Monday, January 12, 2015

Cookbook Challenge: Cheesecake and Cabbage (SO MUCH CABBAGE)

Note to self: When a dessert recipe suggests a specific type of pan, don't assume you can get away with what you already have. You need all the pans. If, say, a cheesecake recipe suggests a springform pan, and you use a regular baking round, you won't be able to get it out of the pan without destroying your labor of love. Icing will drip down the sides of the pan, and will harden, and it will look SUPER ATTRACTIVE for your book club potluck.

Here are some more recipes I made from the Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook, which I'm cooking through slowly but surely. I even managed to make some of them without screwing up.

Very Vanilla Cheesecake
I chipped away at the icing so it'd look prettier, but I left it in the pan. Also, I accidentally forgot to reduce the heat on the oven after I made the crust, and didn't realize it until the cheesecake filling had already been cooking for 10 minutes, so I was terrified that it wasn't going to turn out well after I spent like two hours making this freaking cheesecake. But it was delicious. My book club assured me that I am allowed to bring cheesecake for all future meetings.

Great Robert's Whiskey Sour Slush
I made these slushes for an after-dinner treat when we were at my parents' house over Christmas. And I chose to make them there so that I didn't have to buy bourbon, since they already had some.) I thought it was tasty, and it only had four ingredients — lemon juice, sugar, ice, bourbon — so there were limited chances for me to mess these up. (I did my best though … I accidentally blended stuff in the wrong order, but I don't think that should make a difference. Note to self #2: start reading recipes before you start.)

Mrs. Birdsong's Cabbage Soup
This soup re-affirmed my commitment to vegetarianism. Wait, that sounds really mean. I didn't mean it like that; in fact, I split the recipe in half and made two separate pots, one as the recipe dictated (full of beef stew meat and beef broth, as Matt was pleased to discover) and the other using no meat and veggie broth. Allie does not cook food that she does not get to eat! While the two pots were simmering, the beef one actually did smell better, but I am still having a hard time getting back on board with cooking meat. This is going to be a long challenge, yo. But the veggie version of the soup was really delicious and healthy-tasting, and Matt ate four bowls of the meaty kind for dinner, so I'd say it's a win.

Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn
Guys, I made popcorn. ON THE STOVE. This is a big deal, because I have a major addiction to PopSecret Homestyle microwave bags. (Yeah yeah, chemicals popcorn lung bad for the environment WHO CARES it's deliciousssss.) And I kind of expected that any popcorn made from scratch would not be as flavorful as my lightly-buttered salty goodness. So here I am, standing up and admitting it: I WAS WRONG. This stuff was really tasty; the seasoning was creamy-tasting but also pepper-y. I wasn't super confident about my stove technique, and was kind of afraid of burning the kernels, but I'm sure it gets easier with practice.

Arugula with Cranberries, Cambozola, Walnuts and Raspberry Vinaigrette
I couldn't find cambozola cheese at the grocery store, so I subbed in gorgonzola. It's not my favorite, but it's better than blue cheese. I was about halfway through assembling this salad when I realized it was just a fancy version of a salad I make all the time: lettuce, nuts, dried cranberries, shredded Mexi-cheese with raspberry dressing from a bottle. And frankly, while the arugula and gorgonzola did end up tasting better than expected, I think I'll stick with my simpler salad. It's cheaper, and there's no walnut-toasting or moldy-cheese-eating required.

Chinese Chicken Salad
I did mix in the chicken, and just ate around it since it was in big chunks. Which means I basically just ate cabbage with peanut sauce for dinner. Meh. It was okay. I think Matt enjoyed his dinner way more than I did. After we put the leftovers away, I went to town on some leftover Chinese takeout. Thematic?

Completed: 56 of 147 recipes.

What is your favorite popcorn topping? What was your worst cooking mishap? And how do you feel about blue cheese?


  1. herbed buttermilk popcorn? i'll take it with that whiskey sour slush (okay, hold the whiskey for now, of course, but soon). your meals are so adventurous and inspiring - i'm not sure i've told you, but jon and i usually rotate the same 10 meals.... oops.

  2. Buttermilk popcorn?? I am so intrigued.

    I love popcorn with parmesan cheese, and my BFF's mom used to make a pretty good version with brewer's yeast. My worst cooking mishap happens to involve stovetop popcorn... lesson learned that putting oil on HIGH isn't the best idea ;)

  3. This post cracked me up because I have done some crazy things in the kitchen, too. I once had meatloaf that didn't loaf. I don't know. The cheesecake looks amazing and that arugula salad does, too. I always love arugula when I eat it at a restaurant, but I never buy it at the store, either. When I was a kid, my mom always made popcorn on the stove and it tastes amazing. I have never tried it, though.

  4. It's definitely getting me out of my comfort zone! While I don't necessarily have a meal rotation, I definitely tend to make the same types of meals pretty often, and I would have NEVER attempted cheesecake!

  5. It used dried buttermilk powder mixed in with other spices (off the top of my head I remember salt, pepper and thyme). Yeast popcorn! Did it taste like beer when it was done? That'd be interesting.

  6. We never had arugula at our HEB, so I hadn't tried it until now. I was kind of surprised how expensive it was. But then, all the food is expensive up here. LOL at the meat un-loaf!

  7. We never had arugula at our HEB, so I hadn't tried it until now. It's definitely a different taste. LOL at the meat un-loaf!

  8. You know, it's been a LONG time since I had it (and I was pretty young, so don't know if I would have known if it tasted like beer!). But if I remember correctly, it had a tangy, slightly sour taste. Supposedly it's really good for you -- lots of minerals and whatnot. (My friend's mom was a bit of a health nut!)

  9. That soup seriously looks amazing. Like I want it to come from the screen to in front of my face. . .even though it's only 9:43am, I'd gobble it all up like it was nobody's business. Yum!

  10. We love to make popcorn on the stove! Once, for a movie party, I rented a carnival-style popcorn popper and set up a toppings bar. My favorite topping is either Parmesan cheese or cinnamon sugar :)