cooking

My Life with Making Steak

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Image above from Pixabay

Cooking steak is no piece of cake. I’ve been cooking since I was 12 and it wasn’t until recent years that I made full steaks by myself. Before, I would ask my dad or I would cut them up into strips.

If you like steak, you probably know that steaks are cooked rare, bloody, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done. I like mine medium-rare.

That can be challenging in order to avoid salmonella-poisoning. One trick I learned is to press lightly on a cooking-steak. If it bounces back immediately, it’s cooked and safe to eat. You don’t necessarily have to stick a knife into the steak and check the inside. You can, though, especially if you’re new to culinary arts. Another thing to know is that steak should sit a few minutes to let the juices out before you serve or eat it.

As soon as I knew how to cook a full steak, my method is patting it dry, seasoning it with salt and pepper, cooking on the stove in butter, and putting it in the preheated oven for as long as necessary. Recently, I’ve learned that meat cooks best if you let it sit to room-temperature. It really does make a difference by becoming more tender and cooked.

I would like to marinade my steaks, too. However, that requires a lot of time. My problem is that I decide to cook things last minute. I want to change that habit, though.

cooking

Trick or Treat with this Sweet Skillet Cookie

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Ah, the gooey, chewy, skillet cookies–who doesn’t love them, especially when warm and topped with ice cream (which I didn’t use since I don’t have any in my house)?

Well, I used a recipe that was rated close to 5 stars, and had the best rating compared to the other recipes I found on Google. You start off by making caramel with the sugars and butter. Then you add the other ingredients.

I decided to add some extra ingredients to dress it up for Halloween. I know Halloween hasn’t come yet. But hey, stuff about that holiday is already happening.

So the additional ingredients I added were white chocolate chips (I like to use them in general, regardless of time of year), Halloween sprinkles, green sugar, and yellow and red food coloring. I think the problem that kind of messed up the recipe was the green sugar and possibly the sprinkles. The cookie ended up tasting too sweet.

I forced myself to eat it. I still have most of it in my refrigerator. So I have to find some way to get it consumed. I don’t think adding ice cream will be a good idea at this point.

I do usually enjoy skillet cookies. But something about this creation ended up not what I expected. I used unsalted and salted butter, by the way. Hmmm… perhaps, I should keep looking for more recipes. I think I’ll find a recipe just as well-rated. If not, better.

 

cooking

Candy Apples from Scratch: They’re Kickin’ Sweet and Amazing

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Image above from Pixabay

A few times a year, I like to make candy apples from scratch. It’s only a few ingredients: apples (obviously), corn syrup, sugar, water, and red food coloring.

The hardest part is having to get the right temperature in order to dip the apples into the candy liquid. You will need a thermometer. You can also use cold water and put the liquid drops in there. It will fade in the beginning, but you need it to turn brittle at some point.

Most of the times I’ve made candy apples, they were irresistible and I’ve made a lot of them. This time of year, though, I’ve made fewer and used half the recipe’s ingredients. Only one was good enough to be consumed. I ate that one. The others, however, didn’t get all the candy coating.

Another tip is to use white sugar only. Never use brown sugar. I tried that once and it turned the liquid dark brown and smelling burnt.

And the most important tip of all is be patient. The temperature will take time. It needs to be 300 degrees F.

And be aware, they candy coating is super-sticky. I like the homemade ones more than the packaged kinds you get at fairs. But be prepared for a lot of handwashing and trying not to get stickiness other places.

 

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Healthy Gingerbread Cookies – They’re Luckily Delicious, No Matter What

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Image above from Pixabay

I found a recipe for healthy gingerbread cookies on Google a while back. For copyright reasons, I will not post the link. However, you can search for it or any other one on your own.

The one I am going to discuss is not only healthier, but is also dairy-free (it called for coconut oil, not butter) and can easily have its ingredients be substituted. I replaced the all-purpose flour with gluten-free and whole wheat flours as well as almond meal. The cookies came out delicious.

Unlike me, many people I know didn’t enjoy the cookies as much. I brought them to a social event at one of my friend’s houses. Sadly, they weren’t a hit, despite being homemade. Even my own family didn’t really care for the cookies.

However, I enjoyed them enough that I kept eating them. One time, I used coconut sugar and pure maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima pancake syrup) in place of granulated sugar. My mom smelled the coconut. I did not, though. Some things my family can smell—I can’t. I’ve become immune to the scents. One example is seafood. Others can be coconut, like in this case.

I also found no difference in taste for the batch of these healthier gingerbread cookies to the classic recipes that call for granulated sugar and all-purpose flour. Others were easily able to tell the difference, though. Still—what matters more is that I enjoyed the cookies.

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Baking Dairy-Free Brownies… Good, Bleh, and Eh

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Image above is from Pixabay.

When I was experimenting with avoiding dairy in my cooking, I tried a brownie recipe. It called for coconut oil instead of a typical dairy ingredient.

The first time, it tasted good—irresistible. I would eat them often. My family disliked them. But I enjoyed them.

The second time, they had a crumbly texture and tasted like they were burnt. I had to throw them away.

The third time, they tasted a tiny bit better. That was it. My family begged me to give up on that recipe.

Oh well. I guess if I want to experiment with dairy-free desserts again, I’ll look for another recipe. Sometimes recipes don’t always result the way you want them to nor do they necessarily end up the same ways each time you use it.

 

cooking

Something Oily This Way Comes… In Baking

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Have you ever noticed that baking with butter differs in your dessert’s texture than baking with oil? I don’t just mean boxed mixes, but baking from scratch.

Yup, I noticed it and a website confirmed it. Oil does make your desserts moister. Butter is good, too, at times, such as when baking cookies (depending on the recipe, especially if you’re trying to bake healthier stuff) and making buttercream icing. Butter is also good at flavoring certain sweets, like yellow cake when mixed in.

However, you usually don’t have to melt oil (unless it’s solid, like coconut oil) or heat it up. When cooking or baking with butter and having to add eggs, you have to use extra care. Melted butter has to be cooled to lukewarm before you add the eggs. Otherwise, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your dessert (this has happened to my mom and even me when I cooked vanilla pudding from scratch) and will probably want to throw it away.

Of course, everybody has different preferences. Some people are happy with just using butter. Others will enjoy using oil in their baking, regardless of reason.

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Chocolate Cupcakes: Delicious (Yet Dry) Without Dairy

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This picture was taken from the public domain image site, Pixabay. However, it does look similar to the dairy-free chocolate cupcakes I once made (but hadn’t photographed).

I substituted almond or coconut milk for dairy. I also used oil in place of butter. All other ingredients were the same (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, etc.).

While the cupcakes came out a bit dry, they still tasted good, especially with a dairy-free chocolate frosting. That icing called for coconut oil, dairy-free chocolate, sugar, and vanilla extract. It also tasted delicious, although it ended up being produced in large quantities. I probably should’ve reduced the recipe in half.

Nevertheless, it’s a recipe that I would love to use again. I made it because of lactose and dairy issues earlier this year. I’m mildly lactose intolerant, but can still handle dairy now.

You can still enjoy it, no matter what. To make the cupcakes more moist, try using more liquid, such as oil. Bake it at a lower temperature and check often. One trick I was taught was to set the timer for a few minutes and check. This can prevent overcooking, thus dry desserts, which not many people like. You may differ, however. No one is right or wrong with their dessert textures or preferences.

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Pasta and Pepper Vodka Sauce… Pretty Delicious?

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Once again, there is no tomato in this sauce due to my tomato allergy. It’s with bell peppers. Other times, this sauce tasted good. However, today, not so much.

I don’t know what it was. Perhaps, it was because I couldn’t find the heavy cream until after I used a little bit of whole milk and coconut milk. Maybe that was a mistake. Luckily the cream didn’t expire. Still. The texture was too creamy like heavy cream, not like vodka or alfredo sauce.

The pasta is brown rice pasta. No gluten, wheat, or anything else but water and brown rice. It’s actually pretty good–at least if you love brown rice. The pasta was no issue for me.

The taste ended up okay. I had to add more salt, but I may have ended up with too much. Perhaps, next time, I will follow a built-in recipe. I have been cooking for half my life and some dishes I can prepare easily without a recipe. But lately, for some reason, everything I cooked, not counting simple dishes like scrambled eggs, went wrong.

I used two peppers for this. I decided not to make too much, otherwise it sits around and no one consumes it after a while. Everyone else is my family can eat tomatoes. I used to be able to have tomatoes until last year, when I suddenly developed the allergy.

My word of advice: be careful experimenting with other ingredients if you can’t find something. Had I not possessed any heavy cream or had it expired, I would have just gone to the grocery store. If you are able to leave your home and either drive, walk, or use public transportation, it’s best to go to the supermarket and turn your stove or oven off.

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Healthy and “Happy” Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If only my cookies ended up as good as the ones above, taken from Pixabay, a public-domain image website. Obviously, I don’t know how these taste. However, I wanted to share my experience on a recipe where I substituted for healthier ingredients, but, unfortunately, failed.

Although substituting works most of the time, sometimes it sadly doesn’t. I found some chocolate-chip cookie recipes that claimed they would be gooey and chewy. I tried experimenting with using oat flour instead of all-purpose and coconut sugar and monk fruit sweetener instead of brown and white sugar. I used one recipe and failed. I tried another recipe and the same experience ended up a bummer.

I learned that for some recipes, substituting may not necessarily work. I had to throw away not only the cookies but also some muffins I baked, where I swapped out certain ingredients for healthier alternatives. The flavors were banana and maple pecan.

I haven’t tossed baked creations since I was 14 or 15. I started cooking and baking at age 12 and am now 24. Rarely did I have to throw anything out since 15.

Regardless of what I’ve said in previous posts, sometimes, if you want a healthier version of a food you enjoy, you just need to find a recipe designated for it. For instance, if you want to use whole wheat flour instead of white, search for a recipe that deliberately calls for whole wheat flour.

Learning the hard way occasionally happens if life, no matter the situation. However, you can learn from that. We all learn from our mistakes. That is how we grow, change, and mature.

 

 

 

cooking

Can You Believe… Dairy-Free Scones are Delicious?

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Although the picture above does not feature scones I’ve made (they’re from a public-domain image site called Pixabay), they look similar enough to the last scones I’ve baked… which had no dairy—at all.

While having some issues with dairy a few months ago, I experimented with dairy-free recipes. I substituted vegan butter for the regular kind and almond milk for the regular one. They came out great. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that they had no dairy.

Even though I’ve said this a lot in my other posts, substituting is always an option if you have dietary restrictions, want to make something healthier, or anything.

I’ve spread jam and vegan butter on the dairy-free scones. And you know? It tasted delicious, just like a scone with dairy.

You can go online and search for dairy-free scones. Try a recipe and see what you think. I hope you enjoy whatever you bake.