An oldie but goodie.
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Years ago, my bro-in-law went on the Paleo diet. Years ago, a lot of people thought this sounded kooky. “Paleo, as in Paleolithic? What, do you hunt for your food and cook it over a fire?” It sounded like a good, healthy way to eat, but imagining a world without cheese or bread made me sad. And then I went the vegetarian route. Cavemen didn’t eat tofu, apparently.
Now it seems like everyone is jumping on the Paleo wagon. Rachel just threw an engagement party for her little brother and his fiancee. When I asked if there was anything I could make, she said that most of her relatives were eating like cavemen! Always up for a challenge, I said I’d make a Paleo-friendly dessert and set off googling. The first hit (maybe due to my location?) was from the Austin Post for things called Fudge Babies by Chocolate-Covered Katie. After reading a bunch (okay, that’s being generous) of other possible recipes, Fudge Babies it was.
Having been born and raised in San Antonio, I can assure you that I have eaten a fair share of tamales! Often my family has them on Christmas Eve, which is a very popular tradition down here. Every grocery store has corn husks in the produce section, and some even sell giant tamaleras for steaming huge batches of tamales. You might therefore assume that I’ve made tamales before, but nope…this is why they’re on my list!
Traditional tamales are meat-filled and usually have lard in the masa so I haven’t had so many in the past couple years due to the vegetarian kinds being less common. All the more reason to make my own! Maranda provided a vegan black bean recipe which sounded tasty, but I decided to go an easier route and fill mine with monterrey jack, hatch green chiles, and cumin.
I’ve always heard about how difficult, or maybe rather time-consuming, it is to make homemade tamales, but never really knew why. It’s a tradition for many families to get together and make large quantities for Christmas, so I guess making copious amounts of anything can become tedious. Since the husks need to be soaked a few hours, there is a little planning ahead, but after that, you make the filling, masa dough, and then assemble and steam.
Less than a week ago, I had never even tried a madeleine. I have now eaten some absurd number thanks to Jill’s birthday last week. Since she loves the things, I decided to make her a batch and give her the pan. It’s kind of hard to justify buying one-purpose kitchen things for yourself, isn’t it?
Having never made madeleines, I turned to Emma’s blog, Of Agates and Madeleines, because if someone has the very specific thing that you want to make in their blog title, that might be a good place to start. She had made these pretty pumpkin spice madeleines a couple months ago (hey, she’s a string player, too!) and since she used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe as a base, I decided to use that as mine as well.
You know me…I have this tendency to want to make a recipe different even if I’ve never tried it before. Jill really likes coffee and cardamom (and coffee with cardamom), so I came up with that flavor combo pretty quickly. The only problem is that I didn’t really know how much coffee (brewed? ground? instant?) or cardamom to use. The closest recipe I could find for coffee madeleines was for mocha ones and since it used a tablespoon of finely ground espresso, I figured I’d do the same, but increase it by half. Also I started out with a teaspoon of ground cardamom and then added an extra quarter of it after sampling the batter. Continue reading
Remember when I went to that food photography workshop in October and how it was put together by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA)? Well, I became a member the following month! I missed out on the kitchen gadget White Elephant in December due to a gig, but did participate in something a little more one-on-one, minus the in-person factor!
In November, it was announced that there was going to be a first-time swap between the AFBA bloggers and Boston Food Bloggers. Two awesome, rhyming cities with large populations of folks with culinary obsessions…of course we’d want to swap food!
Who was I paired with? Ryan from This Is Not A Martini. His unusual creations include a Fried Green Tomato Martini, Roll With It (sushi-inspired), and for food science-lovers, a Deconstructed Mac N Cheese Martini. Clearly a creative guy, right? I think the Pad Thai One On and Fall For Me sound like the first two I’d try!
When I asked Ryan if he had any likes/dislikes when it came to food, he basically said he’s open to anything, but isn’t big on sweets. I had a hunch about both of these things from his blog, so started thinking of what I could send when my usual instinct is to make cookies. I got to thinking about flavors of south Texas, which is heavily influenced by our southern neighbor, Mexico! Continue reading
So my first attempt at sourdough (AKA the December Daring Bakers’ Challenge) was a bust, but I persevered! That night I started feeding Brutus the Starter again from Day 1. He developed a voracious appetite and grew so much more than in the first week!
After reading through all of the posts in the challenge reveal thread of the DB forum, I felt better knowing that others had some related problems. A few things were different this time around: I used my scale to measure everything while making the dough, and resisted the temptation to over-knead. The production leaven was definitely bigger and more bubbly, and the dough itself was more wet than last time, which is supposed to be a characteristic of sourdough. There were also a couple differences due to being in my kitchen rather than my parents’: this loaf is round (different proofing vessel!) and it was a whole new oven and slightly different climate.
I also crossed my fingers while the dough was resting. Continue reading