Friday, August 29, 2008

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

I think I'm getting the hang of making ice cream. I thought this was amazing, but my Honey Lavender Ice Cream was a whole new realm of good. It started with half & half, whipping cream, orange blossom honey, and some culinary lavender.
Lavender and cream base
I heat up the mixture for a while, then let the lavender seep for about 30 minutes. I removed the lavender by pouring the mix through a fine sieve.
Strain the Lavender and add the eggs
I whisked a few eggs and a pinch of salt and slowly combined the mixture together.
Eggs and salt
Then I reheated the base just a bit more, and admired the beautiful shade of cream it has become.
re-heat the mixture, then chill overnight
I let the mix chill overnight. I started to get worried at this point, because the mixture was so extremely fragrant. I'm not one to like eating foods that are too perfume like. At this point, the mix was made and there was nothing left to do, but throw it in the machine and hope for the best.
In the Ice Cream maker
Nice and smooth after the machine. I let it chill in the freezer for an extra day.
After the Ice Cream Maker - into the freezer to harden
Wow. Really, wow. Not too fragrant at all, just right actually.
Homemade Honey Lavender Ice Cream
The texture came out perfect. The best I've gotten so far.
Homemade Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Recipe can be found here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sick Day Crafts

Almost all of last week, I was home sick. It was pretty awful. I had a fever of about 102 and was stuck in bed all week. Each time I put a cool towel on my head, it seemed to get warm fast, so I remembered about this little plastic plate.
Little plastic dish
I actually got this plate after buying sushi-to-go one day, and didn't have the heart to throw out this cute little plate. It was the perfect size for a a block of ice for my forehead. So I filled it with some water and let it freeze.
Filled with water
It made a nice little piece of ice.
Turned to ice
Place the ice in a small cloth.
Wrapped in cloth
And wrap it up.
Cold wrap for a fever
When the ice started to melt, I just placed the whole cloth back into the freezer and re-used it. Luckily, I'm all better now and on to more exciting ice related projects, such as making ice cream! Tomorrow, I will post all about my latest ice cream creation.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Faux Fried Chicken

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a long time now, but it wasn't until I saw it on this lovely lady's blog when I decided to give it a go. It's a quick recipe, with simple ingredients.
parsley, garlic, lemon
Parsley, garlic, lemon and yogurt.
parsley, garlic, lemon, and  yogurt
I used panko breadcrumbs, although I have heard other recipes using corn flakes. That might be interesting to try once I run out of the panko crumbs.
Chicken with parsley, garlic, lemon, yogurt, and panko breadcrumbs
I think I prefer this chicken to real fried chicken, merely for the lack of post-fried chicken guilt.
Faux-Fried Chicken
All I need now is some corn on the cob and a slice of watermelon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Angel Food Cake Disaster

I don't know what happened. I've made this same Angel Food Cake a dozen times before, but it wasn't going to happen for me this time. The eggs were fresh.
Egg Whites, Vanilla, Cream of Tartar, and water
The batter was shaping up.
Mixing in the sugar, salt, and flour
But the outcome was suspicious.
Angel Food Cake Disaster #1
After the flip, I was immediately worried.
Angel Food Cake Disaster #1
Even then, I didn't realize what I was about to see. Who knew cake could do this?
Angel Food Cake Disaster #1
I was confused, but wasn't about to waste any more time scratching my head. I quickly went to the store and bought a new dozen of eggs.
Another dozen of eggs later...
I thought maybe I didn't let it bake long enough? So, for my second cake, I left it in until it was a darker brown.
Angel Food Cake Disaster #2
I was hopeful. It looked better than the first, but I was still worried. By this time, it was late, so I went to bed and left it until morning.
Angel Food Cake Disaster # 2
Not so good.
Angel Food Cake Disaster # 2
The outside was cakey, but the inside was the same gummy substance that I got with cake #1. Either way, it was not good. I had to have my parfait ready to go in a hurry, so I was forced to go to two different grocery stores looking for a ready baked Angel Food Cake. I wasn't very happy about that. I really do like baking from scratch, but I have to admit, the store bought cake was really good. Not better than my usual Angel Food Cake, but a billion times better than the ones baked this time. I made up for it with the best cream, ever.
The best cream filling I have ever made
Cream cheese, sugar, and heavy whipping cream must be soul mates on some level. The mixture is perfect harmony. It makes one tasty parfait when layered with angel food cake, strawberries, and blueberries.
Angel Food Cake, Stawberry, Blueberry Parfait
I'm not sure if this Angel Food Cake dilemma has made me want to give up Angel Food Cake baking or determined to get it perfected. I think I will try to take a baking break for now, but one of these days I might be writing a week of posts on perfecting the art of Angel Food Cake.
Angel Food Cake, Stawberry, Blueberry Parfait

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Apple Pie Ice Cream

Today, I am home sick. I think the combination of school, work, bake-a-thons, going out, running, and everything else I'm up to has taken it's toll on me. Most of the day has been spent in bed, with a fever. I'm determined to get better, since I do have class tomorrow. So in the rare moment of me being awake for today, I present you Apple Pie Ice Cream, or Apple Pie A La Mode in a cup, or things to do with leftover baked goods. It all starts with a vanilla bean ice cream base.
Vanilla bean
Vanilla beans are so fragrant. After seeping this vanilla bean, and all of it's little seeds into some warm milk and cream, my entire apartment smelled so lovely.
Eggs and Sugar
I slowly combined eggs and sugar with the warm vanilla milk/cream mixture to make my vanilla base, and let that cool all day. After my mini pies were all done. I set aside a group that just didn't make the cut.
Leftover mini apple pies
I then mashed these up into bits, and poured them into the ice cream mix during the last 5 minutes of processing. The machine's directions mentioned that all toppings put into the machine should be no larger than a chocolate chip. Well, I didn't really follow that rule. Just think of when you eat cookie's n' cream ice cream, isn't it kind of exciting when you find a big chunk of cookie in your scoop? Maybe it's just me, but it's the little things like a big cookie piece that put a smile on my face.
Crushing the leftover mini apple pies
The machine did make some interesting noises with the bigger chunks, but the results were amazing.
Apple Pie Ice Cream
I'm still in shock that I produced such a tasty treat!
Apple Pie Ice Cream
Now.. back to bed for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Apple Of My Pie

