Batter Licker

September 28, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 3 (fudge)

It’s time for some more wedding dessert bar preparation. This time around, instead of baking, there will be candy-making.

[Queue the oooohs and aahhhs.]

Waiting … waiting … AHEM! … any minute now … What’s that? You already know how to make fudge? Fine. But won’t you be sad if you miss out on the quirky commentary, and additional tips and observations – like the fact that fudge freezes well for 3 months if tightly wrapped? Thought so.

Now that we’ve settled that … first, clean up that kitchen, little piggy! (I really let things go this week. Just wasn’t feeling the whole sponge-and-soap thing. Or even the at-least-soak-things-in-water thing. Pretty much a total mess all around. Good thing I didn’t get a good shot of the sink’s contents, much less the rest of the apartment.)

Now that I’ve cleaned everything up (mostly), it’s time to pull all the ingredients out and clutter the counter again. I’ve said it before and will repeat it every time I share a candy recipe, but you know that whole mis en place concept you hear all over cooking shows that normally is helpful but not entirely necessary? Yeah, it’s actually essential when making fudge or any other type of candy. Candy cooks up fast, especially towards the end when time is of the essence.

So open those bags and containers, and measure out those ingredients to lessen the chances of burnt candy tragedies. Seriously. I’ve done it. Multiple times. First world problem, perhaps, but I still cried.
(more…)

September 25, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 2 (coconut macaroons)

It’s coconut macaroon time! Which also means it’s party time! And part 2 of my Project Wedding Dessert Bar series! Are you excited yet?!?!?

Okay, I’ve clearly had too much coffee. Time to calm down and get this show on the road.

First, we’ll need a whole lotta whites. Egg whites, not people – and certainly not in a discriminating way.

We’ll find another use for all those delicious yolks later. Mayonnaise? Hollandaise? The yolks will make a TON of either, that’s for sure. The key is no waste! There are always more delicious things to be made with the discarded parts of the ingredients. The more I cook and bake, the more I know this to be absolutely true.

But for now, just sit back and admire the skill it takes to crack that many eggs and separate the whites, while only breaking a single yolk (and it broke post-cracking because I dropped it too violently into the bowl). (more…)

September 20, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 1 (mexican wedding cookies)

I’ve been admittedly absent lately. Important wedding decisions have been eating up my spare time. Critical questions, like whether to use aubergine or eggplant or plum linens, are getting answered. Choices, like whether to use vodka or tequila or champagne in my signature cocktail, are being made (in case you’re curious, I went with this). Methods of affixing mini floral clusters to jackets and dresses are being selected.

A pin? But then there will be a hole in the dress. A wrist corsage? But then it will be bulky and obnoxious to wear, especially while dancing. A magnet? Perhaps the best option, assuming not wearing a corsage is not an option. Technically, not wearing one is an option, but everyone else will be wearing them. So deal with it, or decide not to and save us $50. At this point, whatever.

But just as I’ve reached the “whatever, I don’t even care anymore” point in the minutia of wedding planning, it has come time to work on the part that I have most looked forward to and have more experience and confidence in making decisions about. Project Wedding Dessert Bar begins!!

In the interests of not completely abandoning this little blog and whatever readers it still retains after a two-week posting hiatus (and as a way to keep me accountable) while I continue down the road of wedding prep for the next four weeks, I’ve decided to post a series tracking my dessert bar progress. The pictures won’t be as fabulous (I don’t have time to haul everything from the kitchen to the naturally lit dining area just to obtain a “good shot” each and every time) but the commentary for each one will hopefully be worth following. And the recipes certainly will be worth making on your own, especially if you’re crazy enough to put together your own dessert bar.

And with that, I give you part one: Mexican wedding cookies. (more…)

September 2, 2011

bibimbap (korean mixed vegetable and brown rice salad with spicy-sweet chili pepper paste)

A three-day weekend is upon (most of) us, and this time around, that means Jay and I will be attending no less than 5 different get-togethers with family and friends. We certainly get our socializing on.

For once, I don’t think I will be cooking for any one of them. (If I am, no one has told me yet, although they could very well be operating under the general assumption that, where meal-time events are involved, I tend to come bearing the fruits of my kitchen labor. I should probably hit the market tomorrow just in case.) But if I find out that someone would like me to contribute a dish, I would be delighted to throw together this version of bibimbap, mostly because it can be thrown together quite quickly while still delivering an unexpectedly flavorful result. Especially for something that is essentially a mixed veggies and rice salad.

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In my favorite Korean restaurants, bibimbap is served in an extremely hot stone bowl, coated with just a bit of sesame oil that causes the cooked rice to develop a delicious toasted crispiness around the edges. But the beauty of this dish is that everything can be prepared in advanced, and it will still function equally well at room temperature or slightly chilled, making it well-suited for potlucks and barbecues but more interesting than the starchy side dishes typical of those types of events.

This time around, I cooked up some brown rice, then tossed grated zucchini and carrots in toasted sesame oil for a 2-minute saute. Arrange the zucchini, carrots, cucumber, and kimchi (and meat, if you choose to use some – and it would be a wonderful use for leftovers from one of the inevitable barbecues happening this weekend) in colorful patches over the brown rice for a presentation that’s much more beautiful than the haphazard mess I threw down for an impromptu dinner. Plop a few fried eggs on top – one for each person.

But please, for the love of visual appeal, let guests individually douse their bibimbap in the spicy-sweet gochujang (Korean chili paste) for less of a bloody roadkill appearance than what I did here while under extreme duress due to threats coming from my growling tummy. (more…)

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