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Thursday, March 31, 2011

We're all a little MAD around here... a roundup of Mad Housewives!


I couldn't resist a little March MADness fun this year.  With the gracious donations of Mad Housewife goodies from Mad Housewife Cellars, I wondered aloud just which type of Mad Housewife you considered yourself.  Well, even though I received a small number of responses, they were all a lot of fun.  Thanks so much to the following five people for sharing their inner (and outer) Mad Housewife...

Gwen from Simply Healthy Family went above and beyond in her Delicately Light and Sweet Mad Housewife post with gorgeous photos of her as a Mad Housewife, a mouthwatering meal inspired by the wine, and great words to go along with it.  She is my choice for TOTALLY MAD.

Next up is Rob, the only Bearded Mad Housewife to enter...and I think make a blog (The Bearded Housewife) just for this purpose.  Between singing the Wonder Pets theme song, doing laundry and kissing boo-boo's, I think that's impressive and he's my choice for Best Story.

Rachel from The Crispy Cook had a bit of trouble trying to locate a bottle of Mad Housewife, but she never gave up and she totally impressed me by getting into Crispy Mad Housewife character and tipping back a glass in hopes that one day she'll come across it.  She is my choice for Best Photo.

Melynda from Mom's Sunday Cafe is a Chardonnay After a Bad Day Mad Housewife.  I've had plenty of those weeks myself and think that this definitely deserves an Honorable Mention.

Carina from a punk, a pumpkin, and a peanut grabbed a bottle in anticipation of being a Mama's Time-Out Mad Housewife.  I think all the mama's out there deserve a MAD time-out...don't you?  Another Honorable Mention is definitely in order.

I decided that (right now at least) I was definitely a Lemon Bars and Chardonnay Mad Housewife least for that day...although I think I'm actually a "depends on my mood" Mad Housewife.

Thanks so much for participating in my March MADness guys!  I loved each post and want to send everybody a I will.  Gwen, Rachel, and Rob will be receiving the prize packs mentioned in the Mad Housewife Wine Contest Announcement...and Melynda and Carina, you'll receive an honorable mention prize which is basically the same prize pack minus the t-shirts.  When  you get a moment, each of you please shoot me an email with your mailing address and I will get your MAD prize pack mailed out to you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spiced Orange Slices and Goat's Milk Faisselle

It's been a while since I posted a homemade cheese adventure.  I definitely know it's time to sit down and reevaluate when there hasn't been any handcrafted fromage in my kitchen for a couple of months.  Although, part of that stems from the fact that I have to unplug my extra fridge in the winter.  Our garage isn't heated, so the entire fridge turns into a deep-freeze box.  I have to make sure everything is cleared out and the fridge is clean, open, and unplugged before old man winter sneaks up and it's too late to save everything.  So, no second fridge, no extra space.  I'm pretty sure I'd get the evil eye...and the complaining belly...if I tried to keep enough space empty for "projects" in our everyday fridge.  But...since the coldest of the days have now passed, I once again have extended space for cheese making, curing, beer, and what ever else I may need it for.
Goat's Milk Faisselle
slightly adapted from 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes
yield: ~18-24 oz

1 quart goat's milk
Pinch mesophilic culture
2 drops liquid rennet

In a large pot over medium heat, warm milk to 86°F, stirring gently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. 

Sprinkle culture over surface of milk and let stand for a~5 minutes to rehydrate. Gently draw culture down into milk without breaking surface of milk, by using an up & down motion to mix in the culture with a skimmer or large spoon. 

Dilute rennet in 1 Tbs. cool water. Add to milk and, using the same up-and-down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and let set at room temp in a draft-free location for 12 hours. 

Place six small or one large cheese mold in a flat-bottomed baking dish. Gently ladle curd into molds, taking care not to break up the curd. The whey will begin draining out of the holes in the molds right away and will collect in the dish. I found that my curd wasn't firm enough to keep from seeping completely through the holes in my cheese molds.  But I figured I'd go with it and see what happened.

