Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I'm starting off the new year with some visiting family--niece arrives today. Then my sister and bil arrive in 4 days. They are all coming into some cold weather but then are off to drive up to almost Canada [upstate NY] where it looks like it will be a winter wonderland for them. 

Hope I can get my niece to help me out and make some macarons and maybe even try out the giant bread maker to make up some mochi. Speaking of mochi, I better soak that rice.

Hope the New Year brings more pictures of things I've been making and doing. Or at least non blurry pictures from my new camera. 

Have a great New Year's Eve and a great year to come!

Knitting away

this fall into winter, just been in the mood. I guess I picked patterns that have kept my interest and can withstand my constant stopping and starting due to my crazy schedule. I wanted to show off what I've gotten done. Still need finishing and block [blah!] but I'm still pretty happy of my accomplishments.

Romney Wool Hat
Got this wool from the NJ sheep and fiber festival this fall. It was from a local farm-Black Walnut Farms, that hand spun and naturally dyed yarn and it passed the itchy test. I figure it would make a great winter hat to keep WG head warm. This is the Big Rib Thank You hat from purlbee. 
rommney wool hat

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My last vacation day of the year

that was Friday wasI spent most of it baking, prepping and cleaning. I started off baking for the restaurant; cheesecake and coffee creme brulee. Our staples at the restaurant. 

Once that was done I started on prepping for today, a day of baking and jamming. 

First up swiss buttercream for my second attempt at macarons. A little of a disaster as it just wasn't coming together. My butter was too cold. looked like it crudled. After a little bit a reasearch [thank you  Confections of a Foodie Bride], I got it to work. I'm thinking vanilla macarons with vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam [another thing I worked on].

Next up was to slice up the meyer lemons for my marmalade. Needed to sit over night in water. That's on my stove at moment. This is for holiday gifts. I made this last year for the restaurant. I'm working off this recipe from One Green Generation, made a few adjustments, let's see how it comes out. Here's a pic of it cooking away.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Then raspberries for jam. I do my jam in 2 parts. I boil up my jam and melt the sugar then let the fruit sit overnight in the sugary syrup. Then next morning I cook it up. I don't know I think I get better result from this method. As a mention before, I'm think of using the jam for my 2nd attempt at macarons. I got 3 8oz bottles from 1 1/2lb. of raspberries. I even ran it through a food mill to get most of the seeds out. Maybe one of the jars will be a holiday gift.
3 bottles of raspberry jam
While the raspberries were on the stove, I mixed up a batch of cream cheese frosting, for some cupcakes I'll bake today or tomorrow. Need to be prepared.

And last but not least, I roasted my last batch of sweet potatoes I got from the farmers market. I'm still deciding what to make with these potatoes, pie or doughnuts?

Mixed in with kitchen madness is constantly wiping and washing. My hands are so chapped and dry even with my new re-moisturizing method--coconut oil. I got a big bottle of it from Costco. Been reading about for a while. Mainly about how get it was for dry scalp which I suffer from during the winter. I figure I try and and see how it works out. I'm giving it time so I'll give you my review in a couple of months.

Oh--I forgot to mention I made some persimmon jam last week. I wanted to try it as my mom really loves persimmons [kaki in japanese]. I over cooked it and it looks very dark [sad though I love the bright orange color of the persimmon] but has an intense flavor and so sweet. I made 3 lbs of kaki with 5 1/2 cups of sugar. I think next time, I'll minus 1/2 cup of sugar and wait slightly longer so the kaki is a little more soft, so I don't over cook. Got 4 1/2 8oz bottles. I think it's okay on a great piece of bread toasted with butter. I know a couple of people who love persimmons so I get their review.
4 bottles of Kaki jam

I'll better go. My marmalade is cooking on the stove now. My house smells of meyer lemons. I think I should get tons at least 6 bottles. Thinking of bring out of retirement, my chai cupcakes with marmalade filling and cardamon spice cream cheese frosting for the restaurant. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

After the flood . . .

from my clogged drain, I left for NYC with Miss C, for our two audition adventure. 

Here's a little back story on Miss C. From Hawaii, senior in high school, daughter of good friend since middle school. Here for two audition to get into college dance programs. Volunteered my time since vacation time available, had nothing planned and on top of that her Mom and Dad had taken multiple trips up to the Mainland this year. As long as she [Miss C] was okay with it, I was in.

Audition 1: in NYC @ one of the prestigious modern dance company with BFA program with very good university in NYC.

My job was to get her to the audition, wish her luck and pick her up after she was done. Didn't need to wait around as it was all day.  Talk about tough. 

Didn't have anything planned for the day. I figured I'd go to a museum then just walk around. The first thing I wanted to get over to Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center. Been want to try it out for a while. Only problem, not hungry, so I got an ice coffee [in the corner of my eye, I see macarons-hmmm, breakfast] and planned out my day. 

