Cooking Basics..Everything you need to know about cooking

{August 21, 2010}   Cream Puffs + One Pretty Good Greek Salad

This summer I spent with a week with my Granny and Nonno, you see Granny likes to be called Granny and Nonno likes to go with his Italian roots and be called Nonno Nonno- Grandfather.

Anyways, my Granny has a true love for cooking. She is an amazing baker as well as a chef. Her kitchen is very well stocked. She said to me, “Would you like to bake a cheesecake?” Of course I wanted to bake a cheesecake but replied, “I would like to, but I don’t want you to have to go to the grocery store.” She replied, “Oh no don’t worry, I have all of the ingredients!” Now I don’t know about you guys, but if I’m planning to make a cheesecake, I have to run to the grocery store, get the cream cheese and the graham cracker crumbs and everything else! But nooo, Granny has her kitchen stocked! Oh and one more thing about Granny and her well-stocked kitchen, she has at least 4 pounds of butter available at all times. ‘Nuff said!

This week we made several things: shrimp scampi served on homemade linguine pasta, tabouille salad with homemade pita bread, Maryland crab cakes, Mongolian beef, cinnamon rolls (which are in the fridge right now, we’re baking them tomorrow), and pirogues cooked with butter and onions! I have never made so many delicious things in one week! Don’t worry, I’ll give you most of the recipes!

Now now, the cream puffs! The cream puffs are so cute and easy to make! Just bake ’em, and scoop out the little doughy part in the center, let that cool, then put in the custard! The custard is ah-mazing! It’s really just a creamy vanilla pudding, but I think custard sounds more fancy, don’t ya agree? The custard does require tempering, yes you’re enemy right? Well worry no longer about tempering! It is very easy (especially if you have a little helper to pour out half of the hot custard into the eggs). My secret for tempering: Make sure you’re already whisking your eggs and then when the custard comes on, give it a nice little whisk, pour it back in the pot, and you’re good! Leaving without any scratches! 🙂   Pictures of cream puffs coming soon!

Cream Puffs (Recipe from Betty Crocker Cookbook)

You Will Need:
– 1 cup water

1/2 cup butter (one stick)
– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 4 eggs

– 1 recipe custard filling (if you really, I mean really don’t want to make the filling yourself…you can use a pudding mix..)


1. Heat oven to 400° degrees. Heat water and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour.

2. Stir over low heat (you can’t leave here, you gotta stand by) until the mixture forms into a ball for about 1 minute.

3. Beat in eggs (I use an electric mixer), one at a time, continue beating until smooth. Drop dough by scant 1/4 cup cupfuls about three inches apart NOTE: If you need smaller ones for a party, just use a spoon to spoon out the dough.(if not using a sillpat, make sure to grease your pan). Bake for 35-40 minutes (they will look puffed and golden).

4. Cut off tops, and pull out any signs of soft dough in the middle (be careful not to break the cream puffs)

5. Let cool.

Custard (If you don’t want to make the custard, just use a pudding mix)

You Will need:

– 1/3 cup sugar

–  2 tablespoons cornstarch

– 1/8 tsp salt

– 2 cups milk

– 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

– 2 tb butter, softened

– 2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.

2. Now, make sure you are whisking your egg yolks already, and add in half of the custard. Stir the mixture into the saucepan. Boul and stir one minute, remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla, set aside to cool.

3. Fill chilled cream puffs with chilled pudding. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (these are served cold)

Oh and I have one more recipe for Tabboli/Tabouli/Tabbouleh/Tabouleh(so many different ways to spell it)

It was pretty good the first day, and the second day, woah, it got even better after it had time for the flavors to really marinade. Soo, I would say make it the day before for the best results.

Tabboli/Tabouli/Tabbouleh/Tabouleh Salad

You Will Need:

– 2 cups fine bulgar (#1 grind)

– 2 cups boiling water

– 1 bunch green onion, sliced finely

– 1 medium onion, chopped finely

– 1 bunch parsley, stems removed

– 1 bunch fresh mint lives

– 2 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

– 1/4 cup olive oil (Extra-Virgin of course)

– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

– 1 lemons, juiced

– 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce


1. Pulse bulgur in a large mixing bowl, Cover with boiling water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then fluff grains with a wooden spoon.

2. Finely chop parsley, mint, and green onions. (we used the food processor, just don’t process it too much, or you will end up with a  paste). Stir in bulgur wheat.

3. Stir in onion and tomatoes.

4. Stir in soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.

5. Chill overnight for best results.


I made cream puffs once before, and I have to agree with you: the pastry cream is so good! My favorite part, actually.

Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

owner says:

Thank you, very much 🙂

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