Monday, May 30, 2011

May Baking Challenge: Cheese Souffle

Would we be afraid of souffles if no one ever told us to be?  I found it to be pretty easy to make - although they will fall if you don't eat them within about 10 minutes. There are only a few basic ingredients and the individual size cooks in 10 minutes. I chose this recipe because it said that the extras could be frozen and then cooked as needed. I like Gruy√®re, but I wanted a more assertive cheese for the souffle.  The options at Central Market were overwhelming to say the least and I ended up with a 6-year old cheddar because it was "Amy's pick."  It was good, but I couldn't shake the feeling that that I was eating really fluffy scrambled eggs with cheese.  Next time, I think goat cheese and chives would be good.  But first we have to eat the other six that are in the freezer!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

60 minute Purse

I'm utterly in love with my new purse.  I have an over-sized purse made from an old corduroy jacket that is great for hauling around my knitting, reusable bags, phone, purse, planner, and everything else I seem to "need."  For everyday use, though, it is just too big and I can never find anything in it.

Action Shot!
I have had this free pattern from Made by Rae for quite a while now and I bought the adorable Japanese umbrella print fabric about six months ago for a project that never materialized.  So this bag came together using only things I already had on hand!

The purse is just the right size for my basic necessities and too small to lose things in.  But to keep it organized, I went ahead and made pockets custom fit to a pen and my cell phone as well as another pocket for my camera and a notepad or whatever else I need that day.

This purse was quick and easy to put together in just one night and requires only one fat-quarter of fabric to make.  Although I made mine with quilting fabric and light iron-on interfacing, I would recommend either a decor-weight fabric or a stiffer interfacing.

Have you made anything fun lately?  Link to it in the comments, I would love to see it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Foto Friday

Saturday May 21: Flowering Artichokes

Sunday May 22: Entrance to Robber Baron Cave

Monday May 23: Tree

Tuesday May 24: Golden Daffodils

Wednesday May 25: Got out the Sewing Machine

Thursday May 25: Leaving Downtown at Sunset after Spina Bifida Texas meeting

Friday May 27: Pickling

Monday, May 23, 2011

Siu Pai Gwat (Sticky Ribs)

There are not words for how good these are.  I am usually pretty critical of the food that I cook and Geoff would choke down a charcoal briquette before saying anything bad about dinner.  So when he told me the ribs were delicious, I said thanks and ate some green beans before attacking the ribs. "Holy crap, you are right. These are AMAZING!"

And so easy to make following a recipe from one of my favorite blogs (and cookbooks) Chocolate and Zucchini. You need to plan ahead a bit to make the 5 ingredient marinade and give your ribs (from a locally raised, heritage pig if you like) 24 hours to soak in all the goodness.

About 2 hours before you are ready to eat, sprinkle ginger and green onions over the top and bake.  With 10 minutes left, drizzle on the honey.  That's it.

And they are so, so good.  I served them up with rice and green beans sauteed with sesame oil and a few spoonfuls of grapefruit jam.  The leftovers made delicious stirfry.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foto Friday

May 14: How cute is this sign?

May 15: I call him Rufus

May 16: First Bike Ride

May 17: Guitars

May 18: Books

May 19: Matching at TEDx 
May 20: Life's a bowl of cherries

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And the winner is...

SarahMK who wrote:

Sarah has a new blog over at featuring recipes, home renovations, and her rather naughty kitties - Holmes and Watson.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saag Paneer

My challenge with Indian food is I don't have a reliable go to for recipes.  My Indian friends tend to tell me "I just put in whatever spices I have in the cabinet."  Not helpful, but I get it because that is pretty much how I cook too.  So I shouldn't have been surprised that my first attempt at Saag Paneer was rescued at the last minute by dumping in whatever I had in the spice cabinet.

I started by making the paneer following these instructions.  I poured a gallon of 2% milk into the pot and added the juice of one lemon.  Carefully stirring as the milk started to steam.  Waiting.  Watching.  And nothing happened.  So I added the juice of another lemon and brought it to a simmer.  Still, nothing.  I was expecting an easy result like when I've made ricotta.  I ended up adding a full tablespoon of white vinegar before the curds and whey separated.  Relieved, I drained and salted the curds then pressed them for about an hour.

