Monday, February 2, 2009

Two Things I Ate Last Week

Last week was very interesting. I went skiing for the first time in my life, which was life changing. The Superbowl happened. It was the first full week of class in a while. ... But despite all of this excitement- there was still more to be had.

I had the privilege to try two new treats, one that was a gift from the Quaker oats man, the other from the Village Point Market, where I work.

Quaker True Delights-

OK- I never thought that having this FoodBuzz publisher thing would ever pay off, (look to the far right) but any time you get free food it is a plus for sure. One day last week I opened my mailbox and to my pure joy and excitement there was a large envelope with the FoodBuzz logo and 6 "new to the market" Quaker Oats granola bars.

They were AWESOME! My favorite is was the Banana Macadamia Coconut combination, with a close second being the Cashew Berry. When these things hit the market (they might already have) everyone should most diffidently go out and buy a box. There are only 140 calories and taste like they have 100 more.

Vosges Bacon Chocolate Bar-

I have had my eyes this bar ever since my first day at work. The bar comes in a nice little box, but disappointingly the chocolate is about 1/8 the thickness of the box it comes in - very misleading. The chocolate was very...interesting. It tasted like straight smoked chocolate. Would I buy this particular bar again?- probably not. Would I buy another Vosges Chocolate bar...maybe.

Would I buy some more Quaker True Delights? You bet.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Candied Ginger-

There is no mistaking that candied ginger is ginger. In case you were wondering or assuming that coating thin slices of ginger root in sugar would in some way dull the infamous spicy after taste- it most certainly dose not. Is it still good? Yes.

That being said, doing the candying process in your own kitchen is very cool. You have to remove the paper thin skin off the root and then get to have fun slicing  it on a mandolin. It is a little bit of work but if for some reason you need a pound of sugar coated ginger, very worth while. I have a few ideas for how to use the stuff, and will have plenty of room to experiment given I do in fact have a pound of ginger now. 

You could go the ginger snap cookie rout, and there are TONS of good recipes out there. I really want to hunt around and find something different to make with my ginger, something a little more unexpected. 

Until then, enjoy these little snacks of sugar coated ginger goodness. Eaten one at a time on there own they are really tasty and have a unique taste, but as mentioned about, you know you're eating ginger. 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday. 

Candied Ginger-

One large "hand" of ginger
5 cups water

Break hand into manageable pieces and remove skin by quickly scraping a small knife up and down the sides. Set mandolin to 1/8 of an inch and slice ginger into rounds. (If you don't have a mandolin, you can try and use a large knife but ginger is very fibrous and sometimes hard to cut thin.) Add ginger and pour water into a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil then lower to medium high temp and cook for about 35 minutes. Strain out ginger but reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Measure the weight of the cooked ginger and then add an equal weight of sugar to the cooking pot. Add back the cooked ginger and the reserved liquid and cook on medium high heat until all of the liquid is cooked off. Spread out on wire rack to cool.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ribs with a Good Sauce

There is nothing more to say. When you want ribs, you want ribs, and this weekend my family and I wanted ribs. This is a good go to recipe and is pretty unique as far a sauces go. There's only a few ingredients, which is a plus for an easy Sunday dinner. 

These have kind of an Asian spin/ latin spin, combing chipolte peppers with an orange glaze. I cut the sugar content down to about half because there is no way I rationalize putting 8 cups of sugar in about 4 cups of liquid. 

There is really no right of wrong as far as how you want to cook the ribs. The recipe says smoke them but I have never tried that method with these ribs. I do recommend starting them at a low temp, say 225- 275, covered in foil and basted in sauce for a few hours and then once tender, finishing them on the grill. If you don't want to break out the grill, just turn the oven up and uncover them to get some color. 

That being said, the recipe I present to you is more for the sauce than cooking the meat itself. Put it on chicken, pork, beef or even eggs if you feel bold. 

Orange Chipolte Glaze - 
-adapted from Emerils
1 cup orange juice
4 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
One 7-ounce can of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, chopped fine

Reduce the orange juice in a non-reactive sauce pan. Add in the soy sauce and vinegar. Stir in the the four cups of sugar and allow to dissolve. (You may prefer more sugar if too spicy) Pour in the chopped peppers and cook for 30-45 minutes until thickened slightly. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Power of the Box: Chocolate Mint Brownies

Do you ever just want to make something? Eat something? Do something? ....but then don't want to do something

Behold the box. Boxed brownie mix might the be quintessential pantry staple. Super easy, super moist, super good - you really can't beat Duncan Hines brownies done up according to the 'fudgey' directions. Just add oil, water, and a few ace of cakes for around 30 minutes and violla

Brownie party. 

I couldn't just stop with the simple brownies though. Growing up, we always had brownies with mint icing on top. Different people call them by different names, but they have always been a family favorite. I'm not trying to go all Sandra Lee on everyone, but there really is some charm to taking 5 minutes to make a great desert that's home made at the same time. 

To put them together, you just whip up a simple cream cheese icing, (i.e. carrot cake) add a bit of cream de menthe, then melt up some chocolate and pour it on top. Stay far away for an hour or so and then enjoy some really great munchies. 

Note: I didn't really measure or use a recipe on this icing, just to let you know. If you have a great cream cheese icing, go for it. Just add about 2 tbs of the cream de menthe or enough to suit your own taste. 

Chocolate Box Brownies with Cream de Menthe Icing -- 

Make the brownies according to the box you choose (don't mess this up)

For the icing - 
3 tbs margarine 
1 package cream cheese 
2 cups powdered sugar (you may prefer more)
2-3 tbs cream de menthe

With an electric mixer, combine the sugar, cream cheese, and margarine until well combined. Pour in the cream de menthe and mix. 
Once the brownies are cooled, spread the icing evenly over the top. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring after each run. Pour the melted chocolate over the icing and cool for at least one hour.