Birthday Crapsmanship

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We’ve been in the midst of the polar vortex here in north Louisiana, with similar problems to what has been widespread across Texas. We haven’t lost heat or electricity, and though we have to boil our water for drinking, we still are able to bathe and wash up. Our garage freeze/fridge froze, and we’ve had to discard a bunch of meat and eggs. Since we’ve been iced in for a week, we’re down to very creative meals using what we can scrounge from the inside fridge and pantry.

We feel lucky to have come out of this weather event with minimal impact on our personal lives, but it was disappointing that I couldn’t give Dan the Man his favorite meal for his birthday last Friday. Instead, I improvised. With a baguette, frozen crawfish, and bits and pieces from the pantry, I made some surprisingly delicious crawfish crostini. Using only puff pastry and some ages-old pistachio paste, I made a braided pastry as a substitute for birthday cake. I was feeling creative and proud of my make-do skills.

At least until the crapsmanship happened! We had heavy cream, so I decided a dollop of whipped cream would be lovely and festive on top of the pistachio pastry. I got out the hand mixer, got the blades whirring in the cream, and slowly added spoonful of powdered sugar. I tasted as I whirred, and couldn’t get it to sweeten up. When the whole mixture seized into a gloppy, stiff mix, I looked at the container of powdered sugar. It read, “Bread Flour.” Damn! Into the trash it went, and my cooking pride took a nosedive. Oh, well. If that’s the worst that’s happened to us during this week of crazy weather, we’ll take it!

Super Bowl Sunday!

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It’s Super Bowl Sunday! I have to confess that I haven’t watched much NFL this year, but Dan the Man and I always watch the Super Bowl. Now, it’s true that we may be doing other things while the game is on, but we sure don’t want to miss any football action or commercial gems.

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White Pizza — Easy and Delicious!

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White pizza is one on my favorite meals, and when I found this yummy recipe, I had to try it. (White Pizza – Table for Two® by Julie Chiou (tablefortwoblog.com). I credit the Table for Two blog for the inspiration, but I don’t even need a recipe to make it. All I need is pre-baked pizza dough, a bag of whole milk white mozzarella, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Let me fill you in on it’s easiness. Any kind of crust will do. I use Dan the Man’s flatbread, if we have some on hand, but I’ve also used purchased flatbread or pizza crust. Whatever. I usually make one small pizza per person. I set my oven to 425 degrees and construct a tray such as this:

This is a sheet pan lined with parchment paper with a Pam-sprayed cooling rack on top. This allows the oven’s heat to more reliably crisp up the bottom of the pizza.

My big secret, though, is frozen crushed garlic. I get the packet from Target’s frozen veggie section, and it truly is a lifesaver for many dishes we make. You just pop out a frozen cube of garlic, equal to one clove, and put the remainder back in the freezer. For my white pizza, I put the cubes in a small bowl — using as many cubes as individual individual pizzas I am making — and pour in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I let this sit for 15 minutes or so for the garlic to soften somewhat. I then mix the garlic/oil mixture and use a pastry brush to spread it all over the crusts.

Quick and easy so far, right? Now each flatbread gets about one cup of the whole-milk mozzarella spread on top,

and then the cheese gets sprinkled with Italian seasoning.

Put in the oven until the cheese has browned and melted — about ten minutes. I let the pizza sit for about five minutes after removing it from the oven. And then, before you know it, the darn pizza has been gobbled up!

Cranberry Crapsmanship

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Here’s another post confessing to my inadequacies! I used an excellent recipe for cranberry salsa, that’s a delicious combination of sweet and tart that goes perfectly with tortilla chips. Serve it with cream cheese or without — it’s still delicious.

I found the recipe here: Fresh Cranberry Salsa Recipe – Cooking With Karli. Easy enough. I used a blender to chop up all the cranberries, as called for in the recipe. CRAP ALERT: I decided to use the blender to chop up all the other ingredients, instead of chopping them by hand as the recipe called for.

I got a big gloppy mess that definitely didn’t chop the ingredients well. Chunks in a salsa are okay; big strings of onion and large pieces of jalapeno are not okay.

But I made it work. It was messier than if I’d followed the recipe’s directions, but I chopped, chopped, chopped the whole big glob. Next time, I’ll use a food processor or chop by hand. Sometimes, I just can’t improve on a recipe!

New Year’s Day Flop

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For New Year’s Day, I decided to make a dish that isn’t a traditional one in our family. So, instead of the New Year’s Day roast pork and sauerkraut that was served on January 1 as I was growing up, and in place of the southern tradition of black-eyed peas and cornbread, I opted for something different. Why not celebrate the good luck tradition of Denmark with a dish known as ebelskivers?!

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Ornament Paintings

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Our main Christmas tree (we have five!) is very tall and very skinny. Each year, we take down the art work that usually hangs on the wall behind where the tree is now situated. Every year, the wall looks empty except for the little area taken up by our thin tree. Art to the rescue!

I bought two 16”x20” canvases, and began with a layer of blue base paint. I varied the color a little and used some bubble wrap to add some texture to the blue (see close-up photo below).

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Bowwow Bonbons

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I always get Christmas gifts for my granddogs, but this year I have avoided unnecessary shopping due to Covid-19. So, poor dogs, this year they get my cooking. This recipe was given to me by Dan the Man, who has made these before, complete with rolling out the dough and cutting them into bone shapes. My dough was too wet to roll out, so I settled for scooping them onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. They don’t have the same uniformity or iconic shape as Dan’s, but by naming them Bowwow Bonbons, I think they’re just right! Here’s the recipe.

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