Friday, July 29, 2011

Where Did This Week Go???

I feel like summer is flying by and I haven't decided if I'm sad about it or not. I'm excited for hot cider every morning, fall decorations and warm sweaters, baking more often (if nothing else just to warm the apt up a little more:)) and changing leaves. But, at the same time, the closer fall comes-the closer winter comes "ugh". And the closer my 24th birthday comes and that kinda scares me. I know 24 is not "old", but it's older, and older is never any fun. I don't think/hope I'll ever make a show of getting older and hating it outwardly, but inside I will dread it I'm sure.

AnyWay!!!!! It's Friday:) Not my favorite day of the week personally, but it is the day I feature a cocktail. So here we go.

I still have some blueberries left over so I thought I would try and find a drink that incorporates them. I found one but the name is...shall we say....a bit vulgar.  So much so that we will simply call this drink "Drink X".

You will need

  • 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Blue Caruaco
  • 1/2 oz Blueberries
  • Orange Juice
Mix ingredients over ice, pour into highball glass, top with orange juice.
Easy enough.

I just made this one over ice because I didn't feel like shaking it. I poured in the Carauco and Midori first and they swirled together and looked really cool. It had combined somewhat by the time I took this but you can see the blue below the ice.

Finished product. It's really good *sip*. It didn't come out very good in the pictures I took, but you know the color of the Aliens blood in Alien Vs. Predator????? Anyone??? Anyone at all?...Well it's the same exact color as this drink. Now I bet you really want to make this:).

It kinda looks like a kiwi too...that's better then alien blood.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remember When?

Probably not, this book- The Book of Household Management written by Isabella Beeton was published in 1861. I find it absolutely fascinating the amount of work and time that was put into preparing meals. To know that all the butter that was used was churned and meat butchered and vegetables grown, fish caught and so on (mind you, by you or your family). Nothing was easy, and just about everything was cooked in lard haha. If you have a few minutes click on the link and scroll through the pages (scroll a lot, the appendix is really long. Or click on contents at the top and choose where you want to go in the book). I think it's interesting anyway...

Here are a few samples from the book.

190. Ingredients- Remains of a cold tongue 2 lbs of shin of beef any cold pieces of meat or beef bones 2 turnips 2 carrots 2 onions 1 parsnip 1 head of celery 4 quarts of water 1 teacupful of rice salt and pepper to taste
Mode- Put all the ingredients in a stewpan and simmer gently for 4 hours or until all the goodness is drawn from the meat Strain off the soup and let it stand to get cold The kernels and soft parts of the tongue must be saved When the soup is wanted for use skim off all the fat put in the kernels and soft parts of the tongue slice in a small quantity of fresh carrot turnip and onion stew till the vegetables are tender and serve with toasted bread.
 Time 5 hours Average cost 3d per quart Seasonable at any time Sufficient for 12 persons

 756. Ingredients- Shoulder of lamb forcemeatNo 417 trimmings of veal or beef a onions 1 head of celery 1 faggot of savoury herbs a few slices of fat bacon 1 quart of stock No 105
Mode- Take the blade bone out of a shoulder of lamb fill up its place with forcemeat and sew it up with coarse thread Put it into a stewpan with a few slices of bacon under and over the lamb and add the remaining ingredients Stew very gently for rather more than 2 hours Reduce the gravy with which glaze the meat and serve with peas stewed cucumbers or sorrel sauce
Time Rather more than 2 hours Average cost lOd to Is per lb Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons Seasonable from Easter to Michaelmas

They did a weekly meal plan too!!

