Glue gun goddess strikes again

Ever wondered what to do with all those coffee sleeves you get this time of year? Aside from getting a reusable one like this or this, you can also get all crafty with them.
I had seen this post on Magpie and Cake, a fabulous craft and design blog, and decided to break out the hot glue gun and go crazy.
Hers turned out like this:

I didn’t have as much variety of sleeves as she apparently did, so I decided to go for a bit of a different look. The whole process took about an hour.
Ta da!


I liked that the print on the insides of the coffee sleeves showed and I opted to avoid the giant bow, instead going for a more subtle light blue ribbon I found hiding in my gift wrap bin.

Originally posted 2010-11-10 22:48:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do You Groupon?

So my good friend and co-worker, LRB, tells this joke.? A man comes home and finds an elephant sitting rather unhappily in his living room.? Immediately he calls his wife and asks “What’s with the elephant?” and she replies “What? It was on sale!”

Sexism aside, that joke summarizes a kick we’ve been on since, oh, August of 2008, to seek out and take advantage of great deals.? We paid for one and only one item of furniture in our comfy living room (it’s a leather-topped, carved mahogany coffee table from we got at cut-rate from a self-described “junk shop.” I love it.)? The generous people of Craigslist provided us with two large bookcases, a charming leather wingback chair, and a burgundy damask print couch with carved wooden accents–all for free.? Similarly, our dining room set, which can seat 8 (and includes an awesome dining room table Mr. Luz made out of an old farmhouse door bolted to two cast-iron sewing machine treadle bases) cost less than a plane ticket to NOLA.? And I won’t tell you how little we spent to kit out our kitchen.? Apparently rich D.C. folks regularly give things like unused KitchenAid standmixers to the Salvation Army to sell to people like me for $20. Ok, so, we love getting great stuff for little to no moolah.

Which is why we love Groupon.com.? If you’re not checking Groupon regularly, you’re really missing out on great deals.? As I understand it, Groupon goes out and bargains with businesses in major cities across the country for deals like half-priced spa packages, restaurant gift certificates, cases of wine, and otherwise pricey adventure experiences (including sky-diving, ropes courses, hot-air ballooning) in exchange for the advertising and new customers that a Groupon deal inevitably brings to the business.? And oh, do we take advantage of those deals.?

As a food lover, obviously most of my disposable income goes to food, wine, and gadgets-but mostly food.? (See above re: cheap gadgets).? As a reader, I assume that to some extent that’s true for you as well.? So it’s incumbent upon me to share with you my knowledge of how to get more wonderful food and wine for less disposable income.? Groupon.? Thanks to Groupon, I’ve been able to eat for half-price in New Orleans, St. Louis, and time and time again in D.C.? And now I’ll be doing some fine dining for half-off at home, too.? Yep-for a mere $40.49, Igourmet.com and Kansas City Steak Co. delivered to my front door just yesterday: 2 lbs. of gourmet cheeses, including a raw aged sheep’s milk manchego from Spain and a blue cheese from the oldest purveyors in France, and 6 lbs. of wet-aged bone-in NY strip steaks.? My head exploded a little, just typing that.? I paid $1.49 for two pounds of gourmet cheese!! Seriously, I can’t think of a clever way to end this post, and now all I can think about is the sharp, musky aged provolone cheese sitting in my fridge right now. So….I’m going to go eat some.? Groupon.? Do it.?

Originally posted 2010-12-31 17:09:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2980. STEAMED BACON and TARO ROOT in PRESERVED BEAN SAUCE

750 grams fresh bacon with skin
750 grams taro root, peeled and cut into thin, 6x8cm slices
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 squares fermented bean curd
2 stalks spring onions

Blended:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
250 grams spinach, cut into 10cm lengths
cooking oil for deep-frying

