Brian Cressall insatiable appetite, unending curiosity

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cookies + Ice Cream

One of my favorite desserts is this cookie and ice cream duo. Some people call them a Fa'zookie, others call it a Skookie or some other trademarked name, but it's delicious no matter what you call it.

I've tried placing a freshly-baked cookie in a bowl and topping it with ice cream, but the ice cream froze the cookie, which wasn't what I wanted. The benefit of the cast-iron mini-griddle is it keeps the cookie warm and soft. You just have to eat it soon after adding the ice cream because it also has the effect of melting the ice cream.

Here is our chocolate chip cookie recipe:

2/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups regular flour
Chocolate chips

Mix everything but the chocolate chips, then add the chips at the end. Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes. I get better results baking these cookies on a stone instead of a metal sheet.

Golden Fat Fries

A few years ago I bought a french fry slicer, but for the first time today I tried out the larger size blade. It was a nice to have a meatier fry. A friend of mine affectionately calls these "fat fries". I'm not sure if he's describing the fries or the people who eat them in excess. =)

It's not difficult to make french fries, but there are a few techniques that help them turn out nicer.
  • Soak/rinse in water: this helps wash away some of the starch. If you don't do this, your french fries are more likely to stick together in the fryer.
  • Follow this two-stage cooking process:
Step 1: Blanch the fries in the cooking oil at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes (for fat fries). This softens the whole potato.

Step 2: Remove the french fries and let your oil heat up to 375 degrees. Put the fries back in and cook for another 5 minutes. This allows your fries to get crispy on the outside instead of crisping the entire fry.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Best Bread Recipe

Announcing a whole new website in tribute of my favorite bread recipe. has the recipe and instructions to create this bread that has become a family tradition. Many people have asked me for the recipe and I've shared it, but now it is even easier to share! If you want to get your taste buds going, visit the gallery.

As of writing this post, is ranked #5 in Google when you search for "best bread recipe". Not too shabby!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mean Zucchini

When I was at the store this last week, I picked up some zucchini - green and yellow.  Fortunately they were relatively small compared to the giant zucchini that gets grown in the everyday garden.  My father-in-law taught me a tasty way to prepare zucchini that has me hooked.  Heck, even my wife will eat it, and she's NOT a fan of vegetables.  

  • Green zucchini
  • Yellow zucchini
  • Yellow onion
  • Butter or margarine

  1. Peel and slice the zucchini.
  2. Sauté diced onions in butter or margarine.
  3. Add the zucchini to the onions.
  4. Cook the zucchini on medium heat until they are tender enough to pick up with a fork and not soggy. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Baking Bagels

Today's inspiration comes from this website.  I watched a Food Network show where I learned how bagels were made.  I had no idea that bagels were first boiled before baked, so I thought I would give it a shot.  It turns out that fresh bagels are really good!

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

  1. Mix and knead the dough well.  
  2. Cut into 8 equal pieces.  
  3. Let rise for 10-20 minutes.  
  4. Roll up the dough pieces into snakes and connect the ends to create the bagel look.
  5. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  6. Boil water and cook each side for 1 minute.
  7. Place the bagels on a lightly-greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes on each side (flip once).  I pulled the bagels out about 3 minutes early because they looked like they were done... and they were. =)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stuffed French Toast

While my wife was out learning how to take better pictures, I decided to treat myself to a new sweet breakfast.  I mostly followed this recipe to create a sandwich-like french toast.  I didn't want a real bulky french toast "sandwich", so I thinly sliced some homemade bread made by a neighbor.  Since it was a few days old, it was perfect as french toast bread.

To top it off, I added homemade strawberry jam, fresh strawberry pieces, and whipped cream.  My mouth is watering just describing it again.  Since it turned out so well, I made it for my wife for dinner the same day!  Goes well with bacon.

The Ingredients
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • strawberry jam
  • strawberries
  • 4 slices of bread
  • whipped cream

The Directions
  1. Mix the cream cheese and vanilla.  It's helpful to warm up the cream cheese for ease in mixing and spreading.  Spread the mix on 2 slices of bread.  Sanwich the pieces (filling side in!).
  2. Mix 1 egg with a little bit of milk -- 1 to 2 tablespoons. Add a dash of nutmeg.
  3. Dip the bread in the egg mixture or brush onto the bread to avoid making it more soggy than necessary.
  4. Cook both sides.  For serving, I slice the sandwich diagonally to create 2 triangles.
  5. Warm up the strawberry jam.  It helps keep the french toast warm instead of cooling it off.
  6. Add strawberries.  I like them cubed.
  7. Add whipped cream.

Makes 2 french toast sandwiches.