A good apple pie needs good apples. I used Gala, Empire, Jazz, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Braeburn, and Granny Smith.
Apples for the pie
While preparing the filling, I tasted each apple chopped to ensure a sweet apple. I then added lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, salt, and some flour.
Apple filling for apple pie
My favorite part of almost any pie is the crust. I added a bit of cinnamon to the crust, just to give it that extra something. Though, I think the 2 sticks of butter for each batch do quite well on their own too.
Empty mini pie shells
I didn't realize how time consuming this little baking project was going to be. I went from rolling the dough, chilling the dough, cutting the dough, molding 24 shells, filling the shells..
Filled with apples
... making cute pie tops for each pie, brushing the tops with egg wash....
Topped with stars
...baking, letting the pan cool, and doing it all over again 3 times!
Mini Apple Pies
I ended up submitting 4 dozen to the baking exhibit today. And the rest of the mini pies? Well, I passed a few out at work, and kept a small batch of the "reject" pile for a whole new baking project (more on this tomorrow)! The exhibit had the baked goods of over 60 people! I was worried that no one would even eat my mini pies with all of that other delicious food around. So, I went over and checked out the pies about an hour after they were put out and somehow, they were all gone! A friend told me that they heard a large group talking about them and soon after that there was a buzz about the lil' pies! At that moment, the 15 hours of work made it all worth it. Though, these little pies weren't the only treat keeping me busy in the kitchen. Kim gave me the prettiest little anchor necklace after I made her a blueberry pie, so to thank her, I made her an apple pie!
Apple Pie
I've always wanted to make a lattice pie top, but never have. They usually break and get too complicated for my patience level, but I tried it out and it came out okay?
Apple Pie
Well, there are a few mistakes in the lattice top, but I'm willing to overlook it. I think it looked pretty cute after it was all baked! I just hope Kim likes it!
Apple Pie
Tomorrow, I will show off what else I worked on in my 15 hour bake-a-thon. It's a tasty way to handle the "reject" pile of your baked goods.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

15 Hours of Baking Later...

And I'm done. Tomorrow I will be in my first baking exhibit, hence the 15 hours of kitchen time. Today, I post butter and apples, tomorrow (unless I immediately go to bed) pictures of apple pies.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine

I originally intended on making Chicken Marsala, though I completely forgot to get Marsala wine! Luckily, I just purchased a 4 pack of small bottles of Pinot Grigio, especially for cooking, so I thought I'd get creative with what I had. First, I made a mixture of flour, Italian bread crumbs, Italian seasonings, garlic salt, and pepper and coated the chicken in this mix. I used a dot of butter and a tiny bit of olive oil to heat the pan and grilled the chicken for a few minutes. I then flipped the chicken and added a basket full of mushrooms.
Mushroom Chicken a la Pinot Grigio
Soon after, I added some wine. I've gotta say, 2007 is not the best of years for this particular wine. I think I'll spring for a nicer bottle next time. The mini bottles are just so convenient! I added a little cream to the mix and that made up for it all.
Mushroom Chicken a la Pinot Grigio
I felt like this dish was missing some greens, so I compensated with a green plate. Next time perhaps green beans?
Mushroom Chicken a la Pinot Grigio
I'm a little glad I forgot to buy the Marsala wine, experimentation is good in cooking - even if the experiment is bad, at least we learn what not to do next time!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Group Quilt Inspiration Fabric

This rich fabric has been the inspiration for many quilts that the group has made, but this is the first time the fabric will be featured in one of the quilts. The thing about my quilting group is that a lot of our fabric has been donated, which means some of it tends to be flawed. One of the group members did a lovely job piecing together the back of the quilt with this fabric, then realized that there were multiple holes stapled into it! We thought about mending them, but the holes were just too big. To get a good view of the holes, we held the fabric up against a bright window and marked them with post-it notes.
Inspiration Fabric for the Getty Quilt
I volunteered to cut out the flawed areas and re-piece the back together. I didn't realize how difficult it would be cutting into my fellow quilter's hard work, I felt so bad! I just hope I didn't miss any holes! I'm happy to say, we are soon approaching the quilt sandwich phase of this project. I think my next duty in the group is going to be hand embroidery of the quilt tag, which I am anxious to get started on. Embroidery is the perfect hobby for the quiet moments in between my busy schedule. And things are about to get busier in the Daily-Craft household. Besides starting school tomorrow, I have entered myself into a baking exhibit! The event will take place on Monday, so I will be making approximately 4 dozen mini apple pies all weekend long.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Rolly Polly Sandwiches

Usually, I think of little gray bugs when I hear the words Rolly Polly - but according to my mom, that's the name of these little sandwiches. I thought I'd make my own version of my mom's Rolly Pollies, for a lunch time picnic with friends at work. I made the sandwiches the night before the picnic.
Pre-cut Rolled Sandwiches
I made a few combinations of Turkey, Ham, Swiss, and Cheddar, all with mustard, tomatoes, pickles, pepperoncinis, and lettuce. I was planning on using mayonnaise too, but I forgot to add it! I don't think anyone noticed, they came out pretty good!
Rolled Sandwiches
I sliced the sandwiches right before serving.
Rolled Sandwiches
They were just right for a light lunch time with friends.