Friday, July 20, 2012

Man-bait Malt

First off - I'm taking a week hiatus to go play with babies in Ethiopia. So no posts next week. I promise photos on my return. 

Now, to the man-bait. 

I'm serious. I'm fairly certain that any gentleman that happens to be passing by while you make this malt will immediately propose. 

Mr. S is already stuck with me, but even he dropped to one knee as soon as the bourbon went in the blender.

Ok, not quite true, but he did have this massive grin on his face, and I could tell he was already trying to figure out where the biggest glass in our house was....

Chocolate ice cream (the really good stuff)
Malt powder

Chocolate syrup


add milk & blitz.

Pick out your wedding dress. 

Man-bait Malt
Serves 2-ish 

5 massive scoops of high quality chocolate ice cream
2 heaping tbsp malt powder
2 tbsp Bulleit Bourbon
2 tbsp chocolate syrup (make your own or buy it)
1/4 c. milk

Add the ingredients into a blender. Start off on low speed (the setting on our blender is "grind"), then move it up to high. Beat the men off with a stick as you pour the malts into glasses. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thai Coconut Mussels

Turns out, some people don't like shellfish. And some people sometimes come over for dinner. 

And some people, even if you tell them that you were thinking of making mussels, say "I'll bring the wine" and forget to mention that they don't eat shellfish...

Well, more mussels for me. 

I don't know why shellfish intimidate people, eating and cooking-wise. They are little. They don't need much work to be tasty. They require no butchery. They look beautiful in a bowl with a puddle of delicious steaming broth.

They are a good excuse to down an entire loaf of bread.

Seriously - how can you not love these things!! 

You can make them the French way - shallots, garlic, white wine, butter - or the Thai way. Which I adapted from this soup. And by adapted I mean pretty much made the soup and tossed in mussels.....

Combine chicken stock and coconut milk in a ginormous pot (one that has a lid). 

Toss in the diced shallot, garlic, and lemon grass.

Add the brown sugar and fish sauce.

Then a chili - diced for the spicy lovers, sliced in half for the mild lovers. (I'll leave it to you to guess which we are.

Bring to a boil and toss in the cleaned mussels. 

Put the lid on and be patient for 5 minutes.

Use this time to slice the bread.

Once the 5 minutes is up, all the mussels should be open. The ones that aren't open need to go straight into the trash can.

Squeeze one lime over the pot.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with fresh crusty bread. Time to eat!

 See?  Don't they look delicious?

Thai Coconut Mussels
Serves 2

1 bag of mussels, cleaned
1 can of coconut milk
2 c. chicken stock
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 inches of lemon grass, sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 serrano pepper either sliced in half or diced (sliced in half for less heat, diced for LOTS OF HEAT)
1 lime
 Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Toss the chicken stock and coconut milk into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Toss in everything but the mussels. Stir. Gently slide the mussels into the boiling liquid. Put the cover on the pot and wait 5 minutes. Open the lid and squeeze all the lime juice into the pot.

Eat any mussels that opened, discard any that are closed. Use crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peachy Macarons

Saturday was Bastille Day. Mostly celebrated in France, and by those Americans that either are of French descent or are willing to use any excuse possible to indulge in French treats. 

I fall in the latter category. 

I'd never made a macaron before, and quite honestly was scared out of my mind to attempt it. 

Have you ever examined this cookie of perfection? Eggshell thin top, with a chewy secondary layer, creamy frosting center, chewy layer, and eggshell thin bottom. 

And it's got a cult following. People travel for miles to partake in this sweet goodness. Line up and pay big bucks for these little delights. 

You can understand my trepidation. 

In fact, one of my favorite bloggers - Ez of Creature Comforts - recently tried and missed at the peachy aspect of macarons. But that actually inspired me all the more. If she missed, and then blogged about it, the least I could do is miss and blog about it........

So here we go!

Almonds, ground super fine. 

Add in powdered sugar and pulse until mixed.

In another bowl, add some cream of tartar to the egg whites. 

Beat until stiff and then sprinkle in the sugar as you beat to firm peaks.

Fold the almond/powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in 2 additions. 

Blitz up 1 peach in the food processor. 

Add a tablespoon to the egg white mixture, along with a drop of pink food coloring. 

Pipe the egg white mixture into 1 inch rounds, about 1 inch apart (they spread in the first 30 seconds) on parchment paper. 

Let them sit for an hour. Then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges. 
(racks in the center, switch lower and upper pans about halfway through)

Let the cookies cool completely before attempting to remove them from the paper. 

