Boston Uprising Macarons

Boston Uprising Macarons

I’ve been looking forward to introducing this new series for a long time! I was inspired by Victoria over at Pixelated Provisions, who started a series last year featuring each of the Overwatch League (OWL) teams as popsicles. Such a cool project, right?! Well I love OWL probably nearly as much as she does and I’ve been so excited to try and mimic her brilliant idea. But instead of something easy and awesome like popsicles, I decided to choose something complicated, but delicious! Every other Sunday through this season of OWL I’ll be posting a new team-inspired macaron! So let’s learn how to make macarons! By the way – if you don’t already follow Victoria, please go do that right now! She’s incredible, her food always looks divine, her plating is unbelievable, and she’s super nice to boot!

But first, let’s talk about the Boston Uprising. When I first heard there was going to be an Overwatch city-based league I was ecstatic. And then they announced there would be a team from Boston. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a Boston fan. My dad was a fan, which meant I was a fan – born and bred, live and die. So I knew the Uprising had to be my team. But stage one was so hard on my heart. They struggled, they lost, they, well, weren’t great. But I never stopped loving them, and by the end they proved to the world that they were a better team than you could have ever dreamed. They pushed through troubles and trials and came out with the only perfect stage and a place in the finals.

True to the Boston spirit, they are once again the underdogs in season 2. But as they’ve shown in the past, and proved on Thursday, they aren’t going anywhere but up. I’m so proud of those boys and all they work to accomplish. And I’m excited to continue to love them through this next season and the future! Boston UP!

Boston Uprising Macarons

Fair warning – this post is going to be a long one. Macarons can be intensely complicated things, and I didn’t go easy on you for this first one. There are three components to this macaron, but first and foremost, there’s the shell. Easily the hardest part. They may take you several tries to get it right (it took me 10 to be able to consistently make them), but don’t let that bother you. I have faith in your abilities! If you want an insanely good tutorial, check out Indulge with Mimi. I learned all my tips and tricks from her!

Let’s start with a few things that are very important for making a good macaron.

  • Your eggs should be room temperature. Most of the time I don’t think it matters, but with macarons it really does. There’s something about a room temperature meringue mixing with the almond flour and sugar that makes a big difference in your shell quality.
  • Everything should be free from water. This includes any bowls, whisks, or spatulas you use. Water can cause a meringue to split, and that would completely defeat the purpose of making one!
  • Folding in the dry ingredients to the meringue is called macaronage and it is the most important step in this entire process. If you fold too little, you’ll get grainy macarons that will be lumpy. If you fold too much you’ll get flat, crunchy macarons without any feet. It’s a really delicate process that may take you a few tries to get right. But I have faith in you. You got this. The final macaron batter should look like honey or lava, and should run from your spatula slowly and without any breaks.
  • Only use gel food coloring. The other kind has water in it, and we really don’t want to add any excess liquid to your meringue. It’ll completely ruin the meringue. So, for the sake of your mental health, only use gel!
  • The rest is extremely important. If your macarons don’t acquire a dry outer coat they won’t bake properly.  Never skip the rest.
  • In order to make sure your macarons are baked properly, the top shouldn’t move if lightly jiggled during baking. If there’s any major movement, the insides are still raw. Be patient – it can even be better to overbake than underbake a macaron shell.

We are making a french meringue macaron – probably the most simple of the meringues. It’s as simple as making a french meringue, folding in some dry ingredients, and piping into circles. So let’s start by separating your egg whites from your yolks. One egg contains about 30 grams of whites, so this recipe will take about 3.5 eggs. Put the yolks aside in a bowl (to be used for the curd later) and place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Let’s make the meringue now! Add a whisk attachment (or use a bowl and hand whisk and watch as your arm falls off) and turn on the speed, slowly bringing it up to high. Continue to whisk until the eggs are frothy, then add all the cream of tartar at once. Continue whisking until the eggs start to form soft peaks.

At this point we want to add the sugar. Now, a lot of people add it a tablespoon at a time to prevent grainy meringues. Honestly, I’ve never had a problem, and with a macaron you probably can’t tell anyway. So just add the sugar around the bowl (not all in one spot) and continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks form. These peaks should not, under any circumstance, fall over if you tip the bowl or the whisk upside down. You want the meringue completely stiff. The entire process should take between 8-10 minutes, depending on your mixer.

Next comes the hard part – the part that’ll screw everything else up. We are going to fold in the flour and sugar. But first things first – let’s mix together the dry ingredients. You really need to mix with your hands here. Add all the powdered sugar and almond flour to a bowl and stir with your fingers. As you’re mixing be sure to rub all the large almond chunks out of the mixture. These will completely screw up your batter, so we definitely don’t want them in there.

Now we start the macaronage. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the food coloring to the meringue. Now gently fold by passing your spatula down the center of the bowl, scraping around all the edges, and around the bottom, finishing by folding that scraped-up portion back over itself. Down the center, around the edge, flip over. Repeat that process until the batter resembles, as I’ve mentioned above, lava. While you’re folding you should be trying to push a lot of the air out of the batter. We actually, in spite of making a meringue, don’t want a ton of air in the batter. To remove it simply push the batter up against the side of the bowl prior to you reaching the correct consistency. This video will maybe hopefully help with your ability to see what I’m talking about!

Once the macaron batter is ready simply fill a piping bag fit with a large round tip with your batter. Pipe a big blob in one spot on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mat, trying to keep your piping pressure consistent. To get equal size circles you can either find a good template online or simply count the seconds you’re expelling your batter. The second method won’t be perfect, but it’ll be easier and close enough! It’s my favorite method.