Seasoning Ingredients:
11/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place bacon in a pot and add enough water to cover. Cook over medium heat, 30 minutes. Drain and dry. Discard liquid. Lightly prick skin and rub soy sauce all over meat. Heat oil and rinse in cold water. Skin side downwards, over medium heat for 3 minutes, till golden brown. Drain and rinse in cold water. Cut into slices, the same size as taro slices. Reheat oil and deep-fry taro slices till golden brown. Drain. Drain off all but 4 tablespoons oil in pan. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the used oil. Reheat and stir-fry garlic and fermented bean curd till fragrant. Add seasoning ingredients and bring to the boil. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Alternately arrange bacon and taro slices (skin side downwards) in a heatproof bowl just large enough to contain them. Pour in boiled seasoning ingredients and place spring onions over. Steam over high heat, 11/2 hours. Carefully drain and reserve the soup. Invert steamed bacon and taro slices onto serving plate.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Asian Food Recipes

Originally posted 2013-07-06 01:04:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Preserved Lemons: A Connector to Another World

My good friends Richard Bonomo and Marla Hazan, whose ancestors are Sephardic Jews from exotic, far-away lands like Turkey, Spain, and Morocco, always have a jar of preserved lemons in their kitchen, for flavoring stews, soups, salads, sauces, marinades and dressings. 

I am working on a 5th edition of Cooking for Dummies with my co-author Bryan Miller, and for a chapter on international cuisines we are exploring and explaining some of the ingredients and techniques used in Mediterranean cooking. Lemons, both fresh and preserved with salt, are as ubiquitous as olive oil and tomatoes throughout the entire Mediterranean world.

I set out this last weekend to preserve some lemons myself and to also borrow some from Richard and Marla so I could add them to the Chicken and Green Olive Tagine I created for Cooking for Dummies V. I don’t know if it’s just me, (I admit to being a bit quirky), but when I make a dish like preserved lemons, the process pleasantly carries me back and connects me to a culture and kitchen practices that are tried and true and centuries old.  I become a little Moroccan, a little Turkish, a little Mediterranean.   

Preserved Lemons

4 medium, thick-skinned lemons

About 6 tablespoons (not iodized) salt

Juice of 4 lemons, or more if needed

1.) Scrub the lemons well. Using a sharp knife slice the lemons into quarters, stopping about ½-inch from one end to leave the quarters attached to the fruit.

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Pack about 1 tablespoon of salt into the center of each cut lemon.

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Place them in a one-quart, wide-mouth mason jar, fitted with a lid, and press them down so they fit snuggly.

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2.) Sprinkle them with one additional tablespoon of salt. Add the lemon juice and press them gently into the juice as much as possible. Cover the jar and let set 3 to 4 days, turning the jar over a couple of times a day, during which time they will soften and release their juice.

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3.) Press them down again and add 1 more tablespoon salt and additional juice, if necessary to completely cover. Close the jar and let set for at least one month, turning the jar over every few days to redistribute the salt and juices. Before using, remove and discard the pulp, then rinse the rind well. A harmless white mold may appear on the fruit; simply rinse it off before cutting up and using the peel. After opening, preserved lemons will keep up to a year, without refrigerating. The pickling juices can be used to make salad dressings or marinades for vegetable salads.

Tip: Cut up the juiced lemon rinds, and if you have a rose garden compost them into the soil around the roots of the plant. Roses love the acidity of lemon peel.

Originally posted 2014-03-24 14:56:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2758. ROASTED HAMILTON POUSSIN wrapped with STREAKY BACON and stuffed with POTATOES and SAGE

serves four?

4 poussin chickens?
12 rashers dry-curled streaky bacon?
1 lb. potato, peeled?
handful fresh sage or handful fresh rosemary, or handful fresh thyme?
12 cloves garlic, peeled?
1 1/2 cups white wine
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper?
olive oil

