Our household is maybe a little lacking in holiday food traditions. For most of our adult lives we have been traveling home for the holidays and so while we have done some piecemeal cooking here and there for celebrations on those visits, we have not had as much time to do stuff for ourselves. This year, since we are much closer to family folks, we have the luxury of being able to do a little more holiday celebrating on our own. One of my favorite holiday treats is toffee, and since I have never made it before, I figured this would be a good week to try it.
I am no candy making expert but I know two things about candy: temperature control is really important and it is something that often takes a little practice to master. So for my first attempt at toffee I went with a super-simple recipe from All Recipes entitled Best Toffee Ever (sounds promising right?).
The ingredients are basic:
2 cups of butter (aka. 1lb)
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds (I cut this down to ½ cup)
¼ tsp salt
From there, the steps are pretty simple as well:
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.
While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.
Thanks to my beer-making digital thermometer watching the temperature was pretty simple, and I found that it went a little more slowly than I initially expected. That was probably good, since this was my first run-through.
My results: delicious. The toffee is not quite as crunchy as I like it, though that could be just because I have not let it cool for quite as long. But the flavor is great, and it all seemed pretty fool-proof. Looking forward to trying some more recipes out in the future (I am sure the family will not mind further experiments).
We are officially posting recipes every Tuesday for Tasty Tuesday! We love baked fries. Especially Karel, she can eat baked fries three times a week. It’s ridiculous. This Super Seasoned Baked Fries recipe is crispy, savory, and filling. Add to the side of a veggie burger and caramelized onions, you are good to go!
Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry.
Whisk oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon sumac in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.
Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and sprinkle with sumac.
Chipotle recently released its recipe for guacamole, following up on thecontroversial“leak” of Jack White’s personal recipe. Here on Cinco de Mayo I figured it was time to combine two things that I enjoy: guacamole and data. Rather than just trying out these new recipes, I decided to stack them up along with a whole host of other guacamole recipes and see what I could learn from the comparison. So I took a total of 15 different recipes from a number of famous folks, and compiled their collected insights. The recipes included (in case you want to dig into any one of them) are:
Unfortunately I did not have the chance to try all of them, but looking over the recipes you get some pretty interesting insights into the essentials, and the interesting flourishes you potentially try. In 15 recipes there were more than 20 distinct ingredients.
The unanimous inclusions:
Avocado. Probably a pretty obvious one. Most lists called for Hass (the most common US cultivar) but others were less specific.
Salt. This was the only other unanimous inclusion. Many recipes called for “to taste” levels, but those that did offer measurements ranged from ½ or 1 tsp of salt for a guacamole based on 3-4 avocados.
Onion. All the lists included onions in some form, but exactly which kind and how they were prepared ranged greatly. 2 lists called for yellow onions, 7 called for white, 5 called for red, and 1 called for scallions.
The big inclusions:
Lime. I would have thought this was an absolute must, but apparently not. 2 of the 15 recipes called for lemon juice instead, and one (Frida Kahlo’s) called for no citrus at all. Quantities varied greatly.
Cilantro. Another staple that I always assumed was almost a required inclusion. 13 of the recipes called for cilantro.
Chili Peppers. Only one recipe (Alice Walker’s) skipped on adding any heat to the guacamole, but there was a big range in preferred additions. 6 recipes opted for Serrano peppers, 4 for jalapeno, 2 for hot sauce, 1 for chipotle peppers, 1 for cayenne pepper, and 1 for chili powder.
Tomato. Counting the two recipes that included tomatillo (a great suggestion in my mind) 2/3rds of the recipes had tomato in some quantity.
Garlic. 6 out of the 15 included garlic.
Ground Pepper. 5 recipes included some ground black pepper (usually “to taste”).
The rare inclusions:
Cumin. Alton Brown & Tyler Florence both added this spice which is traditionally associated with Indian cuisine, but I have seen added in more than a handful of Mexican recipes.
Oregano. Carla Hall’s version included this one, which I also saw mentioned in passing in one or two other places. Not a bad thing to try if you want to vary up your flavors a bit.
Queso Fresco. To be fair, this is just listed as a garnish, but I think it is definitely worth considering if you have some on hand. Rick Bayless and Jose Andres made space for this on their recipes.
Okay, so big data out of the way, this is where I arrived:
4 Hass Avocados
½ cup red onion finely chopped
½ cup cilantro chopped
2 limes, juiced
½ Serrano pepper minced and seeded
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ancho chili powder
Chop the onion, cilantro, and Serrano pepper and set aside in a small bowl.
Scoop the avocados into a larger bowl and mash until you have reached a desired consistency (I left mine with some chunks).
Pour the juice from the two limes onto the avocado mixture. Add the salt and chili powder, and then gently mix together.
Fold in the onion, cilantro, pepper mix.
We grow tomatillos every year so I will definitely be trying those out at some point. But no matter what the variation, I am looking forward to eating lots of guacamole as the weather continues to warm. Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe? Care to share?
Truth be told I actually made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread with Harry last night. They came out like 2 bricks of something that resembled partially baked play-doh. And I forgot to take photos. So, maybe I’ll try another recipe for p-bread again next week.
Anyhoo…didja know cronuts are on the way out as far as trendy deserts go? These days all the cool kids are making mug cakes. Apparently there’s at least 100 ways to make cake, in a mug, in your microwave. Um, hello - the future is now, people!
Leslie here did me a solid by writing this book and enabling my laziness, so help the girl out and buy her book.
While I’m at it, this is not a sponsored post. I don’t know if Leslie’s gone big time enough to sponsor Tumblr posts yet, but she did talk to the fine folks over at BuzzFeed. Check out one of her recipes below or read the full article here for more recipes and helpful mug cake tips!
Steamed Salmon for Dinner tonight……I tried making Brussels sprouts with low sodium bacon for the first time….and it was QUICK, EASY & DELISH!!
As a busy mom, I understand how hard it can be to routinely work out and eat right with such a jam-packed schedule. However, if you want to teach your children how to lead healthy lives, taking care of YOURSELF is essential. I’m starting a challenge with a group of moms with hectic schedules who are all looking
to get back in shape. The group is going to incorporate fitness and nutrition, plus peer support with everyone on the same journey together. Best part is, no one needs to leave their home to complete the program. If you’re a mom wanting to make a lifestyle change, I strongly encourage you to join us! Message me if you’re interested.
Tasty Tuesday at the Oyster Bar: Montauk Pear oyster with citrus bloody mary
gelée & wasabi tobiko. $4 each.
#food #oysters #themermaidnyc #restaurant #special #nom #nyc #TastyTuesday (Taken with Instagram at The Mermaid Oyster Bar)