Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pink grapefruit & pomegranate marmalade: a recipe

It's like a divine light is shining through it, right?! Cool.
Once I put my canning pot away last fall, I didn't think I'd see it again until summer.

But damn, I just really, really, really needed to see something that isn't the color of mud right now.

And I'm pretty proud of my snazzy little label cards, too.

By the way, we're supposed to get another 8 inches of snow on April 1st. I will just spend the day staring at these marmalade jars and pretending it's not happening.

You can find the recipe over at Simple Bites.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Erin's birthday cupcakes: a story

The cupcakes formerly known as black and tans
Since Erin turned me on to the recipe for salted oatmeal cookies which, in fact, significantly improved my life, I thought she deserved a nice treat for her birthday.

And I came up with the perfect thing: black and tan cupcakes. Cupcakes made with Guinness. How excellent!

Now, take a look at that photo. Black, yes, but not too much tan, you might notice.

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans of a ninja go awry.

The cupcakes themselves emerged from the oven perfect: the Guinness made the chocolate taste richer, more chocolatey and dense. And perfectly black. I was halfway to birthday perfection.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Irish soda bread pudding: a re-purposed recipe

Irish soda bread pudding
I bake a lot now but there are still only two of us, so we can't always eat all of what I make. Well, technically we could, but we would be gigantic.

Therefore, I'm always on the lookout for recipes for which the leftovers can be frozen or re-purposed.

So last week's Irish soda bread is now this week's Irish soda bread pudding!

Because the soda bread itself is not that sweet and you won't add much sugar to the bread pudding, this made a very hearty breakfast but would also be a nice dessert. Or both.

I found the recipe (I left out the raisin jam part) over at Hoosier Homemade, but it originally came from Seven Spoons.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Will's Irish soda bread: a recipe

Earlier this year, my family of friends lost one of its finest members.

Will was the husband of my oldest and dearest friend, but he was so much more: father, son, brother, friend, leader, coach, athlete, outdoorsman, wicked handy handyman, drinking buddy and all-around good guy. One of the best good guys I will ever have the pleasure to have known.

But he was also one more thing that was very, very important to him: Will was Irish.

So St. Patrick's Day was a big deal. And one of the ways he made it a big deal was to bake Irish soda bread with his sons every year.

I know his boys are continuing the tradition this year. I wish I lived closer to them so I could lend a hand. Since I don't, I'm making it my own annual tradition, too, to honor Will's memory and remember his all-around-good-guyness.

I can't tell you where his recipe (below) came from but it's easy and it's good.

So today, bake an Irish soda bread and wash it down with a beer (preferably a Fat Tire) ... for Will.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What we ate this week

Sometimes, dinner can't wait for a photo shoot.

While it may seem to some of you that I'm doing little else other than taking pictures of everything I eat, I can assure you that I cook (and eat) a lot more than I blog.

Which is why I periodically give you these "what we ate this week" posts. A lot of dishes we eat are really tasty and certainly blog-worthy, but sometimes life intervenes: I can't find the camera, it's getting late, we're hungry ... or I just plain forget to take the picture before we scarf the meal down.

So cheers! Here's to having a real life in which you eat, rather than style, your dinner -- most of the time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poutine: a recipe

Wow. So apparently poutine doesn't photograph all that well...

If you've never heard of it or eaten it, poutine is a comfort-food dish traditionally made with french fries, topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. It is native to Quebec, although it has trendily been popping up all over the place in the past few years.

It's diner food, Quebecois style.

I first tried it last summer during a vacation in Canada and immediately became obsessed. Its salty, gooey goodness is a little hard to describe, given how nasty it looks in photographs. (It's not just mine -- do a Google image search on poutine and you'll see what I mean. Also note that Vladimir Putin shows up right next to all those cheese curds -- hilarious.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

King cake: a recipe

It tastes better than it looks -- and yes, it's supposed to look like that
It's that time of year again: Mardi Gras.

Yes, although I'm a Yankee girl, I lived in New Orleans for a couple of years in the mid-1990s. Let's just say it was a nice place to visit.

But I did have the pleasure of eating my way around the city, enjoying some of the best meals I have ever had, in addition to partaking of many of the local customs, most of which involved food. Or booze. Or both.

Take, for example, Mardi Gras. I quickly learned that most of the people that you see in the crowds on Mardi Gras day are tourists; the locals get the hell out of Dodge to avoid all the drunken frat boys that descend on the city to behave badly and pee on the sidewalks.

But prior to Mardi Gras day, there weeks of parades to watch and parties to attend. And no Mardi Gras party is complete without the king cake.

[I wish this had something to do with Elvis, because he would have loved it, but it does not, dammit.]

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pumpkin cranberry breakfast cookies: a recipe

Pumpkin cranberry breakfast cookies
Yay! Cookies for breakfast! And it's not some kind of scam!

I've been fairly obsessed over the past few months with finding recipes for grab-and-go style breakfast foods. The mini quiches were good but I'm partial to stuff that is so portable you can take it in the car, if need be ... if one is "allowed" to eat in the car. Or keep a pen and some kleenex in the car without it being labeled as "clutter." (ahem)

Breakfast cookies certainly fit the bill. And I've got to admit, these are healthier for you than most muffins or breads that you could make. Each cookie, as prepared, is only 60 calories, with less than one gram of fat. Yowza! You can eat a whole bunch!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Seared scallops with cauliflower puree: a recipe

Not the best photo but, hey, we were hungry and eager to eat
This is a delicious, elegant dish yet ridiculously quick and easy. Seeming oxymoron, I know, but I swear it's true.

I used to fear the scallop. Not in a food poisoning way, but in a scared-to-cook-it way. I was always afraid they'd be too rubbery when cooked at home, so I reserved them as one of my dining-out-only options.

I no longer fear the home-cooked scallop. Neither should you.

The recipe guidance is to cook them about 3 minutes per side (this was pretty accurate for me and my stove) or until "desired degree of doneness" -- I prefer to call that the would-I-eat-this test. Just look at it and ask yourself (you knew it was coming), "Would I eat this?" If it looks right/done/edible, you're all set.