Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adventures in Ice Cream Part 2

Kevin and I took the ice cream maker for a spin this weekend and made our 2nd batch of home made ice cream.  This batch would've been considerably less expensive than the white chocolate ice cream if it hadn't been for the burnt butter pecans. The instructions weren't great for making those and Kev over toasted them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. He never toasted nuts before so wasn't aware that they need constant vigilance and coddling otherwise they go from golden brown and delicious to burnt in about 2.5 seconds. So we wound up spending like $12 on nuts for one batch of ice cream. Ouch. At least we have some left so I can make more of those tasty spicy pecans from Macheesmo. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, ice cream.

It's butterscotchbrandy pecan ice cream. (We didn't have any scotch.) It's rich, buttery and almost a little savory. Definitely a little salty, but I like that. Not quite as smooth and creamy as the white chocolate ice cream, but it's still really darn delicious. Kevin certainly doesn't have any complaints.  Next up on the list will definitely be a chocolate ice cream. There's no way home made chocolate ice cream won't be twice as delicious as this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No nuts in a Haystack

I was recently chatting with a friend and recalling the un-sophisticated palette of childhood - boil bag rice with butter, fried bologna sandwiches, StoveTop stuffing, potato bread by the fistful. Who's the sick twisted soul that thought, 'How can we get more carbs into a piece of white bread? I know! POTATO!'

Anyway, this conversation gave me a powerful hankering for Haystacks. Super simple, super delicious, these definitely bring back tons of memories for me. I phoned up my mom and got the recipe. I didn't realize it but the recipe actually comes from her mother! I think there's something really adorable about keeping a 60-year old recipe going in the family.

  • 3 cups oats

  • 1 cup coconut

  • 1 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup margarine/butter

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 large package semi-sweet chocolate chips(16 oz)

- Mix dry ingredients
- Bring to boil milk, sugar and butter
- Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until chocolate melts
- Drop onto parchment paper and let set in fridge (two hour minimum)

My mother has always detested nuts in any sort of dessert (she firmly believes they have no place in baked goods and shouldn't come in to contact with sugar ever). Point being I've never had haystacks with nuts, so I always go heavy on the oats and coconut. I didn't remember just how decedent and rich these could be! Next time, I think I'm going to go easy on the sugar...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taking the meat grinder for a spin.

Kevin's parents got me the meat grinder attachment for my kitchen aid as a birthday present this year. I finally got it out this weekend to take it for a spin grind. We had a vague notion that we wanted to make burgers but this notion came to us when we were already at the store so we weren't sure what the best cut of meat would be to use. We picked up a pound of sirloin and decided to give that a shot. I kept the seasoning very simple, just some kosher salt on the chopped up meat and a grind of black pepper once the patties were formed.

Grinding the meat was easy and fun. We got 4 good sized patties from the mix (2 5oz and 2 4oz).

(aren't they pretty?)

We served the burgers along side roasted veggies (baby gem potatoes, yellow pepper, onions and mushrooms). The burgers turned out pretty tasty. Very beefy. Kevin feels like we should add more fat next time so we'll pick up a more fatty cut of beef or perhaps toss in some bacon (I read that suggestion somewhere and I really like it). All in all though it was fun to grind up my own burger meat and we'll definitely do it again. Next up on the list is sausage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shrimp and Grits for Dinner.

It's official. I'm a true southern bell. I've been turned into a grit lover.

This dish is so good it'll make you wanna slap yo momma.

Seriously, do your mouth a favor and make this recipe. I promise, you'll thank me. It's bacon and cheese and shrimp and lemon and it's a party in your mouth. I'm pretty sure I'll make this for dinner tomorrow night. And maybe the night after that too. Hell, I might have some of the left overs for dessert. It's just that awesome.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I need to stay away from Joy the Baker's blog. When I read her blog I get inspired. And hungry. Mostly hungry. I ran across her recipe for peanut butter banana bread and was immediately sucked in by the pictures. I left the web page with the recipe up on my computer all week until I could get a chance to make it (I was waiting for my bananas to ripen). I knew if I made it and kept it here I'd most likely eat the whole loaf in one, maybe two, sittings. So I made it today when Kevin had a brewer's guild meeting so he could take the bread with him after I got my taste.

The bread is quite good. I think maybe my loaf baked a little quicker than hers, the crust was quite...crusty. Maybe next time I'd check it at 45 minutes rather than letting it go the whole 55. But it was still moist and crumby on the inside. It tasted...healthy. In a good way. Probably all that whole wheat and flaxseed meal.  It could've been more banana-y though.

During the course of the week I spent a lot of time catching up on all of the delicious posts from her blog that I had missed. I stumbled across the Chocolate Chip Pancake recipe last night. Can you guess what we had for breakfast this morning?

Kevin gets the credit here, he made these delicious, fluffy, chocolately stacks of heaven. More browsing brought me to her Shrimp and Grits recipe and that is totally going to be dinner one night this week.

Have I mentioned on here that I'm doing weight watchers and have lost 36lbs so far? While eating food like this? That's why that plan is so wonderful. No foods are off limits. Portion control for dummies! Yay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This burger needs more anger...

I've been hyping this entry to Bailie for at least two weeks now. Here's hoping it lives up to her ever-dwindling expectations. I really don't have a clever excuse for not blogging, she's the one constantly knitting AND planning a wedding.

Here's the inspiration: Was watching Food Network awhile ago and they mentioned the metal (as in music) inspired burgers at Kuma's Corner in Chicago.
Like this winner - the Slayer Burger: Pile of fries topped with a 10 oz. Burger, Chili, Cherry Peppers, Andouille, Onions, Jack Cheese, and Anger

Tell me that doesn't sound like a whole lot of awesome? Now that show came on the heels of a friend pointing me towards a little film called Heavy Metal Parking Lot. The setting, 1981. The subject, upstanding American citizens, drunk and high out of their minds in the parking lot of a Slayer concert. This started a three week period where we began ranking everything by its level of metalness.

THUS I give you THE METALEST BURGER, or at least the metalest burger I could make with ingredients already in my kitchen.

Burger ingredients:
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Sharp Cheddar
- Cumin
- Cayenne Pepper

I chose these spices because they are my two favorite spices, AND... because I'm still working on industrial size jars I purchased three years ago. I end up putting cumin and cayenne in everything just to get rid of the stuff, but I think they were the right choices in this case. I also chose jalapenos and cheddar because they complement each other so well (this was also before Burger King started airing commercials for their new burger with the exact same ingredients).

Here's where it gets crazy people, cheddar mashed potatoes ON TOP of the burger. Crazy and slightly metal, I know! Top that with plenty of bacon on a butter-toasted bun (black poppy seeds obviously... to represent the tortured darkness in everyone's soul).

After all this planning and debating, I'm sad to say this was not the metalist of metal burgers. I wanted something really decedent and over the top, and while this burger was uber-filling, it just didn't feel right. So I'm still on the quest for the darkest, blackest, devilist, metalist burger. Maybe I'll give it another go this weekend. And blog about it six months later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good food.

It's been a good two weeks for food. I haven't been documenting it as much as as should but it sure has been tasty. I've been eating a lot more leftovers for lunch during the week the past few weeks. Kevin and I get together and walk for about a half hour around downtown and then I come back and spend the rest of the time with my lunch. I've had tasty soup, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, pasta with italian sausage and it was all much better than some low calorie frozen dinner that bland and tasteless.

This week I tried out two weight watcher recipes that turned out really well. One was for a marinated lime chicken breast and the other was for a spicy mushroom soup. I'll definitely be making the soup more often. As far as weight watchers recipes go it was really darn tasty. I find them often to be lacking in flavor and need a bit of tweaking but this one was spot on. It's chock full of veggies and it's very filling. 5 points for 1 1/2 cups. Not a bad deal at all. Also, I've decided that I do like mangos. Yay for new fruit to eat! We had it last night in a tasty mango salsa w/ some baked salmon.

My favorite thing I've been eating since last week though is some granola that I made. I followed Alton Brown's recipe for granola. I forgot the coconut, added pecans, and I used dried cherries instead of raisins  and I've been having it mixed in with some Stony Field Farm's low fat vanilla yogurt. About a half cup of yogurt w/ third cup to a half cup of granola mixed it. It's slightly sweet, slightly salty, very crunchy and very, very addicting. It makes a great breakfast or a little smaller serving is a great snack. I'm almost out of granola and I plan on making another batch this weekend. It's been a nice break from cereal.

Tonight is lemon ricotta pasta with chicken. If it's tasty enough I'll take pictures.