Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream



I was inspired to make these cupcakes when I saw the Daring Cooks November Challenge, to cook with tea. Well, actually, I’ve been wanting to make them for a while now, but the challenge motivated me to actually make them! I was having a hard time thinking of something to cook with tea, because of course the only things I could think of were to bake with tea.

Earl Grey tea has to be one of my all time favorite teas. And one of my favorites is a variety of Earl Grey from a shop called Teavana. They have an Earl Grey blend that I am head over heels in love with. The traditional bergamont oil is smoothed out by adding vanilla, and it also has these beautiful blue dried cornflower petals in it. It makes for a really smooth cup of tea!  This cupcake did not disappoint, either. It was soft, but not overly moist, with just the right amount of earl grey to neither overpower you or be too weak. And the fresh lemon butter cream was the perfect frosting! Its a lovely bespeckled (Is that a word? I kinda like it. Bespeckled.) cupcake that I am sure you will love eating! 

This recipe only makes 12 cupcakes, and I definitely wish that I had made more now! This last week has been rough, my friends! Joel started working nights - from 6:30 at night to about 8:30 in the morning. He comes home, exhausted, and goes straight to bed. Then I am left with the task of trying to keep Ladybug quiet all day while he sleeps, when really all she wants to do is run through the house screaming at the top of her lungs. Plus we are both sick, and its raining, so we can't even go out to play. Thank goodness for nap time!!



Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream (adapted from Edible Moments)

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ cup milk
3 Tbsp loose Earl Grey tea, divided, or 2 teabags (although loose leaf will give you much better flavor! But use what you have.)

Preheat your oven to 350.
Prepare 12 cupcake cups, either by greasing them or using liners.
With a mortar and pestle, or a food processor, grind your tea (take it out of the bags if you are using pre-bagged tea) until you get smaller pieces, but not quite powder. You don't want to chew your cupcake, but you do want to be able to see little speckles of the tea. 
In a small saucepan, place one tea bag (or 1 tbsp loose leaf tea) into the milk and warm slightly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat before the milk simmers, and allow it to steep, and the milk to cool.

In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and tea.
Add half of the dry mixture to your batter.
Add the milk (with the tea bag removed or the loose leaf tea strained out) and then add the remaining dry ingredients.
Stir until just combined, but do not overstir!!!
Divide the batter evenly amongst the pan, so that each well is about 2/3 full.
Bake 20 minutes.
Allow to cook completely before frosting


Lemon Buttercream Frosting (Group Recipes)

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, lemon zest, and vanilla until all the lumps are gone.
Add the milk and mix until incorporated.
Slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, mix in the powdered sugar.
Once all the sugar is in, cream on high for 2 minutes (with your electric mixer, or a super powered arm muscle)
Mix in the lemon juice.
Frost!
Enjoy!

Crock Pot Spicy Shredded Pork Loin



Whoa. Seriously, what happened to November? This month has flown by, particularly this last week. What with Joel starting to work nights and trying to sleep at home during the day, me getting a cold and just wanting to stare at the tv for hours on end, and Ladybug decided to exercise her vocal cords by running through the house shrieking and squealing, I'm pooped. Throw Thanksgiving on top of that, and I'm exhausted.

Then all the sudden I saw what day it was and realized that not only had the Daring Bakers challenge totally slipped away from me but that I was barely going to make Secret Recipe Club! Bad Blogger, Bad! This month I was assigned to Double Dipped Life, and I had a fun time looking through all the great recipes here. I had originally planned on making these Roasted Peach Vanilla Bean Scones. But since I'm running late I decided to try this Crock Pot Spicy Shredded Pork Loin a try instead.

This is a super simple recipe - only three ingredients and a few hours in the crock pot, and you have the makings for a delicious meal! We used the shredded pork to make tacos, but there are really so many things you could do with it, this meat is so delicious! We used our favorite salsa, which isn't too spicy since we have a little one to feed. It was slightly spicy and slightly sweet, and was awesome in our tacos! I honestly might never use ground beef for tacos ever again! There is a little bit of "activity" for you to do while this cooks, so while this might not be a good meal to cook while you are at work, its perfect for a busy weekend or when you have guests over!

Don't forget to check out The Gingered Whisk on Facebook!!

