Monthly Archives: August 2011

The War on Cavities…

I have already disclosed the fact that I have a sweet tooth,  so this should come as no surprise.  One day at work, we were craving something sweet that was fast & easy and did not need cooking.

What we came up with was our version of an Almond Joy candy bar.  What we call them (still) is Crack Balls.  I know it’s a bit lewd,  but there’s a very good reason.  Once you try it,  you’re hooked.

These are super easy to make and if you have kids, something they can help with since there is no cooking involved,  however I might refrain from calling them Crack Balls…  Coconut Truffles is what I call them when I’m telling someone outside of the kitchen about them.

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Black & Blue

While Hurricane Irene is approaching,  I’m doing what any sensible girl would do…  making jam.  I like the simplicity of freezer jam because you still get all the flavor of summer fruit,  but it is quicker and easier than sealing everything in a water bath and let’s be honest,  sometimes a girl just needs a “shortcut”.

This recipe will take approximately 20 minutes from start to finish,  then the jars will sit for a few hours and it’s done.  How easy is that?!  The best part about this is making whatever flavor combination you like.  That’s the fun part of cooking,  there really aren’t many “rules” when it comes to combining flavors.  If you like it,  that’s what counts.

I bought my berries in the middle of summer when they were at their peak and stored them in the freezer until I was ready to make jam.  The best way to do this is to lay them out in a single layer on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer for a few hours until they are completely frozen.  Then put them into a resealable freezer bag.

I was fortunate enough to find organic ones in pristine condition, so I loaded up!   That is the only mandatory condition when making jam:  the fruit you use absolutely MUST be perfect.  If it has any bruising, remove it.  If there is even the tiniest bit of mold, toss it.  

The last thing you want to do is introduce that into an entire batch of jam because it will ruin everything (there goes all of your time, effort and money).

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Good For the Soul

Sometimes we get caught up in the everyday, letting other things go by the wayside.  Our days become filled with the same routine:  go to work, make dinner, wash dishes, wash clothes, clean the house, go grocery shopping, run errands, etc.  
Life just seems to get in the way of having,  well….  a life.

Often times, we don’t mean to let important things get pushed to the back burner and when we make time for them, we realize just how much they mean to us.

My visit with Sonali & Tracey was just that.  It had been 6 years since the three of us had all been together,  even though we are in touch with each other we hadn’t had actual face time.   When we sat down and realized it had been that long,  I think we were all a bit shocked.

The three of us had met in Culinary school and had become fast friends.  We would pore over food journals and magazines as if they were salacious material in front of adolescent boys.  We would laugh & refer to it (lovingly) as “food porn”,  a term I still use with frequency I might add…

Just Graduated from Culinary School!

A Night In

Do you ever feel like you go through the same dozen or so recipes over and over?  Sometimes we all just get into a bit of a rut with dinner,  even me.   One of the wonderful things about writing this blog is that it forces me out of it. 

Back in my restaurant kitchen days,  I’d work 14 hour days and the last thing I wanted to do at 2 a.m. was fire up the stove and cook for myself.  Most of us went to a diner after work or made a PB & J when we got home. 

Sometimes I miss those days, believe it or not.  Not quite enough to do it all over again,  but the rush of a restaurant kitchen is pretty seductive.  The sound of ticket after ticket spitting out in front you, giving you all of your orders… you start calculating in your head just how people are out there waiting for your food!
A professional kitchen is like a well choreographed dance.
Everyone moves within inches of one another, speaking to each other every few minutes communicating your expected time to the pass.  There is a camaraderie unlike any other environment out there if you’re lucky.  

I have told this story many times to people over the years…  there was a single moment early in my kitchen days when all of us working at a certain well-known restaurant stopped what we were doing and looked up at each other. 

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Ice Cream Social

Every summer when I was a kid, our church held an ice-cream social.  I know it may sound a bit “Little House on the Prairie”,  but it really was fun and coincidentally since L.H. is my favorite show of all time, quite fitting I suppose.

It was worth sitting outside in the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity of Midwestern summers… ice cream melting down my hand,  a sweet & sticky mess and completely content.

In the fall,  it was fresh-pressed hot apple cider and cake donuts which were also swoon-worthy, but more on that another time.

The ice cream socials were the highlight of the summer church events.  We would eat as much ice cream as we could get away with until we were nearly in a sugar coma.  If given the opportunity,  I could would still eat ice cream ad nauseam.

I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I have an entire set. 

Strangely I don’t normally like desserts that are cloyingly sweet,  I like them to bring a little something else to the table beyond pure sugar.

While I do border on needing a program for my insatiable sweet tooth  (Hello. My name is Cheryl.  I have a problem with sugar…)  My Achilles heal is ice cream.  

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Thai One On… Again (and once more after that).

I am starting to think I missed my calling as a mixologist…   I enjoy coming up with new drinks and playing around with flavors to see what the end result is and there is no pressure to get it right because I’m just having fun.  Luckily there have been no casualties as of yet and surprisingly no bad drinks either.
The “Thai One On” post featured the flavors of Thailand and I adore those flavors.  They are complex yet so clean and they hit every part of your palate.  I thought  “Why not make a drink with that flavor profile?”

So I started thinking of what goes together and what flavors I enjoy…   It is fairly straight forward, nothing too complicated,  yet unusual.

This is a drink I plan to break out when I want to impress. It is light and goes down quite easily… perhaps a little too easily.

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