Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears - Part 1

Ages ago I read how you could make "adult" gummy bears by soaking the bears in vodka. (If I could remember where I first read about it I would link to it but alas I cannot.) Now that I'm on a rare break from being pregnant I decided to give it a try. The bears take a couple of days to make so I started them today so that I could bring them with me to my family's Thanksgiving potluck. Oh, don't worry, I'm also bringing mashed potatoes and gravy and pie. I do have a tiny bit of class.

The gummy bears are easy to make. The ingredients are:

Gummy bears

I'm not specifying the amount because that's up to you. Make as few or as many bears as you like.

How you do it:

Put the gummy bears in a bowl. Pour enough vodka over them to just cover the bears. Cover the container and put it in the fridge. Sit back and let the magic happen.

My bears have been soaking for about 6 hours so far and they've already soaked up a fair amount of vodka. I was worried they would simply melt into mush but so far they have not. I tested one (FOR SCIENCE!) and you can definitely taste vodka yet the bear still has it's expected texture. I'll be curious to see how these turn out and I'll be curious to see how they go over when I bring them to Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stuffing with bacon, apples and onion

I made this stuffing for my family's most recent Thanksgiving get together. It was such a hit that I didn't even get to take a picture of it. You probably know what stuffing looks like anyway. The sweetness of the apples helps to balance out the smoky savoriness of the bacon.

1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
3 medium yellow onions, medium chop
1 teaspoon salt
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
1 tsp sage
12 cups dried white bread cubes
2 cups chicken broth
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp and browned. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat.
2. Heat reserved bacon fat over medium-high heat and add onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook onions until golden in color, about 20 minutes, making sure to stir often. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring more often to prevent burning, until onions are deep golden brown, another 5 minutes. Add apples and continue to cook another 5 minutes. Transfer contents of pan to large bowl.
3. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, parsley, and sage to bowl and mix to combine. Add bread cubes and bacon.
4. Whisk stock and eggs together in small bowl. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Gently toss to evenly distribute ingredients.
5. Spoon mixture into a greased or sprayed baking dish.
6. Bake uncovered at 350°F until the top has formed a crust and the stuffing is heated through, about 25 to 30 minutes.

With this recipe the bread cubes stay fairly intact and this is a dryer stuffing. I don't like mushy stuffing but I think the texture of this stuffing is just right. Don't wait till Thanksgiving to try this delicious and hearty side dish.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pickled Rhubarb

Here in Minnesota you can't swing a cat without hitting a rhubarb patch. Even people without gardens grow rhubarb. A week or so after the rhubarb comes in people start trying to pawn their harvest off on other people. It's not unusual to walk out your front door in the morning and find a huge pile of rhubarb on your front step and your neighbor's rhubarb plant looking suspiciously smaller. After all, rhubarb is easy to grow and everything but what do you really do with it?

This year I ended up with a huge supply of rhubarb. I made strawberry rhubarb jam, strawberry rhubarb fruit leather, apple rhubarb chutney, a rhubarb based barbecue sauce and these:
Rhubarb pickles.

How do they taste? It's hard to explain. They are sour and tart and delicious. I can't think of a single reason not to make these. And I say that as a person who doesn't really like rhubarb. If you find yourself with some excess rhubarb this year give these yummy, easy as can be pickles.

2 - 3 cups chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 inch slices)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
(optional) 2 whole cloves and 2 whole allspice or small slice of fresh ginger or small pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt (other spices if you chose to use them) in a small pan. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour boiling liquid over the chopped rhubarb. Cover and leave at room temperature for three hours. Refrigerate. Wait 24 hours before eating pickles to allow flavor to develop. Pickles will keep in the fridge for three months but there's no way you'll have any left for that long.

