Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Chef: One Year Later

Name: Annie Capell
Age: 28
Weight: 127 (lost 5 pounds!)
Favorite Meal: Risotto
Favorite Dessert: Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Favorite Kitchen Tool: Heat Resistant Spatula
Least Favorite Kitchen Tool: Plastic Wrap
Least Favorite Foods: Bell Peppers, Pickles, Capers (I like mustard a little bit now…)
Favorite Foods: Avocados, Potatoes, Chicken, Strawberries
Favorite Thing to Make: Cheesecake
Least Favorite Thing to Make: Fried Shrimp
Favorite Kitchen Technique: Stirring
Least Favorite Kitchen Technique: Putting Pie Crust into the tins
Kind of Music During Cooking: Depends on the season and weather, but all kinds and a glass of wine or beer
Can People Taste While You Cook?: Yes, but just ask or give puppy eyes
Work Better Alone or With Others: Ive gotten better at working with others, more patient, but I like working alone, no one to blame but yourself
Favorite Restaurant: The Diner in Brooklyn NY, or Il Pastaio in Boulder, CO
Favorite Alcoholic Drink: Old Fashioned, Red Stripe, or Rose
Favorite Non Alcoholic Drink: Water or Root Beer, or dirty chai
Favorite Candy Bar: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Favorite Spice: Sage and cinnamon
Clean or Messy Kitchen: CLEAN! I Make mess per Stage, but Clean Before The Next One
Least Favorite Kitchen Appliance: Electric Stove, old sticky pots
Favorite Kitchen Appliance: Gas Stove/Honest Temperature Oven, perfectly greased cookie sheets
A Weird Kitchen Quark You Have: I like sliding with my socks from the oven to the refridge, and I like taking hot rolls out of the oven with my hands
Spicy, Salty, Sweet or Sour? Sweet, then spicy, salty, sour
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Rocky Road, Peanut Butter, Ben and Jerrys Vanilla with Peanut Butter cups/ pieces
Lease Favorite Thing about Cooking: Left overs I cant eat, not timing the food right so it comes out at different times, or knowing where I messed up but I cant fix it!
Favorite Thing About Cooking: Making people try weird things, and stirring, and being able to whip up something marvelous super fast. I like impressing people through food, including myself, and its also a nice way for me to clear my head
Words to Part With: Be Brave, Take Risks, Decorate to Hide Mistakes, Kill No One, and always have a Plan B. Also, smiling makes any messed up meal ok. Try weird things, WHY NOT?

Month 12

Annie’s Current Weight: 127
Pleasures: The biggest pleasure I can muster is the fact that I did it. 12 months, cooking every single day for 365 days, I did it. Not ONCE did I skip a day. Even if it was the dumbest recipe in the world and I had to make an argument as to why it was a recipe, I did it. I succeeded. Another huge pleasure is the people in my life during this project. At my party I couldn’t have asked for better friends or support. These United States surprised me, my parents came, emails and letters from family and friends all over the world, people flew down or drove up, just for ME. Just so show ME that they supported me and were proud of me. I cant be more grateful. Also, im not going to lie, this month has some killer recipes. My ginger toffee, the chicken tetrazzini, it was a pretty grand month and a way to go out blazing. I also didn’t gain any weight!! AND my brother had a baby! Things just couldn’t be better this month and I couldn’t be more thankful and happy at the way things turned out.
Pains: You know, I got pretty sad this month thinking about the project ending. There is the whole, what next, question you need to ask yourself when you have been doing something every day for a month. Also this month I did seem to spend a lot of money on food trying to get the best ending to a project ever. Also, I am sad some people couldn’t be here for the finale who were really star people in my project, mainly my roomies alley and Christina who were both out of town…so sad they couldn’t chare in the glory. There is also the whole looking back thinking I should have worked harder sometimes, been less lazy, I could have cooked something better but I chose to take the easy route and that makes me feel sick. I did a great job I know, but, I also know my potential and that sometimes I just slacked. Even though this month the pleasures outweighed the pains, they were still there and I know better…
Promises: I promise to not only keep cooking crazy things, but to keep up this blog. I have found I am not a very good blogger. I like being outside too much to want to sit at a computer and type my life story away. I also have trouble knowing what to say…do I stick to the recipe? Do I say how im feeling that day? What do people want to know! So I mixed it up in my blog, but tried to keep it about the food. Whatever future projects I decide to do (and I have some in mind) I will try to give the people what they want, a little of both worlds. Learn a little skill, get a little gossip. I also promise to keep in mind consistency. I didn’t blog every day, and sometimes not every week, so who knew when a new post would come. Ill try better to be more on top of that, at least a monthly update on whats going on, or where I have been.
Ponders: you know, this project was so grand and so personal its hard to ponder it because I ask myself, where do I BEGIN pondering it. Do I look at the commitment part? Where I pushed myself so hard and committed myself more fully that I ever have? Do I look at the creative part? That I made amazing new recipes that people are now using and trying out of friends or giving as gifts? That I did something in the world creative that others LIKE? Do I look at the social side? In the fact that I made more friends through cooking for them than ever before? That I fattened people up, and made people smile with their whole heart? Do I look at the computer side? Where I learned to type with correct form and how to blog and upload pictures, create files and make something people reference and want to see? Do I ponder the experience of eating something new every day using what I had around me, and doing something physical and grounding every day through hardships and beauty. Through bailing on going out to cook, or cooking so fast so I wouldn’t miss the beginning of something? There are so many ways to look at this project, so many people to thank, so much love both to others, food, and to myself I don’t even know what to say. When I push myself hard like this and succeed, I think, how much farther can I go? Its like a drug, and I have merely begun my addiction. I am so happy, and so grateful and so full of joy and food, that all I want is more more more, so what do I ponder? The future…the future of myself and my relationship not only to the world but to food. What next? Stay tuned for the next chapter in the life of annie…its all uphill from here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 365: Key Lime Cheesecake

Yield: 1 9 inch cheesecake
Time (Start to Finish): 3 hours

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2-3 Tbsp sugar
¾ stick butter, melted(may need more or less)

20 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup lime juice (you CAN use fresh if you want to keep squeezing)
1-2 drops green food dye
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 Tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease your pan, which should be placed on a cookie sheet that has sides
2. In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix with butter adding ¼ of it at a time and mixing until it sticks together when you grip it in your hands like moist sand
3. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 2-3 min until you smell the graham crackers and take out, cool
4. Preheat the oven to 350F
5. In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth
6. Add the sugar and scrape the bowl
7. Add the lime juice, flour, and food dye
8. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and mix until combined. Taste and if too tart add a drop of vanilla or a tad more sugar
9. Pour over the crust and bake in a water bath until it jiggles like jello not like water anymore, about an hour
10. Chill in the freezer or the fridge and serve cold. You can serve with whipped cream if you like

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: LAST RECIPE!!! I DID IT!!! WOOHOOO!!!! 365 RECIPES!! Last day, no more days, I did it I did it I did it!!!!! I also made peanut butter cheesecake (I used my white chocolate cheesecake recipe but added a cup of peanut butter instead in white chocolate) AND my white chocolate cheesecake, all for my big party tonight!! Out of the three, the key lime STOLE the show, thanks Alley for the idea! This is a great recipe, and it turned out light, marvelous and a huge hit. The party is going to be filled with snacks galore, but the cheesecake will be the highlight!! Stay tuned in my blog guys for the epilogue as well as STATS, top 10 lists, all sorts of things, but with all my heart, enjoy these recipes, and I did it!! No more days, today is the LAST day!! Wwhhhhaaat???

Day 364: Dark Chocolate Ginger Walnut Toffee

Yield: 12-15 pieces
Time (Start to Finish): 30 min

1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dark corn syrup (light is fine)
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 tsp ground ginger
small pinch salt
8-10 oz GOOD dark chocolate, chopped up

1. Take a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray or grease it
2. Sprinkle the walnuts on top in a circle covering about half the cookie sheet, but right in the center (you are going to be pouring the caramel on top of it) make sure they are close together
3. Chop up the chocolate and sprinkle all over the top of the nuts
4. In a saucepot, melt the butter in med heat
5. Add the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over med, stirring gently until the mixture turns a nice brown color. It should take about 15 min, and get it to the brown you would like, a nice toffee brown
6. Remove from the heat, stir in the ginger and the salt and immediately pour over the chocolate/nuts. Do not wait on this, it must be done right away
7. Let cool, or, like I did, stick in the freezer until the chocolate hardens
8. Break into pieces and serve

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: This came out of nowhere. I picked up my dear friend Lavinia from the airport and she had brought me a dark Brooklyn chocolate bar and hoped I would make something with it for my blog. I couldn’t think of what to make and while I was sleeping, I realized I had everything to make toffee in the kitchen. The ginger came out of my need to make it special and I saw the bottle. What a PERFECT choice!! It is such a great surprise when you bite in and all of a sudden taste the ginger after flavor!! Thanks Lavinia for this amazing inspiration!!! Get yourself some good chocolate for this, and no need to toast the nuts unless you want an extra touch of flavor…2 more days guys!!! Tomorrow is the end! Today is checked off the list and it is nothing but smooth sailing! How nervous am I!!!!!

Day 363: Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats

Yield: 1 9 inch rectangle pan
Time (Start to Finish): 25 min

2 cups sliced toasted almonds
20 oz marshmallows, small or big
2 cups tiny marshmallows
3 Tbsp butter
6 cups cocoa krispies
1 bag chocolate chunks
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Grease your pan with cooking spray or butter
2. Toast the almonds and set aside
3. In a large pot put melt the butter on low heat
4. Add the 20 oz marshmallows and cinnamon and melt together until there are no more chunks and turn off the heat
5. Add the rice krispies and almonds and stir until almost combined
6. Add ¾ of the bag of chocolate chunks and stir just till combined, not oo much so they don’t melt a lot
7. Pour it into the pan and press down with your hand. If your hand sticks, wet it with water and press
8. Top with chocolate chunks and the small marshmallows and if you make sure they are touching the warm krispies, they will melt to the top
9. Let cool and cut and serve

Rating: 5 strawberries
Notes: Another 5!!!! Im going out with a bang!! This gets a five because of the reaction they got. Everyone LOVED them. I think I got proposed to like 4 times from people eating these. They are killer. The almonds taste great in this, and who doesn’t like extra marshmallows, and who would have thought, they are gluten free!! A must try for a twist on a classic, and for sure a winner…maybe for a bake sale??? 3 days to go!