Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Orange Creamsicle Kick (a drink for grown-ups only)

To begin, let me apologize for the lack of a picture. I thought that since this is just an orange liquid in a glass, a picture really wouldn't be necessary.

Not too long ago I was introduced to the combination of Red Bull and Vodka. It takes some getting used to, but after a few sips I found it to be rather good. I've thought about making myself one here at the house, but the only Vodka I have on hand is vanilla flavored and I haven't found much to go with it.

So, this past Sunday while I was looking around at Target I ran across some Jone's Soda Orange Energy drink. It appeared to be very similar to Red Bull but flavored orange. And that is when the light-bulb clicked on in my head and the Orange Creamsicle Kick was created.

Later that evening I mixed my Vanilla Vodka together with the Orange Energy drink and enjoyed. The vanilla vodka is somewhat smooth on its own and mixed with the orange it became even smoother. I didn't make the drink all that strong and I could barely taste the alcohol since the orange and vanilla went so well together.

Since it came out tasting so good, I think I will need to go back to Target and pick up some more of the energy drink. If you try this, please comment to let me know what you think.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Meatloaf and Fingerling Potatoes

This isn't my Grandma's meatloaf nor is it my Mother's (which are both really really good), but it turned out alright. I used a combination of meats (veal, pork, and beef) which is something that neither of them do but I've seen done on television. The flavor is good, but not quite what I consider real meatloaf. I really need to pay more attention when my mom makes her's and see if there is something that mine is missing. Oh, and yes, the meatloaf is small. Since its just me I made a small one so I wouldn't have to eat it for the rest of the week.

I've seen these potatoes around before but never tried them. I baked them with some olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt. I got the potatoes at the West Side Market which I went to this past Saturday. I really need to keep going there and trying new things. This was only my second time to the market and I didn't go with a plan of what to buy so I was pretty overwhelmed. I only ended up buying some sourdough bread, kosher salt, and the potatoes. Next time I will buy more.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Overnight Oatmeal

There is no picture associated with this post since the topic is oatmeal and I don't know how to present a good picture of oatmeal. There isn't really anything special about oatmeal and it usually doesn't look all that appealing anyway. But I thought that I should share my attempt to follow an Alton Brown recipe for Overnight Oatmeal.

The key to this recipe is Steel Cut Oats. I had not heard about them before I found this recipe and from what I've seen since they are not carried in every grocery store (even though Quaker makes them). My mom found some at a Marc's store.

The other key to the recipe is a crock pot slow cooker. The idea is to start the oatmeal on the low setting just before going to bed and when you wake up you will have oatmeal all ready to go. The steel cut oats are much more coarse than the rolled oats and they can withstand such long cooking times without turning to mush.

For my first attempt I added a large handful of mixed dried fruit. Some of the dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, blueberries) were all good when cooked; some others like pineapple and papaya (I think that's what it was) didn't turn out too well.

All and all, I liked this method. Once I finish off what I made Sunday night (by the way, the recipe makes a pretty big batch), I will try it again. I plan to use fresh apples and cinnamon this time. I'll post a comment to give the update.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Homemade Fettucini with Spinach/Broccoli Sauce

After seeing my posts about the periogis, my brother decided to get me a manual pasta roller for Christmas. This week I opened it up and tried to make some fresh pasta. The first attempt was on Tuesday night but what I didn't take into account was the fact that the first batch would have to sacrificed to clean out the machine (removing oils and such). Last night I decided I would give it another try.

The dough is one of the most simple things ever. Its just one cup of flour to one egg with some water to get it to come together. The dough is pretty dry and just barely sticks together at the beginning but after working it through the rollers a bunch of times it came together to a really workable consistency.

Since I was all out of jar pasta sauce (and all the fixings to make homemade) I decided to try something new. I found a can of cream of broccoli soup in the cabinet and thought that it mixed with milk, spinach, and garlic might be good. In the end, it was alright, but the condensed soup was too salty for my tastes. I tried some of the pasta without the sauce and it was excellent.

