Holiday Treats

 

 

We’re in full-swing, folks. The holiday gatherings are happening faster than I can say “Happy Hana-Kwanz-Mas.” So I wanted to take a moment to remind you of a few holiday recipes that are fun and fabulous.

 

Barb’s Boozy Eggnog

 

 

I love this concoction from Mister’s Mama so much. Just thinking about it, I get thirsty.

 

Smoky Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs

 

 

I recently took these to a party and a chick there doesn’t eat eggs. But guess what happened. She slammed a few of those babies. Yes – they’re that good.

 

Holiday Cookies & Peanut Butter Blossoms

 

 

I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m taking a year off from making cookies. (To all the folks who wait for me to deliver them – I’m sorry.) But just because I’m taking a cookie break doesn’t mean you are. And if you’re baking cookies, give these a try. Super yum!

 

Holly Jolly, y’all!

My Favorite Mocktail!

 

 

Tis the season to be merry, it’s true. But sometimes I opt for non-inebriated merry. Now, I know you’re laughing your ass off right now – thinking of me not drinking. But it happens. I mean, sometimes a gal is the designated driver.

 

When alcohol isn’t on the menu, there’s no need to be parched! Opt for My Favorite Mocktail and enjoy yourself! It’s simple and yummy. Here’s what you’ll need…

 

 

Orange Juice, Ginger Ale, Bitters and (not shown) Ice.

 

Add ice to a glass. Add 2 parts Orange Juice to 1 part Ginger Ale. Add a couple of drops of Bitters. Stir. Imbibe!

 

 

Pretty easy, eh? And it really is delicious. I’ve never tried it with other types of juice, but it may work. And if you’re wanting more bubbles, simply increase the Ginger Ale to Juice ratio. You can’t go wrong here. Cheers!

 

Here’s the printable…

My Favorite Mocktail!
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

This is a simple, non-alcoholic beverage that really hits the spot. It’s pretty, delicious and super-duper easy!
Ingredients
  • Orange Juice
  • Ginger Ale
  • Bitters
  • Ice

Instructions
  1. Add ice to a glass.
  2. Add 2 parts Orange Juice to 1 part Ginger Ale.
  3. Add a couple of drops of Bitters.
  4. Stir.
  5. Imbibe!

 

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 48

 

 

Mister and I tried our hands at making marshmallows this past week. We’ll be giving them as part of our holiday sharing this year. I got the recipe here. The only changes we made were to spread the marshmallow cream on a prepared cookie sheet instead of in a square pan (which made the final product thinner), and we cut them with a star cookie cutter instead of cutting them into squares.

 

How do they taste? Like the most lovely marshmallows I’ve ever had.

Um – What?

 

 

Mister says this video is the greatest he’s ever seen. I’m still wondering what the heck it is…

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 47

 

 

I hate to say it, but as the end of the year approaches, our creative endeavors are slowing. I mean – they’re not, but they are. Wha?

 

Take this last week, for example. The most creative focus I experienced had to do with food. As it was Thanksgiving, that isn’t too surprising. And believe me when I say it was creative.

 

But I feel like that’s incidental creativity. And though I certainly enjoy the spark and the finished products, it seems a little cheat-y as far as D2T2 aims are concerned. Dems da breaks, though, and that’s all I’ve got for this past week. A select few were actually around to sample my creative food-ing. As for the rest of you – you’re just gonna have to trust me.

 

There’s always next week, right?

Plenty

 

 

Today I am pleasantly plump. Some might think I’m downright fat, but that would be overstating things.

 

Like many in America, I am blessed with too much food. Even if I’ve not gone to the grocery store in a while, I can forage in my cupboard or freezer and lack for nothing. And the goods I find there are foods I want. Generally, my choices are not limited.

 

But there are also many in this country (in this world) who are not so fortunate. They may have gone without yesterday. They may be hungry today. I happen to know people who depend on basics, like beans and rice, for the majority of their sustenance. And though I’m sure they tire of it now and again, they know they at least have food. Something. And so it goes.

 

I don’t mean to sound like abundance is bad. I mean, I’ve got leftovers in my fridge right now. And I appreciate the hell out of that food. I understand the benefits of gainful employment, of shelter. And I thank my lucky stars more often than you can imagine. But I also know how to turn a carrot and a potato into a moan-inducing soup. I learned that out of necessity, for I’ve experienced bare cupboards. I’ve cried over losing a $5 bill, knowing I needed that money to eat. And not knowing when I’d have another fiver in my pocket.

 

So – though Thanksgiving is over, I am still grateful. For abundance. For creative cooking. For knowing enough to appreciate what I have. And what I have is plenty.

A Song of Thanksgiving

 

 

This blog post’s title seems almost proper. Not!

 

Mister and I learned this song years ago, from a friend’s young niece. I think that niece is about grown now, so, well, I don’t know what to say about that.

 

Anyhoo, sung to the tune of “Frère Jacques” (or “Are You Sleeping Brother John?”), these brief lines always make me smile. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

 

Turkey dinner, turkey dinner,

Gather round, gather round.

Who will get the drumstick?

Yummy, yummy drumstick!

All sit down. All sit down.

Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffing,

Pumpkin pie – 3 feet high.

We were all much thinner

‘fore we came to dinner.

Me oh my! Me oh my!

Fried Turkey – The Basics

 

 

A few years ago Mister got a Turkey Fryer. He’s never looked back. And while I am perfectly content with a good, ol’ roasted bird, I, too, enjoy the deep-fried version.

