Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Just the Basics! & Parmesan & Basil Crackers
I have mentioned my 7th grade home ec cooking teacher, Mrs. Steadman before. Before Mrs. S, I "just cooked" or "just baked" in order to eat... When I arrived in her class at Lake Worth Jr. High School I learned the basics & have held onto them since. Thanks to her, I never "pack" flour into a measuring cup, I use the right spatula for scraping or for leveling & decorating... I ALWAYS bend at the knees to get eye level with the liquid measuring cup (which, I must say, I notice pretty much none of the television chefs do) because if not, the measurement is skewed. I always crack my eggs on the counter & not the side of a bowl... Room temperature butter & eggs (& sometimes milk) is best for baking unless it's for pie crusts or scones. And COLD milk & cream are best for ice cream making. When baking, add a little flour to chips & nuts to prevent them from falling like anchors to the bottom of the batter. And I know that the proper way of writing (& reading) a recipe is to list the ingredients in order of usage.
She also taught me all of the different types of cookies & illuminated the fact that brownies are actually a bar cookie & not something unto themselves. One of the most extraordinary cookies to me, was the refrigerator cookie. These take patience, especially in the 7th grade. We prepped the dough, secured it tight in plastic wrap & popped it into the classroom refrigerator. No eating our spoils that day- we had to wait till the following day's class to cut them with the pastry scraper & bake them... We were so hungry for them (I mean, waiting TWO whole days?!), they were absolutely de-lish!
As a nod to Mrs. Steadman's teachings, I thought I'd bake a grownup version using refrigerator method- The Barefoot Contessa's (Ina Garten) Parmesan & Thyme crackers. I subbed fresh basil for the thyme because I had a huge bunch of it from other meals this week. These have a wonderful flavor & are great with cheese, jam or fruit. If you haven't tried making fresh crackers, you should!