My weekend was full of culinary adventures and one distinct misadventure. The urge to cook or bake usually come about one of two ways – either I’m bored with pasta or we’re inundated with a certain ingredient. (Or I end up watching too much Iron Chef and decide that I, too, can throw several ingredients into a pan and create something that will impress the Chairman.) We’re currently working through a Costco-sized block of Irish cheddar – I’m not entirely sure how we wound up with it, it just appeared while I was gone for the weekend. Kevin promised we (meaning he) could finish the whole thing, but I wasn’t going to risk letting Irish cheddar go bad, so I searched for recipes that could help us use some of it up.
This led me to my first attempt at homemade scones.
I tried Real Simple’s recipe for cheddar and chive scones, and they were dang delicious.
Kneading the dough was a little less than successful – the instructions said to either use a pastry blender (they make those?) on the dough, or to cut it with knives in a criss-cross fashion until “large crumbs” formed. Well, large crumbs never formed, but I went ahead anyway.
I don’t think I got the texture quite right, because I had to bake it a little longer than specified to cook all the way through, and the edges wound up uncomfortably crunchy, but again…lots of butter. And a cup of cheddar. It’s hard to go too terribly wrong.
Emboldened by my success, I finally decided to attempt making flapjacks. I found flapjacks in Ireland and promptly decided they were the best granola bars in the world. And I didn’t think they would be too hard to make – I figured they were just Oatmeal Cookies 2.0. There had to be plenty of recipes online, right?
And so I re-learned an important lesson – never, ever trust the Internet, even for something as simple as oatmeal bars.
It started off innocently enough – oatmeal, molasses, and honey mixed with some almonds, craisins, and sultanas.
But once I poured it into the pan, I could tell it was way too dry.
I didn’t really know what to do – eggs? Milk? Flour? It had none of the ingredients I thought it should have. I added a little more honey and called it good. But when they came out of the oven, I couldn’t even get a knife in. It was like trying to slice the table (plus our knives are pretty, uh, lacking). They softened up in the microwave, but in the end I wound up with some crunchy granola. The flapjacks were nowhere near the thick, chewy bars I had over the summer. So…I need to do better research next time, I guess.
Our most daring recipe was saved for our weekly dinner with Breck. I brought out another, much more intimidating Real Simple recipe – Indian Spiced Chicken.
Our original casserole dish was overflowing with chicken goodness, so we had to switch to another. Then came the excitement of buttering and crumpling up the tissue-thin phyllo dough for the top. Have you seen phyllo dough? Have you worked with it? Imagine trying to do origami with wet tissue paper. That’s what phyllo dough is.
But it all turned out pretty magnificently – so magnificently that we ate two-thirds of it that night.
Unfortunately we now have a box and a half of phyllo dough and no idea what to do with it. Any suggestions?