Preheat your oven and an appropriately sized roasting tray to 425 to 450 degrees. Boil your potatoes in salted water until perfectly cooked (don’t overcook). Drain and allow to cool. Remove any fat from inside the chicken cavity. Wash and pat dry with kitchen paper. Slice your potatoes thickly, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add your freshly torn herbs and enough olive oil just to coat. Toss over and then stuff your chickens with the potatoes. Place them into the tray with about 12 cloves of garlic and cook for 30 minutes. After this time, the chicken should be looking as handsome as its inventor and the skin should be crisp and golden. At this point, lay your streaky bacon snugly over the breast meat and add a 1/2 cup of wine to the pan to get some sticky marmitey juices happening. Cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Take them out of the tray and allow them to rest for 5 minutes while you make a quick bit of gravy. I normally remove as much fat as possible from the tray before placing on gentle heat. Splash the remaining 1 cup of white wine into it. Then boil up and scrape away all the goodness from the sides of the tray. Simmer this for a couple of minutes until tasty. It’s not a thick, robust gravy, just a tasty gesture. Served with something nice and green like steamed spinach and the potatoes pulled out from the chickens.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Jamie Oliver, Naked Chef, for Asian Food Channel, 3 Fusionopolis Way, 12-21 Symbiosis, Singapore 138633

Originally posted 2012-11-26 09:07:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nueske’s cookoff finalist #3: Nacho mama

Monica Sehgal Sharma, creator of
tandoori bacon nachos.If we had to pick our favorite non-bacony cuisine, it might be Indian food. We love the spices of dishes like chicken vindaloo, the savory goodness of samosas, and–if (God forbid) all bacon were to suddenly disappear from the planet–we might bestow the World’s Perfect Food title about the fluffy, chewy taste treat known as naan. The only thing that could possibly improve the fantastic flavors of Indian food: bacon.

Well, Monica Sehgal Sharma–one of the finalists in the Nueske’s Amateur Bacon Cookoff at Baconfest Chicago–has rectified the situation and married the two flavors in her finalist dish, tandoori bacon nachos. They use chicken skin instead of tortilla chips. Brilliant! Let’s learn more about the genius and inspiration behind this tantalizing dish.

Monica’s Indian-inspired tandoori bacon nachos.BDJ: How did you come up with this delicious idea?

MSS:? I came up with the idea of deconstructing tandoori chicken, a staple dish in my house….so replacing the chicken for bacon was an easy start, using the same marination methods for the bacon was trial and error, but I got it just right!

?I wanted to create a one-bite amuse bouche that gives someone the experience of tandoori chicken.? So the smoky tandoori bacon combined with the freshness of the tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro with the splash of lime juice makes the dish almost perfect, the crispy chicken skin chip is the base for this dish and the element that makes it perfect!?

BDJ:? Why do you love bacon?

MSS: Bacon is salty, sweet, spicy, and smoky, it takes whatever form you want it to and adds a dimension to any dish that no other protein provides….the best part is that it’s cost effective, it enhances a dish and doesn’t clean you out!? A little goes a long way and using alot is always welcome, you just can’t go wrong.

BDJ:? What’s your favorite way to eat bacon (besides in this recipe, of course)?

MSS: My fav way to eat bacon….hmm, that’s tough, there’s no bad way to eat bacon!?? But, I like bacon as its first use, for BREAKFAST!??? I love bacon that is ?braised in maple syrup or even just eating pancakes and bacon and letting the syrup run into the bacon…the sweetness and the saltiness MAKES FOR A GREAT COMBINATION.

BDJ:? Why should you win?

MSS: I think I should win because I’ve created a dish that truly is different and original (what indian restaurant serves tandoori bacon? I have yet to find that place!).? The dish also represents my abilities as a cook to balance flavors and texture?and to create an experience in your mouth.? I also show my creative and innovative side in using the chicken skin to make the perfect platform for my dish, which adds flavor and practicality to my dish.? My creation really brings together how I think and feel about food, and as a cook, sharing who you are in the food you make is what makes it unforgettable.

BDJ:? Anything to add?

MSS: I am really excited to show the world what I am about as a cook and as a person.? I am ready to take myself to a new level personally and professionally and having this opportunity at Baconfest Chicago is just amazing!? I get the chance to meet incredible chefs, talk to people that eat, sleep and live for food like I do, and most importantly, I get to share a piece of my world with all of you! Good luck to my fellow contestants, everyone’s dishes look amazing!

Originally posted 2011-03-13 14:24:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter