Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Food, Family & Travel

It's usually one of those things. And this one is once again devoted to grub. So get those virtual forks ready. {My gosh, I'm such a dork.}

On the way to my cousin's wedding in Michigan, we stopped off at a local grease shack. Well, at least that's what I expected it to be. Redamak's Tavern is located in New Buffalo and gets rave reviews from the folks here in the Midwest. It's one of those love it or hate it places. Judging from the reviews on Yelp and the insane following this place has, we put it on the list.

Honestly, wasn't greasy enough to me. I just expected worse. So when I was able to order a grilled vegetable pita with swiss cheese, I was no longer assuming this was quite the grease-hole people talk about. Needless to say, we liked it enough to put it on the list for future visits up the Michigan coast. It was B's first time of many, I'm assuming. A new tradition. Now we just have to remember to take photos every time we go.
Please go away, mamarazzi.
Our friends threw a Memorial Day party and I brought Margarita Cupcakes I pinned on Pinterest. I'm no stranger to lime cupcakes, as I made a batch of key lime ones for a baby shower (back when I hosted, threw, and attended them). These required about a 1/4 cup of tequila but obviously it cooks off and leaves no flavor behind. What a waste of tequila, I say. One of my friends said these weren't as good as the key lime ones I made a couple years ago. So yeah, off the pinterest board because I found them to be just okay. And for all that work, they needed to be better than okay.

Even the frosting turned out crappier than usual. It was too smooth to pipe, so I just slathered it on. In hindsight, that was so much easier than the piping. Also, something I added caused the cupcakes to pull away from the paper. Weird, huh?
Sticking with our green theme, I finally made another pinned recipe, Avocado Mac 'n' Cheese. And yes, it was just as decadent as it sounds. If it weren't for fat grams that cause behinds and thighs to grow and inhibit proper-sized jean wearing, I'd eat this everyday. But yeah... this was definitely a full day's worth of caloric intake and then some. Either avo or cheese, but not both next time. Or maybe cheese with a few avo chunks on top. It had an avo flavor, but I guess I like my avo straight up and I felt like it was too muted. And considering they're both high in calories, I would rather enjoy them separate.

I did like how creamy the recipe turned out (I know, with two avo and 7 slices of cheese, it better be, right?!) and would definitely use the roux/cheese recipe for a future plain mac 'n' cheese. I used pre-sliced cheese and I think it was just as easy as using shredded cheese. I just added one slice at a time, stirred until melted, then added another slice. I even took B on a walk to the grocery store just for cilantro to make this. I <3 cilantro. For taste, 5/5 stars. For over the fat intake one should have in a day, 6/5. Hah.
I made two bread recipes (I know, shutup woman. That's why I put them last.). I've stuck to my guns and haven't purchased a loaf of bread in two weeks. So for Ray's daily PBJ, he has had homemade bread. And can I say that homemade bread makes the best toast ever? The first comes to you from my Blendtec Blender. That's right. I made bread in my blender. No hand kneading at all.

If you blend a lot (or even if you don't but want a blender that actually works and will be around longer than you will), this is seriously the machine for you. I tell people all the time that it's absolutely the most valuable appliance in my kitchen. Also, it's literally the most costly appliance I own. It has permanent counter space. I will definitely be making blender bread again. It was easy and awesome.

Proofing the yeast -- something I've learned recently that's very important, in addition to the temp of the water.
 Blended dough (pressed pulse a few times to "knead" the dough).
 After allowing the dough to rise.
 Honey Wheat Bread
I'm working on forming my loaves and achieving the sandwich bread shape with the muffin top like I want. I'm almost there. No photos from this week's bread (the best yet and it's half gone!), but it's from this recipe and is definitely the best shape of any bread to date. Mine is slightly shorter, but still really great.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Such a good wife & mom to do all this baking. Just made dinner here for the first time since last Tuesday. I wish I were joking! ha! :)

I googled the cupcake query- turns out it could be 1) you used butter rather than veg oil? or 2) the cake shrunk, depending on the recipe you used.

You're welcome. ha. :)

Brigitte said... [Reply to comment]

Those bread recipes sound great! And I dropped my blender a few weeks ago so I might have to check out the brand u r suggesting :)

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I may have to steal "mamarazzi", G already says "no pictures mama!" all long suffering like.
That Mac n cheese is calling my name, damn being dairy free!!

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

I get so many ideas from your food posts! I love to cook, though with grief it has been a challenge. I am getting back into it once more and your posts often inspire me to create something new in the kitchen. Thanks!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

You make me want to make homemade bread. You also make me use the excuse "But I don't have a Blendtec blender" as the sole reason I do not make homemade bread.

Also now I am hungry.

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

Yay! After eating at Redamak's Now you're a real Midwestern resident. Can't tell you how often we'd stop growing up on our way home from a day at the Dunes.

Your bread looks awesome! and T would die for the mac n' cheese but I will never make it for him because of all the cheese ;)

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

I wish I still had the energy to bake and cook the way you do! Great job on all your recipes!!