1895 Sunday- 1. Boiled turbot and oyster sauce potatoes 2. Roast leg or griskin of pork apple sauce brocoli potatoes 3. Cabinet pudding and damson tart made with preserved damsons

1896 Monday- 1. The remains of turbot warmed in oyster sauco potatoes 2. Cold pork stewed steak 3. Open jam tart which should have been made with the pieces of paste left from the damson tart baked arrowrpot pudding

1897 Tuesday- 1. Boiled neck of mutton carrots mashed turnips suet dumplings and caper sauce the broth should be served first and a little rice or pearl barley should be boiled with it along with the meat 2. Rolled jam pudding

1898 Wednesday- 1. Boast rolled ribs of beef greens potatoes and horseradish sauce 2. Bread and butter pudding cheesecakes

1899 Thursday- .1 Vegetable soup the bones from the ribs of beef should be boiled down with this soup cold beef mashed potatoes 2. Pheasants, gravy bread sauce 3 Macaroni

1900 Friday- 1. Fried whitings or soles 2. Boiled rabbit and onion sauce, minced beef potatoes 3 Currant dumplings

1901 Saturday- 1. Rump steak pudding or pie greens and potatoes 2. Baked custard pudding and stewed apples

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Worth Whaaaaat?!

Just a few things.

I've come to the conclusion that there will never be nothing else to make a TV show about. Maybe nothing worth watching, but never nothing all together. Also, I'm super depressed that Borders is closing. Matt and I love Borders and this news bums us out big time. Not to mention it will just mean 2 more empty buildings, never to be used again. Darn you internet, you've ruined everything.

Anyway, I made this today for dinner.

Mediterranean Couscous

You will need:

  • 1 cup Couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • handful of basil
  • handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup feta (more or less, w/e you want)
  • large handful of spinach
  • 1 cup chopped english cucumber
  • Balsamic dressing

Bring 1 1/4 cup of water to boil. Add 2 tbsp butter and 1 cup couscous. Stir, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and fluff with fork. Move to bowl and let cool in fridge for 30 min - 1 hour.

Chop up spinach, basil, parsley, tomatoes. Cut cucumber into quarters and dice thinly.

Mixing, mixing, mixing

Chopping, chopping, chopping

Mix all ingredients together, pour 1/4 of dressing over salad and mix thoroughly. You could also add olives, peppers, red onion...If you're adding much more extras I would make a recipe and half of the couscous. This salad could easily feed 6 people though.

Let it sit for a few minutes to let the couscous soak up some of the dressing. I seared some chicken to have with this, it was crazy good and flavorful. The only thing that would have made it better is a pita.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberry Heaven

In an effort to use some of the blueberries I still have I made this. Do yourself and favor, make it too:). You won't regret it.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

You will need:

  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 tbsp additional butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2- 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
For the topping
  • 3/4 sticks unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Cream together 1/2 stick plus 1 tbsp butter and sugar.  

Add egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until totally incorporated. Do not over beat.

Stir in blueberries until evenly distributed. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Pour in batter and spread.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients and cut together using two knives or a pastry cutter.

There will be pieces the size of small pebbles.

Sprinkle over the top of the batter and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp on top.

After you remove it from the oven sprinkle 1 or 2 tbsp of sugar over the top.

I figured I should probably taste it before serving it to company later today so I went ahead and cut a piece and had it with some whipped cream:).

Two minutes later (if that).

This cake was sooooo good. Especially being still warm from the oven. We'll have it with vanilla ice cream after dinner tonight. Can't wait for more!

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fast and Easy Pasta Dish

I'm doing this post as I slowly melt away. I don't know exactly how hot it is right now, but I probably don't want to know because it would only make me hotter. All I know is, it's too stinkin' hot to have my hands in steaming water washing dishes, or lugging laundry up and down from the laundry room, or heaven forbid vacuum (what the wha kind of word is vacuum anyway??? So weird when you have to look at it.) But it is hot enough to post last nights dinner with a tall glass of water.

Farfalle with Salsa Cruda

You will need:
  • Tomatoes, 1 1/2 lb cored and coarsely chopped
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Fresh basil, 1/2 cup slivered
  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup
  • Balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp
  • Smoked or regular mozzarella cheese, 1/2 lb cubed
  • Pine nuts, 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Farfalle, penne or other medium sized pasta, 1 lb
  • Prosciutto, 2 oz, thinly sliced and chopped

Just wanted to add a close up of these, I love the colors of summer food!

Excuse me, there's a stupid bird in our window. Okay, there were six of them!! I feel like I'm in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. For some reason the birds have taken a liking to our window sills. I don't know if there's bugs in there or what the heck they are doing but it's annoying. Anyway, I digress.

Put a large pot of water on to boil and in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, oil, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Stir well and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors.

Here's a pic of slivering (is that a word?) basil. An easy way to do it is to lay out your biggest leaf and layer the rest on top then roll them up in a tight bunch and cut them into thin slivers.

Mmmm, watch those flavors blend:).

Meanwhile, in a small, dry frying pan over medium high heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring often, until fragrant and pale gold. 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. You'll notice I don't have a picture of this. The last time I made this I added them but this time, I was just to lazy to buy pine nuts and I'll tell you,  it was just fine without them.

Stir in the mozzarella and let stand for 10 minutes longer.

I fried up the prosciutto a little in a pan with some evoo.

After the pasta has cooked until al dente, drain well and add the pasta to the sauce, along with the prosciutto. Toss to combine and slightly soften the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta warm or at room temp.

We ate it at room temp because it was to hot to eat anything warm. It was scrumptious (I say delicious too much so I'm working on using other adj to describe food). It's also going to be leftovers today and I'm going to eat it cold.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Weeknight 

Okay, time to scream at some birds again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blueberry Picking

So we didn't get the 75 degree, partly cloudy, breezy day that I had hoped for but berry picking was a success non-the-less. If nothing else I think hope everyone had a really good time! Here are some pics and I'm sure some blueberry recipes will be in this blogs future.

The babies did very well. They were all lathered up in sun screen and had their cute little hats on. From far away you'd think Liane and Steph were a couple of rough tough country women slinging their babies around the blueberry field. Then you'd get closer and hear them asking "When are we going to Dairy Queen!!!???" :) :)

Jen and her super awesome homemade berry fanny pack.

Liane had an interesting technique:) I didn't have the heart to tell her she ended up with smashed blueberries on her butt....Sorry Liane!

Kathryn off doing her thing. Somehow she ended ended up like a mile away in a matter of minutes. Perhaps she was escaping the certain odor that we all acquired within 5 minutes of being in the sweltering heat haha.

Yummy! They weren't the biggest blueberries I've seen but I'll tell you what, everyone I've eaten so far has been sweet and delicious.

Half way there!

Evie may or may not have been traumatized by the whole experience. She was one cranky baby on the way home. Maybe she didn't like the hairdo I gave her????

Besides grabbing handfuls and popping them like candy, I haven't made anything with them. But I did throw some in my oatmeal this morning with some brown sugar. It was so good. If you don't make your own oatmeal I encourage you to. It's really easy. These are Bob's Red Mill rolled oats from Weggies, in the natural/organic section. I love oatmeal and I feel better about eating it now that I make this because I can control the amount of sugar in it (I don't like plain oatmeal so there has to be something in it, usually a tsp or two of brown sugar) and then add extra of whatever I want. It seems more filling also. I cut the recipe in half that's on the back of the bag.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cream Puff, or if you're a snob Profiterole :)

I spent many hours at the bakery piping out hundreds and hundreds of cream puffs. I don't know how it became my job. I think, like many other things, I offered once and then from then on I just did it.

Anyway, the recipe for these is incredibly easy. It took me a while to figure this out since I was used to a recipe with 32 eggs and so on that made about 400 puffs. But with some help from the calculator I got it.

Cream Puffs

You will need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 pint heavy cream 
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
Bring the water and 2 sticks butter to a boil. After it's reached a nice bubbly boil turn off the heat and immediately add 2 cups flour.

