to the Wild West. Her most recent release is Doctor in Petticoats, book one of a three book series.

Mary is married to a rancher and has four beautiful daughters and one stunningly beautiful granddaughter.

Find me online at:
Seekerville
Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Elusive 400 - and a new poll question!

Hey faithful blog readers! As you probably know, we're running a contest on Facebook. Once we reach 400 fans, we will give one lucky fan a choice a The Bitch Stopped Cooking apron or dishtowel! All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment here or on our Facebook page! So, refer your friends! We only need a few more!


We've got a new poll question. Check it out over there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Squash Sloppy Joes

This is the first post I'm writing to participate in the "Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts" blogathon. If you're just joining us now, the blogathon is being sponsored by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens, with a little help from the Massachusetts Department of
Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets. It's being held during Massachusetts Farmers' Market Week. If you are in the position to donate money, please consider giving to Mass Farmers Markets by clicking here.

Tonight I made Summer Squash Sloppy Joes using a recipe I found on epicurious.com. What I love about recipes on epicurious.com, besides the huge variety, is that people leave comments. These can be useful in helping me decide if I want to make a dish. I know that if a recipe has the following comment: "Even my picky boyfriend who won't eat anything liked this dish", I know it's probably pretty bland and I should double the spices. Being married to an aspiring Master Spicer, I have to spice my dinners up pretty well in order for them to be enjoyed by anyone around here. Once I've decided to make a dish, I look for recurring themes in the comments, i.e. "too sweet! halve the sugar" or "add ketchup" or "leave out the anchovies because they're absolutely the most disgusting thing probably ever to be added to any dish ever in the whole world". Okay, the last one was just my personal thoughts about anchovies, but you get what I mean. Here's my experience with Summer Squash Sloppy Joes. The original recipe is found here and I'll post my version here on our blog. The vegetables, except for the onion, were grown locally either in my garden (pepper), my neighbor's garden (carrot) or by my CSA farm, Surrey Farms in Brewster, MA (squash).

Summer Squash Sloppy Joes
  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cubanelle pepper (or green or red, whatever you have)
  • 1 1/2 cups summer squash, diced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar (ughhh! too sweet! halve the sugar when you make it!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash of Worcestershire (that's wus-ta-shee-yah in case you're wondering) Sauce
  • dash of Liquid Smoke
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 hamburger buns

1. Don't do what the original recipe says and preheat the broiler now. If you calculate how many minutes it will take to cook this dish before you put it in the broiler, you would waste at least 22 minutes of gas/electricity while your broiler sits there waiting for you to use it. Wait till the end to preheat it. Don't worry, I'll cue you. Anyway, so in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey (I used turkey) until browned, about 7 minutes. I added salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning to the turkey. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and pepper and sauté 2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, chicken broth and water, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the brown sugar, garlic, chili powders, paprika, oregano, Wus-ta-shee-yah Sauce, Liquid Smoke and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Okay, folks - here you go: PREHEAT THE BROILER! While everything is happily boiling away in the skillet, spread the cheese evenly over the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Transfer both halves of the buns to the broiler, open-faced, and toast until the cheese has melted and the top buns are toasted. Don't do what I did and forget they were in there.

4. Remove the buns from the broiler and fill each sandwich with the squash-and-meat mixture. This term was coined by the original recipe writer. I don't know what I would have written if it were mine, but "squash-and-meat mixture" just about makes me want to barf and not eat the dish at all. Serve and eat immediately. The buns get soggy if you wait. We ate ours with a salad, but you can eat it with whatever you want. Our salad had cukes from our CSA and tomatoes from our neighbor!

P.S. My husband loved it and said he'd definitely eat it again. Even with the vegetables.

P.P.S. Leave out the Liquid Smoke if you want. It's not necessary, but does add a nice touch.


The third manterview

Thanks to everyone who has "liked" us on facebook; only 15 more fans to go until we hold our drawing for a free apron or dishtowel! If you're not already a fan of us on facebook, become one here! Post a comment, and you'll be entered into the drawing automatically!

Here's our third manterview:

Q: Do you like to cook?
Once in a while I like to get creative when the mood strikes and make something delicious because it’s fun and will be delicious, like the bacon explosion [men, we will have a post about this once we come to terms with the fact that such a thing exists], but most of the time cooking is just an unfortunate prerequisite to eating. It sucks that you have to cook before you can eat.

Q: What about cooking do you like?
I like the fact that you can throw in whatever you want and try to anticipate what it’s going to taste like. I guess the thing I like most about cooking is knowing what I like to eat, and working towards that, and being able to make exactly what I like to eat.

Q: What about cooking do you dislike?
The worst part is that you usually do it when you’re really hungry, so everything seems really difficult and it takes a long time. I hate touching gross things like chicken and I hate the fact that anything that goes into the oven takes over an hour and always takes longer than it says it will. I don’t like cleaning up afterwards, which is why I rarely do.

