Sunday, December 6, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Sarcastic Quilter for getting picked by Random. org as entry #114 (this was including all the extra chance entries) !!

I'll contact you for your address!

Thanks again everyone for entering :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway Time!

*Giveaway is Over, thanks!*

It's been awhile since I did a giveaway, and what better way to do one then on December 2nd, Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!

Starting December 2nd thru December 6th you can enter to win one of my handmade lavender-scented muscle relief bags! (If you have allergy concerns let me know and I will substitute unscneted.)

To enter:

- Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite scent is or what your favorite item from my shop is

- Leave an email in your comment so I can contact you, no email will disqualify you!

Open to US & Canada residents.

If you would like extra entries please leave seperate comment(s) below for each you do:

- Follow my blog (1 entry)

- Become a fan on my Facebook page (1 entry)

- Tweet about the giveaway (i.e. "Muscle Relief Bag giveaway at @LoveMeKnot") (1 entry)

- Buy something from my shop , leave a link to the transaction please(5 entries)

- Buy anything from Etsy, leave a link of your transaction please (1 entry)

- Buy something from any of my local team members from etsyRAIN, leave a link to your transaction (3 entries)

- Post about my giveaway on your blog, leave me a link to it (3 entries)

That's a whole lotta chances folks. Have fun and thanks for being awesome.

Winner will be announced on December 6th between Noon PST and 9pm PST (I know, big time window but I work!) Winner will be picked via, so go do the work for the extra entries!!

Ciao and have a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Apple

Yes... I joined another online baking competition....

Iron Cupcake is a monthly challenge to bake cupcakes around the monthly theme, November happened to be Apples. Below you'll find the recipes...
Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:

Vanilla Cinnamon Cupcakes found via Baketastic
(FYI mine turned out more like muffins. Chewy, hard, muffins. Not happy.)

- 2 cups regular white sugar
- 2 sticks of butter (unsalted & room temp)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I did about 2 tbps less...)
- 2 tbsp applesauce (this is why I did less milk)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups flour (sifted)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 tsps cinnamon

I creamed the butter and suagr together in my kitchenaid, I recommend cutting the butter into smaller pieces and not trying to cream or mix it while still in sticks. Trust me.

While the butter/sugar are mingling, whisk the eggs in a seperate small bowl, then when butter/sugar is mixed, add the eggs about one at a time. Once one egg is incorporated, add the next. When all 4 eggs are mixed in add in the vanilla.

In a seperate bowl, add the flour and add in the cinnamon, baking powder, and a small pinch of salt.Slowly add in the milk to the flour mixture. You now fold in the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Don't overmix! This is where I went wrong and it created more gluten and made the cupcakes chewy! If you need to, the recipe said you can add more milk to get your desired consistency. Then I took a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scooped into muffin tins with paper muffin wrappers in them. The original recipe didn't have a baking time or temp, so I tried them at 350 for 15 minutes, but then they weren't ready so they actually took about 25 or so minutes. When you can insert either a toothpick or a clean knife into the center of one and it comes out clean, then they are ready.

While the cupcakes were baking, I made my Applejack Caramel Sauce and Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting from Sweetest Kitchen

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
12 pecans (I did not use these)

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2 to 3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using. Frost cupcakes then top each cupcake with a pecan.

Applejack Caramel Sauce from Kitchen Bliss
Applejack-Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay's recipes found here

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons apple brandy (recommended: Calvados) (I also used Applejack)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat (do not stir), swirling the pot occasionally to even out the color, until amber in color, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the caramel is cooking. Place the heavy cream in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and keep warm.

When the caramel has reached the desired color, slowly whisk in the heavy cream and salt and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple brandy and vanilla extract. Keep warm.

*This happened all so fast for me, so try to have the applejack & vanilla pre measured into a small bowl so you can just dump it in when the caramel is ready. This stuff is ridiculously good.

After cupcakes are cooled, frost them, and I drizzled the caramel sauce on top. Delicious!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Black Friday and Cyber Monday and what-nots...

