Saturday, December 31, 2011
In 2011, I have continued my canning adventures, which advanced to chutneys. I dived into the world of beer. And, played with sugar. All have been fun and challenging.
Next year, I plan to brew more beer, can other fruits and veggies, and have more fun with sugar. Any new adventures will come to me when the spark hits me. That is the best part about being a chef.
I wish everyone a year of good food and cooking. So, before the year ends I plan to make challah for the first time. The adventure continues.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Homemade cotton candy is very different from carnival cotton candy. It is much harder. It has a certain crunch to it. The whole process is part of the hard-crack sugar stage, which is used in many desserts.
It took about 25 minutes to get the sugar mixture up to 320 degrees (hard-crack stage). I quickly worked with the sugar and began to whisk to back and forth on to parchment paper creating strands of spun sugar. After I rolled the spun sugar into balls. The whole process is done quickly because the sugar hardens fast.
Personally, I did not care for the taste of homemade cotton candy. I did learn a lot and now I am ready to make my first croquembouche. Plus, I forgot about the weather for awhile.
December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The recipes was very easy. Three avocados, ¾ cup honey, one teaspoon vanilla extract and ¾ cup of cocoa. First peel the avocados and puree in a food processor until smooth. Add honey and vanilla. Process until combine. Slowly add sifted cocoa to the puree and combine well. Chill and serve. Healthy and delicious!
November 30 is National Mousse Day
Monday, November 14, 2011
Here are a few health benefits. One, it contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fact that may help lower cholesterol. Two, it is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Three, it contains carotenoid lutin for eye health. And, it contains fiber and protein. There are not many fruits or vegetables that can claim all of those benefits.
And, if you need any more benefits, you can eat it with chips when the avocado is used to make guacamole. To your health!
November 14 is Guacamole Day
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Brew day was October 1st. Brewing the wort took about 3 hours, which included set up and clean up. Three days in the first fermenter. Twelve days in the second fermenter. And 10 days to condition and carbonate in the bottles.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Four prunes a day helps to slow the aging process of the brain and body. Helps in cases of anemia. Helps in normal blood circulation. It is a good remedy for sore throats. It has a high beta carotene content. It contains a lot of fiber and sorbitol, a stool loosening sugar. Plus, it is an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and iron.
So, grab some prunes, four to be exact, each day. Oh, you may want to brush after eating. Prunes will stick to your teeth faster than anything and that means cavities.
October 17 is Eat Four Prunes Day
Monday, September 19, 2011
Immediately I was intoxicated. Malts, hops, yeast, wort, racking, original gravity, final gravity, pitching, etc. And, the recipes go on and on. So many. Needless to say, I ordered that original home brewing book. I had a hard time choosing my first brew but I finally settled on Honey Red Ale.
I have all of my hardware. The brew kettle, fermentation bucket, carboy, hydrometer and siphon. This is the short list. I plan to purchase the ingredients this weekend. Most recipes yield 5 gallons which is the equivalent of about 45-50 bottles of beer. I like beer but that is a lot of beer!
I will be sharing most of the beer, which will be bottled under the name “Brewlene”. I couldn't resist. I wonder if my circle of friends will increase while I learn the art of zymurgy. I guess that is all a matter of taste. Cheers!
September 28th is Drink Beer Day
Monday, September 5, 2011
Yes, purple potatoes. Peruvian purple potatoes to be exact. Peru is the world's potato capital. Peruvian potatoes dates back to the Incan empire. The diversity of tubers in Peru is unprecedented, with the purple potatoes reigning supreme.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
And, that is what I did. After some searching I purchased an one year old dwarf Meyer lemon tree from a California grower. I was thrilled. I quickly potted my tree and dreamt of preserved lemons, lemonade and Moroccan chicken w/ olives and lemons. My dreams will have to carry me a couple of years, because my tree will not produce any fruit for two or more years. So, non-Meyer lemons will be my fill-in until then. To be continued . . .