Stir it up quick and it will form into a nice ball of dough, choux paste, to be fancy.

It's mixed up good once it pulls away from the sides nicely and holds it shape.

Let it stand for a minute or two and then transfer it into the bowl for the stand mixer. Mix at a low speed, adding each egg one at a time, letting the egg become incorporated before you add the next one. I had half large eggs and half extra large eggs so I ended up only using 7 of them.

Have your baking sheets ready. After you've put some of the dough into a piping bag put a little dab in the corners of the sheet. This will keep the parchment paper from curling up. Next put parchment paper on:).

I used a #1A tip I think. But really you could use a freezer bag and cut a hole in the corner about the size in between a penny and a nickle and that would work fine. It helps to do a row across and then a row down and go from there. You get nice straight lines that way. Repeat on second baking sheet. I think I ended up with somewhere between 80 and 90 puffs.

Have your oven pre-heated to 400 degrees and bake them for 40 minutes. Rotate and swap half way through. These could have used like 2 or 3 more minutes but oh well. They're good, I just prefer them a little crustier:).


Fast forward one day. You'll notice the change in scenery. It was approximately 1,000,000 degrees out today so I fill them in the air conditioned oasis that is my parents house. Now, chop their tops off! Set the tops aside and line the bottoms on a tray of your choice.

Like so.

Make some whipped cream using the heavy cream, vanilla, and conf. sugar. At this point you can also add some raspberry jam to half of it or stir some melted white chocolate into half, or mix all of it. Pretty much do whatever you want. I kept these simple with plain whipped cream. You could even make some vanilla pudding and mix it with the whipped cream and make a sort of pastry cream, that would be delicious.

Anyway, using a star tip I piped a little dollop on each bottom.

And then put their tops back on. Don't worry about them getting mixed up, they will. As long as all your puffs are about the same size it won't matter one bit.

Next I melted some dark chocolate pieces and put them in a plastic pastry bag. Put it in a tall glass so you have two hands to pour with if you'd like. Then snip a small hole in the bag, test it out in the bowl and make it bigger if you need to.

And drizzle. (if you're thinking what I'm thinking (liane and tab) you'll be laughing right now)

You don't have to do the chocolate if you don't want. You can do confectioners sugar or caramel or a chocolate glaze. The options are endless.

This picture shows the ones I made for Liane's baby shower. They were raspberry cream filled with chocolate. One day I'd like to make a croquembouche! That would be awesome.

Happy Baking!

I feel like I should add that if you're making cream puffs you can just as easily make eclairs. Instead of a little puff just squeeze the pastry bag and continue squeezing as you drag. Stop squeezing and pull up. I know this probably sounds confusing but it's really not. I'm bad at explaining some things...just make a log:), that's simpler haha. Also, if you don't want to cut the tops off use a small round tip in a pastry bag and inject them till they feel firm in your hand. Some might explode, but you just get to eat those! I'm not sure this would work without a metal tip since it has to puncture the puff or eclair. Anyway, just a little extra info.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moonshine, White Lightning, Hooch... whatever you want to call it

I've neglected Mixed Drink Friday. Fridays have been very busy lately. Not to mention I've realized I drink too many calories. Got to keep...make that regain my girlish figure, you know?

Anyway, tonight it's simple, straight to the point. Wild Turkey American Honey Whiskey. I'm a bit to lightweight to drink straight whiskey and if you are too (or just don't enjoy having your throat burned), you have to try this stuff. You can literally see the honey swirling around in your glass. So delicious:).

Don't judge, we've had that bottle for a long time haha.

Also, this is very good if you put a splash (or two) into hot black tea with a bit of lemon juice for when you have a cold/sore throat. It really does wonders.  

Matt wants to get Whiskey Stones. They are a pretty neat-o invention. No one likes diluted whiskey.

Okay, this post has taken me way longer then it should have, Good Night.