• Learning and Exploring

    Exploring Cultures: Peru

    I had planned a culture study series which started with Peru. I wanted to pick a country and study it for two months. But I boxed myself in too much and didn’t find much variety in Peruvian resources (think the Incas and Manchu Picchu). So, I burned out quickly. I think that is okay though. This is new. I don’t have to like everything.

    I made Peruvian based/inspired meal. I started the first two books. Since I find early (and very speculative) history boring, so I think it would have been better if I hadn’t been so dead-set on reading everything and skipped to the middle modern history in the reader and just skipped the second book. But instead I ditched both. Again. Live and learn. I can always go back.

    I definitely recommend the Fire of Peru cookbook. It is just what I want in a cookbook. Photos (why do so many cookbooks think this is unnecessary?!!). A decent amount of recipes (so no decision fatigue and information overload), and EXPLANATIONS!!!. You get a nice introduction to Peruvian cuisine and basics before you get into the main recipes. The other cookbook has hardly any photos and a massive collection recipes and something I’d only recommend to those already well-acquainted and deeply in love with Peruvian cuisine.

    My book list was. I started the first two but I didn’t feel like finishing them, maybe I will finish the history one and skim the reader someday.

    The Peru Reader

    The Conquest of the Incas

    Death in the Andes

    The Fire of Peru

    Peru the Cookbook

    The Global Etiquette Guide to Mexico and Latin America

    Next up is Iran/Persia. I think I will give myself a longer time frame. I also found more (naturally with the longer definitive historical and literary record and the importance in world/western history and culture). I’m also more interested, which helps.

  • Daily Life

    Birthday and Ice Cream

    My family used to give me gifts, but I never kept them long. Mom mentioned how hard I am to buy for, so I started making a gift list (I wish I’d done that sooner!!!!!). I still get surprised because I put many items on the list for everyone to choose from. Everybody’s happy.

    I received a nice selection of movies, two cookbooks (I cannot wait to try some German cookies for Christmas), mini ceramic houses, and The Pioneer Woman’s darling measuring bowls.

    Travelgirl, Travelgirl’s husband, my brother, my grandfather, and I all have birthdays in the same month, so we held a combined party. We made a massive slip and slide down our hill which was loads of fun. I wanted to make home-made ice-cream for this party (I made this pound cake for my actual birthday, and we ate it with whipped cream and strawberries). I made this mint ice cream (my sister had made it before so I knew it was excellent).

    My dad cannot eat eggs, so I used the mint recipe as a base for the Double Dark Chocolate. I whisked 1/2 cup of dark chocolate cocoa in with sugar and cornmeal, I substituted vanilla extract for the mint, and I melted 8oz of dark chocolate and added it to the cream mixture before the ice bath. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan my freezing time well, and we had to wait a day for our chocolate. So we had mint ice cream, and my brother brought homemade raspberry sorbet.

    This seemed to be the summer for ice cream. Doctordiva had made the mint and a buttermilk base cookies and cream (not to my taste) earlier. We had also made a buttermilk strawberry basil pretzel ice cream a couple times. And then we made Country Living’s Lemonsicle Ice Cream a couple times. After Dad bought a soft-serve ice cream maker, he made hard and soft-serve chocolate and vanilla a couple times.

    Have y’all made homemade ice cream, gelato, sherbert, or sorbet? If so, what are your favorite recipes?

  • Daily Life

    Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe

    Keep in mind that some of this is guessing as I don’t measure precisely (this isn’t baking, but even then I’m not precise always although I need to work on that for baking which is a science). I think the garlic might be a little high.

    2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
    1-2 tsp. finely chopped onion
    1.25 c. fresh chives or 1 T. dried
    1.5 tsp. dried dill
    1.5 tsp. parsley
    1 tsp. salt
    1.25 tsp. pepper
    Few dashes of Tabasco sauce
    2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
    Enough cooked and crumbled bacon to cover cheese ball
    2 (8oz.) packages of cream cheese
    2.5 c. shredded sharp Cheddar

    Blend all ingredients in food processor. Form into ball and roll in bacon. Chill.

    We have a lovely marble platter that we serve it on. I also have this woodsy stump stand I want to use for gatherings.

