cleverchickadee


Black Chocolate Ginger Cookies, a Recipe by quornflour

#recipe #nomnom #food #cookie #backing #quornflour

I am sure I have mentioned it before, I am a big fan of ginger and chocolate. Especially since I discovered that Hershey’s chocolate baking powder also comes in “Special Dark”. It’s almost black, it is amazing.

I figured since the Dark Chocolate Ginger Cake I made a while back was such a hit, I would try making some chocolate ginger cookies.

I also happened to have my kitchenaid mixer out after having made Strawberry Rhubarb sorbet, so I swapped out the bowl and the mixer thing and went to work.

Heat your over to 375◦.

Toss these into the mixer in the order below, give the mixer time to mix thoroughly before adding the next.

  • 1 ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • ¾ cup hershey’s special dark baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped candied ginger (chop it into pieces about the size of chocolate chips)

Place ping pong ball size balls of dough on parchment paper covered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 minutes and let cool on a rack.

Enjoy.



Trial file: Veggie Pie by texaskillet

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So occasionally as you know, I receive recipes in my organics box.  It is important for me to keep most of these, unless they are truly disgusting, and try them out when I have the energy.  This one was really really delish so I thought I would pass it on.

Filling:

4 tbsp oil

1 onion (white, yellow, whatever)

1/2 lb baby bella’s or crimini mushrooms sliced

1 cup of white wine

2 sweet potatoes (or yams)

3 medium carrots chopped up

2 tbsp sage, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup vegetarian broth

salt and pepper

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Image

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Topping:

4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped

1 head celery root, peeled and chopped

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

In a large frying pan, heat half of oil over medium high heat.  Saute onions until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, add mushrooms and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Deglaze with white wine and simmer until wine is almost completely absorbed.  Transfer to bowl.

Heat remaining oil in pan and fry potatoes and carrots until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Add sage and garlic and saute for another minute or two then add broth.  Simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Salt and pepper to taste and then combine with onions and mushrooms.   Set aside.

For topping, steam first three ingredients until easily mashed with a fork, roughly 15-20 minutes.  Mix well with butter and heavy cream, but still chunky.  Fold in Cheddar.

Assemble filling in layers in a 9×9 inch baking dish.  Top with mashed veggies.  Add grated Parmigiano cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until sides are bubbly and heated through.WP_20121227_008WP_20121227_010

Happy Eating and leftovers most likely for a day or two!  YAY!



Party Bracelet by quornflour

Occasionally TxK and I plan events and parties as part of our jobs. It is not uncommon for party (club) bracelets to be used as identifiers.

Recently I had an event from work and the location asked that I make sure to check folks in and have an identifier: bracelet, nametag, etc. I had already planned to hand out a thumb drive to attendees and they were on a lanyard. Thing is, most people, even the nerds I works with, do not want to walk around with a USB around their necks. I had originally wanted to get some fancy VIP embossed fancy nametags.
Then the reality of how much time I had hit. Then Hurricane Sandy came around. Boston fared well, but it put a damper on a few of my plans and the night before the event I realized that I had not made the name tags or ordered the party bracelets. I went to an office supply store, but they did not have what I needed. The guy recommended I check out a party supply store.

Now this was on Halloween. Party supply stores often sell costumes. The place was a zoo. But that was good, as I wandered around looking for the bracelets (which I eventually found and bought a pile of so that I would have them on hand), I came across bags of glow sticks. It was perfect. The event was going to be held in a lowly lit club, I could hang them with the USB drives and make people wear them so they wouldn’t lose the thumb drive. It was perfect.

Not to mention that snapping of the tube to make them glow is kind of satisfying after a long few weeks.



Bing It On by quornflour

I know, “googling” has become synonymous with doing an internet search. That is fine, whatever.

Personally I use Bing! If you are just gonna hate because that is how you are, fine, keep on keeping on, I will not lose sleep over it.

But did you know that by using Bing you can get free stuff? See they have this thing called Bing Rewards, where you get points for searches that you do, then, when you collect enough points you can redeem them for stuff.

I do not have cable (yes this is relevant); I use Netflix, Hulu Plus and Zune Video (xbox) to support my television habit. Since I can cash in my Bing Rewards points for Hulu+ subscriptions, I have only paid for 1 month of Hulu+ and I have had it for almost a year now. IOW that is 7.99$ for a year of Hulu+ so even if you are a Google fan-boy, I know you like free stuff.

For those who love Social Networking like Facebook you can even connect your search to that to see what your friends are in to.

Anyway, it is an option and a pretty picture every day, well a lot of days it has cute animals, which is why my 84 year old neighbor likes it.



