Thursday, September 29, 2011

First...An Overdue Update

Booze...both of my updates have to do with the glorious stuff.  You know, the wonder beverage that makes your kids more manageable and your spouse better looking?  Yes, that.

Moving right along...

1.  Follow-up to Experiment #1 Booze is Best.
If you are just joining us, please take a moment to skim this post.  It will help all of this make some kind of sense (nothing on this blog ever makes a -lot- of sense, so you know).  So...we started off with this...
And ended up with...
this and this...

The unfortunate part about this recipe is the way pickled fruit looks floating in the bottle.  After two weeks those lovely, nubile little hotties I packed into the jar looked like shriveled happy hour cougars. You know...the leathery skinned grandmas in low cut shirts sipping cosmos? The ones you are reluctant to make eye contact with?  I had a strainer full of them, and though I typically try to use leftovers like this...these ladies went straight into the bin.  My husband and I took cautious sips of the strained liquor as one of my cousins watched, making comments about moonshine.  While it was not bathtub gin, it was nothing I wanted to sip over ice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Win and Pictures

Ladies and Gents (primarily ladies it seems) I have been shamed today by someone who was inspired to start a blog after reading mine.  Kia is the author of an amazingly funny blog called Try Something New Today, and has been cranking out posts while I have know....not.  I assure you though it is not because I have been whiling away my the hours eating bon bons and getting fish pedicures.  It is because I have been working on a pseudo business venture for my jams and stuff.  I Make Jams Because I Have No Life.

I have not forgotten you all, though.  I have a camera full of tasty snapshots to share with you this week, hopefully to earn your forgiveness.  I know that your spiritual sun and moon rises and sets upon my regular distribution of snark.  I know.  Yes yes, I know.  For the rest of the week I will bring you posts chock full of win and pictures.  Win...and pictures.  Please stay tuned,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let's Talk About Extract, Baby...

Vanilla is, next to salt, possibly my favorite flavoring in all of the wide cooking world.  Anything sweet can always do with a little touch of the vanilla, always.  Always.  If I were to have a Pwnd By Girls rule book, 'Add More Salt and/or Vanilla' would be on there right before 'When in Doubt, Wash Your Hands' and right after 'Wear Undergarments in the Kitchen AT ALL TIMES'.   There is just something amazing about what that little bean does to sugary profiles that just makes my heart boogie and my pallet sing.

However... vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, the first being saffron (looking at you Heather2021.. FYI still pissed. Saffron.).  While I might have caviar tastes, living on a single income means we definitely have hotdog money...or rather...extract money.  Even extract can get a bit pricy with liberal usage... and yeah, I'm what you would call a liberal user.  During the Fall/Winter I can, in all honesty, burn through a bottle of that stuff in a week...two weeks if I ration.  I double it in my cookies, add a few drops to my sweet breads (that was a bread description, not a euphemism for the thymus gland), drip some into pie filling, splash it into mulled cider, and then...of course...there are my various sweet potato preparations.  At this rate, I can not afford to even use what my beloved Ina Garten calls 'good vanilla extract', oh no, I am relegated to big box generics or perhaps -perhaps- an overpriced brand name.
I thought I lucked out a few years ago when I stumbled on a mega bottle of vanilla extract at Costco for about six dollars.  I am not going to lie, I busted a little groove in the massive spice aisle...just for a second.  I might have done the Cabbage Patch, there is no telling.  Bargains put me into a brief rhythmic delirium.  That is why I am slightly shocked that I did not start table dancing when I stumbled upon a recipe for vanilla extract on a blog I stalk called Food in Jars (take a look at it if you have time, Marisa is my hero).  She recommends preparing it and then portioning this ambrosia out as gifts, but I say...screw you guys, the Zombie Apocalypse is coming and I need a stockpile of extract as part of my emergency rations.  However, I will be kind enough to share the recipe with you...complete with pictures.

A couple things you should know before starting this project.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiring Friends to Share...

A friend of mine delighted my foul little heart today by posting a link on my FB page about 'that guy' and said it immediately reminded her of me.  In this particular instance 'that guy' was actually a girl named 'Heather2021'. Please take a moment to follow the link and read her eloquent critique of this perfectly good recipe.

Welcome back.  Let me start this rant off by saying if any one of you is this Heather2021 and this post is making you cranky, please do the following before flaming my blog.

  1. Remove Your Hands From the Keyboard
  2. Slap Yourself
  3. Set Your Kitchen on Fire
  4. Never Breed
  5. Slap Yourself Again
Most of all, remember that my sentiments are a direct response to your idiocy.  For everyone else who is not Heather, I offer you a direct quote from my FB page...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mom's Quick and Dirty Beef Stroganoff

Look at them smug.
I am the child of a working mother, one who readily professed, loud and often, her hatred of cooking.  Needless to say my love of the culinary arts is not a legacy, I am new chefy, not old chefy... please do not judge me too harshly.  Typically dinnertime in my house looked like this; can of English peas warmed with a dollop of low-fat margarine and a tablespoon of sugar, boxed rice pilaf, and chicken baked to death with a liberal dose of Morton's Season-All (it really did season all in our house...-all-). Sometimes there was spaghetti with English peas, sometimes there were dry pork chops with English peas. That was her go to vegetable on nights when she returned from the government trenches to three starving people.  It was all about simplicity you see?  Crack open a can and go...autopilot.  One unintended consequence of this pea overuse is that I despise them and most canned vegetables with the white hot fury of a thousand suns. ..and season salt too...but less so.

Every so often, however, the clouds would break and we would get a temporary reprieve from bottled spaghetti sauce and overcooked chicken; we would get Mom's version of Beef Stroganoff (with English peas, but what can you do?).  Back when we were eating red meat (pre-Turkagedon), it was a sour, saucy bit of deliciousness constructed within five minutes and on the table in twenty (later she tried it with turkey   Once, utterly famished, I asked how long it was going to take her to cook and she said "I'm making Beef Stroganoff, baby, it'll be ready shortly.  It's quick and dirty.".  Quick and dirty.  We did not have it often because my mother was the consummate dieter, reluctant to let us partake of such delights as regular soda, real cheese or in this case... real sour cream.  Oh, but when we did?  It was a steaming mountain of ground beef, ornamenting a split pop tin biscuit or curly egg noodles.  It was easy to ignore those wretched peas when they were placed aside (or sometimes beneath)  such profound, childhood excellence.