Single Female Cooking (SFC) Introduction!

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*Warning, I am single, this is not a family blog, so yeah, don’t be surprised if I let a cuss word slip here and there or I’m not all that, well, family oriented.*

I’m single. I love to cook. I find these two concepts shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but they seem to be because a lot of times when I say I love to cook I get asked, “Who do you cook for?” Huh, I’m pretty sure I count. Or my other favorite is, “Oh, you know how to cook already?” As if normally knowing to cook doesn’t come until you get the secret mommy or family decoder ring and club card. (There probably really is one that I don’t know about. That’s cool, everyone should have some type of decoder ring. I have an author one.)

Then there’s the other side of the stereotype spectrum I don’t fit.

I’m female. I know how to use a grill and a smoker and do it pretty well most days. Even when I went to Lowe’s to get my latest grill, it came with free delivery and put together, I smiled and joked that I wouldn’t have to put this one together finally. The guy just looked at me funny as if I could really handle putting a grill together. Same thing when I picked out my smoker. I asked lots of questions because it was my first one, and he was really patient until he asked, “It really depends if your husband prefers gas or charcoal.”

I blinked at him a moment, slapped on my best smile before answering. “I’m sorry, I missed where it said testicles were required to operate any of these. I’ll be getting electric because I read in my research they were the best for what I generally like to cook. But thanks for that insight.”

Either way, I love my slower cooker. I grill, I bake, I smoke, and I cook… What I have problems finding are recipes that work for ONE. Hell, I’ll take a recipe made for two. Now granted, there are some or ones easy to divide, but when you get into slow cooker recipes and the good stuff I like, nope, nada, zilch. It’s all “this will feed the whole family” or “you’ll be left to feed an army!” That’s great—except I have neither. What I do end up having is this…

ziti

 

Granted, I love my baked ziti but that one recipe left me eating ziti for six meals with a couple of freezer meals of sauce over pasta that, let’s be honest, I’ll never eat, because reheating cooked pasta sucks. And while it’s an awesome meal, anything for three days straight, lunch and dinner, makes you start wanting to forget you ever saw it. So a lot of food ends up going bad in my house, which is a waste of money. I hate that. Or I give it away. Which is a waste of money when people don’t appreciate or, you know, feed me back.

So why am I rambling about this on a section of my blog about my books? Well, it’s my blog and it’s all about me, and this is part of being me. It started when I learned to use my slow cooker and nothing was a meal for under four people in all the recipes I discovered. It got worse I ventured into smoking meat and uncovered the excess of testosterone, but I was used to that being a griller. But recently I learned about this new thing called “freezer meals” which is going out and buying like a month’s worth of food, cutting it all up and prepacking everything into bags so you can defrost and either stick in the oven or the slower cooker. Blogs and blogs about how to do, shopping lists, preparing ideas, meal planners, budgets… Genius, right?

Guess what? They’re all made for families. Every page I went to talked about the pleasures of doing this for their family and the smiles on their kids’ faces, the joys of parenthood, almost as if I should feel guilty for being there because I actually wanted to feed myself.

Guess what? There needs to be a new genre of cooking even if I have to develop it my damn self. Hence… Single Female Cooking was born. I’m going to take the recipes I like, mix them with what I know about cooking and figure out how to convert them into a way to make them so they work for those of us who don’t have 4, 5, or 6 people sitting down to dinner each night.

Some I have already learned. Some I will pick up along the way. And some will just be my secret recipes I’ll just share because, why the hell not? This is all in good fun, right?

So let’s get started with that category first!

Erin’s Secret Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

First of all, I don’t give recipes like most sites or normal people… Mostly because I’m not normal. Nothing is worse when you’re reading a recipe and you’re new and have to ask or look up something like “folding”? The first time I had a recipe with “folding” something in, I was practically chewing nails after I knew the answer, muttering to myself, “Why didn’t they just say stir in really, really gently? Idiots!” I keep things real, I keep things simple—I like life easy. Like my ingredients… I go in order of how you put the shit in de bowl.

What you need:

Butter (Unsalted)*: 2 sticks & 1 tablespoon

Sugar (regular white stuff that’s bad for you): 3/4 cup

Brown Sugar (Light): 3/4 cup

Vanilla Extract*: 1 teaspoon

Eggs (Large, White): 2

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Baking Soda: 1 teaspoon

Flour (Normal White)*: 2 & 1/4 cup

Peanut Butter Chips: 1 overflowing cup

Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips**: 1 overflowing cup

*Use generic if you want, I do. I use Kirkland vanilla, I DO NOT use imitation vanilla extract. Get the real thing or do not compare them to my cookies. Same thing with the butter, get real butter or don’t blame me if they taste like ass. Flour, that’s up to you. I use unbleached, but flour is more of a preference, I buy the MASSIVE bag at Costco because, well, it’s always handy to have around and I never seem to have it go bad before I need more.

