Archive for February, 2011

A few still lifes

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

A few artsy type still lifes I took over the weekend.

Cube Theory

Cube Theory

 

Egg?

Egg?

 

It's about the Dolla Dolla Bills, Yo!

It's about the Dolla Dolla Bills, Yo!

 

Purple Passion

Purple Passion

 

Pattern of Chairs

Pattern of Chairs

Happy Birthday, Johnny!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Today is the birthday of an incredible guitarist and inspiration/hero of mine:  Mr. Johnny Winter!

Happy 67 years, Johnny!  Keep tearing up the blues!

A Little Romantic Dinner

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Although this is cool anytime for anyone, I’m mainly throwing it out here for the men since tomorrow is Valentine’s day.  There are expectations, gentlemen.  Expectations, I say!  You’re gonna need a nice, romantic dinner and if you don’t want to go out, I’ll throw out a little bit of home cooking that should do the trick.

Let’s do a Fondue!!  But what is Fondue?  Fondue is a Swiss and French dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a small burner (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese.

Now, at first reading, this may sound complicated, but trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it.  Just remember the main mantra, KEEP STIRRING!

We’re going to do two fondue dishes here.  The first is our main course which will be a sharp cheddar fondue with a little cajun kick served with apples, celery, carrots and toast.  Then for desert, we’ll do a very simple chocolate fondue with apples and toasted cake.  So if you happen to have or can get hold of two fondue pots, cool!  If not, you can serve it in regular bowls, but if you are going for that romantic edge, the fondue pots are the way to go.

Next lets make a little grocery list.  You’re gonna need some stuff, but don’t get intimidated.  This really is pretty easy.

  • 1.75 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • A large package of good quality, extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Wouschester sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 package of chocolate chips (milk or white)
  • 2-3 large apples
  • Small package of strawberries.
  • celery
  • Loaf of french bread
  • Carrots
  • Small white or chocolate cake from bakery (no icing)
  • Lemon Juice

Now the key to a good fondue is timing and the key to good timing is preparation, so you want to get everything set up and ready to go before you start heating anything up.  Start by washing and cutting the veggies into bite size pieces.  Place the veggies in individual bowls cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until serving time.

Next, toast the bread and cut into bite size pieces.  Crisp is good here.  Next cut the cake into slices, toast, and then cut it down into bite size pieces.

Wash the strawberries and cut the tops off, if you like.  Put in a bowl and refrigerate.

Finally, wash and cut the apples up into bite size pieces.  Put half the results in each of two bowls and add just a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.  Cover with plastic wrap and toss in the fridge.

Now lets lay out the ingredients.  In a couple of measuring cups, put 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in one and a cup of heavy whipping cream in the other.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Get your cheese package open and ready to go because you don’t want to have to run around trying to open the package while you have cream burning on the stove.  Have the rest of your ingredients sitting close and ready to go.

If you are brave, you can try to cook these simultaneously, but if this is your first rodeo, you can make one then the other or even make one, eat, make the other and eat again.  Whatever you feel comfortable with.

CHEESE FONDUE


Put the cup of heavy cream into a pot and and slowly bring to a gentle simmer, STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  When the cream is simmering add the cheese, still stirring constantly.  Keep stirring until cheese is melted and smooth.  Add a couple shakes of Wouschester sauce and KEEP STIRRING.  Next, add the egg and continue stirring.   Add a couple of shakes of the cajun seasoning, a shake of tabasco and a pinch of salt and pepper and KEEP STIRRING (noticing a pattern here?)  Now the hard part.  First, take a little taste of your fondue.  Need more salt, pepper, cajun seasoning?  Add what you think it needs gently until it’s right.  Next, look at the consistency.  Does it look too thick?  Add a little more cream or part of another egg to thin it out.  Does it look to thin?  Add some more cheese.  When it’s good, remove from the heat, put it into your fondue pot and light ‘er up.

Now just serve it up with half the apples, the toast, the celery and carrots.

CHOCOLATE FONDUE


Now this one is super easy!  Just like with the cheese, put 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream into a pot and slowly bring to a gentle simmer STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  When you get that nice simmer, pour in your package of chocolate.  Keep stirring until it’s smooth.  Remove from heat and put in your fondue bowl.  Serve with apples, strawberries  and toasted cake.

Serve the whole thing by candlelight and you have a winning, simple romantic dinner!

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