Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Almond Joys

Greetings from Michigan!  I brought you sweets!  

And daaaanng, these guys are sweet.  So, here's the scoop...our candies tasted like almond joys but came out looking like a real mess once we dunked them in I can't show you the picture, lest you think you shouldn't make these--you should!  

I subbed dark chocolate for the semi-sweet, and I suspect that may have had something to do with my troubles.  Even after we melted the chips, the chocolate was super thick and hard to dunk.  We kind of just ended up pouring the chocolate over the candies.  They taste fine, but make sure your chocolate is nice and soupy before your I'd say go with semi-sweet melting chocolate.

Oh, and hey, look what else I found!

Homemade Almond Joys
Adapted from Joy the Baker
(yields about 30 little candies)  
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
30 almonds
about 20 ounces (a bag and a half) of good quality semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, spread raw almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Stir in the unsweetened coconut.  The mixture will be thick.  Place mixture in the freezer for 3o minutes.  It's easier to work with if it's a little cold.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Remove the coconut mixture from the freezer.  With clean hands shape one tablespoon of coconut into a little log about 2 inches long and 3/4-inch thick.  Press the logs together very well so they don't crack when dipped.    Place the log on the lined baking sheet and continue until all of the coconut mixture is gone.  Rinse hands occasionally if they get too sticky.  Press an almond on top of each coconut log.  It might not completely stick.  That's ok.  Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate.
Place a medium  pot with two inches of water over a medium flame.  Bring the water to a simmer.  Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water.  Stir the chocolate as it melts.  Turn off the flame once the chocolate has melted but keep the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water.
Remove the coconut candies from the fridge.  Place one coconut almond log on a fork.  Use a spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over the almond.  This will help the almond stick to the candy and not fall off during dipping.  Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat.  Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate.  Scrape the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl and place on the lined baking sheet.  You might need a toothpick to help get the candy off the fork. Repeat until all candy is coated in chocolate.  If chocolate gets thick, just turn on the flame and heat slightly.
Let dipped candy harden in the fridge for 45 minutes.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  If you need to layer the candy in a container, use waxed paper to separate the layers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stop what you're doing and watch this right now!

This clip is out of have no idea.  Whatever you're doing...set it aside.  This clip will blow your mind...serious.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Good fortune strikes!

Guess what?  I won a brand spankin' new mixer thanks to Joy the Baker!  In order to qualify you had to comment on the initial giveaway post and then send her a picture of your favorite kitchen utensil.  Here's me posing with my favorite wooden spoon, which sadly, happens to be a little stained with turmeric...
You might imagine my shock when I saw this ridiculous picture of me at 7am this morning...not my best work...but hey, I can't wait to try out my new mixer!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fried Rice

I've spent a good portion of today studying.  Making fried rice is like 30x more exciting than reviewing what makes an activity abnormally dangerous or when you are legally obligated to rescue someone (answer to the second, NEVER(!!)...well, there are a couple of exceptions, but still, crazy, right?).

(note the butternut squash, which will be featured later...)
This dish is fun to eat and fun to make.  I barely used any oil, but it's called fried rice because you mix oil and rice in pan.  The rice is best cold when you cook this, so the grains won't stick together.

Enjoy...and don't forget your chopsticks!

Fried Rice
(via Epicurious)
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
1 cup leftover pork, chicken, or beef, diced
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed (plus any leftover vegetables you have on hand)
4 cups cold cooked white or brown rice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Make it!
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the eggs and scallions. Cook, breaking up the eggs with a spoon until they are lightly browned.
3. Stir in the meat, vegetables, rice, and the remaining oil. Increase heat slightly and cook until the rice is crispy, about 5 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce with 4 tablespoons of water. Pour the mixture over the rice.
5. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. 6 Season with the salt and pepper and serve, with extra soy sauce on the side.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Split Pea Soup

If super thick and delicious split pea soup isn't your thing, stand back because this soup is just that.  Did I mention there's bacon, too?  And Todd will tell you, bacon makes everything better.  So, there you have it...

ALSO, today was my last day of class of my semester of law school--good grief!  My first semester has been interesting, challenging and sometimes, downright funny.  If nothing else, I can't wait to be a lawyer!  Please think good thoughts for me as I embark on my first experience with law school exams.

Split Pea Soup
(via The Kitchen Sink Recipes)
Yield: 4 bowls
2 to 3 slices of thick-cut, best-quality bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium/store bought)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups split peas

In a large, heavy soup pot, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it begins to brown (about 5 minutes).  Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and thyme to the bacon; stir and cook for several minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes).  Add wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, water and peas; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and cook the soup over medium-low heat for an hour to an hour-and-a-half, until most of the split peas have broken down and the soup reaches your desired consistency.