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Showing posts from May, 2010

Staycation Picnic for $17

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And there's more where that came from, under $17

Memorial Day is about to happen. A little late to make reservations, and getting stuck in traffic to stay with out-of town friends and family isn't always 3 day weekend worthy. Staying where you are, smell the roses, and pack a little picnic to make the day exceptional. A menu of sweet, salty, decadent, and savory in small amounts adds up to a picnic basket-o-joy to suit everyone. Not quite a full meal, and light enough to graze on all afternoon. Forget the forks, picnics are for fingers.


Picnic Menu for 8 under $17

-- Big French Ham and Cheese Baguette --
---------- Salt and Pepper Popcorn ----------
------ White Bean Dip and Vegetables ------
-------- Super Sweet Strawberries -----------
--------------- Fizzy Lemonade ---------------

Shopping List
1 baguette ($2.50)
1/2 lb sliced deli ham ($4.25)
1/4 lb sliced swiss cheese ($2.50)
1/4 lb popcorn kernels (@ 1lb for $1.29)
1 can of white beans ($1.09)
1 lb carrots (2 lb for $1.00)
1 cucumber (…

Candy Dots Don't Die

Childhood eating habits of the band Javelin as coaxed by Anna Barrie of These Are Powers over at the Converse blog.

Double Berry Pie

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Wins clients, makes friends

As a fledgling freelancer I would woo prospective clients with pie. Pie became my tasty calling card. Famously I brought a pie for a friendly client meeting/BBQ. Blueberry and Blackberry on grahm cracker crust. The pie went over well, I got the design gig. The pie was dubbed the black and blue, and one of my best ever. I hoped to relive that slice of heaven pie this week for the same client turned friend's birthday, but blueberries were sub par and expensive at the market. Strawberries are still out there, so in the pie they went. Double berry, strawberry and blackberry on a gingery crumb crust, pie is cousin to the black and blue and undoubtedly a client winner.

Double Berry Pie

Crust
3/4 cup whole almonds
3-4 oz crushed ginger snaps
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 large pinch of salt
1 tblsp heaping flour
3 tblsp melted butter


Pie
1 qt strawberries, hulled and halved
1 pint black berries
1 tsp Grand Marnier/orange liquor (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbls…

Mead the Honey Wine

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Meet mead

Mead may be the first fermented (alcoholic) drink ever to get the party started with records reaching as far back as 7000 BC. Also known as honey wine, everyone from Aristotle (322 BC) to Dostoevsky has savored this sweet lightly carbonated beverage. Mead lays between the land of beer and wine with an alcohol content of 9-11%. Complex and sweet like a dessert wine, but with a lighter body. Honey and fruity notes are some of the foremost flavors with hints of yeast. I like to think of it as the brandy of beers on the flavor chain. Mead's sweetness will pair well with spicy food (curries) or strong umamis (mushroom dishes). Mead cocktails are spreading too. My epicurean cousin John Raley introduced me to his home brewed mead and took the time to detail how how he makes it. A delight I continue to thank him for.

Classic Mead

Equipment
5 gallon carboy Airlock funnel large soup pot wooden spoon (for authenticity)
Ingredients
14lbs. honey champagne yeast yeast nutrients or Yeast extract a…

Empanadas

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Empanda the happy pocket of meat and dough

Give me a meat filling wrapped in some kind of flaky dough, and I'm happy. Empandas make me very happy. I've baked them twice, and learned a thing or two. I don't claim to be the empanada queen. I did discovered (where? I dunno.) that achiote seeds can be used to give empanadas their signature yellow color. Empandas are involved, lots of steps equals lots of work in the kitchen. Its wise to break the steps out into phases over a day or two so you don't overextend yourself. I'll try to make it easy and clear. After its all over just don't waste your empanadas on the undeserved, give them to the ones you care about.

Empanadas

1 - Make the Dough

1 stick cold butter, divided
1 tsp achiote seeds*

1/3 cup ice cubes
1 tblsp white vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup masaharina (can substitute flour)
1 tsp salt
1 large egg

Melt 2 tblsp butter and achiote seeds in a small sauce pan over low heat. Let heat for 2-3 minutes, and then strain butter …