Friday, January 25, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Jungle Book

Not sure how authentic it is, but it was good.
Well, I'm becoming pretty consistent and quicker in making dinner. Surprising that I say this after making the meal that I did last night. The movie was Jungle Book which meant we travelled to India with our meal. I planned a menu of "Indian Chicken on white rice with naan" followed by a dessert of rabri.

I started off with the bread and the dessert. The naan dough was easy enough, but the rabri was disgusting. I had a "quick" recipe for it that called for use of powdered milk. Add to that a cup of heavy whipping cream and it smelled like curdled milk. Disgusting. I was really rethinking the idea of dessert!

I learned the hard way I do not multi-task well. I was kneading bread, shelling pistachios (for the dessert), and doing work on the computer. All the while the milk mixture was on the stove. I forgot about it and in under a minute it was burned. Just so you know: powdered sugar+powdered milk+whipping cream=the most disgusting smell ever when burnt. YUCK! Upset and discouraged, I had just enough cream to try again. If that went badly I would make banana splits and dad would just deal with it (by not eating the banana lol).

Not authentic, but just as good, naan. Dad ate all 3 pieces.
So, while I got the second batch on the burner - a much lower heat than before - I finished rolling out the naan and getting it ready to bake. The recipe said that it needed to be served warm, so I planned to bake it beforehand, and then broil it (as the recipe called for) right before serving. The bread came out awesome! The dessert took longer than what the recipe said - but I'm not sure if I did something wrong, or if they were off on their time. I may have cooked it on too low a setting, but I didn't want to screw up the whole thing again. First world problems, I know.

Once the milk stuff - mixed with the pistachios and almonds - was ready to cool I started on the main dish. A lot of interesting flavors mixed together for this. Curry powder, onions, garlic, honey, soy sauce, jalepeno, ginger - and it smelled good. Though, for a while, I thought it smelled more like the cup of noodles I ate in school. Ha ha! Once the flavors melded together the smell did, too. I put the stuff over the chicken and put it in the oven to bake.

Hot and ready to serve!
An hour later we were sitting down to the movie with a very flavorful and fragrant meal. I wasn't too keen on it - I found out I don't like curry flavors - but both mom and dad went back for seconds! Dad ate all three pieces of naan (it's good but too yeasty for me). The dessert was also a hit with the parents - though I still think it looks and smells disgusting - and they're still raving about it. The house still smells like dinner and it's been over 24 hours! Crazy!

Next week is Duane's birthday - we're going to do Toy Story with homemade pizza and camo birthday cake. Should be good!

Speaking of birthdays, mine was Monday and instead of watching the second term inaugeration's second ceremony (tell me why we need two for a second term when we're STILL in a recession?!) I spent the day working and then lunch and a movie with Kassy. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE LINCOLN! I may do a post about what I thouht of the film. I want to see it again! It was good.

My parents got me a blu-ray player with wifi so I've been watching netflix in my room a lot. This is something I was hinting about a lot in the last few weeks, so I was very happy to get it! So happy that I set it up the night of my bday before going to bed! Using it right now to watch old school Law & Order. Love me some Lenny Briscoe!

And then today I got something I honestly didn't think I'd own until I became a married woman - if then. I GOT A KITCHENAID Mixer from my aunt and uncle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so surprised to get it - when my aunt hinted that it was something she KNEW I'd like and that she had a similar one I honestly thought it was going to be something decorative with pugs on it! LOL I can't wait to start mixing with it. I know it will help out with my baking big time! Thank you Judy & Gaylord!

I'm thinking I'll name it "Hondo"!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Mary Poppins

Shepherd's Pie - everyone likes it but me!
Well it was a Jolly Holiday in the kitchen tonight with our Mary Poppins themed dinner tonight. We went with a very British main course of Shepherd's Pie (during the viewing of the movie I decided that Fish and Chips would've been better considering they plan on doing just that in the film, oh well, live and learn). The dessert was a raspberry tart and raspberry ice.

The shepherd's pie was the easiest thing on the menu after all was said and done. Not much excitement there. I've learned I don't like it very much, ha ha. Yup the picky eater is still a picky eater, however it wasn't bad. Just not my thing. Dad and mom gave it two big thumbs up, though. Mom went back for seconds!

