leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
My first order of roses for 2013 will probably show up tomorrow. I am ready and waiting with potting soil, sterilized pots and rose gauntlets! We had a miniature snowstorm yesterday but thankfully most of it has melted already. But it's been cold, really cold, and I can't believe that at this time last year we were getting daytime temperatures in the 80s!

I made another batch of my "famous" brownies tonight, this time with amaretto frosting. I wanted to try out the frosting before I used it on a cake. I almost killed it when I added a bit too much amaretto to the mixing bowl (2T amaretto to 10T butter and 1 1/4c of confectioners' sugar, probably too much) and the frosting came out too runny. Thankfully adding a few extra spoonfuls of sugar corrected the consistency. The recipe calls for a standing mixer, but the damn thing is so heavy to lug around that unless I'm baking a cake I try to make do with an electric hand mixer. Never again! The frosting comes out much fluffier if you use a standing mixer. I probably should store my standing mixer upstairs on the kitchen counter but it takes up so much space and I use it on the average of once every six months. The few times I need to use it I have to lug it upstairs from our basement and I think it weighs about 30lbs. No kidding.

The frosting is pretty nice but I think it would probably better suit a white cake.

The roses I have in "cold storage" are starting to leaf out already. I'm not looking forward to putting Marianne back in the ground this spring. She's apparently recovered her rootball and has grown quite large in her pot. I really am gonna have two Mariannes....hot damn! So the only rose we lost to the mole assault was Lavender Lassie. I love Marianne, but I'm not thrilled about having to find a place to squeeze another 8-12 foot rose. Maybe I'll plant them both side by side as a Marianne hedge? I heard that birds like to live in Marianne. I like having lots of places in our yard for birds to live. It gives Lucas something to look at from the windows...when he's bored he can be a real freak. It's hard to believe he's going to be six years old next month! Oh BooBoo, may you live forever!
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Hopefully we won't get too much this time! :O I had really been enjoying this warm spell. It made me forget that we're still in the dead of winter...

I tried making Brigadeiros again yesterday. I cooked the mixture for about 15 minutes longer and the candies came out about 50 percent firmer than last time. I'm not sure if it's possible for them to hold their shape as perfectly round balls, rather than devolving into flat-bottomed drops. They still taste pretty good! Unfortunately we won't be able to try them again for a while, because we ran out of bling bling to roll the balls in. Michael's has a great stock of candy and cake-decorating supplies, but those sugar pearls are like 6 dollars a jar...oh well. Maybe we'll try the coconut ones next.

In order to counter the effect of me stuffing my face with chewy chocolate candy every day, I've been aiming for 4000-5000 steps a day on the 3DS pedometer. That's just counting my work-outs, mind you. I have no idea how many steps I take for the rest of my day. I'm probably completely sedentary, LOL...

We finished watching G Gundam this weekend. I don't remember the last time I've watched such a long TV series. And I say, fie on everyone who says that show is the worst Gundam series ever! Fie! I thought it was hella fun, and most of the characters did grow on me by the end, with the exception of Rain and Sai Saici.

The only other Gundam series we have on DVD are the original 1979 series and Zeta Gundam, and we haven't watched either of them yet.
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Soon Robecca will be on her way to be repainted. Asellus isn't quite finished yet; Kristen has been working on her all along, but now that her commissions are starting to come in I'm probably going to do the rest of her myself. If I can get my fingers to move!

Maybe it's because of the weather, but I'm feeling so creaky that I can barely type. Either that or I'm still feeling the effects of damaging my wrists playing too much Mario Kart 7 last weekend. I'm quitting that game for now. Video games shouldn't cripple you for days!

We tried making Brigadeiros from the recipe in Cook's Illustrated's DIY cookbook. I think they set a little too soft but they are addictively delicious. Not bad for a recipe that includes only three ingredients (cocoa powder, butter and sweetened condensed milk)! The recipe called to cook the mixture for 20-25 minutes and we did it for 30, but after we rolled the cooled mixture into balls they went splat and spread out like drop cookies. Maybe it takes longer on an electric stove? We'll probably try it again in two weeks. They have a lot of promise!
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
...involves a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix and a recipe of homemade raspberry buttercream frosting (10 T softened unsalted butter, 1 1/4 C of confectioner's sugar, a pinch of table salt, one T of heavy cream and 3 T of Smuckers seedless raspberry jam). Bake the brownies as directed and cool completely before frosting. Sprinkle frosted brownies with mini chocolate chips (optional) and enjoy!