Once all the macarons are piped simply bang the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air that remains (to prevent weird holes) and allow them to sit out at room temperature, for 30 minutes. This rest will allow a good skin to form on the macaron.

When the macarons are almost done resting preheat your oven. When it’s done preheating bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes. Just make sure you check it before you pull them out, like I talk about in the notes, to ensure they’re properly baked.

After the macarons are baked leave them on your baking sheet until they’re completely cool. If you don’t they’ll still be slightly sticky and the centers will come out of the shell and stick to the mat. It’s horribly annoying. So just be patient and they’ll come off really easily!

While the macarons are baking/cooling you can make your curd and your buttercream. Honestly, the curd takes a while to cool, so let’s do that first! It’s much easier than the shell – I promise. We need to cook the curd over a double boiler, so use a stainless steel or glass bowl that fits securely in the rim of a small pot. Add enough water to boil in the small pot, but ensure that the water level won’t touch the bottom of the bowl. It should be about 1-2 inches of water. Bring water to a simmer.

Then blend your blueberries until pureed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but as smooth as you can get. Add the blueberry puree and lemon juice to either a stainless steel or glass bowl and add the sugar. Whisk this together and add the yolk (saved from the shells) and whole egg. Once you add the eggs you need to whisk continuously to prevent the sugar from cooking the yolks. It sounds weird, but the sugar can actually do that to the yolk and make it grainy.

Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the curd thickens. It’ll happen around 180F, for those of you with a thermometer. But in reality, you don’t need one. You’ll be in the middle of whisking, feeling like it’s taking forever, and then you’ll feel it thicken. You’ll be able to see it sticking thickly to the whisk and to the bowl, it’ll feel sluggish and look delicious. When this happens, remove the bowl from the simmering pan and add the butter all at once. Whisk until the butter is incorporated and then allow to cool until the curd reaches room temperature. You can speed this up by putting the bowl in the fridge and whisk from time to time to release the heat.

Now, 2 elements down, let’s make the third! It’s one of my favorite things in the world – a lemon Swiss meringue buttercream. If you’ve never made a Swiss meringue buttercream it;s the most amazing thing in the entire world. I thought I hated frosting, even homemade frosting, but I realized what I really hated was American buttercream. A solid, Swiss buttercream is thick, creamy, and not overpoweringly sweet. It’s perfect, though a lot trickier to make.

Start by separating your eggs whites from your yolks. Guys, I’ve had to find a lot of new recipes for all the yolks I have leftover from the frosting I’ve been made… But I digress. You’ll add your sugar to the whites, put them back over that double boiler we had for the curd, and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F. This time you’ll want to have a thermometer – it’s very important the eggs reach at least 160F to kill off the threat of salmonella before you eat it. There’s not really a visual cue for this, either, so you’ll need something to help you.

When the correct temperature is reached add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high until the bowl starts to feel cool and the mixture gets thick and shiny. At this point you’ll start adding the room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time. It’ll take a while to get through all the butter. And, in the process, the mixture will start to look curdled. You’ll panic that something went wrong. I promise, nothing went wrong. Just keep adding butter and keep whisking and it’ll become smooth and buttery and delicious.

While this is wash and zest the lemon and juice it. You’ll be tempted to just use pre-juiced lemon juice. Don’t. Fresh-pressed lemon juice is a little sweeter and a little more acidic. Everything will taste better if you just get in the habit of always having lemons on hand.

When the buttercream is smooth and homogeneous you’ll add all the lemon juice, zest, and the yellow gel food coloring. Continue whisking until the buttercream comes back together. It’ll feel like it splits again, but be patient, it’ll come together, get thick, and creamy.

Now, all the elements are made! It’s time for assembly.

Match up the macaron shells to size. Turn one side over to prepare for adding the buttercream and the curd. Add the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a ring on the outside of the shell. Fill the center of the ring with the blueberry curd. Now cover with the other shell and make a sandwich.

One thing to note about macarons – they taste significantly better the next day. Everything looks so pretty you’ll be tempted to eat it right away. Don’t! Make these the day before you want them and then enjoy them the right way. When you let macarons sit the shells soak up some of the flavor from the fillings, making them seems more tender and less sweet. It’s worth the wait!

Boston Uprising Macarons

  • Servings: about 16 2 inch macarons
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Blueberry and lemon macarons inspired by the Boston Uprising

Macaron

  • 100 grams egg whites- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar- 75 grams baker’s sugar- 125 grams almond flour- 125 grams powdered sugar- blue gel food coloring

Blueberry

  • 98 grams blueberry puree (about 1/2 cup blueberries)- 85 grams sugar- 25 grams salted butter, room temperature- 1 egg- 1 egg yolk

Lemon

  • 75 grams egg whites- 75 grams sugar- 143 grams salted butter, room temperature- 2 tablespoons lemon juice- zest of one lemon- yellow gel food coloring

Macaron

  1. Separate your egg whites from your yolks, reserving one yolk for the blueberry curd. Place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer2. Add a whisk attachment to the stand mixer and slowly increase the speed, bringing it up to high.3. Whisk until the eggs are frothy and then add all the cream of tartar at once.4. Continue whisking until the eggs form soft peaks. Add the sugar around the bowl and continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks form. The meringue should be stiff and peaks should not fall if turned over. The entire process should take between 8-10 minutes, depending on your mixer.5. Measure all the powdered sugar and almond flour to a bowl and stir with your fingers. As you’re mixing be sure to rub all the large almond chunks out of the mixture.6. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the food coloring to the meringue. Gently fold the dry into the meringue by passing your spatula down the center of the bowl, scraping around the edges, finishing by folding that scraped-up portion back over itself. Repeat that process until the batter resembles lava or honey. While you’re folding remove the air by pushing the batter up against the side of the bowl. 7. Fill a piping bag fit with a large round tip with your batter. Pipe in a steady stream onto one spot on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mat, trying to keep your piping pressure consistent. To get equal size circles either find a template online or count the seconds you’re expelling your batter.8. Once all the macarons are piped bang the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air that remains and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.9. Preheat your oven to 320F. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12-15 minutes. The shells should be stiff, the feet shouldn’t jiggle, and the top shouldn’t shift if gently moved.10. Leave the macarons on your baking sheet until they’re completely cool.

Blueberry

  1. Create a double boiler by choosing a stainless steel or glass bowl that fits securely in the rim of a small pot. Add enough water to boil in the small pot, but ensure that the water level won’t touch the bottom of the bowl. It should be about 1-2 inches of water. Bring water to a simmer.2. Blend your blueberries until pureed. Add the blueberry puree and lemon juice to the chosen bowl and add the sugar. Whisk this together and add the yolk and whole egg.3. Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the curd thickens. The curd will reach around 180F, will stick to the whisk, and feel thick. 4. Remove the bowl from the simmering pan and add the butter all at once. Whisk until the butter is incorporated and then allow to cool until the curd reaches room temperature.

Lemon

  1. Separate your eggs whites from your yolks.2. Add your sugar to the whites.3. Place the bowl over a double boiler and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F.4. Whisk until the eggs reach a temperature of at least 160F, measured with a candy or instant-read thermometer.5. Add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high until the bowl starts to feel cool and the mixture gets thick and shiny.6. Add the room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time. In the process, the mixture will start to look curdled, but keep adding butter and keep whisking and it’ll become smooth and creamy again.7. Wash and zest the lemon and juice it.8. When the buttercream is smooth and homogeneous add all the lemon juice, zest, and enough yellow gel food coloring to change the color to bright yellow. Continue whisking until the buttercream comes back together.

Macaron

  1. Match up the macaron shells to size. Turn one side over to prepare for adding the buttercream and the curd.2. Add the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a ring on the outside of the shell.3. Fill the center of the ring with the blueberry curd.4. Cover with the other shell and make a sandwich. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Happy Valentine’s Day! To tell the truth, my husband and I don’t actually celebrate this one… Not that we have anything against it, but with birthdays and holidays so close to this date it just feels like too much to celebrate yet another holiday where giving gifts is recommended. So tonight we will be celebrating by eating take out and watching Overwatch League, which has finally started up again (YAY!). But, in honor of the holiday, I have the least romantic dish possible to share with you. Guys, I don’t know why I didn’t plan this better, but I totally spaced that this post would come out on a holiday celebrating love. So instead of sweets, dessert, or even a romantic dinner option, I bring you Cream of Mushroom Soup…

Cream of Mushroom Soup
time and difficulty

I need to admit something. I relied heavily on the recipe of Cafe Delites for this one. I’ve never in my wildest dreams thought of making cream of mushroom soup from scratch. Frankly, the only time I use it is in my stroganoff recipe. So I needed a lot of guidance to even know what direction to head in. I changed a few things, made a few additions of my own, but definitely check her recipe out if you want the pure, unadulterated version!

We start by chopping mushrooms, dicing onions, and mincing garlic. All pretty basic stuff at this point.

Next, heat some butter in a pot… or dutch oven (you guys know me so well) over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until golden and shiny. Then add the garlic and stir for just a minute or so. Garlic burns so easily and we don’t want to overdo it. When everything smells nice add the mushrooms and salt and pepper and saute until they start to change color and become soft. We don’t really want to cook them too much or they’ll be rubbery at the end.

When everything is ready add the seasonings and flour and stir until everything is completely coated. Then we deglaze the fond. I’ve talked about deglazing before and it’s my favorite way to ensure that all the seasonings stay in your dish. Just add a few tablespoons (or splashes, we aren’t fancy here) of your chosen broth to the pot and scrape the bottom until all that delicious brown stuff comes up.

Once it’s all off the pot add half the remaining broth to the pot and stir continuously until it heats and starts to thicken. Then add the remaining broth, stir until combined, and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. It’ll start to thicken up and smell delicious. If it doesn’t look thick enough for your tastes at this point simply add some flour to the pot and whisk it until there’s no lumps. Allow to cook for a few more minutes until it thickens.

Add all the milk and allow to heat until barely simmering. Add more salt and pepper as needed and serve while it’s hot! This soup will even save for a few days to add to other recipes you may have (like the aforementioned stroganoff). It actually turned out way better than I thought it would! I’d eat it as it is next time, just because it smelled so delicious!

Link’s Veggie Cream Soup:

  • Fresh Milk
  • Rock Salt
  • Any Mushroom
  • Any vegetable, herb, or flour

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A savory, fragrant cream of mushroom soup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter- 1 medium yellow onion- 2 garlic cloves- 1 pound fresh mushrooms (can be white or brown)- 1 teaspoon kosher salt- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (or 1.5 teaspoons fresh oregano)- 1 teaspoon thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme)- 10 fennel seeds- 1 bay leaf- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour- 4 cups vegetable broth (for vegetarian) or beef broth- 1.5 cups milk

Directions

  1. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. 2. Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat.3. Add the onions and saute until golden and shiny.4. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.5. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper and saute until they start to change color and become soft.6. Add the seasonings and flour and stir until everything is completely coated.7. Deglaze the fond by adding a few tablespoons of your chosen broth to the pot and scrape the bottom until all the brown bits are removed.8. Add half the remaining broth to the pot and stir continuously until it heats and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. 9. Add the remaining broth, stir until combined, and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. If it doesn’t look thick enough at this point simply add some flour to the pot and whisk it until there’s no lumps. Allow to cook for a few more minutes until it thickens.10. Add all the milk and allow to heat until barely simmering. Add more salt and pepper as needed and serve while it’s hot!

