Tonight I was off, which is an unusual thing for a Friday night as generally I am at the hospital. I however had a training today, a training on Diversity in Health Care, good training but much of the stuff I have previously heard. Regardless I got home and started to plan for the cooking event for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's birthday pot luck at work. The biggest question even for someone like me who loves to cook is "What's for dinner?" Ashley is no help because when I ask him what he wants he has no clue what would take how long or if we even have the stuff to make for dinner, so if I ask him I have to give him choices.
Tonight's dinner paid homage to both of my grandparents. I did a very simple ground beef patty with tomato sauce basil and sharp cheddar cheese, with Southern style fry potatoes and onions. My maternal grandmother had the most amazing way of making even the most ordinary ingredients some how feel special; she is the one who did the beef patty with cheese. What's so special about this, absolutely nothing other then it tastes good if you like beef and cheese and it is super easy. Now the fry potatoes and onions initially when I was first living on my own and attempted to make these I could never get them right; it appears to be about the steaming. So you start with a hot skillet with oil, add a sliced onion, I half the onion, then slice then keeping the slices together cut it into quarters then add the onions to the oil while I work on the slicing of the potatoes; somewhere between potato chip thin and chunks, and the potatoes are halved and sometimes quartered depending on the diameter. Once done with the potatoes I add them to the onions and stir, placing a lid and steaming essentially until they are soft enough to enjoy, removing the lid in the last minutes of cooking for crisping of some of the surface. No mind you this is not fancy in fact it is far from it, but there is nothing better then the smell of cooking onions and potatoes together. Now my dad would have to correct me if I am wrong, but for some reason I remember having the potatoes with a yummy bowl of pinto beans, corn bread and the occasional tomato relish. I will share the relish recipe at a later time if interested. They were staples in my dads culinary repertoire.
So what are the plans for cooking for the pot luck? I was approached and asked to make chocolate cupcakes with butter cream frosting; being that I enjoy that kind of thing I said yes. I am going to do the Devil's Food cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook. I have done them before but the first time I did them I either cooked them too long or my measurements were off as they were dry. I have done the Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes as well as the Carrot Cupcakes from that book, and I have to say I enjoyed both of those. I have a few things to try in an effort though to salvage the Devil's Food Cupcakes this time... I made sure to have full fat sour cream, I will bump the temp down just a bit in case my oven runs hot, and I will start to check them earlier then the suggested length of cooking time. Other then the cupcakes I may make a Weight Watchers Italian style Bread Salad, which is YUMM. Also from a cookbook I have used a bit.
I want to share a trick with you though, in case none of you have thought of this, and you have a need to transport large amount of cupcakes, think kids school party and you are the cupcake mom, or social event and you want to take little cakes of sweet sugary goodness, I have a larger then most would think needed tupperware container, I place the cupcakes in there before they are iced; throw the icing in a large zip top bag, and take a spreader, then I ice them as I give them out. There are multiple benefits to this, each person dictates how much frosting they would like or not like and THERE IS NO MAJOR MESS!
So not sure if I will write tomorrow night as I start back to work; I am currently in the process of trying to figure out which would be the best book to start with aside from the Cupcake Cookbook and the WeightWatchers one I just referenced. I mean seriously I have more cookbook's then most public libraries. Until next time...