Q: What advice would you give to men who are just starting in the kitchen?
I think most men really like to eat delicious, awesome food, and if you’re cooking you can make whatever you want, like the bacon explosion. So rather than just having boring, chicken-rice-broccoli stuff, you can actually make spare ribs or chicken parm, or the craziest sandwich ever, whenever you want. Also, you don’t have to make everything from scratch; Trader Joe’s has a lot of meals or sides that you can just heat up.

Q: What is your favorite thing that I make?
I like it when you use the slow cooker, most of the time. I like when you make sausage, peppers, and onion sandwiches on the grill.

Q: What is your favorite thing to make?
I like to make sandwiches, especially sandwiches that involve leftovers in some capacity. Sandwiches are awesome because they always taste good and you can put in EVERYTHING. And sandwiches are quick, there’s usually no cooking involved. Or cleanup.

Q: What other ingredients do you like to put in sandwiches?
Hot sauce, chicken products, sliced animals, cheeses, gravies, peppers and onions, bacon, oil and vinegar. Cole slaw is surprisingly good on sandwiches, mashed potatoes and stuffing. This might be a long interview. Eggs are good on sandwiches.

Q: Want me to come back to this question if you think of more things as we go on?
I’m not done yet. I like spreads, like pesto or chipotle things. I guess barbecue sauce too. Sliced jalapeños! Burritos.

Q: Burritos on sandwiches?
Burritos are a form of sandwich. Burrito is Mexican for sandwich. So I guess rice and beans and salsa, too. Sliced apples?! Paninis. And…sausages. Also, burnt fried cheese scrapings.

Q: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?
You know the right answer, just put that down.

Q: Do you think I can handle the grill?
Better than I can. Yeah. I don’t think it’s anything special. It runs on gas, not testosterone.

Q: Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Yes. I wonder if macaroni and cheese is good on a sandwich. Also, spinach is good on them. Spinach and brie, and caramelized onions, and pizzas are great. Pizzas with EVERYTHING, like chili. And pineapples.

Q: Will you make me a margarita?
No? I don’t want you throwing up all over the place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts

Since two of the three of us bitches live in Massachusetts, we decided to participate in a blogathon called "Loving Local: Celebrating the Flavors of Massachusetts". The blogathon starts today, August 22 and goes through Saturday, August 28. It is timed to celebrate Massachusetts Farmers Market Week. The blogathon is being hosted by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens, with a little help from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets. If you are a blogger in Massachusetts and you want to participate, check out the Loving Local blog or Facebook page.

I (Hannah) will be writing a post later this week to submit to the blogathon. We got an amazing selection of tomatoes and squashes from our CSA this week, so I'll be making a couple dishes with those. I'll share my recipes and some pictures with you all. My ideas so far - blogger Helen Rennie's chilled tomato yogurt soup, bruschetta with goat cheese, tomatoes and arugula from Fresh Food Fast and summer squash sloppy joes. As you read in my interview with my husband, Eric, he's not a fan of vegetables unless they're straight outta the garden and not just in there so you can say you had vegetables. These are definitely in there so you can say you had vegetables, but they're also straight out of the garden, so we'll see what he has to say about them. I think he secretly likes veggies, so he's probably going to LOVE it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies That Get Your Manly Hands Dirty

This is an age-old family recipe that I am about to share with you, so get excited. Before I share it with you I want to remind you that we are giving away one of our super awesome aprons. As soon as we get 400 fans on facebook (25 more to go!) we are going to select a random facebook fan commenter and they are going to take home an original canvas The Bitch Stopped Cooking Apron. Visit our facebook page and become a fan and leave a comment today!

Are you done?

I'll wait.

Okay. The recipe.


Just kidding about the age-old family recipe thing. I invented it tonight with ingredients I had in my cupboard. It's a night-old recipe.

Here's what I used:

1 cup butter
1 cup raw turbinado sugar (regular sugar would be fine)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp water (I might substitute milk next time)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour (regular flour would be fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (regular salt would be fine. I like using kosher salt because I like the sweet/salty experience and I feel that kosher salt stays a little crunchy.)
2 1/2 cups oats
a bag o' chocolate chips (12oz/2 cups)

Feel free to use matching sticks of butter.
This is just what I had on hand.
Also feel free to not buy ghetto baking soda.

