Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ivy and Felicity's Washington's Birthday Celebration: Cherry Cobbler

Finishing up President's Day celebrations a bit late!

As I mentioned in our Lincoln's Birthday post,Washington's Birthday was also a day to do something special to break up February and do something a little fun. Now technically, Washington's birthday was yesterday, but since I now have a job (yay!) yesterday turned into an emergency shopping run, so I was out all day and didn't have time to throw this together, even if it's a pretty simple dish to make. We also were having company today, so all in all, it just made sense to push it back a day and hope no George Washington fans were furious with us for being a day late.

This new job also means that I'll probably have less time for blogging (boo!), so I might have to slow down with how many posts I can get out in a month, but I'm hopeful it won't completely suck me dry! I've still got a lot of really fun things I want to try out, and I don't want work to totally get in the way of cooking. More weekend posts just might have to start being a thing.

Anyway, without further ado, here's how we paid a small tribute to our first president!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Marie-Grace's Shrimp and Grits

We've found a tasty new way to change up fish night!

As I've mentioned many a time before, I am definitely north of the Mason-Dixon line. I hesitate to self identify as a yankee because I root for their arch rivals, but let's be honest, it's true. Because of that and the fact that before starting this blog, I wasn't a very adventurous eater, I haven't had a ton of exposure to southern food and somehow, I've lived my entire life without ever seeing grits in person, let alone actually trying them.

I know, I know. Crazy, right?

But Marie-Grace and Cécile have been helping me overcome my fear of preparing French food and expand my relatively limited knowledge of southern food. Since you can't get much more southern than grits, I figured this was a pretty good place to dive right in.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Samantha’s Valentine’s Cookies

A guaranteed hit sugar cookie with a fruity twist!

Ah, Valentine's Day. Love it or hate it, you probably have an opinion on it one way or the other. I have to admit, I'm more in the neutral territory on this one. It's far and away not my favorite holiday of the year, but I don't spend the entire day scowling wishing it was over, and I don't begrudge those who want to go all out for it.

This recipe definitely isn't going all out for Valentine's, but it still seemed like a fun way to spice up a sugar cookie, and while it's not a wholly authentic Edwardian or Victorian recipe, it still seemed like it had enough in common with Samantha's jam tart cookies (some of you might remember them as the disaster cookies) that she was the obvious choice to host this particular recipe.

There are other reasons why Sam gets to host this post, such as...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Molly's Coconut Cake

You can never go wrong with coconut cake.

I sort of lied in my last post about February not having much to get excited about or celebrate, because today is my dad's birthday! While my mom is usually my biggest helper in getting food on the table, my dad has also been a huge supporter and help, and so I enthusiastically jumped on the chance to cook up something fun to help celebrate the day. My dad is a big fan of both coconut and spice cakes, and once I found an interesting sounding recipe for coconut cake in the comfort food cookbook I mentioned a while ago, I knew I had to give it a shot.

I'm going to say right off the bat that this isn't an authentic World War II recipe. I know I keep saying that, and I know I keep promising that we'll get to that eventually. We will! I promise! I'd actually really like to try and recreate the cake Molly gets for her birthday, but we're going to have to wait until spring to do that. I was definitely willing to take a risk on this cake, but not quite authentic rations level risk just yet!

So, what made me choose Molly to host this post?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Julie and Addy’s Lincoln’s Birthday Celebration: Barbeque Beef, Cornbread and Lincoln Log Brownies

Happy birthday to our sixteenth president!

February is kind of a tough month. March is probably worse, but February is definitely heading into that "too much cold, not enough sun" territory, and when you're snowed in or facing the threat of being more or less snowed in, things are even worse. Yes, we get Valentine's Day, which I have mixed feelings about at best, and President's Day weekend for sales on cars and furniture, but I've never found that especially exciting, or something to look forward to. I mean, what does that really have to do with Lincoln and Washington's birthdays? How would you even celebrate those things if you really wanted to?

As it turns out, my grandmother had the answer, and came up with a much better approach to finding things to spice up President's Day back when my mom was a kid, so I'm very excited to bring you guys an authentic 70's dinner inspired by Abraham Lincoln's birthday! It's definitely a more modern meal than Addy would have enjoyed, but it's got enough connection to Mr. Lincoln that I'm not surprised this was a tradition that carried on for years to keep my mom and uncle entertained during long New England winters.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cécile’s Pâte à Choux and Easy Mushroom Pâté

Better than any meat pâté you've ever had!

I have been told by quite a few people that I'm a very brave aspiring chef, because apparently I've been taking on recipes that they wouldn't have considered trying if you paid them to do it. I guess it's true that I've tried a lot of unusual things since starting this blog, especially considering before I got the idea for it, I barely felt comfortable cooking pasta unassisted, let alone tackling things like making my own bagels or soups.