Half Crazy Daisy by quornflour

Recently I was staying with friends who have a Great Dane called Daisy. I was surprised to learn that they had never heard the song about Daisy.

So I did a quick YouTube search and came across this version.

After listening to it, Mia (6) says, “Daisy’s not half crazy.” Her tone somewhat offended. “Daisy is WHOLE crazy!”



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 3 –mussel madness by quornflour

As I stated before: mussels are my favorite mollusk. Not only are they delicious but they are also a pretty versatile protein source.

Did you know that a 3 oz (6oz with shell on, about 10 mussels) serving of mussels provides 340% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12? Those 3 oz are about 145 calories and loads of other minerals your body loves. Wanna talk about protein for a second? 10 mussels provide about as much protein as 4oz steak with only a fraction of the fat and most of that fat is the good stuff.

They live above the mud hanging on to rocks with their beards and do not end up with the gritty sandiness that is often associated with their sweeter cousin the clam.

Sea birds also like mussels, however their hard shell can be a deterrent, a mussel will open to move and to eat, but when it senses danger it snaps closed. Birds, such as seagulls will take a mussel, fly high above a rock and drop the shell to the rock below to crack it open, then swoop back down to collect and enjoy the meat.

As humans we have tools and fire, which make enjoying mussels a little less taxing, when cooked a mussel will relax and open making the meat easily accessible. If a mussel does not pop open when cooked, I just assume let it be as I would a shrimp with a flat tail.

In childhood I remember mostly just eating them steamed in water and dipped in butter.

One of my favorite methods (probably because I love tomatoes so much) is to cook them in a creamy tomato basil style steam.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 large tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes add a nice mixture of color) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of ½ & ½
  • ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (or other similar hard cheese)
  • ¼ cup basil “grass”
  • 3 green onions cut into “grass”

If you want to make this more of a creamy sauce, you could start by making a roux, but to keep this gluten free and because I like the separation of the cheese for this particular recipe I did not.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, bring it to temp (spits when hit with a drop of water or thins like water)
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic and brown
  3. Once the garlic is brown turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, stir and cover.

Meanwhile in a saucepan:

  1. Add remaining olive oil and also bring to temp
  2. Add 2 cloves of garlic and brown
  3. Turn heat to medium
  4. Add ½ & ½ and cheese and stir

And back to the Dutch oven we go…

  1. When it starts to form a light steam add to tomatoes and stir
  2. Add most of the green onions (save a few for garnish)
  3. Add mussels, cover until the mussels pop open (this won’t take long)
  4. Add basil
  5. Stir up and serve warm

Remember, like many sea creature, if you over cook them they will turn chewy and they will continue to cook for a few minutes after they are removed from the heat, so only steam them until they open.



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 1 – Lobster Lessons by quornflour

I headed out to Seattle for work and am staying with friends while I am here. While talking, we decided it would be fun to have a little lobster dinner. Then I wanted to invite some friends and it turned into a full-fledged feast. Next thing I knew there were 24 lobsters and 6 pounds of mussels headed to Seattle: I ordered them from Maine Lobster Direct, and you can too.

We did a basic lesson on lobster, from what I could remember learning as a kid growing up in Maine. Pincher and Crusher claws…

Often when people draw lobster they show 2 crusher claws, the crusher claw is very likely what you imagine when you think of a lobster claw. It is the bigger of the two claws, the one with more meat in it. What a lot of people do not realize is that lobsters have two different claws and are both “left handed” and “right handed”. IOW the crusher claw is not always on the left or right. The Pincher claw is faster and when a lobster is young has two pincher claws, but as it gets older the claw that is used less for quickness is the one that develops into the crusher claw.

Sometimes when you see lobsters in a tank they will only have one claw banded, this is the crusher claw, it looks like it has molars on it compared to the other that has more of a small tooth look to it.

The Crusher claw is used for just that, and while small can be very strong and is capable of breaking a human finger. Once the crusher claw develops it is the final determination on if the lobster will be left handed or right handed and this will not change as the lobster ages. Lobsters can regenerate lost claws and if a crusher claw is lost it will always regenerate as a crusher.

When boiling a lobster, you want to cook it for 11 minutes for the first pound and a minute for every quarter pound after that. When cooking, you do not need to add anything to the water.

Overall lobster is pretty healthy as a protein source. They are low in fat (most of the fat calories in a lobster dinner come from dipping the meat in butter), there are only about 30 calories per ounce of meat; a 1.5 pound lobster will yield about 4.25 ounces of meat.

When serving your lobster, try using a bread tin, this will allow the water to drain out when you break the shell and reduce the mess on the table, it also works as a place to put your shell when done.




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