Here's what to do:

Get a big blue bowl. Fine, get any color big bowl. Cream together the butter and the two kinds of sugars together. As you may have read from our Baking for Sophie post, Hannah and I (Maria. Julia is too busy on a bison hunting safari in the wild hills of Montidaho to make oatmeal cookies) learned that the only thing you can do wrong when creaming butter and sugar is to not do it long enough. OR you can fail to lock in the bowl and the mixer head and explode 3 cups of sugar all over your parents' kitchen. Anyways, cream the sugarbutter.

now picture me gradually cracking two eggs into the creamed sugarbutter.
it was ugly.
blurry.
from a weird angle.
and you could see my batting cages blisters.
picture beautiful hands cracking beautiful eggs.


add the vanilla extract.
try not to huff the fumes from the entire bottle.

add the water.
you could also use milk.
if you're one of those weird families that keeps milk in their fridge that is not 36 days past its expiration date.


In another blue bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.


Add this dry mixture to the other big blue bowl where you have the sugar and butter creamed with the eggs and vanilla.
Beat it until it is just mixed together.
Senseless is not the desired outcome of this beating.


TIME OUT.
Go preheat the oven.
350.
Also get a baking sheet and grease it if you want.
Now tell Mother Nature you love her and boast about how proud she should be of you for not wasting energy by preheating the oven when you started the recipe.

Next you are going to add the chips and the oats separately and deliberately.


Stir in the oats and chocolate chips by hand.Yup, by hand.

Like this.
Make manly dinosaur noises while you do it.

Now put balls of the mixture on the cookie sheet. I made mine about the size of golf balls that dinosaurs stepped on and put them about an inch apart. Or two inches. I don't know. They'll be fine.

Cook them for 10-13 minutes. When you take them out, hang on a hot second so you can slide them off without them falling apart. In this case, a hot second equals one to two minutes. When you slide them off, put them on a wire cooling rack.

You have a wire cooling rack, right?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baking for Sophie: The Yard Sale

If you're just joining us now, let me catch you up on what happened. In July, our dear cousin, Sophie was walking with her sisters and a friend and was struck and killed by a car. A couple of angels named Caroline and Shayne held a yard sale on a hot, sunny day in early August to benefit Sophie's two beautiful children, Gabe and Fiona. Maria volunteered our time and love of baking to run the bake sale table. The day before the sale, we baked our little (Montague girls are NOT known for having much junk in their trunks) tushies off. Actually, we kept our tushies, as little as they are, quite stuck on because of all the butter-disguised-as-baked-goodies we consumed while baking. Maria notes this in her post about our baking day. If you haven't read that post, check it out - it's chock full of fabulous recipes and luscious pictures. My post today will report on the sale itself. If you weren't there, you missed an incredible day. If you were there, you know how great it was.

Maria and our mother (the original bitch) hopped out of bed and went to the sale at the ungodly hour of 6:00am. Even though I wanted to be there early, I got to sleep in a bit more because my little one was still snoozing away with her teddy bear. We followed later and arrived at 8:00am. Upon driving into the parking lot of the Chatham Coffee Company where the sale would be held, I saw at least 50 people (I'm not kidding) busy setting up items on tables. I could not believe it - there were so many volunteers and so much STUFF for the sale.

And this was just one small section of the entire sale!

I burst into tears. I saw my mother and pulled over. I couldn't get out of the car fast enough. We hugged, cried and exclaimed how much this meant and how we just couldn't believe it. It was truly moving.

After the initial shock wore off, I shuttled the baked goodies over to the sale table. We went to park and I put the little one in the Ergo carrier, where she would hang out for much of the day.


We returned to the yard sale and moved our table into the shade. Note to anyone who might run a bake sale table - being in the shade is key. No melted goodies, no sunburned bakers. We set up the goodies and put Maria's awesome handmade signs up so everyone would know what they were getting themselves into.


The sale started at 9:00am after shooing away some early birds ( or were they vultures?). Business at our table was slow at first, but then it really took off. Word must have gotten around about how awesome it all tasted. We had some incredibly generous folks, like my neighbors Milt and Kathy, who bought one chocolate chip cookie for $20 and the guy who wrote a check for $100 in exchange for five of Liz's uh-maze-ing vegan cupcakes.

Yeah, they were that good.

It was hard not to break into tears every time an exchange like this happened - and it happened a lot. There were a few, shall we say, frugal folks, who must have forgotten this was a benefit sale. One guy gave me ten bucks for at least 15 pieces of coffee cake. Thankfully, this was not the norm and the generous folks more than made up for the frugal guys. We think we made about $1,000 just at the bake sale table.

It was this busy all day.

We spent the day meeting some amazing people, sharing some good times, crying together, hugging everyone we knew, seeing old and new friends. The Parkington Sisters played some beautiful music. If you ever get a chance to see them perform, you will be a very lucky person. Our family friend, Melissa sang a song that she wrote about Sophie. It was a day I will never, ever forget. In the end, we raised a HUGE amount of money, but it was bittersweet. All the money in the world won't bring back our Sophie. But, at least it will make sure Fiona gets to continue playing hockey, Gabe will still play football, they'll both suffer through braces and best of all, they'll get to fly back here from their home out west and visit with their east coast family.

