Monday, February 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Balls

Thanks to Scott (again!) for posting this recipe on his blog - Peanut Butter Balls. It of course, reminded me of those vintage commercials (I mean, really, who walks around with a jar of peanut butter?!)

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls
  • 2 cups Peanut Butter (I prefer Skippy Extra Crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
  • 1 TB Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Crisp Rice Cereal, crushed
  • 2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 cups Milk Chocolate-Chips or Blocks
  • 1 TB Shortening (or maybe food grade paraffin wax?)
Mix the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add the crushed rice cereal, blend well. Mix sugar until smooth.

Scoop peanut butter mixture into small-ish balls, no bigger than an inch wide. Roll into balls. Insert a toothpick into each one and place in the fridge to firm up. 30 minutes to an hour.

Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. Keep warm, but off of the heat.

Using the toothpick and a spoon, dip and cover each ball with chocolate. Allow excess to drip off; place on a wax paper covered sheet. Place in the fridge to chill and allow the chocolate to fully set. When chocolate is firm, cover with wax paper and plastic wrap to keep fresh.

Monday, February 15, 2010


SoBA has a thing for eggs. He will eat four at a time. The other morning when it was my morning to sleep in - I could hear the insistent cries (the title of the post) of SoBA's breakfast order. On Sunday morning, while we continued to dig out, I decided to make my father's scrambled eggs (and bacon, of course) to celebrate Valentine's Day with Mrs. BA.

My father's scrambled eggs involve butter (about a tablespoon per egg) and cream (or at least whole milk). We had cream on this particular morning. The key to my father's eggs (or so he says) is making sure the eggs are warm - he puts them in a bowl with some warm water for a bit, before cracking them, whisking them and then adding the butter, cream, and some salt and pepper.

Now instead of pouring them in a frying pan, my father cooks his scrambled eggs in a saucepan. They require constant stirring with a wooden spoon (scraping the cooking egg off the bottom of the saucepan). When the eggs begin to gel, take them off the heat and continue stirring. The eggs are best served a little undercooked so they are soft and very tasty.

Some time ago I spotted this post from the Amateur Gourmet. Now if I owned a cappuccino maker, I would so make the eggs this way. I think they would be very tasty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snopocalypse / Snomageddon / Snoverkill

Has anyone noticed there's a little snow outside . . . still? The Brave Astronaut launchpad was the site of an impromptu playdate yesterday - I had managed to make it to the store on Monday to lay in some additional supplies for the next round of winter weather. So we had about sixteen people in the house, fairly evenly split between kids and adults. Mrs. BA had made white chicken chili on Sunday and I made brownies. Tonight on the menu is a hearty beef stew to combat the blowing and drifting snow outside.

In the middle of all this snow, when I first saw this, I really thought it was an Onion headline. But no. From the Hill Newspaper:
Sen. Jim DeMint twitters: D.C. snow will continue "until Al Gore cries uncle"

So here we are. Those of us who work for the federal government are enjoying our third snow day in a row. I'm going out on a limb here and saying that I don't think we are working tomorrow either. My main contention has always been that if Metro is not running (or only running underground), the federal government really cannot open. Public schools around the area have already thrown in the towel, closing for the rest of the week. And Monday is President's Day holiday, though many have announced that students will go to class that day to make up the abundance of snow days that have been needed this season.

I'm beginning to feel a bit feral - it's getting to be a lot like Little House on the Prairie (the Blizzard episode, of course). And I've been out of the house. The children may turn on us, especially if we lose the media options.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I love a good Carrot Cake

There's a rumor afoot that we will whip up some White Bean Chicken Chili for tonight to ward off the snow and cold. But perhaps this could make an appearance as well.

And OSG, no raisins.

From the Amateur Gourmet.

Three Layer Carrot Cake
recipe by Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock
from "The Gift of Southern Cooking"

For the cake-
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted after measuring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups not-too-finely chopped pecans
  • Three 9-inch cake pans, lightly buttered and floured [I used Pam and also a parchment paper round, which I also sprayed and floured, just to be safe]
For the frosting-
  • 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cocoa in a mixing bowl and whisk together to blend.