8 Meyer (or regular) lemons, scrubbed very clean
½ cup kosher salt
extra lemon juice, if needed
Place 2 tablespoons of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar. Cut off any protruding stems from the lemons and cut ¼ inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemons attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, now the lemons are quartered, but attached. Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt all over the the insides and the outsides. Pack the lemons in the jar. Squishing them down to extract the juice. Fill the jar with the lemons. Add more juice if necessary to cover the lemons. Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple of days. Turn the jar occasionally. Put in refrigerator for at least 3 weeks or until the lemon rinds are soften. Turn upside down from time to time. To use, rinse the lemons to remove salt. Discard seeds and pulp. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
August 15 is Lemon Meringue Pie Day
August 20 is Lemonade Day
August 29 is Lemon Juice Day
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
August 22 is Eat a Peach Day
August 24 is National Peach Pie Day
1 cup chopped onions (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups chopped, peeled peaches (about 4 medium)
¾ cup dried cherries or cranberries
Sunday, July 17, 2011
2 ½ cups goats milk
½ cup sugar
4 oz goat cheese
4 egg yolks
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
4 cups water
½ cup tapioca pearls
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ cups strong black tea
1 ½ cups milk
sugar to taste
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
So, what does all that have to do with food? Everything, if you are thirsty for a cool drink. That cool drink being the mint julep, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. The mint julep was served in a souvenir glass that year for 75 cents. It has been proudly served every year since. This year there will be about 80,000 mint juleps sold at the Derby.
The mint julep is a spin off of an Arab drink called julab. Julab is made with water and rose petals. The drink was introduced to the Mediterranean region were people replaced rose petals for mint leaves, which were indigenous to the region.
There are basically to ways of make a mint julep. One, by muddling mint and sugar together. And, the other by making a mint syrup. Of course, good Kentucky bourbon is added to both methods, along with crushed ice. I tried both and I prefer the mint syrup method. It does take a little more time, but you do have enough syrup to make several drinks.
Horse racing fan or not, the mint julep is a winner.
4 mint leaves
2 cups ice
2 tablespoons mint syrup (see below)
2 tablespoons water
2 ounces Kentucky bourbon
Place mint leaves and ice in blender. Pulse until crushed. Fill glass with crushed ice. Add remaining ingredients. Garnish with mint and serve.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add mint leaves. Cool. Pour syrup into a jar, seal and place in refrigerator. Remove leaves after 24 hours. Syrup will keep for several weeks refrigerated.
Mint Julep Day is May 30th
And for the horse racing fans:
Kentucky Derby is May 7th
Preakness Stakes is May 21st
Belmont Stakes is June 11th
Monday, April 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
My grocer did not have fresh duck. So, after purchasing a few weekly staples I headed to the nearest Asian market. To my surprise they too did not have fresh duck, only frozen duck. I sulked silently and purchased my 6 pound frozen duck at $2.99/pound. However, a frozen duck meant a day for thawing.
On January 2nd I cleaned and rinsed my duck and placed it a solution of water, vinegar, honey and cornstarch. This step tightens the skin and begins rendering the fat. I proceeded to placed my duck on a rack with a pan beneath it to catch the drippings. I then positioned it below a roaring ceiling fan. I left my duck to dry and played Mah Jongg with friends.
Upon my return, 6 hours later, I promptly placed my duck in a 350 oven on a rack. I placed a pan with a little water in it to catch the fat drippings. It roasted for 1 ½ hours. I cooled it for 15 minutes. I was very excited to taste my efforts. I was disappointed. The taste was ok but the amount of meat from this 6 pound duck was slim to none.
Did I do something wrong? I am not sure. Did I need more drying time? Even if the drying time should have been longer that still does not account for the small amount of meat.
Well, my conclusion is Peking duck is not for a crowd or the budget minded. I may consider Peking Duck the next time I go out for Chinese. But that evening, after Peking Duck, I had a bowl of popcorn and a beer.
Happy New Year!
January 18 is Peking Duck Day
January 19 is National Popcorn Day