Monday, May 28, 2012

adventurous living for a holiday weekend

For the first time in several years I had Memorial Monday off with Matthew and although I did spend most of the day cleaning, we did take the time to try out a few new treats.

This is caramelized rock sugar from the Japanese market, Nijiya, where we do a lot of our shopping. I've wanted to buy it for a while now(maybe a year?) and on Sunday we decided to make the splurge. It really is delicious and makes for a much richer cup of tea, although the packaging says it's for coffee. To be completely honest, I think it's perfect fine crunched up as a snack, since it has such a wonderful, caramel flavor all on it's own. There are few things I wouldn't use this large crystal sugar on, with it's fancy pantsness and pretty crystalline look.

Buying fancy sugar isn't the only adventurous step we took this weekend; this afternoon, in a fit of courage we went to a new and unusual(for us) grocery store, Fresh and Easy. I know, I know, this may not seem like a big step for most people, but Matthew and I tend to stick to the tried and true, the places that are familiar and where we know for certain that the cashiers won't just take a bite out of us.

We were, of course, rewarded for our daring and bravery with a delicious jar of vanilla curd. This stuff is pretty much divine. It tastes like really, really yummy vanilla ice cream but just not cold and painful to the tiny toofs. I think I'm going to like it, if I can figure out some other ways to eat it, other than simply dipping a spoon into the jar and then licking off said spoon. Yum!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crocheted toys

In all honesty, crocheting toys kind of makes me feel like an old lady. I have this slight fear that soon I'll be crocheting toilet paper roll covers and giant ruffly doll dresses. But these toys are so modern and cute that I just can't help myself! 

This baby narwhal might be a little shy, but once he gets to know you, he loves to play.

This little jelly fish likes to float around with a happy smile.

This little black and white puppy is, in fact, a pirate puppy. I made him a little eye patch and Matthew made him a hat. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the hat; it was really very cute.

Pirate dog negotiations usually occur over a red polka dot box, rather than a table. The life of a pirate is one of innovation.

I shan't steal your gold, just your heart.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

a fancy fish experiment

A few months back, I started making pickles because I wanted to make a recipe that called for lightly pickled veggies and, because I didn't know where to buy them, I simply made my own. My fancy fish experiment started from the same place of need; I needed Gravlaks for a Frittata topped with gravlaks recipe from my new Donna Hay Cookbook and I wasn't really sure where to buy them, so, once again, I took a clue from the Scandinavians and made my own. Fortunately, I have a newly purchased Scandinavian cookbook in my possession which happens to contain a really yummy recipe for Spicy Gravlaks with Aquavit.

On Tuesday, I started the salmon on its little journey of transformation. The curing process was really easy, and because I had all of the ingredients on hand, including my homemade Mockquavit, it came together in a cinch.

Several pinches of anise, caraway and juniper berries crushed together with a frighteningly large quantity of salt and a spoonful of sugar turned the salmon into a highly spiced and delicious treat. Well, don't forget the turning it every twelve hours or so and anxiously hoping it turns out. I think I must have mentioned to Matthew several times a day that I was worried I would end up making us terribly sick, but he kept assuring me that it would be fine. And, of course, he was absolutely right! The gravlaks are as delicious as they are beautiful. It might be more of a special occasion recipe due to the lengthy curing process, but I'm very happy to have succeeded so splendidly at making a very new and unusual, to me, recipe.