Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Day Fondue

We think this is our 3rd year making fondue for Valentine's Day dinner with our kids. It is not necessarily the easiest dinner to make, because the clean up requires cleaning a lot of dishes.

When we served the fondue, I created a double-boiler with a small slow cooker. On the table, I set the slow cooker on low and added a little boiling water. I set a slightly larger metal bowl into the crock. I poured the finished sauce into the metal bowl to keep warm while we ate it.

Cheese Fondue

Recipe 1 garlic clove
150ml white wine (2/3 cups)
2t corn starch
400g shredded cheese (320g cheddar + 80g mozzarella) (total 4 cups)
pinch nutmeg (optional)

Dippable suggestions: broccoli, carrots, bread, tortilla chips, apples, cooked sausage
  1. Break the garlic in the pot & rub it around on the bottom and sides of a cool pot. Leave the garlic in the pot or throw it out. You choose.
  2. Mix the wine & corn starch in the pot. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the cheese to the warm wine. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. Optionally, add the nutmeg.
  5. Serve the cheese.

Chocolate Fondue

Recipe8oz heavy cream
12 oz chopped chocolate
pinch of salt

Dippable suggestions: graham crackers, large marshmallows, cookies, strawberries, apples, macaroons
  1. Heat the cream over medium-low heat. When it is very warm, but not simmering, add the chocolate
  2. Mix thoroughly until a smooth mixture.
  3. Add salt and mix to combine
  4. Serve the chocolate.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mocha Popcorn

I'm continuing the theme of popcorn posts with my sturdy Back to Basics Popcorn Popper. Food Network magazine released a mini recipe book of 50 different popcorn recipes. My last posting was Chocolate & Peanut Butter Corn. That recipe used a honey-based sauce and opened up an idea for a new recipe. Co-worker Mercedes challenged me to make a coffee-flavored popcorn. I could not think of a way to get that flavor on the popcorn without soaking it. Since chocolate is awesome, I used it in the sauce, so I present to you Mocha Corn.

Mocha Corn Heat 1 cup honey, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup instant coffee powder, and 1 cup cocoa powder over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour over 16 cups hot popcorn and toss. Spread on baking sheets and let cool. 

Since the first time I used this sauce, I learned that the popcorn will soften because of the honey pulls the moisture from the air. This makes the popcorn soften. To dry out the popcorn, simply lay it out on a cookie sheet in an oven set at 200° for about 5 - 10 minutes. You are trying to dry out the popcorn. Watch the food so it doesn't burn. Take it out and let it cool.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Amish Friendship Bread

About 10 days ago, a coworker asked if I wanted some Amish Friendship Bread starter, which I happily accepted. If you have not had the opportunity to receive a starter, then you have, unfortunately, been missing out. The starter is used to raise a simple & light quick bread.

I took my one bag of the starter and hugged it and petted it and squeezed it and named him George. Oh wait, that is something else. My 10 days are over. I will give the starter one more feeding and then divide it up so I can take the bags to my friends at Parenting With Purpose (my Sunday school class). I also baked my bread.

Below is a recipe I pulled from the Internet. I will give this recipe with the starter when I give it to my 3 friends. (I think I have more than 3 friends, but it is not confirmed.)

Amish Friendship Bread is not just a delicious and sweet bread, it's also a way to bond friends by sharing countless loaves of bread baked in different kitchens - and it all began from the same bowl of simple ingredients. Choose a few friends and start this wonderful tradition; they'll thank you for it!

Important Notes:
Do not refrigerate.
Avoid metal during the 10 day feeding period. No metal bowls or spoons until bake day.
If air gets in the bag, let it out. It's normal for the batter to rise and bubble as it ferments.

Amish Friendship Bread Schedule

Day 1 - Receive your starter. Nothing to do.
Day 2 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 3 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 4 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 5 - Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 6 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 7 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 8 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 9 - Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 10 - Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Create bags for your friends by putting 1 cup of the starter into new bags. Write today's date on the bag. You should have 3 bags, but don't be surprised if you have more. Reserve 1 cup for you to bake. When you give the bags to your friends be sure to give them these instructions.

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

Prepare your loaf pans by greasing them with butter and sprinkling sugar to coat the pans. Combine in a medium bowl:
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup starter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 large box of vanilla instant pudding
(optional) 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts.

Mix by hand until well blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans. An option is to sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar & cinnamon on the batter before baking it. Bake at 325° F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans. Makes two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread.