24 October 2009

Blood and Caramel

I conducted my first experiment in caramel making last week. Turns out the process is pretty easy, the timing is the tricky part.

Pretty much you put some sugar in a pot to melt, heat some cream, mix them together and add butter. The problem I had was cooking the sugar a little too long before adding the cream, and not long enough after. It was slightly burnt, and very soft. But for a first try I am happy with it. And after the first bite, it's really not so bad...

The worst part was, while cutting this gooey mess into individual pieces I cut my finger on my SHARP knife. Now I remember why I am scared of them. I did discover that those little square plastic scrapers that come with stone cookware are perfect for scooping the caramel up and depositing it on the wax wrapper papers!

23 October 2009

An Exploit: The Skinny

I am in South Texas again.

I was rather dreading it because last time I was here, it was 90 *F at night and so humid it wasn't worth using a towl after showering. This time, however, the weather is a little bit more hospitable. Today is about 65 *F, Sunny and a littly windy, but what's a little wind when you're from Wyoming? It's the perfect fall day. I love this weather, and I love the sea. I wish I could be outside all day, rather than in my box at the computer.

The thing that makes me laugh about this place is: I look out the window and see all these Soutern boys in Carhart coveralls and sweatshirts: the clothes I've seen my dad wear in 20 *F weather. And here I am, thinking I wish I didn't have to wear these darn nomex coveralls, because they're too warm.

Another story:

I just went over to the trailer to get some grapes. On the way back to my box, I saw Mark. Mark came over to ask me how I eat so much and stay so skinny.


Anyway, he then noticed that I had grapes in the bowl. "I guess those are healthy," he tells me. Hmm. So what I had before wasn't healthy? I do admit I ate a lot yesterday. Every 2 or 3 hours seems like a lot when you have to walk back and forth. But I had an apple, grapes, carrots, celery, and a couple mini Luna bars. Maybe it was the tea? I don't know, but I guess it's a good thing I run. The calories in those carrot sticks, ugh!

Next on the entry menu: Burnt Sugar! what fun.

18 October 2009

Breaking in the New Apron: Dipped Chocolates

First of all I'm not entirely sure how this picture ended up this way, I accidentally hit the shutter button when I was arranging something else, but I really like it.

Today I dipped some chocolates. I found out in my library book that truffles are rolled and covered with cocoa powder, or crushed nuts, not dipped; so who knows what the last ones I made were. My mom says Dipped Truffles. I kinda like that, so that's what we'll go with.

Either way the ones I made today were "Dipped Chocolates". I made the center last night, because they have to sit in the fridge overnight. I didn't have the correct tea to flavor the cream, but we won't worry about that too much, because plain chocolate is just fine for me.

I read the whole book about the types of chocolates one can create, pretty much cover to cover. It is quite fascinating. The ones I chose have a softer center than the first ones, but this time I actually followed the directions for tempering the chocolate I used for dipping. I tried some of the edges, that were mis-shaped. They turned out quite well for the first attempt, although I think the chocolate went out of temper for a few in the middle, they are taking much longer to set than the first ones.

Making the filling last night it didn't look like much. It only made about 2 cups. Even spreading it in the pan to set. It was about a half inch layer in a 9x9 inch pan. But after taking it out today, and cutting it into squares, then dipping it I have about 65 pieces. And they are just perfect. I thin I can make a lot of friends with these. Or maybe send them to friends in Saratoga for the holidays. I'll need to find some good tins or boxes to use!

I used my lovely yellow polka spotted ruffly apron that my sister got for me in Denmark for this adventure. It looks lovely with my plates and my tea set. Now I just need some company for afternoon tea.

17 October 2009

An Exploit: New and Improved

I've spent a lot of time unpacking and washing, and wiping, and making my stuff fit for viewing/eating/sleeping. I arranged and moved stuff, and fought with the Futon, and finally got things almost the way I want them.

Imagine a bookshelf next to the lamp, and a chair in the foreground...someday.

My beautiful table!

I still have some things to put on the wall, but I need a way to hold them up.

My baking corner. I made some chocolate chip cookies today, I may go meet my other neighbor.

My bedroom is still a little bare, I need some night stands, and some other stuff I haven't decided on yet.

My little rocker was my Gramma's.

I have a lot of clothes! 15/16 of which were in storage for 2 years.

My frog bathroom!

I found some little guys in a box, and thought they'd make a good addition.

This is the "I don't know what to do with this stuff" room. Each of these boxes are about half full.

I still have a ways to go, but it's starting to look like a home, my home!

07 October 2009

PJ's Kitchen: The Design

I have been thinking for some time now that I would like to have a bakery. I have not decided where, but it will be called PJ's Kitchen and my sister will design the sign. She has sent me some sketches and I have fallen in love with them.

Probably this will not happen in the near future. I need to take business classes and save up some money, but this is my dream. I have to ask Cupcake's opinion about the red, I can't decide if I want a touch of color or not.

The Shop sign

Perhaps on shirts or aprins

An Exploit: My New Home

My mom thought I should take pictures of my new home, sans furniture. This is easy since it's not going to get here for a few more days. So far I've spent about 5 nights here with only an old army trunk for furniture.

I do have some furniture in storage, awaiting movers, and I went shopping for some of the things I was lacking, such as a chair.

In my last apartment I used a rocker hand-me-down. I absolutely hated it. It was a horrible brown with the head of a horse stitched on the back. It also had wooden armrests which were always sticky because of the finish. I was very excited to be able to find one that I liked and is mine-all-mine.

When I started looking, I found a chair online. I didn't look at dimensions, and aparently I didn't look very closely at the chair itself. I went through 4 stores before I found a salesperson I was willing to talk to, and was willing to help me. She was kind enough to listen to my description of "the chair" and look all over the store. When we didn't see anything remotely like "the chair" we looked at lots of catalogs. We finally found one that was quite close to the one in my head. So I had to order it.

I did go back later an look at the one on the computer later. It was not remotely like what I had described, but it was inspiration...somehow.

By the way, I also got a dining set.

While I was at my last rig the furniture fairies came and delivered my table, so my flat is not entirely empty, just mostly.

My Kitchen

My Bar, currently acting as a catch-all, since I don't have an entry table

The Living Room, with a working fireplace!


My Bedroom

The closet, a bit barren

My Bathroom

Guest Bathroom

And my guest/office/watever-I-want room