Crock Pot Spicy Shredded Pork Tenderloin (Double Dipped Life)
2 lb. Pork Loin
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups of your favorite salsa

In the bottom of your crock pot combine the brown sugar and salsa.
Place the pork in the crock pot and spoon some of the sauce over top.
Place the lid on and cook on low for 5 hours, turning the pork over halfway through.
Remove the lid and using two forks, shred the pork and stir it thoroughly in the sauce.
Replace the lid and allow to cook for an additional hour. If it is still really juicy inside you can remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
Enjoy!

Check out what some of the other members of the Secret Recipe Club made this month!



Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat Bread



This was a beautiful loaf of bread to make, super simple - a little bit of work split over three days. It was a lovely loaf to eat, too, soft and chewy at the same time! I've become convinced that this loaf makes one killer grilled cheese sandwich, too!


I cannot stop eating grilled cheese sandwiches! Ever since I started making sourdough at home, I've become addicted. Its a good thing everyone else here likes them, too! If only I could figure out a good way to teach a toddler to eat tomato soup, because it can get really messy around here!
Ladybug loves to stir, so I have started letting her help me in the kitchen!! I have seriously been waiting for this day since I found out I was pregnant! It is definitely messy, and we always end up with flour everywhere, but I love it! (You can't tell, but I'm totally squealing with delight over here!) I have been dreaming of small aprons and miniature rolling pins for a very long time now.
This isn't bread, I know, but it was too cute not to share! Can you tell which muffin tin Ladybug filled?!
Hehe I'm so in love!

Vermont Sourdough Bread with Whole Wheat (Bewitching Kitchen)
Liquid Levain
2.4 oz bread flour
3 oz water
1 oz sourdough starter
Final dough
12 oz bread flour
1.6 oz whole-wheat flour
7.4 oz water
5.4 oz Liquid Levain
0.6 oz salt (1/2 T)
Make the liquid starter (levain) 12 to 16 hours before preparing the dough, and let stand uncovered at room temperature. 
Add all the ingredients for the dough (except the salt) in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on first speed (or by hand) just until they are combined into a shaggy mass.
Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to 1 hour. 
Sprinkle salt all over and mix with the dough hook on second speed for 1 to 2 minutes (or knead by hand about 4 minutes).
Let it rise at room temperature for 50 minutes, and fold again.
Let it rise for another 50 minutes, and fold again.
Let it rise for 50 more minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it with the seam up  in a round container (banettons are your best option) lined with a fine cloth and transfer to the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. 
Remove from the fridge a couple of hours before baking.
Place a stone baking sheet in the cold oven and then turn the oven on to 440 Degrees. Let the oven heat for an additional ten minutes after the pre-heat goes off (you want it niiice and hot in there!) During this time get your steam ready. I do this by filling the lid of a roaster with boiling water so it heats up, place the bread on the stone and quickly pour out the boiling water from the roasting pan lid and placing it over the bread (use mittens, its hot.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, remove the lid (don’t forget the mittens), and allow it to bake for at least 15 more minutes. You want a dark crust and internal temperature of at least 200F. Allow it to completely cool on a rack before cutting the bread (2 hours should be enough).

Skillet Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes



Does anyone know where the sun went? It's been missing, for a week now, and I'd really like it back! Not only can I not seem to wake up (and even drinking an entire pot of coffee by myself doesn't help!) but its just depressing how dreary it is out! I have been relying entirely on natural lighting to take photos lately, but without it, my photos just SUCK! I'm going to have to figure something out. Something that doesn't include spending a lot of money on a crazy expensive lighting apparatus.


I hope you all had a lovely day yesterday, and stuffed yourselves silly! We had a great time with friends, and ate way too much - but that is what you are totally supposed to do!  

This skillet chicken is a great meal - its fast, its cheap, and it tastes wonderful! I have really been enjoying cooking with bone-in chicken lately. Not only is it like half the price of skineless breasts, but I find that it is juicier and much more forgiving - there is so much you can do with it! 


On another note, I decided to jump on the social media bandwagon - The Gingered Whisk is now on Facebook! Head on over and "like" it! It will be fun, I promise! (click here!)

Skillet Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes (Minimally Invasive)

3/4 pound small red skinned potatoes, halved
kosher salt
2 tablespoon dried rosemary, divided
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved OR 3 carrots, chopped into 2" pieces OR both!

