Saturday, February 9, 2013

Save a Turtle for Me !

Turtles are pretty cool, and I like the fact that people are trying to save the Sea Turtle.

I also like to eat turtles--the candy variety.

In one of my last posts,  I gave the recipe for toffee, with chocolate on both sides, which is really, really good.

Sometimes though, I make candy turtles. You know the caramel, pecan, and chocolate kind--you've probably eaten one or two.

I make my own salted caramel sauce to put on ice cream, so it is easy to boil it a little longer to make a thicker consistency as in caramel chews. The link <above> to make caramel on David Lebovitz's site is very informative. The consistency needs to be the same as what is put on caramel apples.  If you don't want to make your own caramel from scratch, you can buy the ones in bags in the candy aisle of the grocery store.  Unwrap them, and heat them so they are melted and soft (usually done in a double boiler).

The recipe I use to make the caramel sauce is below.  ***At step four,  after adding the cream, cook it longer so it will become thicker for chewy caramel.  This may take 5 minutes or may have to try it a few times for the right consistency.  Drop a little on a cold plate, then roll in your fingers and take a bite.

Click here for recipe

To put together the turtles, have ready,  roasted salted pecans, warmed caramel, and warmed chocolate.  When I say warmed I mean it should be thin and fluid, but as it cools down it will harden a bit.

Arrange a parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Place a teaspoonful of caramel on the paper,  then place 3 pecans into the soft caramel so they overhang on the outside, next, put a swirl of melted chocolate on top of the pecans making sure to center it so that the edges of the pecans are still showing.   Place as many as will fit onto the size of the baking pan, or as many as you can make with your caramel and chocolate.  I make small batches of 10 to 15, but you can decide what you want.

Let the turtles cool and solidify to the point where they can be picked up.  Store them in a covered tin or in a sealed plastic bag.  These can be frozen, or refrigerated, to be used later.  They will have to come to room temperature to be eaten. 

they should look like these when you are done

Sometimes, when I want more chocolate, I start with chocolate on the bottom, then add the caramel, pecans, and chocolate.  The end product is about 2 inches in diameter, big enough to get 2-3 small bites out of each one.

The turtles are easy to make and will impress your friends....if you don't devour them all yourself.

Hope your day is bright and cheery like mine,

I have lots of snow now but the sun is shining brightly. (and my snow removal crew has been here too!)


Friday, February 1, 2013

Un Petit Morceau

When just a small bit of sugar is needed.....try this.

Put some dried prunes and pecans in the food processor until chopped up.  Roll the mixture into small balls and then refrigerate overnight.  The next day,  melt some dark chocolate in the microwave just till warm.  Now dip the prune and nut balls in the chocolate and place on parchment paper to harden off. 

Store these in a cool place. one whenever you have a craving for something sweet.

Of course,  you can use any dried fruit and nut for these simple treats.  I put a pistachio on the tops of these.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Meat, or not to Meat....that is

A while back I watched a cooking show where the main dish was I was in the dark to what it you know?

I had to do some searching to learn that it is a meat pretender made from wheat gluten.  Apparently it can be found in the vegan aisle of the grocery store.  I've never seen it and I do shop that area.  You can make your own with very little trouble.

I get so curious, I just have to try these things for myself.

I found some recipes online, as well as a box of Vital Wheat Gluten on the shelf next to the sacks of flour at my local food store.  It was really easy to mix the wheat gluten with the seasoned liquid, then knead it for a couple of minutes, and shape it into some patties.  Then, I boiled it in water for 30 minutes, and it was done.  I got 6 patties from the small box.  I put them separately into plastic baggies to freeze for later meals.

The box bought at the store for about $3.00......all protein and no fat
After formed into patties, these needed to simmer in liquid for 30 minutes.

I ate all of them as if they were hamburger patties, although they can be sliced and chopped to use as a meat substitute in stews or stir fries.  To cook as a hamburger patty, I defrosted them and browned them on both sides in a skillet containing a little olive oil.  They were great!  The mouth-feel and chew seemed like real hamburger meat.

My seitan patty on a piece of bread with lettuce and other condiments

I realize many of you will not want to try these, but I'm just throwing it out there anyway.  I made a second batch later on, but baked the raw mixture instead of boiling it.  The last few minutes of baking I brushed the "meat" with a prepared barbeque sauce...this was also good.

***If you are gluten intolerant, this is definitely not for you.

Good online sites to gather information.  I got my first recipe on how to mix the dry powdered wheat gluten from this one.

The second batch I baked,  I used this site.

I haven't tried this burger recipe by Oprah yet but will looks fabulous.

If you want to get off the ground beef,  try some seitan.

Happy experimenting.....