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Sneak Preview

Blue White Chocolate

Sneak preview time! I, uh, meant to post this earlier, but I’ve been busy catching Pokemon. Up to 83 on my own volition!  I’ve got something really fun planned for Thursday. I did a small test run tonight to see if I could add food coloring gel to white chocolate. It was a success! I normally would never touch white chocolate, but what I’m making is white and blue which makes white chocolate a must. And I don’t trust those Wilton candy melts. I want as good a quality ‘chocolate’ as I can get. I went with Lindtt. They actually have cocoa butter in the ingredients. I’m even going to make a milk chocolate peanut butter nemesis to go with it. I used to be pretty good at making chocolate molds. A run of making a ton of them made me quit. It’s been so long I didn’t even get to use the new spatula I bought for the process. I have to say it’s the perfect size. It scrapes the chocolate out so much better than a spoon. I’m excited. I think things are going to go well on Thursday. As long as I can get the cooling time on white chocolate right. Stay tuned!

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Spruce Beer

Spruce BeerI did a Nando’s run tonight, so I didn’t cook anything today. Still living off of those scones. I thought I’d post about spruce beer. My Jane Austen and Food book went on about Mr. Knightley and his spruce beer. Spruce beer being appropriate for gentlemen to drink. And make themselves as Mr. Knightley gives his recipe to Mr. Elton. As I don’t have any spruce branches lying around nor a pot big enough to boil the essence out of it in, I thought I’d try a different alternative. I googled and I found some interesting options. There are alcoholic ones out there and non-alcoholicy ginger ale-esque ones out there. The soda ones don’t seem to be available in my area, so I went with the alcoholic kind. Total Wine carried Yards Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce. (First time I’d ever been in one. It’s very impressive. It made me wish I had an appreciation for beer and wine. I never knew there were so many different kinds.) Poor Richard’s claims to be based on Benjamin Franklin’s original recipe. It uses malt because hops weren’t available at the time. Made with molasses, spruce tips and sprigs. You can actually taste the spruce. It’s rather interesting. But the beer as a whole was just disgusting. I took a few sips and couldn’t even stomach it to drink more. I do admit that I don’t like beer and prefer my drinks to be sweet, so please don’t take my reaction as an end all be all. Give it a try.  You might like it. It definitely tastes like spruce. I’m just glad I got two bottles instead of a whole six pack. Maybe I can find a brave friend to finish off that second bottle for me.

Now I’m not sure how different Mr. Knightley and Benjamin Franklin’s spruce beers were. I wonder what Mr. Knightley would think of Benjamin Franklin. It amuses me that they liked the same beer though. The recipe referenced in Jane Austen and Food comes from Food in England by Dorothy Hartley. “One pint good spruce extract, 12lb treacle, 3 gallons of water. Boil all and let stand 1 hour. Add 3 or 4 gallons of water, 1 pint of yeast (the water should be hand warm). Pour into a 10-gallon cask. Filler her up, let her work. Bung her up. Bottle her off.” So now you can see why I wasn’t brave enough to try it myself. Apparently spruce branches are unforgiving when you boil them too long. If I were to make it, I’d try to make it taste less beer-y (if that’s possible?) and sweeter. They also used to believe that spruce beer would help prevent scurvy. There’s a lot of stuff out there if you google spruce beer. A lot of braver people than me have successfully made it. Maybe someday I’ll try making my own. Until then I’ll keep an eye out for spruce beer. Maybe I can learn to like it like Mr. Elton.

ETA: I’ve been clicking around looking at different spruce beer recipes. This one from The Splendid Table actually sounds doable. It’s more like a soda than beer. When I feel like tracking down oil of spruce, I’ll give this a try. Maybe for the family for Christmas?

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Belated Birthday Treat

20140302-002248.jpg No fridge chronicles today. I promise that tomorrow they will be finished with the ever teased hummus crusted chicken. I bought a new baking dish, so I am ready to go. I just had to post about my belated birthday present. After Christmas, I got to take a ski trip to Deer Valley in Park City with my family. Every day for lunch I had a bowl of their amazing turkey chili. It was almost as good as the skiing. For days after I dreamed about how good it was. I only found out there was a mix after leaving! If only I’d known! I mentioned this to my friend, Lauren. She remembered and got me a packet for my birthday! I’m so excited. So expect amazing turkey chili in the future! Hopefully I can do it justice.

(I’ve also been too scared to try my lemon curd. I might have to tomorrow since I left my jelly out in my hurry to get out the door this morning. Thankfully there was only a little bit left, so no great loss.)

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A Longish Absence

Apologies for going so long without a post. I have not abandoned you or my quest. I promise that the thought of the veggies and other foods that have gone bad in my fridge in the wake of this tragedy is torture enough. And the left over birthday cake I didn’t get to eat. I sadly contracted food poisoning. Something I ate on Tuesday. Not entirely sure what, but I have my theories. I was unable to cook anything for a day or so and then just completely unwilling after that. I haven’t quite gotten my appetite back. And I figured nobody would be interested in a post about Trader Joe’s chicken soup (I would recommend a pass on that. The rest of it is ok, but the chicken itself is icky), Trader Joe’s apples and cinnamon oatmeal (a surprise success!), or crackers. My Jasmine mint tea was a life saver.

So here’s hoping I’ll get my appetite back soon and be back on our regularly scheduled program. Hummus crusted chicken– soon!

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George’s Mess (And Mine)

Honey Pull Apart + George's MessSad news. My over-sized and annoyingly heavy casserole dish is no more. Sadly so is the lasagna. I misjudged putting it back in the fridge. It shattered all over the floor. I tried to salvage the lasagna, but decided potentially eating glass shards wasn’t worth it. Not really too heartbroken over the loss. So no cooking yesterday. Or today.

Anyways, my adventures today helped me to get over it. I went down to Richmond to go to the Poe Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the Hollywood Costume exhibit. I saw Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes (Game of Shadows, so not as exciting) costume. Harrison Ford’s Raiders costume, CBale’s TDK Batman costume, costumes from Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Marie Antoinette, the green dress from Atonement, Guinevere’s wedding dress from Camelot (that has pumpkin seeds sewn all over it!), lots of others, and most importantly, Robert DeNiro’s overcoat from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I laughed out loud when I saw it. I sadly recognized it instantly.

But the best part was the start of my day! I stopped midway in Fredericksburg to go to my favorite bakery, Eileen’s. I got my usual George’s Mess (eggs, bacon, lemon roasted potatoes, sour cream, and chives in a tortilla) and a honey pull apart. Yum! I ordered my Grand Marnier birthday cake too. So excited! Between that and tea splurging at CaryTown Tea, it hasn’t been a good day for my pocket book.

Cooking MovieOlympics Opening Ceremony