Daring Baker #13 Too Sexy for My Tuile

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oh! Hey! It's the 29th already. The 29th? Already? Crap.

Guess I better make some tuile. Tuiles. Tuili. Whatever.

Lemon mousse made by folding together equal amounts of lemon curd and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Leaf shaped tuile edged in dark chocolate and garnished with a strawberry heart - served to Boy and the Girlfriend. Verdict? Sexy.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.


Pickapeppa Makes Ass Taste Like Filet Mignon!

>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1. nasty ass frozen meatballs
2. brown rice
3. Pickapeppa Sauce
4. carrots
5. hummus (Fresh & Easy) with mutant parsley leaf
6. side of Greek yogurt with honey

He made dinner last night. Spaghetti and meatballs. I detest these meatballs. They taste like ... nasty ass. I packed them for one reason, and one reason only. Okay two, no three reasons. One, they were already cooked and sitting there, so it was easy. Two, I've been dying to use my bone picks. Well, not dying, but you know. (want some? - you can get them here and here) Three, I freakin' love Pickapeppa and I'd forgotten I had a bottle. Pickapeppa makes even makes ass taste delicious!


First Ever "Be Just Like Me for Free" Giveaway!

>> Monday, January 26, 2009

Updated: The winner is Mary from Shazam in the Kitchen! Congratulations Mary :)

1. goulash
2. rice with capers
3. fruit

I wasn't going to bother with posting this lunch. You've all seen it before. I wasn't going to talk about how much I love Jamie Oliver's spicy pork goulash recipe, or how he is totally going to be my new boyfriend. So I won't. But I do want to talk about this lunch container.

It's my favorite! Wanna know why? Because it's both yellow, AND orange. It seals. It holds a whoppin' 750mls. It cost less than one dollar and has held up like nobody's business. I actually bought two, thinking I'd need a spare. I don't. So guess what? I'm gonna give it to you! Or you. Or maybe you. And you don't even have to write a poem!

All you have to do is leave me a comment. Any comment. Unless it's mean. Cause I might delete it and then you won't win. I'll random number pick someone next Sunday (2/1/09) night after Big Love. And this is what you'll get!

A 750ml tight sealing container that is both yellow, AND orange. A brown bento belt. You don't -need- a belt, but how else will you attach your cute sunflower clip? Besides I like to wrap my utensil in a napkin and slip it under the belt and I know you wanna be just. like. me.

But wait Bob, there's more! Cause that's not the only thing I've over-bought. I'll pack it up with some accessories!

Oh, by the way. That box up there in the picture? That's mine. Yours is wrapped in plastic. You'll need to peel a crappy decal off the side when you get it but then you can just wash your hands and pretend it never happened. Nobody has to know.

Oh, by the way again. If you don't wanna be just. like. me. Why not be just. like. Shannon? Or pull out all the stops and be like Pikko! She's gonna make you work for it though :)


Nothing if not Unoriginal

1. goulash
2. egg noodles
3. pseudo-snickerdoodles
4. grapes
5. thyme yogurt

I know I've said it before, but that Jamie Oliver goulash kicks major butt. Over noodles this time, but I think I prefer rice. The pseudo-snickerdoodles were just sugar cookie dough out of the tub rolled in cinnamon and sugar.


The Devil's Own Curry

>> Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1. HOT chicken curry
2. basmati rice
3. carrot raita
4. Mixed Pickle
5. cilantro
6. chocolate!

I've been kinda stuffy and sniffly the past few days and figured the only cure would be a big pot of flamin' hot curry. And so it came to pass that I stood in my kitchen in front of my stove with a flexible cutting board full of chopped onion, where I've stood hundreds of times before. I dumped the onions into the same pot that I've dumped onions into hundreds of times before. But this time, unlike the hundreds of times before, two twin streams of molten magma-ish oil came geysering out of the pot and splattered neatly on the underside of both my forearms. Great googly-moogly did that sting! Seriously! Hundreds of times! Without injury! There must have been some water on my board, that's the only thing I can come up with. If it happens again though I'm off curry for good! Luckily there's only a couple of small blisters and my hands were totally spared. Even luckier there weren't any offspring or small dogs standing around!

Anyway, chicken curry, made with breast meat because that's what I had. (It's SOOOOO much better with thigh meat though!) I used Pataks HOT Curry Paste and a can of tomato paste with Italian herbs. Because that's what I had. I don't know -why- I had it though, misread the label most likely!

I ate it with one of my favorite rices, Tilda basmati, which seems to be getting more and more expensive and more and more difficult to find. I think I might need to get a new favorite when this bag is gone! Along side is a Carrot Raita. This was a new one for us and I think it turned out pretty good but needs a little tweaking. And of course, mixed pickle and chocolate. Dark chocolate. With bits of ginger! Almost as good as a band-aid and a Momma's kiss :)


Citrus Chipotle Glazed Halibut

>> Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1. fish
2. brown rice
3. citrus relish
4. an orange

Hmmmmmm, where to start.... Okay, it might not look like much, but that may well be the most delicious fish I've ever made. I'll try to talk you through it.

Citrus Chipotle Glazed Halibut

4 pieces of fish (I used halibut steaks)
1 tangelo (oranges or maybe even grapefruit would work)
Juice from two tangelos
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used Champagne Citrus Vinegar from Trader Joe's)
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 of a chipotle sliced really thin (easier to do if it's frozen)*
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

First the relish:
Supreme** a Minneola (save the juice) and toss with the onion, parsley, and vinegar. Sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt and set aside.

The glaze:
Put the juice from the 2 Minneolas in your smallest saucepan with the leftover juice from mangling/supreme-ing the other tangelo. Heat on medium with the honey and sliced pepper, stirring occasionally and reduce until very thick and sticky (about 8 minutes or so) and then take it off the heat.

The relish and glaze can be done ahead of time. Or if you start the rice first everything will be done at the same time.

The fish:
Using a non-stick pan on medium heat - first brown about 2 tablespoons of butter. Then put the fish in and cook for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then flip to the other side and cook for a couple more minutes. Take the fish out and deglaze the pan with a little glug of wine. Reduce it down until it coats a spoon and then add about 2 tablespoons of the pan liquid to the glaze. Stir to mix and brush on fish.

Serve with rice and the orange relish.

*You do keep chipotles in your freezer don't you? No? Well you should. Let me explain. I love chipotles, in small doses. As in, not a whole freakin' can at one time. A super easy way to store an opened can is to dump the whole thing out into a quart sized zip bag, seal it up, smoosh it all out, then freeze it flat. After it's frozen it's easy to break off an individual pepper, remove it, and reseal the bag. If you only want part of a pepper then chop off what you need and throw the rest back in, no waste. Try it!

** If you've never supremed, Coconut & Lime has a nice tutorial here.


Beef Stew, Dead Grandpas, and Internet Trickery

>> Thursday, January 15, 2009

1. beef stew
2. Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

Today I had this raw meat turned into a beef stew. For some reason or other I don't think I've ever actually made stew, which made me a little sad when I realized it, cause I love stew! Know why? My Pap-paw used to make stew. (And barbecued chicken, but that's for another day.) In the winter time cause he was a farmer and farmers work HARD during the spring and summer. But in the winter time? He'd hang out. And sometimes, sometimes he'd cook. He'd make up a big pot and then he and Mam-maw would can it so in the summer time, when he was in the fields until after dark, we'd still have stew. Cause it was so delicious you'd want to eat it all year 'round. He's long gone and I have no idea really what his recipe was and seriously, it's been years. Decades even. One thing I'm certain of is that it had corn so I added some in and pretended while I was eating that it tasted just like his and I double dog dare anyone to disagree. Talkin' to you Mom.

In other news we finally cracked open the last box of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. Man do I love those things. Since I'm here I might as well tell you the Christmas horror story that nearly ended our love affair. See I kept seeing this recipe for "Oreo Truffles" on some of my favorite food blogs. Now admittedly I was skeptical. Crushed cookies and cream cheese smooshed together and dipped in melted chocolate. Just three things? How on earth would that taste like anything except crushed cookies and cream cheese smooshed together and dipped in melted chocolate? Well to hear folks tell it tasted somewhere inbetween angel tears and drunken sex with a stranger. Or something like that. Of course if I made them with Candy Cane Joe-Joe's....well, I just don't have the words. So.

I assembled the goods.

But hey! Why stop there? Go big or go home right? So multiply that times three. I take some to work! Send some to work with Him! Give them to the neighbors! Pass them out to carolers. Not that we have carolers. But anyway. Oh! I have a G R E A T idea. Those yummy mocha cookies from Fresh & Easy? I'll make some with those! Only with DARK chocolate. So I assembled more goods.

Times three.

Big plans I tell you, big plans! Of course I needed something to PUT them in. You know, to give away to all my family and friends and carolers and random passersby. Hmmmm. Wal-mart. Yep. Wal-mart. I went to Wal-mart the week before Christmas. WHEN I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO. Sorry, didn't mean to yell. Saw some little treat bags that weren't that cute but the coordinating gift tags? Bloomin' awesome. Ooooooh! Only 3 for a dollar too? I bought 30.

Times three.

The Boo and I finally got down to business and started making these little balls of cookie love. We crushed. We smooshed. We scooped. We rolled. We dipped. We sprinkled. And we repeated.

Times three.

Oh and we tasted along the way, but not too much. Cause ... they really didn't taste all that good. Of course they were too fresh. They needed time to ripen, to bloom, to reach their full cookie drunken love ball potential. So. We soldiered on. And eventually we ended up with at least a hundred little "truffles" (times three of course) and man were they gorgeous. Here's a money shot.

See? Aren't they beautiful? Yes. They were. And the taste? Like crushed cookies smooshed together with cream cheese and dipped in chocolate. In a word? Yuck.

Times three.

Internet? You let me down. I b e l i e v e d! My hands are BRUISED from clapping so hard. Symbolically, of course. But still! I won't even get into how this whole thing jeopardized the beautiful relationship between me and mah cookies. And I couldn't even off load them on all those non-existent carolers cause the damn things were too soft and gooey to pack in the little treat bags that I risked limb and sanity to buy. I took a platter of the stupid goo balls to work every day that week and sent several plates full home with Boy's unsuspecting friends but I just couldn't get rid of them all. Still have extraneous quantities of cream cheese and dark chocolate. Not to mention my beer fridge is still harboring a dozen of the damn things.

Times three.


Behold! The Perfect Lemon Bar

>> Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I know! These are hands down the best (lemoniest!) lemon bars I've ever had. I followed the recipe here at A Mingling of Tastes for Lemon Lovers' Lemon Bars almost to the letter. The only thing I did differently is the lemon sugar. It's supposed to be made the day before but I ain't got that kinda time! Instead I just rubbed the zest into the sugar the same way it's described for the Perfect Party Cake. I did have some reservations with the first batch when I saw how dry and crumbly the crust mixture was but it worked out perfectly, so don't freak if you try this at home.


Peas Please

>> Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1. pea salad
2. odd potatoes
3. nearly raw meat
4. lemon bars

It's amazing how easily one can overlook oddly prepared potatoes and nearly raw meat when there's lemon bars involved! More on that to come ...


One is the loneliest ....

>> Sunday, January 11, 2009

Picture the scene. Me, at my desk, Google reader open, eating lunch.

1. one ham and cheese sandwich
2. one pickled cherry pepper
3. one pathetic little candy bar

It's too depressing, I can't go on. Talking about it I mean. Don't worry Mom. This isn't like my Post Secret or anything.


Poached Salmon & Potato Salad

>> Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1. salmon
2. potatoes
3. cute accessory
4. random pieces of romaine lettuce
5. blackberries and Greek style yogurt with honey

I poached the fish using a recipe from Simply Recipes subbing chives for the dill, cause that's what I had. Too bad I didn't catch the part about covering the pan - ended up spoon-sloshing the liquid on top to get it to cook :)
The potatoes are just quartered and boiled with some butter and chives. I put a little Caesar dressing in the chick.

