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Archive for December, 2011

Key Lime Fudge

I got a bottle of Key lime juice and started looking for recipes. The usual pies, bars and ice cream were there but what stood out for me was the fudge. I’d never heard of such a thing, so of course I had to try it. I also found a pumpkin fudge recipe and I thought I’d do a fudge assortment as Christmas give aways to friends and fam. The fact that I had never made a fudge in my life did not alarm me. I had a candy thermometer and I knew how to use it.

First came the lime fudge. The recipe did not list a temperature to reach on a thermemeter, it just said cook and stir for 5 full minutes on the boil. I did so. It set up too soft, sticky even. Not worthy of a Christmas gift. Then I tried the pumpkin fudge recipe, it DID have soft ball stage-235 -listed as the temperature to reach for. My thermometer had no problem until about 230-just shy of destination. And it stopped. As my last attempt had set up too soft, I did not want to repeat the error, so I kept on stirring for another 4 minutes or so before giving up. It was too done-it set up hard and brittle like a bark. Damn. Strike two.

Textures aside, I liked the lime one much better than the pumpkin. Fudge has always been too sweet for me and this was no different but it was damn good.

I would recommend the mini marshmallows over the creme–less $ and easier to throw in–I struggled with a spatula trying to get it all out while the pot was cooling, when throwing in 2 cups of minis would have been a lot faster and melted quicker I believe. I left out the nuts and added a few drops of green coloring. I handed it out to customers of the Christmas tree farm I live on–they didn’t seem to mind the softness. I would just add another minute or two onto the cooking time.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

12 ounces White Chips

7 ounces Marshmallow Creme or Marshmallow Fluff

OR

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/3 cup key lime juice

1/2 cup Almonds or Macadamia Nuts (coarsely chopped)

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

PREPARATION:

Line a 9″ x 9″ pan with aluminum foil (no stick or heavy duty foil-my regular foil tore a great deal.) and set aside. Place White chips, extracts, and nuts into Pyrex glass dish (or a 3- quart saucepan) and set aside. Set butter aside to warm. Heat milk at Medium setting until warm then add sugar. Bring to a rolling boil (Medium-High) while stirring constantly with a hand mixer (or wooden spoon).

Add marshmallow creme and butter and mix until creamy. Add Key Lime juice. Bring back to a boil for [5] full minutes by clock (start timing once boil resumes). The mixture will start to turn a little brown during boil. If you get brown flakes in mixture then turn down heat a little (e.g. down to Medium from Medium-High) and continue to stir. Remove from heat and pour hot mixture over chips without scraping sides of hot saucepan. Mix until chips are melted then mix in nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Cool at room temperature. Remove from pan, remove foil, cut into squares.

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Mama’s Curry

Mom and dad went out to eat at a nice restaurant for their 15th wedding anniversary (1964). They took a gamble and told their waiter that they were celebrating an anniversary and wanted something special for their meal and they would trust him to pick it out for them and surprise them. They were adventurous eaters and as long as spicy heat was not involved (dad), then they were game. The waiter brought out this meal.  There was a bowl of white rice and a stew, a very yellow stew. Lamb stew with carrots, potatoes and lots of curry powder in a thickened broth. They thought, OK, looks good but not really all that special…but then the condiments started coming out. Small bowls of caramelized onion, crumbled bacon, chopped peanuts, sliced bananas, toasted coconut, raisins and chutneys came out. Mostly sweet things we didn’t put on savory stews back then. But they were encouraged by the waiter to try and pile as many condiments that they felt comfortable with. The rest is history. They started out slow and ended up in love. Mom came home and tried to recreate the meal for us, her 5 children. She went to a butcher in the neighborhood and bought lamb necks from him-for cheap. The meat that simmered off of them was like heaven.  Once the meat was floating in these tiny shreds-no lumps or hunks of meat here, she removed the bones, added chopped carrots, chopped potatoes (feel free here to add any root veg you like-parsnips are great) about 25 whole cloves and several tablespoons of curry powder. Once the vegs were cooked, she thickened it with a cornstarch slurry. We kids thought she had flipped her wig when we saw the spread, but she offered us a nickel a clove for every whole clove we fished out BEFORE adding condiments (then you aren’t EVER gonna find them) and just like our parents, we started out slow and skeptical but ended up in love. Chutney took a few years for me to appreciate but now it’s a must have. X-tra bananas and toasted coconut if you please. And of course, there’s never enough bacon.  If you don’t want to fish out the whole cloves, you can use a pinch of powdered cloves or just go ahead and bite on the whole ones, they soften and are not overpowering. I can’t get lamb necks for my curries but I use shredded chicken and am happy with the results. Serve in large bowls. Also, please feel free to try different or several curry powders with this dish-customize it to your tastes. I recently enjoyed this meal with my brother J. Paul his wife Maria and kids Liza and Alex. Brother Randy was also with us. We had a fabulous time and miss you all so much.

So there’s not really a recipe. You can stew a whole chicken or just shred a breast or two. Put shredded meat in chicken broth with some potatoes, carrots and whatever other vegetables to simmer. Add some whole cloves or a good pinch of ground ones. Be pretty generous with the curry powder as the cornstarch thins it’s flavor down. Once all is tender, thicken with some cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Add to boiling stew and STIR, cooking for a minute or two. Serve over rice, white or brown with the condiments

crumbled bacon

caramelized onion

sliced bananas

toasted coconut

chopped peanuts

raisins

chutney(s) of choice

Pile it on and dig in, baby!!

Miss ya mom and dad.

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