Friday, April 22, 2011

Candied Almonds

As I was wondering what to do with my left over evaporated milk, I found a recipe for Candied Pecans that sounded pretty good.  But then I realized that I didn't have any pecans sitting around, and I didn't particularly want to go out an buy any because I'll be moving soon, and the fewer things I have to take with me, the better.  I did have a large bag of almonds though.  So I decided to adapt the recipe to almonds, pecans would work well too, of course.  The original recipe is here.  But I ended up doubling it (but I'll post the original proportions, because really, how often do people need 6 cups of candied almonds?), so that I could use up all the evaporated milk I had, and I added a few more spices, because really 1/4 tsp of cinnamon is not enough.


Candied Almonds

3 Cups whole Almonds
1 cup sugar (1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 white)
1/4 cup Evaporated milk
2 Tbsp Water
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Cardamom
1 pinch Clove
1 pinch Cayenne pepper (if you want a slightly spicy sweet nut)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hawaiian Sweet Bread

I was kneading bread yesterday, and I started thinking that my arms would probably look a lot better (read: less flabby) if I baked bread every day.  But then I realized that I'd also have to be eating the bread I made that day, which, I think, would cause some pretty intense weight gain.   Unless, of course, my evil plan of baking bread and delivering it to people came to fruition...

I love bread.  And one bread that I have a particular passion for is Hawaiian Sweet bread.  So, of course, when I saw a recipe for it, I decided that I should give it a try (since King's is SO expensive)... and I just happened to have a can of evaporated milk on hand - I don't know where it came from, I certainly didn't buy it - and I REALLY love Hawaiian Sweet bread...  I will admit that my bread isn't exactly like King's Hawaiian, but it does make up for it in cost.

I was trying to make medium sized sandwich rolls, but they puffed up a lot in my oven, so they definitely could have started out smaller.  Also, the recipe I used lied to me in a couple places, so I'm giving you *my* recipe that has corrections/lazy options included.  I found the recipe online, it said that it was a version adapted from The Food of Paradise, but now I can't find the site, so I can't link to it :P

In response to this post, I expect you all to be extremely sad that you don't live with me or close enough to me to get a sample of this bread...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mini Pommes Anna

That's right! Potatoes! Not just any potatoes! Deliciously French potatoes, or rather Mini Pommes Anna.

Wikipedia tells us that "Pommes Anna is a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter."

I can't take full credit for this recipe, since I got the idea here: Bakers Royale

I changed the recipe a little, since I didn't have any Yukon Gold potatoes (those would be really good for this though) but I had a mixed bag of fingerling potatoes... and they were also very delicious.  And looked a little more like a real Pommes Anna instead of just a single stack of sliced potato.


Mini Pommes Anna

Monday, April 11, 2011


Today I realized that I had bacon in my refrigerator.  I wanted to eat the bacon, but couldn't be bothered to stand in front of the stove cooking it.  So I decided to bake the bacon :D

But I wasn't going to settle for just plain old bacon, I added maple syrup to one batch, and ginger syrup to a second batch!

To Bake Bacon:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Asian Food Kick

I've been craving Asian food recently.  I don't know why... but I want everything with rice, soy sauce, and all those other "typically" Asian tastes and flavors.  I got a jump start on the week when my friend had us over for dinner and served Vietnamese spring rolls.

At least, I've always heard them called Vietnamese spring rolls, they are also known as fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese salad rolls, and sometimes summer rolls.  They look very pretty and are really not so difficult to make.  Ingredients vary based on what you want/like.  My friend made vegetarian rolls, using vegetables she had on hand.  I made mine with chicken.  They make a great meal and can either be pre-made, or you can have your guests make them for themselves.  It would be really fun to have a roll making party, and everyone can put in or leave out whatever they want.

My friend generously gave me the rest of the rice paper and rice vermicelli that she had left over, so I decided that tonight was Spring Roll night.  Really, the only mandatory ingredient is the rice paper, everything else is up to your taste and what you want to put in, quantities are also flexible for whatever size group you have.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My relationship with Pineapple

I love pineapple.  It's delicious.  I love it on pizza.  I love eating it out of the can.  So when I saw a pineapple at the store for a decent price I had to have it.

I brought my beautiful prize home.

I cut it into pieces and peeled some kiwis to go with it (they were also at a good price at one of the fruit stands near by).

I started eating the pineapple.  And I couldn't stop.  I ate more and more and then this happened...

Yes, those are my taste buds crying there...
and I started to think that there might be a problem.

