Failed Irish Whiskey Caramels

Since I bought a whole bottle of Jameson for a certain irish carbomb cupcake recipe, I’ve been wondering what else I could use it for.

Luckily, I came across a great recipe for irish whiskey caramels.

Unluckily, I failed. Apparently, I let the caramel get too hot when you take my elevation in Wyoming into consideration. Oops!!

The ingredients for the cream mixture.

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The first caramelization of the sugar.

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Cooking the caramel after combining the sugar and cream mixtures.

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I cooked the caramels to 248 degrees like the recipe said, but apparently the temperature can be finicky depending on your kitchen.

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So I ended up with an 8×8 inch hardened caramel. Doh!

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They aren’t bad as hard caramels, but what am I supposed to do with an 8×8 inch rock hard brick of caramel?? ūüėČ

Maybe you’ll have better luck!!

Birthday Cupcakes!

Last week was my 28th birthday and I had a very exciting plan for some cupcakes! I’ve bookmarked quite a few recipes on Foodgawker over the past couple of months. Many of them are cupcake recipes! ūüôā I picked two of them to make for my birthday!

First was the Irish Carbomb Cupcake. An obvious St. Patrick’s Day inspiration!

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Second was a Mexican Chocolate Cupcake!

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For the Irish Carbomb Cupcake, I followed the recipe except for two things. For the ganache, I added twice the whiskey called for ūüėČ and I added the whiskey after it had cooled a bit. For the frosting, I added about 1/2 cup less of the confectioners sugar.

For the Mexican Chocolate Cupcake, I wouldn’t change a thing! Just note that the recipe is made at high altitude in Denver!

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So the question is: are you on Team Irish Carbomb or Team Mexican Chocolate??

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‘Nawlins Baby!

So, I was down in New Orleans this weekend!¬† My little brother tied the knot!¬† It was so much fun.¬† I got to catch up with the whole family, which doesn’t happen often, since they all live back in Virginia where I grew up.¬†

The ceremony and the reception were beautiful, as was the bride!¬† Umm, and obviously, it was New Orleans, the food:¬† fantabulous to the max!¬† I’ve decided I’m going to do two posts on this trip because there are just too many good pictures to share.¬†

Today I’ll do the food, since it seems like forever since I’ve done a food post.¬† Tomorrow I will share the wedding pictures with you!¬† I kinda stole my cousin’s Canon Rebel DSLR camera during the ceremony and the reception, so I’ve got some goodies to share tomorrow¬†:D.

And in between that last sentence and this one my computer threw the hissy fit of the century, so I’m just going to let the pictures do most of the talking.¬† PS Drinks count as food :P.

First of many bloody mary’s!

Jambalaya omelette and the best garlic potatoes I dare say I’ve ever had!

We went to the Abita Brewery.¬† If you’re in New Orleans you must go here!¬† Free beer throughout the whole tour/presentation!

My friend, Adam, from college who went to the wedding with me.¬† He lives down in Louisiana and we had a blast!¬† And that’s my uncle pouring himself a beer!

And here are the rehearsal dinner photos held at The Court of Two Sisters.  Phenomenal. 

Fresh baked bread.

Turtle Soup!!  Crazy delicious.  Like a spicy tomato soup with turtle of course!

Shrimp and grits :D.  Pure joy.  I heart grits.

Tenderloin with green beans and mashed potatoes.  Also stellar.

And creme brulee.  Nuff said!

Then I discovered my cousin’s DSLR!

And then.  Well, then we ventured out to Bourbon Street.  Hand grenades are dangerous.  You have been warned ;).

Hurricanes from Pat O’ Brien’s are awesome.

Greasy pizza.  Scary.

Bloody mary to start the next day of course!

A dozen oysters on the half shell.  Delicious and fresh!

Oyster poboy with blue cheese and tabasco mayo.  I may have had a hangover and this sandwich may have been my savior ;).

Wedding reception!¬† There so much great food here, but a lot of the photos were on my cousin’s memory card, so I’ll have to share those later, but here are the ones I got.

The uber special crab cake table!!  And they were very uber tasty ;).

Fresh doughnuts and coffee from Cafe Du Monde after the reception.

Then of course there were more hurricanes.¬† I mean, c’mon.¬† We were on Bourbon Street ;).

And there may have been another slice of scary greasy pizza.¬† I couldn’t resist the jalapenos!

My farewell meal before hitting the skies back to Wyoming…¬† We went to Mother’s.¬† It’s a famous restaurant in NOLA that I fully recommend.¬† If you make it there and it’s super busy, stay!¬† It may take a minute or two, but it’ll be worth it!

The jambalaya.  Amazing, deep flavor. 

And the catfish poboy.¬† Super tasty and I just couldn’t do anything else fried by day 3, so I went for the grill one.

That’s it guys!!¬† I’ll see you soon with wedding pics!