As soon as the curd has drained down below the tops of the molds, cover the dish and place in the refrigerator. The faisselle is ready to use ans soon as it has drained to your desired texture. The longer it drains, the firmer it will become (because the molds are sitting in the whey, it will stay fairly moist). Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To remove, unmold onto a plate.  After 4 days, only the bottoms of my little molds had some cheese left in them...just up to where the rest that had drained out sat.  I unmolded those the best I could.  Basically it was like a thick, tangy goat's milk yogurt.  Very tasty, especially against the sweetness of the spiced oranges.  I decided to pour it all into one large mold, this time lined with butter muslin to see what would happen.  It is in the fridge now, I'll add an update later today. (*see photo below for results!)
Spiced Orange Slices
 yield: 1 pint

2 large oranges
  8 c. hot water
½ tsp. salt
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. lightly packed brown sugar
¼ c. cider vinegar 
¼ c. water
2 Tbs. corn syrup
  4 whole cloves
  2 cardamom pods
  2 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long
¼ tsp. black peppercorns

Combine whole unpeeled oranges, hot water, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring  to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until fruit is tender. Drain oranges, discarding liquid, and cool. 
Cut oranges in half crosswise and then into very thin slices. 

Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, water, corn syrup, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugars have dissolved. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add orange slices, cover, and cook gently for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove and discard cardamom and cinnamon. 

This recipe is then able to be canned, if you wish (see instructions at forging fromage if you need them).  I just jarred them up and stuck them in the fridge.
*second attempt at "molding" Faisselle using butter muslin...still pretty loose

forgingfromagebutton2 MizHelen‘sFullPlateThursday SimpleLivesThursday

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oatmeal w/ Bananas, Poppy Seeds, Cinnamon, & Toasted Almonds (...Let's Get Naked and eat breakfast!)

As far as I can recall, I've always liked oatmeal.  I mean, I've never chosen it over bacon and eggs or pancakes or an omelet or a Greek skillet, but I'm in no way adverse to eating eat.  Especially when it's chock-full of tasty delights.  But for some reason, not a single one of my kids will eat oatmeal.  What the!?  I mean, when I was a kid I at least enjoyed those instant packets that you just ripped open and mixed with hot water from the stove or even in the microwave.  Oh, especially the apple-cinnamon; that was my favorite.  I loved those tart and chewy little dried apples.  Or else real oatmeal (as opposed to, as opposed to isntant) with warm milk and brown sugar just melting and seeping into the soft cereal.  Oh. Yeah.  But nope.  My children liken it to being a ward of Miss Hannigan if I dare even whisper the suggestion that they eat oatmeal for breakfast.  So I made this version while they were away for their daily learnin'.  Although, I may have to break out another batch over the weekend...along with my mop and broom.  You know, so while they're complaining, they can make this place "shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!"

Oatmeal w/ Bananas, Poppy Seeds, Cinnamon, & Toasted Almonds
serves 2

1 c. quick-cooking oats ("regular" oats, not instant)
1½ c. (+ more as needed) milk (any type...or water)
sea salt
1 ripe banana, thinly sliced
 1 Tbs. poppy seeds
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1-2 Tbs. honey or maple syrup, to taste
small handful of sliced almonds, toasted

Place the oats and milk in a saucepan with a small pinch of sea salt and put on a medium heat.  Bring to a steady simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring often so it stays a smooth, creamy consistency.  Just before the oatmeal is ready, stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Add more milk if you like it creamy.  I love it creamy.  Save a bit of the stir-ins to use as garnish...then stir them in just before eating.  Makes for a pretty presentation.
So, does this make you want to get naked?  Get naked in the kitchen with Jamie, that is.  This marks our first week of cooking with Jamie Oliver over at IHCC.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next six months!

Also sharing with these link parties:
tnsc HearthandSoulBadge-1 Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green delectabletuesday 5569196101_967c9f3b57_o PeppersTuesdaysTastyTidbits tasty3 TastyTuesdayBB

BSI: LEMONS Roundup & Winner

I should have foreseen this, but somehow I didn't.  My list of bookmarks with the label 'lemon' is now bursting at the seems!  Although I can't say that's a bad thing...because I crave citrus quite often and I'm always looking for a new way to prepare it!  We have so many wonderful LEMONY foods this week that run the gamut from soups to side dishes to main courses with different meats and fish to cooling beverages to breakfast and snack foods all the way through to dessert!  I'm feeling particularly sunny and happy after visiting everybody and now I'm looking forward even more (if that's possible) to warm air and sunshine.