I did some research, and apparently I'm not the only one with this problem.  I thought maybe it was just the acidity, but then again the Husband doesn't have any problem eating all the fresh pineapple he wants.  I can eat cooked pineapple (like on pizza) with no problem at all.  So I think I've narrowed it down, and since I know I'm allergic to some kinds of pollen, it's not totally unusual that I would also be mildly allergic to fresh pineapple.

I still have some of that delicious pineapple left in the refrigerator... I guess I could cook it, but really, I'll probably just force it down and deal with the feeling that I've rubbed my tongue against a cheese grater, and the mild sore throat.

That is my current relationship with pineapple.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What I did this week...

 At first I thought I was just being extremely lazy... then I thought I was suffering from something even worse and much more sinister than laziness...

I've also been mixing some delicious cocktails inspired by watching Jeeves and Wooster... but it's not a good idea to add rum to your sloth... you end up with a drunk sloth... which, if I could draw, would be a very funny picture indeed.  I'm not sure why I feel slothful though, because I have So Many Projects.  Here, just to show a few:

Not sure what the flowers will be for, but they're cute :D
I had to use up the Baileys frosting :)
Bacon, Cheddar and Broccoli quiche
The cake was just boxed yellow cake with chocolate chips, but I had to have something to put the Baileys frosting on... Here 's the quiche recipe for those of you that might like to try it (really the filling could contain any number of delicious things, I just picked three things I liked:

Friday, March 18, 2011

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without Corned Beef and Cabbage

I would have posted these pictures yesterday, but I had eaten several cupcakes, drank two whiskey sours, and one Irish car bomb.  This was over a period of hours, but after that I had an epic two person solitaire game (I'll post rules later) with the Husband.
You may be wondering, why would cupcakes have affected my ability to post pictures.  They didn't... but they would have affected my typing, so I put this post off to today to make sure none of you had to suffer through the even worse grammar that would have resulted from my slightly inebriated state.

On to the cooking.

First, Corned beef and Cabbage (and carrots, for alliteration):

Corned beef - cooked to package instructions, cabbage and carrots added to the pot after the meat is removed to cool, and cooked until fork tender.

Now for what you really want, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes :D

These take some work, but are SO worth it.


Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Cream cheese frosting: Makes 12

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Random Thought of the Day

I saw a picture on Etsy and immediately thought "It's a beean!"

The beean of course harks back to this:

which came up because Husband always hears "human bean" rather than "human being" when people use that phrase.

That is all.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"$250" cookies

Today I'm making cookies.  Some of you are probably familiar with the "myth of the $250 cookie recipe" others may not even know what it is... so I'll explain.

I got an email one day that described a situation involving a woman having lunch with her daughter at Neiman Marcus.  For one of the common texts go here.  Basically, this woman and her daughter finish their lunch and want a cookie for dessert.  They like the cookie so much that they want to get the recipe, but the waitress tells them that she can't give it away, but they can buy it for "two fifty."  Of course, the woman doesn't realize that she's actually paying $250 for a cookie recipe until she gets the bill.  She then (to get retribution on Neiman Marcus) sends the recipe, in email form, to as many people as possible, telling them to forward it on to everyone they know.

This story never actually happened.  Neiman Marcus has, recently, started offering cookies (somewhat similar to this recipe but with some instant espresso in the mix) and offers the recipe free of charge to anyone that wants it. This email also went around for a while using "Mrs. Fields" as the over charging antagonist.  Apparently the original story goes all the way back to 1948 when the outrageously priced recipe was for a red velvet fudge cake, made by the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, that had cost someone $25.  Inflation has a lot to answer for...

Apparently, no one knows where this recipe actually came from... but I read about other people trying it and saying it was a darn good chocolate chip cookie.  So I figured I'd give it a try too.  I altered the recipe a little, so this is my variation of the recipe:


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Potential Comic Fridays

It has been recommended that I should post my silly Lazy Wife pictures here (sometimes they even evolve into comic strips).  So, hopefully... even if I'm not doing anything particularly interesting craft-wise, you'll still get a weekly Lazy Wife update.

I now present, the first Lazy Wife comic:

This all happened because I put on a bright pink tank top and a bright green sweater one morning.  My husband didn't actually say that I was a watermelon, but he was thinking it.

This came out of Husband's remark about "Indignant pig" which is apparently his inside joke about Black Cauldron.  I didn't get the reference because I haven't seen it, but I thought "Indignant pig" was really funny.  He does a super cute impression too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crabapple Jelly

It's a Crab - Apple... get it?
I have been particularly lazy of late.  I don't have any good excuses for my laziness, so I won't give any.  But I did draw a silly picture for you all... Well, I drew the apple part... the limbs were taken off another picture (when I realized that I couldn't remember what crab legs looked like).

