Chemicals in My Foodie

Today is a goofball day.

I’m visiting out of town for an extended period and busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Hence, I’m skipping the usual fare. I apologize for the lack of postings lately in every theme. I’ve been ill and was in hospital for a bit.

Better now though, thanks.

I know enough about chemistry and physical science to be dangerous. (Some of it actually helps in the kitchen.) One day, in my Pins, I was introduced to Chemistry Cat and fell in love. I’m a cat person who also enjoys puns. So, for a little change of pace, Foodie offers up a short humorous post about food and cooking.

You’re welcome.

Don’t tell anyone I “lead” you into anything dangerous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you next week, Foodies. Eat hardy.

Foodie Found the Way to His Heart

Once upon a time, I got the attention of a certain fellow and he asked me on a date. Well, actually, it was a blind date his cousin set up.

Time passed after a few dates and I decided I wanted to cook a meal and invite him over (to try and impress him, obviously). The main dish would be beef stroganoff, which I’d learned to make with my brother-in-law a year or two prior.

This was also the first time I’d made this particular dish for my family and I was pleased that it was a hit. Especially with that fellow. I eventually married him and we had a couple of children together. Our daughter, Sarah, who moved west and left her poor mother in the Midwest to pine for her…wait, that’s another story.

Sarah confessed some time after she got married that her husband would like more variety in the meals she served. (I hope he said it kindly.) She conceded that she had limits and wondered if I had any ideas. So I recruited family members to send me recipes for main dishes, appetizers, desserts–you name it–that were favorites at their house. Or dishes that were traditionally prepared on special occasions. We definitely had to include her Grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe. My siblings and I still talk about that cake that was so moist, we didn’t even care if it had frosting. That one had tradition written all over it.

She was delighted with the book we put together for her.

I included the recipe for Beef Stroganoff because a certain tale had been told over the years. It was almost legend that cooking that particular dish had turned her dad’s heart toward her mom. (I don’t know that it’s the only thing. I was pretty good with a sewing machine too.)

Love and food go together. And I don’t just mean “Goodness, I love to eat food,” although if we’re Foodies, we not only love to cook, we love to eat and feed others.

Maybe it’s the process of cooking and baking and then sharing the meal that makes for a true Foodie. I have a friend who says this is absolutely one of  the ways she shows love. If she cooks for you, she’s loving on you.

I don’t think it matters if it’s an elaborate meal for a Foodie to love on someone with what they prepare. It could be as simple as making your friend’s favorite oatmeal cookie recipe–just because he’s your friend. Maybe your kids could eat tacos ’til they’re coming out of their ears. Make a traditional Taco Night. And let them help in the kitchen. You never know; you might pass the soul of a Foodie to one of your children. Now wouldn’t that be love made visible?

Cook. Bake. Serve. Love. Enjoy being a Foodie. And eat hardy!

 

 

Chocolate Addict Foodie

Yeah, I’m addicted to chocolate. But you won’t hear me saying I want to recover from the addiction. Any excuse to eat it is a good one. Several years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to eat chocolate at least once a week. I figured it was a resolution I could keep.

Today is National Dessert Day so Foodie Friday will feature a couple (or more) chocolate desserts. But first, let’s talk about baking with chocolate.

Helpful Hints

For converting chocolate, these tips should help.

1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened baking chocolate = 3 oz. (1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels. If, in a recipe calling for unsweetened baking chocolate, you use semi-sweet morsels instead, decrease butter, margarine or shortening by 1 T. and sugar by ¼ cup.

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder = 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels. When substituting, again, butter (or whatever you use) and sugar should be decreased by the same amounts.

Chocolate may develop a grey film on its surface called a “bloom.” Chocolate bloom is caused by cocoa butter within the chocolate rising to the surface. It’s no big deal; it doesn’t change the taste, even though it dulls the color. Go ahead and use it for melting or baking. The attractive color will reappear.

Keep chocolate in a cool, dry place. It can be refrigerated, but if you choose to do so, wrap it tightly so it doesn’t absorb odors from other foods. Airtight wrapping also prevents the chocolate from acquiring moisture which can condense on it. This is a problem discussed below. Also, chocolate becomes hard and brittle when chilled, so allow it to come to room temperature before using.

About Melting Chocolateheart-dripping-chocolate

Important Warning: The smallest drop of moisture (even a wet spoon or steam from a double boiler) can cause melted chocolate to become lumpy. If this occurs, stir in 1 T. vegetable oil or shortening for every 3 oz. chocolate. Don’t use butter since it contains water.

Yield: One 12-ounce package (2 cups) of semi-sweet morsels equals 1 cup melted chocolate.

