“In My Kitchen” February 2021

Happy Fabulous February!

Welcome to this month’s installment of “In My Kitchen” hosted by Sherry’s Pickings.   Every month, IMK allows us all to get a glimpse into others’ kitchens.

I was very remiss last month and I forgot to mention a Christmas present that The Hubs gave me.  We’ve been watching The Chef Show and we were both taken with Christina Tosi from one of the episodes.  The passion she had for cooking was evident as well as her Zen-like approach.   The Hubs was taken with the cookie recipe that was featured along with her infamous crack pie so he ordered the book.


It was wrapped up under our Christmas tree for me.  I was delighted!

Just for reading, Milk is a great book.  I loved Chang’s introduction and it was interesting to learn about Tosi’s evolution.   The photographs are lovely.

But, the two recipes I’ve tried, Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies and Crack Pie, came out less than stellar.  Don’t get me wrong; the flavors were there.   I don’t think it was the execution of the recipes because I actually read the recipes a couple of times BEFORE I started (which is unheard of for  me) because I so wanted these to turn out.  I followed the directions exactly and took no shortcuts.  In fact, the Crack Pie was made for The Hubs’ birthday.

The first sheet of cookies came out overdone and totally flat with the marshmallows incinerated.   (That is totally my fault because I set the timer for the 18 minutes that was called for without checking on them.)   I tried reducing the heat, freezing them before baking and a combination of both.  I finally found a modicum of success with baking them frozen at 350F.  No pictures here.  Seriously though, the first batch of cookies were inedible.  (That’s saying a lot around here.)

The Crack Pie was just weird.  The crust worked well but the filling never set up.  The pie must be frozen after baking (and I wonder if it is to disguise a runny filling.)  It is super rich and the final product was OK but I’m not sure I will make it again.  (The original recipe also makes two pies but it was easily halved.)  

Also, be aware that there are recipes to make before the recipe.  For instance, for the cookies one must make the cornflake crunch, an integral part of recipe.  Now, this crunch is great and you will have made more than you need for the cookies themselves.  Sprinkle it on regular cornflakes (because you will have these leftover as well), on top of oatmeal, ice cream or yogurt.  For the crack pie, you will need to make a giant oatmeal cookie (which is great on its own as well) to crumble up for the crust.   The cookie crumb was so good that I think I will play around with that recipe some more and perfect a new oatmeal treat.

I rated this book three stars.  I’m not giving up and will try other recipes so I might be increasing that rating (or decreasing it…it all depends).

Another new book to the ever expanding foodie bookshelf is Eat Joy.  

I recently reviewed it here for Cook the Books.

The most exciting cooking gadgetry here at EE is not actually in the kitchen.  It’s on the patio and it’s probably not permanent, but it has been a lot of fun.  IT’S A PIZZA OVEN!

In various stages of construction and use.

It seriously took about thirty minutes to build and cost about $15.  (We had all the fire brick on hand.  The Hubs only had to purchase the pavers.)   It’s been through a couple of modifications and rebuilds since the first firing, but we love it.  We fire it up almost every weekend and we’ve been experimenting with different dough recipes.   This oven won’t be permanent and we will probably build one soon.  Basically this is just proof of concept (and to see if we even liked the process and products).

The products are delicious!

A few years ago, the big hubbub around here was that Tulsa was getting a Trader Joe’s.  I was excited along with the rest of Northeast Oklahoma.    I have visited TJ’s in KC and in OKC, but it wasn’t until last week that I ventured into our local one.  Actually, I tried to visit right before Christmas but they were limiting entry (which was a good thing) and the line was wrapped around the store.  I passed.  After last week’s successful visit, I will certainly make it a monthly stop.  The produce looked outstanding and the wine selection was impressive (and cheap—even though the days of Two-Buck-Chuck are gone).  I specifically went to purchase their Unexpected Cheddar (which was raved about at a recent online charcuterie event).   I found the cheddar and a lot more.

Chili Dusted Dried Mangoes, Bazaar Basket Snack Mix, and Unexpected Cheddar

I can’t rave enough about these items.  I also picked up a case of their sparkling water.

Atop my messy workspace.

I love the blueberry-lemon flavor.

