Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Recipe Cards

Have you noticed a lack of holiday cards out there? Similar to my lack of blog posts, yes.

I made up some cards for the holiday for my aunts to sell in at a local Christmas Tree farm back in Wisconsin. I printed them out on colored stock paper and cut them out. Would be nice for a cookie recipe exchange or for holiday recipes.

Feel free to save them and print them off for your own personal use. Rights reserved ;-)

Happy Holidays!


Mrs Claus

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smoked Motz

After taking our cheese class we took a break from making it homemade. But a new smoker purchase revived our desire when we saw smoked mozzarella on FoodNetwork's Best Thing I Ever Ate.

While it might look like a big 'ol marshmallow, it's the end result of a half gallon batch of whole milk mozzarella smoked low and slow for about 40 - 60 min.
The recipe for the cheese comes from Ricki Carroll's 'Home Cheese Making' book, which I would highly recommend if you are interested in soft to hard cheeses as a beginner. Very easy instructions and loads of information!

We had the sliced mozzerella in a crusty bread sandwitch with some pesto spread. It was also wonderful in a BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza which also came from our smoker. Mike's getting a lot of practice on the smoker and our dishes are getting better and better each time!

It got us so excited that we ordered a cheese press so we can start making hard cheeses. Hope to report back in a few months once they've matured!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Sealife

I try to decorate some with the seasons, but I was feeling a little weak for Summer. I had some nautical themed things, some antique ocean babbles and shells, but not enough to center a room one.
Flipping through an old magazine for Pottery Barn, I saw some of their Sealife pillows. They were stiched in beige and really pretty with Seahorses, an Octopus, and other fish. I thought they would also look nice as hand painted items.

I got together some art paints, a color scheme, some samples and started. First I sewed the pillow together from some cheap fabric remnants. Learned a good lesson about zippers, always get a larger size, you can make it shorter, but you can't extend it.

After that I sketched the octopus out onto the linen and began to paint the base color with acrylics.

I did some highlighting and shading after the base dried. Finished it off with a sealant spray. I found some matching pillows in the same oranges and corals on sale at Pottery Barn and finally have my summer sea room.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shipping up to Boston

Back in April I had the chance to travel to Boston for work. I was there almost the whole work week and then Mike came out for the weekend to save ticket prices on my return flight.

I stayed out in Cambridge, but got a chance to visit Harvard a couple times, Newbury St, Prudential Building (Top of the Hub restaurant had a wonderful view of the city!)

(Stonework on the Longfellow Bridge)

(Cemetery in Harvard)

(Statue in Boston Common Park)

It mostly rained while I was there, but then the weekend warmed up a bit and we were able to go on the 'Freedom Trail' seeing the historical sites of Paul Revere. We saw the Aquarium out on the warf where we stayed, which was very nice. An octopus woke up during the last 10 minutes of operation and it was mezmorizing!

We got to eat a lot of great seafood and tour some of the older pubs. As we sat in the restaurants and wondered around, we continued to see people with little pastry boxes from a 'Mike's Pastry' shop. So after a quick google map, we decided to go see what all the fuss was about.

The fuss was actually the best Cannoli we have ever had (sorry Chicago). It also happend to be across from the restuarant we visited twice, for their seafood and every day there were lines of people streaming out of the pastry shop. Simply the best stuff!

The restaurant that brought us back a second time was called the 'Daily Catch'. We were told they specialized in Squid Ink Pasta. We found the small eatery, which was no larger than 9 or 10 two person tables, with the kitchen right in the room. (This picture is from the front door and you can see the kitchen in the back)

It was more than well worth the wait. The octopus squid ink pasta was so so amazing! In fact I found an accidental peice of glass in mine and continued to eat it and never even said anything it was so so good and they were working so hard. We had to come back the next day for another pasta dish and pastry for dessert.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cheese Making

Last year, in 2010, Mr. Mike and I took a Cheese Making class from our local guru here in Minneapolis, Jodi Ohlsen Read, from Shepherds Way Farms. With just a few ingredients we learned that you can make ricotta or paneer from fresh milk. You just fill a large pot with 1 gallon of whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Heat slowly to a soft boil right around the time that a light foam starts to form, stirring slowly. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Set the pot aside and let the mixture separate into whey and the cheese (about 1/2 hr - 45 min) Scoop out the cheese into a strainer lined with cheese cloth and drain softly. Mix with herbs and salt for a fresh taste. We saved off the whey, which is still good when mixed with a shake. It has lots of good protein and elements in it. Also dogs, chickens, and pigs really like it mixed with food. Just a little bit though. After our first successful ricotta we tried paneer (press the ricotta till it is thick, cool, slice, and grill) we also bought some specialized cheese products to make mozzarella. Next would be a farm house cheddar. After that we'll have to invest in a cheese press and heat/humidifier to make some of the more high end cheeses. It's a process!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Celtic Trip (Day 9) - Edinburgh

Our last day in Scotland we decided to climb the extinct volcano that makes up the large park areas in the middle of the city.

There were two ways we could go up the mountain (we found out later) the easy paved road way, or the hiking trail with stone steps cut and built straight into the side of the walls.

Yeah we choose the second option. It was a really beautiful hike. So much of the city to see and very few people to meet.

View from the top of the extinct volcano.
Lunch was Haggis and Scottish pies at 'Auld Jock's Pie Shop'.

For our last dinner we ate at 'The Mussel Inn' where we got local raw Scottish Oysters with red wine vinegar and onions. Possibly the best ones I've ever had.
I got a pot of mussels in roasted red peppers and for dessert we had a Sticky Date Pudding soaked in Toffee with what seemed to be a Ground Cherry on top. We asked what it was, but the waitress didn't know, it tasted super sweet for looking like it's american twin.

Great vacation :)

Celtic Trip (Day 8) - Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh was amazing. It very much exceeded our expectations going in. There are so many old and beautiful stone buildings. Our hotel was located right off of Prince Street, across from the castle that we visited the first day.

The day was pretty overcast and the coldest that we had, but it was a good day for seeing the Art Muesum with a Vermeer exhibit and shopping a bit. Still no rain so we were happy!

We climbed up the 287 spiral stairs in a black tower right in the heart of the city, much like the one in the above picture. The sight was very beautiful, but very very high up!
Lunch was Pork Belly and Haggis stuffed Chicken at some random restaurant after we got pretty much lost trying to find Peter's Yard in the middle of a Marathon that was starting.

For dinner we went to Oloroso on a recommendation from family friends. They served the most amazing Haggis and Tatties there (minced lamb and seasonings with potatoes and veggie puree)