I've always wanted to try making frosted brownies, and I figured it'd be worthwhile to experiment first with a box mix. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the box mix brownies turned out so well I have no reason to try it with brownies from scratch! LOL XD If anyone ends up trying it, be sure to store the frosted brownies in the fridge.

I think that there are good box mix brownies out there, and you can make a decent banana cake involving yellow cake mix. However, I can't think of a single positive thing to say about canned frosting. Ugh! I remember that when those disgusting Dunkaroos came out in the nineties it was like every kid's dream come true. Canned frosting and cookies for a snack, woo hoo! I think that's when I realized that canned frosting was really awful.

I still wish I could have had an EZ Bake oven when I was a kid. Somehow being able to use a real oven doesn't have the same mystique...
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
We're making pot roast with carrots and small red potatoes. The recipe also calls for parsnips, but no sir, I do not like those. Not one bit. I like most vegetables, excluding parsnips, brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas. I don't like vegetables that taste like weird, bitter versions of common vegetables (like parsnips versus carrots), or vegetables that get stringy and try to choke you. I guess I don't like green beans very much, either. They're boring and devoid of nutrition. I have an insane love of broccoli. And swiss chard.

I didn't do much for New Year's Eve. I was too tired. =_= I do have to say that Limoncello tastes like it would make excellent lemon buttercream frosting.

Cat for thought: If Lucas were a human being he'd weigh 237lbs...and be 7'5''.
leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Homemade Pineapple Jam. by Leenechan
Homemade Pineapple Jam., a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

It doesn't taste anything like the pineapple jam filling I've had in store-bought sweets, though--it's meatier and resembles candied pineapple more than pineapple jelly. Kind of makes me wonder what they put in the commercial stuff!

leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Because the Shop-Rite in the next town makes this totally boss pull-apart danish ring, and the pineapple danish is the queen of all the other danishes. With the cherry danish in second command, followed by blueberry, cheese, apple and the lemon and peach danishes are kind of gross.

Why doesn't anyone make pineapple preserves? Why why why?

I found a recipe for it online and I just might have to try it. I'd love to make a pineapple jam tart. Or pineapple crumble squares with walnuts or...::gasp:: macadamia nuts.

The recipe makes 2 pints, so I wouldn't bother canning it. I'd be afraid to do that, anyway. I wouldn't want to end up with botulism!
leene_chan: (Default)

I actually did these at the beginning of the month, and boy do I miss them! This was my second experience with piping buttercream frosting. I'm not very good at it, as you can see. XD But those cupcakes were like crack. They were dark chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream frosting. I actually preferred the raspberry frosting to our standard orange, even though it was flavored with humble raspberry jam as opposed to $$$ Grand Marnier.

We're thinking of doing chocolate cherry for Christmas. I don't know who will eat them but us, between the dieters, the dessert indifferent people and the cake-haters. I'm not letting it bother me any more. This is the way I make my life sparkly.

leene_chan: (Default)

These are from a recipe from August/September 2009's Cook's Country. They're just as terrific as the regular Cream Cheese Brownies. And so rich they can put you into a coma...

Never gonna use a box mix ever again.

leene_chan: (Default)

So much more affordable than paying $40 for a custom box of Munson's chocolates!

I've been cooking for almost 15 years, and this was the first time I ever made homemade brownies. I probably screwed up the cheesecake swirl, but the brownies are moist, chocolatey and very, very rich. They also keep for 5 days in the refrigerator, which is pretty awesome.

I've written five pages toward my next goal. This goal is a cheap one, so expect to see a new doll soon! I bought her on sale because not many people like her, but hey, I think she's rather cute.

leene_chan: (Default)
I only wrote three pages tonight. I ended up crossing half a page out. Boo! I think I'm going to have to do an outline for the rest of the chapter. I'm starting to lose my way...