But the thing is? I don't feel especially brave most of the time in the kitchen. Most of the time, I feel completely in over my head. It works out more often than it doesn't, but sometimes I realize that just because a recipe seemed straightforward enough when I read it doesn't mean it's actually going to be all that straightforward to do.

This post is a little bit of both. One of the elements was basically totally stress free, while the other was pretty frustrating and had I not already been cooking almost all day long, I would, I might have tried to start it over. Which one is which? You'll just have to read on to find out.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kaya’s Lewis and Clark Adventure: Harvest Mincemeat and Monticello Muffins

Both of which are probably some of the more unusual dishes we've done here!

I wasn't sure what to expect when tackling these two recipes, and I'll admit that I think I overdid it a bit today with the cooking. I need to stop doing that! As much as I enjoy thinking up recipes to feature for the blog and info to share with you guys, spending almost all day in the kitchen is exhausting, and I am a little irritated at myself for not learning my lesson and saying you know what, it's time to take a break.

But that said, as promised, here's another entry into our ongoing adventure through The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark! Neither of these recipes were really the source of my frustration - the one that was you'll have to wait and hear about tomorrow, because I actually did the legwork for two posts today. Apparently I'm ambitious sometimes.

Anyway, on to the post!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rebecca's Steak and Mushroom Stroganoff

A hearty staple of Russian cuisine!

I would imagine that pretty much everyone with access to a television knows that the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics were tonight, and while I've said I'm not that interested in sports, I think it takes a special kind of grump to not at least vaguely enjoy the concept of the Olympics. I can't remember specifically when I first became aware of their existence, but I do remember thinking Picabo Street was the coolest person alive when I first learned how to ski, and I've always tried to tune in to at least the Opening Ceremonies, if nothing else.

So despite all the controversy and lingering tensions about the Sochi games, I was still excited to tune in tonight and see what Russia was bringing to the table. And because I can't pass up an opportunity to try out a new recipe to feature with you guys, I pulled out a recipe I've been eager to try since first brainstorming what recipes I could feature with Rebecca after her very first post because I enjoy stroganoff, and am always happy to have an excuse to have some.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Molly's S'mores Hot Chocolate

A wintery spin on a summer time favorite!

Well, we got hit with even more snow last night, and enough ice that the governor is apparently advising everyone to stay off the roads. I really hope it clears up by tomorrow, because my car doesn't have four wheel drive and can be kind of hard to handle as soon as there's any snow or ice on the road!

Aside from it being a pain for travel plans and work schedules, I'm just really starting to hit that time of year where I'm really emotionally finished with winter. I miss being able to go outside with just a sweater or sweatshirt, instead of feeling like I'm getting ready for extended deep sea diving, and then actually wanting to stay outside once I get there, instead of just scurrying to the next building in hopes of finding shelter. Put all that together and you've got one blogger who has been looking for ways to feel like it's summer time, whether that means living vicariously through the people on Hawaii Life,  marathoning episodes of LOST or finding recipes

This is the latter, and it really hit the spot on a day where I was both cold and longing for a day where the sun is out for more than five minutes a day. It's definitely not a hassle to make, and semi-homemade variations make it even easier to manage if you're in the mood for something tasty with just the right combination of summer and winter.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Kirsten's Beer Cheese Soup

Just the thing for a cold wintery day.

I actually made and documented two different recipes yesterday, but decided to split them up because the theme didn't exactly go together. While the apple pudding really hit the spot because it wasn't a typical dessert for a cold wintery day, this recipe definitely is something you want to bring out when you're snowed in and layering up even with the heat on, and considering what we got hit with today, it turned out waiting a day to post this one probably wasn't a bad idea!

I'm also excited to point out that this is the fiftieth recipe I've featured since starting this blog. I have to admit, it's kind of crazy to realize that it's already been fifty recipes and almost six months since I started A Peek Into the Pantry, because it still feels like I just came up with the idea and got everything started just last week. I really appreciate all the feedback and support I've gotten from people in that time, and hope you guys will stick around for another fifty posts over the next several months!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Addy's Apple Pudding

A really interesting hybrid of two popular pies!

Despite my enthusiasm for the Boston Red Sox, I am not actually a sports fan in the slightest, and yet I somehow am being forced to watch the Super Bowl. Or the "Big Game", I don't know if the NFL will come hunt me down if I call it by its proper name over here.

The one good thing that came of this is that I had lots of people over to taste test some new recipes, and this one in particular I think was a hit. It's very similar to the sweet potato pudding I made for Addy at Christmastime in terms of construction, but since the recipe treats it more like a pie, it actually has a lot more in common with a pumpkin pie than what we'd think of as a pudding. It was a nice, low key dessert to make, especially so soon after making the nian gao, and while it's definitely not a traditional sports party treat, I still think we made a good choice in deciding to give it a shot.