Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mushroom, MUSHROOM

I have the nicest neighbors in the world.

We recently came in to a new clothes dryer (thanks Mom!), leaving us with an older, yet still functional dryer that needed a home.  The easiest solution was of course the neighbors, whose laundry room is about 2 feet away from ours and who hadn't acquired a dryer yet.  The change out was pretty quick, and after letting them know about the dryer earlier in the week, we slipped it in to their laundry room when they weren't home for the sake of taking advantage of what precious little daylight we have.

The next day, I got a knock on the door while I was cooking dinner, and was greeted by my neighbors, holding a big bowl of orange mushrooms.  They looked vaguely familiar, and quite fancy.  They explained that they had spent the earlier part of the day collecting these from the surrounding woods as they've done for the last 10 years, and they were chanterelles.  Had I heard of them?

Being that I obsessively watch Food Network, and that I spend a remarkable amount of time at the grocery store, I had heard of these, and knew that they are quite not cheap when you're not scavenging for them yourself.  Here I was easily holding $50 worth of mushrooms, one of the most beautiful in-kind payments I had ever received.  I thanked them profusely and started brainstorming.

Dinner was already on, and my husband doesn't like mushrooms anyway.  Not to mention, a holiday weekend was fast approaching and I knew if I didn't cook and preserve them TONIGHT, it wasn't going to happen.  Scouring the internet, I stumbled on some very easy cooking methods (simple is best when you get such amazing ingredients) and got to work!

I roughly chopped my chanterelle mushrooms and dumped them all in a big pyrex, adding an entire container of chicken stock, half an onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of truffle oil that I had also been given earlier that day (my day was a Chopped basket).  I let them sit in my already-hot-oven (I think it was at about 350) for 20 minutes, and after cooling moved the lot to a ziploc bag for freezer storage. 

As I was in this process, my husband came home and asked what it was.  I gushed about our amazing neighbors, and offered him a bite that I knew he would decline.  In my head, I planned for solo meals with the reheated mushrooms over some pasta or rice, and was quite pleased at how awesomely easy and delicious that would be.  I can't believe what a wonderful treat I have waiting for me in cold storage!  I'll be sure to follow up when I actually get to enjoy it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Animals are Cool

I still love going to our awesome Monterey Bay Aquarium and watching these cute little guys.

They're so interesting and I could watch them for days.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A New Take on Crescent Rolls

I've been eating those addictive Pillsbury crescent rolls for years (not IN A ROW), and it never even occurred to me to do anything different than the package tells me to do - pop the container, roll in to an oddly shaped crescent, bake, and eat.

That is, until Pinterest started giving me ideas!

No longer a side, they're now part of the meal!  These are the easiest thing to do and are delicious and fun to eat.  I cook all the time and my husband was impressed with the ingenuity - it's something so simple, who would think of it, right?  Of course, being the dork I am, instead of saying "why yes, I am a kitchen genius" as a wind from an unknown source blew my beautiful hair, I instead said "I SAW IT ON PINTEREST AND YOU CAN PUT STUFF IN THE ROLLS AND COOK 'EM HERE HAVE SOME."

On this particular day, I chose cheddar cheese, sundried tomatoes, and peppers.  Honestly, it comes in a second to the ones where I put cream cheese and jalapenos in with the eggs.  Those I scarfed down before I could take a picture.  But I think the real point is: you can put whatever the heck you want in these.  If you can think of 2 or 3 things that go together, you have a tasty meal.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Chop any ingredients that you're adding to your crescent roll noms.  Peppers, veggies, cheese, cooked meats, etc.  If you're adding meat, you could probably use only 3 eggs, rather than 4, since you have another source of protein.  It's up to you.

Pop open your crescent roll container, and lay out the individual triangles on a baking sheet.  Layer your ingredients toward the wider base of the triangle, leaving the narrow part of the triangle empty.

