Friday, March 22, 2013

Bunny Buns [Delicious Yet Ugly]

It seems every spring Pinterest goes gaga again for these adorable bunny buns. They’ve been so over-pinned that I had no luck in tracing down the original pin.

(Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Just search for “bunny buns” and you’ll find a million links seemingly none of which go back to the original author.)

Several weeks ago I tried out an delicious orange knot recipe that held it’s knot shape really well, so I decided to try it again as bunny buns.

Yeah, that wasn’t a winning decision.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fabric Stash Note Cards

Back in October, I saw on Pinterest a set of pretty cards used to document one’s fabric stash. I wasn’t interested in purchasing them at 50-cents apiece – especially when I noticed that they didn’t include the metadata for the attributes I wanted to record.

So, as part of the Pinterst Challenge I decided to make my own note cards.

As natural consequence of making card for organizing, I organized my stash. Little Hands helped by verifying the structural integrity of my stash box.

When I was lucky, this is how my stash was previously with a single piece of label tape.

Now I have quite a bit more information: when and where the material was purchased; my project intent; the type and yardage of the material; whether or not it has been prewashed; and the patterns’ manufacturer, designer, collection, and title and colorway.

By theory when I use the material, I can attach a scrap of fabric for a project reference archive.

I drilled two holes in the stack of cards using my paper awl. I don't want to dull my pins when I'm attaching the card. These holes are also useful for tying a stack of unused cards together with a ribbon. (Do remember that in some materials you don't necessarily want to go poking holes into it.)

Now my stash is happily labeled and organized. This picture does look rather drab. I promise I have lots of pretty fabrics! It’s just the pretty ones were prioritized and put in the bin first. I ended up “destashing” nearly six yards of fabric; they’d been lingering for years, weren’t as pretty or useful as my other materials, and simply wouldn’t fit in the bin.

Here is my pdf file that I used to print out my cards. The cut into a 4.25” wide by 3.5” tall card with a half inch of unused paper space.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Roti Chicken and Pancakes

I was surfing the web when I came across a recipe for Roti Chicken in which the author declared she was making a lot of friends “very, very” happy for posting this particular secret recipe. That selling point is promising, yet what intrigued me was this is allegedly a Surinamese dish from a woman who is Dutch. What really sold me was its liberal use of curry. We in my house are people who love our curry.

Unfortunately, the dish is pretty ugly. Go see the original post because it does a much better job making the food pretty.

Kay, the author, does a beautiful job of meticulously documenting every step of the recipe with sharp, meaningful photos, directions, and commentary. She does a nearly perfect job streamlining the steps and providing all the information I need such that I didn’t have to scroll back to the top of the post to review the recipe itself.

The only change I made was I used one habanero chili in place of her recommended red chili or Madam Jeanette chili. Much to my surprise – HEB didn’t have fresh red chilis! I did commit and purchased a bottle of Sunflower oil and the flavor it lent to the dish was entirely worth adding to bottle to my pantry. (Well, half a bottle. The recipe used half of what I purchased! It loves its sunflower oil.)

Foremost, despite the use of an entire habanero between the curry dish and the pancakes, this recipe isn’t at all hot. It was completely mild in terms of heat. The habanero did lend a nice, chili flavor to everything, yet no heat that I could discern. (So little heat, in fact, that I handed over a pancake to Little Hands and he happily ate it. Stuck his tongue out a lot while smiling, but he’s been pretty fascinated by his tongue all evening.)

The chicken and potatoes dish itself is good. It’s tasty. It doesn’t make our curry-loving tongues sing, but it didn’t make them sad either. I think the green beans went in much too soon and became over cooked. That is the only fault in an otherwise perfectly written recipe. (And maybe it had something to do with my green beans.)

The Roti pancakes? We love them. Love love love. I’ll probably just start making these “just because” to go with other curry dishes. They’re tender and have just the right amount of garlic, onion, potato, and chili to flavor them. Absolutely fantastic.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

A few weeks ago DH remarked that he had a delicious chimichurri sauce at work and that we ought to make some sometime. I took this to mean, “Go to the internet, find a recipe, and pin it for future reference.” We recently acquired a grill, and I am now having fun experimenting cooking with it. Thus, when the Pinterest Challenge arose, I already had the ingredients on my grocery shopping list.

I did have to make the sauce twice because I was halving the recipe and the first time I forgot to half the salt - yuck! The second time was much more successful even with suplementing the lemon juice with the bottled variety.

I’m quite proud of this meal being it was the first steak I’ve ever grilled on a proper grill in my life. The only negative was that the chimichurri sauce was a bit too bitter – but that is because the parsley it was based on was very bitter. Lesson learned: taste the parsley before committing to it when a ~fourth of the recipe is comprised of parsley. In the future we do want to try to brighten the flavor by adding in fresh lime juice and lemon zest.

I’d say this would be a great sauce for a St Patrick’s Day meal, but Saint Patrick’s day is the day I use as an excuse to make ham, potatoes, and cabbage.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

February Dinners

It’s a large enough task for me to try to get dinner on the table in a timely and competent fashion that I don’t care to spend the time taking pictures while I prep, and I’m so hungry by the time I’m done I forget to take a picture before I dig in! Still, here are the list of entrees I recommend which I made in February.

Successful Internet Recipes

  • Butter Chicken - I always forget this one needs to marinate overnight. We really prefer tikka masala, but this recipe is easier to prep.
  • Chicken Peanut Chow Mein - This dish is very Americanized, but still tasty. Don't buy noodles from the Asian section of the grocery; save a few dollars and buy 4 packs of Ramen Noodles and toss out the flavor packet.
  • Italian Meatball Sandwiches - This was a repeat from January because the recipe made plenty to freeze :)
  • Caesar Chicken Burgers - Great! I bookmarked this recipe as a bit of a wildcard to mix up our normal routines, and it was delicious. It's legitimately a "burger" by my defintion because it uses ground chicken.
  • Creamy Rosemary Penne - This recipe is one of our go-to dishes. Usually my chicken turns out dry, so this time I took a different approach by precooking the chicken in a crock pot with Italian dressing. Unfortunately, somehow the texture of the crock pot chicken made the dish very reminiscent of Tuna Noodle Casserole.
  • Alfredo Chicken Bake - LOVE! I used HEB frozen Mediterranean Mix of vegetables, and I made my own alfredo saucefrom scratch. This dish was awesome: fast, minimal prep, and tasty. I baked the dish in the same pan I made the sauce in. The only change is that I should omit the garlic from the alfredo sauce in the future because the breadsticks contributed plenty of garlic on their own.
  • Grilled Sandwiches - The HEB medium cheddar we used overwhelmed the sandwich, yet it was still tasty. We served this with soup.
  • Homemade Pizza - Ya know, homemade pizza is nice, but Papa Murphy's is actually more cost effective and a lot less demanding.

Print Recipes

  • Chicken, Rice, and Vegetable Casserole
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Hamburgers
  • Steak with Califlower Gratin
  • 12 Boy Curry
  • Tacos
  • Stir Fry featuring leftover veggies

Successful Yet Won't Be Repeated Internet Recipes

  • Slower Cooker Beef Ragout - This dish just didn't speak to me. The recipe made a ton, yet I've been reluctant to pull the leftovers out of the freezer. I love cinnamon and allspice, but I want this to be a comforting, home-like dish and - to my tongue - they just don't taste that way in an entree. This is probably because I don't have a drop of Greek in me. The recipe was successful.
  • Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs - Another successful recipe that just wasn't to my palate. The dish was lovely, citrusy and it had a surprising, pleasant, floral note. It was pretty. It was a nice change from the usual, yet we found ourselves reluctantly divvying up the leftovers. We plan to try the cranberry sauce on a pork chop later.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lumpy Ceramic Pots

Way back in January, a friend got a great idea to try a "Going Throwing!" class at FirePit Ceramics. I was eager to get my hands muddy again after a decade or more since my last ceramics experience. From these pots, it is hard to tell if I ever had any prior experience! Five minutes before the end of the one hour class, I realized how the FirePit Ceramic teachers had instructed me to use the wheel was the opposite positioning of what I have used in the past. I’m blaming that oversight on my part and the softness of white clay for my poor performance. Still, white clay is the prettiest to paint.

I’m thinking that there is an object lesson somewhere in this pot if it hasn’t already run out the bottom. The danger with keeping it is that eventually I’ll have to keep the pot because I’ve kept it for so long. Funny how longevity messes with my perceived value of an object.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Second [Failed] Attempt

The difference from last time is that I have since acquired a candy thermometer. There's improvement. I think. It still wasn't edible.