**I use Tollhouse, but again, this is a preference thing. Get what you like.

Preheat oven to 375… No, don’t ask me about elevation or anything like that. I don’t have a clue.

Now, here’s where people who bake are gonna think I’m nuts on several occasions. I am, but that doesn’t make me wrong. The original recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter or one cup, but screw that, you lose some of your butter in the thing you zap it in so I stick in an extra tablespoon when I zap it. Yes, I zap it for 1 min, because I’m not leaving it out to room temperature. I’m busy and I forget and I waste butter that way and it grosses me out that the butter got warm for hours and—yuck. Zap it, dump it in your mixing bowl, and be done with it. Move on.

Granted, you could zap it in your glass mixing bowl and then you only need 2 sticks, but I have a metal mixing bowl because I use my Kitchen-Aid. (If you don’t have one and you really like to cook or want to learn to cook, get one, it’s worth the investment and saves your hands!)

Kitchen-Aid

See, pretty, even if it’s red. It lasts forever, invest in it. Ask for one for Christmas, work a corner for one, whatever.

So, put your butter in the bowl, and whip it. Yes, whip it. Think 1980’s music and whip it. Here, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, this is my lame ass joke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbt30UnzRWw

Anyways, whip it. Add the sugar and turn up the mixer until it’s seriously fluffy and creamy, not just blended. I actually walk away and leave it for about five minutes on med-high until it looks like this.

Fluffy

Almost looks like frosting or something, right? Yeah, that’s my butter and sugars. That’s done. Add your vanilla, whip, one egg at a time, whip until completely smooth. Run your spatula around the top of the bowl and make sure there’s not random egg or sugar that’s misbehaving and didn’t get in on the fun whipping. If you’re good, then done. On to the next part.

Now here’s the other part I disagree with in every cookie recipe I’ve ever read. They will tell you to mix all the dry ingredients together and start slowly adding them a little at a time. Screw that. We’re all too busy for extra steps. Here’s what you do that works just as well.

Add the smallest dry ingredient first. In all that liquid it will get dispersed evenly as long as you mix it on a high level. Add your salt and baking soda and mix well. Then I shut it off and dump a 1/4 c of flour on either side of the beater before turning it back on low. That way you never get that flour flare-up in your face. Add all your flour that way until there’s no more left. Turn it up to med-high for a few minutes. Now, run your spatula around the top of the bowl and make sure you don’t have any flour trying to get away. Keep mixing until it’s all in there. Then switch to low and either lock the Kitchen-Aid in place (yeah, made that mistake once, fun dough everywhere) or brace your bowl because here come the chips!

Dump your overflowing cups of chips in there. You’re just trying to even them out among the dough, not whip or really “mix” like batter. Here’s what you should get…

Chips

Next spoon onto UNGREASED cookie sheet. If you’re a size queen, make them bigger. If not, smaller, that’s why there’s a range: 8-10 minutes. Mine look like this.

Tray

I spoon out 2 sheets at a time and here’s why… Put them in on top rack in center position of oven. Take them out when timer goes off (I do 8.5 minutes, it works for my stove, who knows why) and leave them on the top of the stove! Stick in the next cookie sheet in same spot in stove. Reset timer. Leave the cooling cookies on top of the stove the entire timer. When it goes off, take the sheet out of the oven and put it on the stove top as well. Now you may take the cookies off the 1st tray and put them somewhere and cover them immediately!! I use my glass Pyrex dish.

Cookies

Why do this and not the cooling racks and everything else all the blogs and cooking shows or whatever else recommend? Because 8-10 is a short time to cook for normal-sized cookies. I find it’s much better that way and then leave them on the hot cookie sheet on top of the stove, which is giving off heat because it’s on, to finish them for another 8-10. Think of it as how when you cook chicken you cover it for part of the time or whatever. It just works. I’ve shipped cookies across the country and people open the box and tell me they’re still soft as if they were baked that day without the browned bottoms of being in the oven too long but they’re not falling apart, undercooked. Part of the trick is to get them covered while they’re warm, so you should be able to grab the cookie sheet with your hand and it’s warm but you’re not burning yourself.

And that’s it. My secret recipe for Peanut Butter& Chocolate Chip Cookies. Depending on how big you made them, you’ll have about 40-48. I normally have about 44.

Hmm, that’s a lot of cookies for a single female. I mean, you could eat them all but then, do you need all those calories? Oh! Wait, I have an idea!! Share them with him. He looks hungry!

Cookies 1

Go ahead, you’re single. Eat them off his abs if you want. You won’t get in trouble. It’s the perks of Single Female Cooking. We get to eat and feed the poor single female men who are so hungry. Like this poor, poor famished soul.

Cookies2

I mean, god, he just… *blinks* I’m sorry, what was I saying? Right. Feed him cookies. Gonna go do that now. Hope you like the cookies and hope to see you on the next post of Single Female Cooking!!

~Erin