In another bowl (or the same one if you've already done the dishes), cream butter and the rest of the peach dice. 

Add about 2 cups of powdered sugar and a 1/4 tsp of vanilla. 

Pipe the filling onto one of the cookies and sandwich with another. 

Keep in the fridge until serving. 

Peachy Macarons
Makes 30-35
Adapted from this recipe

For Cookies:
6 oz slivered almonds
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tbsp blitzed peach

For Icing:
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
the rest of 1 peach blitzed

In a food processor, blitz almonds until as small as possible. Add the 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar. Pulse a few times until combined. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 1/4 white sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the almond mix in 2 increments. Also fold in the 1 tbsp peach pulp and a drop of pink food coloring (if desired). 

Put into a piping bag, or ziploc freezer bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe 1 inch rounds, about an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow to sit on the counter for 1 hour. This is so that the tops harden and stay smooth. They'll puff once they get into the oven.

Bake at 300 degrees, one pan at a time, for 20 minutes a pan. 

Allow them to cool completely before peeling from the parchment. 

While they are cooling, assemble the icing. Beat the butter with the rest of the blitzed peach pulp. Then add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add a tbsp of milk if necessary, or another 1/2 of a peach, blitzed of course.

Pipe a bit of icing on half of the cookies. Top with the other half. Keep in the fridge until serving.

Smile smugly. 

You did it!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rumberry Frappe

It is ridiculously hot outside. The palms are wilting. I didn't know palms could wilt. 

Oh wait - maybe they're melting?!?!

Can palm trees melt?

And - to make things even better - my apartment doesn't have air conditioning. 

Thus, while I was standing in my kitchen, trying to figure out how to put my bed in the freezer, I spotted some strawberry ice cream. 

It went immediately into the blender. 

Strawberries, on sale at the local grocery store, found their way into the blender too. Duh. 

Next, I found this weird carton of coconut milk while last perusing the dairy aisle. It's delicious, and has fewer calories than 1% milk. Oh, heck yes. 

Blend that up!

Now, while it's blending, pour in some of the rum that's been looking at you longingly.

Whoa. Maybe I'll survive the heat after all!

Rumberry Frappe
Makes 2

3 large scoops of strawberry ice cream
1/2 c. coconut milk (plus a tbsp or so, as needed)
5-8 strawberries
2 tbsp rum

Put everything into a blender. Blitz. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grandma's Lemon Pudding

Do you have taste memories? Ones that set you back to childhood? Conjure up scents of summer and Grandma's house?

Honestly, I had completely forgotten about this lemon pudding. I was too busy gawking at multi-layer pavlovas on Pinterest. Spending my time researching coconut oil uses. Scouring cookbooks for macaron recipes.

Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to take a glance through my recipe box.  This one caught my eye. The handwriting is my mom's. But it's definitely an old recipe!

Recipe and some fresh eggs I got from the chickens at work. That's right. Chickens. At work.

I remember waiting with baited breath to eat this lemon pudding. I didn't even know that it's not a standard pudding ("pudding cups" were a dirty word in our house). It's really more of a souffle, with a pudding sub-layer. I've never had anything like it since. 

Ahhhhhh. Gingham and grass stains. 

Start off with butter, flour and 3/4 c. sugar. Beat until the butter is worked into the flour. 

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks with the lemon and lime zest. 

Add the yolk/zest, milk, lemon and lime juice to the flour mixture. 

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat in the last 1/4 c. of sugar. 

Add the whites and fold the egg whites gently into the lemon mixture. 

Butter an 8x8 square glass pan. (It's Grandma's recipe. Use butter!)

Pour the mixture into the pan. Set the pan in a 9x13 glass pan filled halfway with hot water. 

Put the whole thing in the oven. Bake for an hour or so, until brown on top. 

Allow to rest for at least 45 minutes. Scoop up and serve!

Grandma's Lemon Pudding
Adapted from my Grandma Sally's recipe

3 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp flour
1 c. sugar, separated
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 c. milk
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lime
zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, beat flour, butter, and 3/4 c. sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together zests and yolks. Add milk, juices, and yolk/zest to flour mixture. Stir well. 

In another medium bowl, beat egg whites till stiff. Gradually beat in the last 1/4 c. of sugar.

Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour into a well-buttered 8x8 pan. Set that pan in a 9x13 glass pan filled halfway with hot water. Slide the double pan into the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until golden. 

Allow to sit for 45 minutes before serving.