Monday, December 21, 2009
Its been a difficult season for me to get into the holiday spirit, which is frustrating me since Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. However, some family issues have prevented a festive feeling, and it looks like I might be spending this holiday alone. In an effort to raise my spirits at this prospect, I'm hitting the bottle!
I saw this recipe for Rosemary Gin Fizz and it sounded like it might do the trick. Christmas in a glass? Yes please! It is very easy, and tasty, and I think I'll have another one tonight! Go on over to Sassy Radish and get the recipe.
I also knit up this wine bottle cozy last night. Its a great alternative to using a bag or something as a wrapper for a gift. Its also a great stash buster to use up left-over partial skeins you might have. The pattern is from Tara's Knits, her Swirled Wine Bottle Cozy. I used some red and green yarn held double, and instead of doing the swirl pattern I went for plain stockinette since my variegating yarn looked too busy with the pattern as well. I also knit if flat and then seamed it up because I don't have the right size double-pointed needles.
And my little fiber optic Christmas tree.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I've had the sauteed mushrooms from our Thanksgiving dinner at The Mogul on my mind ever since. I whipped these up to go with Chris' steak one night, and they did not disappoint.
based on this recipe at Easy-Wine.net
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 c. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper
from Vegetarian Times
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 c. spinach leaves
1 c. dried cherries, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/3-inch dice (about 1 1/2 c.)
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. plain low-fat yogurt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
Preheat oven to 350F. Spread almonds on baking sheet, and toast 7 to 10 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, or until golden brown. Cool.
Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in pot over medium-high heat. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and cool, covered, in pot.
Lay 5 or 6 spinach leaves flat on top of one another on cutting board. Roll tightly into cylinder, then slice into slivers. Repeat with remaining spinach. (I forgot to buy spinach, so I used about a cup of chopped frozen spinach, which I defrosted and squeezed the excess water out of.)
Toss together quinoa, almonds, spinach, cherries, cucumber, chickpeas and red onion in large serving bowl. Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in small bowl. Pour over salad, and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop, then serve.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
With the cooler weather I've got the bug to bake lately. Not only does the place smell great when something is cooking in the oven, but it warms the entire condo up nicely as well. I saw this recipe for Cherry, Almond, and White Chocolate Biscotti over at gimme some oven and knew I had to make it. The texture is great, as promised - crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.
Mix 4 large eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon almond extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with an electric mixer.
Add in dry ingredients and mix together until combined. Then add in 6 ounces dried cherries, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Either mix by hand with a wooden spoon, or very briefly with the electric mixer.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead lightly a few times to be sure that berries, chocolate and almonds are well-distributed. This dough is very sticky, so I had to add a good amount of flour. Divide dough in half.
Shape each half into long logs, and flatten to 1″ thickness. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Remove rolls from baking sheet and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then cut each roll diagonally into 1/2″ slices.
Place the slices cut-sides down on a baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove, and turn each slice over, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks.
Remove and cool on wire racks.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate.
Enjoy with your morning coffee, or cup of tea.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This is in the tasting room - a regular bottle of wine, and a mega bottle that holds something like ten bottles and costs about $800!
After tasting a few wines in the tasting room, a Voignier unfiltered and straight from the fermenter, and more wines in the caves, we had a picnic lunch at the lookout area at Pride Mountain. There's such a nice view up there, and plenty more wine to ward off the chill in the air.
suede and fur jacket. I felt rather glamorous that day.
I did not go home empty-handed. Oh no! Rich gave me one of his uncle's private label wines, and it is fan-freaking-tastic! I like it more than the Pride wines. And I got a hug from his uncle, who was sweet and funny and all-around great. And Stef and Philip gave me an ice wine. What can I say? I am one lucky girl!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
First up, the chocolate. I think almost everyone probably sent chocolate; I know I did. There's a package of different chocolates from South America, and a dark chocolate orange that you have to whack on something hard to break up into segments. I love those!
Major thank-you's to Stephanie for being the organizing force behind this event. It was a lot of fun planning my package to send out, and so cool to receive a care package in the mail. And kudos to Lindsey for sending such a great box of goodies my way. You have excellent taste!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So, Friday I was feeling a little better. The boys went out hunting and I decided I'd actually cook up a meal for us: baked chicken, risotto with roasted Delicatta squash and Parmesan, and salad. And to top it off, Greg's favorite: Apple Pie.
