Thursday, May 28, 2015

43 New-to-Me ... #16 Birne Spirituose

New-to-me food #16 was actually a gift to Steve and me from his sister's travels. It was a metal can, the size and shape of a tuna can. Unlike tuna, whatever was inside sloshed like a liquid. The label was entirely in German. I recognize about 20 words in German, including birne (pear). It turned out that the can held pear liqueur.

We opened it on the first night of our Easter trip to Bear Valley. The liquid was a beautiful gold color and there was a single cube of pear in the can. It smelled strongly of pear.

I kinda liked it and gave it a 5. The flavor was strong and tasty, but the chunk of pear and floating bits were off-putting. I think if we'd had cheesecloth or something similar with us to strain out the bits, I would have liked it even more. Jonna didn't like it nearly as much as I did, giving it a 3. Steve gave it a 2 and rejected it after drinking half. I finished his. Maybe I should have given it a 6...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

43 New-to-Me ... #15 Cake Rusk

I've been having a great time strolling through ethnic markets looking for new-to-me foods to try. It feels a little strange buying something with no clue how it's supposed to be prepared, what it's made of, and what it will taste like. Many of the wrappers in ethnic markets are at least partially in English, but not all of them. And, of course, things like produce don't have packaging at all. I can only guess about what I'm buying and how it's eaten until I get home and Google it. 

Of course, that's the fun of 43 New-to-Me

The 15th food I tried came from an Indian market and was labeled 'Product of Canada.' It was called Almond Cake Rusk and, based on the ingredient list, seemed like a pretty standard cake-like dessert. However, the package rattled, which is unusual behavior for cake. For that matter, it's unusual for cake to be in a plastic package in the first place. I was intrigued.

Well, as it turns out, cake rusk is slices of twice-baked yellow cake (in this case, with almonds) that is dry enough to rattle in the package. Think biscotti, but a bit sweeter and more cake-like in flavor. I LOVE biscotti and it turns out that I LOVE cake rusk too.

I bought it to my sister's house and opened the package for everyone to try. Most everyone was 'meh' about it; they finished their pieces but didn't go back for more. The general consensus was that the moistness is the best part of cake. I disagree (and so apparently did my nephew Timothy, who went back at least twice for more). I gave the almond cake rusk a 10 out of 10. Now that I know about cake rusk, I'm going to be on the lookout for other flavors!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

43 New-to-Me ... #14 Soan Papdi

The final new-to-me food that I tried with my former coworkers was a dessert called soan papdi ("traditional Indian flaky sweets with almonds and pistachios," according to the box.) 

To call these "flaky" was a bit like calling water wet. This odd dessert was essentially a big stack of flakes balanced on top of each other. How on earth they took the gorgeous photo on the box is a complete mystery to me. It was very tricky getting them out of the package even partially intact. Most of us ate ours with a spoon because it simply wouldn't hold together into the finger food we'd assumed it would be.

However, despite flaking into a pile that looked not unlike fish food, the soan papdi was DELICIOUS. It was sweet, but not too sweet, with the perfect amount of almond and pistachio flavor, with just a hint of cardamom. It literally melts in your mouth. Three of us gave it a 9, one an 8 and one a perfect 10.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Flower Cards

This weekend was the 4th anniversary of my goddaughters' baptisms. I like to give them a little special something each year for the occasion. I made some simple flower cards this time.

Inside, I tucked a few dollars with instructions to buy something beautiful for their garden. My hope is that as their chosen plant blooms and grows, they'll be reminded of their baptism and their lifelong growth as children of God.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I made broccoli-cheese soup for dinner the other night. It was good.

Trevor said it was good enough that I should take a picture and put it on the blog with an actual recipe so that I could make it again just like it was. I have a bad habit of making something tasty and not being able to duplicate it later because I rarely follow recipes and don't write down what I do when I wing it. So, here's my best attempt at writing down what I did. It's a big batch - enough for the three of us for 3 nights.

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

                            2 T. butter                                 5 c. water
                            1 c. chopped onion                     3 c. broccoli
                            2.5 lbs. cubed potatoes              4 c. shredded cheese
                            1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon         cubed ham or croutons to garnish

Melt butter in a large pot. Saute the onion in the butter until it is soft and golden. Add the cubed potatoes, the bouillon, and 4 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. While the potato mixture is cooking, chop the broccoli into small pieces. Put the remaining cup of water and the chopped broccoli into a microwave-safe container, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green and softened, but not mushy. Pour the broccoli and the cooking water in with the potatoes. While still over the heat, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 3 c. of the shredded cheese (I used colby-jack). Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining shredded cheese, plus cubed ham or croutons.