Dad’s Sugar Donuts

Dad’s Sugar Donuts

When I was a kid I wanted to be just like my dad. I wanted the same glasses my dad had, I pretended to read the same newspaper, I ate the same cereal, and loved the same history he loved. Things haven’t really changed as I’ve gotten older – I still want to be just like my dad. Still just as strong, patient, humble, sacrificing, and understated as one of the most important people in my life. So it just makes sense that I would dedicate my pre-valentine’s day Thankful recipe to my first valentine – my loving father.

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood were moments spent getting donuts with my dad. We would get up really early and drive the 30 minutes to the nearest Krispy Kreme to bring dozens back to the family for breakfast. And every Saturday morning I would head off to the hardware store with my dad, to buy whatever materials he needed for his next home improvement project, and eat one or two of the sugar donuts the store would provide to us early-risers. And still, to this day, whenever I eat a donut, I’m reminded of the special moments I had, just me and my dad, involving one of our favorite treats.

Dad’s Sugar Donuts

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this is one of the recipe’s I worked on for weeks to perfect. And now I share it with you! These donuts are incredibly light and fluffy, melting like sugared air in your mouth. But, in order to get them that way, they’re a bit tricky. Trust me, it’s definitely worth it. You’ll just have to be patient with yourself! I know you can do it!

We start by mixing the dough. Now, this dough is very wet. I mean, very, very, very, very wet. We want it that way – it makes the final product lighter. So don’t be tempted to add any extra flour to this recipe. Otherwise you’re donuts just won’t be quite as good. But it does mean I can’t recommend highly enough using a stand mixer for this. You can knead by hand, but if you’ve ever seen The Great British Bake Off, you’ll know it’s very tricky to knead by hand. So if you can simply use a stand mixer, it’ll save you bunches of time and stress.

Add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Salt is a yeast inhibitor and we don’t want to start the process off by prematurely ruining our yeast! Give it a quick spin with the dough hook.

Next add the warm buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. PS – here’s a bit of a tip – you can warm the buttermilk up slightly in the microwave instead of waiting a million years for it to come to room temperature. We want the buttermilk to be about 100F, or slightly warmer than lukewarm. Turn on the mixer to low speed and mix until a dough ball starts to form. It should still be shaggy at this point, with bits of dry ingredients still dry. We just want the gluten to start forming before we add the rest of the liquid and make it super wet! Once the dough reaches this stage add the warm water (again, about 100F) to the bowl, scrape down the sides, and turn the hook on low.

Mix until completely combined, scraping down the bowl as needed, and then knead on low for 5-7 minutes. It won’t feel like it’s being kneaded normally, the entire mass will not wrap around the dough hook, but I promise it’s working. Keep this up until the edges of the dough start to form a rounded shape. It’ll still look flat and attached to the bowl, but it sort of balls up. It shouldn’t be more than 5-7 minutes.

Scrape the dough down to the bottom of the bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Depending on your altitude, the quality of your yeast, and the temperature of your room this could take a while. Be patient!

When the dough is doubled flour a surface and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch height. We don’t want to push too hard to roll too thin because we want to keep some of that lovely air trapped inside. Flour a round donut cutter and cut donuts from the rolled dough, trying to space them close to get as many donuts as possible out of the dough. You can, if you feel guilty about throwing away dough, knead the scraps slightly, re-roll, and cut more donuts. However, these donuts will be heavier and not have the characteristic white line down the center of the donut. Re-rolling scraps incorporates flour, which adds weight when you fry them. I, personally, don’t. But if you do you can expect to get another 3-4 donuts from the batch. If you don’t have a donut cutter, simply use a 3 inch round cutter for the donut and a 1 inch cutter in the center for the donut hole. It just takes an extra step!

Place the donuts on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. It’s very important to use parchment and NOT silicone. We will be cutting up the parchment and I don’t think you want to cut your nice silicone mats! Make sure you’ve spaced the donuts far apart to allow for a rise and a cut around them.

Allow to rise until doubled – they should be light and fluffy, but not over-risen. If they look like they’re starting to sag they’ve risen too much and they’ll be flabby, flat donuts out of the fryer. Watch them very carefully. You can also retard this step by placing them, covered, in the fridge. If you do this simply remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before frying to warm them up to room temperature.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil in a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven. Dutch oven’s really are the best, since the cast iron retains heat, and therefore temperature, much better than any other material. Using a candy thermometer, heat the oil gradually up to 175-180F. You don’t want to over-heat the oil or under-heat it. It’s important to get it to the right temperature to prevent the donut from either A) soaking up too much oil and becoming yucky oil sponges (too cold) or B) burning on the outside while still being raw on the inside (too hot).

When the oil is nearly at temperature slowly and gently cut around the donuts and donut holes so they each sit on their own piece of parchment. Make sure you do this slowly! If you move too quickly and shake things up too much you could deflate the donut, and nobody wants a deflated donut.

When the oil reaches and maintains the right temperature (I usually wait 2-3 minutes to make sure it’s right) gently add 2-3 donuts to the oil on the parchment. This will prevent any major splashing and keep the donut from deflating as you add it. The oil will bubble and could splatter, so always use caution when deep frying anything. Remove the parchement, which should have come slightly away from the donut, and set it aside. When the donut becomes golden brown flip it using tongs, a spatula, or those nifty deep frying mesh spoons. When the second side becomes golden brown remove the donut and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to remove the excess oil.

Lather, rinse, and repeat with the remaining donuts, making sure the temperature of the oil rises to 175-180 between each batch. When you add donuts to oil the temperature will drop, so you want to be patient or you’ll end up with a soggy mess.

When cool enough to handle, coat the donut in a generous helping of sugar (or a combination of cinnamon and sugar!). I usually make a pile of sugar on a plate and then rub the donut around in that pile. A lot of people do a bowl and toss the donut in the sugar in the bowl. Whatever works for you will work for the donut! But whatever you do, try to enjoy at least one while it’s hot! You won’t regret it!

Dad's Sugar Donuts

  • Servings: 8-12 donuts, 8-20 donut holes
  • Difficulty: moderate
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A light, fluffy buttermilk donut covered with sugar

Ingredients

  • 395 grams all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 g instant yeast
  • 150 ml warm buttermilk, about 100F
  • 1 large egg
  • 57 grams salted butter, melted
  • 100 ml warm water, about 100F
  • oil for frying, about 3-4 cups
  • sugar for coating donuts, about 1/3 cup

Directions

  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer, with the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the egg, melted butter, and buttermilk.
  3. Turn on the mixer to low speed and mix with a dough hook until a dough ball starts to form. It will still be shaggy at this point.
  4. Once the dough reaches this stage add the warm water to the bowl, scrape down the sides, and turn the mixer on low.
  5. Mix until completely combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  6. Mix on low for 5-7 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at this point but do not be tempted to add more flour. Continue kneading until the edges of the dough start to form a rounded shape.
  7. Scrape the dough down to the bottom of the bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. This could take between 1-2 hours.
  8. When the dough is doubled flour a surface and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch height.
  9. Flour a round donut cutter and cut donuts from the rolled dough, trying to space them close to get as many donuts as possible out of the dough. You can knead the scraps slightly, re-roll, and cut more donuts. However, these donuts will be heavier and not have the characteristic white line down the center of the donut. I do not re-roll scraps, but merely cut smaller circles for smaller donuts for children. If you don’t have a donut cutter, simply use a 3 inch round cutter for the donut and a 1 inch cutter in the center for the donut hole.
  10. Place the donuts on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Do not use silicone mats. Make sure you’ve spaced the donuts far apart to allow for a rise and a cut around them.
  11. Allow to rise until doubled – they should be light and fluffy, but not over-risen.
  12. Heat 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil in a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven.
  13. Using a candy thermometer, heat the oil gradually up to 175-180F.
  14. When the oil is nearly at temperature slowly and gently cut around the donuts and donut holes so they each sit on their own piece of parchment.
  15. When the oil reaches and maintains the right temperature gently add 2-3 donuts to the oil on the parchment. The oil will bubble and could splatter, so always use caution when deep frying anything. Remove the parchement, which should have come slightly away from the donut, and set it aside.
  16. When the donut becomes golden brown flip it using tongs, a spatula, or a deep frying spoon. When the second side becomes golden brown remove the donut and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to remove the excess oil.
  17. Repeat with the remaining donuts, making sure the temperature of the oil rises to 175-180 between each batch.
  18. When cool enough to handle, coat the donut in a generous helping of sugar or a combination of cinnamon and sugar. Try to enjoy at least one while it’s hot! You won’t regret it!

Kim’s Thai Red Curry

Kim’s Thai Red Curry

For my very first Thankful post in 2019 I wanted to write about someone who has been very dear to me ever since I started my blog. Kim at Later Levels was one of the first people to follow, comment on, and give advice about my blog. She is one of the most supportive and kind people I have had contact with in recent years. Her dedication to staying positive in the confusing and sometimes toxic world of gaming is an inspiration. She regularly volunteers her time and runs charity streams on Twitch to support good causes (like Game Blast). And her creation and maintenance of a wonderfully accepting community within gaming bloggers has been extraordinary.

But more recently, Kim has become a real friend. I don’t have many friends who want to sit around and talk about gaming, even fewer who are women. But I have one in Kim. And we can not only chat about games, but we talk about baking, politics, culture, and understanding the different lives we lead across a wide ocean. And that is why she’s getting a highlight this month! If you don’t already follow her blog, make sure you go check it out. You’ll probably find something worth reading within a few minutes.

Kim’s Thai Red Curry
meter for thai curry

When I asked Kim what her favorite food was, something she could eat forever, of course she would pick something I’ve never even had in a restaurant, let along something I’ve never made. So with all my guessing, scouring the web for the similarities between recipes, and begging Mr. Sheikah Plate to tell me EXACTLY what he thought, this could be the first recipe I’m 100% unsure of. So Kim/anyone else, if you give this a go – please let me know how it tastes and if it’s even remotely similar to a Thai Red Curry.

If it happens to be right, the logistics of this recipe are pretty simple. Start by getting the rice going. This recipe doesn’t actually take that long, so we want the rice to be done when we finish! Simply rinse the rice (as we’ve done MANY times before!), add water to the first knuckle of your finger when it rests on top of the rice, and turn on the rice cooker. I promise guys, one day I’ll make rice in a pot for those of you without a rice cooker… I’m just not brave enough!