Breakfast for Dinner

Tonight I had my stupid face on while standing in front of the fridge.¬† Seriously.¬† It was one of those moments, where you just can’t figure out exactly what you want to eat.¬† I honestly have no idea how this came to me, because the chipped beef was hiding way in the back of the fridge, but I decided to go for a southern breakfast fave tonight.

Creamed Chipped Beef over an ezekiel english muffin and some canteloupe.

If you’ve never had it before, it’s pretty much sausage gravy minus the sausage,¬†plus chipped beef.¬† What?¬† You’ve never heard of chipped beef?¬† Well you’ve obviously never lived south of the Mason Dixon Line either ;).¬† Allow me to introduce you.

King of Processed Beef ūüėČ

First you chop and rinse it.¬† That’s right.¬† Rinse it.¬† Why?

That 1370 mg of sodium is why :P.¬† It even says to rinse it on the container.¬† And it’s what my grandpa told me to¬†do.¬†

Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat making sure not to burn the four.¬† We’re creating a roux for the gravy here folks.¬† Now start adding¬† in your milk and wait until each addition thickens until you¬†add more.¬† I added half of a third of a cup at first (I was using a 1/3 cup measurer :)).¬† After the first addition…

Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all of the liquid is added.

When making a gravy, the general rule of thumb is one cup of liquid to each tablespoon of fat in the roux and for the fat to flour ratio in the roux, it’s 1:1.¬† And I always err on the side of too thick, because you can always thin it out by adding more liquid.¬† Making it thicker after the fact is quite a bit trickier!

I topped an ezekiel english muffin with mine.  So good and thick!

Maybe the ezekiel english muffin was a subconscious effort to balance out the fortuitous featuring of processed beef here ;)!   Add some delicious canteloupe and you have breakfast for dinner!

Oh, and my actual breakfast was equally amazing, but will require no instruction.  Just a few friendly tips ;).

I sliced up some bresh baked cracked wheat bread from the grocery store and sliced it up into 1-inch thick pieces.  I let them sit out for a few hours before I started.  This lets them dry out a bit so that they can soak up more egg. 

The best french toast you will ever have will be made from “almost hard enough to kill people stale bread” ;).¬† Seriously.¬† The recipe did originate as a means to use up stale bread instead of throwing it away!

On top¬†are frozen peaches thawed in a saute pan with a splash of water and some sweetener until the water reduces a bit and the peaches are warmed.¬† Plus a few tablespoons of real maple syrup (which I hadn’t added yet!).¬† I will spare you the lecture, but please treat yourself to real maple syrup and never look back!¬† It’s worth it!

Until tomorrow… ūüėÄ

Getting Back on the Horse

I mean the title of this post is both literally and figuratively.  Because I did both this weekend.  Yep.  I fell off the horse I was riding at the branding on Saturday.  I only have one thing to say.  It hurt a lot more than I ever expected it to. 

Not that falling off of a horse is really something I ever pondered before, but I just didn’t expect it to hurt that badly as I was going down.¬† One minute I was looking at this.

The next, I was up close and personal with the ground.

Basically, I went out into the pasture to help the other 3 riders round up the 40 head of cattle.¬† Long story short,¬†the horse and¬†I¬†went down into an old creek bed (read trees) I didn’t get him steered away from said trees quickly enough, took¬†a branch¬†to the arm, and it was pretty much game over from there.¬† Ground, meet Lindsey.¬† Lindsey, meet ground.¬†

I did get back onto the horse and rode on to the corral where the cows were already nicely rounded up. 

Uh, huge sigh of relief.¬† Where’s the Bud Light? ūüėČ

Here’s how the branding goes down.¬† The cows and bulls are separated from the calves, accounted for, and vaccinated.¬† They are turned loose, but always hang around to wait for the calves.¬† The calves are branded, vaccinated, and tagged.¬† That’s it.¬† Then they’re turned back out into the pastures to eat grass and¬†roam the Wyoming prairie to their little heart’s content.¬†

Here are some photos from the branding. 

The cows and bulls in a separate corral from calves.

The cutest calf ever.

The cutest little kid on the prairie and some of the other youngins.

Some other shots…

I was on calf control duty.¬† I just had to wave my arms and yell when they tried to come over to the “working” end of the corral…¬† It was hard ūüėČ

And on to the other horse I triumphantly jumped back onto this weekend! 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes ūüėÄ

Soooooo good.¬† I used Ashley’s Chococate Avocado Cake Recipe.

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients + Avocado

Results…

Lots of cupcakes…

I used Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Icing recipe.¬† Seriously.¬† Amazing.¬† Awe-inspiring.¬† Life changing.¬†

Yeah.¬† Stop poking your computer screen.¬† It doesn’t work that way.

Cupcake Heaven

I may have fallen off a horse today, but it’s cool, because I kicked these cupcakes’ butts!¬†

Now that you’re drooling.¬† I know you are.¬† Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes.¬† Ashley’s got load of tips and pictures for putting these bad boys together.¬† Just make sure you whip up the avocado well.¬† I used a whisk.¬† I baked the mini cupcakes for 15-18 minutes and the regular ones for 20-22 minutes.¬†

Peanut Butter Icing

  • 5 tablespoons of room temperature butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ~3 tablespoons whipping cream

Whip together the first 4 ingredients and then add the cream until the icing is light and fluffy.

