Monday, March 30, 2015

food inspired

Maybe this all because I spend too much time on pinterest and reading food blogs but here's some links that been inspiring my foodie cravings. 

  • saw a post from Lucky Peach about Poly-Grain Mochi Waffle thought I'd try this technique on some pre-made mochi I have in my freezer. Yummm!--crispy on the outside, chewy on inside. Maybe a good base for red bean and green tea ice cream?
  • my birthday cake--thinking of using the party cake recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and subbing or adding lilikoi puree to the cake then making lilikoi mousse as one of the filling layers. Or maybe a Earl Grey cake with lilikoi mousse. hmmm--too many possibilities. All inspired by Lemon Curd Mousse by The Kitchen McCabe 
  • saw a post on for tofu fries that look so delicious. I thought maybe spicy mayo, sweet chili sauce and dash of furikake would also taste great.
still working on this one

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kind of a Citrus Day

Been looking for new and interesting jam recipe and I found this marmalade recipe I thought I'd try out, Cara Cara Pineapple Marmalade from Spectacularly Delicious. Sound like great combination and it probably look great because of the Cara Cara oranges. Cara Cara oranges are kind of coral color inside, sweet and easy to peel. 

This recipe didn't seem that hard to do and it didn't have an overnight soak so I decide to try it out this morning after a batch of Kiwi Apple Jam and some Apple Bread Pudding. While the bread pudding was in the oven I started to prep the oranges. 
Prepping Cara Cara oranges
Peel sliced and skinned oranges ready to be process
It seems like a lot of peel and was worried that it would be too bitter but this was my first try with this recipe so I was trying not to stray too far. I boiled peel twice as the recipe said. Then on to the skinned oranges and pineapples
Processed chunk pineapple
processing the pineapple chunks
I processed the skinned orange but didn't get as much as the recipe mentioned but they recommended to add as much sugar as the processed orange, which was 3.5 cups. I also process the my chunk pineapple a bit to break it down to be more like crushed. I had 15oz chunk pineapple so that what I used.
Cara Cara Pineapple Marmalade
cooking down to thicken up
Tossed everything in the pot brought up to boil and turn down to simmer and skimmed the scum of the top. I thought it may not be sweet enough but I was mistaken. I add juice of whole lemon to level off the sweetest. 
Beautiful color
It had a nice flavor, not a lot of pineapple, could add another 1/2 15oz can to bump that up. There was a lot of peel but it didn't make it bitter because the pre-boil but I think it was a little too much and would eliminate peel from 1 orange. It made 3 pints and 1 half pint. A definitely make again recipe.

I guess I was feeling very ambitious and made a batch of orange curd. I had three navel oranges that I wanted use up. I zested and juiced the oranges while the marmalade was simmered. 

Prepping for orange curd
Waiting for marmalade to be done
I used my favorite Ina Garten's Lemon Curd recipe, the one I use for my lilikoi, lime, and most recently raspberry curd. It is so easy and fast. The oranges gave me slightly over 3/4 of cup of juice and I decided to use all it in the curd. It came out beautiful as usual and gave me 1 pint and 1 half pint. 
too beautiful to give away
Last week, while my old friend, J from Hawaii came for a visit, I decided to test out an idea I got from pinterest to make mousse with the lemon curd from The Kitchen McCabe. Instead of lemon, I used that raspberry curd I made. Add a lemon-y white cake and vanilla bean swiss meringue butter cream to finish it off.
Needed a vehicle to test out my raspberry mousse
I think I'll make orange mousse for WG as he seems to love that stuff. Maybe adjusting the the cake above to be orange instead of lemon and test it out on my office mates this week. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Foggy Thursday

What a crazy foggy day. Went out for a walk but forgot my phone. My walking partner Kate got some pictures and I wanted to share them. Photos courtesy of Kate Stilling, one of my walking partners from work. You can see me and my other walking partner in the background of the dog walking pictures.

NYC and the fog rolling ©kate stillings
Ferry Terminal ©kate stillings
Looks like a scene from Wallender ©kate stillings
Neighborhood dog walker ©kate stillings
close up of pups ©kate stillings

My life as a train commuter: projects

Now that my commute gives me a full 40 minute ride with 10 minutes of walk and transfer, I started working on knitting and crochet projects for gifts and items for my etsy shop [yes, one day I'll open it up]

Sorry about the photos on this, they aren't that great. Been shooting them right when I finish them, on the train, on my lap. That is my 30 year old leather bag as the backdrop. It a gift that WG gave me when we first started to go out. Both my mom and WG think I should get rid of it. But I love the shape and size and can't get rid of it. Anyway, sorry for the crap photos will take better ones when I'm done with the finishing work.

Project 1: Linoleum dishcloth by Kay Gardiner
100% and in fun colors, this dishcloth make me smile. I think I've made at least 3 so far. I love the color combination and the pattern is pretty easy to remember. This one is a gift for a friend.