So, without any further ado...prepare to pucker and swoon over....

Starting things off this week is Amanda from Amanda's Cookin' with her stunning Lemon Olive Oil Rosemary Cake.

Vernonica from Recipe Rhapsody brought some sunny, "firm on the outside, chewy on the outside" Easy Lemon Cookies.

Chaya from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog shares some creamy, tangy Lemon Pasta with Norwegian Salmon.

Music City Foodie made me nostalgic with some beautiful, bright Old Fashioned Mini Lemon Poundcakes.

Swathi from Zesty South Indian Kitchen made a Lemony Minty Poppy Cake that sounds different...and divine!

In need of an antidote for a rainy weekend, Monika of Illo Pro (check out her amazing illustrations!) produced some lemon sun with a Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake.
 illustration by Monika Roe of Illo Pro. Wow!
Kankana of Sunshine & Smile made a Lemon Mint Cake with Almonds to share with a friend who is visiting from across the country.  Wish it was me!

Roz from La Bella Vita made an absolutely delightful Lemon Layer Cake with Limoncello Cream FrostingHow heavenly!

Renee from My Kitchen Adventures whipped up a beautiful batch of Lemon Ginger Cupcakes in which lemon was the star and ginger was the awesome understudy.

Lemon and Mint are "spiced up" with a few peppercorns to form this amazingly refreshing looking Spicy Mint Lemonade from My Creative FlavorsSeriously, I think my thirst is quenched from here.

Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen (BSI creator) revisited a summer post in which she uses fresh thyme, lemon juice, and lemon zest in her Lemon Thyme Sauce that she serves with a beautiful, fat, grilled pork chop.

I haven't had crab in far too long, and I'm totally craving it now after seeing Sonali's Crab in Mustard and Lemon Juice Gravy over at Only Fish Recipes.

Shobha at Food Mazaa shares a beautifully spiced dish of Lemon Rice with BSI this week that I would gladly eat as a side dish or as my entire meal.

I would love to start the day off with one of these tempting Eggless Lemon Poppyseed Muffins baked by Priya from Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes.

I am dreaming of one of these beautiful glasses of Lemon and Cardamom Mousse from Ana at Anasbageri.  The combination sounds so luscious.

I know that I would have a hard time resisting these Greek-inspired Garlic Lemon Potatoes brought today by The V Kitchen.  Yum!

As a complete and total soup addict, I am thrilled to see this delicious bowl of Lemon and Coriander Soup from nicks n jits kitchen.

Sonali from Only Fish Recipes is back with some tempting kingfish flavored with lots of lemon and coriander in her Grilled Fish with Lemon and Coriander.

Inspired by the bright, sunny skies outside her windows, Karen from Karen Cooks made a batch of soft, cake-like Lemon Ricotta Cookies.

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner...healthy and low calorie made a dish that I think sounds fantastic and I want it to grace my table very soon, Lemon Quinoa with Broccoli.

Our creator Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen is back with what I consider a fantastic way to start any day...with Mock Buttermilk PancakesMmmmHmmm.

And now we will end where the week began...with these Lemon Bars that I made to take to a program at school...and then wound up making again almost immediately for home. So fantastic!

Every single dish, side, soup, and dessert that was sent in this week in gloriously lemony in its own rite, but the thing that I have not been able to get out of my head since the moment I laid eyes on it was the Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake from Amanda! But honestly, everything looked so wonderful, I wish I could have a big, lemon-filled buffet to try everything.  Congratulations Amanda, please shoot me an email with your mailing address so I can get a little prize mailed out to you.  Thanks to everybody who joined in BSI: Lemons this week!

And another big thanks to Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen for having me as a host this week.  Please head over to visit my friend Tina at Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor to find out the next Blogger Secret Ingredient!