Archive for December, 2011

December 29, 2011

“Pomegranate” is a funny word

Pomegranates are sooo tasty! But, they have one major flaw. Peeling them.

So, if you are not a pomegranate whisperer, like I’m definitely not, I’m going to share with you a technique for getting those pesky, but oh-so-tasty seeds out with as little hassle as possible. And, hopefully, as little stains as possible.

These techniques were learned the hard way, after getting a few splash stains on my shirt, so wear an apron to stay on the safe side! I didn’t have the slightest intention to be peeling pomegranates today, but when my friend James came over for a game of monopoly, it eventually turned into a pomegranate peeling competition.. after I had to painfully mortgage every single property I owned and then went bankrupt.. all in less than half an hour. Some modern family watching also happened. recent addiction.

Step 1 – Don’t cut the pomegranate in half. Score it. Take a sharp knife and score the skin around like you would be cutting it in half, going around the top and bottom. (It’s easiest to go around the little nib at the bottom.)

Step 2 – Put the knife in the top to separate the top where the skin is thick.

Step 3 – Gently pull apart to separate the two halves.

Step 4 – Score each half in half (so you have quarters) on the outer skin. And gently pull it apart.

Step 5 – Get a big bowl of water (which i should’ve done, but didn’t). Use it to help you get the seeds out. Just have your hands in the water with the pomegranate quarters. Bend them back a bit and gently scrape out the seeds with your fingers.

December 27, 2011

You are the boss of that pineapple.

If you’ve never cut a fresh pineapple before, I think you’ll be surprised at how simple it is. First off, don’t let its looks intimidate you. Sure, it’s spiky. Okay, it’s awkwardly shaped. Yes, it’s going to roll around on the cutting board. But so what? There’s nothing in the world like the taste of fresh pineapple, and you’ll be paying a ridiculous amount to have someone else cut it if you buy it in a little plastic tub. You are the boss of that pineapple. Grab your big, sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board and let’s get to it 🙂

Lay the pineapple down on its side (it will naturally roll to it’s flattest place; that’s dandy, let it rest there) and grasp it firmly in your non-cutting hand to stabilize it. Place your knife about three-quarters of an inch down from the base of the spiky crown and cut straight through. Next, turn the pineapple bum-end around and trim a quarter inch or so off the bottom so it will stand up flat. Now stand it upright on the cutting board. It should look like this: 🙂

Now that both ends are flat, you can stand it up and carefully remove the outer rind in vertical strips. You don’t need to worry about completely cleaning the pineapple, just make sure to try and remove the green spots. Once the rind is removed, you’re left with the flesh, and brown divots that generally aren’t very pleasant to eat. Notice that the divots wrap around the fruit in diagonal lines. By following these lines, you can cut them out fairly easily when you remove about two at a time. Just cut around them on both sides at a 45* angle (so you’re cutting out a “V” shape) –

Once you remove them all, you’re left with a pretty interesting pattern, and not too much waste. Now just cut the pineapple in half. Cut each piece in half, and cut each half into halves again. Then slice off the cores, so the sharp peaks are gone.

Ready to be served! 🙂

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December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I look forward to today 365 days a year, which may be part of the reason why I’m still up at 2:45am baking Christmas biscottis. I got back from the midnight mass at around 1:30, 90% of me wanted to sleep, the other 10% wanted to bake.. decisions, decisions.

Cranberry Pistachio (aka Christmas, aka Green & Red) Biscotti

makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil or butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts
Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
2. halve/chop the pistachios

2. Set aside the cranberries and pistachios

3. In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and pistachios with a spatula

4. Divide dough in half. Form two logs. Dough may be sticky so you can wet your hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.

5. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C)

6. Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.

And there you have it! 🙂

Tea & Biscotti anyone? 🙂 Maybe after I get some sleep 🙂

To my friends and family, near and far, I love you all and hope you have a Merry Christmas 🙂

December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve + Fishy Bowl

Don’t let this picture deceive you, we didn’t eat the squid raw. We did a Korean-BBQ-style dinner.. only not really. We didn’t exactly have a grill in the middle on the table, but something like that – a skillet that plugs in and heats itself, pretty nifty.

*Note the really awesome fishy bowl.

My brother took this picture, I’m always in awe of his photography skills, I’ve got so much to learn.

I couldn’t resist.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! 🙂

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