We finally managed to find Garam Masala in the grocery store, so we made lentil dal with coconut milk for dinner tonight. It was pretty awesome, but I'm not posting pictures of it. I'm sure that someone would think of something nasty to say about how it looked. ^o^...I swear it tasted good!

It was hard to say goodbye to the chicken soup. We did freeze some of the stock, but I probably won't touch it for at least a week. I have to disagree with Cook's Illustrated's opinion on the quick 45-minute stock made with chicken leg quarters versus the 4-hour simmered stock that uses a whole chicken. The 4-hour stock is worlds better!

My favorite way to serve it is with the chicken meat, diced carrots, celery, tubettini or broken spaghetti (boiled separately and added at the end) and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. And don't forget the grated parmesan cheese! I guess that adding grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to soup is an Italian thing. We used to put cheese in our soup whenever we visited our Italian-American maternal grandparents. I learned to love a lot of food from them, like stuffed artichokes and broccoli rabe soup with polenta. I wonder how many people on my friends' list would refuse to eat so many veggies? XD

I didn't pick up many tastes from my father's family, unfortunately. Eastern-European food...me no likey!

I was talking with Kristen tonight about my dissatisfaction with Monster High and Lalaloopsy collecting. I compared it to some Dragon Ball Z fanfiction I read while I was in college about Vegeta killing all the other characters, then Final Flashing himself to death after he realized there was no one left to fight. Ha ha hah...
leene_chan: (Default)

This picture looked vomitous in the viewfinder, but up close it looks pretty tasty. XD

I used to make this pizza a lot in college. Always with a premade crust, because I'm not a glutton for punishment. I made the onions in an electric non-stick skillet. You really have to use a pan with a good coating for the onions, or they can eff up the surface for life.

I'm not getting in touch with my Italian side with this dish. Its origin is actually French. The original recipe contains anchovies, and I'm not sure if it uses cheese. I think this is more to my taste, ha ha!



EDIT: I usually don't like pizza at all unless I make something like this myself. I live in the suburbs, and our local pizza is truly lousy.

Cookies!

Jan. 31st, 2012 05:12 pm
leene_chan: (Default)

Still not chocolate, though. I used to bake snickerdoodles a lot when I was in college. On one occasion I ate six of them in one day! Today I just ate one and a half. I'm trying to keep it (myself, not the cookies) under 105.

This recipe is even better than the one I used back then. It uses a much greater proportion of butter to shortening than the typical recipe. The resulting cookies are a little flatter, but they have much better flavor!



I'm probably going to end up making a lot of these. Our cream of tartar expires in June. We just bought it two weeks ago!
leene_chan: (Default)
I don't like checking my archives and seeing days and days without posts. After all, what am I paying for this account for? So, let's see if I can think of something to say.

We made pumpkin bread from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook last night. We left the nuts out because everyone seems to have a problem with nuts. And it was very, very good. I have a weakness for sweets like quick breads, muffins and coffee cake. I need to watch myself...I can definitely stop myself at one cookie or a small piece of cake or pie, but when it comes to desserts that can pass off as breakfast--I had better be careful! When you're under 5'3'' it seems that you have to watch every single thing that goes into your mouth.

Ha ha ha...

Other than watching the horribly depressing WWII era film The Mortal Storm, I've been playing the rare and hyped Dawn of Ys on my PS3. I'm what might be considered a petite Ys fan, meaning that I've played most of the games and enjoyed them, but would be the first one to list their flaws. Of the versions of Ys IV I have only played the PS2 version of Mask of the Sun. I know that version has a bad reputation as all the Taito remakes do, but I found myself liking the game in spite of the gameplay issues. Now that I've played about 6 hours of what many Ys fans to be the definitive version of Ys IV and one of the most awesome games of the franchise, let me tell you...that I think that Dawn of Ys sucks. I'm sorry. It isn't a great game. The story is bad compared to the remake, the music is most MIDI, and the game is much too hard. Adol is still doing the lame running-at-the-enemy-with-his-sword-drawn thing, like you're playing a fantasy themed pinball game instead of action-adventure. The voice acting is good, but the characters are all morons. So much for a godlike game...honestly, I wasn't expecting much, but it kind of makes Ys VI look good. At least the townspeople were amusing in that game!

