Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What's Cooking?

I've been busy (haven't we all?) - and that's my excuse for not blogging much the past few weeks. I have been writing a bit. Just finished a romantic suspense that doesn't have a home. Did edits for a male ménage that does have a home—it debuts with Loose Id sometime this month.

Have found a couple of really cool sites where people actually cook and offer up recipes and information about ingredients. Take a look at Two Peas and Their Pod (over to the right in the blog roll column) and also at Pinch My Salt. For whatever reasons, I'm craving a good, hearty roasted tomato and roasted pepper soup, and I found recipes on those two sites.

And, too, I'll admit it - I suck at baking biscuits or pie crusts from scratch, and this bothers me. It's like the ghosts of grandmothers past will haunt me unless I rectify this. So color me delighted when I discovered this information on Pinch My Salt's website:

Here’s a quick rundown of some flours and their protein contents, taken from the book Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher:

Cake flours (Swans Down, Softasilk):
7.5 to 8.5% protein

Bleached southern all-purpose (White Lily, Martha White, Gladiola, Red Band):
7.5 to 9.5% protein

National brand self-rising (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
9 to 10% protein

National brand bleached all-purpose (Gold Medal, Pillsbury):
10 to 12% protein

Northern all-purpose (Robin Hood, Hecker’s):
11 to 12% protein

Northern unbleached
all-purpose (King Arthur):
11.7% protein

Bread Flour:
11.5 to 12.5% protein

So, keeping in mind that less protein equals light and tender cakes and quick breads, the flours from the top of this list are going to give you the best results for those types of baked goods. And since more protein equals higher rising yeast breads, the flours from the bottom of the list will be best for those.

Fascinating probably only to cooks and weirdos like myself, but that just made my day. You'd have thought I'd struck the Mother Lode of Biscuit Making.

Don't ask what a carb-counter is doing looking at flours - maybe that's what I'll look at next.

Happy cooking, cleaning, or whatever it is you're doing this week.


Sunny Lyn



At 11:31 PM, Blogger Heather Snow said...

While this goes against all the yummy home made cooking stuff, Costco sells a FABULOUS roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Pacific Natural Foods. Organic, only 110 cal per cup, creamy and rich and very very yummy. Oh, and only 10 for like 6 quarts of it (in 1 qt containers).

Awesome. We'll definitely have some on the next lake weekend. Or sooner!

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Heather Snow said...

That was $10, btw :)

At 3:16 AM, Blogger Alexis Fleming said...

If we ever get you out here, Sunny, I'm going to teach you to make the lightest puff pastry ever, and also a yummy sweet short crust pastry, all from scratch, compliments of my mom. lol

Of course, now I'm having to stay on a no-fat diet, I can't eat the darn things.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

oh wow, heather - I LOVE that stuff - too kewl. so when are we going back??? *hint hint lol*

I got so much writing done last time. Plus enjoyed the walk around the area.

Lex, you need to move here - I mean it. Of course, we'd both be fat as bears, but we'd get sooo much other stuff done. My mom tried to teach me how to bake a good pie and make good pastry puffs, and I just never mastered the art. Shame, too, because I do love good food.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Didn’t post the recipe on my blog – but here it is - just for you!
Although it’s a pretty simple one, I do love shortbread and this recipe turns out a great batch.

Your gifts are all bought?? Ouch.

Merry Christmas!

Quickie Shortbread

1 ¾ cup flour

½ cup icing sugar

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. baking powder

Sift dry ingredients in a bowl (I just dump them in a bowl and stir)

I cup butter – creamed (I just melt it in the microwave)

Mix butter gradually into the dry ingredients at low speed & when all the butter is in, mix at medium speed until fluffy (I just dump the butter in with the dry ingredients and mix until fluffy)

Roll into balls, place on cookie pan & flatten with fork

Bake at 350 for 5 – 10 minutes – middle rack – until light brown

It always takes at least 10 minutes – or longer!!

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Gretchen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Gretchen said...

Baking is chemistry, cooking is art.

My favorite cookbook ever is called why the cake won't rise and the jelly won't set. It goes into all the chemical reasons that recipes fail.

Another tip I heard for Pie Crusts was instead of water use vodka. Most of it will evaporate resulting in a drier and flakier crust.


At 5:07 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

vodka? - that actually makes sense.

don't suppose you remember the publisher of that cookbook do you? is that the specific name of the cookbook, g?????

gotsta find that one.


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