Top-of-stove method: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Place over hot, not boiling water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Microwave method: To melt chocolate, place morsels or chunks of baking chocolate in a dry 4 cup microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir. Nuke it again on high 1 more minute and stir until it’s smooth.

These methods also, obviously, work for other morsels such as butterscotch, white chocolate, etc.

I’m doing the happy homemaker thing today. I’ve baked the squash and toasted the seeds from it. Next will come the mending, ironing, and laundry. But I just might get around to making something chocolatey for National Dessert Day. Brownies? Sounds good.

I promised some recipes and here are some I found. My favorite dessert, besides pie, is cheesecake and a well-done cheesecake is worth the effort. Urban Bakes offers her Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake. Looks dreamy.

Suburban Soapbox has a recipe for a No Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. It’s easier to prepare than a cheesecake, but you have to save a bunch of your daily calories for it. It’s reeealy rich.

And these aren’t exactly a dessert––more of treat or snack––but here you’ll find a recipe for my ‘famous’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

keep calm eat dk chocWe who are addicted to chocolate could have told researchers a long time ago that chocolate is good for you. We didn’t know anything scientific; we just knew we felt better when we ate it. Right? Well, here’s a story by Medical News Today with a list of facts about chocolate and some reasons backed up by research (finally!) for why we should be eating this sweet–or semi-sweet–substance.

Enjoy your chocolate desserts today!

Foodie Converts (Food)

Most of the time, I cook for one person (me). For that reason, recipes end up being changed to accommodate. Instead of making a recipe for eight servings, I cut it down to one or two so I’m not eating that main or side dish all week. Sure, there are some dishes for which I cook a whole batch and freeze enough for later. But some foods I’d rather not preserve that way because they’re just not as good thawed and re-heated.

Something that helps me to cut a recipe is having simple conversions I can make while baking or cooking. Today I’m passing on some that you can memorize if you need to decrease like I do. You may even find it handy to know these simple conversions if you’re increasing a recipe.

It’s easy to double; you just multiply by two. But how about making a recipe one-and-a-half times the amount? That’s a little trickier. Foodies make it work, though, don’t we?

Here are some simple conversions I’ve managed to keep in my brain (for the most part) for when I need to “alter” a recipe to suit my needs.stainless-steel-measuring-cups-spoons-250 square

Basic conversions

  • 3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp.
  • 1/3 cup = 5 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.
  • 1 c. = 16 Tbsp.
  • 2 c. = 1 pint
  • 4 c. = 1 quart
  • 1 oz. = 2 Tbsp.
  • 16 oz. = 1 lb.

Can Number Equivalents

  • No. 300 = 14-16 oz. = 1 ¾ c.
  • No. 303 = 16-17 oz. = 2 c.
  • No. 2 = 1 lb. 4 oz. = 2 ½ c.
  • No 10 = 6 ½ – 7 ¼ lbs. = 12-13 c. (This is handy to remember when you’re cooking for a crowd)

One-Pound Equivalents

  • 2 c. butter
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 ½ c. sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 c. milk
  • 9 medium eggs
  • 2 2/3 c. oatmeal or brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 c. rice (uncooked)
  • 2 1/3 c. dry beans
  • 2 c. ground, packed meat

Pan Size Equivalents

  • 2 8-inch layer pans or 1 ½ to 2 dozen cupcakes in muffin tins
  • 3 8-inch layer pans or 2 9-inch square pans
  • 1 9-inch layer pan or 1 8-inch square pan
  • 2 9-inch layer pans or 1 13×9 pan, or 1 9-inch tube pan or 2 8-inch square pans
  • 1 9×5 loaf pan or 2 dozen cupcakes in muffin tins

That last conversion comes in handy when I want to make apple, zucchini or carrot bread to freeze, but I want to freeze individual servings for snacks. It would also work for individual meatloaf servings if you’re trying to maintain portion sizes.

Remember to measure liquids and dry ingredients correctly.

Use dry measuring cups for flour, sugar, shortening (or other solid fat), and various chopped or minced foods. Liquid measuring cups (glass, plastic or other material) for any kind of liquid. Don’t know the difference between a dry measure or liquid measuring cup? Liquid measuring cups have a spout.

Use measuring spoons to measure ingredients such as lemon juice, flavorings, salt, spices, etc.

Certain ingredients like flour and powdered sugar should be spooned into the measuring cup and leveled off, never packed in. Other ingredients, like brown sugar, butter or shortening, should be packed down into the cup and then leveled off.

I’m not the only person who needs to make changes to recipes. As I travel the web and investigate new foods, taste combinations, and options, I see recipes in metric measurements. This Midwest cook doesn’t do metric! That’s when I need more help and I rely on what others who’ve gone before me have created.

Here’s a blog post from “Start Cooking” with a chart to help you convert just about anything during your kitchen adventures.

Happy cooking and eat hardy!