Really, the only Ys game I can recommend to anyone is Ys VII. Still, the others at least had a little something to offer in exchange for crushing difficulty. I'm not sure that Hudson was thinking when they got their hooks into that game.
leene_chan: (Default)
Our Most Requested Dessert. by Leenechan
Our Most Requested Dessert., a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

Actually, I didn't. This golden piecrust is Kristen's masterpiece. I just helped out with the filling and the egg wash. XD

Since the start of the fall, we've baked four apple pies. And we're going to keep on baking them until apples are no longer in season. Apple pie is everybody's favorite. I like to alternate between apple, cherry and blueberry but it seems that everyone else just wants apple...

leene_chan: (Default)
Fairy Tale Eggplant. by Leenechan
Fairy Tale Eggplant., a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

The Fairy Tale Eggplants are finally getting it together, and they're growing fast! You're supposed to pick them when they're four to five inches long. They'll probably be ready at the end of next week. I can't wait!

leene_chan: (Default)

I don't know how it looks to most people, but I love this dish a lot. It's not much like the Country Captain Chicken I was brought up with, though. That was just two cans of stewed tomatoes with some curry powder and celery thrown in, poured over boneless chicken breasts, and sprinkled with currants. I think its origin was from the Joy of Cooking...though I'd be surprised if my mother consulted the recipe more than once every five years. It was nasty.

This dish, however, is really, really good and full of spicy and fruity flavors. XD The recipe doesn't call for you to take the bone-in chicken thighs out, shred the meat and add it back to the dish. I do that all the time because it keeps people happy. No one likes to wrestle with bones in the middle of a stew!

leene_chan: (Default)

I failed to take a nice picture of these beautiful bars. I love Key Lime pie, and this bar-cookie version is destined to be one of my new favorite recipes. I think it's amazing that in spite of all the substitutions we had to make they turned out, well, amazing.

Those substitutions being:

1). Substituting the brown sugar in the crust with turbinado sugar. Had to do it, the brown sugar was dried out as hard as cement (even though we just bought it!). Thank God we had turbinado sugar. It added a tasty crunch to the animal cracker crust. I would definitely do that again.

2). Substituting 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Key Lime or Persian Lime (regular lime) juice in the filling with 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Persian Lime juice+1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. By some miracle this turns out to be THE proper substitution for Key Lime juice, which isn't as tart as that which is squeezed from a Persian Lime. XD We had to do it because the five Persian Limes we bought (as opposed to the three the recipe called for) only produced 1/4 cup of juice. What the hell?

Juicing limes is a real bitch.

leene_chan: (Default)
My Second Layer Cake. by Leenechan
My Second Layer Cake. a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

Not a happy-looking cake here, but it tastes good!

We made this one using Cook's Illustrated's recipe for Fluffy Yellow Cake, and it turned out tender and lovely. The filling is raspberry jam and the frosting is lemon buttercream.

My only gripe about the cake, other than the fact that it ain't pretty (I lacked the tools to make it beautiful) is that the frosting didn't have a strong enough lemon flavor. Next time I'll use more zest, or juice. Or find lemon liqueur. I'm not using lemon extract, though. That stuff tastes like furniture polish.

leene_chan: (Default)

My First Layer Cake.
Originally uploaded by Leenechan
Kristen and I made this cake for our father's birthday. It was our first attempt at doing a layer cake, and I'm so pleased it doesn't look like a lopsided monster! We used Cook's Illustrated's Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake recipe for the cake. The frosting in the middle is chocolate buttercream. On the outside it's strawberry buttercream.

I stuck those toothpicks in the cake to keep the plastic wrap cover from damaging the frosting. I guess I should have removed them from the picture, but I was too lazy.

I made the frosting and iced the cake all by myself. It was my first time, but I don't think I performed too badly! The only complaint I received was that I should have used more strawberry buttercream...next time. This cake tastes a lot better than the Marjolaine Chocolate Strawberry I had for my birthday.

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