Preheat the oven to 450.
In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and a sprinkle of salt.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and cook about 8 minutes, or until tender.
Drain potatoes and set aside.

Pile the rosemary, garlic, 2 tsp salt and red pepper flakes onto a cutting board and mince/mash into a paste with your knife. 
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the juice of 1 lemon (Keep the lemon!!!!) and the olive oil.
Coat the chicken in this mixture.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken, skin side down, about 5 minutes (or until the skin browns).
Remove the chicken from the pan, add the mushrooms (or carrots, or both) and potatoes to the skillet.
Place the chicken over the veggies and drizzle with remaining marinade.
Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon on top, and add the squeezed out lemon halves to the pan, along with a bit more rosemary.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 

Be Thankful


No recipe today.

Just know that wherever you are, wherever your life has lead you, whatever your situation might be, just know that there are people who love you, and you do have things to be thankful for.

<3 Jenni

Cranberry Orange Muffin



By now you should know how obsessed with muffins I am. You should also know how much Joel does not like breakfast foods. So, when I tell you that these are probably my favorite new muffin ever, you should believe me because I eat a lot of muffins, and I'm super trustworthy. But if you are a little hesitant, and you need a little more convincing, I can tell you that Joel not only likes these muffins, he LOVES them! He actually went back for seconds, two days in a row! And he could not stop raving about them. And he has already asked me to make them again, twice, in fact! So you know these are some goooood muffins!!



To me, they just scream "Thanksgiving". I love the tartness from the cranberries and oranges (in my mind, an awesome combination!) which is ofset perfectly by the sweetness of the crumb topping. Speaking of which, I think I must be addicted to crumb topping because everything I have made lately has one! 

I was soo lucky to have two of my absolute best friends over this weekend! They flew all the way out here for a mere 24 hours, and it was awesome to see them! We had a total lock-in, and only left the house once. We had a fantastic time eating too much food and just sitting around talking and cuddling on the couch. We even snuck in a nap while watching "The Princess Bride".  I wish they could have been here longer, but I am so thankful for the time that I got to spend with them!



Cranberry Orange Muffins (adapted from Baked Perfection)

2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cranberries, dusted with flour

topping:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/6 cup flour
1/8 cup butter, cubed
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and orange zest.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars.
Mix in the oil, vanilla and sour cream.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to over-mix.
Gently fold the cranberries in.
Scoop into the prepared muffin cups so they are 2/3 full.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients - the sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon (use a fork,  and mix until you get a crumbly texture).
Sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Enjoy!

Sourdough Cookies



I've been having a lot of fun playing with my sourdough starter, and not just baking bread. I really wanted to try making cookies with them, but I was not happy at all with the recipes I was finding online. They either looked like hard little biscuit cookies (blerg), or they were packed with crisco. I know cookies aren't exactly healthy, but I kinda get grossed out by putting crisco into them. You might as well inject it right into my thighs.

Since I wasn't finding what I wanted, the only thing to do was to create my own. I've always been kind of nervous about creating my own recipe, but since the Povitica recipe went over so well, it kind of boosted my confidence a bit. So, I made my recipe, and I LOVE how it turned out! These cookies are soft and chewy, with a slight tang from the sourdough, sweet-tartness from the dried fruit and

Sourdough Cookies of Awesomeness (by Jenni)
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
6 ounces chips (white chocolate or milk chocolate)
1 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, or a blend)

Preheat oven to 400 degree.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.
Turn the mixer off, and with a wooden spoon gently mix in your starter until combined.
Add the egg (you can turn your mixer back on now) and the vanilla.
Slowly add the flour mixture into the mixer, until just combined.
Fold in your nuts, chips and fruit.
Place by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown around the edges

Cheesy Enchilada Casserole


 I super love Tacos, and Taco Casseroles are even better! When I was pregnant with Ladybug, Tacos was the only thing I could not get enough of (well, after I could eat food again, that is). Apparently I am not the only one who thinks tacos are all that and a bag of chips, because this bad boy was rated the #1 Casserole of the Year at Taste of Home! And its not hard to see why, its super easy to throw together, and it tastes amazing. 


