Politics as usual, not-so-strange bed fellows, a ‘thank you’ and an award.

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I'll start with the 'thank you'.  An overdue 'thank you', at that.  Natalie at Hot Garlic was kind enough to bestow an award upon us.  Thank you muchly, Natalie!  We're blushing.    Does this mean we're brilliant?   We'd like to pass the award along to some folks who make us hungry every time we visit:   Culinary Concoctions by Peabody-  The custards, the cakes, the cookies.  Oh, stop!  We're trying to behave!  Butter, Sugar, Flour-  The sweet stuff.  Linda's photos make me drool, her recipes work without fail.  What's not to love? Amicus Cupcake- Are we sensing a theme?  When the weather turns cool my thoughts turn to sweets and Amicus never disappoints. My Husband Hates Veggies- Kitty always has fun stories and great food to go along with them.  Hey Kitty-  my baby brother man's a gourmet food cart in McCarren Park in Brooklyn.  Not that I'm giving you the award so you'll go buy my brother's food.  I'm just saying :-) The Adventures of Kitchen Girl- Jo is great.  She's super friendly, her food looks divine and she has a sweet 10 year old who is really into cooking.  I check in on her site frequently for a reason!   The not-so-strange bedfellows?  My Dad and step-mom, Val (my fellow Foodie With Family) were out picking up some items we had stored for them when they moved last winter.  There was a massive quantity of great food.  Val made me a double batch of her deadly biscuit cinnamon rolls for which I kept not-so-subtly begging.  I suppose … {Read on...}

Dulce de leche. A tutorial.

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Some call it dulce de leche.  Some say cajeta.  Some refer to it as leche quemada.  I call it one of the easiest recipes I  will ever share with you.  While it is undoubtedly time consuming, it couldn't be simpler to make.  And homemade dulce de leche (and I don't mean from a can of sweetened, condensed milk) is unparalleled in deliciousness.  I mean it.  Val is currently experimenting with making it in a slow-cooker to minimize the attention that needs to be paid to the dulce de leche in progress, but for now, invest the time.  It's worth it.   Yes.  That is a quart of Dulce de Leche.  It's one of three quarts I made a couple days ago.  I made, what else, a double batch.  If I'm spending 5 hours watching a pot, I'm going to get a good return on my time. Homemade Honest-to-goodness Dulce de Leche   Make some now and you can keep it in the fridge for a couple months in a tightly lidded container.  A spoonful of this is good for what ails you.    Ingredients: 3 quarts milk (use goat milk for the most authentic flavor) 3 cups granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking soda   In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, whisk together 1 cup of the milk with the sugar and the baking soda until smooth.  Add the remaining milk and turn heat or flame up to medium high.  Stir frequently until mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by just under half and a gorgeous caramel brown.  This will take anywhere from an hour … {Read on...}

Frito Pie

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I think it is safe to say that with five sons, one loving husband, two useless male hound dogs and a male goldfish I inhabit a man's world.  I am outnumbered 9 to 2.  That the cat is also 'non-male' is immaterial.  She can run and hide under beds or our vast piles of laundry.  Me?  Not so much.   Don't misunderstand me, please:  I'm not complaining.  I like being the one who makes everything a little more exciting.  The Queen Bee, the salt pork in the can of pork and beans *Even a can of beans is nothing without the salt pork, right? , the chocolate wrapped in croissant- that's me.  I dig it.    Digging it does not preclude me living a life thoroughly confused by their manly-male antics.  Growing up in a family where sisters had a 4 to 2 lead over the brothers the girls ruled the roost.  We pestered the boys into submission, dressed an unnamed brother in our nightgowns, 'did his hair', painted little stubby boy finger nails, mercilessly teased the poor boys about how they loved Belinda Carlisle's 'Circle in the Sand', and other humiliating things like that.  I missed out on a stellar opportunity to prepare myself for my adult life.  I should've figured out what made my brothers tick.   Over the last almost eleven years I have had ample opportunity to make up for my juvenile slights to my brothers.  I have learned some of the ways of man and pre-man (that'd be boy...)  Please allow me to share some of my observations with you.   Sports are more … {Read on...}

Brown Butter Plum Cake

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Well, as promised, here is the Brown Butter Plum Cake recipe. I connected with it via a link in Tastespotting, and that link took me to Patent and the Pantry, another foodie-related site. As the host there said, one of the wonderful things about cooking is the freedom to make recipes your own, and it really is fun to watch recipes morph as they go from hand to hand, each change reflecting the invididual tastes of the cooks involved.  Gwendolyn, the host of that site, found the recipe on another site, hosted by a Julie, and I took the recipe and made some changes of my own. (You can see the original recipe by clicking on the earlier link for Patent and the Pantry.)   The changes I made were simply taste changes--I like more fruit, I love vanilla and spices, and I had some cinnamon sugar to use up. When I was young and first learning to cook and bake, I would stick pretty closely to the recipes, but after a while, once I learned something of the science of food, how ingredients work together, and began to see how  flavorings, spices and condiments could combine and recombine to provide a wide variety of tastes, I was able to  begin to play with things without being too worried about the result. Once in a great while there would be a culinary bomb (Jim reminds me of the great Carrot Ginger Soup Fiasco), but overall, what I make ends up being at least edible, and at times, pretty darn good.  So at age 53, I have a bit more confidence than I did at the age of 23, I know what … {Read on...}

Pickled Plums

Picture is a little fuzzy, but I think you can see how lovely these are; that is a bit of bay leaf and a bit of vanilla bean lying across the top of the jar.

  I am sure that many of you are aware of Tastespotting, a site that serves to display pictures submitted by other websites; and these are not just ANY pictures--these are pictures selected to meet a certain aesthetic, and they are absolutely beautiful. For those of you not familiar with this resource, you can link with it here:   Tastespotting   Anyway, on to the plums....this being the season for plums and all, the pictures on Tastespotting that featured recipes using this fruit continued to catch my eye, and I finally gave in to two items in particular:  Sweet and Sour Plums with Vanilla and Bay Leaf (a kind of pickled plum) and Brown Butter Plum Cake. (Tastespotting has a search tool--enter the word "plum" and you should be able to find pictures of each of these.)  I picked up a half bushel of the lovelies from our local fruit vendor (much more cost effective in bulk!) and carried them home to be transformed:  First, the sweet and sour plums...   Well, I found I needed my daughter's help with this recipe, because when I clicked on the picture, it took me to a lovely website, Hedonistin Blogspot, but all was in German. Having had French in school, I can usually wrangle some degree of meaning from French and even Spanish language texts, but German is beyond me. Fortunately, my daughter spent her senior year of high school Germany and is proficient enough in the language that she was able to help me out with this. As a result, I now have two gallons of these … {Read on...}