I’m still here……..

……..and I’m still having culinary adventures. Last summer and fall were quite busy with travel and visitors, but I managed to explore making ice cream and frozen yoghurt. I bought the Coolhaus Ice Cream Book initially for its recipe for “Bourbon Brown Butter Candied Bacon Ice Cream”, but stayed for the “Gin & Tonic Sorbet”.

Bourbon Brown Butter Candied Bacon Ice Cream

Bourbon Brown Butter Candied Bacon Ice Cream

Between recipes from this book and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”, I think I have all the worthwhile frozen desserts covered! I also “discovered” how easy it is to make Panna Cotta! Thank goodness for Lactaid tablets (for my lactose intolerance), otherwise I would be in BIG trouble! More recently I played around with baked meringues, as gluten free tart shells, and attempted to make a Pavlova, with mixed results. There is also a dish called “Eton Mess” which is great way to use crumbled meringues from other failed desserts!

Pavlova: The cream and fruit cover a multitude of sins!

My 2nd Pavlova: The cream and fruit cover a multitude of sins!

I finally found a recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits that works for me! Yaaayyyy!  It’s a recipe for mini biscuits, and I cut them a wee bit bigger and used butter instead of shortening. But they were just what biscuits should be! I served them with small slices of smoked chicken and I thought they were delish. (The smoked chicken is an annual Christmas gift from a Board member). My current adventure (literally, it is cooking as I write this) is ramen, not the noodles but the dish. There are so many quality fresh and dried noodles out there that I have focussed on the broth and the other ingredients. My recipe is a based on David Chang’s Momofuku Ramen recipe as interpreted by 2 blogs: foodiebuddha.com and foodnwhine.com. The former has a recipe for Taré, which is the soy sauce/mirin/sake sauce used to flavour the finished broth. It includes a whole chicken. The latter has a quick version, no chicken. Otherwise they are more or less the same. This started for me because a local restaurant has a ramen night one night a week, and it is fairly pricey. So I wanted to find out why, which led to me googling recipes, and now I understand why (the meat version anyway). First, it’s pretty much a 2-day process. Second, the broth alone takes close to 8-10 hours to make, including simmering time. Third, it’s expensive to make! If I was making it again (by no means certain!) I would skip the pork shoulder (expensive) because the pork neck bones that I used (cheap) were very meaty and still flavourful and can be used for the meal. I’m not sure that I would give up the pork belly tho! SO good!

Roasted Pork Belly

Roasted Pork Belly

I took the skin off myself, cut it into pieces, and rendered them for homemade pork rinds. No carbs! At the moment I am roasting the boneless shoulder (picnic part, the recipe doesn’t specify which part and not sure it matters) and I will probably freeze the leftovers and later mix them with sauce for a pulled pork dinner. I saved the bacon that was simmered, and we fried some for breakfast to see what it’s like. The smokiness is gone, but it still tastes “porky” and edible. I froze the meat from the chicken legs that I used to make the broth and it will go into a chicken curry. I also froze the chicken used to make the Taré and that might be nice in a Chinese stirfry. I will post a photo of the finished dish tonight, when we have it for supper. We can compare it to the luxury version, below.

Ramen, restaurant version

Ramen, restaurant version

Later:

Not as pretty, but just as yummy!

Mine: not as pretty, but just as yummy!

And finally, I got a new popcorn maker. I got tired of the hot air popper with its unpopped kernels and I was trying to purge my diet of carbs (now I just limit them), so we got rid of the popper. But recently I felt the urge for home made popcorn again, and I bought a stovetop popper, kind of vintage looking.

Whirley  Pop

Whirley Pop

I love it! I used only 1 teaspoon of oil for 1/8 cup of kernels, which gave me a full popper and virtually NO unpopped kernels! Then I got creative and ended up with a panful of this:

Chocolate drizzled salted caramel corn

Chocolate drizzled salted caramel corn

Good thing we had company! Til next time……

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