Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Cutest Cup in the World

This is the cutest idea I've come across in ages.
Start with your basic orange.  Score the rind around the center -- just the rind, not the fruit.

Drop the orange into a pot of boiling water.  Boil for five minutes, then remove orange from hot water and let cool a minute or two.  The rind should have separated a bit from the fruit.  Once it's cool enough to handle, carefully pull one end of the rind down (to form the bottom of your cup) and the other half up, to make the drinking part of your cup.
See?  How simple is that?  Would this not be darling for a little girl's tea party?  Or for a picnic lunch with your sweetie?  It doesn't get any "greener" than your own fruit providing the drinking vessel.
By the way, in case you're wondering . . .
. . . flaming cognac, even with  a pinch of sugar, a clove, a cinnamon stick, and served in the most darling cup in the world . . .
. . . is disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.
If you have any cognac, just pour that stuff right down the drain.
My little handy hint for the day.
But the orange cup?  Priceless.  Next time I'm trying it with warm apple cider.

NOTE:  Idea from The Pyromaniac's Cookbook by John J. Poister.  A very fun book, even if I spit out  the cognac.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kitchen Wrap-Up

Well it's been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon, my hometown.
Wait a minute, that's somebody else's opening line.
It's actually been a delightful week here at the castle.
While seeking out homemaking inspiration, I discovered some lovely new blogs , including Jeannine's Grace and Peace, where she writes about her family's Epiphany celebration (a holiday I now have a hankering to celebrate).   She is also a fan of Queen of the Castle, which of course makes her my new best friend. :)
(What?  You haven't read Queen of the Castle?  Click here to see what you're missing.)
With the zeal for decluttering that seems to hit me this time of year, I spent a bit of time cleaning out and organizing one of my kitchen drawers, discovering some napkins, napkin rings, and other assorted treasures I'd completely forgotten about.  I even put down new shelf paper, seeing as the old stuff had been in there since my two manly sons were in diapers . . . Yeah.  That was quite some time ago.

I made some interesting pumpkin-studded bread.
Let's just leave it at "interesting," shall we?

And I discovered this wonderful book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn, which I think would make a perfect housewarming gift for young people moving into their first apartments, or newlyweds, or anyone, really, who is even a little bit interested in food and who never got the chance to go to cooking school.  I've been playing in my kitchen for decades now, and I still have soooo much to learn.  In this book, I'm learning about different methods for cooking meat, and different ideas for vegetable cookery. Whether you're a novice or somewhat experienced in the kitchen, there's something in this entertaining book for you.
So I leave you today not with a recipe, but with these inspiring words from author Kathleen Flinn:
"So who says you can't cook?  Not every meal has to be from scratch, nor does everything you consume have to be organic, locally sourced, and pasture raised.  Try to find a comfortable place somewhere between Tuna Helper and Top Chef.  If you burn, scorch, drop, overcook, undercook, underseason, or otherwise put a meal together that's less than a success, in the end it doesn't matter.  It's just one meal.  You'll make another one tomorrow."
So bon appetit.  Enjoy your warm, homey kitchens, wherever they may be. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apple Almond Rice Mix

We are only a few days into 2012, and it is shaping up to be a mighty fine food year already.
Mighty fine.
From the authentic Mexican restaurant seafood dish of shrimp and octopus cocktail topped with avocado, an oyster, cilantro, drenched in oyster juice (yum)

to the homemade mocha frappuccino which, turns out, can be blended most adequately at the bathroom sink of your basic Motel 6 room (do I love my happy frappies?  Indeed I do)
to the apple almond rice mix, which can be stirred up ahead of time and bagged for your pantry, ready to be simmered later with water, apple juice, and a touch of butter for a slightly fruity, crunchy, very flavorful side dish.

2012.  Oh yeah.  Bring it on.

NOTE:  I omitted the parsley flakes in this recipe because I didn't have any.  The recipe makes four bags of mix, but you can divide it your first time to see if you like it.  Recipe kindly provided by the USA Rice Federation.