I attempted to sear the resulting, still moist cheese.  I don't recommend doing this unless you have a large non-stick skillet.  The super fresh paneer oozed everywhere and never seared properly.

Undeterred, I assembled the mise en place called for in this recipe which has all sorts of yummy-sounding spices in it.

I heated up some oil and doubled up the amount of all the spices called for and added two thai chiles.  After quickly toasting the spices, I added the onions, garlic, ginger, and chiles.  Then came a roux.  The amount of flour called for was too much so I added about three cups of water to loosen things up.

The nice thing about the recipe is that it very quick to make (or it would be if you used store-bought paneer).  The massive amount of spinach cooked down in a flash. Then I blended it until nearly smooth. I tasted it and freaked out that despite the huge amount of spice you already added, it still tastes bland.

Added more salt, cumin, coriander, and garam masala.  Feeling it lacked heat, I opend a new bottle of sriracha and in went a huge squeeze.  Too huge.  Luckily, a squeeze of lemon balanced everything out.

Finally, in went the cubes of paneer that make the dish luscious and filling.  Despite some near misses, the dish came together and was (almost) as good as I hoped.

Does anyone have suggestions for sources of good, authentic Indian recipes?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foto Friday

Saturday May 7: Old Fashion Popcorn

Sunday May 8: Exploring the New Farmer's Market

Monday May 9: Seedless Watermelons
 p.s. Don't forget to leave a comment on my last post for a chance to win these potholders and trivet.

Tuesday May 10: Ran and Swam

Wednesday May 11: Light

Thursday May 12: Rain, Finally

Friday May 13: Drafting a Sweater

Friday, May 13, 2011

100th Post and a Giveaway!

After about a year and a half of blogging, I have reached 100 posts!  All of you - those who have been reading from the beginning and those who just started - are why I keep writing these posts. I wanted a way to thank you all and I thought a giveaway would be fun but I wasn't sure what to give.  Then I went to the grocery store and saw these:

Aren't all watermelons personal if you refuse to share?
And those of course made me think of that cute watermelon mug rug I crocheted.  The original pattern was for a trivet and hot pads which are so happy and summery (and boy is it already summer here in Texas).  I crocheted up a set and now I'm going to give them away to one lucky reader.

The trivet is nice and big - about 10" across.
For a chance to win the set, all you have to do is leave a comment here on my blog telling me how you follow my blog - is it in your RSS reader?  on your Google homepage?  do I e-mail each post to you?  do you click over when I mention it on Facebook?  On Monday (the 16th) at midnight CDT I'll randomly select a winner and ship you the potholders and trivet wherever you are in the world.

Thanks for reading!  If you want to be sure you are seeing all of my posts, I'd recommend you follow my blog using that "Follow" button on the right.  That way I know you are here!  Or if you would rather receive my blog via e-mail you can enter your e-mail address where it says "Follow by E-mail" just underneath.

But even if I don't know that you are here, I am so glad you are!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Dozen Roses Doesn't Taste This Good

For mother's day, I thought about sending flowers.  You can never go wrong with roses.  But then I thought, roses wilt, a cookie is forever.  At least, until you eat it.

So instead of sending a dozen roses this Mother's Day, I sent a dozen daisies.  Don't these just make you smile?

I made my normal cookie dough that I learned from the Bake at 350 blog.  To add a springy edge to the cookies, I used lemon extract instead of almond and vanilla in both the cookies and the frosting.

I outlined a simple daisy in white frosting and flooded them.

A spiral of yellow frosting in the center and a whole field of daisies is done from start to finish in less than three hours.

All boxed up and ready to go (p.s. if you aren't mailing these, bake them onto lollipop sticks and add leaves).  When you can't be there, care enough to send sugar.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all the other amazing moms I know!  I'm in awe of you all.

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