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lundi, avril 25 2016

the venenciador swings

I also like to drink sherry as it is, a custom that’s particularly wonderful to do if you get a chance to visit Spain, where it’s often served right from the casks. A long cylindrical “scooper” is dipped into the sherry cask and the venenciador swings it up and pours it into a glass, sometimes without even looking!

Note that they make look easier than it is. I tried to swipe a glass of sherry from a cask at my host’s place in Spain when they weren’t around and made a mess all over the outside of the barrel trying to pour the sherry into my glass with that little cylinder. I can’t imagine doing it from any sort of distance.

In Sherry, Talia offers up this recipe for the New Spain, which may very well become my cocktail for the summer. The Rosemary Gimlet was my cocktail for the winter, mostly because Romain kept insisting that I make them again and again. But I think it’s time to shake things up a little around here.

Talia gave me a super tip for making big, chunky ice cubes, the sort of fancy kind that don’t melt fast in your drink, and water it down. (Although I tend to drink fast, faster than ice melts.) You can buy ice cube trays to make those large cubes, but you can also freeze water in a loaf pan then remove it from the pan, envelop it in a clean kitchen towel, and whack it with a rolling pin. Open the towel and you’ll have big chunks of ice to use in your cocktails. Nifty, huh? She did say scoring it first would make them break into cubes, but I didn’t mind the iceberg-like floaters in my New Spain cocktails.

I recently got a copy of Talia’s newest book, Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo, written with co-author Leslie Pariseau (Talia is also the editor for Punch, an award-winning website about cocktails and spirits that I recently wrote an article for), and I was wowed by a few of the spritz’s that I sampled from it. Like sherry, she’s on a mission to give the spritz a little more pr, too.

I’ll have to admit that I’m a bad blogger, and not in danger of winning any awards, because I didn’t get a nice shot of the cocktail glasses when they were frosty cold, and full of New Spains. Why not? Because we were too busy drinking them. However I guarantee that if you mix yourself up a few, you’ll have a hard time sitting back and admiring them, too.

jeudi, novembre 5 2015

Pumpkin patches

Who’s already carved a pumpkin this year? I’m jealous of you if you have. What’s not to love about scooping the slimy guts out of a pumpkin and dangerously hacking out a face in its side with a dull blade? It’s the best HKUE amec.

When I was younger I used to really love the lead up to Halloween. In hindsight I think I enjoyed the anticipation more than the actual night of knocking on doors and demanding candy from strangers. Pumpkin patches, school carnivals, mapping out which houses supply kind sized candy bars with my best friend – it was all so exciting. And of course, Halloween is just the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas following soon after mask house. Christmas is great, but it’s another time in which the anticipation was greater than the actual day. Even as a kid it always  felt a little underwhelming to be excited for one special morning that was over and done before you know it. Winter isn’t quite as sparkly and romantic once the holidays pass. Just cold, wet, and still really cold.

One of my favorite treats during that lead up to both Halloween and Thanksgiving wasn’t actually the snickers bars or the tootsie rolls (though I practiced no self restraint in the candy department). What I always looked forward to most was my mom roasting the pumpkin seeds that we saved from carving pumpkins. Salty, crunchy, and ridiculously moorish kangertech box mod. I always find that I have to eventually cover the seeds and walk away because I can’t help but constantly reach for another small handful…or two.

There are so many different ways you can spice your pumpkin seeds salty or sweet, but for me I usually like to keep at least one snack salty this time of year to balance out all the sweet treats around me which is why I chose to make tamari roasted pumpkin seeds. Typically in cases where tamari or soy is used I reach for my coconut aminos for a soy free alternative. Since you only need a small amount of this recipe and because coconut aminos are a bit pricey I decided to go with the tamari sauce for a savory, salty, and slightly tangy flavor.

Because the amount of seeds you get varies from pumpkin to pumpkin, the amounts that you need to season and roast the seeds will too. The idea is that you want to coat the seeds in just enough to dress them in oil/sauce without making them swim in too much liquid. Your cooking time will also vary depending on how big your seeds are: bigger seeds = more time in the oven. All things considered, roasting pumpkin seeds is still one of the easier culinary tasks, and in the and in the end it’s definitely worth it.

So whatever you do – don’t throw out the seeds!

mardi, janvier 20 2015

blueberry jam

You know that episode of Friends where Joey is obsessed with jam? As in, his mom used to drop him off at the movies with a jar of jam and a spoon? That’s pretty much my husband. Jeff is a jam fanatic, so it’s rare to have an untouched jar of jam in my house that I can use for baking. But I outsmarted him this time California Fitness!

The December Mitten Crate arrived boasting a bounty of Michigan-made products, including:

Dave’s Sweet Tooth Coffee Toffee
Mindo Chocolate Gingerbread Chocolate Bar
McClary Bros. Michigan Apple Pie Drinking Vinegar California Fitness
Slow Jams Blueberry Lavender Jam
Joseph Wesley Black Tea

When I saw the jam, I made sure to hide it away so that I could make a batch of these Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Bars. Eat them for breakfast, take them to a bake sale, or just curl up under a blanket with them California Fitness.

Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Bars - Oatmeal and pecan bars layered with blueberry jam.

Want to try a Mitten Crate of your own? Click HERE to get started, and use the code FOXES5OFF for $5 off your first month’s subscription, or use the code FOXFREESHIP for free shipping on a one-time order.

This post was written by me on behalf of Mitten Crate, who provided me with a free box for recipe development purposes. I was not otherwise compensated for writing this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

unnecessary worry

I know we’re all supposed to be putting a halt to all the treats after the holidays.  It’s supposed to be gruel and salad this time of year.
Meh.  It’s cold and the only thing really that will keep us all going is a wee bit of chocolate.
Maybe in cookie form?
With a bit of chilli in it too?
The trick is to not eat them all and the way to avoid that is to NOT avoid all the goodies out there.  Enjoy.  The only time I’ve truly been crazy about watching what I eat and saying no to everything was when I was my heaviest.  Then instead of one cookie I desperately wanted (and had) a dozen.
Forget about it and the weight comes off at the same time that the unnecessary worry does.
Have a cookie.
Butter, sugar and spice is whipped together before adding eggs.
Cocoa and flour is added for a rich batter.
Roll in chipotle scented sugar and bake until just set-they’ll be squidgy on the top.
Perfect for munching on and even nicer to share.

samedi, septembre 20 2014

fractional adjustments

Did I mention that stir fries are super fast?
But …. what about the rice thing? Doesn’t rice take for-evah?
First, I would always encourage everyone to make extra rice whenever you’re preparing a meal with rice. It’s foolproof to just double the amount of rice you need – no weird little fractional adjustments needed to the amount of liquid used. For me, having rice in the fridge is sometimes the only thing standing between me and a cold bowl of cereal for dinner. You know, on those kind of days. Stir fries are so easy that sometimes my dinner is just a quick stir fry of brown rice, frozen shrimp, and an egg. But it’s not really “just” a quick stir fry. It’s warm and filling and savory and satisfying. And takes no time at all.

Second, if you don’t have prepared rice on hand, it’s really no big deal. I’m not sure how cooking rice got this reputation for being all long and complicated. It’s 45 minutes of hands-off cooking. Seriously. The only thing you have to do is turn the heat off halfway through. Check out my tutorial for cooking brown rice, and you’ll see how easy it is. So, basically you get the rice going, and then go off and do other things for 20 minutes. Come back, take the pan off the heat, and start prepping your other stir fry ingredients. The rice will be ready by the time you have to add it to your stir fry. Easy peasy.

Third, I always keep packets of ramen noodles on hand. Yup, those super cheapy packs from the soup aisle at the grocery (not the cups of ramen, just the 20 cent packets). When I don’t have rice, I just boil up some ramen noodles (trash the nasty seasoning packet!) — three minutes! — and toss them right into the stir fry.

Oh! I’ve been so enthusiastic about sharing the goodness of the stir fry that I sort of forgot to talk about this recipe.
The flavor combo of a BLT is one of my favorites, and I use it as a foundation for many quick-and-easy dishes.
Now, I’m not actually using bacon in this recipe – I subbed pancetta instead, which is far less greasy but still smoky good. And instead of lettuce, I snuck in kale, which is still going nutso in my garden (yay!). Any hearty leaf will do well here (try spinach if you’re not a kale fan), as the saute is quick and blanches the greens rather than wilts them into sad oblivion.
Top with green onions and fresh herbs, and this can’t-believe-it-took-only-20-minutes, one pot BLT stir fry dinner will blow your mind.
As chilly weather continues to seep in, the BLT stir fry will be making frequent appearances at my table. Easy, quick, and super delicious!

melted chocolate

These healthy and flourless pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies have no butter, oil, or flour PLUS only two tablespoons of sugar for the whole recipe! These cookies are filled with pumpkin flavor and Fall spices making for one tasty, guilt-free treat Walmart Display.

Flourless + Secretly Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. These have received RAVE reviews!After making about ten bazillion batches of these healthy pumpkin muffins, I was ready to try something a little different. Still on the same track – healthy and pumpkin and all. But more…well…cookies MPLS VPN.

Those muffins were pretty much the only thing I could get my little guy to eat for a week straight while he was sick so when I’m saying ten bazillion batches, the exaggerating is not as dramatic as you think. Okay, nevermind, it’s way dramatic. But I did make a lot of batches! So what are you getting with these cookies? Intense pumpkin flavor with a hint of cinnamon, a chewy cake-like texture, creamy melted chocolate, and above all – a healthy treat that feels indulgent, but isn’t! Well, maybe the amount of chocolate packed in these is a little indulgent, but moderation in all things right blue coffee mug?!