Saturday, December 28, 2013

On my walk

I decide to start walking [maybe some running] to work out my stress. So I thought I'd take pictures of something on my walks.

Today was beautiful for a walk. Here's a couple shots.

Friday, December 27, 2013

I finished it . . .

on Christmas day. Weaving in all the ends, now just to send it out. I need to make one more item for the package and then off it goes. 

It started out looking like a mound of garter stitches. 

It got bigger and bigger 

Till the finished product. I think the picot edging adds some fun to it.  100% cotton bath mat. Handmade and washable. The pattern Muriwai Bath Mat is from Knit 2 Together by Tracey Ullman/Mel Clark. I didn't block this piece. If I did, they wouldn't get till who know when.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cookie Butter

or Speculoos. Seems like all the rage. It's a bit sweet for me but used up my bottle making some cookies for my holiday baking. Adjusted recipe from one of my old favorite cookbook. A friend wanted the recipe so I thought I'd share with everyone. They make a real sturdy crispy cookie good for traveling or sending in a care package.

Cookie Butter Cookies
adapted from Favorite Island Cookery Book II, Peanut Butter Cookies

Bake 325ยบ
Time: 15–20 minutes

3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.

1 c butter, soften
1 c light brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 c cookie butter

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla then eggs, one at time till blended well. Mix in cookie butter. Then add dry ingredients, do not over mix. Make 1" balls and place on cookie sheet, lined with parchment, 2" apart. Use a fork to flatten cookie, making a crisscross pattern. Bake until light brown.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Store in air tight container.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My, oh my, I'm so busy!

And I haven't posted for a month. Thought about it . . . hmmm, should I post or watch continue to watch Homeland . . . hmmm. 

That's what happens when you learn how to use your cable box and see what kind of free stuff you can watch. Now, I'm suck into Homeland and I need to make it stop. If only Homeland would make want to exercise at the same time. You know like a combination Homeland and Insanity workout. 

I've been really busy and not with baking stuff. Been working late at my job-job. Thank goodness, I was smart enough to ask if I could work from home Thanksgiving week.  On Monday and Tuesday, I put in 12 hour+ days only stopping when WG came home from the restaurant. But I have been making . . .

"WHAT?" you asked

Lilikoi Tea Cupcakes with Lilikoi Jelly filling and cream cheese frosting
that lilikoi filling peaking out under the frosting

Using stuff that I got and made from Hawaii--Lilikoi tea and Lilikoi Jelly. The jelly looks a bit scary--like an experiment gone bad. A dark almost black color. But don't let that fool you it is soooooo good. {see my post on the making of the lilikoi jelly} Found some frozen passion fruit at my supermarket and will be testing out some lilikoi [now do I really call it lilikoi if I got it from the frozen food section my suburban supermarket?] curd next. Maybe I'll try some lilikoi bars. 
All filled with goodness
So these cupcakes are version of my earl grey cupcakes with orange marmalade filling. The jelly was a little loose so I heated it up and add some cold butter to thicken up. Tested out at work first, it was a thumbs up. Then made a batch for the restaurant.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Passion for Lilikoi

Guess what's in these jar. Gold to me!

In my quest for ideas to bring back to the restaurant, I knew I would find some ideas for Lilikoi [passionfruit] because:
  • I had a jamming date with my girlfriend and her daughter to make a batch with lilikoi from her mom's yard [reason one to move back to Hawaii, you can grow lilikoi in your yard]
  • It's one of my favorite flavors; tart and bright
  • It's exotic enough to spur some interest from my customers
I wish I had some pictures of lilikoi but I don't. Here's some facts that I learned about it on my trip:
  • the purple ones are sweeter than the yellow ones.
  • the purple ones start out green
  • they are not native to Hawaii and are invasive [learned this after talking to UH extension people at the KCC farmers market. See how informative the farmers markets are. I love farmers markets. Wish I didn't have to wait till May till my favorites open up again.]
  • my mom is as crazy about them as I'm
My jamming date starting off with dinner at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Waipahu. Once again, bad, no photos of food but I had great dish--pork with green sauce [not the real name Mr. A order for me as we were having the same thing]. Lots of garlic.

Then off to make the jam/jelly. Brought with jamming stuff that was needed; bottle lifter, funnel, jars . . . but the most important--pectin because lilikoi doesn't have much. Looked high and low for the Pomona stuff but could find first in NJ and then in HI and on top of that I only could get powder not liquid. So as you can see we were a little off from the start. 

After a couple of search on how to use powder pectin as sub for liquid we got started. We de-seeded [Mrs. A had scooped out the pulp and threw in the freezer] the pulp and started our jamming. We used this recipe from my lilikoi kitchen

STOP! We don't have enough sugar. Well, really, we can't stop because we were in the middle of it. What to do? Then we see the big bag of coconut palm sugar on the counter. 

So this is how our batch of lilikoi jelly became this darkest [almost black] and really delicious jelly [it is suppose be this beautiful bright yellow jelly] . A little bit scary when you first look at it. The coconut palm sugar gave is a slightly caramelized flavor. And it is suppose to be better for you than white sugar. Either way it is GOOD!

The jelly was a little loose but I had different plans from batch. But how bad could it be on great slice of toasted rustic bread with butter. Hmmmmm. Mr. A used on top of his ice cream. I think we can start a trend of this dark mysterious jelly. 

So now I'm hook and need to find lilikoi up in NJ. Probably frozen but good why to test out my skill before the next time I get out to Hawaii to whip up a batch. In my endless search about all things lilikoi, I found this leaflet of recipes from University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service from 1955 for award winning lilikoi recipes. I can't wait to try some.