    In the same onion, chive, Cheddar, and bacon vein, we love this recipe (I leave out the sugar).

  • Daily Life

    Autumn Epicureanism

    I have been wanting to try chicken tetrazzini, and so one day when I had some chicken and the job of preparing supper I found a recipe and tried it. We rarely have wine on hand, but I scavenged a teeny tiny bottle from Brazil which Dad must have received as a gift or something on one of his trips. The bottle held just the right amount.

    I followed this recipe except I did not want peas and could not find mushrooms. We also did not have fresh herbs, so I used the ratio of 1/3 dry to fresh conversion. I would like to try it with fresh herbs and mushrooms. But we still enjoyed it. We barely had any leftovers.

    We have also been testing out recipes for the showers. I made these savory scones. I had to substitute a bit of onion for the 1/3 cup of chives or green onions. Hopefully for the shower we will have the original ingredients.

    I am making petit fours for one of the showers, but many of the recipes called for almond paste and almond extract and we have a lot of nut allergies at church, so I tried a new pound cake recipe. I have previously made this pound cake (but used all butter and now shortening), so I will just have to choose between the two. Another time I would like to try the almond recipes since I love that flavoring.

    Hopefully I will remember to get shower photos.

  • Daily Life

    Recipe Binder

    This assigned dish (with this crust) caused me to bring out my recipe binder 
    . . . to fill out the recipe for my own use
    I do not know if I mentioned this before, but last year I finally got seriously started on copying favorite recipes for my future family. You can see some scrap paper with a list of recipes that need copying. I am also trying to copy new recipes soon after trying them.
    Years ago my grandmother gave me this recipe binder (I also have a few Susan Branch cookbooks). I now prefer a binder like this to loose cards in a box. I need get some more recipe page protectors. I would also like a recipe stand. We used to have a cast iron one; I would like something sturdy (for normal people anyway) and yet pretty like that. 
  • Daily Life

    Happy Thanksgiving and Three Recipes

    Bread pudding. Do not judge it by the photo; it is really quite good and does not need a sauce. Mom said it tasted like fancy French toast.
    I tried making this for the first time Sunday and loved it so much that I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving and surprise my grandparents (it is Papau’s favorite dessert and perhaps Mamau’s also). I looked at a few online recipes and comments and then used the Betty Crocker as my guideline but changed a few things to get this recipe.
    1/4 cup of butter
    1 and 1/2 cups of milk
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup of brown sugar
    1/4 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract
    6 cups of sourdough bread (not soured)
    Warm the first two ingredients together until butter is melted. Blend eggs, sugar, salt, and extracts. Add bread and then add milk mixture. Pour in greased square stone set on glass dish full of water. (I did this because some comments mentioned burning and suggested the glass dish to help; I may not have needed it because I used a stone). Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
    I do not know the recipe for the starter (it is called potato starter, I think), but here is the bread recipe I used ( I got up at 6:15 after going to bed at 11 or later, and I worked 8.5 hours today with close to two hours total of driving, so pardon the lazy recipe photos, being an adult is hard . . . first world problems :/).
    I have bread waiting to be made into bread pudding tomorrow as I finish this post on Wednesday night.
    For our church Thanksgiving celebration on Tuesday I made this recipe (doubled) for mac and cheese but used twice the amount of sharp cheddar (instead of sharp and mild) and substituted cream cheese for the cheese food. I think I would either use another recipe it or try more adjustments. I liked it right out of the oven, but cold at the church it was only okay. . . which might fit most homemade cold mac and cheese dishes.
    I also made these homemade samoas on Monday for Tuesday. I would turn the oven down a little when toasting the coconut and stir at least every two minutes (or maybe skip the toasting completely). I would also keep the 1/4 of the caramel on very low and use a double boiler on low for the coconut-caramel mix. I think homemade caramel might taste better too. These are the presentable ones. I am not satisfied with this recipe. I want them to really taste like samoas . . . they taste like caramel cookies. I think I will try a more homemade caramel or sugar syrup that doesn’t drown the coconut flavor next time.
    Last night I made pumpkin bread for my work potluck today from our good old Pillsbury recipe. It is almost like pumpkin cake.