Project 2: Seed Stitch Pouch
100% Wool in moss green with flecks of blue and red. Pattern by me. Lots of finishing work on this-- weaving in ends, hand stitching the bottom, sewing in the zipper, adding the lining and finally the cute zipper pull. I have a purple and red pouch waiting for a zipper, lining and pull. Once I get these done, I hope to open my shop. 

Project 3: Crochet Buttons
100% Merino Wool in brunt orange. Found this pattern in Happy Hookers and made a set for my sister for her Christmas present. This is nice project to do on the train. I can get a button done in each direction, a set of six in a week. Great way to get rid of my scraps. I've started a second set of six out of some koigu greens/pink/orange scraps. Now I have to figure out how package them up.

My project goal is to finish one project a month or 12 projects by the end of the year. I'm also adding to my commuting goals to finish reading 3 books. Sounds pretty low but I'm not a fast reader. I usually read right before bed and I fall asleep and lose my place and end up rereading the same place. Hopefully it isn't too low and I blow past that number [any suggestion for books to read]. 

I'm currently reading Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I'm really enjoying it. It keeps me wanting to go back and read more. I may not knit or crochet on next week's commute so I can finish the book. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It snowed for J

J came for a visit from Hawaii. I tried to prepare her--gave her the forecast for the upcoming week but how do you prepare a person that lives in mid 70s–low 80s for the majority of the year for 30s and 40s with windchill and late March snow. 

With borrowed wool sweater and hat, she was a trooper running around NYC, Philly and central NJ. FYI: I kind of tortured J on our first day out, we walked 7 miles plus. Besides the snowy day, we had pretty much great weather beside being cold. Didn't take pictures of every place we went, here's what I got. 

NYC: The High Line, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge

I  think this is witch hazel?
bittersweet and tracks
9/ll Memorial
One World Trade Center
Loved the reflection on the buildings
J on the Brooklyn Bridge

Central NJ: Snowing and baking

sticking to the branches
lot of branches waiting for spring clean up
Winter wonderland for J
Tested out raspberry mousse with lemony white cake on J

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My life as a train commuter: Food

My office moved from Upper Saddle River [an average of a hour and 15 minutes drive north from my house on a good a good day] to Hoboken [60 minute train ride plus 10 minute car ride to the train station] this February and my life as train commuter began.

I tried my hand at train commuting to Upper Saddle River when the gas prices were high but that took over 2 hours a day [don't know why it so hard to commute within the state when it is so easy to commute NYC]. I gave that up when the weather started getting bad out.

Matcha Smoothie for my breakfast

I have to say food is playing a big part of this new commute. I pack my breakfast, lunch and snack for the day and a lot of planning goes into that--how to pack it up, will it travel well, do it fall into my dietary restrictions and does it taste good. Sundays is all about what is on the menu for lunch that week.

Breakfast for me for the longest time has been oatmeal with greek yogurt, some kind of fruit and a spoonful of my jam. But a bit bulky to transport [on top of my lunch] and I've been look for something new. 

That's where my matcha smoothie comes in. I've been a little matcha crazy since my valentine's day dessert. I was looking for something else to make with matcha. I found a smoothie recipe with oatmeal and my insulated travel mug that locks [I can shove into side water bottle holder in my backpack], so everything looks good from here.

I'm sure this smoothie can be fiddle with whatever you have at home but this is what I have now and it has been keeping me full way past usually lunch time. And I'm hoping I don't have to drink as much coffee now that my smoothie has matcha in it. Let's see how that goes. 

1.25c some kind of milk 
1/2 of banana, frozen better
handful of another fruit [frozen berries are always in my freezer]
1/2c old fashion oatmeal
1/2t matcha
1t sweetener [whatever you like honey, agave, brown rice syrup]

If your fruits are not frozen, I'd add some ice to thicken it up a bit. Blend until smooth. May need to adjust sweetener. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's snowing again!

Our house in the snow
And it's so beautiful. Started early this morning and it's been snowing steadily since. Suppose to continue till 7 this evening. If that's true, that's a lot of snow. 

But you know me, I love the white stuff. Went out for quick break from work [work from home means no more snow days--boo!] around noon-ish to get a couple of quick pics and I've been shooting out of my window from my office. 

Just got back from my walk--45 minute plus 15 minutes of shoveling. My nice neighbor came by and got most of the snow with the snow blower. I did in between the cars and clear a path from the cars to the side door. I saved the cars for WG to do as he had a whole day of rest and the history channel. He needs to get the blood flowing.

Kids were out sledding and another neighbor was out walking and taking pictures. But there was a whole lot of car driving. Can't they just enjoy the snow a bit.

Well after I have dinner I need to get dessert for the restaurant to fill up the dessert case--molten chocolate and creme brulee. Want to test a lemon cake with raspberry mousse and vanilla bean buttercream. Let's see if I have time this weekend. 
At the start of my day, out of my office window
My mid-day break from my front yard

Out of my office window, around 1:00pm
Smile! It will melt soon!
I took a bunch more pics of snow and have uploaded to a flickr album. If you are not sick of the white stuff have a look. It's such a beautiful snowy day: