What would you call the opposite of dog days…

We’re well into the dog days of summer here on the East Coast although the past few weeks have seen a spattering of humid days, cold days, hot days, and everything in between. In short, spontaneously unpredictable weather.

In any case, summer at home means dining outside on the deck and firing up the ole Weber grill for some BBQ fun. Before we renovated our house (some 10 years ago), we used to have a brick charcoal grill in the backyard that imparted the perfect smoky flavor on everything it cooked. Something about gas-powered grills just doesn’t feel the same.  But we do what we must for our fill of charred goodness.

I seriously love the look and taste that grill marks impart on food. Not only do they provide the quintessential “summer bbq session” experience (charcoal, smoke, and all), but they also make for great photo fodder. Below is just one shot from one BBQ of the many hosted in the Rookie household but still a very typical representation of what one might find smoking on the grill at any given time. Also on the menu: fresh watermelon juice, italian sausages with caramelized onions, potato salad, and strawberry arugula salad (can’t forget the veggies!).

 

What can I say, I’m a rookie!

I may be the Pantry Rookie but even I need to take a break from food sometimes. So, don’t be alarmed to come here some days to find a post completely unrelated to food. They will most likely be catered more towards my insatiable wanderlust or penchant for shopping for the lifestyle I want (and not the one I have! Sadness). After all, I’m still learning about this whole blogging business myself so I might as well break my own rules every now and then. 

 

Exhibit A: just look at this amazing mug a friend gifted to me recently. I love the simplicity of its design and the fact that the mug itself isn’t completely round. The handwritten word and organic shape of the mug makes it feel so much more handmade and personal. It’s also super practical since it holds SO. MUCH. LIQUID. I seriously never need to walk back to the kitchen after filling it since I’m usually more than quenched. 

 

Welcome to The Pantry Rookie!

Hello! I’m so glad you’ve found your way to my humble virtual abode. Here I will be documenting the many trials and tribulations that I will inevitably stumble through in exploring the ins and outs of food, dining, cooking, and baking. You can just call me The Pantry Rookie. I have to confess that I don’t actually have a pantry (shh!) but I am indeed a bona fide rookie ready and raring to take on whatever comes my way! The posts that precede this one are from my previous food blog, whisk’d, so feel free to read up on those and there will be some new content coming your way very very soon! 

Back to Basics: Croissants

Making croissants has always seemed like a daunting task to me. Pounding butter into a square, freezing, folding, turning, head-spinning confusion, not to mention the seemingly endless waiting periods in between turning. But, I decided to finally just go for it. Go hard or go home, right? I figured if they failed, they’d still be nice….dinner rolls? In the end they came out beautifully! Buttery and flaky and all things croissants should taste like. I’ll be honest….all I wanted was to snuggle and eat some warm croissants and jam and watch television.

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Blackberry and Mango Cream Puffs (Pâte Choux)

Cream puffs make for the perfect finger-friendly petit fours! Yes, they are mildly time-consuming but the end result is absolutely worth it. I’ll be honest, making the crème légère, pastry cream mixed with whipping cream, stressed me out. I had to make two batches since the first one failed completely and was just a yucky, curdled mess. But when it works…it tastes freaking amazing. It’s smooth and velvety and I could eat that shiz straight out of the bowl no joke.

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