Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Prefer To Wear My Sushi

I did it! I finished the sushi scarf from Twinkie Chan's Book, Crochet Goodies For Fashion Foodies. I'm so excited! It definitely is a lot of work weaving in all of the yarn tails from the individual pieces, but it was worth it. It's definitely a conversation piece. Plus you can take some of the patterns for the pieces and make all sorts of stuff. For example, I'm going to take the Maki pattern (the round roll) and make a rug or a purse entirely out of those pieces. The shrimp pattern could double as little whales, so with a few googly eyes and blue yarn, I may try to do something with those. The instructions are really easy to follow, and if you get stuck (like I did), get on Twinkie's blog, you may even get help from the Goody Master herself! Plus, I'm always here if you have questions. So what are you waiting for, go buy this book!

Sushi Scarf! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!...and so does Lucy :D

I found this other really cute pattern for a little clutch, it's super easy! Plus you can adorn it with whatever you like or just leave it plain. I added a flower to mine. Pretty versatile little bag that only took about 2 hours total to make. You can find the pattern here. I think the next one I make will have a few little sushi pieces as decoration to go with the scarf I made.

I'm not entirely sure what I will crochet next; but I found some really cute patterns on (it's free)! All you have to do is create a login, plus most of the cute patterns are free.

New to crochet, or wanting to learn? Here are links to my previous posts on learning to crochet.
Had to add a modely shot! Although I think I sunburned my eyeballs taking this picture...OUCH! What an idiota ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

...You, Me, And Some Of This Pork

The beginnings of a happy relationship

I've been cooking a lot with tequila lately, it really brings a nice,
bold flavor into the mix...and you can take a little swig to take the edge off if need be ;) Tonight I made some Tequila Citrus Pork Tacos and what I like to call Arroz De La Weda (White Girl Rice). The pork was great, although I was pissed because I ran out of corn tortillas and had to use flour instead. I prefer the corn, although the taco was pretty tasty wrapped up in the flour tortilla. The whole thing start to finish took 30 minutes, but I was dragging ass since I just got back from the gym...and it's a weeknight. Blah Blah. Next time I'm making some homemade tortillas on the weekend and freezing them raw until I need them...homemade is ALWAYS better than store-bought.  

A few tips before you get started:
  • Freeze your pork chops for about 30 minutes before you start, they will be so much easier to cube!
  • Fry some cheese on your tortilla to make a nice crispy, cheesy crust on the inside of your tortilla. On high heat, sprinkle a nice layer of cheese on a non-stick skillet, place your tortilla on top of the melting cheese, let cheese melt and stick onto tortilla, then press down on your tortilla making sure it sticks and catches all the cheesy goodness. Let your cheese brown, if cheese is being stubborn, just use a spatula to un-stick it from the skillet, then lift it out with a wooden or plastic spatula and set aside. Then spread your pork and other toppings on top of the cheese crust. Delicioso!
  • Don't use a cast iron skillet to fry your cheese. Yes, I did this... this is why my cast iron skillet still hates me :/

Tequila Citrus Pork Tacos
Serves 3-4

2 lbs boneless pork chops, cut in tiny pieces
1/4 cup of chopped pancetta
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup tequila
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Your choice of toppings, bring on the avocado!

Add pancetta to pan on high heat and cook until juices start to run out. Add onion and tequila letting onions sweat for about 2 minutes. Add pork, garlic, lemon juice, and chili powder and cook until pork is no longer pink in the middle. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make your fried cheese tortillas as explained above using whatever kind of cheese you prefer. I have tried just about everything but the best is Cheddar, mozzarella, or a "Mexican cheese blend".

Now add your toppings! I usually cut up some cabbage and top with sour cream and avocado. Enjoy!

Arroz De La Weda (White Girl Rice)
Serves 4

1 1/2 cup Jasmine rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 cup green tomato or tomatillo salsa
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp chicken bullion or tomato/chicken bullion

Add oil to skillet on high heat, add rice and brown until grains are nice and toasty on all sides. Avoid burning by stirring around every 30 seconds. Add the rest of your ingredients and stir around. Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium heat, you can throw a jalapeno in the middle of your cooking rice to add a little heat if desired. Cover, and simmer until rice is done. Check periodically and add water if needed. Don't stir your rice around until it's done or it will get gummy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Saga Of The Neverending Marmalade Monster

I'm just going to come out and say it. Orange marmalade is a BITCH to make! Anyone who happens to get some as an Xmas present from me better enjoy it, damnit. Seriously though, Orange  This is definitely not something someone with a full time job should attempt on a week night!