Scramble your eggs, being sure not to over cook them.  In general, remember that if they're done in the pan, they're overdone on the plate.  In this case, you'll be putting them in the oven for another 10ish minutes, so you actually want to aim for a bit "wet".  If you want to do them like me, do this:

Put a nonstick pan over medium heat on the stove top, with just shy of a tablespoon of butter (per 4 eggs) in the pan to melt.  Crack 4 eggs in a bowl and rapidly whisk with either a whisk (duh) or a fork until a good amount of air has been incorporated and the eggs are not as vibrant yellow as the yolk would be.  Add salt and pepper to the bowl and pour the eggs in to the hot pan when the butter has melted and started to bubble.  Keep the eggs moving with a flat spatula and when you would normally take them off the heat a minute later, take them off now.  There shouldn't be liquid per se, but the eggs should be glossy.

Layer your eggs on the same spot where you've layered your other ingredients, splitting it up as evenly as possible.  Now comes the fun part - rolling these bad boys up.  I haven't discovered a particularly easy way to do it, but regardless it's fun and a little messy, so do your best and feel free to tuck any straggling ingredients back in to a roll if they escape!

Once they're rolled, put the baking pan in to the oven and come back to check them after 8-10 minutes.  The rolls should be golden brown and delicious (just like they would be without the other stuff in them).  Serve them hot, and be sure to bask in your ingenuity!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bacon Makes Everything Better


That says "Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale". Oh yes it does.
I bought this beer.

Let me back up a couple days.  My Facebook page was starting to fill up with photos of this VERY pink bottle and with the intriguing trifecta of words - Bacon Maple Ale.  Perhaps 3 of the best words in the English language, and a very odd, but not unfathomable, combo.  You got my attention, Rogue!

Fortunately, I spend more time at grocery stores than anyone else I know.  I probably spend more time in one than you do, too.  Today while I was spending time at the grocery store, I was approached by the Beer Specialist, who happened to be holding an unmistakably pink bottle.  "WE HAVE IT", she declared, and pointed out something I had not noticed initially - Rogue had partnered with Portland favorite Voodoo Donuts to create this brew.  Um, WOW.

I've been to Voodoo Donuts!  And I've HAD their bacon maple donut!  And I had some beer in me at the time!  I spent several more hours at the grocery store, and grabbed a bottle on my way out.

Initial pre-opening impressions

The bottle is SO PINK.   And BEST IDEA EVER.

I opened it

Actually smells like bacon!  looks at ingredients  It actually CONTAINS bacon.  OMG.

Poured it, and drank it

Wow.  Delightful flavor.  Slightly sweet, but not a sugary way.  A hint of smoky flavor.  A bit of a bitter aftertaste, as you would expect from an ale.  Overall, complex, interesting, and DELICIOUS with the pepperoni pizza I was eating with it.  It allegedly also pairs nicely with doughnuts. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It's one of the words in the blog title, and looking at my content, you would think I'm not knitting anymore!  Well, you would be wrong!

I've just been doing much more secret knitting that I can't really show off until the recipient sees it first!  Luckily, these lovely Hedera socks (pattern by Cookie A) were received today, so I can finally share them with the world!  These were done in Squoosh Fat Sock in the Froggy colorway (which had been languishing in my stash for way too long, not knowing what it wanted to be!) and they were a pleasure to knit and even more of a joy to give to a good friend!  As an added bonus, the knitting on these went pretty quickly, and Cookie A makes such beautiful, interesting patterns, even when they're pretty simple like this one was!

One Christmas gift down, a few more to go!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Honey Mustard Bread

Not too long ago, I told you all about my red beans and rice adventures, and how after a few days, I craved replacing the rice with something a little more interesting and dynamic.  I (unsurprisingly) decided on bread (I'm so predictable sometimes) and wanted something a little sweet and savory!  Honey sounded like just the thing to add sweetness, and dijon mustard is the perfect compliment!

Round up your ingredients!
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry Colman's mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp active dry yeast

This 1.5 pound loaf does it's thing on the white bread cycle, and is delicious when fresh!

I would like to briefly talk about honey.  I admit to being a little bit of a food snob, but I would like to recommend buying the best quality honey that you can.  There has been more and more information coming to light that a surprising amount of grocery store honey is not actually honey, and due to the lack of laws and regulation around it, can be labeled "honey" when it's little more than sugar water.  The flavor difference between "honey" and real honey is remarkable, and will add something special to your honeyed treats!  Support local beekeepers and honey makers when you can, and they'll reward you with a delicious product.  For a little extra fun, get varieties like orange blossom or clover, which imparts the flavor of the plant the pollen was collected from!  So very cool.