Today, I will relate the events that occurred a few months ago when the trees were bearing fruit, and I happened to be listening to quite a bit of British literature, such as P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster and Jane Austen Novels adapted for radio.  Within those stories, I heard how frugal people would pick fruit from the trees and preserve it for the winter months when fresh fruit was hard to find.  While considering this, I was walking to pick up the mail from our box at our apartment and I began to wonder what kind of fruit trees were in our complex.

I picked one of the globular pinkish fruits and a couple leaves and took them back to my apartment.  I searched on the internet to find a description that matched the fruit I had found.

I discovered that apples are the only fruit with seeds in a star pattern.  They are related to roses and also have serrated leaves.  I compared my samples with the descriptions and discovered that I had several crab apple trees in perfect readiness for harvest.  Crab apples do have an apple-like taste and smell, but are generally a more tart.

So I harvested them.  I made Husband go out with me and hold a bag while I pulled the small apples off the higher branches (using a step ladder, of course).  I brought them home, and washed them thoroughly.  Once they were well washed, I cut them up and boiled them in water.  I squeezed them through a cheesecloth and then used that juice to make crab apple jelly.

The first try I got it into my head that I might not have to use pectin, because after doing a little reading, pectin apparently comes from apples, and other relatives.  However, I must have done something wrong (or my apples just didn't have enough pectin) because the jelly didn't set.  So I boiled it all over again, added pectin this time, and got a quite nice jelly in my re-sterilized jars.

Here's the recipe:


Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apples (about 8 cups?)
1 box Pectin
3 cups sugar

If starting with whole fruit:
Remove stems and leaves.  Cut crab apples in half (or quarters if you have large crab apples) and put them in a large pot.  Pour in enough water to almost cover the apples, but not to make them float.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium.  Let cook until the apples change color and are soft.  (You can also use a juicer, if you have one)  Let it cool, then strain the apple mash through a few layers of cheesecloth... you may need to squeeze the juice out.

Measure about 4 cups of juice and put in a pot with 1 box of pectin.  Bring to a boil, then add 3 cups of sugar.  Bring back to a boil and boil for at least 1 minute.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top.  Put on lids and process in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove jars from water bath and let cool, being sure the lids seal and the jelly has set.  Keep in a cool dark place, and these should last for at least a year.



That's it for the recipe.  I must admit that every time I hear "Crab Apples" I think of some sort of strange crab with the body of an apple... then I stumbled across this picture:

and I'm glad that my imagination lines up so well with other people's.

Friday, January 21, 2011

You win this time, Crochet...

I am a knitter.  I like to knit.  I DO NOT like to crochet.  I own crochet hooks, but they've mainly been used to finish knitting projects, when I can't find a tapestry needle.  I do know how to crochet... at least, I know some of the basics.  I just don't really enjoy crochet because I always hold the yarn too tight, or I go through the wrong loop, or something.  But for certain things, you just can't use knitting... so I once again gave crochet a chance.

I saw this: How to Crochet a Heart and decided that I could make some pretty cute stuff with hearts.  Normally, I'm not a "heart person."  By that I mean that I've never been particularly attracted to the design... but sometimes I just get in a mood for something and I can't get enough of it.  And with Valentine's day coming, I thought I might make some garlands and such for my Widgetorium.

I did find that the yarn I used made the holes in the center too big, so I adjusted the pattern (which made it easier and faster to make).  This is a great way to use those little balls of yarn you might have sitting around.  Here is the pattern (with picture guides for the stitches).

Crochet Heart Pattern

  • crochet hook (you might need to play with size, based on your yarn, I used a size F)
  • 1 1/2 yards of Yarn (I used red heart acrylic yarn, it takes about 50" but I rounded up. The amount/size/finished product will be slightly different, depending on what you use)

All stitches are worked into the first chain.

Cast on.

Chain (Ch) 4

Work 2 Triple Crochet (tr) into the first chain

 Work 2 Double Crochet (dc) into the first ch

ch 1
1 tr into first ch
ch 1
2 dc into first ch
2 tr into first ch
ch 3

slip stitch into first ch and fasten off

Pull the two ends tight

 Flatten out the heart and you're done!

Hopefully the pictures and instructions made sense, I figured out how to do it from this video.  From there, you can make all kinds of things with these.  Here is one example: