February 19 2017

Candied Ginger Recipe

Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger. Its exotic, right? Candied Ginger is the sort of thing that you find in fancy candy shops, possibly covered in chocolate. In fact, the first time I had this candy, it was embedded in a giant chunk of chocolate. Yum!

Ginger is one of my favorite spices. In small doses, it does so well with sweet things. It is addictive! But a piece of ginger is pretty hot and spicy. Some of that heat survives the candying process; candied ginger is not just sweet, it also has a bit of heat!

Candied Ginger Recipe

Candied Ginger and Smoothie
The left over ginger water and ginger sugar have lots of potential. Potential for, say, smoothies. . .
Candied ginger also happens to be very easy to make. All you need is. . .
Ginger Root
About an hour

To start, peel your ginger root, and cut it into thin pieces. I tried to use a potato peeler, and that worked to an extent. Ginger is very woody, however, so I also needed to cut it with a knife. Thinner pieces of ginger are better. You want the sugar to really penetrate and cover your candy!

Put your ginger slices in a medium sized pot, and fill it with water. The water needs to completely cover the ginger, because its going to be cooking for a while! Cook on the stove at medium heat until the ginger is tender. This will take 30-40 minutes.

Drain the ginger, and keep a bit of the ginger water – about a fourth of a cup.

Put your drained ginger back on the stove, along with an equal amount of granulated sugar and your fourth cup of ginger water. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until the water has evaporated. You know that your candy is ready when the water is gone and the sugar starts to re-crystalize.

Take your ginger off the heat immediately, and spread the candy out on a cooling rack. If you don’t have a cooling rack, I found that aluminum foil worked decently well. Separate the individual pieces of ginger candy.

The best part of this recipe? Candied ginger cools really quickly. Within a few minutes you will be able to enjoy your new candy!

Based on this recipe – Candied Ginger Recipe from Good Eats, on the Food Network.
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February 15 2017

All About Kumquats


I love fruit, and trying out new types of fruit. So when I saw kumquats on the shelf at my local grocery store, I just had to try the little fruits out! I took a small bag of the little fruits home.

I’ve never had kumquats before. Before I saw the package on the shelf, I’m not sure I could have told you what a kumquat looked like.

So, first off, a bit about the kumquat – it is a citrus fruit, about the size of a grape. It looks and tastes a bit like a tiny orange. The whole fruit is edible, including the rind. In fact, the rind is the best part! The pulp of the fruit is sour like a lemon, and the rind tastes like a sweet orange

I ate a few of the little citris fruits raw. I just washed them off, and ate the whole fruit.

Unfortunately, kumquats have seeds. And, as I said, the inside is a bit sour. So I’m not overly pleased with the raw kumquat experience.

Kumquat Cake
I ate too many kumquats. There weren’t enough to cover the cake!

However, it turns out that you can also cook up kumquats and turn them into a nice sort of marmalade. So I chopped the rest of the little fruits in half, de-seeded them, and then cooked them up with sugar and water. They made a rather decent marmalade! I even put it on a cake.

I’ve saved the seeds in the hopes that I can grow myself a little kumquat tree. I won’t be able to plant it outside, of course. Kumquats are fairly cold hardy citrus trees, but they can’t survive cold Illinois winters! But with luck I should be able to sprout a few and keep them in pots indoors like my lemon trees.

February 5 2017

Homemade Potato Chips and Dip

Homemade potato chips are so easy, they’re barely worth a recipe, right? You slice potatoes thin, and fry; ideally after you’ve fried something else, so that olive oil goes farther.

Alright, so you don’t have to use olive oil. But I really do love how it tastes, and the chips fry just fine.

Perfectly sliced potatoes, waiting to become homemade potato chips
Perfectly sliced potatoes, waiting to become homemade potato chips.

So your oil is heating up on the stove in a shallow pan, and now you slice the potatoes. Only, slicing potatoes thin enough to get nice and crispy is hard. I can never manage it with a sharp knife. The solution? The potato peeler. It works perfectly every time. Your chips will be decidedly oval over circular, but they will be just the right thickness and very crispy.

Fry your (soon-to-be) chips until they’re brown and crispy. Retrieve them from the oil, and lay them on some paper oils to wick away the oil. Salt to taste.

Now for the dip. If you’re fond of a creamy dip like French Onion (I love that stuff so much!) then your homemade base is really simple. Mix equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise, and thin to the desired consistency with milk or whey. Then add your favorite spices.

I often just put garlic powder in my homemade dip. Chives and dill are wonder too! The ratio is one part spice to four parts sour cream and mayonnaise.

Enjoy your homemade potato chips and dip. Yum!

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January 25 2017

Heart of Palm Dip

Hearts of Palm are an interesting vegetable. They are, as the name suggests, the center of certain types of palm trees, and considered a delicacy. Heart of Palm doesn’t have much flavor by itself, but it goes wonderfully with onions. Some people also put them with salads or fruit.

This dip pairs heart of palms with green onions for a really delicious treat. I highly recommend serving with pita chips or bread!

Heart of Palm Dip
Print Recipe
Heart of Palm Dip
Print Recipe
  1. Chop up your hearts of palm. You want small pieces for optimal dipping!
  2. Mix all your ingredients together in a medium size bowl, and then pour into a pie plate (or equivalent.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with pita chips!
Recipe Notes

This is the recipe which inspired my Heart of Palm Sandwich.

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September 18 2016

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you’re going to go to the trouble of cooking down pumpkin yourself, you really should take advantage of the opportunity to make your very own yummy roasted pumpkin seeds. I far prefer home-cooked seeds, simply because the ones you can find at the store are often so salty.

Before roasting your seeds, you’ll want to separate the seeds from the goopy center of the pumpkin. This might take a while, but it doesn’t have to be perfect! If one or two bits of pumpkin get in, it won’t hurt anything.

Once you have separated your seeds, wash them, and put 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over them (assuming you have multiple pumpkins worth of seeds; if you just have one pumpkin’s worth, used MUCH less). This keeps them from sticking to the pan, and makes them taste really good!

Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet (or two. . . ). The seeds can be touching each other, but you don’t want them sitting on top of each other. You might have to make multiple batches if you processed more than 1-2 pumpkins.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you’ll want to check on their progress and flip them as best you can.

Bake for 5-10 more minutes, then take them out. Spread the seeds out on a towel (which you don’t mind getting a bit greasy), and salt.

Enjoy. 🙂

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