Have I mentioned my new found love for the Fresh & Easy? Let me mention it again. See that salmon up there? Know where I got it? I'll tell you - Fresh & Easy. Ten ounces for $3.99 and as fresh as I'm ever likely to taste living here in the desert. Cooking and eating fish just isn't something I grew up doing. Where I'm from there's only one kind of fish, and that's catfish and you eat it dredged in cornmeal and deep fried and if you're smart you go out for it so you don't mess up your kitchen. And that - while delicious - is nothing like this. I don't know where I was going with that.

Anyway, Boo loves fish so I try to fix it for her at least once a week. Unfortunately she slept through dinner so the Boy snagged half of her fillet and the rest ended up here. This is just the sort of lunch that I love packing for work. So much better than anything I'd have time to run out for plus the added benefit of being very nearly free!


Pumking Soup - Did I Already Say That?

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1. more delicous pumpkin soup
2. berries, apples and honey'd yogurt

I'm sure gonna miss that soup. Anyone have a good recipe for spicy pumpkin soup?


Pumpking Soup

>> Monday, January 5, 2009

Last night marked the, well, the last night of eating out for a good long while. I don't know about you guys, but I'm stuffed. Three straight weeks of non-stop retarded asshole eating will do that do a person I guess. Kids are home. Bought groceries. Nose to the grindstone and all that. Anyway, the last meal out was a killer. Or a king. As in pump-king soup.

Okay, pumpkin soup. With coconut, and curry. My oh my. I had a bowl of it for dinner and when I asked for a cup to go, you know, for lunch the next day, the server looked at me funny and asked if it was good. Apparently it didn't sell very well and he packed up a quart for me to take home. Blessed day.

You'll probably be seeing this tomorrow as well. Lucky you! Oh, the stuff behind it? A piece of his leftover meatloaf and a red potato. I burped and worse that stupid meatloaf all day long. Sorry. I'm all about the over-sharing.


Toasting the New Year

>> Saturday, January 3, 2009

People. There are no words. That up there? That's my new toaster. A 1940 Toastmaster. Seriously. It weighs enough to kill a man if thrown with sufficient force AND makes a kick-ass slice of toast. Win-win, right? Of course the heat coming off the top is enough to melt the underside of my upper cabinets but that's what it takes to get toast that's toasty on the outside and soft in the middle. Trust me, any so-called "fire risk" is totally worth it.

In case you were wondering I did run a complicated little algorithm to determine exactly what the mathematical chances were of me and my new love ever actually meeting. The variables included; Me, Him, holiday weekend, two bucks and Mormon thrift store. Statistically I am more likely to be Elvis' than to own that particular toaster. Obviously Jesus wanted me to have it.

My second Resolution?

Buy more crap at thrift stores.


Happy 2009

oh. I forgot the words. Like it matters. Anyway - cookies for YOU Julie! Sure I might have missed Snackfest '09 (think it's a bit premature to be making declarations like that? I mean there's a whole lot of year left with surely much potential for equaling if not surpassing the excellence that was the aforementioned Snackfest? And then what? SnackSlapdown? I guess that could work) but I was there in spirit. And I was carrying cookies. Shortbread cookies, with chocolate! And you would have loved them. I'm sure of it.

Shortbread Cookies - makes 48 if you use your little scooper

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (or not if you use salted butter)
2 cups flour

Cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a bowl, then mix in 2 cups of flour about 1/4 a cup at a time. It'll eventually make a big lump of stiff dough that will walk a Kitchen-aid right off the counter if you aren't careful. Anyway. I digress. Again. Roll out the dough and cut it however you want. Apparently when I was a child I called rolling pins ro-doughlers. Apparently it was cute.
I roll dough on a flexible cutting mat - no flour needed. Or you can scoop it into balls and squash them with the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Or you know, a glass. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until as brown as you like 'em. Probably somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. It really depends on how thin you rolled or smashed the dough.
I had lots of extra chocolate around so I made dents in the centers of these with my thumb and put a little chunk of dark chocolate love on each and every one. Then I stuck the whole pan back in the oven to get melty.

Maybe someday I'll explain how I came to possess extraneous amounts of dark chocolate, but for now I'll end with the first of this year's Resolutions.

Try to incorporate dark chocolate into more recipes.

Happy New Year ya'll!



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