The following epiphany occurred over the Memorial Day weekend, and was just as successful as the Limeburner... and it goes a little something like this: (sorry -- I worked in radio during the late 80s and early 90s!)
My mom buys canned pineapple chunks, divides them up into those cute little "snack size" Ziploc bags, and freezes them. She later eats the frozen pineapple chunks for snacks. It's such a simple thing, but it's so good! I bought a can of pineapple a couple of weeks ago with the intention of doing the same. It sat in my cupboard for a good week and a half, waiting to be frozen. It never happened... until... I was at her house over the weekend and got into her stash. As I sat there eating frozen pineapple, I realized that there was some potential for kicking up this snack. I decided I'd puree the pineapple, juice and all, and freeze it in popsicle molds. Then I decided I'd add a handful of shredded coconut. I couldn't wait to get home and try it!
The next day, I got out my popsicle molds that I bought a couple of years ago but have probably only used once. I got out my trusty purple blender. I poured in the can of pineapple chunks, juice and all, just as I had planned. I gave the fruit a few pulses on "puree," then added the coconut, as I didn't want it to get completely pulverized. I wanted some texture, dammit! I tasted the mixture and decided it needed just a dash of honey to sweeten the pot a bit. As I rummaged through the cupboard, I stumbled across a bottle of coconut extract! In went a dash of that... a couple squeezes of honey... a couple more hits of the puree button... another quick taste, and wow! Did I have something! I had just enough of the mixture to fill six of my eight popsicle molds. I waited impatiently for them to freeze. The next day, I had the absolute most delicious fruit-and-juice bars I've ever tasted... with no yucky, unpronounceable stuff, no refined sweeteners, no artificial colors or flavors... just some nice fruit, a bit of flaked coconut, and some organic coconut extract. YUM! There's not an exact recipe, but I'll estimate for you...
1 can of pineapple chunks in juice -- what are they, about a pound? You know what I mean...
1/4 cup dried, flaked coconut -- I used the unsweetened kind from the health food store
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract, or to taste
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste, if needed
Put the pineapple and its juice in the blender and puree to desired consistency. Add coconut, flavoring, and honey. Puree just long enough to blend completely. Pour into popsicle molds of your choice, and freeze until solid -- overnight is best, of course. Serve and enjoy!
And now, I must vent... yesterday I mentioned that I watch a lot of Food Network. I do -- it's the truth -- but these days, I am not enjoying it as much as I did in its earlier years. My favorite shows star chefs: Sara Moulton, Gale Gand, Wayne Harley Brachman, Jacques Torres, Alton Brown... people who cook! A lot of shows on Food TV these days seem to focus on how not to cook... "Semi-Homemade Meals," "Good Food Fast," "$40 a Day," etc... (though I admit I am a closet Rachael Ray fan, so please don't flog me!). And even more shows aren't about cooking at all -- "Top 5 blah blah blah," "Al Roker's yadda yadda yadda," "Podunk Food Festivals..." Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy "Iron Chef" and "Unwrapped" as much as the next person, but I want to see some real chefs do some real cooking once in a while! The latest campaign is the upcoming "Wedding Weekend." Apparently we'll have the pleasure of watching everything wedding -- from engagement to planning to wedding to reception. I assume there will be a focus on what's served at the reception, but please. Do I care about the weddings of people I don't know? No. I really don't. The worst part of it all? We even get to see Paula Deen get married, though I'm sure for her it will actually be referred to as "gittin' hitched." She has to be my least favorite person on the network right now. Forgive me for being a Yankee, but that accent -- it's unintelligible! "From my country kitchen to yerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs." What is that? I guess I'll just have to invest in a Tivo and capture every episode of "Good Eats" that airs. What a great show.
Sigh. I think I need a pineapple popsicle to console myself.
I was at the grocery store this afternoon, getting a couple of things that aren't at all pertinent to this post. I also scoped out the ingredients for the Limeburner, thinking I'd get the stuff later and experiment this weekend. But I couldn't stand it -- I had to buy the supplies then and there! I got a bottle of ginger brandy, a four-pack of Reed's Premium Ginger Brew, and two fresh limes. I don't generally have ice in the house, so I put the brandy and a bottle of Reed's in the freezer to quick-chill. An hour later, I juiced the limes, got the bottles out of the freezer, and went to work. It was surprisingly easy to perfect. For my first attempt, I used one ounce of lime juice, one ounce of brandy, and probably about 6 ounces of ginger brew -- the ginger brew is the only thing I didn't actually measure. It tasted like really good ginger ale with a squeeze of lime. It was very good, but Kevin and I thought maybe we should be tasting the brandy a bit more. For the second attempt, I measured exactly: one ounce of lime juice, two ounces of brandy, and four ounces of ginger brew. I got exactly what I wanted -- a drink with the tang of lime juice, the bite of ginger, and that little bit of extra warmth from the brandy. How lucky was that?!?
As far as the theory to serve this drink on ice, I decided it's not necessary. As long as the ginger brew and lime juice are well chilled, the drink turns out at a perfectly good temperature. I believe that quality ingredients are key -- fresh lime juice, of course, can't be beaten. Its tartness and spiciness just aren't present in that plastic lime full of reconstituted juice. A more commercial ginger ale like Canada Dry or Schweppes would be too sweet and not gingery enough. Look for something called "ginger brew," "Jamaican style ginger ale," or something similar -- something with REAL ginger in it! As far as the brandy goes, my store only had two brands, at the same price, so I chose the one with the bottle I liked better.
