Monday, March 29, 2010

#16 - Throw Brooke a Shower

The countdown is on until 1 May when Brooke gets hitched! And it was my pleasure to throw her a bit of a shower to celebrate the occasion. I read a lot of blogs and wanted something whimsical and fun (and it had to have button candy involved). 

 And Brooke's DQ cake (specially requested):

 Although the party was tame, Grandma Brown bestowed Brooke with a little lingerie. Ooh lala!

Overall, it was a great success. Brooke received plenty of Cubs (ahem) gear, everyone seemed to be on a diet, thus there was plenty of cake and treats to dine on later, and the games were a hit. Now onto the bachelorette party. And the wedding itself. Exciting times!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Salmon Tikka

I finally got a shot of delicious, delicious Salmon Tikka Masala. And you know what? Ken and I are having it again this week. And next week. And the week after.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book #1 - Kafka on the Shore

I finished my first real book since starting this challenge - "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami. I read "Norwegian Wood" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" before diving into this one, which ranks up there as one of his most famous. Like his other novels, there is a definite element of the paranormal in Kafka. Also like the others, half the time I had no clue what was actually happening. There were stunned schoolchildren, talking cats, portals into the unknown, Oedipus references, and plenty of other odd moments. I enjoyed it (although Nakata chatting in the third person the entire time gets a bit infuriating) and would recommend it; however, I'd more strongly recommend "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles."

Recipe #9 - Dreamy Cream Scones

During a routine shopping trip to our local Italian Market, Ken discovered some Devonshire Double Cream and we immediately started hatching plans to make some scones and have some delicious clotted cream. The two slight issues with this plan were that a) I've attempted scones before and they tasted like cardboard and b) the cream was almost $7 for a tiny jar. Not one to be dissuaded, I decided to do a test run with a scone recipe I'd had my eye on for about a week and make my own whipped cream.

Thus, this happened:

And this.

And my tummy rejoiced while my hips took a turn for the worse.

But it was worth it.

How to describe these little gems? Incredibly, fall apart moist. Sweet with substance.

And the whipped cream? I didn't want to overwhip it, so it was a bit runny, but with some jam... absolutely delectable.

Just for Brooke

You think having a fork on the carpet is bad? Check out our usual Mexican night! I think we lived in Japan too long...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recipes #7 & 8

Leeks. How did I live for so many years without taking advantage of these lovely vegetables? Last night we made Baked Creamy Leeks a la Jamie. Unfortunately, substituting in half & half instead of heavy cream left us with slightly curdled (but not bad tasting) cream. I'm not sure I would make this again "as is," but adding some potatoes and making a potato au gratin could be delish!

Tonight we embraced our inner subcontinent selves and whipped up Jamie's Chicken Tikka Masala. We've tried to make a similar recipe before with really horrible results (i.e. flavors that just didn't melt together properly). However, with the success of Jamie's Salmon Tikka, we decided to give Indian food one more go. And it was good! It had enough heat and enough spice to make it interesting. I whipped up a cornstarch slurry to thicken it a bit and served with rice and naan, it was pretty tasty!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

#97 - Make truffles

I am thrilled! I just made PW's truffles "just cause" and then was scrolling down my list and COMPLETELY forgot I made it it's own number. Nice!

I made these (try not to drool on your keyboard) and although mine aren't nearly as pretty, I am can say that the one I sampled might be one of the richest chocolate foods I've ever tasted. And that's saying something, considering I've thought about entering a 12 Step program for my addiction.

Recipe #6 - Smitten Kitchen's Cheese Straws

Again, channeling my inner Martha, I whipped up these supersimple cheese straws and they are tasty!

These have a delicious kick from the red pepper flakes (my favorite condiment) and I think next time I might also try a parmesan variety without the spice for those who don't like the suck down water after their snacks.

Recipe #5 - Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate & Caramel Crack (ers)

In preparation of some entertaining in the near future, I whipped this up as it seemed affordable and how could it taste bad? Little did I know that it would literally take "crack(ers)" to a whole new level. This is a simple recipe and the results are fantastic. Any time you use sweetened condensed milk, you're moving into my kind of territory. Did I ever mention how in Vietnam you'd have a layer of this stuff at the bottom of a strong cup of coffee? Have I ever mentioned how I would move to Vietnam in a heartbeat? Connected? I think so.

And this is how you improvise a double boiler on a budget!

And the crack. Craic. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Recipe #4 - Jamie's Salmon Tikka Masala

I can't believe I don't have a photo of this one! Probably because Ken and I are already digging in before it's even done. Rarely do Ken and I have a recipe that we keep coming back to like this one. We've been known to whip it up twice in the same week. The ingredients seem odd, but wow. Just wow.

In "Jamie's Food Revolution," he asks everyone who uses the cookbook to memorize two recipes from each section and "pass it on." Ken has made this for numerous friends thus far and I definitely have it memorized. And now I pass it to you. Prepare to have salmon changed for you forever.

Recipe #3 - Jamie Oliver's Meatballs

Have I ever mentioned my deep love for the Naked Chef? I always found his slight speech impediment endearing, but now that I'm actually creating his recipes, I'm officially in deep.

Luckily, Ken doesn't feel threatened by my obsession with Mr. Oliver and fully encourages me to scope out his book as much as possible.

Before I left for Australia, Ken and I whipped up Jamie's meatballs (adding our own touches). Oddly enough, Ken and I have never attempted meatballs before and these were delicious. We added onion and green pepper to ours and next time, we'll work a bit on the frying method, but overall... Fab.