I ran out of cheese for the top (sad day!) so I adjusted the recipe , because what was recommended was NOT enough.
So, funny story. While I was making this, I suddenly noticed that my little helper wasn't helping. In fact, she was nowhere to be seen. And the house was deadly silent. If you are a mom, or a babysitter, you know this is BAD news! A quick search of the house found Ladybug quietly playing in her room. I snuck a little closer to see what she was doing, since she was leaning up against the rocker chair we have, and noticed that she was playing with Scout. Then I noticed that my darling girl had managed to find a box of Jello. Strawberry Jello. And not only had she found it, she had opened it, opened the bag, and was generously sprinkling the contents all over Scout, who was frantically licking up all the powdery goodness he could get. The pink powdery goodness. On the white chair. 

Luckily even though inside I was squealing "EEEEEKKKKK" I managed to calmly say "What are you doing Baby Girl? Are you playing with Scout? Here, let's clean this up, ok?" I then turned off the stovetop, got out the vacuum, and cleaned up, and then went back to dinner. In hindsight, I should have taken a picture, because there really was a mountain of Jello powder on Scout. 


Cheesy Enchilada Casserole (Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake, Taste of Home)

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups salsa
1 can (15 ounces) black beans or red kidney beans
1/4 cup reduced fat Italian salad dressing
2 Tbsp reduced sodium taco seasoning
1/4 tsp ground cumin
6 flour tortillas, 8"
1.5 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1.5 cups shredded lettuce
Dortios Chips (or tortilla chips would work, too)

In a large skillet, cook the beef (or turkey) and the onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.
Stir in the salsa, beans, corn, dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning and cumin.
Spoon a generous amount of the meat mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Arrange enough flour tortillas on top of the meat mixture to cover the meat.
Continue layering meat, cheese and tortilla.
The last layer should be a generous coating of cheese
Cover with foil that has been sprayed with pan and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
Let stand for five minutes - it needs to set!
Top with lettuce, tomato, cilantro, and crumbled Doritos.
Makes 8 Servings, (or 6, if you eat like we do...haha)


Roasted Broccoli



Um, Holy Crap!! Whatever side dish you had planned for your dinner tonight, forget it. You want, no you NEED to make this! This is seriously the best way I have ever eaten broccoli, ever! And I like mybroccoli. When I found this recipe via Pinterest, it was labeled "The Best Broccoli of Your Life". Well, its hard to resist trying something that was labeled like that, so make it we did. And OH! It was awesome. Even after a 12 hour shift following a 24 hour shift, Joel woke up from his zombie-like state and said "Wow, this is really good! Whatever you did to it, it hit the nail on the head!" Yeah! He said that! A complete sentence!

I'm not sure I will ever be able to eat plain broccoli ever again...

Make it!



Roasted Broccoli (Amateur Gourmet, who adapted it from Ina Garten)

Preheat your oven to 425
Take 2 large bunches of broccoli and cut it into florets.
Wash them and dry them super thoroughly.
Put some tin foil on a lined cookie sheet.
Place your broccoli on the cookie sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, sprinkle with kosher salt and some black pepper to taste.
Slice 4 heads of garlic and place these on the cookie sheet, too.
Now toss it all together.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp tender and getting a bit brown on the tips.
Remove the pan from the oven and zest a lemon over the broccoli, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice.
Drizzle a little more olive oil on top, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and toss.
Enjoy!


Do you need more specific numbers than "a bit"? I'm pretty sure you should be able to eyeball it, but just in case, here you go:

4-5 pounds of broccoli
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
zest and juice from 1 lemon

The Daring Cooks Cook with Tea!



Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
When I first saw this challenge, I was REALLY excited! I really like tea (I won't even tell you how many tins and boxes of different teas I have. Just let it be known that they have their own cabinet, and may or may not fall on you when you open said cabinet). But the more I thought about it, the more I kind of freaked myself out. I had no idea what I was going to make! Others were smoking salmon and making lots of sea food, but we neither have a grill nor will cook (or eat) fish. 

The closer it got to the deadline the more I just blank-stared at the computer and thought "I have no idea what to cook! I have no idea what to cook! Ihavenoideawhattocook!!!!!" Luckily, one day I stumbled upon this fantastic recipe, and I knew instantly I had to make it! 