Last but not least, I was able to score some Yelp Elite cookie perks from a local bakery, OK Cookie Momster.

Most delicious cookies.

I’m not a big iced sugar cookie fan, but these are seriously outstanding.   Either the cookie or the icing had a punch of almond flavoring which I loved!

That’s it for February’s IMK.  There wasn’t a lot happening.  I think I am actually staying in more.  In December definitely, I was running to the store whenever I needed to.  In January, I quelled that urge (except for my Trader Joe’s run).   Let’s see what February brings.

What’s the curveball this month?  I’ve started slow sewing.  (Don’t judge.)

Love and blessings to all!

I’m linking up with February’s Foodies Read today as well.

22 comments to “In My Kitchen” February 2021

  • That crack pie actually looks pretty good…sorry that you didn’t like runny filling. Cool pizza oven, Deb. I bet the pizza crust must be outstanding!

  • mae

    You are lucky to be able to go to TJ’s — I have a very large number of favorite things from them, but we are being super careful and only shopping where they do delivery or contactless pick-up. I think you will find a lot to like when you can shop there more easily. Our store would be walking distance from our house, but I always buy too much to carry home — obviously before the shut-down I went there ALL THE TIME.

    be safe… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  • I am very jealous of that outdoor pizza oven Debra. What a cool concept, can’t wait to see the final version.

  • thanks so much for joining in IMK Debra, and for using the logo. much appreciated. I know you say that cookbook is good but eek-from the sound of the recipes you tried… Is trader joe’s a big supermarket type thingy? Love your curveball; so cute. How clever to make the pizza oven. I bet it makes delicious pizzas, etc. Have a fab Feb. take care

    • Always try to stick the logo in somewhere! 🙂 Trader Joe’s is a bit similar to Whole Foods but cheaper. Also similar to Aldi’s but a bit higher end.

  • Wow, that pizza oven is brilliant! Sorry the _Milk_ cookbook isn’t up to standard. I actually find that with a lot of cookbooks written by professionals — so I tend to use them more for ideas, and modify the recipes heavily. Fun stuff in your kitchen — thanks.

    • I have found that to be typically the case as well. I have loved Johnny Iuzzini’s Sugar Rush though. I haven’t baked from it for a while. He has a wonderful Blondie recipe that was quite interesting (and delicious).

  • A pizza oven! How cool is that? I bet you do love it. I know I would. Nice stuff from TJ’s. Sorry about the crack pie, but then if the flavor wasn’t there, maybe that was a sign.

  • I remember standing in front of Milk Bar in Vegas. Everything sounded great but I knew it would all kill my lactose intolerant self.
    Her episode on The Chef Show was really good. Hope you find better things in the book.

    • I will persevere. We were quite taken with her. I even thought about ordering from Milk for the holidays (but it was quite expensive).

  • Wow look at that pizza oven! I love the idea of having a pizza oven, and I cannot tell you how much I love that you just *made* one? That is incredible, and your pizzas look extra delish.
    I’m sad about the Milk book, I don’t think I have the tenacity and perseverance to make that kind of recipe..

    • I was prepared to make another recipe this weekend but I didn’t have the stamina to make another recipe before I made the primary recipe. 🙁 Maybe for Valentine’s.

  • Oh, that pizza oven! That would be so cool. I am showing this to Doug today. Loev the pizzas you made too, nothing like homemade.

    You have inspired me to get my IMK post ready. We got busy with a dog adoption and some other things so I haven’t been online as much.

    • Seriously, you should build one. What’s great is if you don’t have the flow right or there’s another mod to make, it’s super easy to rebuild. The latest mod here has been to remove the “baking” paver and add two pizza stones (held by some angle iron). It’s been too freakin’ cold here to even think about cooking outdoors though!!!

  • Liz

    I am not sure where to start a comment. I loved the unbiased review of Milk, and the pizza oven is very impressive (as well as the pizza results). I miss TJ’s, there is one in Oakland that I frequent when I am there, but the nearest one to us here on the coast is 2 hours away. Their cheddar is outstanding, the tomato/red pepper soup is a favorite, we also like the spiced nuts as a crunchy element in salads. There are too many items!