So far I have just been eating these straight from the fridge but they would be perfect on a spinach salad with some walnuts and feta cheese. I used this same pickling method on cherries with equally delicious results. I encourage you to try it out. I think you'll be pleased with the results.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pepperwood Grove Sauvignon Blanc - Wine Review

I picked up a bottle of Pepperwood Grove Sauvignon Blac without really knowing anything about it. I figured with a $7.99 price tag I didn't really have much to lose if it was really bad. What a pleasant surprise this wine turned out to be! From the website:

"Aromas of fresh bananas and red apple with hints of basil and white pepper. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of Chenin Blanc, to soften the palate, has flavors of mango, melon, and fresh lime juice with soft citrus notes on the finish."

I don't know if I smelled any bananas in this wine but I certainly picked up the basil and apple scents. I didn't think it had a melon flavor (at least not that my untrained palate could pick up) but I picked up the wine and citrus. The website also recommends serving this wine with seafood but I served it with chicken and risotto and it was a great match. In fact, I used it in the risotto and I loved the flavor it gave the dish.

This wine has a nice balance between sweet and dry. It's not so sweet that you can't have it as a dinner wine yet not so dry that you can't enjoy it as a sipping wine all on it's own. I highly recommend Pepperwood Grove Sauvignon Blanc.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Relax Cool Red - Wine review

I know I just got done saying I'm not a big fan of red wine but that was before I tried Relax Cool Red. Unlike most red wine Relax Cool Red is meant to be served cool. It's also exceptionally smooth and easy to drink.

We first tried Relax Cool Red tonight and it was the perfect accompaniment to our steak dinner. A little sip between each bite of steak made the steak taste steakier (yes it's a word!) and the wine taste winier.

From the website: "Relax Cool Red offers wine lovers an approachable wine meant for enjoying rather than debating. This fruity, flavorful Beaujolais-type wine is a pleasant alternative to traditional reds."

Well, I don't know what Beaujolais means but I agree with the rest of it! Relax Cool Red is a nice red wine to try if you're not sure you like red wine. At about $9.99 a bottle it's a nice, affordable addition to a steak dinner or to an evening curled up in front of the fire.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Relax - Wine Review

Problem Girl Eats but she also likes to drink. At a recent wine sale at my local liquor store I stocked up and bought a ton of wine. Maybe that was a foolish choice considering that I will soon be pregnant (fingers crossed) but I can't resist a good wine sale.

One thing that you should know about me is that I like white wine. I know that makes me sort of a wine newbie and that real wine drinkers like red but my love or white wine fits in nicely the rest of my unsophisticated personality.

One wine that I really love is Relax. Relax is my favorite Riesling. From the web site "Slightly drier than traditional Rieslings, RELAX Riesling has a clean, crisp, fruity flavor that makes a great dinner wine, party wine or just a simply unwind after work wine."

I actually think Relax is fairly sweet. I think it's a little too sweet to be called a dinner wine. It's the perfect wine when you're sitting down to relax and you want a nice sipping wine. It's the perfect after dinner wine. It's also the perfect after the kids are in bed wine. For some reason (and maybe it's just with me) I find that this wine packs a little bit of a punch. I suppose that might be because it's so easy to delicious that you don't even notice how quickly you're drinking it!

I've seen Relax retailing for between $9.99 and $11.99 a bottle. At that price it's a pretty guilt-free indulgence. So if you're into sweet white wines consider giving Relax a try.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What I've been up to

I've been a little busy. With apple Jelly....
Red wine jelly......
Pickled green beans....
Lemon ginger green tomato preserves.....
Pickled green tomatoes....
Grapes in syrup....
Dill pickle carrots.....
Brandied apples.....
Brandy apple syrup.....
Strawberry applesauce....
Apple slices in syrup....
Cinnamon pear applesauce...
There's something very satisfying about canning your own food. It takes a little trial and error and not everything is going to turn out perfect (my apple jelly is more like thick apple water) and yes, sometimes it means spending hours working on something that you could buy for $1.49 at the store but I still think it's worth it. Now if you'll excuse me, I just took some bread out of the breadmaker and it's begging me to slather it in butter and red wine jelly. I cannot resist.