I really liked how this chicken turned out, too! The flavors, which at first seem a random assortment, marry wonderfully together to create a subtle, but not weak flavor. I am not quite sure how to describe the flavor, either, other than "It's Good!" Joel and I actually sat at the table and discussed it for a while, but couldn't come up with anything. Ladybug offered up "googlegoogleyabbayabba" which means "it tastes delicious", I think. I also decided to make these Chinese Tea Eggs, which I think are both beautiful and fun! With all the spices in them, I really thought that they would have a very definite flavor, but they too were very subtle. 

After I got over my initial fear, I really enjoyed cooking with tea this month, and I hope that you will give it a try! 

Aren't these so pretty?


Chinese Tea Eggs
Servings: 6 eggs, best if eaten within 24 hours
Ingredients
6 eggs (any size)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (6 gm) black tea leaves, or 4 tea bags
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (5 gm) Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon (5 ml) (3 gm) coarse grain salt
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Directions:
  1. In a large enough pot to avoid overcrowding, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for twelve minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water.
  3. With a spoon, tap the eggs all over until they are covered with small cracks. This can also be done by tapping and rolling the eggs very gently on the counter. 
  4. Return the eggs to the pan and add the tea leaves or bags, Chinese five spice powder, and salt. Cover the pan.
  5. Heat gently and simmer, covered, for one hour.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs cool down in the liquid for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the eggs from the liquid. Peel one egg to check how dark it is; the others can be returned to the liquid if you wish to have the web-like pattern darker. Allow the eggs to cool fully.
  8. To serve, peel and slice the eggs in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Chamomile and Thyme Roasted Chicken (Slightly adapted from Gourmet and Gourmand)

3 lb chicken, either whole or in pieces (I used just drums)
1 bag chamomile tea, torn open and leaves removed (you want the leaves, not the bag)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried yellow mustard
1 tsp sea salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
pepper, to taste
fresh thyme, to taste

With a mortal and pestal, combine the tea, oregano, mustard, salt, garlic, pepper, thyme, lemon juice and olive oil.
Crush the garlic and work the mixture into a paste.
Pat your chicken dry and coat with the rub.
Let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour to infuse the flavors of the rub.
Preheat your oven to 375.
Roast the chicken for 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear (roughly 20 minutes per pound at 375).
Let stand 15 minutes and then carve.

San Francisco Sourdough Bread



Classic San Francisco Sourdough is supposed to be unique, and a lot more tangy than just a regular sourdough bread. Normally, to make a “true” San Franciscan Sourdough, you need a special starter from San Francisco! But this recipe is supposed to help you turn your own starter into an increased acidity starter that mimics the breads found in San Francisco.
Aren't you done yet?!

This bread is ridiculous. It is by far the most ridiculous thing I have ever made. Not hard, mind you, but time consuming, full of ridiculous steps, and just plain ridiculous!! I felt completely tied to the kitchen all day, even though I didn’t spend much time in there. After turning your own starter into a “poolish” (which is basically another version of a starter), you let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then you make the bread, let it rise for 4.5 hours! But you don’t just let it sit there, oh no, every 45 minutes or so you have to knead it, fold it, or poke it, and then come back to it!  Bah.

The bread itself turned out alright, even though I still prefer the Wheat Germ and Rosemary Sourdough Bread I made before, this was good. Hearty to be sure, there were times that I felt like it was a workout trying to cut  a slice off. You should have seen Ladybug eating a piece - she wrinkled up her nose, grunted, and yanked as hard as she could. Haha.  




San Francisco Sourdough Bread (Bewitching Kitchen, Daniel Leader's Bread Alone)


for the poolish:
4 ounces starter
4 ounces bread flour
4 ounces water


for the dough:
8 ounces water
all the poolish
13.5-16 ounces bread flour
1/2 Tbsp salt


Make the poolish the day before you want to bake the bread.
Combine all the poolish ingredients in a medium bowl and leave at room temperature (that's 74-80 degrees F, I had to leave mine in the laundry room!) for 24 hours, covered in plastic wrap.