Hi there.

'Member me?

Yeah, it's been awhile....

Sorry. To show I'm sorry, I thought I'd let my blog readers first know of my next sale going on.
Yup, it's that time of year again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales galore.

Now, if you're anything like me (and I'm assuming you are, since you read blogs), you hate going out in public on Black Friday. And I mean hate-hate. So why bother getting up at 4am, driving around in traffic, getting screwed on the last good parking spot, and stand in line for aticket when you can just go make some coffee, cozy up to your computer in some flannel PJs and shop online?

That's how I roll, and this is how you should too.

So, my Etsy Shop will be having another Black Friday thru Cyber Monday sale:
Buy One Get One Half Off (plus free US shipping.)

My items are now all made with the new style with the removeable (and washable) exterior cover for the bags and eye pillows. Yes, the sale will apply to custom orders as long as the order is place between Friday November 27 and Monday November 30th. The sale will not apply towards gift certificates. Sorry, it's just a pain, and I'm all about pain-free Thanksgiving Weekend.

Speaking of November 30th....

Have you heard of 30 on 30?

No? Oh. Well, let me enlighten you. It was started on the Etsy forums (I think) and I have decided to join the movement.

Basically, you spend $30 on November 30th to help support Handmade items. What better day to make a pledge of support then on Cyber Monday? The one day of the year that is notorious for online sales!
Simply go to Etsy and search for "30on30" (no " " needed), then have fun shopping while in the comfort of your home :)

Any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers September Challenge- Puff Pastry

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

My heart did a little flutter when I read the September challenge was puff pastry.
A little of fear and also of lust....

You see, I have this thing for baking. And pastries. And the thought of ME making my own puff pastry is quite scary. It's SO easy to go to the store and grab a frozen box of pre-made pastry, right?

Ahh well. I thought I'd give this a go and you know what, it wasn't THAT bad. It was time-consuming, mainly cause I did part one night, then refrigerated overnight, and continued the next day. And it was VERY messy. I am still getting flour out from under my nails...

I think the best partof the challenge was the free reign to do our own fillings :)

I did one sweet (Blackberries with a Triple Vanilla-Honey Mascarpone Cream) and a savory (Herbed Goat Cheese Whip.) After the puff pastry info, I'll give you the recipes for my fillings.


Puff pastry (aka pâte feuilletée) is something most of us usually buy at the grocery store, but in order to be really daring, we should make our own at least once in awhile, right? Kitchens should be getting cooler in the northern hemisphere, and are hopefully still cool-ish in the sourthern hempisphere, so I’m hoping you will all join me in making homemade puff pastry from Michel Richard’s recipe, as it appears in the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. With our homemade puff we’ll be forming vols-au-vent cases to fill with anything we chose.

Puff pastry is in the ‘laminated dough” family, along with Danish dough and croissant dough. (In fact, if you participated in the Danish Braid challenge back in June 2008, then you already know the general procedure for working with laminated dough.) A laminated dough consists of a large block of butter (called the “beurrage”) that is enclosed in dough (called the “détrempe”). This dough/butter packet is called a “paton,” and is rolled and folded repeatedly (a process known as “turning”) to create the crisp, flaky, parallel layers you see when baked. Unlike Danish or croissant however, puff pastry dough contains no yeast in the détrempe, and relies solely aeration to achieve its high rise. The turning process creates hundreds of layers of butter and dough, with air trapped between each one. In the hot oven, water in the dough and the melting butter creates steam, which expands in the trapped air pockets, forcing the pastry to rise.

Once we have our puff pastry dough made and chilled, we are going to roll and form a portion of it into vols-au-vent, which are little puff pastry cases designed to hold a filling. I chose vols-au-vent specifically because I think they do a beautiful job of showing off the hundreds of flaky layers in the homemade puff. They can be made large enough for a full meal, or made small for little one-bite canapés, the choice is yours. Vols-au-vent are typically served hot and filled with a creamy savory filling (often poultry or seafood-based), but cold fillings, such as chicken or tuna salad, work, too. Whipped cream or pastry cream with fresh or stewed fruit often goes into sweet versions. If you are stumped for ideas for your filling(s), a quick on-line search or a glance at a traditional French cookbook will give you plenty of things to consider.