Since I don't have 8 full hours to dedicate to this project (kay, maybe I'm exaggerating), I've been peicemealing it day by day. Two hours here, two hours there. The first night I cut up all my oranges, thinly sliced. This is where a mandolin would be handy! Apparently I have one somewhere, according to the Hubbz, but it is buried under the mountain of shiny kitchen gadgets we got for our wedding. Too lazy to look, plus I had all but 2 out of the 12 oranges cut when my husband made the I BETTER not have one, or I'll be pissed. Too lazy to look anyway :)

I then added the 12 sliced oranges and 3 sliced lemons into a ginourmous pot (The one I usually use as my water bath canner) and added water to cover. Heated that to boil, turned off heat and let sit overnight. This is what releases the pectin from the rind and softens the peel.

Day two, Brought to boil again for 5 minutes, let simmer. Cooled, then put it in the fridge over night since the hubby and I were packing and getting ready for our Anniversary Extravaganza we had planned that weekend.

Day three, got back from our weekend trip to LA and measured the cooked fruit and added 2/3 of that amount of sugar. I added the sugar to my orange/water mixture and brought that to a boil and began waiting for it to reduce down to syrup. Two and a half hours still wasn't syrup! Or at least I didn't think it was syrup. Left it on the stove since it was 10pm and didn't have time for it to cool. Woke up the next morning and threw the pot in the fridge since I had to go to work. Blasted work, always getting in the way of my projects.

Snooki Orange Marmalade (because it has a tan)
Day four, brought to boil (again) and reduced some more. Finally...after 3.5 hours, I had syrup! Only thing the last 45 minutes, my pretty bright orange liquid turned to amber syrup. This definitely doesn't look like store-bought orange marmalade. Hmmm, it still tastes good though! So using my pressure canner for the very first time (Thanks Grammy!) I canned 8 pints of this stuff. It may be ugly, off-color, and the rind is a little thick, but it's mine damnit, I'm proud. Just not planning to make another batch anytime soon!

Oh!! Be sure to use a cutting board with wells when slicing your oranges or at least do it over the sink. I did not and was punished mercilessly for it. Those things spew and seep juice everywhere! I thought I had cleaned up all the left over pools of orange juice from my counter (still finding sticky spots on the floor), until days later when the Hubbz reached into the utensil drawer to get some tongs. There it was, a sticky river of putrid orange juice that had snuck from the counter into one of the dark drawers below. There was SOO much juice that got trapped in that the time we realized it it was five days old and moldy. Joy...I had to take everything out of the drawer and disinfect it. Good times. Don't make the same mistake, inspect your shiznit thoroughly!

For all my masochists out there, here is an orange marmalade recipe for you to try. If anyone has any tips on making pretty, bright orange marmalade, please share!

Orange Marmalade
Lucy is such a ham! She literally jumped up there and took her position as I was taking this shot
makes 8 pints

12 large oranges
3 lemons

Slice oranges and lemons very thin. Measure raw fruit, add the same amount of water. Bring to a boil (you're gonna need a big pot!). Boil for 5 minutes. Cover, then let sit, covered over night. The next day, measure the cooked fruit. Then add 2/3 of that amount of sugar to your pot. Bring to a boil and reduce your liquid to a syrup, stirring frequently. Seriously...frequently, I was hovering over my pot and still managed to scorch the bottom of my pot! you will know it's a syrup when it sticks to the back of your spoon and is about the consistency of maple syrup, this will take HOURS. ladle hot syrup into sterilized jars, wipe rims, then can or refridgerate immediately after cooling. You can use either a water bath canner with a processing time of 10 minutes(depending on your elevation). Or use a pressure canner at 5lbs for 20 minutes. REMEMBER KIDDIES, ALWAYS BE SAFE WHEN CANNING, YOU COULD LITERALLY KILL SOMEONE IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. IF YOU ARE NEW TO CANNING, I SUGGEST YOU CHECK OUT THE USDA GUIDELINES BEFORE TRYING ANYTHING AT HOME.