Sophie, we love you and miss you every day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Manterview

Another impromtu manterview. This time between Hannah and her husband, Eric.

Hannah: Do you like to cook?

Eric: Yes. Especially if it’s foods that are delicious to my tastebuds, but I don’t like to cook when it’s just for me because then I’d rather just eat something to not be hungry anymore. But, I like to cook foods as a way of showing that I care for people. And also, a little bit of my ego wants them to be impressed by my girthy culinary skills.

H: What about cooking do you like?

E: Who says I like cooking?

H: Um, you do.

E: I like tinkering and trying to add different spices. Because at this point, my culinary skills are just about spicing things. But, if I were better at cooking, I would be more interested in blending textures and contrasting flavors. Spices are like the kindergarten of cooking because all you gotta do is add more spices. There’s not much refined technique you have to learn to open up a spice jar and dump it in. Some people might be offended by that if they think they’re Master Spicers…

H: What about cooking do you hate?

E: What? Who said I hate cooking? Hate is a really strong four letter word.

H: Okay, just answer the question.

E: Oh man, the cleaning up. That’s the worst. It sucks.

H: But, if you cook, I clean.

E: Yeah, but the fact that you have to clean bums me out. On cooking shows, all they do is cook. They don’t cook and clean. I also hate overcooking things. I’d rather undercook chicken and give everyone salmonella instead of serving everyone a chicken brick.

H: What is your favorite thing that I make?

E: Mmmmm….wow….oh, your garlic beets, chicken pot pie – oh yeah, that’s awesome, but you use too many vegetables. I think you put in at least four types of vegetables and you’re only supposed to use two or three types.

H: How do you feel about vegetables?

E: Oh man, well, if they're so delicious, like out of the garden, then I could eat them just by themselves, maybe with a little salt, BUT! If they are in a dish, just for the sake of being there so you can say you had vegetables, then I'm totally against them.

H: What is your favorite thing to make?

E: Spaghetti sauce because I like chopping and if you wanna be a Master Spicer, you can go crazy in a spaghetti sauce.

H: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?

E: Yeah! What kind of question is that? That’s so ridiculous.

H: But you share the kitchen with me.

E: That’s true. Cuz it’s fun! Especially if I can tell you what to do. I say, “Chop that!” “Add some more spices!”

H: Do you think I can handle the grill?


E: No! (bursts out laughing) That is so funny! You don’t like to touch raw meat! And also, I just picture you with like, three foot tongs, going like this (holds his arm over his face and eyes, looking scared and squinting). And you would totally overcook the chicken.

H: Thanks, I’m glad you have so much faith in me. Will you make me a margarita?

E: Of course, if I knew how to make one. I think it involves tequila.

Happy Facebook Friday! Our First Giveaway!

Hi readers!

A happy, happy Friday to you.

The Bitch Stopped Cooking is happy to announce we are having...

...our very first giveaway!!

We're giving away one of our awesome aprons or dishtowels (your choice) to one lucky person when we reach 400 facebook fans!

Click this link to go to our facebook page. Then become a fan of us. A huge fan of us.

Then all you have to do is leave a comment on our status.

Tell us your favorite food.

Tell us why men should do the cooking.

Or why they shouldn't.

Tell us how you order your steak.

Tell us how you order your tofu.

Or just say hi.

Once we have 400 fans, we'll randomly pick a winner from the comments.

If you're already our facebook friend, as 344 of you are, you can enter the giveaway too! Just recommend a friend or two (the facebook elves are watching you) and leave a comment.

Good luck and happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten-Question Impromptu Manterview

This is an interview that took place in the living room of one of the bitches tonight, as an attempt to gather information on modern views of men and women in the kitchen.


Maria: Do you like to cook?


Dan: I don’t mind it. It’s kind of fun.


M: What about cooking do you like?


D: Eating it. And…. Um…. Flipping everything at the right time.


M: What about cooking do you hate?


D: Having to wait to eat.


M: Don’t you have to wait to eat when I cook?


D: It’s different. When you’re not doing it you’re not paying attention to how long it takes.


M: Because you're busy doing something else?


D: Yeah. Like right now. I'm busy doing something else.


M: What is your favorite thing that I make?


D: Mustard-crusted chicken. (He's totally right. Check it out here. No, I won't come make it for you.)


M: What is your favorite thing to make?


D: Frozen pizza


M: Do you think women belong in the kitchen?


D: No, they belong in the bedroom. No! Don’t write that! Your parents read this.


M: Do you think I can handle the grill?


D: No. (laughs). You’re too scared of the heat. And you don’t like anything done quickly. Your hands would get too hot.


M: Will you make me a margarita?


D: That would involve me going into the kitchen.