Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mexican Horchata

I got my wisdom teeth taken out on Friday, not especially the most pleasant experience in the world so I will spare you the gruesome details. Whats worse, Daniel had to leave for Columbus, Ohio on a work trip about an hour after he drove me home from the oral surgeon.

So here I am, cooped up on a Saturday with no place to go, and no one to share my misery because half of my face looks like a chipmunk and I keep getting headaches. Thankfully a friend is coming over later to veg around and watch movies with me.

I have to admit, I am getting squeamishly tired of eating mashed potatoes, apple sauce and ginger ale. I had the idea to make Mexican Horchata when I realized I basically had all the ingredients at home. I had to improvise a bit as I did not have white rice, fresh lime or cinnamon sticks. I also did not want to refrigerate the almond and rice mixture overnight as I wanted to consume it today, so technically this is my own recipe adapted from Gourmet Sleuth.

For those of you who don't know, horchata is a sweet milky-like drink made out of rice, almonds, lime, and cinnamon. It does not have any milk in it, so it is definitely vegan. Oh, and its supposed to be a good cure for a hangover.

6 Tbs. cooked brown rice
1 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. lime juice (fresh is best)
1 cup white sugar
6 cups water

Using a food processor, pulverize the almonds and rice together until it as smooth as possible. Transfer the mixture into a blender and add the cinnamon, lime and 2 cups of water. Blend for 2 minutes.

Transfer the liquid into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 4 cups of water and the sugar. You may want to use more or less sugar depending on your preference.

Using a wire mesh strainer, strain the liquid 4 or 5 times until it runs smoothly through the strainer. Pour liquid into a pitcher and refrigerate about 3 hours, or until very cold.

Makes 6-7 servings

P.S. As a kid, I used to heat up left over rice in the microwave with milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. I am thinking it might be good to eat the left over rice you made for this recipe that way, by just heating up the rice with some horchata poured over like its cereal. Sounds good to me, but I will probably have to wait until my mouth heals a bit more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Engagement Pics

We found a lovely married couple named Elizabeth and Ashley Wright who are starting up a professional photography business, Wright Studios. They posted an ad on Craigslist offering free engagement photo shoots in order to build up their portfolio. We figured, why not?

We were not disappointed, they did a great job. They were so nice and they made us feel comfortable from the beginning to the end of of the shoot. Its not everyday that you are asked to make out in front of a camera! The results turned out wonderful, I know that we will have these pictures for the rest of our lives and our great grandchildren will be looking at them long after we are gone.

I think the two posted here are my two favorites (but there are many more favorites). If you want to see more you can either go to their website and look in their Engagement section of their Gallery, or you can go and see a bunch we posted on PhotoBucket.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Attempt at Homemade Donuts

"Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?" -Homer Simpson

When I first got the idea to make donuts from scratch, my eyes almost popped out of my head. I thought, "Oh my god, how kitchy! How yummy! How fun!"

I was warned they would take commitment. These aren't something you can just stir up in a bowl and stick on the skillet.... I think I underestimated that warning as I was up until one in the morning last night making these puppies.

They were pretty good, but I definitely learned a few things:

1. I need a candy thermometer.
2. I need a round pastry cutter set.
2. I'm 95% sure that its better to fry these at a lower temperature than the recipe calls for and to take them out of the oil well before you think they are done otherwise they turn out dry and chewy instead of soft and melt in your mouth.
3. The maple frosting was a bit too thin. Next time I will add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it up.
5. These are not super sweet like the kind you buy at a grocery store bakery or Krispy Kreme. They taste more like a slightly sweet fry bread with a touch of cinnamon.
6. Only make as much as can be consumed or given away in one day,
7. These are a great gift to give to someone who needs a little sweet in their day.

I got the idea from Joy the Baker. I did not use an electric mixer, as I do not have one. I didn't find it to be a problem, I just vigorously mixed the dough with my hands when the recipe called for it to be mixed for 3 minutes (kind of a bicep work out). Also, I think what was even better than the donuts themselves were the donut holes. I dropped them immediately from the oil into a bowl of cinnamon and sugar and rolled them around. I took the donuts and the holes to work, and the holes were first to go.

I think next time I will make these from Peanut Butter and Julie.

P.S. I know the picture isn't of the highest quality, I had to take it with my cell phone. It's just another thing I need to work on.

Gourmet, December 2006

makes 1 dozen doughnuts

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.

Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps.

Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.)

I also fried the doughnut holes for about 1 minute and them tossed them in powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar straight out of the hot grease.

Chocolate Glaze

recipe from Alton Brown

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Maple Glaze

Bon Appetit November 1995

You might consider doubling this recipe and drizzling it on everything you know and love.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons whipping cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

Melt butter with maple syrup and cream in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Cool glaze until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Dip doughnuts into glaze or drizzle glaze over doughnuts.