Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"Hubby Tackles the Yucca"
I think you'll find his determination (and raw skill!) to prepare handmade yucca fries quite inspiring. Whilst at the grocery store, Hubby spotted possibly the ugliest produce item I believe I've ever seen: the yucca (no offense). Lo and behold, half an hour later, we had carted the thing home and there it lay, dead as tree bark on a chopping board.
Hubby spent the entire day researching the perfect recipe and method, so I let him take the reins for the project. He began by peeling the "bark" (as we called it) off and then chopping the root into tiny rectangular sticks, about 1/4"-1/2" thick, and about 2" long,
He then boiled the fries for 10 minutes or so to soften them up before the big fry,
And then he did the unthinkable:
He fried these bad boys in Crisco for about 4 minutes.
I don't usually promote the use of Crisco for everyday cooking (though a fried treat is tasty, I have trouble intentionally preparing this type of dish. Hubby, on the other hand, has no such inhibitions), but I set my judgments aside, and looked forward to the long-term goal.
Did your sauce pan come with a splatter screen? Well, frying is the time to use it, if you have one, back in the depths of your cabinetry. Hot oil will scald you unsuspectingly if you leave pots of boiling oil like this uncovered. Kind of a pain to clean, but worth it to avoid oil burns (obviously).
After the fries were sufficiently fried (4 minutes, like I said), Hubby placed them on a paper towel to drain (ehhhh). Meanwhile, he squeezed fresh lime juice and gave them a nice coating of salt to make a well-balanced crispy-but-soft, salty-but-sweet delight.
Even if you're not so into the frying, I'd give this recipe a whirl. Dash a little lemon and garlic salt into mayo for a yum-yum dipping sauce on the side. It's totally worth it, believe me.
Here's to yucca! Yucca: Making boring meals of left-overs just a little more exciting :)
Monday, July 13, 2009
but I do my best to replicate the dream here at home:
It's never the same!
Today, I was in Italian summer mode and craving a nice big cappuccino. So, I got out my Illy,
pressed my espresso,
frothed my milk,
and suddenly stopped to remember: today the temperature had reached 105. That nice new cappuccino didn't look so good anymore.
I was melting just looking at it.
Thinking fast, I whipped out Hubby's handy cocktail shaker and filled it about 2/3 with ice, and then poured in my cappuccino. I shook the drink until it was thoroughly chilled. Meanwhile, I "tenderized" some ice in a zip-lock bag to keep my iced coffee nice and chilly:
I poured the iced cappuccino into my favorite little goblet,
Now, I'm not trying to say I invented iced coffee. Obviously, it has been done before. It's just easy (for me) to forget how simple it is to make, and how refreshing it can be matched against scorching temps outside. I got all the satisfaction of a cappuccino, without feeling like I was sitting on my stove. For a quicker approach, this recipe can be made without first frothing the milk. Feel free to throw it right in the shaker-- or not at all if you're not a milk-in-coffee fan.
Here are a couple quick tips to close with: sweeten your drink (if you like) while it is still hot. You know what a mess it can be to stir in sweetener into an icy beverage! For best results, use rich strong espresso when you can. Remember that adding ice and milk can dilute the coffee flavor we all love, so it's better to start off strong. I used Illy find ground espresso and 1% milk, but you can use whichever coffee and milk combo is your favorite.
Additionally, I recommend whipped cream to top this, and maybe a little cinnamon :) If you're feeling really decadent, throw in a scoop or two of your favorite coffee ice cream... you'll be hooked on a new favorite dessert in no time.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Hello! First, I must send my most sincere thanks to The Mrs. for allowing me to pose as a guest writer for “Life as a Wife.” I am an avid reader and one of her biggest fans! Secondly, my apologies for the tardiness of this post, as my sip and see was almost one month ago.
I was extremely excited to be able to bring the sip and see concept to the Midwest as not one of my girlfriends (and fellow wives) had ever heard of it before and the birth of Baby Nicholas was the perfect occasion. Luckily, I had help from Between the Sheets, Co., who quickly designed my invitation and from there, the planning began.
We decided to honor the “Sip” part of the sip and see and hold the event over the cocktail hour. Beverage choices included Blue Moon Beer and a Blue Lagoon cocktail (Martini Glass: ½ shot vodka, ½ shot Blue Curacao, topped with lemonade and a cherry) along with a non alcoholic choice of lemonade.
For decoration, I decided to stay simple and adorn the house trim with blue balloons,
and an arrangement of flowers was also added to the porch table.
Guests were encouraged to sip right away as they were greeted with Blue Moons at the door.
On to the inside of the house. A fellow wife, Mrs. S, shared with me a darling idea of how to spruce up a fireplace, using diapers and a fun, blue patterned paper. Easy peasy!
Additional centerpieces included a blue patterned runner from one of my favorite little kitchen stores, Times Remembered, in Pella, IA,
and a simple bouquet of white roses:
The last, and perhaps most important detail, was the menu!
Sticking to the theme, as any good hostess would do, I served items that could be described as blue, mini or baby, including:
--A beautifully arranged vegetable tray, complete with fresh asparagus, yellow, red and green peppers, baby carrots and blue cheese dip
--Blue tortilla chips and yummy Salsa Lisa salsa
--Mini spirals with spinach, cheese, ham and turkey
--Blue ribbon pecan pie bites
--Lemon cookies with blue sprinkles
--Assorted mini cheesecakes
**A special thanks to my lovely friends, Mrs. E. and Mrs. D for helping with the fare provided during the event!
I was also thrilled to use an idea from Real Simple, which re-purposed paint samples into name cards.
Lastly, to honor Baby Nicholas’ Mama, Mrs. E., who has a deep Dutch heritage, I threw in an exquisite, authentic Dutch Gouda made right here in the United States. You can visit http://www.frisianfarms.com/ to learn more about this dynamic duo of Dutch brothers from, Pella, IA. For one last touch of Dutch, and to clear everyone’s palate, Mrs. E. and guests were treated to a tin of Wilhelmina Peppermints.
Again, thank you so much to The Mrs. for allowing me to write about my very first sip and see. Almost everyone who was invited commented on the concept and said they themselves would one day like to host a sip and see. I do believe I may have started a trend here in the Midwest! Until next time…
On behalf of Life as a Wife, thank you, Mrs. V!*
*Editor's encore: Let's get another close-up of Mrs. V's fab patio:
love it :)