Bouchon Bakery must have a good write up somewhere in international guide book as there were tons of European tourist around me, I could hear French, Spanish and Germay being spoken around me. 

My plan for the day was a walk through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum. Here's a shot from my walk.

On my way to the MET

Lunch at the MET then the special exhibits, [the George Bellows exhibit was great]

Afternoon Sky
On my way back to pick up Miss C., the sky was so beautiful and dramatic. I'm sure this doesn't do it justice.

Knitting in Central Park

I did have some time to kill so I stop to have a drink at a cafe in park and to do a little knitting. It was pretty warm out and great to sit and knit.

Bouchon Bakery Macarons
Then I made a quick stop at Bouchon Bakery for some macarons [chocolate, caramel, pistachio, lemon/cassis, pistachio my favorite as it is missing from the shot]. A little treat for Miss C for her long audition day.

We decided to stay in the NYC for one night to be near to Penn Station so it would be easier to get LIRR very early on Tuesday. 

Audition 2: in Long Island @ small university in a beautiful community 45 minutes by LIRR

This audition was a half a day. Campus nice and manageable. I sat around knitting as the audition was going on. Chatted with a Dad waiting for his son and some of the staff. Got a lot of knitted done in the time. 

Miss C and Tabata Noodles
Once we got back to the city, I suggested we go to get some ramen @ Tabata Noodles. This is her mom family name and I thought it would be fun to send of pic of her in front of the restaurant. 

So this is how I found this place OR this is what happen when you google too much. I some how found my way to a review and it said it was pretty good and on our way to the bus terminal. So why not. We both got a big bowl of Miso Ramen. It was perfect for end to our two audition adventure. Good luck Miss C. I hope you get into the one you want. 
Miso Ramen

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My week off from work

Continued with drainage problems. Been trying to deal with the blockage for a few days and final talked WG into calling someone. So I decide to call this big company that deal with clogged drains. It says it right in their advertisement. Simple, right. Well, they came and gave me an estimate of eight hundred and some odd dollars and need to 2 men.  WG was beside himself--told me to cancel the appointment. I called a friend who is a plumber [but doesn't do clogged drains] and asked if that sounded right. Of course it isn't right but how am I suppose to know I'm. I don't do plumbing and I just wanted a clear drain.

In the meantime, WG wants to try out one more thing. Oh, by the way, did I mention we have a house guest at our house. So while she was catching up on her sleep, we try out his other method--doesn't work and POINT 1: add more water to the blockage. It didn't seem to work. Need to call someone else. Then POINT 2: my house guest wakes up and goes into the shower, I wasn't exactly sure what would happen, but I thought I would be able to handle after she was done. A little bit of cleaning up. Wrong. It was total floodage in downstairs bathroom. Picture this, me shoveling buckets of water into two trash cans like a wild lady. Not a pretty site as I've been cleaning that stupid downstairs bathroom for the past several days. There was a lot of cursing involved.

So to make this long story shorter, finally got a plumber to fix clog. It cost us a 1/4 of what the big company wanted and took only an hour.  At the end of this story and my POINT 3: never add more water to clog and think it won't be worst that it is and don't call that big company they only want to suck you dry in your wallet not you drain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More recipe testing

Testing out Martha's recipe for Creme Brulee. Need to pass WG's taste test. Comparing to what we had in Lausanne this August.


Just out of the oven and cooling. Then into the refrig for more cold rest. Looks okay, smell good. Hope it passes. 

Trying out a new chocolate pudding recipe from Cook's Country. Let you know how that turns out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I did on my Thanksgiving break

My thanksgiving consisted of working on my holiday gifts while watching Castle marathon all day. Then a little cooking for dinner, steak and some steam broccoli [so sweet and tender] from the farmers market. Wanted to try out a new chocolate pudding recipe, but I was just too lazy start something new after our early dinner.

Holiday Gifts
The gifts that I was working are for the family. Started two things at the same to keep my interest going. Knitted gifts are a bit tough when you have 3 knitters and a crocheter in the family [on top of that a sister who is a great knitter]. But I've been in the mood to knit lately and I thought I better take advantage of it. I made a second bandana cowl for WG with some left over yarn [he found a crochet knight's helmet, that he wants me to make for him. Yes, I said knight's helmet. Need to get the pattern will try and start after making my gifts.] 

Working on a cotton bamboo lace-y scarf in a coral. Using the yarn I got in May when my family was here. We went to the Lion Brand Outlet and picked up a few things [few. . .hehe]. The pattern is the Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery from Been want to knit something in bamboo for a while. It has a nice drape to it, looks nice in this pattern.
Ribbon Lace

The other project I started is a cowl in red merino wool. Maryse cowl by Amy Christoffers from Knitscene, Winter 2012 Something warm and cozy. The pattern is pretty easy, have ripped it out totally yet.
red cowl