If I sit still long enough, I don’t have to have the heat as high in the house. Conserving my fat energy, y’know.
Furry blanket, heat radiating cat, rewatching first season of Downton Abbey, a nicely peppered rare roast beef dinner, great tea and some ADD obsessive planning going on and I’m a happy camper tonight. Despite having had an Office Space kind of week. You know, the ones where you think “I don’t like my job and I don’t think I want to do it anymore”. But I’d still kind of like for them to keep paying me. I don’t think I can keep myself in the style to which I have become accustomed on the salary of a self-employed event planner, which is really what is capturing my attention these days. Certainly, based on the balance book for the tea festival so far, I wouldn’t make enough money to even be broke. :)
In other news, I picked up a craft book tonight on making soap. I don’t need soap. And I’d undoubtedly burn a hole through myself or the cats with the lye. But… it may need to be tried. I have ideas, you see.
Saw this recipe for Magic Dust popcorn seasoning a few days ago. I tried it tonight. Should have been suspicious when I looked up nutritional yeast and found it was a vegetarian protein supplement.
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (in health food section)
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons gochugaru (I used the suggested sub of smoked paprika)
Mix 1/4 cup of mixture with 1 cup unpopped popcorn. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Sprinkle more mixture on popped corn.
Eh. It’s… okay. Nowhere near magic. And the yeast is not cheap. I ended up adding more salt after I tasted the first batch. And it should be noted that using the same pan for popping batches after the first will give you some burned bits of seasoning that aren’t very tasty. Wipe out the pan before doing a second popping if you are making a whole cup.
Anyone else having issues getting to Dustbury lately? I’ve tried with 3 browsers from 2 different networks and all I get is blank white. I had a pingback on one of my posts just a few days ago from him so I think he’s probably still out there… :)
Wondering if it is just me.
I had no idea there was a droid aisle at Sam’s Club.
Sorry, ma’am. I don’t really care what you wear but if you are under 5′-0″ tall in this outfit, you will be mocked as a Jawa.
Food – Had a simple but really excellent thing for breakfast this morning. Fluffy biscuit drizzled with white icing and then spooned over with a cooked mixture of raisins, dried cranberries and pecans in probably a brown sugar syrup sauce. Yum.
Yeah, as Lynn noted recently, I’m not sure I’m going to keep up with this blog on a steady basis. At least for the next few months. I find that I have lost things to say that anyone would find interesting. I’m increasingly less hopeful for a return to a semblance of sanity in the general populace and there’s really no point in discussing anything with people who already have the narrative they want to believe set in their heads. If you are so scared of life that you have to cling to your world view despite proven facts, then I don’t need to waste time talking to you. I don’t even mean convincing anyone to change their minds about anything. Every discussion doesn’t have to end with both parties agreeing. Simply that it’s a waste of time and breath to try to discuss anything with someone who won’t admit what is real and proven and what isn’t. Belief isn’t the issue for me either. Believe all you want to in things that can’t be proven or disproven. Faith is a personal matter and I hold nothing against you for any faith or belief you have. But when you insist that things are true that patently aren’t, I just don’t see the point in talking to you. Willful ignorance is worse than honest ignorance. Ignorance in pursuit of a political goal is detestable.
I’ll probably occasionally drop a cat picture here, talk about food, or link some stuff that I stumble over. My time is going to be largely taken up with tea festival work though and obsessing over that, so unless you like reading rants about city bureaucracy or my control issues, there’s probably not much reason for me to share much about that portion of life. :)
I am also now on Facebook (I know, I hate myself, trust me) because I have to be to administer the festival page. So I’ll occasionally drop pix there or comment on Twitter length stuff that won’t make up a post over here. If you want to friend me over there, you can look for nicole burriss. If I don’t recognize your name I’ll send you a note to see who you are. But I warn you, it won’t be likely to be much more active than things around here. :) I’ll still be wandering around to your blogs and reading the interesting things you all post. :)
So, I hope that 2015 brings you happy, healthy and sane things. I hope it’s better for you than 2014 was. I don’t want to say follow your bliss because that, in my opinion, is a stupidly simplistic piece of “advice”. But follow some of Nick Offerman’s tips for prosperity and you might find some satisfaction in the next year. Get a hobby, go outside, eat red meat, carry a hanky, say please and thank you, avoid the mirror and paddle your own canoe. Personally, I think that last one is the most important.
If so, this may be for you!
Sticky toffee pudding eggnog. The gist: soak a sticky toffee pudding in heavy cream for a couple of days. Strain out the solid bits. Whip the cream. Beat egg yolks with cognac and rum. Whip egg whites. Fold everything together and chill.
Maybe I whipped the cream too stiffly. Maybe I didn’t let things chill long enough. Maybe it will deflate after sitting for another hour or so. As it is, this is more like a highly flammable fluffy dessert. The alcohol is probably 25% of the recipe. It be stiff. In more ways than one. Oh, I guess reading the little blurb at the beginning of the recipe, it is intended to be stiff and spoonable. Okey dokey then.
We did have a good laugh about using it for pie topping. “Sir, have you been drinking tonight?” “No, officer, but I did have a lot of pie.”
I also made this tonight.
Golden Assam tea, sugar, pineapple and bourbon. I skipped the dash of bitters since I didn’t have any. I also didn’t use a “golden” Assam but just a plain Assam that I had a lot of. I’m fond of bourbon based cocktails, I love pineapple and I like Assam. This was almost guaranteed to be a win. Holy cow, too much lemon. I suspected as much when mixing it up. The tea with pineapple juice and sugar, though, is pretty tasty.
The food was better than the drinks tonight. Lil Smokies wrapped in 1/4 piece of bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled. Cream cheese, bacon and cheddar rolled up in crescent roll spirals. Chicken mixed with cream cheese, hot Rotel and spices – served with tortilla chips. And breadstick twists with mozzarella & parmesan mixed in with Italian spices, liberally slathered with Kerrygold butter when hot from the oven. Those were about the best, in my opinion. Oh, and mixed olives marinated in oil, rosemary and garlic. Simple and easy and excellent.
The brownies didn’t bake all the way through – fooled me when I took them out of the oven. So I rolled them up into balls instead of slicing into bars. :)
Here’s to you and yours. Hoping you have a better year ahead of you than behind you!
Since we are having our official Orphan* Christmas dinner tonight, I tried a new recipe.
Horseradish Crusted Roast Beef
One 6-pound sirloin tip roast, preferably grass-fed, tied
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Heat the oven to 375°F. Set a rack in a large, deep roasting pan and place the beef roast on the rack. In a small bowl, blend the horseradish with the salt, Dijon mustard, chopped parsley, ground pepper, sugar and sherry vinegar to form a paste. Slather the paste all over the top and sides of the meat. Roast in the lower third of the oven for about 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 125°F. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Discard the string and thinly slice the roast beef across the grain. Transfer the meat to a platter and serve.
I used a 3 pound roast and halved everything else. I cooked it too long. 125°F sounded way too rare for the OAM’s taste so I went to 150°F. First, I should have looked it up – 140°F would probably have been fine. And I also forgot that internal temp rises about 10°F after you take something out of the oven, cover it and let it rest. It was a bit dry, especially on the thinner pointed end of the roast. I asked for a sirloin tip roast at the meat counter. The guy told me that this was essentially the same thing. It wasn’t tied, though, it was one big roast. And it wasn’t grass fed. :)
But the verdict, despite those missteps, was TASTY. Has tang and heat from the horseradish and the mustard. At about 1/2 a jar of horseradish for a 3 pound roast, I have the stuff to make this again. If beef ever comes down from the stratosphere in price, that is. This being a special thing, I splurged on this.
*Yeh, we aren’t any of us orphans for real. And we all did things with fambly on actual Christmas. But sometimes we don’t have blood relations in town on holidays. And that’s where the orphan meals started.
Well, now that the last big food day of the year is over, it is time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
Rolo cookies with vegetable crackers don’t work.
Romaine, candied pecans, blue cheese crumbles and pears tossed with raspberry balsamic works. Adding spinach leaves and orange pieces would also go nicely.
Ham & black bean soup with ham cut into tiny little pieces and no salt to speak of doesn’t work (sorry, Mom).
Chicken & dumplings with boring gravy can be made better (and thicker) with the addition of cream of chicken soup.
Buche de Noel cakes sound hard, but aren’t and are impressive looking. I used this recipe for the cake. It doesn’t take but about 20 minutes of active time to make the cake. Make the filling while the cake is baking. Make the frosting while the cake is cooling. Mushrooms can be made days before and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Heat and stir till gelatin melts. I nuked mine for about 20 seconds. Cool to room temperature but don’t let set up. Add to cream along with vanilla and powdered sugar. Whip to stiff peaks. Stir in 1 cup miniature chocolate chips if you want. Cover and chill while cake is cooling.
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon softened butter
Heat cream and chips together, stirring till melted. Stir in butter while mixture is still warm. Cool till slightly thickened.
Assembling the cake
Unroll cake carefully. Spread evenly with filling to edges. Roll up again starting on a short edge, obviously removing the towel as you go. Use a spatula or straight edge as you roll to help towel to release if needed. Cover cake and let set at least 1 hour. Slice one end off of roll at a diagonal. Frost cake with frosting, leaving ends unfrosted. Place cut off piece on top of log like a cut off branch stub. Frost sides of stub. Run tines of fork lengthwise down cake to simulate bark lines.
You can make meringue mushrooms to serve alongside the cake if you want. 2 egg whites whipped to stiff, shiny peaks with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pipe onto parchment paper lined baking sheet in mounds to look like mushroom caps and piles to be mushroom stems. If you want to remove pointy ends from mushroom caps, let stand 5 minutes then wet your finger and smooth the caps. Bake at 250F for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and let stand inside for 1 hour longer. With small pointy knife, carefully make small divots in underside of caps. Use a bit of the frosting to attach stems to caps. Don’t put the mushrooms on or around the cake much before serving or they will get soft and sticky.
The colors don’t do much for me here, but the concept is utterly cool. The saucer is the only thing that is painted. The cup reflects the saucer.
Didn’t feel like taking 2 hrs to get to work only to turn around 3 hrs later to get home before possible freezing drizzle in the dark. So I’m here browsing stuff I don’t need to spend money on. I am in appreciation only mode for now since property taxes are due at the end of the year. How my car license got to the point that it runs out in December I have no idea but it’s a horrible plan. Means before I can license the car, I have to pay the personal property taxes for the year. I remember in years past letting them slide till like February and paying the late fee rather than having to dump huge chunks of money all over the place in December. But I’m almost positive the car license hasn’t been out of date for longer than a month ever and I really don’t recall renewing it in December before. Sigh.
And it’s cold. But at least I’m here with tea and cat. :)
I was supposed to stop by my Mom’s work on the way home tonight and pick up some stuff. Nothing critical, just stuff. To do that I have to take a different route toward home. I got about 15 minutes from home and realized I had not made the turn for the different route. I remembered just in time to take an exit that would get me there will only about 10 minutes lost.
Up until that point, my brain had been teeming full tilt with ideas for the tea festival. Things I needed to change in the vendor agreement, things I needed to add to the guest information page… I think. I honestly have no flippin’ idea what my brilliant ideas were now.
I have never had this happen before. After I made my exit I tried to turn my brain back to what I had been thinking of and it was like trying to recall a dream after about 3 minutes of waking. Knowing there had indeed been something and it had been COOL but not even remotely being able to put a finger on any details at all.
I still can’t remember. I hope it comes back eventually.
Plus, I know for sure that what I was going to make for dinner was one of the things in my brain soup. Vanished with everything else.
Let this be a warning to save your brain frequently and use a backup.
I was making those Rolo sandwich cracker cookies. Stupid simple and stupid good, right? Well, I bought crackers (on sale even) and Rolos. Put the crackers on a big baking sheet, thinking to myself, “Self, these crackers are a bit… brown, aren’t they?” But I continue.
Come across a cracker with what looks like a piece of tomato in it. Still not catching on, I think to myself, “Self, what shoddy packing. They let a tomato seasoned cracker get in the pack with the others. Eh. Toss it out, self.” So I continued.
Put them in the oven, was prepping a sheet to make the pretzel-pecan-Rolo bits of nom next. Timer went off, sheet out of the oven. Put second cracker on about half a sleeve worth of cookies. Get another sleeve of crackers out, in process of opening them and it finally registers that the box says quite clearly “Vegetable.”
Oh… I just wasted a whole package of Rolos like a moron. I tasted the cracker, surely it wasn’t too strong, maybe it would be okay, right? No. Garlic and onion and tomato and chocolate and caramel. Probably not a good combo.
Told the OAM. In the midst of laughing at me, he tried one of the cookies and pronounced “Like eating chocolate stew.”
So, maybe I invented something. Nothing good, but something.