Dessert proved more challenging. What I thought would be simple turned out not to be. I started with the raspberry ice, but that took more work than expected. It was simple enough to make the syrup and puree it with the berries, but when it came time to pour the mixture through the strainer the seeds kept clogging up the little holes! So I spent almost an hour stirring the stuff in the strainer to get the liquid into the dish to put in the freezer! ACK!

At least it looked good when it came out of the oven.
Then for the tart I used the same recipe for the crust as I did a few weeks ago for the peach tart. It is gluten free and has chocolate - what could go wrong. I tried to make it work better than the last time, but the problem was the raspberries melted when I put them in with the sugar to make the syrup. The extra berries I planned to bake on top melted into the syrup when I mixed the two. So I ended up with several cups of syrup on top of this already wet dough. The crust on the bottom didn't bake, and the filling didn't set up. Not my best baking experience.

Parents didn't mind though, and said it was good. Duane loved the raspberry ice judging by how he ate it when he got home from youth group. So still successful even if it wasn't "practically perfect in every way."

Anyone want a snow cone??
The funniest part of the night was when mom came home from the store. She went to put the ice cream in the freezer. Not knowing what was in the pan on the shelf she when to fling it somewhere else and ended up with not so chilled raspberry stuff all over the freezer. It looks like a bloody mess in there now. But at least if we need a snack in a pinch we can make raspberry snow cones! I'll admit I was ticked when it happened - I worked hard on that stuff! - but everytime we open the freezer door and you see the bright red going all the way down the shelves it's too hard not to laugh!

Next week is Jungle Book. I have to work on finalizing it - and finding a dessert.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: The 3 Cabelleros Double Feature

Taco Salad - simple, easy and awesome.
On the eve of another themed dinner, I'm writing a post about last weeks very yummy - and somewhat simple - dinner. I finally got my hands on a copy of Donald's feature films "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Cabelleros". It is a double feature DVD that I got on Amazon as they are both considered Classics. In my quest to have all 50+ classics I HAD to have them, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered them after getting my monthly paycheck.

But I digress, the meal was simple in that it was one of my favorites: Taco Salad. I am not a big Mexican food fan, but I LOVE tacos the way we make them. And if I can't have that, then I go for taco salad. Problem is - I don't like frying in oil (after setting the kitchen on fire - unknowingly - with oil on the stove - again, unknowingly - I just won't touch it!) so I decided to try to bake the shells like they have shown on pinterest. Problem is mom is gluten intolerant so she can't have the traditional flour tortilla, so I had to bake a larger corn tortilla. They don't make them as big, and they didn't turn out quite how I hoped.

If you're going to bake the shells, make sure to follow the instructions. And find one that gives the tip that you need to warm the tortillas up for about 15 seconds in the microwave before trying to put them in the bowl or you will end up tearing every single one. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but the shells were not crispy everywhere and were extremely tough where they didn't crisp. I'm thinking it had to do with how much oil was used on them - either not enough or too much, I can't be sure without experimenting more.

I'm not a fan, but I'm told they be "delish"!
With such a "simple" dish for the main course, I decided to tackle a traditional Mexican dessert of Soppapilas. Mainly because my best friend Kassy said she would come to dinner if I did. She lied, but I made enough for a small army anyway so that she could have some the next day.

What's that you say? You thought I was afraid to cook with oil? I AM! I still am, even after all the fun I had frying my (homemade all the way) dessert. I had mom be my "spotter" as if flames started up I would've once again been out the door and letting her deal with it (as opposed to when I caught the kitchen on fire - for that I called 911!). With that done it was down to watch the double feature.

Not to be negative, but I've found that the movies - that I'd never seen all the way through - were not my favorites. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Donald Duck - favorite character, just ask my neice, she will tell you! - but the movies are dull compared to some of the other classics. No fear, though, because they still will hold a special place in my collection. I have to both Walt and Donald are in them!

I made more the day after for a Church function, and Kassy
took the rest home. I think she ate them all herself.

Next week (as in tomorrow) we're jumping to Mary Poppins. Going to do a Shepherd's Pie and rasberry tart with rasberry ice. Should be good!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Sleeping Beauty

A meal fit for royally hungry people.
We are 271 days away from Disney World! After taking a couple weeks off from the whole dinner themed stuff we were back to it for this week.

