The food part of this blog has moved to I'll see all you foodies over there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DB March Challenge: Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

This month's Daring Baker's Challenge wasn't bread or some tasty baked good, but Lasagne made with homemade spinach pasta. We like lasagne so we were pretty happy with this one. The requirement was that we make the handmade spinach egg pasta, use bechamel sauce, and a ragu sauce.
The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Look at that beautiful green ball of pasta!

A great opportunity to use my ravioli cutter.
The pasta drying in my living room.

Making bechamel sauce was a new one for me. I didn't even know what it was. In the end, my kids say, "This tastes like regular lasagne!" Great...after all that hard work...
The Daring Bakers now have their own website, you can check out the recipe here, and also check out the wonderful creations from the rest of us!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pound Cake

My first pound cake experience...I had never had pound cake before so it never crossed my mind to make one. Until now. It was 5 pm and I wanted to bake something for dessert. Cinnamon buns sounded really good but was too time consuming. Flipping through one of my baking books I came across a pound cake recipe. The process was like making a quickbread, simple and quick, and I remembered I had some strawberries in the fridge that would go great with it.
The traditional American pound cake would contain one pound each of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, hence the name "pound" cake. And who knew there are British, French, Mexican, and Columbian-style pound cakes.
Pound cakes are very versatile, by adding different flavor extracts or add-ins, you can create a new cake each time.
Pound Cake (Better Homes & Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking)
1 c. butter
4 eggs
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg (optional)
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Bring butter and eggs to room temperature. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl stir together flour, powder, and, if desired, nutmeg. Set eggs, pan, and flour mixture aside.
In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Gradually add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on medium to high speed about 6 minutes total or till very light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low to medium speed for 1 minute after each addition; scrape sides of bowl often. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low speed just till combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake in a 325*F oven for 55 to 65 minutes or till cake tests done. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cheep Cheep Cheep

We just got three more chicks, they are Ameraucanas which lay blue eggs. Each one has a distinct color scheme so it's easy to tell them apart. The kids are having a hard time coming up with names, but are having a fun time watching them. They cheep all day, they are just soooo cute!

Emi's, this one is the smallest and the most mellow. Just adorable.

Abby's, a little bigger then Emi's, and kinda has a "duck" look when you look at it from the side.

Sage's, probably the biggest of the three and the bossiest. This one may be a cock (hope not...)

Oh Yeah!

That hit the spot! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm. These were so easy to make and delicious too. I used dark chocolate, sinful...

Trail Bars Again

This time instead of microwaving the marshmallow/butter mixture I melted them in a non-stick pan. My mix-ins were just granola, rice crispies, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips which went into the pan (like when you make rice crispy treats) which wasn't a good idea. The chocolate chips melted and spread everywhere. Next time if I use chips I'll pour the marshallow mixture into the bowl. But they were still tasty!

Motivational Poster

Make your own motivational posters!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homemade Sausages & Buns

Tried making sausages again. Last time was a little dry so I added some pork fat, but it was still dry. Maybe I need to grind my own pork instead of getting ground pork from the store. This little gadget I got is neat but needs some extra hands to make it work. Abby and Emi were glad to help. I couldn't of done it without them.

Made some hot dog buns to go with them, used a hamburger bun recipe but just shaped them into logs.

I made a double batch of dough so with some of them I tried making cheese breadsticks, like the ones from Costco. Just sprinkling cheese on top didn't do it, I need to add something to the dough. But it sure looks nice.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kiwifruit Sorbet

Another recipe from the great book "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz. I need to buy this book instead of renewing over and over from the library! So many great recipes...

Mediterranean Loaf

Made a non-sweet quickbread, Mediterranean Loaf. This one has olives, oil-packed sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese. I had high hopes for this one, but it was quite bland despite having salty things in it, and very crumb-y. It might have be been better is a yeasted bread recipe. Live and learn.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ernie Maxwell with Marmu

Marmu's back, this time for about a month while Dave's off to Europe. She and I both need to exercise so we hiked the Ernie Maxwell trail today.

Was surprised to see some snow still on the ground. It was very cold, so glad I had my mittens.

Looks like I have a new photo subject. ^_^

Thursday, March 12, 2009

As Real As Lopan

Velocitramp's self-proclaimed profession is a "Professional Adventurer." And people react, "For real?" Yes, as real as Lopan!

