Saturday, April 30, 2011
A few months ago, I bought a copy of this (now out-of-print) book called A Slob in the Kitchen. I stuck it with my cookbooks, and then forgot all about it, until a couple of weeks ago when I did some reorganizing and spotted it again. I spent some delightful time reading through it. And I found THE recipe. Or at least it's close. I couldn't wait to try it, but I had to wait until I had company coming that would eat them with me.
When I knew my friend Julie was coming over for an afternoon, I verified with her that the ingredients sounded yummy, and put my plan in action. They turned out great, but I have some notes. Plenty good though, for the two of us to plow through. (My husband doesn't like mayo and our other guest didn't make it in time.)
Thin white bread
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. finely-diced sweet onion
Use a round cutter to make small rounds. (The book called for 1" - I just used the cutter I had, seemed about right.)
Optional: lightly toast the rounds in the broiler (keep an eye on them - it won't take long)
Mix the other ingredients and spread onto the bread. (See my picture? Spread it a little thinner than that. Set the canapes onto a cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment paper.
Broil for about 7 minutes.
Serve while warm. (We just ate them right off the rack. Informal gathering and all.)
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|Marshmallows (with tie) and Caramels |
packaged up for my niece & nephew.
Friends and family aren't complaining, though, because after my husband and I eat a couple/few pieces of my experiments, I package up the rest and mail 'em out. With the summer approaching, I'm going to have to take a break, and only do this when I have a special occasion to cook for, but it has been a blast - all two weekends of it.
It started out innocently enough. Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a book on Amazon and wishlisted it: Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar. When I have a chance to get myself a small treat, it's usually a book, so a wishlist is a great way to see what I want (in case I forgot) and what's on sale, etc.. So, when I had the opportunity to pick out a new book, this was it.
|My first caramels, using Hungry Girl's recipe.|
My attempts to procure a candy thermometer could almost earn their own blog post! In just a little over a week, I have owned four thermometers, three before the Sugar Baby book arrived and I just followed her recommendations and got a classic Taylor Thermometer (around $10 at my "local" grocery (local is relative in the country)). The first one broke in the utensil cup of my counter-top drain rack before it could be used once. The second one, although found with the caramel apple-making supplies at a concession-supply store,** was really for meat and the temperature did not go nearly high enough. Number three would go high enough, but was digital and I got it wet somehow when I rinsed off the probe (should have just wiped it down, yes?). It's what I used for the first attempt, but it was a little glitchy.
It turns out that we own pretty decent pans for candy-making: heavy-bottomed stainless steel. I didn't think I could get the Demerara sugar called for in Hungry Girl's recipe (turns out I didn't look closely enough), so I used Turbinado sugar and dark corn syrup instead. Despite have a glitchy thermometer, I actually managed to get my first batch of caramels done on the first try! They were the perfect (to me) consistency/texture, and the flavor was deep and rich. We had a couple pieces each, and the rest went to family & friends. (I posted a message on Facebook, offering up caramels to anyone that wanted them (in the US -- I wasn't sure about mailing them internationally.) The folks that chimed in got a package of sweets in the mail.) They were pronounced "yummy," and it was good.
Then, the book arrived. Being a
|One batch of Marshmallows. I actually got|
a plate dirty to take the picture.
|Fleur de Sel Caramels, poured and salted. (Next time, |
I'll measure the salt for the top!)
|Cutting the caramels. (That's a pizza cutter, not a machete.)|
They hardened up pretty quickly and that, along with the
butter, kept the pieces from sticking until wrapping.
It became immediately clear that I had to get most of those caramels out of my house! I went through a rough patch recently, and several people helped cheer me up by sending surprises in the mail (and email - knitting patterns are a great pick-me-up!), so I made cute little bags out of gift wrap and put together little "Thank You" packages for several of them. A few people commented on the pictures on Facebook again, so some packages went to those folks as well.
PS: There's a companion blog for the cookbook, with extra photos, video tutorials, etc.: SugarBaby Cookbook.
*As fun and cute as they are, I don't count melting those candy discs and pouring them into molds as making candy. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not knocking it, and my collection of molds is staying put -- but it's a different thing altogether.
**I need to write about that. Fun times!