I used a pre-made pie crust since I didn't want to deal with making my own pate brisee in an unfamiliar kitchen. I still find the pre-mades too salty, but good in a pinch. I used this recipe from Joy of Baking, with no modifications. Despite macerating the apples and concentrating the syrup my pie was still weepy, but tasty. Next time I'd concentrate the syrup further I think.
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
CO 105 sts. on size 13 circular needle
Work 4 rows in garter stitch
* Set up pattern: 4st garter border, k7, p2, left-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k14, p2, k6, p2, k15, p2, left-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k14, p2, k6, p2, k7, 4st garter border
Work 5 rows even
Next row: 4st garter border, k7, p2, k6, p2, k14, p2, right-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k15, p2, k6, p2, k14, p2, right-cross cable over 6sts, p2, k7, 4st garter border
Work 14 rows even *
Repeat from * to * until you've reach the length you want, then work 4 rows in garter stitch
BO (I used the p2tog method).
I left my tapestry needle at home and had to improvise to weave in the ends with some needle threaders I picked up at the grocery store with big plastic handles and small-gauge wire threaders that I was able to bend to accommodate this chunky yarn. It worked decently enough, and while this was intended to be a Christmas gift for Greg I gave it to him right away, since he can definitely use it now.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Whatever you think might be a novel idea... isn't. I suddenly thought up "apple pumpkin muffins" the other day, but a quick Google search let me know that I'm far from the first person to put together apples and pumpkin puree in a muffin batter. Ah, well...
I went with this recipe over at All Recipes. With a 5-star rating and 150 reviews, how could I go wrong? I made a few changes, which are reflected in my recipe below: less sugar, more pumpkin, no liners. These muffins are very moist flavorful. Next time I think I'd cut back the sugar to 3/4 cup, and use Granny Smith apples, which are more tart. I took half of the batch in to work and my coworkers were searching me down to let me know how much they enjoyed these.
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
15 oz. (1 can) pumpkin puree
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped peeled apples
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. cold butter or margarine
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
I made a dozen muffins and 8 or 10 mini muffins. If you make mini muffins be sure to take them out of the oven earlier, around 15-20 minutes should do it. You can check the muffins with a cake tester, toothpick, or, in my case, metal skewer. You should only have a tiny bit of muffin sticking to your tester after you insert it in the middle of a muffin.
By the way, these make the house smell delicious...
Saturday, November 21, 2009
1 small butternut squash
6 garlic cloves (less if you prefer)
Salt & pepper
4-6 cups vegetable stock
4 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine (or water)
Peel the squash, cut the neck off, and cut each half in halves. Scoop the seeds out of the bottom halves. Chop into 1" cubes. Roughly chop garlic. Put squash and garlic on a foil-lined baking sheet (trust me, it really aids in clean-up later) and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Roast in a 375° oven, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until golden and roast-y.
Make the risotto:
Heat the veggie stock in a sauce pan over low. In a deep skillet melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. When melted, add the Arborio rice and stir. Let the rice toast in the butter until glossy, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine/water and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the liquid bubble away.
Once the liquid is mostly gone start adding the warm veggie stock. Using a ladle, add about a half cup at a time and stir. Continue to stir every minute or so, and once the liquid is mostly gone, add another ladle-full. Continue in the manner. Start tasting after 20 minutes - like pasta, the rice should be soft on the outside with a slight bite in the center.
Once the rice is done add in the roasted squash and garlic, as well as the other 2 tbsp. butter. Top with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
After, a few band mates and I went for coffee and apple pie at a fast food place. The only other patron by that time of night was a truck driver, who chatted in line with us a bit. As we were fixing our coffee side by side the following conversation ensued:
Him: I've been working 29 years, 6 months, and 29 days.
Me: Not that you're counting or anything.
Him: I recently saw my hiring sheet. My date of hire was April 22, 19xx.
Me: Really? That happens to be the same day I was born.
Him: Well then, you are now 29 years, 6 months, and 29 days old.
Me: So I am.
We shared a laugh, and then went out separate ways. What an amusing and coincidental interaction with a complete stranger.