Get It Right Spatula – the Lime Edition

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Get It Right Spatula – Lime edition

I am throwing out another spatula – and that is a good thing.  I have found, pretty much, the perfect spatula for me. Strong, sturdy, heat resistant, and, most importantly, a great size for my small hands. I purchased the first one in December and this one – Lime – in February. I plan to replace all but two of my spatulas with these over time. I’m going for black next time – kind of moody and cool. Especially after yellow and lime green – two of my favorite colors, but they are slightly twee. Can’t help myself.

The price is excellent ($16) and the shipping, if you purchase more than $10, is free – how can you beat that? You cannot. Fin.

Sour Cream Cheesecake

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Sour Cream Cheese Cake

This was super easy cheesecake. Really light, not too sweet, and with a great flavor. I still love the Three Cities of Spain, but for a quick easy recipe where you typically have everything on hand, this is kind of hard to beat. Went over well at home (not too sweet) and at work (wow – real cheese cake!) See notes below.

1 9″ shortbread crust (see notes)
2 – 8 ozs bars cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla and sour cream.

Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until cake jiggles across the top when shaken. Run a knife around the outside edge (plastic knives are really helpful here to not mess up your pans), but leave the cake in the pan. Let cool on counter, then place in the refrigerator. Remove from pan when completely chilled.

Notes: I didn’t use a shortbread crust. I used the graham cracker crust from the Three Cities of Spain cheesecake recipe. And since works for my favorite cheesecake it worked for this one too.

Here are those details:
5 ozs (1 sleeve) graham crackers, ground – or vanilla wafers or animal crackers
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Mix together and press into bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Easy and good.

 

2015 Butter Usage (by month – February)

16 February 2015 – 12 Tbs – Pecan Butterscotch Cookies

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Pecan Butterscotch Cookie

20 February 2015 – 12 Tbs – Chocolate Chip Cookies (these will appear in March – round two)

20 February 2015 – 2 Tbs – Blue Cheese Walnut Coins

28 February 2015 – 16 Tbs – Lemon Sugar Cookies

Sad wanky bit of butter in February – at least it seems that way to me. That’s all? Really?

42 Tbs = 5 1/4 sticks = 1.31 pounds

Will work harder in March.

 

Parmesan, Rosemary, and Walnut Shortbread

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Rosemary Parmesan Walnut Shortbread

I don’t really know how I started this cheese cracker thing but I’m glad I did. I mean, when  you have an entire binder for crackers, that may just be a little, well, nuts. I did set up some of my favorites in a competition of sorts in 2012 and judged on the following:

  • Time to Mix / Log or Rolled out
  • Dough Handling / Time to Chill
  • Spicy / Nuts
  • Flavor
  • Crispy
  • $
  • All Around

These are by far my favorite cheese crackers. The taste is divine, texture excellent, and they keep quite well. Hence winner of the cracker challenge of 2012.  I honestly wonder why I make any others, but I enjoy experimenting. I have collected other recipes since then and need to stage the competition again –  perhaps this year.

8 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ozs freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted at 350 for 10 minutes, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

Cream butter, add Parmesan and mix well. Stir in flour, rosemary, walnuts, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Form the mixture into 1″ logs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an half an hour or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Cut logs into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place slices on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden at the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 30. Source: Epicurious

14 May 2006 – Mom’s Day
1 July 2012 – Winner of the Cracker Challenge 2012
23 December 2013 -Christmas Eve
2 March 2015
7 March 2015 – just because I wanted more.

Now my goal is to create one of my own and I know it will include cheddar cheese, and perhaps some Parmesan, nuts – walnuts likely, cayenne, and rosemary.

Sweet Potato Fries – just an unhealthy relationship

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Sweet Potato Fries – a total addiction.

For the last three four weeks, I have had an unhealthy relationship with sweet potato fries. First, it should be noted that I really like them but, I never make them at home. My first experience with them was several years ago at one of my then favorite, now closed, restaurant – Jerry’s Cajun.* They served sweet potato fries as a side, but they had some cajun spice on them so they were sweet from the potato and salty and spicy from the seasoning – a great combination.

