Valentine’s Day

I don’t post a bunch about daily life, but I figured this was worth it.  Husband is out on the ship for Valentine’s day, but he has access to the internet, so boxes tend to arrive at the house for holidays.  Our two dogs were gifted cupcakes from the Healthy Hound Bakery which they DEVOURED in no time flat.  I usually split one of the big cupcakes in a half for an evening treat.

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For me, there was a box of fancy Swiss truffles from Teuscher which I promptly paired with a yummy whisky aged in sherry barrels.  The whisky is a special cask strength edition from Glenallachie (18 years, 57.1%) that we picked up in Scotland on our first trip there.  The label inside the truffle box tells me that I have to eat them within ten days.  Somehow, I don’t think this will be a problem.

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Jalapeno Poppers

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My two little jalapeno pepper plants were VERY good to me this year. TWO POUNDS OF PEPPERS good to me. The first pound went to jalapeno pepper jelly which quickly became a favorite with the husband. The most recent pound was waiting for me in the fridge since I wasn’t sure quite what to do with that many jalapenos. Someone suggested jalapeno poppers, but since I’m not a big fan of frying and have never really been able to get that whole breading thing right, the idea was pretty much abandoned.  Then I happened upon this recipe and decided to give it a go. The process involves cutting and de-seeding all of the peppers, dipping them in milk, then flour and after a quick dry, two rounds through milk and bread crumbs. It’s time consuming (especially when there are 56 poppers to make), but the result is a PERFECT jalapeno popper. I’m really kind of shocked that these came out so well. Served up with a little sour cream, they make a great snack.  I plan on freezing most of them to save for later since there are 56!

Just a Light Snack

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Sometimes, all you really want for dinner is a juicy tomato and some cheese.  You don’t?  Well, I DO!  The tomatoes are black tomatoes which didn’t really turn out as deep and dark as I had hoped, but they are still this gorgeous chocolatey red color inside and have this incredibly soft texture like velvet.  The color in the picture is pretty accurate on my PC.  Surprisingly, these fared rather well in spite of the awful blight this year (my roma tomatoes have been completely decimated), but they definitely aren’t sauce tomatoes since they’re pretty juicy and high in water content.  But, that does make them perfect for slicing up with some smoked mozzarella cheese, a little basil, and some balsamic vinegar for an evening snack.

While the tomato crop hasn’t done so well, the peppers have COMPLETELY made up for it.  I have jalapeno, anaheim, and banana peppers out the wazoo.  I’m totally running out of ideas for them at this point and need help.  So, help?

Cupcakes and Pickles

I honestly never meant for this to be a food blog.  But I seemed to have (re)discovered the fun of cooking and baking over the summer, in part because of the One Local Summer challenge.  I was the microwave queen – I regularly told people that I didn’t cook, I microwaved, and I got married so that I would have someone to cook for me (the husband, he really likes our kitchen).  Well I guess I can’t say that anymore, now can I?  There are two food related things I’d like to share with you today.  Maybe a knitting post later this week   🙂

DSC_3975_edit This is a sweet little creation, the Double Vanilla Cupcake.  Delightful!  There’s something so fresh and sweet about a good vanilla bean ice cream that I really enjoy and that translated 100% into this recipe.  I whipped these up last night for a friend’s birthday and they were a big hit.  We stuck them in the fridge to firm up the icing (it was REALLY hot today) and they came out just perfect, so much so that a chocoholic even rated them a 99 out of 100 (with chocolate being the unbeatable 100).  Not bad, if I do say so myself.  The real vanilla beans are what make these so delicious and I can’t imagine making them without the beans.  Oh and we had a little extra icing, so I need to find some graham crackers to make some icing sandwiches since that’s what mom did when we were kids and had some leftover icing from a birthday cake.  OM NOM NOM.

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Lemon Cucumber Pickles!  That is, Lemon Cucumber, not lemon flavored cucumbers.  I promised a post about these, and here it is. I decided to go all out and got myself a pressure canner and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, commonly referred to as the ‘bible’ of canning and preserving. These pickles are the basic dill pickle recipe with the added garlic and were rather simple to make. Slice home-grown cucumbers, let soak overnight with salt and ice, boil pickling spice and vinegar, process filled jars in boiling water! It’s really that easy. The hardest part is waiting about four weeks for them to mature and marinate in the jars. They’re sitting on my kitchen counter, taunting me with their cheerful yellow rinds and mustard seeds, telling me how delicious they will be if I could just wait another two or three weeks. I’m not sure I have that much will power.