 

As much as I encourage others to deep-fry their own Thanksgiving turkeys, I definitely wish Safety upon you all. For reals. So in the interest of not burning down anyone’s home (and avoiding emergency room visits), here are some Safety Tips we use each and every time we pull out the Turkey Fryer.

 

The bird must be completely thawed and dried. Please, people – don’t try shortcutting here. Thaw your damn turkey! And once you’ve done that (and anything else you might want – such as brining), please take some paper towels and blot the bird dry. I cannot stress this enough. When water (or ice) hit hot oil, it is extremely dangerous. And no, I don’t care how awesome you think you are – you’re not awesome enough to negate this reaction. Please, please, please heed this advice and don’t burn down your neighborhood.

 

When setting up your fryer, make sure it’s on a flat surface. Cement is great. So is a patio. But we’ve also set up on grass. The only thing we did to flatten the area was to use a giant piece of cardboard. “But Mikki,” I hear you saying, “cardboard is flammable.” Yes, it is. And I’ll get to that. But in the meantime, I’d rather cook on a flat surface than lose the use of my feet due to a scalding oil spill.

 

 

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby! I hope to never need it, but I always keep it handy when using the Turkey Fryer. So far, the worst we’ve suffered are a few oil drips. The cardboard has taken care of that, but we were ready with the fire extinguisher, had we needed it.

 

Leather (or other protective) gloves are mighty helpful. Mister uses the BBQ gloves I got him several years ago, and his hands are grateful.

 

Don’t overfill your fryer with oil! Again, you don’t want a scalding oil spill, and too much oil may lead to that when lowering your thawed, dry bird into the cooker. Pay attention to your fryer’s oil limits and recommendations.

 

When it’s time to fry, bring your oil temperature up to less than what is required for cooking. Then carefully lower your bird into the fryer, and raise the cooking oil temp to the manufacturer’s recommended level.

 

 

Stay with the danged thang while cooking! This is no time to head back into the house to watch the foosball, y’all. Pause or record the game. An active fryer is too dangerous to leave unattended. And besides – it only takes 45 minutes or so to fully cook your bird.

 

 

Take care when removing your cooked turkey! You don’t want to accidentally drop it back into the hot oil. That’s the kind of thing that can lead to an ugly “splash” story, told for years to come. No one wants that kind of scar. No one.

 

Once cooking has finished, be sure the gas to the fryer is OFF. And keep people away from the fryer as it cools. It’ll be hot for a long time. Kids (and pets) shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it.

 

 

I share these critical suggestions with you because I care. Not only do I want your turkey-frying experience to be top-notch, I also want you to make it to next Thanksgiving. And believe me – once you’ve had a fabulous deep-fried turkey, you’re gonna want to stick around for another go-round next year, too. It’s that good.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 46

 

 

This week I was solo in my crazy creative endeavor. I attended a cheese-making class. Cheese, y’all! Cheese!

 

 

Held at The Ebell – a place I’m presently smitten with – the class was taught by Chef Louis Pechan and it was awesome. I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t what I expected. I’ve been to many a cooking class and based on those experiences, I thought I’d get more of a hands-on evening.

 

 

When I walked in and saw the beautifully set tables with their fascinating centerpieces, I knew I was way off. The class turned out to be a watch-and-learn sort of gig. So I watched. And I learned.

 

 

Chef Louis demoed Halloumi cheese…

 

 

Mozzarella cheese…

 

 

Burrata cheese…

 

 

(Ricotta cheese was also made, using the whey from the Halloumi process.)

 

 

Anyhoo, after a couple of hours of cheese-making, we were treated to a stunning feast, featuring the cheeses we’d seen being made. It was amazing, y’all. I was a happy, happy gal. And then something incredible happened: We ate our centerpieces! They turned out to be baby radishes “planted” in a layer of yogurt, with pumpernickel bread crumbs on top. Edible centerpieces! I loved it! And I’ll definitely be stealing that idea.

 

 

When all was said and done, I felt like I got a pretty good overview of basic cheese-making. I definitely felt inspired to give it a go at home in the near future. And though I learned it is cheaper to buy cheese than to make it, I won’t be deterred. I mean, I didn’t witness gold being made or anything, but it still felt like a bit of magical dairy-based alchemy. And I loved it.

Say It Ain’t So, Paseo!

 

 

Remember when I wrote about a D2T2 project revolving around trying to replicate a Paseo Cuban Sandwich? Remember how much I looooooooooved that Paseo sammie? And if you’ve ever been to Paseo in Seattle, remember how much you loved it?

 

Grab a hankie, friend, for I bear sad news: Paseo is no more. My Seattle buddies sent me a link for a short news bulletin, alerting folks to the shop’s closing. When I read it, my heart sank. Not only did I not enjoy learning of possible abuse of employees, I also ached to think I’ll never stand in line and be rewarded for my patience with the most succulent amalgam of ingredients ever to call itself a Cuban Sandwich. (You can read a Seattle Times piece about the saga here.)

 

Food memories are important. They have the power to transport us through space and time. Think about it. Is there some particular food from your childhood – a food made only by someone no longer with us – that you remember so clearly as to lead you to believe you can smell it right now? And where do you see yourself eating it? In your mind – didn’t you just go there?

 

 

As I write this, my body is in Los Angeles. But my soul is sitting at our dear friends’ inviting table in Seattle. Their kids are running around, happy as clams, and the grown-ups are unwrapping gi-normous gifts of juicy pork, soft bread, pickled jalapenos, sauteed onions and a sauce so mesmerizing and mysterious we can hardly believe it. Almost too big to hold, we take our first magical bites…

 

The food world will never be the same.