Then move on to the chopping by dicing the peppers and broccoli into bite-size pieces. Then slice the green onions into 1/4 inch pieces, much smaller than we usually do. Mince the garlic and ginger (if you’re using fresh garlic and ginger). You can then use the same cutting board to dice the chicken. Now, for food safety, it’s very important that you do the chicken last. Otherwise you should dice the chicken, wash the cutting board and knife, and then cut the veggies. We don’t to cross contaminate anything.

Heat some oil into a heavy bottom pot/dutch oven on medium. When the oil is nice and hot add the chicken. Cook the chicken until there’s no more pink showing on the outside, about 3 minutes. The inside, however, should still be raw. Add all the salt and pepper and stir it around a bit. Then add the garlic, ginger, half the green onions, and red curry powder or paste. Stir that around until everything is coated in the seasonings.

curry with coconut milk

Add the coconut milk. Sometimes coconut milk separates in the can and you may need to whisk it together in a separate bowl to get it combined first. Stir the chicken, soy sauce, and coconut milk until combined. Then bring it to a nice simmer and turn down the heat slightly so it’s just barely simmering. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

At this point add all the veggies and stir them around until everything is coated. Bring back up to a simmer and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until everything is soft and the chicken is cooked through.

Add the remaining green onions and, if desired, lime juice at this point and stir briefly. Serve over (or next to) rice!

close up

Kim's Thai Red Curry

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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A spicy, savory Thai Red Curry sauce with rice

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large crown of broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons red curry powder (2 for mild, 3 for medium) or 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2.5 cups rice
  • enough water to rinse and cover the rice

Directions

  1. Rinse the rice several times, add water up to your first knuckle of your finger when it rests on top of the rice, and press start on your rice cooker. Or cook according the manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Dice the red and green peppers into bite-size pieces. Chop the broccoli into small pieces, with most of the stalk removed.
  3. Slice the green onions into 1/4 inch pieces.
  4. Mince the fresh garlic and ginger.
  5. Dice the chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  6. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven on medium.
  7. When the oil is hot add the chicken and cook until there’s no more pink showing on the outside, about 3 minutes. The inside should still be raw.
  8. Add all the salt and pepper and stir to coat the chicken.
  9. Add the garlic, ginger, half the green onions, and red curry powder or paste. Stir until everything is coated in the seasonings.
  10. Add all the coconut milk, which may need to be whisked to combine in a separate bowl.
  11. Stir the chicken, soy sauce, and coconut milk until combined. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat slightly so it’s just barely simmering. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  12. Add all the vegetables and stir until combined. Bring back up to a simmer and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until everything is soft and the chicken is cooked through
  13. Add the remaining green onions and lime juice and stir briefly. Serve over rice!

Meat Stew

Meat Stew

We’re back! We’re finally back! And you know what? It feels good.

Now, raise your hand if you, like me, prefer winter to summer. Really? That few? Come on! Winter is way better than summer. With that delightfully chilly weather, sweaters and sweatshirts, heated blankets, hot cocoa, and warm, thick soups. It’s the best time of year for most of my favorite things and I love it! Plus, there’s nothing like sitting near a window watching new-falling snow, reading a book under a cozy blanket, and drinking delicious hot chocolate. I’d take that over blistering heat and sweaty armpits everyday.

But enough about me, let’s get on to this stew, surely something we can all appreciate in the next few cold weather months.

Meat Stew
difficulty and time meter

So this recipe is a bit of a departure from the photo. Yes, they really just show three pictures of meat stew with varying degrees of large chunks. But I didn’t want to bore you or your tastebuds with a new take on my new favorite stew recipe. And since Link himself can make this with bird, let’s go along that route and make a thick, creamy chicken and wild rice soup.

I start with chicken breast. I mean, yes, the recipe calls for drumstick, but who has time to scrape meat off the drumstick bone? Certainly not me! So chop the chicken into 1 inch or smallerish pieces. Then dice your onion and get ready to cook!

Add some oil to the bottom of a large pot or (you knew I was going to say it) a dutch oven. Heat on medium high until hot. Add all your chicken at once, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until the outsides are nearly cooked, about 1-2 minutes. Add all the onion and stir together until the chicken is completely cooked on the outside, another 2 minutes max. This means no pink is showing on the outside, but they’ll definitely still be raw on the inside! We want that. It’ll mean the chicken with finish cooking with the rice and not get rubbery.

rice to the chicken

Add all the rice and stir and cook until the rice is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. It’s really not that much. It should only have been about 5 minutes from the time we first started cooking the chicken.

chicken, broth, herbs

Add 4 cups of the chicken broth and the remaining seasonings, and bring to a nice, rolling simmer. Nothing too fancy, just enough to be considered a simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes. Yes, I did say that correctly, and yes, it’s very specific. We are walking a fine line between cooked rice and rubbery chicken. I’ve found that 1 hour 15 minutes is kinda that happy medium. If it goes a little long, I don’t think it’ll ruin the dish. If it goes a little short, I hope you’re okay with slightly underdone rice.

Meanwhile, chop the carrots and the celery. Add them all at once with another cup or two of the chicken broth at the end of the 1.25 hours. Bring to a simmer and then check for seasoning. Add more of anything (but mostly the salt and pepper) at this time.