-food processor (will make mixing dough easy, but I imagine this can be done by hand as well)
-rolling pin
-pastry brush
-metal bench scraper (optional, but recommended) **I didn't have one. Would make it easier though!
-plastic wrap
-baking sheet
-parchment paper
-silicone baking mat (optional, but recommended)**I didn't have one. Would make it easier though!
-set of round cutters (optional, but recommended) ** I had one round cutter the big one, then used a 1/3cup measuering cup for the small one.
-sharp chef’s knife
-cooling rack

Prep Times:
-about 4-5 hours to prepare the puff pastry dough (much of this time is inactive, while you wait for the dough to chill between turns…it can be stretched out over an even longer period of time if that better suits your schedule)
-about 1.5 hours to shape, chill and bake the vols-au-vent after your puff pastry dough is complete

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent

In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need:
-well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe below)
-egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water)
-your filling of choice

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage. See the “Tips” section below for more storage info.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.

(This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d'oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)

Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.

Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.

Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)

Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)

Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.

Fill and serve.

*For additional rise on the larger-sized vols-au-vents, you can stack one or two additional ring layers on top of each other (using egg wash to "glue"). This will give higher sides to larger vols-au-vents, but is not advisable for the smaller ones, whose bases may not be large enough to support the extra weight.

*Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day.

*Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first).

Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

Steph’s note: This recipe makes more than you will need for the quantity of vols-au-vent stated above. While I encourage you to make the full recipe of puff pastry, as extra dough freezes well, you can halve it successfully if you’d rather not have much leftover.

There is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the book. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry dough (although they go on to use it in other applications). They do seem to give slightly different ingredient measurements verbally than the ones in the book…I listed the recipe as it appears printed in the book.

2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter

plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8" square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24", everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:

If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

Steph’s extra tips:

-While this is not included in the original recipe we are using (and I did not do this in my own trials), many puff pastry recipes use a teaspoon or two of white vinegar or lemon juice, added to the ice water, in the détrempe dough. This adds acidity, which relaxes the gluten in the dough by breaking down the proteins, making rolling easier. You are welcome to try this if you wish.

-Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any butter starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.

-Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don't want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break through the want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.

-Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin over the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don't roll your puff thinner than about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for.

-Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the layers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.

-Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling.

-Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.

-When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra egg wash drip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.

-Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to roll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined baking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a sealable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to the freezer for up to a few months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.

-You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped puff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.

-Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. Then give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons, or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).


Blackberries with Triple-Vanilla Honey Cream:

This is my own creation. And I must say, it is quite tasty....
You'll need:
-Blackberries, approx. 2 cups worth
- 1 TB Honey, I used local stuff, Wild Flower
- 1, 8oz tub of Mascarpone cheese
- 1 TspVanilla extract I made my own months ago and used it
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Sugar, I made mine months ago also and used it, simply a few vanilla beans in with regular sugar, although if you do not have vanilla sugar you can substitute regular sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped and seeded (slit the bean in half, then use a sharp small knife to scrape out the black yummy goodness of seeds in there, but in your main mixing bowl

I put the honey in a warm water 'bath', by putting the honey jar inside a bowl of warm water. This will help liquify it a bit and make it easier to mix.

Get the cheese out and put on the counter, it needs to warm up just a tad so it is also easier to mix.

In the mixing bowl with the vanilla bean seeds, drop in the cheese, add the extract, sugar, and honey and mix all together. Taste to make sure it's sweet enough for you, I added a tad more honey, but that's me. :)

I recommend using a tupperware re-sealable bowl as your main mixing bowl, then yuo can simply put the lid on and refrigerate if not using all at once.

Next you will simply dollop some of the cream into your vols-au-vent and add in the blackberries.


Smoked Paprika and Garlic Goat Cheese Mousse:
- Approximately 10 oz of goat cheese, not already flavored (I bough 2 5.5oz packages)
- Minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
-Miced shallot
-a pinch of Smoked Paprika
-a pinch of garlic granules or garlic powder
- Cream, start with 1-2 TB

I suggest letting the cheese get to room temp before mixing. Once it is, pour all ingredients into the same bowl and mix together. I start with about 1-2 tablespoons of cream, then add as necessary, about another 1-2 tsps. I just used my spatula, however you could use your stand mixer is you want a fluffier mousse! (I call it a mousse, cause it looks like it, however I don't know what the real definition of one is so sorry if I am wrong!)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Omnivore 100...

I Stumbled Upon this article and thought it could be fun to try it out :)

"Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake"


You can find the website here

Looks like I need to start eating more "exotic" stuff.... hmm.. although I am proud to say I've never had a McD's Big Mac :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great Link to Craft Shows...

rikrak did a great post on craft shows for Sep/Oct 2009 on her blog, go visit and check it out, perhaps there's one near you....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Featured Site on NeatoStuff!

We're the featured site of the day today for NeatoStuff!

Feel free to Stumble it and Tweet about it, there's fancy little buttons for both :)

I am now making all new cover designs and getting out with the old designs, so go check out the Shop and feel free to leave feedback about the new design!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Screenprinted Items....

I'm venturing out a tad, and opened up a new (second) Etsy shop, LMKCprints.
I'll be making screenprinted tshirts, coasters, and other items.

Only one design in two sizes up at the moment, but I'll be slowly adding more to it :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

My First CSA Box.

I recently moved into a *real* house and have been waiting to finally order thru my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.)

Here is my first box o' goodies! (psst I actually got this the other week, however just got around to posting. I'll try to post quicker this week!)
We received:
- a bunch of lettuce (made a salad)
- 3 zucchini, not pictured (made into 4 loaves of zucchini bread. delish.)
- 2 small cucumbers, not pictured. One went into the salad... other is in the fridge I think.
- beets, still in my fridge...whoops.
- fennel, also in my fridge....
- nectarines, made into nectarine pie and was absolutely fan-friggin-tastic. Made a 2nd one the next night.
- peaches, mmmm peaches. Sadly still on the counter.
- green beans, the boyfriend sauteed these up with some garlic & wine and bacon. yum.
- pluots, have yet to try or eat them.
- carrots, went into the salad.
- broccoli, in the fridge still

Looking forward to trying new things (like beets. and fennel. and pluots.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daring Cooks August Challenge

**Sorry for being a few days late for posting this!!

Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes is the host for the August Daring Cooks Challenge. Olga chose a Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

He trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his three Michelin star restaurant El Bulli. José Andrés lives now in Washington DC and he owns several restaurants in Washington DC area (El Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel…).

(Any notes or changes I made to the dish I'll use an asterisk ** )

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 medium saucepan *Didn't need since I used woks
  • 1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size) ** I had neither, so I used one wok for the sofregit and one wok for the main dish
  • 1 Saucepan *Didn't need since I used the woks

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available) * I used a medium sized can of whole artichoke hearts, I recommend buying quartered if you see them!
  • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello) * I just bought a package of pre-sliced, and saved 3/4 for the sofregit and the 1/4 for the 12 mushrooms in here
  • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh) *Could not find cuttlefish, so I used squid. I also added in italian sausage.
  • “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
  • 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
  • Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
  • Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder) *Did not have saffron or turmeric or coloring, so looked online and it said I could sub in ground mustard or curry, so I used both but half of each
  • Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional


  1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
  2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttl efish in the pan.
  3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
  4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
  6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
  7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
  8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
  9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
  10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
  11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
  12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
  13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times
different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped ( really get big ones. I used on-the-vine ones that were too small and the sauce wasn't as red as I hoped)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Touch of ground cumin
  • Touch of dried oregano


  1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
  2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Allioli is the optional part of the recipe. You must choose one of the two recipes given, even though I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste

*I was short on time and did the modern recipe. Mine turned o

ut more liquidy then thick like it should have been. Next time I'll do the traditional method.

Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)


  1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
  2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
  3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
  4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
  5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
  6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

José's tips for traditional recipe: It's hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don't give up. It's worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you're adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

  • 1 small egg
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
  3. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
  4. Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
  5. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
  6. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
  7. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
  8. Add salt to taste.

José's tips for modern recipe:
(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don't throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stired as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.
(7) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(8) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.
(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.
(10) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.

Overall, I actually did not like this recipe. I really did not care for the flavors, perhaps I messed up the recipe during cooking somehow, but I won't make it again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers- Milan Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

My first challenge with Daring Bakers, and it was quite a delicious one!
My first attempt at the cookie part of these didn't turn out so well, they baked too skinny, but I still ate them :)

Here's her recipe:

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

I didn't tweak any of the original recipe, I think they came out great (taste-wise), they had a nice orange-kick to them. I think you can omit the orange zest if you wanted to add peppermint to the chocolate mixture to have mint milan cookies, or even I'm sure kahlua, bailey's, etc etc.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and can't wait for August's challenge!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Making of a Bender Cake....

So. I have this friend....

He likes all things science, he wears funny witty science tshirts, he adores Tesla, he can quote Futurama like none other. And this friend is having a birthday today. And since I've been on a baking kick this past week, I thought I'd be adventurous and bake him a cake with one of his fave Futurama characters on it, Bender the robot.

Now, I didn't want to take the shortcut and buy a box cake mix and then decorate with Bender on it.
No, no. I wanted to bake my first ever cake from scratch. And so I did...

So I was Stumbling the other day and came acros Pinch My Salt's blog, and browsed it a bit more, and found her Red Velvet Cake recipe and KNEW that was the cake I had to make. Just the idea of cutting into a white(ish) frosted cake and then seeing the beautiful crisp red cake that lies beneath won me over.

So here's the recipe from Pinch My Salt, and I tell you how I made Bender...

Red Velvet Cake (a.k.a. Waldorf Astoria Cake)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below).

Recipe Notes: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions. Wear an apron and be careful with the red food coloring–no matter how hard I try, I always end up staining something! As you’re mixing the cake batter, use a spatula to scrape down the bowl frequently throughout the entire process.

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

** You'll also need 2 tubes of black decorator's gel if you will be making Bender, and a transparency of Bender's head. Trust me.

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth.)

**Set aside about 1/2-1 cup of the frosting, you'll need some to make Bender grey!

So I had 2 9" pans so I went that route. I highly recommend buttering/flouring/etc'ing the cake very well, as I had a bit trouble getting them out of the pans afterwards. I also let them cool, then put them in the fridge overnight (I didn't have time for frosting that day...)

Also, since I can't seem to bake 2 exactly flat cakes, I had to 'saw' one of the cake tops so it'd be flat to put the other one ontop. It's still not perfect...but shhh. But I ate the sawed off cake parts and they were quite tasty.

I then put a nice glob of the frosting onto the 'sawed' cake top, then put the second cake ontop of the that. Now you do like Pinch my Salt did, and do a quick first layer of frosting all around the cake to catch those red crumbs and lock them in. I put the cake in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. And while that was happening...

I browsed Google Images for a neat little image of Bender's head I could use for ontop of the cake. I found one to my liking, and then tweaked it a tad, made it a jpeg and put it on my USB drive, then headed on over to Staples (which I didn't know was open on July 4th, awesome.)
I had them print my Bender jpeg onto a transparency in black & white. It sounds weird, I know, but just keep reading.

Then went home, outlined the 'wrong' side of the transparency with the black decorator's gel and stuck it in the freezer to harden a bit. (It was 90 degrees here, and didn't want it melting)

Then you take the transparency and cake out of the fridge/freezer, and you simply put the 'wrong' side of the transparency onto the cake top. Don't smoosh it onto the cake, otherwise the black gel will bleed out, you are just wanting to get the basic outline of Bender onto the cake so you can later go back and re-draw it with the other black gel. Once you have Bender on the cake, you can get rid of the transparency, and I would suggest putting it back in the fridge for a few minutes.

While it's in the fridge, you can start to make the grey frosting. I didn't really measure how much black gel I put into the frosting, but just start with a few small squirts, mix, then compare against the un-tinted frosting and see if it's grey enough for you. If it's too dark, you can just add in a tad of the untinted frosting to lighten it back up.

Ok, so now take the cake out of the fridge and you want to re-draw the outlines of Bender with the black gel. Once you are done with that, you want to take the grey frosting and start filling in (very carefully) Bender's face. The only white parts on Bender are his eyeballs (minus the black squares for pupils) and his teeth (minus the lines), everything else is grey or black lines.

I don't have any cake decorating equipment, so it was pretty hard getting into small spaces (like the grey part under his eyes), so I used a regular butter knife's tip. It worked OK for me.

Once you're done you can marvel at your awesomeness then put it in the fridge to harden up a bit :)


Friday, July 3, 2009


I Stumbled Upon this article on basically how to kill time.

So I figured I should share :) I found it here

I found this little gem of a facebook meme today. Here's the rules:

1: Go to "Wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2: Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3: Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4: Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here is my final product....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the daring baker...

So I just stumbled across this great monthly contest called the Daring Baker (and Daring Cook if you're not into baking), and I just registered/ applied to participate for it, wish me luck :)

"What IS the Daring Baker/Cook?"

Ahh, great question... It's a monthly recipe challenge and each month a different blogger hosts the challenge and picks the ingredient/recipe. The challenge is announced on the 1st, and your item must be posted to your blog with photos on the 27th.

I'm uber-excited because not only do I LOVE baking and cooking, but I think this will help me get out of my same-ol'-same-ol' cooking rut and also hopefully make my blog more, sicne you are required to do at least 8 our of 12 challenges in your year (i.e. I start July, so I must do 8 challenges by next July)

Anyone feel like joining me on this lil' adventure in cooking/baking/blogging?

Monday, June 8, 2009

A few updates...

A few quick updates on LMKC...

- Opening Day for the Mukilteo Farmer's Market was fantastic in terms of the new location, the weather, and the crowds of people. There was a *gasp* ICE CREAM VENDOR! I forgot the name, I believe it is Whidbey Island Ice Cream or something along those lines.... I bought a pint of their Almond Vanilla ice cream, very good!

- This Wednesday is MY opening Day at South County Market, so go visit me!

- I'm working on a super-secret-project.
(Alright, not really a secret. And if I took pictures of it I would have shown you...
But LMKC will be screen-printing tshirts within the next few months, yay! I did a few test runs yesterday and am quite happy with them.)

-I've been on a bread-making trip these past few weeks, and will be sharing some photos and recipes of what I have made and what I want to make.
I love food.

- I want to do some craft shows in the Fall/Winter, so I've been scouring the Internet for local shows I can possibly sign up for. I'll be posting the dates of ones I apply for and get accepted to :)
(pssst.....I am seriously considering applying for UCU this year, yay! And if you are in Seattle and don't know what UCU is, go here , they have an August show, but I want to do the BIG December show.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Opening Day!!

I know, I know...
It's been MONTHS. but that just means I've been uber-busy, right??
Well, that's my story at least...

So just a quick update before I head out, today is the opening day for BOTH farmer's markets I will be participating in this Summer!

Mukilteo Market (second year for me)
Wednesdays 3p-7pm

South County Market
Wednesdays 4p-Dusk

"Well Lindsey how can you do two markets on the same day?"

I'm probably going to be switching every other week between the two.

Tentative Mukilteo dates:
June 3, 17
July 1, 15, 29
August 12, 26
September 9, 23

Tentative South County dates:
June 10, 24
July 8, 22
August 5, 19
September 2, 16, 30

Things happen, stuff comes up, so these are tentative for now, but if anything changes I'll post it :)

Thank you!