Monday, February 25, 2013

You have been chopped!

We were sitting around the table Thursday evening, eating dinner, when Blaize asks, "Mom, when are we going to have a chopped?" We had talked about doing one before as a family, but never got around to it. For those of you who don't know what chopped is, it's a TV cooking show were the contestants are given three main ingredients they have to use, and have a certain time limit and three different rounds  in which they make a entree, appetizer or desert. They are then judged on their creations. We had thought it would be fun to do as a family, but always had a reason not to do so. Now, being snowed in, and having nothing on our schedule, we decided to do it then. We cleaned up supper and divvied out the teams. I (as I have mentioned in earlier blog posts) am not very good a cooking/baking, so I insisted I be with someone. I got put with papa. He isn't terribly experienced in the kitchen, but knows much more than I do. Hannah, and my mom were put on the other team, and Blaize was dubbed the official judge. Each team had one person go into the pantry and pick out the required main ingredients. They turned out being cashews, and canned chicken...yuck. My dad pulled me aside and said before the timer began, "Alright, Blaize is judging, so we can't use vegetables, or anything very healthy (or we would most definitely lose), so here's what we're going to do. We'll take filo dough (we had some left over from desert we brought our neighbor for his birthday) and take chicken and some kind of cheese and egg mixture and put it inside. (yes quite gourmet, I know!=) we'll wrap it in the filo dough and then roll it in a breadcrumb cashew mixture and fry it."
"Let's go."
The timer began, and I got out the can opener, the cheese, and eggs, while my dad chopped up the cashews. I also grabbed the breadcrumbs. We threw together the cashews, and breadcrumbs, then my dad pointed to the Rice Crispy cereal box and asked if I thought we should throw some in. I agreed. Meanwhile, Hannah and Mom were mixing together a cheese sauce for a chicken cashew pastry they were making.  The rest of the time passed rather uneventfully, except for the fact that we burnt two of the fried chicken cheese pockets we were making, and Mom dropped their pastry on the floor. When Blaize called time up,  we had a rather plain looking plate with a kind of grainy cream sauce to dip the pockets in, and sliced grapes (that was my idea, and besides, I didn't have time to think of anything creative. I glanced over at mom and Hannah's and it looked like something you would have served to you at a restaurant. Here, compare for yourselves:


gross looking.

"We have made for you today, sir," mom said "a cashew chicken creamy pastry, with a cheese cream sauce, and a lemonade orange drink."
Blaize tasted the pastry...and said it was "too flaky." Well isn't that the POINT of using filo dough?
Then he tasted the cream sauce, and said it was delicious. Then...well. Then came the drink.

Yup. That face sums it up. "It's way too sweet... and sour." he said.
"How can it be sweet, AND sour?" Hannah asked.
Blaize shrugged and said, "It just is."

Next came ours.

"We have made for you...a...a...hmm, well a kind of cheese and egg...and chicken patty...that's fried with a cashew/breadcrumb/rice crispy breading and has a side of grapes. Oh, and the sauce is a cream sauce and we used the left over breading in it." Papa said. Hannah and Mom were cracking up and Blaize was laughing hysterically. Then he tried it.

He liked it. Except for the cream sauce. He said "its really thick and grainy." Oops.

We all went into the living room while Blaize made up his mind. When he returned, he pulled off the a lid from the plate, and said,

"Team have been chopped." My dad and I high- fived each other. We won! I guess for a very picky eleven year old boy, simpler is better! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

A post just to make you laugh!=)

I am not very experienced in the kitchen, quite the opposite to my sister. I don't think it's one of my gifting’s, I enjoy it in all, but I don't have a sense of what goes together. For example, about two years ago, I was making pizza dough crust, and I knew sometimes Hannah put in a few spices. (such as garlic) So I, being oblivious to what spices work together, in all my knowledge (which is equivalent to 0%)  put in curry powder, and cumin into the pizza crust. Hmm...not the best combination, but it ended up not tasting different, because I (thankfully)didn't put enough in. I do bake, and cook, but Hannah is usually the one in experimenting in the kitchen. Here are some of my "Kitchen Horror stories" (okay, they aren't exactly horror stories. They were mess-ups...big time!=) I hope they make you laugh!=)

One of my first cooking disasters was when I was about ten. I was baking chocolate chip cookies for Sunday school, and must not have followed the recipe very closely (imagine that!=) I think I might have left a stick of butter, and added more salt than was needed. (I didn't exactly like measuring, and that hasn’t really changed) When they came out of the oven, they were dry, crumbly, and salty. Not the best combination!