Then add the milk and flour. Whisk the soup together until all the flour is completely mixed in with no lumps. Allow to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Serve in your favorite winter bowls and enjoy!

close up

Meat Stew

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Creamy Chicken and wild rice stew with carrots and celery

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt or garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable (or other) oil

Directions

  1. Dice the chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Dice the onion
  3. Add oil to the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. Heat on medium high until hot.
  4. Add all the chicken at once, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until the outsides are nearly cooked, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add all the onion and stir together until the chicken is completely cooked on the outside, another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add all the rice and stir and cook until the rice is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. It should only be about 5 minutes from the time we first started cooking the chicken.
  7. Add 4 cups of the chicken broth and the remaining seasonings, and bring to a rolling simmer.
  8. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  9. Chop the carrots and the celery while the stew is cooking.
  10. Add them all at once with another cup or two of the chicken broth at the end of the 1.25 hours. Bring to a simmer and check for seasoning, particularly salt and pepper.
  11. Add the milk and flour. Whisk the soup together until all the flour is completely mixed in with no lumps.
  12. Allow to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Serve in your favorite winter bowls and enjoy!

Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Hey, everyone! It’s really nice to finally be back on the blog and back to cooking up new recipes for you! I took a bit of a break (obviously), starting with the holidays, but January has been a bit introspective for me. I sat down at the beginning of January, talked to some amazing bloggers about their “New Year Resolutions” and tried to come up with a few goals for this blog. But instead of discovering new, exciting changes to try to implement, coming up with some unattainable numbers goal, or even settling down for a mediocre goal, it turned into some deep thinking about what I even want out of this experience.

I started this blog as a way to talk about the things I love in a space and community that felt the same. I was feeling really lonely, really unfulfilled, and ready for a new project. This became that new project. And with that came a host of exciting new adventures! I met new people who loved cooking, baking, and especially gaming. I’ve been able to participate in some amazing community events and become friends with some really great, intelligent people. And I’ve been able to push myself creatively in both baking/cooking and writing.

And as I realized where I started, what I thought I wanted, and where I thought this blog was going, I realized I had my priorities wrong. I thought this blog was my “in” to making a cookbook. And, quite frankly, I haven’t given up on that. It’d be really nice to, down the road, get some kind of deal going with Nintendo to make an official BotW cookbook. But when I delved into the roots of what I love about this blog it wasn’t that hanging dread of numbers, influence, and what it would take to become a cookbook writer. It was interacting with all of you – the readers, the other bloggers, the new chefs and the old bakers alike – that made this blog such a good experience for me.

So I’m going to stop having this mental background of “how do I make this a career” and start focusing on the reasons I love blogging. I have some pretty smart people, people who write amazing blogs and who have been so supportive of me through thick and thin, to thank for this epiphany. If lightening couldn’t strike my brain at least it struck theirs (well that must have hurt). So let’s just forget about the dread of not posting and the dread of not meeting some imaginary numbers game that shouldn’t exist anyway and get back to blogging, interacting, and making myself and others happy. Because that’s what this is really all about, right?

And now for the changes that’ll come with that. Guys, I’m switching days on you. Thursdays will now be my Breath of the Wild posts. I’ve realized that cooking new recipes over the weekend doesn’t always work out. I make plans, go out of town, get busy, and then it’s Tuesday and I have nothing to show. I do most of my big cooking during the week, leaving weekends to pizza, eating out, or macaroni and cheese in an attempt to squeeze everything in. So expect Thursdays to become Breath of the Wild posts and, hopefully, that’ll mean a new post every week – with very few excuses (other than illness) to mess it all up!

But that means my Thursday posts need somewhere to go. Why not simply switch them, right? Tuesdays will now be my Gaming and Thankful posts. I’ll try to post one BotW post every week, one Gaming post every month, and one Thankful post every month. I want to participate in at least one community event every quarter, to make sure I get to help other amazing bloggers with their blogs. And I’m also going to run (sort of) a community event twice a year. Instead of doing gaming or thankful posts one month of spring and one month of autumn I want you, my friends and followers, to help me pick a fandom, and then pick 3 foods from that fandom to create recipes for. I’ll post each one and then round it all off with a reason why I love that fandom. What do you think? Sound like a good plan?!

But Teri, you say, there’s only 2 Tuesdays left this month. When will you do your posts? Ah, never fear. Today’s post will be my gaming post and, trust me, it’s a short one. So many wonderful bloggers and gamers talk about backlog. The complex ways they deal with it, the struggle of finding time to work on and finish games they want to play. So let me tell you my incredibly simple way to deal with backlog. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until a conversation with a friend pointed it out to me. You want to know my secret?

I don’t have a backlog.

That’s right – I don’t have a backlog. Oh, I have games I want to play, and games I haven’t started yet, but the way I keep my backlog non-existent is by not purchasing a game until I’m ready to play it. That means that I don’t buy new games until I finish the one I’m currently playing. It means that when the time comes to purchase a new game, my priority already exists, because it’s the game I want to play most. Yeah, it means I get really far behind in playing games, but I don’t ever feel the stress of those titles I’ve never gotten around to staring me down from their shelf (or menu, if you purchase digital games).

So how do you deal with backlog? How do you keep your priorities straight when it comes to choosing a game or picking what to purchase?

Mom’s Beef and Broccoli

Mom’s Beef and Broccoli

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom lived in Taiwan for a few years in her twenties (for more information about why, feel free to DM me on Instagram or Twitter).  This means that, not only did she come home with some amazing experiences, but she came home with some amazing small-town, authentic Taiwanese/Chinese recipes.  But this one is my favorite.  And in a post dedicated to my wonderful mother, what better recipe to share than my favorite thing she taught me to make.