I'm going to have to make more soon.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Herbed Brie en Croute and Sausage Bites

I was invited to a dinner party this past weekend and was asked to bring an appetizer or a dessert. After having a Brie en Croute over the holidays I wanted to try to make one on my own and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Since the package of puff pastry contains two sheets and only one was needed for the brie I looked around and found a recipe for the Sausage Bites.

The Brie en Croute that I had at Christmas was done in a way to make it more sweet. It was cooked with walnuts and cinnamon and I think some sugar. For the one I made I decided to go more savory. I found this recipe on the Campbell's website which included parsley and almonds. I changed it slightly by using an herbed brie (since the grocery store was out of plain). It came out really well and wasn't hard to put together. My only problem was that the flavor of the parsley didn't blend that well with the rest of the ingredients. When I make this again I will substitute something else for the parsley.

And then since I had the extra puff pastry, I hunted around until I found this recipe for the Sausage Bites. Since the only ingredients were puffed pastry and sausage I decided to give it a try. These were really simple although a little messy. Everyone was a little hesitant to try these until they found out that the center was Bob Evan's breakfast sausage. After that they went rather quickly.

I was very happy with how both of these turned out even with the parsley issue. The only change I would make in the future is to not use parsley. There is a good chance that I will make these again.

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Power of the Ori

So today I show my true nerdiness in the form of a drink. For the Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis Winter Season kick-off, I came up with this drink. Its a combination of blue curacao, sprite, and blavod (black vodka). The new villain for SG-1 are these guys called the Ori and so far their energy attacks have been blue so this seemed fitting.

what's neat about this drink is that the 3 liquids separate if they are poured in slowing on top of each other. This leads to a really cool looking drink. For actual consumption I suggest that it be stirred before drinking otherwise you would be drinking the blavod straight up in the first few sips.

This drink looked nice and it had a good taste.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Chocolate Walnut Strudel

My mom bought some puff pastery for the cookie making party and we ran out of time to do anything with it so when I came down for Christmas, I made this strudel.

I was looking for easy recipes with puff pastry and found this one on the Kraft website. To make, you roll out the pastry then spread it with melted chocolate and walnuts. Then your roll up the dough, coat with an egg wash, and bake. Once cooked just sprinkly with powdered sugar. Its very rich and very tasty.

As a note to the readers of this blog. I'm planning to shift the focus of the upcoming posts to healthier foods. Although I see nothing wrong with enjoying sweets in moderation, I have been eating too many while I make these (and the waistline shows). Desserts will come back on special occasions and I'm sure if I am still up to this next winter there will many cookies and sweets again. I'm still planning to bring new and exciting dishes (just ones with less sugar and fat).


Christmas Eve (almost) Dinner

Each year my family gets together with my Aunt and Uncle for a Christmas dinner. We usually try to have the dinner on Christmas Eve, but due to their work schedules, we celebrated the day before Christmas Eve.

The dinner this year was excellent. The menu was salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, standing rib roast, a potato casserole, roasted winter vegetables, and bread. And plenty of wine. My aunt prepared most of the meal with my brother contributing the potato casserole and I contributed the roasted winter vegetables. Everything was delicious (especially the rib roast).

The roasted vegetables included butternut squash, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and yams. They were baked in an italian dressing and parmesan cheese. I was slightly disappointed with them since even after a long bake some of the vegetables were still rather hard (the carrots mostly). The vegetable flavor was really good, but I would have been happier had they been easier to eat.

For dessert we had my Aunt's famous rum cake. As a neat fact, she said that she has been making this same cake for the last 30 years as an anniversary tradition for her and my uncle. I really enjoyed this dessert, but everyone says that my already being slightly intoxicated led me to like it even more. I recorded the recipe into my cell phone as a voice memo (which I still need to copy down). When the right occasion calls for it, I will try my hand at the rum cake.

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