Batter Licker

February 29, 2012

peanut butter, banana, and almond milk shake

I didn’t have enough sad, brown (black??), dead, squishy bananas to make banana bread. ::sigh:: I only had one limp little fella laying around, filling my fridge with his sickly sweet scent. He had to go, pronto.

So I blended him to smithereens. (I get a little violent about soggy old bananas sometimes, especially when they taunt me with their so-totally-grossness while I’m making a concerted effort not to waste “food” – if bananas that far gone even still qualify as edible.)

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November 8, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 11 (cashew bacon brittle)

Until the wedding, I had never made a brittle that wasn’t chock full of peanuts. I also had never been married, and had never had such beautiful signage for my dessert bar designed and made by my dear peanut-allergic friend CB of Darts Meet Heart.

So when I saw Irvin’s bacon peanut brittle pictures on Eat the Love, and subsequently became obsessed with it despite not being a bacon freak, I knew I had to find a way to include it in the dessert bar without causing CB’s cheeks to puff up.

Luckily, CB gets along just fine with cashews, and after a quick Twitter affirmation from Irvin that yes, cashews should substitute just fine, I proceeded to pull out cashews, bacon and sugar. Little did I know how much trouble the sugar would later cause me.

But diced up a heck of a lot of bacon, refilling my cutting board with uncut strips of fatty pork about 6 times.

Then I fried the bacon until super crispy, but not burnt.

SAM_6579 SAM_6583

Getting the bacon crisp initially took much more time than I thought, so I quickened the process by draining the bacon fat from the pan a few times.

Per usual, I strained the bacon while removing it from the pan, and scooped it atop paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Rinse and repeat for the several remaining batches.

In retrospect, this bacon-crisping process would have been much easier, faster and cleaner in the oven, given that I was making enough for wedding full of guests.

Bacon aside, it became cashew time. (more…)

October 27, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 9 (toffee)

This toffee is an oldie but goodie. It is the first candy I ever learned to make (Thanks Mom!). Except that, back then, I learned to make it with milk chocolate and almonds. Or maybe it was pecans. I forget (it’s been a couple decades). Now, I prefer it topped with bittersweet chocolate and pistachios.

The key is to start with room temperature butter. Or fake it with a microwave. Or deviate from the recipe a little and just melt the butter slowly in a pot before adding the sugar.

Reach deep down into that almost-empty 10-pound bag of sugar. I couldn’t believe I was almost at the bottom. Good thing I had another 10-pound bag on hand … because that’s the kind of over-preparation I do when making everything for my own wedding dessert bar, apparently.

Must stem from Girl Scouts back in the day. “Be prepared,” which in my perfectionist mind translates to “be more than prepared at all times for things you couldn’t possibly imagine might happen at the beginning of a project.” Like actually using up an entire 10-pound bag of sugar. (more…)

October 7, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 7 (chili lime peanuts)

The nut parade continues with chili lime peanuts because, in my opinion, variety always makes things a little more fun.

While the curried cashews and brown sugar, rosemary, bourbon-brined almonds were fairly easy to manage, these peanuts manage to be even simpler.

I threw peanuts into a bowl, but on a lazier day, I strongly believe these nuts could mix up quite nicely with the spices directly on a rimmed baking sheet. That’s right. One less thing to clean up.

But I didn’t think of that until after the peanuts had already made their way into the bowl. So I went ahead and zested a lime straight in there.

These limes were particularly attached to their juices. After rolling them around, halving them, and squeezing with all my strength, I yielded maybe a drop or two. Things were not looking good.
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October 5, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 6 (brown sugar, rosemary and bourbon-brined almonds)

Filed under: appetizer,nuts, seeds — Kristen @ 12:10 pm

While the curried cashews were undergoing their second tanning session of the day, I prepared a brown sugar, rosemary and bourbon brine to soak the almonds in.

I know. It’s like the almonds are getting the Thanksgiving turkey prep treatment. But trust me. This brining method? Best way to infuse a lot of flavor into almonds while keeping things clean (i.e., without covering them in a candied curry mixture whose yellow tinge rudely stains snackers’ fingers; curried cashew eaters beware!).

Start prepping the brine by throwing some brown sugar into a pot.

Ahhhhh bourbon.

Sometimes it’s the devil, but I keep it around anyway like a trouble-making friend from the good ol’ sorority days. Perhaps it’s because bourbon makes me nostalgic for late evenings spent deep in conversation with Uncle Bill. Or because nothing else warms me up quite as quickly on a bone-chilling winter night, especially one spent visiting Jay’s Grams in Boston.

Or because bourbon has an uncanny ability to dissolve my worries just as easily as it will dissolve this brown sugar. Or because its inclusion in any recipe always seems to make the end result tastier.

Whatever the reason, there always seems to be a bottle in my liquor cabinet, which is good because I totally forgot to take inventory when I went shopping for the other ingredients in this recipe. (more…)

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