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Recipe Round-Up: January 2017

Buckle in, everyone, there’s a lot to round up this month!

January was a very successful month for me in terms of cooking. Before I started the from-scratch journey, I often only made one or two large meals per week and ate off of those. This meant that I didn’t get to experiment as much as I wanted to, as I insisted that I didn’t really have the time. Well, I kind of don’t have the time, but I’m doing it anyway.

This month was also very dessert-heavy. I posted recently about my issues with diet culture in the food blogging scene, and I figured I’d better put my money where my mouth is and start enjoying my food. I eat dessert almost every night now, and I have magically not turned into a giant blueberry yet.

Speaking of which, let’s start with the sweets.

Desserts

I started off the month by making this lemon cake from the NYT Cooking section, sans the coconut frosting, and it was life-changing. The base cake was thin and moist and soaked up the tartness of the lemon curd very well without dampening it in sugar. I am glad I started with this one, as it gave me a lot of confidence that I used to not have with baking.

One night I was looking for a heavier dessert, something that I could eat just a little of and still have it satisfy. I stumbled upon Alton Brown’s chocolate ice cream recipe, and it was heavenly. It was very rich, so I only needed about one scoop, but in that scoop you got all the richness of the heavy cream mixed with the chocolate and sugar. Relatively easy to make, and it churned just fine in my 20-minute ice cream maker (available at most major stores).

I rounded out my month by making this flourless chocolate cake recipe that just melted in my mouth when I bit into it. It tasted like the warmest, gooiest brownie I’d ever had in my life. The outside had a slight crust but the inside was so soft it practically turned to liquid with each mouthful.

Breads

I got pretty nuts with the breads this month, and it all started with this traditional French bread recipe. I’ve made it three or four times now, and each time it has turned out fluffy and light, exactly like a traditional baguette (except for one time when I didn’t give the yeast enough time to activate, but that was a me thing). The recipe makes two loaves and I can only really eat one in a week, so I always give the other one away as a gift, and people are really into them now.

After the baguette came these bagels from the Sophisticated Gourmet, which made me realize that every other bagel I’d ever eaten was just a dense, stale, sad imitation of what a true bagel could be. These bagels are chewy and soft, but not too heavy, especially after toasting them for a bit, and they improve the taste of literally anything you put on top of them.

Although the baguette was great for dips, I was looking for something to make sandwiches and toast out of that came in the traditional bread shape. Enter: pumpernickel bread from Clem Zulinski on AllRecipes. This recipe made a thick, stick-to-your-ribs loaf that managed to remain fresh even after a week.

Main Courses

The month started off strong in this category as well, with Anthony Bourdain’s tartiflette recipe. I was searching for something heavy enough to send me off to Snoozeville, and this did the trick. It’s made with a creamy cheese that has the texture of brie but the smell of something much more expensive. Throw in potatoes and bacon and I was hooked.

After that came this fried chicken which was inspired by watching an episode of Laura In The Kitchen (I just love her, I can’t get enough of her Youtube show). Though I didn’t follow her steps exactly and I tossed in my own stuff, she deserved a shout-out for giving me the idea. Plus, her version will probably end up on my To Cook list soon enough.

To round out the month, I made this smothered pork chop recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I fed it to my sister for a lazy Saturday lunch and we both gave it two thumbs up. I’ll be making this recipe again during our next cold spell, and it will likely disappear as soon as it’s done.

That’s all that I have for this month, or at least the highlights of it. I tried so many new things, but this list is simply the best of the best. If you’re looking for the perfect two-course meal for tonight, I’d highly suggest the tartiflette recipe and the flourless chocolate cake. Neither requires a lot of steps, and neither is overly time-consuming. Both are heavenly, especially if it’s been a long day and you just need something thick and creamy for comfort food.

Hopefully some of these recipes were helpful to you. I know that a lot of times my biggest issue is just coming up with an idea of what to make. Lists like these help me because they throw new things out there that I may not have thought of. It gets me thinking outside of the box on those nights where the only thing I can come up with is grilled cheese.

Until next time, keep trying new things and tasting new happiness.

 



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