Another time,  my mom asked me to bake a snack for writing class. I was so excited (Hannah usually does most of the baking) I took out a  brownie mix (love those!) and began. Mom had asked me to substitute out some of the oil for applesauce. I ended up thinking she meant ALL of it. When they came out of the oven, they looked fine, but when we tried to cut then...well...they were hard and rubbery. I guess all applesauce instead of oil doesn’t work to well with brownies. You could literally pick up the entire slab of brownie  and hold it up in the air, and it wouldn't fall apart. Pure rubberyness. (is that a word?) I think we ended up having Chex mix for snack!

Hannah and I sometimes back together. Now you should understand something about this situation. We don't work well in the kitchen together. Hannah likes having control of everything thats going on, and so do I. I like randomly measuring, and so does she. But she doesn’t like me doing that. I don't blame her. I don't exactly have a perfect track record, and besides, she likes control. I don't mind her randomly measuring as much, because she knows more about what she's doing.  But baking in the kitchen together usually ends up in an argument. I get mad at her because she won't let me do anything, and when I convince her to let me, she stands constant gaurd over me. You get the picture.
  But sometimes, we get along great (I guess it works better if we let go of control) We were baking a snack for Hannah's Sunday school class. (she teaches 3rd graders.) Hannah decided on red velvet cake...but wanted to mix it up. She thought it would be cool to change the color, and I agreed.
"We should do green!" I said, and she agreed. But we added to much food coloring, and it ended up looking like puke. It was really gross looking! I can understand why people don't make green velvet cake!
 Well, I hope I've make you laugh, or at least chuckle!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Everybody loves cupcakes! Hannah made these last tuesday, and I had a great time photographing them! These are chocolate cupcakes (some were filled with peanut butter frosting) and then topped with peanut butter frosting! They were amazing! (I said "were" because they went fast!) I was really excited at the prospect of somthing yummy to take photos of. (even though they aren't good, it's still good practice and fun to experiment with!) First, I set up a bottom for it to be on, and a background. At first, I did both white, and as you can see below, it didn't turn out very well!

I used a really slow shutter speed for this one (I think it was ten seconds) and put the camera on a tripod. I also used a yellow piece of paper above it, and got my brother to push down the camera button while I used a flashlight and pointed it up from under the paper on to the paper. The light bonced of the paper and onto the cupcake giving it goldish tint. As you can see, this picture didn't work AT ALL! The background is really bland, and the cupcake needs somthing else. I don't like this one.

I tried doing it a few more times, then realized it was bland, and needed a change...

So I added GLITTER! I used the same shutter speed as before, and reflective light (the flashlight and yellow paper thing.) . Okay, it still didn't work. It's still  bland, and the lighting is off. The white background dosen't work. It washes the cupcake out, making it a pretty bland picture. The glitter is also unevenly dispersed. It's bland. (Did I say that already?=) 

Since it was bland, I decided to change the background. I chose orange because it reminded me of reeses peanut butter cups (and it's a chocolate penut butter cupcake.) I used the same shutter speed as before, and the reflective light thing. But it still needs somthing else, don't you think? It's still...well, bland. I decided to add more cupcakes in the background, and experament with that to see if it worked better.

This one is better, I think. It's a little more interesting, and I like how they are not all in focus, but the glitter in the right hand corner is over exposed due to the reflective not being centered. It's disracting, and takes away from it. Also, the glitter on the bottom isn't even (there's a big clump! uggg!=) and I should have taken the picture a little more even with the cupcake, insted of from above. So, I tried taking it from a different angle...

I like this one better...but it still needs somthing! Maybe....

Powdered suger? I like it 'cause it gives it more texture, and color. I think it needs more of the background in it though, to make it "pop" if you know what I mean!

This one has more background, (obviously!) At this point I decided to experament with different set up's....

Hmmm. Nope! Too bland! So I added somthing else...

A fork? I didn't use reflective light for this one.It made the fork shine too much! I dimed the lights insted, and it worked pretty well. It still needs somthing else,(maybe a candle or somthing?)  but by then I was tiered, so I quit!=)

Hannah did end up letting me have a cupcake, and they were amazing (as always. She's a good cook!)

Yum! Amazing!

I hope I haven't boared you...(I'm guessing I have!) See you later!