Lopan is this bad guy from the movie "Big Trouble in Little China" one of Dave's favorite movies. And a funny coincidence, Lopan's first name is David.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go Kings!

Sage's second year playing basketball was a real success. His team only lost once and ended up winning the championship. He was a little more aggressive this year and took more shots. Up next, baseball!

"Everything" Trail Bars

I wanted to make bars that weren't baked, but rather a trail mix just clumped together. I found this recipe that seemed to fit the bill, and it was nice because I was just able to mix in whatever I had (and what needed to be eaten). My substitutions were that I used soy nut butter instead of the peanut butter and changed the mix-ins. Here's what went in: 1/2 c sunflower seeds, 1/2 c. raisins/dried blueberries, 1 c. sliced almonds, 1 c. rice crispies, 2 c. homemade granola, 1/2 c. honey roasted soy nuts, and 1/2 c. dried cranberries. Spread into a 9x13 pan, I got 20 bars that were chewy and tasty. Next time I'll try adding some chocolate chips and whole almonds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hog Maw Soup

What's hog maw? It's pork stomach lining, very muscular and no fat when cleaned properly. I like to make it into soup. I cut them up into small pieces and boil them first and rinse before putting them into the soup. The soup is flavored with dashi (fish stock), miso, sake, as well as some ginger and garlic. I add some daikon and konyaku (yam cakes) as well. Sage especially likes this soup and other soups of this kind made with tendons and such. Unfortunately I can't find parts like this at an American grocery store (perhaps in the south?) so I get these from a Chinese store in San Diego. What do Americans do with these parts? Put them into hot dogs?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Invisible Children

One of the shirts I made recently was for a fundraising event at IAA for Invisible Children. Invisible Children started off as a documentary film that grew into an awareness and development organization. I'm glad to be a part of it, even if it was small.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Usually when I make my vanilla yogurt, I use maple syrup as my sweetener. But I didn't have any so I used pancake syrup. Bad idea! The yogurt just didn't taste "right" and no one wanted to eat it. So I got some strawberries, mixed them in, and put it into the ice cream maker. And then the kids said, YUMMY!!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What?! Bread in 5 minutes? No Way!

"Your breads are getting better," says my husband. And believe it or not, I found a recipe where I only spend about 5 minutes on it, and check this out, I don't have to knead! All thanks to this book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking." It's so nice, I make enough dough for four loaves, keep it in my fridge for up to 14 days, and when I want to make some bread I just pull it out, spend about 5 minutes to shape it and bake. Oh, and the bread is REALLY GOOD and this is just the first recipe in the book...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Something I haven't done in over a Decade

And that is reading. Not flipping through magazines, cookbooks, garden/arts & crafts books, comic books, nor webpages, but actually READING a novel. I can't remember the last time I read and what book it was. And the funny thing is, I actually enjoyed it. In this age of computers, any spare time I have I'd surf the net. With so much going on with the kids and the house, computer time has become my down-time, my leisure time. There's so much interesting stuff out there. But it also sucks me in. Hours and hours go by, my eyes would start closing telling me it's bedtime, but I fight it and sit in front of the damn thing like a zombie. I walk by it during the day and it calls me. I give in, ok just for a little bit... But lately I started to feel like I walk away from the computer having wasted way too much time. Given the time I put in, I get so little out. So I decided I'd start reading instead. My first book was "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom. I found this at a library book sale, the title instantly caught my eye. And for only 33 cents, who cares if it sucks? Turns out it was a really good book. Although the book isn't too long, it took about six sittings to finish it, an hour here, an hour there. My oldest daughter LOVES to read. She's always reading, and for the most part will give anything a shot. I'm a little more picky. My younger brother gave her Paulo Coehlo's "The Alchemist" for x-mas. She read it in one day. When I saw my brother a couple weeks ago, and told him I actually read a book, he says I SHOULD DEFINITELY read "The Alchemist." And so I did, and boy was it a good book. So good that I've ordered his other books through the library and I'm waiting for them to arrive. If you're a fan of spiritual quests and meanings of life, I would highly recommend this book. As for my next book for now, I found a book on our bookshelf, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (uncommon thoughts on common things)" by Robert Fulghum. Hopefully I won't drift back to my usual ways, so for now there will be a "Books I'm Reading" on the Sidelinks. Any recommendations on good books (not too long nor difficult) are always welcomed!