Craft Work: First Batch II

After a couple of days of bubbling and gurgling, it was time this morning to transfer the brew into the secondary fermenter. It’s looking a bit sexier now, compared to the foamy concoction we had a day ago.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/40a/63358722/files/2015/01/img_0230.jpg

Transferring from the primary to the secondary fermenter

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/40a/63358722/files/2015/01/img_0232.jpg

Keeping things in check as it transfers…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/40a/63358722/files/2015/01/img_0233.jpg

All ready to be sealed up with the air lock!

Still looks and smells like it’s on the right track! In another 7 – 10 days, we should be ready to bottle!

Making Lemonade

A post from the holidays! Well, when life hands you a pan of squares that just won’t cook up right, make cake balls!

The cake balls were completely one recipe: Marzipan Slice, posted in the picture below. These usually turn out great and were frequently a potluck or bake sale staple for Poppins.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/40a/63358722/files/2015/01/img_0222.jpg

When I made them for work, though, I tries cooking them in the morning before work and then ran out of time…

Running out of time to cook something new that night, I crumbled the cake and base, made the frosting and mixed with the cake until I had a “dough”. After making balls and freezing them until firm, I melted dark chocolate and white chocolate, flavoured with mint, and dipped the flash frozen cake balls in them. Decorated and served up for the work potluck. And it worked!

cakebl-1 cakebl-2

Gobble Gobble

First Thanksgiving dinner in our new house.

Having the time to prepare a real feast, I succumbed to the temptations of Pinterest and fancied up the table with cookie place cards.

Sugar cookie place cards

They were actually really good cookies in their own right (since I had a bunch of plain ones left over for lunches). Then I used a quick icing of icing sugar, milk, vanilla and food coloring for the icing and let them dry before packaging with little baggies from the Bulk Barn and leftover yarn.

They’d also be a great base for decorating Christmas cookies!

untitled-3541

Jiaozi

I don’t watch a lot of TV. I keep a very small, curated list of shows that I watch, and one of them is Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown”: sociopolitical documentary meets food show meets travelogue. He’s a wonderful storyteller, and after finishing his book, “Kitchen Confidential”, I couldn’t wait until the new season began.

The only drawback is that he goes to these mystical places that make amazing food, and I have to have some. Last week he was in Shanghai, and he gorged on endless bowls of noodles and baskets of dumplings.

We knew immediately what we were having this weekend.

untitled-3535

Frantically trying to find a recipe in the bowels of Superstore on a Saturday afternoon, I picked the first, reasonable-sounding one I could find – and we won the recipe lottery. Slight tweak to the recipe was only using the pre-fab wonton noodle wrappers in the vegetable aisle, because the weekend and also not feeling it.

Homemade Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings
Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

untitled-3536

untitled-3538

Curse you, Bourdain.

Sunday Funday II: Mac Daddy

It would be hard to name my most favourite food ever. (Can coffee count?)

If pressed, though, I would probably put pasta at the top. I mean, you know a good place by how they do noodles. And you remember really bad ones. A week of Girl Guide camp and constant canned, mushy mac and cheese from the Heinz Corporation being particularly scarring. A dinner of short ribs with deep-fried squares of cheesy goodness, at an Irish pub in New York City (P.J. Clarke’s on 3rd Avenue) being amazing.

Tangy BBQ sauce, gooey cheese sauce.

untitled-3475This edition of Sunday Funday was marred by an abysmal showing by my Bears – to the cheeseheads Packers, ironically enough. I tried to forget it, as I ate a few helpings of mac n’ cheese.

The process for making the ribs was great and very easy, courtesy of Bon Appetit: Best Ever BBQ’d Ribs. Only deviation was that I added a brining step and had the meat soaking overnight, to make sure we wouldn’t end up with dry ribs. The BBQ sauce that I used, when asked, was Guy Fieri’s Root Beer BBQ Sauce. I’m not 100% if I’d use this again, as the times to reduce the sauce were WAY off (and only thickened once I added a bit of cornstarch and water).

The ribs essentially are cooked by the time the oven stage is done, and only need the flames for BBQ sauce application and crispening.

untitled-3471

untitled-3472

And then, this bad boy: Taste of Home: Company Mac and Cheese

untitled-3474

The recipe was doubled for our crew. (Or my gluttony.) Additional variations on this recipe: a little more grated old cheddar, a little less cream cheese – mainly because I made this early Sunday morning, and nothing was open to get the proper amounts. Also, we didn’t have breadcrumbs but we did have about 3 bags of croutons, each 1/4 full, so I smashed them into crumbs.

Pantry clear out for the win.

untitled-3476

I want to be buried in this. Is that wrong?

Sunday Funday I: SXSW

Sundays are always associated with big family meals.

They’re also amazing excuses to have good eats while watching the foosball.

Last week, we had the kids and went with the full-on Sunday roast dinner, with Yorkshire puddings. Initially skeptical, then entertained by the volcanic popovers, I think I’ve converted them to the delicious, delicious dark side of gravy-laden carbs.

We had carrots, too, of course. We’re not complete animals.

This weekend, it’s a party of two, but why relegate ourselves to TV dinners? Better to know what’s in your food, plus the freezer is always there for leftovers.

But, let’s not kid ourselves. Football food is serious food. My favourite inspiration is How Sweet Eats annual compendium of tailgating treats. Good luck trying not to drool.

Today’s Menu

Snack
Hot Spinach Dip (Martha Stewart) with Olive Oil Bread (my mom’s recipe from somewhere)
Made this for my sister’s bachelorette party, and watched as bridesmaids hoarded the dish, sitting in a corner like crack-addled squirrels.

untitled-3360

untitled-3361

These babies – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups – are also now hiding in my freezer, because I’m a sucker for cookie dough. And peanut butter cups.
untitled-3368Supper
Pork chops with corn and slow cooker bacon bourbon baked beans
Some people complained that there was too much booze in the beans, but I didn’t find it at all. Just really sweet and tasty.
untitled-3369And what’s baked beans without cornbread?
Skillet cornbreaduntitled-3372 untitled-3378

Next week is salad. I promise.