Most places I know serve them with a sweet mixture that includes cinnamon, but to me that is just overkill. Sweet on sweet is pretty boring.

So, we were a Shaggy’s several weeks ago and I ordered sweet potato fries after confirming that there would be nothing sweet put on them. Now ketchup should have nothing to do with a sweet potato fry, so I was trying to think what might be good and spicy with them and it struck me – remoulade. Shaggy’s makes their own sauces/dressings, etc., so I asked for that and it was amazingly perfect together.

Thus my slow descent into eating sweet potato fries for lunch the last three several weekends. And here we are on a Wednesday and I’m thinking about them again.

I may have to break down and beg the chef at Shaggy’s for the remoulade recipe and sort out how to make sweet potato fries at home. But somehow that would take the fun out of it.

* Jerry’s Cajun had, by far, the best roast beef & gravy po boy in Pensacola. It rivaled my NOLA favorites.
This was also the first place I had boudin — one of my favorite foods – such a favorite we took an entire trip to the area around Lafayette La to eat it at every place we could – including gas stations. But that is another story entirely. But a good story all the same.

Spiced Candied Pecans

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Spiced Pecans

This recipe is different from any other spiced/candied nut method that I have seen, so I was totally curious to see if it worked. Also, it has the added benefit of making me go, for the first time, to (apparently the only) Korean market in Pensacola, which was pretty fun – esp. since I had no idea of the language – hardly surprising, but loved the store clerk who took pity on me and helped.

This recipe is from Michael Gulotta and his restaurant MoPho in New Orleans

Spiced Candied Pecans

2 cups + 1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp + 1/2 Korean chile flakes (gochugaru)
2 cups pecans

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups water, salt, turmeric, and 1 tsp chile flakes. Once the sugar and salt are dissolved, add pecans. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Let the pecans boil for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove them from the simple syrup and spread them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Toss them with sugar and 1/2 cup chile flakes, and place them in the over for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to promote even browning.

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Spiced Candied Pecans

source: Michael Gulotta via Garden & Gun

Trying something new. Gochugaru. Korean red chili flakes. I totally love this and it was a big hit at the office (my test subjects) – but I think they, pretty much, like, at least I hope they do, being test subjects.

Hood – The Border Collie

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Hood – The Border Collie

Well, he may not look like much of one, but I can assure you – He is. At least in his own lovely mind. We took Hood in three years ago this month. He was bred to be a service dog. The organization, I think, thought the lovely temperment of a Labrador and the smarts of a Border Collie was a good idea. Well, I’m just guessing that won’t be happening again any time soon ever. There were 4 pups in the litter and while I had never had any contact with the one female, I have met all the boys. Imagine my surprise when they all washed out. Hood supposedly washed out for a hip. I’m thinking now after three years, I know the real reason. And it’s funny ( Yes, another Doctor Who reference).

Don’t get me wrong. Hood is a wonderful dog, but you need to know what he is. He is a Border Collie, but in a short-haired Labrador body. I am every day thankful for the short hair. Having had more than one double-coated dogs, he is a blessing in this department. But a Border Collie is a working dog and a guard dog. They are, I have decided, pretty damn stubborn and guard-doggy. I am fairly confident that it was his stubbornness that washed him out. And expect the same thing happened with his brothers.

He is a lovely creature, but I’m glad I’ve had another guard dog (German Shepherd Dog) before or he would be a huge handful. Don’t let that sweet face fool you. His brain is always going, which is pretty cool, but that whole Labrador thing? Well, nothing took – at. all. Except the short hair (thankfully).

Oh, and the strange name. Well all dogs in this litter were H dogs. That’s how they do things. There was Hoodlum, Hugh, and Hudson. But there was no way I was going to yell “Hoodlum” across the dog park. And Hood now really fits. I call him Hoodie or Hoodie-Boy most of the time. He is also called pretty boy, but I think that might just embarrass him a bit.