The movie is my favorite of all time: Sleeping Beauty. I can't think of a time when I wasn't in love with this story and movie. I love everything about it - even the pink element, if you can believe that - the characters, the animation, the music. It's the perfect "Fairytale Come True." So it was alarming that I couldn't figure out a menu right away. In fact, I didn't come up with a full menu until the day of, so it was a menu based on stuff we already had in the house.

This was a big night for me because it meant I had to use the grill. I hate the grill, not because it doesn't cook the food or anything (it does a great job at that) but it uses fire and they can go BOOM and I don't like that. I'm very very scared of cooking after the fire when I was 16. Aunt Judy got me over the fear of the stove, but a BBQ is a whole new realm of scary for me. Dad said he would help me on that one, so it was set. Why the grill you ask? Well, mainly because of the Dragon element of the movie. Everyone knows I LOVE Maleficent's Dragon (you should see me during those scenes, or the ones during the Park show Fantasmic! LOL), so it should be no surprise that this is the route I ultimately took in theming the menu.

So the menu consisted of Honey Brined Grilled Chicken with a roasted red pepper, tomato, almond, and garlic relish (they call it a romesco in the recipe, all done on the grill). For our side it was herb roasted (in the oven) potatos and carrots. The whole house and outdoors smelled divine while it cooked! For dessert I went super simple with Vanilla Ice Cream (admittedly not homemade, maybe next time!) with a mixed berry syrup (which I did make from scratch - remember Briar Rose goes into the woods to collect berries - lots of berries - even though she picked berries the day before because her aunts - the good faries - told her to).

We did manage to have left overs, but it was a definite hit with dad - he immediately informed us of what he was taking for lunch at work Friday. He told all of his coworkers about it - it smelled great in the lunch room - and now I have several requests to share the recipe.

All in all another successful night. Next week we are going back in time - movie list wise - and will watch a double feature of Saludos Amigos & The Three Caballeros, so it will be Mexican. After that who knows, we're debating if we want to go live action, Pixar, or what animated movie to do next (next in line would be 101 Dalmations).

Before going into the oven.
The relish all ready to go.

The chicken was sooooooooooooo goood!
Mom may have licked the bowl clean...

Here are the links for the recipes I used for dinner:
Grilled Chicken and romesco
Herb roasted potatos and carrots
Mixed Berry Sauce

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, so much for December posts! I just got so busy and I swear we skipped a week in there somewhere. Christmas came so fast and now it and New Year's is gone. What happened?!

After my last posts I fought the second wave of that stupid cold that has been hanging around. So far it hasn't been back, but man it seems everyone got sick in the last month. It's been nasty. When I wasn't sick I was busy with work. Tours were lining up and we were looking to be very busy. Danny is back for a while so we were able to open up huge blocks of time - double the work for everyone. Problem was we didn't have much snow, and Seward had none. We had to cancel the first weekend of tours. It was disappointing.

The week leading up to Christmas was busy with parties and gift wrapping and cookie baking and work. The Sunday before was the "office" Christmas Party at the Seavey's. My first, and it was fun. I got to chat with Janine and heckle the others as they play ping pong (I can heckle, but I can't play lol). Mitch and Janine gave me a really nice gift and I was touched that they did something like that for each of us. I really do love my job, mainly because of the people I work for.

Christmas Eve we went to First Baptist Kenai for the Candlelight service. Mom and Dad's church did their Christmas service Sunday night, so it was nice to have them in the old Church again. After the service we finished the baking and putting gifts out and then it was bedtime. Christmas morning we got up, played with teh dogs and then broke into Luke Chapter 2 before opening gifts. The dogs got theirs first so they wouldn't be all up in the tree trying to find theirs.

Gifts for everyone this year were awesome - considering we were all saying that it was going to be a "lean" Christmas gift wise I guess we all decided to get stuff the other person actually asked for. Ha ha! I ended up with a professional grade flash for my new camera, dad got his sound system for the boat, mom got a laptop, and Duane got stuff that he'll be able to use until (and after) bootcamp. It was a relaxing day for the four of us - dad and duane plowed the driveway, and we all got a turn playing our new wii games we got in our stockings, and it was an excellent prime rib.

Since then I've had a photoshoot, and lots of work, so I haven't had a lot of time for myself. Today was the first day I just vegged (once I got the go ahead to take part of the day off becuase the phone and email were both dead!).

I took a break from doing the Disney dinners over the holidays, but tomorrow we start again - so hopefully I can get that post out in a timely fashion.

Happy New Year! Let's make 2013 the best year yet!