So kids.¬† Get back on the horse.¬† Whether it’s an actual horse or the most amazing cupcakes the world has and will ever know, you’ll be glad you did :D.

PB + Chocolate Heaven

So I ate a lot of leftovers today, but one thing I ate was aaaawesome (I’m totally singing that word to myself as I type it).¬† It was not leftovers, but it is¬†something you’ve seen before here.¬† The return of the Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding :D.¬† I’ll let you hang on the edge of seats for minute to see the twist on that one though…

For breakfast…I bet you can’t guess!¬† OK, maybe you can.¬†

Yep, granola and Fage (click here¬†for the Fage discovery/love post!).¬† But I promise I’m pretty much out of granola, so something new is lurking around the corner :P.

Lunch was leftover pizza.¬† Soggy pizza is not my fave, so I like to pop my leftovers into a toaster oven on the toast setting.¬† It’s the best way I’ve found to revive leftover pizza.¬† Luckily we have a toaster oven at work!¬† Worked like a charm!

Afternoon snackage.  Berry palooza!!  And some almonds for staying power (haha, there were more than 4!).  Protein + fiber + healthy fat = Happy Lindsey!

Oh wait.¬† Dessert?¬† Did I forget something here?¬† Indeed I did.¬† Last night I whipped up some that Choc Av Nanner Pudding¬†I discovered on Edible Perspective.¬† Turned out quite well again and I threw some in a container for my lunch today.¬† When I went to eat it today, though, I could hear¬†the jar of peanut butter in my drawer quietly screaming at me… “Liiindseyyyy…you know you’ve been craving the glorious combo of PB + Choc ever since that heart breaking¬†cupcake debacle….”¬† OK, may be it was just in my head, but still…¬† Behold.

Heaven Squared

I decided to make some PB sauce a la Kath sans microwaving.  I just mixed some milk into the PB to thin it out and topped my already heavenly pudding with it.

Oh man.¬† Oh man, oh man, oh man.¬† I hit the jackpot with this one.¬† Now I’m thinking of trying to make this pudding, PB style and¬†swirling it with it’s chocolate soulmate…¬† If it works I will surely let you know!

Dinner was a grilling feast, even though another gnarly storm rolled through town tonight.¬† Luckily, it was gone by the time my tummy started rumblin’.

On the Way to the Grill

Those are elk loin steaks by the way!¬† Just seasoned with salt and pepper.¬† I’m a fan of game meat, so I don’t go all out with the marinating or anything…¬† Accompanied by mushroom, pepper, and onion kebabs, and sliced zucchini.¬† Got the zucchini idea from Katie!¬† I’d always put the zucchini on the kebabs before, but I love it like this way more!

Tha, tha, tha… tha, that, that’s all folks!

I hope that reminded you of looney tunes, otherwise, you think I’m completely nuts right now…¬† Then again, that ship may have sailed a long time ago…

The Heartstopper

Muhahaha.¬† That’s my evil laugh.¬† Check this bad boy out.

THE HEARTSTOPPER

Oh yeah.¬† That is the hearstopper.¬† Your normal every day cinnamon roll’s mutant big brother.¬† I may have had two.¬† Don’t make that face!!¬† I didn’t get my Tuesday treat and they were gooooood.¬† I’m going to stick to my guns and say totally worth it.¬† All-ecompassingly worth it.¬† So there.¬† PS¬†¬†Did you notcice that it takes up half of the plate??¬†

Worth it.

I honestly wasn’t hungry for lunch.¬† Shocker, I know.¬† I just had a handful of some cherries, blackberries, and raspberries around 1 pm.¬†

Dinner on the other hand came nice and early and it was tasterrific.¬† Yeah, that’s a new word.¬† Go ahead and call Webster, because it’s here to stay.¬† Earlier this week, I thawed out some walleye that my friend caught and tonight I decided to steam her up in the oven with some butter, dill, and lemon juice.

I melted the butter (1 1/2 tablespoons) with 2 tsp dried dill and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Bring that to a simmer and set it aside. 

Lay out each fish filet on top of a thin pad of butter. 

I sprinkled the top with Old Bay and poured the lemon butter mixture over the top.

I tented it tightly with aluminum foil and baked for 15 minutes at 375. 

After 15 minutes pull out the tray and poke 2 holes into the foil and bake for 5 more minutes.  Also, I threw some aspaagus in (on another tray) for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Looks good don’t it??¬† Well…it was!¬†

And I’m a huge sucker for fresh baked bread (from the store – I’m taking a hiatus from baking), so there was some bread and buttah!

And now it’s time to go teach some climbing to some people and then come back home to pack for camping and climbing in the canyon this weekend.¬† Have a fantabulous Friday!¬† Yes, fantabulous is another word Webster will be adding to his dictionary shortly.¬† You may as well start using it too ;)!