Belated Birthdays and Baking Blunders
After yesterday’s baking excitement, Nick and I got all gussied up last night and headed into Hampden, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore.
We had reservations for my belated birthday dinner at The Dogwood, a self-proclaimed “community gourmet” restaurant that serves seasonal, local foods.
I’d eaten at Dogwood twice before and had mixed experiences (dinner was great, lunch was so-so), but I was still interested in trying it again.
I still don’t feel comfortable whipping out my camera in the middle of a restaurant, so I apologize for the lack of photographic evidence of our meal. Just know that it was fantastic, from my glass of wine (Riesling, because I am the girliest wine drinker ever), to our homemade potato chips and yogurt dip, the house bread with mango butter (as delicious as it sounds), Nick’s lobster ravioli with shrimp and wild mushrooms, my lentil-barley veggie burger (which I will be recreating at home—I’ve already looked up recipes!), and our chocolate chip poundcake topped with salted caramel ice cream. Everything was fresh, flavorful, and perfectly prepared.
More than anything, I enjoyed my company last night. Our dinner conversation was my favorite part of the meal; Nick even got me thinking about possible thesis topics and ways to go about starting my preliminary research! (Ah, the perks of dating a PhD candidate). All in all, it was another great birthday dinner.
Today we took it easy—I worked out, gave myself a pedicure:
We both got some work done, and then we headed over to Starbucks for a change of scenery.
Have you tried the new SBUX Mocha Coconut Frappucino?
Oh, yum. I enjoyed it so much that I forgot to take a picture until I was nearly done. My bad.
Once we got home, I decided that I needed a break from reading about Educational Change, and obviously my distraction of choice was baking. My friend Jenna has been raving about popovers and puffs lately, and I finally had to give them a try. They just looked too good (and too easy) to pass up! I used this recipe that she recommended and got to work. The end product?
I don’t know that this is how the puffs were supposed to turn out. Maybe they didn’t “puff” as much as they should have because I swapped 1/2 of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat? In any case, while not “puffy,” these were still pretty good, kind of like a baked doughboy (or funnel cake, for all of you non-Rhode Islanders).
I served Nick a couple of puffs stuffed with blueberries and drizzled with honey.
While he ate these, he suggested I start documenting my “baking failures” on this here blog. Then he suggested that these would be better dusted with powdered sugar. And then he cleaned his plate. The boy is not picky.
After I popped those puffs, Nick got to work on dinner (and karma made a timely appearance, which we’ll get to in a second). It seems that pizza is our favorite go-to meal as of late. It’s just so easy and, well, good. The last pizza we made was topped with eggplant, but this weekend chicken sounded good to both of us.
I cheated this time around bought a store-bought (whole wheat) crust from Giant. It’s generally Nick’s job to roll/stretch out the dough while I work on the “fixins.” So he floured the counter and got to work:
(Yes, he is rolling out the dough using a can of cooking spray. I don’t know how it’s possible considering the amount of baking I do, but I still do not own a rolling pin).
While he rolled out the dough, I cooked some chicken tenders seasoned with McCormick Grill Seasoning, and then wilted some spinach with a mix of olive oil and garlic. By the time the chicken was done cooking, Nick STILL wasn’t done rolling out the dough. Every time he stretched it out, it would shrink back up to its original size. He was getting REALLY frustrated at this point, and finally turned the job over to me (he also did not appreciate me suggesting that he just “go with the dough.” Whoops).
I stretched the dough out and, before it could shrink back up, threw it in the oven to cook for two minutes. Somehow this strategy worked! The dough kept its shape, and we were able to finish making what ended up being one of the best pizzas we’ve ever made:
You’d never even known we fought with it for nearly a half hour! Yes, we patted ourselves on the back after this one.
All in all, its been a great weekend. Good food and good company. Now I have a Tupperware full of blondies and True Grit to look forward to. Happy Sunday, everyone!
How did you spend your weekend? Good food? Good company? Both?!