Put the sugars in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the peanut oil.

Then whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

When fully blended, add the flour mixture all at once, and mix just until smooth. Stir in the grated carrots and the pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans.

Drop each pan sharply onto the counter from a height of about 6 inches to remove any air pockets. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center of the layers springs back gently when touched. [It took me more like 30 - 35 minutes; I figured it was better they were a little more cooked than undercooked, so the cake wouldn't fall apart.]

Remove from the oven, and place on cooling racks until completely cooled, then unmold.

To make the frosting: Cut the butter into 2-inch pieces, and put in the mixing bowl of an electric mixture. Mix on medium speed just until the butter begins to become malleable, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the cream cheese in pieces and mix until thoroughly blended. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and mix until blended. Increase mixer speed slightly, and continue mixing for 2 - 3 minutes, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Remove from the mixer and fold in the pecans.

To assemble the cake: Place one of the cake layers, bottom side up, on a cake plate or pedestal. Spoon approximately a quarter of the frosting onto the layer, and spread it over evenly. Place a second layer, bottom side down, on top of the first, and spread with an equal amount of frosting. Place the final layer, bottom side down, on top of the others, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Store in a cool but not refrigerated area until serving.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Snomageddon!

So here we are. Sunday night and the temperatures are down in the single digits. It likely due to the HUGE amount of snow cover out there. For those of you who may not have heard, we got a little snow over the weekend. It started on Friday afternoon and started to pile up all through Saturday. By the time it was all done there was about 24" of the white stuff on the front lawn.

I spent most of today digging out the cars from the driveway and shoveling the walk. Based on the amounts, I did not shovel off the deck or the side walk. Plus it would seem there is more snow on the way (see the prognosticators at Capital Weather Gang for more info) for Tuesday into Wednesday.

For the record, I could have gone to work tomorrow if the situation presented itself. But the Federal Government has announced that it will be closed tomorrow. This gives us another snow day (after the Snowpocalypse on December 19) for Snowmageddon in this winter of snowy weather. Remember my mother always used to say that the first time snow sticks on the street is how many storms you will have. The December storm was the first time. By my count, this storm was #4, with more this week and possibly (hey, don't kill the messenger) again next weekend.

In other news, they played the Super Bowl tonight. The ads were okay, but for once, I really enjoyed the game. Congratulations to the Saints! I am sure the French Quarter is rocking tonight.

So to all my DC federal friends, enjoy the snow day tomorrow. Let's see what the rest of the week brings.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LOST is Found - Tonight

The final season of Lost returns tonight. Here's a little something to get you ready for the season premiere. Borrowing from 24, here is the Crash of Flight 815. In. Real. Time. Cool!

Monday, February 1, 2010

French Onion Soup

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day and also Candlemas Day. So be sure to fire up those crepe pans and make some yummy goodness to ward off poverty.

To ward off the February chill, I might need to make some of this. After looking over the recipe, I might weep, it looks so good. Thanks Scott!

French Onion Soup
  • 10 large onions (combination of red and sweet)
  • 4 TB unsalted butter
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple cider
  • Fresh thyme, Bay leaf and Parsley wrapped in cheese cloth for a Bouquet Garni
  • Fresh Bread cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces
  • 1-2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 350, place the roasting pan in the oven while you prep the onions.

Slice onions in half from end to end, the slice each half, in half, finely slice into thin slices. When the onions are sliced, remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the butter. The butter will melt, add onions and stir to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Place onions in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and stir. Return to the oven for one hour. Check about half way through the cooking time. After an hour, stir and return to the oven for another 30-60 minutes until the onions have reduced and taken on a dark, rich color.

Place the roasting pan over two burners on your stove top. Over high heat, add the wine. Stir to incorporate, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the broth and cider. Scrap up any bits of onion stuck to the pan. Pour all of the onions and broth into a large pot.

Place pot of low heat and add the Bouquet Garni, bring a low simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.

To serve, pour soup into oven safe bowls. Top with bread croutons and grated cheese. Place under a broiler until golden brown and delicious. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.