Monthly Archives: August 2011

My Vanilla Experiment- Part Trois

Half way through my experiment/ project, and this is what it looks like:

Such a beautiful dark amber colour, however I was expecting it to be a bit darker.

When I opened the jar, I immediately smelled vanilla, and not any of the vodka-ey alcohol smell. I had to give it a good shake because most of the little seeds were on the bottom and there was little droplets of oil floating on the surface.

It mixed in tough after a gave it a good shake.

So… four more weeks to go, an I can’t wait to test it out and see how it turned out. :)

Categories: Misc., Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Some Days…

Some days are just plain awesome. World-at-your-fingertips type days. Sky-could-not-be-bluer days.

And some days, while I am innocently going about my business, I am plagued a personal thunder cloud right over my head. Down-pour-rain baby, coupled with a terrible feeling in my gut.

Do you ever get that gut wrenching, stomach clenching, heart-stopping, ruin-your-day kind of feeling?

You know.

Like when your alarm doesn’t go off, and when you wake up you discover you have 5 minutes to get yourself ready for work.

Or  when you trip over your too-long pants and send your burning hot tea flying all down the front of you and half way across the room.

Or when you are faced with the disaster that is your kitchen after a marathon bake-fest.

Or when you are home alone, indulging your Food Network addiction, and the house phone rings non-stop, and you answer it only to find out it’s non other than The Bane-of-Your-Existence. Blech…..

Yeah…. you know.

This makes it all better. Promise.

I mean, what is better than the ultimate cheesy comfort food, liberally laced with the indulgence that is lobster, and loaded with butter?

Ok. Maybe a credit card with no limit and free reign of my favorite shoe store would be better. But since I don’t see that in my future, I’ll take the mac and cheese. :D

Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb rotini ( or your favorite pasta)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 lb cooked lobster, chopped ( about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups  light cream ( I used 10%)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko ( or ordinary bread crumbs)
  1. Cook you rotini according to the package directions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a pan, then brown the onions and the garlic. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Next, melt another Tbsp of butter and toss the lobster in it, cooking for a couple minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of butter, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Let the roux cook for a minute or so to cook out any “floury” taste.
  5. Slowly add in the cream, about a 1/2 cup at a time, whisking at the same time. The mixture will thicken quickly at first, then slow down as you add the cream. Add the salt and pepper.
  6. When the sauce has thickened a little, add the shredded cheese, whisking at the same time. This will prevent all the cheese from sinking and sticking to the bottom.
  7. In a oven proof bowl or casserole combine the noodles, onions, lobster, remaining cheese, and sauce.
  8. Toss the panko in the last Tbsp or melted butter, and sprinkle over the top.
  9. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for about 20 minutes, or until everything is hot and the panko is browned.

Serve this up with a tasty salad, and you have a tasty ( and yes, rich) supper, that will fill your tummy with an entirely new feeling. Sheer delight.

Enjoy!

-Mel

Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Wednesday…

Time for a mid-week pick me up?

Thought so. :)

Especially if your idea of a pick me up includes something peanut-buttery and chocolatey at the  same time :).

Especially in dip form.

Especially since it’s super simple to whip together.

Especially if your other half has arranged a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. Oh fun!

Slather this baby on top of some some graham crackers, or if you are really cool, some chocolate teddy grahams. Or just scoop it up with your fingers…..Shhh….I won’t tell.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Dip.

makes 2-3 cups of dip.

  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 mini peanut butter cups ( I used the really mini ones, but you could always chop up the regular ones)
  1. I the bowl of your mixer, cream together cream cheese, peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter cups.
  3. Serve with graham crackers, or choice of dipper, and share the love. Refrigerate leftovers.

Enjoy!

-Mel

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I linked this recipe up to the Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out some great recipes!

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

My Vanilla Experiment- Part Deux.

So this is what copious amounts of vodka and a few vanilla beans look like after a week:

Cool, isn’t it?

Smells exactly like strong, slightly vanilla-y vodka too…. who’d have guessed?

I did add a few more vanilla beans a couples days after I started, only because I used such a large amount of vodka.

So, now there is only 7 more weeks to go…..I’ll keep you posted

Categories: Misc. | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sweet Heat Treat

Summer and me? We don’t see eye to eye.

No siree.

Summer likes to be hot. And sunny. And while yes, this is good for the growing of things and such, it is not so good for a fair-skinned ginger like me.

A mere thought off going outside with out applying copious amounts of sun block, renders my skin an embarrassing shade of lobster red. Mr. Ginge and my wonderful sister can tan to  a glorious golden brown, while the only shade of brown I can achieve is in the plethora of freckles that cover my body.

Oh well. They say tanning is bad for you anyway. ;)

So in the middle of the last heat wave, I literally felt as if I was melting. I would have liked to curl up in my nice cool basement, turn the fan on max, point it exactly in my direction and not move for maybe a week.

Instead, I slathered my redenned skin with aloe until it turned an unusual shade of green, and cooled off a different way.

Popcicles!

So, these came about when I opened my fridge to cool off grab a drink and noticed that I had some raspberries and a pomegranate that were starting to look  a little worse for wear. What better way to use them up, then to mix them up, freeze them, then eat them off a stick!

Raspberry-Pomegranate Sour Cream Popcicles.

(my recipe made 8 popcicles, however my molds are small)

  • 1/2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate arils
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 c. sour cream (yogurt would also be good in this recipe)
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the raspberries, pomegranate, 2 tbsp of the honey, and the lime juice.
  2. Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve, to remove all of the seeds ( there will be lots of them)
  3. Stir in the sour cream, and give a little taste. Add the rest of the honey if it is still too tart.
  4. Pour into molds, stick in the freezer for several hours until frozen.

It’s a cool, creamy and slightly tart treat that will help beat the heat on those hot summer days ( or really any day :D )

Enjoy!

-Mel

(P.S.- Don’t forget to put them back in the freezer!)

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My Vanilla Experiment- Part 1

I love vanilla. I won’t lie, when a recipe calls for it, I usually end up doubling it. I buy mega-size bottles and go through them like mad.But making it? That thought had never really occurred to me.

Originally, I had seen Michael Smith’s jar of homemade vanilla on his Food Network show. It was novel idea and I was enthralled. But I never really got round to it, of a myriad of reasons.

Then I started seeing it around the web… and the seed stuck.

So when Mr.Ginge brought me home some vanilla beans this weekend, I could hardly wait to try it out.

I grabbed a big mason jar, some vodka from his bar, and stuck those beans in. ( I followed this method here). And now I am  in for a long wait.I was really surprised at how beautifully amber the liquid got after two days.  I’m already excited to use it, and its not going to be ready until October! Oh well.

Mr.Ginge can’t wait either. He wants to pour some over ice cream, or if all else fails, have some really great vanilla vodka to add to his bar. :)

I will keep posting periodically on the progress!!

-Mel

Categories: Misc. | Tags: | 1 Comment

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