The Limeburner. Patent Pending. All rights reserved. Copyright me, 2004. Enjoy!
Oh, and it doesn't need to be set on fire, despite what Derrick thinks.
I think a lot... I think about work. I think about life. I think about food. Sometimes I think so much, I get what Kevin calls "busy head," and I can't sleep. I also read a lot... I read cookbooks, food magazines, and various and assorted other stuff. I also watch a lot of Food Network. While I read or watch food shows, I think. I'll see a recipe... a piece of fruit... a cool new kitchen gadget... and an idea will be sparked. When I get an idea like this and proclaim the idea to be brilliant, that is a culinary epiphany. Sometimes, though, something not even remotely related to food will spark an epiphany. A perfect example of this happened at work this morning...
I was going through my scripts for this morning's show, and a name jumped out at me: Jane (first name changed to protect the innocent) Limeburner. Yes, Limeburner. I said to my co-worker/friend (the producer of the show) "Limeburner -- that sounds like a recipe I need to invent!" The next thought in my head was that the name was just screaming "alcoholic beverage!" Derrick then said, "that would be a great name for a drink!" We had the thought at the same time, but he's younger than I am -- his reflexes are better than mine -- he verbalized the thought first.
Please keep in mind that I am not a big drinker. I am not morally opposed to alcohol -- I just don't like much of it. In fact, I have never been drunk. A bit happy once or twice, but never drunk. I know just enough about alcoholic products to be dangerous. I will spare you the gory details of the thought process that ensued over the next few minutes (cinnamon schnapps came up at first, but was quickly nixed. Lime and cinnamon? Eeewww!), but here is what we came up with in the end: the "Limeburner" should consist of lime vodka or lime juice (Derrick says vodka, I say juice), ginger brandy, and a good quality ginger ale such as Reed's Premium Ginger Brew. We think it should probably be served in a highball glass over ice. Hopefully one of us will get around to actually experimenting with this mix soon! In the meantime, another co-worker of ours also tends bar at the local "99," and said if she has a few minutes and can find some ginger brandy, maybe she'll play around a bit.
Oh - Derrick's other brilliant idea was to float some 151 on top and set it on fire. I told him I'm way too much of a lightweight to allow 151 anywhere my drink.
I'm pretty excited about this epiphany. Considering how little I drink, I think this sounds like something I might actually like. Lime and ginger go so well together! And I'll take any excuse to have some Reed's.
The irony in all of this...? The news story that included Ms. Limeburner was about a group of junior high school students producing a play about "saying no" to alcohol and drugs.
My name is Kelli, and this is my first blog/website. Please bear with me as I learn how to build it as I go. =) I am comfortable around computers, but I have done very little website building outside of some token school lessons a few years back.
My intents and purposes for this blog are many and varied. Well, OK, not that many or varied, but I am hoping to learn a few things as I go.
I have always loved to write, but have never done enough of it. One purpose of this site is to get back into that groove.
I'll build my autobiography slowly but surely, but here are the basics: I live in a small town just outside of Bangor, Maine. Yes, I have lived here all my life (so far!), and yes, I LOVE it here. I am an hour's drive from the coast, an hour's drive from Mt. Katahdin (the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail), and about a four hour drive from Boston. What more could a girl want?
I work at a local television station. I direct our morning news show. What does that mean? A former Air Force pilot friend of mine compares it to air traffic control. I sit at a big computer called a switcher, and I "punch up" the camera shots and tapes. I am in communication with two production assistants, two master control/tape operators, a producer, two anchors, and a meteorologist. Basically, I tell them all what to do for an hour every morning! It's a trip. I also write and edit commercials, which is a lot of fun, but not as exciting to describe. I also do a lot of other smaller, but just as important things, but I won't bore you with the details.
Now onto my main purpose for this blog: to write about FOOD! How does that relate to my job, you ask... well, it doesn't. Not at all. But it is one of my major interests. My love for cooking started about twelve years ago, when I got a bread machine. What a magical appliance! (Can you tell that I am NOT on the low-carb boat? More on that later, I'm sure.) Soon after getting my machine, I couldn't get enough of bread cookbooks and recipes. A couple years later, in the summer of 1993, I became a vegetarian. I had been toeing the line for several years, and finally made the call one day in August. As a result, I had to learn a whole new way to think... a new way to live... a new way to cook. I started buying vegetarian cookbooks faster than I could read them. Have I mentioned that I've always been a total bookworm? I guess not. Consider it mentioned. Ten years later, my cookbook obsession has become a running joke between my boyfriend (Kevin) and me -- as in "we're going to have to add on to our apartment if you buy any more cookbooks!"
So as not to bore you completely with my first entry, I will end it with this...
My main goals in publishing this blog are: to put some of my often-read but rarely "used" cookbooks to use by trying at least a couple new recipes a week, and to show you the results. To make myself write more. And to generally share my "culinary epiphanies" with you. I'll tell you more about my inspirations, influences, interests, and life in general soon. Oh, and don't expect too much excitement on this site for the first couple of weeks. I am learning as I go, and I don't have a digital camera yet, so there won't be any pictures for a while. I did, however, order one yesterday. =)