My mother is incredible.  She’s easily one of the most dedicated, hardworking people I’ve ever met.  She had a successful career, raised several kids, and always managed to find time to get things done around the house.  Her energy and willpower seem limitless.  It’s quite inspiring to watch her (and also a little daunting)!  She’s strong and opinionated, determined and fierce.  And she’s my hero.  I mean, I’m pretty sure my mom is Wonder Woman (*recently confirmed by my dad).  She doesn’t see it- she’s always got one reason or other for how she can do everything and still find time to read about 2-3 dozen books a year – but I know the truth.  And while I can’t be her and do everything under the planet successfully and efficiently, I’ve learned so much about the person I can be from her.  So this post is dedicated to my mom, for the example she is and the life she taught me to live.  Thanks, mom.

Mom’s Beef and Broccolitime etc

Guys, this recipe is really easy.  In fact, it may seem so easy that you’ll wonder if it’s even worth eating.  Yeah, it’s a little basic – like all good homemade classics are – but I think it’s so good I’ll literally find excuses to drink the leftover sauce.  It’s so good you’ll probably stop eating beef and broccoli at restaurants because it won’t taste quite like this…

First, and always, we start the rice.  Come on, you’re old hats at this by now!  Rinse the rice, add water up to your first knuckle, turn on the rice cooker.  Again, if you don’t have one of those Christmas is just around the corner…  Maybe it’s time to splurge on the most-used gadget in my kitchen.

Then let’s slice the steak into long, thin strips.  Preferably about 1-2 inches long and 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  To make it easy, slice against the grain.  You see the way the muscle lines flow?  Slice perpendicular to that.  It’ll make a cleaner, easier cut.  Place all the meat in a bowl and add enough soy sauce to submerge, but not drown the meat.  It’s a fine line.

Wash everything (knife, cutting board, counter) so there’s no cross contamination.  Then rinse and cut the broccoli.  We want to keep just the florets in bite-size pieces.  I usually cut the stalk off and then break the broccoli up.  When you cut broccoli, sometimes the floret breaks apart, so this is my recommendation.  You can remove or leave as much of the stalk as you want – me, I remove as much as I can.  Place the broccoli in a separate bowl.  Then wash and dice the green onions into 1 inch pieces and separate into 2 piles.

When the rice is done (or nearly so) get out your trusty wok.  I guess you could try and make this in a frying pan, but it won’t cook the same and it may not taste the same.  Also, it’ll probably take way longer to cook.  But if you try it, let me know!

oil and onionsAnyway, add half the vegetable oil to your wok and turn the heat on as high as it’ll go.  Two things about this are important: 1) turn the heat up as high as it’ll go.  Trust me.  A proper stir fry, a proper wok, is cooked over very high heat.  Because of the way a wok works, things’ll get mushy and take forever if you cook it low.  And 2) use vegetable, canola, avocado, or some other high heat oil.  DO NOT cook this with olive oil.  The oil can’t handle those temperatures and it’ll burn, baby burn. 

Add half the green onions to this oil and wait until the onions start to sizzle and pop.  When they do, you know the oil is ready.  Add all the meat and soy sauce together (it should be nicely marinated by now) and cook, stirring frequently/continuously, until the steak is brown on the outside, but still probably pink on the inside.  Depending on how much liquid you added you may need to push the meat up out of the liquid onto the sides.  We don’t want the meat to boil, we want it to fry.  This’ll take between 2-4 minutes.

remove the steak

Remove the steak carefully, I don’t want any burns on my conscience, and put it into a new bowl – or the same bowl, but washed.  Again, no cross contamination here!  Add the remaining oil and green onions and wait for the sizzle and pop.

When you hear it, add the broccoli and stir until it’s completely shiny, about 1 minute.  At this point, make a well in the middle of the broccoli so the wok shows through and add all the cold water at once.  Quickly cover and allow the broccoli to steam for several minutes, or until tender.  Check after 3 and see how it’s doing – add more water if necessary, but be quick, we don’t want the steam escaping!

cook together

When the broccoli is ready add the steak and sauce back to the wok and stir until everything is well-mixed.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes so the broccoli can soak up all that delicious soy sauce.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

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Mom's Beef and Broccoli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious beef with broccoli in a soy sauce marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 pound london broil or sirloin steak – 1-1.5 cups soy sauce – 4-5 large broccoli crowns – 1 bunch green onions – 1 cup very cold water – 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil – 3 cups calrose or other sticky rice – enough water to cover the rice to your first knuckle

Directions

  1. Rinse the rice and add water so that it comes to your first knuckle when your finger rests on top of the rice. Add the lid and turn on the rice cooker. 2. Slice the steak into long, thin strips, preferably about 1-2 inches long and 1/8-1/4 inch thick. 3. Place all the meat in a bowl and add enough soy sauce to submerge, but not drown the meat.  It’s a fine line. 4. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite-size florets. Place the broccoli in a bowl. 5. Wash and dice the green onions into 1 inch pieces and separate into 2 piles. 6. When the rice is done (or nearly so) add half the vegetable oil and half the green onions to your wok and turn the heat on as high. 7. When the onions start to sizzle and pop add all the meat and soy sauce together and cook, stirring frequently/continuously, until the steak is brown on the outside, but still pink on the inside. You may need to push the meat up out of the liquid onto the sides. This will take between 2-4 minutes. 8. Remove the steak carefully and put it into a new bowl – or the same bowl, but washed. 9. Add the remaining oil and green onions and wait for the sizzle and pop. 10. Add the broccoli and stir until it’s completely shiny, about 1 minute. 11. Make a well in the middle of the broccoli so the wok shows through and add all the cold water at once. Quickly cover and allow the broccoli to steam for several minutes, or until tender, about 5-8 minutes. You may need to add more water halfway through. 12. When the broccoli is ready add the steak and sauce back to the wok and stir until everything is well-mixed. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes so the flavors can meld together.

    Serve over rice and enjoy!