The next day, pour room temperature water in the bowl of your mixer.
Add the poolish and break it  up with a wooden spoon (gently now!) and stir until it is disolved.
Add about 1 cup (5 ounces) of flour and the salt and stir until combined.
Place the dough hook on the mixer, and slowly start to add the rest of the flour (you may not need it all) until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead for 12 minutes at the second speed of the mixer.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few times.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 45 minutes.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch the dough out and fold it over itself (in 3's, like a pamphlet) a few times. 
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover, and let it rise another 45 minutes.


Repeat the stretch and fold from before, return to the bowl, and let rise for 60 minutes.


Place the risen dough over a slightly floured surface, and without deflating it too much, form it into a ball.
Let it rise 45 minutes.


Shape the dough into whatever form you want it in (a ball, a loaf, whatever) and let it rise for 1 hour.


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and prepare a way to create steam in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Turn the oven temperature down to 425 degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes. 
Allow to cool on a rack for a few hours before slicing into it.
Enjoy!

Stir Fried Beef with Broccoli and Bell Peppers


After Joel's Birthday Extravaganza! (pizza, wings, breadsticks, puppy chow, cupcakes and a cookie cake, oh my!)  two weeks ago, I was feeling like I might have overdone it a bit. As in, my jeans were a smidge tight.

I do want to point out that the day I made this, Joel had to work late, and so his dinner was microwaved once he came home. Don't count on this recipe for leftovers, because once microwaved the meat becomes chewy and flavorless, and fairly lackluster. So eat it fresh!


Stir Fried Beef with Broccoli and Bell Peppers (Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2009)
1 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
3 1/2 Tbsp water, divided
2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 pound Broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
4 cups hot cooked long grain rice

Cut steak into 1/8" thick slices.
Combine beef, soy sauce, garlic and pepper in a ziploc bag, smoosh to coat, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Combine 1 1/2 Tbsp of water, oyster sauce, and the red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the beef mixture to the skillet and cook 3 minutes, or until beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the beef to a bowl and set aside, keeping warm.
Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and add the broccoli, cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the remaining 2 tbsp of water and cook 1 minute.
Add the bell pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Return the beef mixture to the pan, stir in the oyster sauce mixture, and cook until thoroughly heated.
Serve with rice and Enjoy!

Yields: 6 servings, 1 cup stir fry and 2/3 cup rice

Nutritional Information provided by Cooking Light Magazine
Calories: 323
Fat: 10.7g (sat 2.7g, mono 5.1g, poly 1.8g)
Protein: 21.2g
Carbs: 35.2g
Fiber: 2.8g
Cholesterol:26 mg
Iron: 3.2 mg
Sodium: 273 mg
Calcium: 62 mg

Pumpkin Waffles




Joel wasn’t coming home for diner the other day, and so it was the perfect excuse Ladybug and I needed to try something for dinner we knew he wouldn’t like – Pumpkin Waffles! Now these aren’t just any pumpkin waffles. No sir, these are ULTIMATE pumpkin waffles. So awesome, they need their own blog dedicated solely to them. Yup, their own blog. Now that is a serious waffle.

These waffles were a little more fussy than the average waffle to make. I made lots of dirty dishes. And there were lots of steps. But they were good! Maybe not ultimate, they did have a lot of spice to them (you know how I feel about my pumpkin to spice ratio) but they were good! I did just notice that this recipe is for a Belgian waffle, and I just made regular waffles with them. Maybe that would make the difference?

What do you think? Ultimate or not?



Ultimate Pumpkin Waffles (The Pumpkin Waffle Blog)
(Makes 4 belgian waffles or 6.5 regular waffles)

¼ cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or ¼ tsp dried pre-grated nutmeg)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Lightly oil the waffle iron with cooking spray, and let it warm up.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cornstarch.
Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
Separate the eggs – yolks into a medium bowl and whites into a small bowl.
To the egg yolks, add the milk and pumpkin – whisk to combine and set aside.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks (about 2 minutes) and set aside.
Slowly pour the melted butter into the yolk/pumpkin mixture, whisking as you pour.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and into the mix.
With a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg whites into the mixture until no whites are visible.
Once the waffle iron is heated, pour the batter into it to cook!
(If you have a Belgian waffle maker, its about 2 minutes and 3 seconds. If you have a regular waffle maker, until the light goes off!
Enjoy!

