Monday, June 6, 2011

Pecan Pralines

Growing up, pralines were by far my favorite dessert. On the rare occasions my mother would make them my sisters and I would savor each and every bite. They never lasted long in our house and to this day my mouth waters when I think of them. I finally had the chance to make them with my mother the other day and despite having to throw out the first batch we had so much fun. The following recipe is quite easy if you have all your equipment set up ahead of time. Everything happens pretty quickly so it is key to read through the recipe before beginning. It is also pretty important to use a candy thermometer (we learned this the hard way) to get the perfect sugar consistency.

Pecan Pralines

3 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups pecan halves

Begin by spreading wax paper or silpat across your counters. Bring the first 5 ingredients to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 236 degrees F.
Remove from heat, add pecans and vanilla and stir vigorously until mixture begins to thicken. Drop by spoonfuls onto the wax paper, reheating mixture slightly if it becomes too hard. Allow to firm completely and store in an airtight container. Yum!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kale Two Ways

Kale. I have never cooked it before in my life because I was intimidated. Now that Trader Joe's offers it prewashed, stemmed and chopped I thought I'd give it a try. My sister has been raving for months how amazing and healthy baked kale chips are. In the supermarket kale chips are around $6 per bag so the following recipe will save you a few bucks. I also tried a more traditional sauteed kale which turned out so good I downed it in about 3 minutes flat. The chips? Well, the chips didn't even stand a chance. They were gone before they even had a chance to cool. Give these recipes a shot; if you've never tried cooking kale before I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sauteed Kale

1/2 # kale, stems and leaves chopped coarsly
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup heirloom baby tomatoes, optional

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (adding the pepper while the oil heats brings out more flavor and heat from your spice). Raise heat to medium high, add kale and water and toss to coat evenly. Cover with lid and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove lid, add tomatoes and vinegar and stir until tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and black pepper.

Baked Kale Chips
1/2# kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Wash and dry kale, toss in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay kale out on lined baking sheets being careful to not overlap the leaves. If the leaves are touching they will steam, not bake. Bake until the edges are just brown about 15 minutes. If you can resist, let cool and enjoy.

Annual LSU Crawfish Boil

What better way to spend Memorial Day weekend than attending a ragin' cajin crawfish boil? For the past two years my friends and I have attended the annual Louisiana State University crawfish boil in San Diego. Its put on by the local LSU alumni and this year attendance reached over 3,000! Live music, authentic cajun food, free beer and spicy mudbugs draw the masses. The crawfish are shipped in live and very fresh straight from Louisiana and are boiled on site. You can watch the whole process while sipping a beer and throwing a football with friends.
My friends and I kicked it up a notch this year by bringing in games, snacks and what ended up being the highlight of the day: tequila lime jello shots re-envisioned into wedges.
I found and amazing step by step guide here and tried it out at home. It was trickier than normal jello shots but well worth the effort. The end result wowed the crowds and made us a few new friends along the way.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

currently snacking on...

Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar with caramel and black sea salt. Deep dark gooey caramel cut with just the right amount of salt. It's seriously addicting so watch out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...