Braised Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce


I saw this recipe in the November issue of Parenting Magazine, and it looked so so beautiful I knew I wanted to make it! Barely taking a half hour to make, this recipe is in fact special enough that it seems like you spent the whole day in the kitchen! And I loved this recipe, it was veryvery good! In fact, I cleaned my plate, and really wanted seconds! The only thing that stopped me from going back for seconds was the thought of being able to have it again for lunch the next day. However, what I made looks nothing, nothing like what was on that magazine page! Another reminder that I am not, and probably never will be, a food stylist. I have enough trouble trying to decorate my house, much less decorate plates of food. Even though mine didn't look as beautiful, it surely tasted beautiful! Perfect for having company over, a Sunday night, or, just because!

I did make two minor changes to the recipe. The recipe calls for leeks, which are pretty much impossible to find here, and that might have had a slight impact as to how my pork chops looked, but not in how they tasted. The recipe also called for port, and I'm guessing not many families keep a stock of port in their pantries. Red wine, sure, but port is a sophisticated taste, and if you actually have it on hand, I'm willing to bet you sprung for the good (and not cheap) stuff and won't want to pour it into a skillet.

P.S. I got the wonderful opportunity to do a Product Review for the Daring Kitchen! If you are a member, check it out here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/product-reviews/mmmgarlic
and leave a comment for a chance to win a prize!!

Braised Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce (Adapted from Parenting Magazine, November 2011. Recipe by Melanie Barnard and Julia Della Croce)


4 Boneless Pork Chops
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced (or substitute 1 yellow onion, minced)
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup port (or dry red wine)
2 Tbsp balsalmic vinegar
1/2 cup dried cherries

Season both sides of the pork chops with the salt, pepper, and rosemary.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tbsp of the butter.
Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, about 6 minutes.
Transfer the pork to a plate.
Melt the rest of the butter in the pan over medium heat and add the leeks (or onions) and sautee until slightly soft and beginning to brown (3-4 minutes).
Stir in the chicken broth and cook, stirring to scrape up any brown bits on the pan bottom, for 1 minute.
Stir in the wine, balsalmic vinegar, and hte dried cherries.
Return the pork to the pan (along with any juices), and spoon some juices over them.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and summer until the pork is tender, about 15 minutes.
Serve the pork chops with the sauce spooned over them.
Enjoy!



Sourdough Pancakes


I noticed the other day that 84 people are now subscribed to The Gingered Whisk! Whoo! It's nice to know that my little blog is starting to grow, and that people other than my parents and my best friends are reading and cooking with me. So if you are new here, I'm really glad to meet you! Feel free to drop me a line anytime. I also wanted to say that I am soo excited that I have had four submission accepted to Tastespotting, which in my mind is a big accomplishment because all the photos on there are so beautiful, and I am not nearly as talented as 99% people on there!

It is, of course, only natural that I make sourdough pancakes. Given my natural adoration to pancakes of all kinds, and my newfound joy of sourdough, it was only a matter of time before I attempted this.These aren't the type of pancakes that you make when you just roll out of bed, though. Well, you can, you just have to do a little prep work the night before. All you have to do is feed your starter and leave it out overnight. That's easy enough, right?
Once morning rolls around (and you've had a cup of coffee, of course) you and your little helper (if you happen to have one) just mix up a few more ingredients, let your skillets warm up, clean up the batter that flew across the room when your little helper really wanted to help stir (Ladybug's new favorite thing) and you can pancake-it away! 
And you will be justly rewarded for your planning in advance, because these pancakes are a real treat. Combining the slight tang of sourdough and the sweetness of maple syrup, these pancakes are delicious! (Especially if you happen to throw in a few blueberries in the mix, too!)

Sourdough Pancakes (Joy the Baker)

1 cup sourdough starter
1.5 cups warm water
2.5 cups flour
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

The night before:
Mix the starter, warm water, and flour into a large (glass or plastic) bowl. Loosely cover with saran wrap and allow to sit overnight.

In the morning:
In a medium bowl, mix the egg, milk, baking soda, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil until combined.
Whisk this into the sourdough mixture you made last night.
Allow to stand for five minutes undisturbed.
Drop onto a hot griddle or cast iron skillet (1/3 cup works awesome) and cook until bubbles have formed one the top and the bottom is golden.
Flip and cook until both sides are golden.
Enjoy!
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