September 9, 2011

The Grind. (Or is it?)

Sometimes I don't blog for a while because it can get a little "same-old" up in here. Keeping up with posting here requires SO much planning on my part. I think it's because my crafty life is structured around trying to make money, and that requires a certain unexciting, assembly-line schedule.

(Newsflash: I make these. I make these, like, every day.)

Part of me envies the bloggers who aren't running businesses. They seem to have more room to change things up, creatively.

That said, after almost seven(!) years, I'm not sick of making masks. I find it almost physically satisfying, in a way. And getting to sell a really high quality product feels like an enormous privilege.

Sometimes I just want more hours in the day to stretch my wings and take on new projects. (Preferably without any wrist or shoulder pain.)

September 2, 2011

Recipe Roundup: Tacos and Ice Cream

Since this isn't a cooking blog, and I'm more of a recipe follower than a recipe developer, I don't post a lot about food.

That said, I've been tinkering with some new recipes, as well as pretty confident in a slow-cooked faux-dobo recipe I came up with a few months ago, and I wanted to share the results. The theme this time is tacos and ice cream - and no, I'm not pregnant. These are things I've tried over the course of a couple weeks, so I'm not necessarily endorsing the combination, just the individual recipes.

First, the main course: Crock Pot Pork "Adobo". I came up with this when looking for a use for leftover brine (which includes chopped onions and red bell peppers) from cilantro freezer pickles. I got my recipe from The Joy of Pickling, but there are a bunch of versions on the internet you can try. In fact, if you only get as far of the pickles, you'll be happily munching for months to come, but the pork is a wonderfully low-effort way to get a fatty, flavorful taco filling. It can also work plain with beans and rice, in burritos, enchiladas, etc. Which is good, because unless you have a giant family, or lots of guests, there will be leftovers. I recommend using an amount of pork that will suit your needs, wants, and/or crock pot size.

Crock Pot Pork "Adobo"

1-2 c. brine from cilantro freezer pickles
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/4 c. soy sauce
dash of chili flakes (optional)
2-6 lbs. pork ribs or pork butt

Pour all ingredients except pork into crock pot. Stir to combine. Add pork, fatty side up. Cook on preferred setting, for at least 4 hours. Shred meat and reserve juices if desired. I made some rice, substituting half of the water with pork broth, and it was really delicious. Serves a lot.

Now, for the sweet stuff. I recently decided I couldn't live without a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer, and ever since it arrived, I've been obsessed with recipes for delicious, unusual recipes for frozen treats.

First up was David Lebovitz's Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron, because, well, he had me at "quick" and "saffron." This was a great way for a beginner to get started, as it's indeed quick and pretty darn foolproof. I recorded some of my impressions here.

I wanted to make the saffron coconut ice cream a second time, but it wasn't meant to be - both I and the grocery store were out of saffron. Luckily, my sister-in-law had mentioned having some delicious vanilla ice cream with honey and curry powder at the Big Gay Ice Cream truck, so I was inspired. Using the same coconut milk base (times three because I wanted more ice cream this time), I added a teaspoon and a half of vanilla extract, two teaspoons of curry powder + an extra dash of ground cinnamon and ground cardamom, and replaced 1/3 of the sugar with honey. I don't know how it compares to the Big Gay version, since I don't make it to NYC often, but it was creamy, spicy, and flavorful - a nice change from super-sweet commercial vanillas.

Finally, froyo. I didn't buy my churner with the intention of making a bunch of froyo, but I read somewhere it was SUPER easy, and I'd much rather toss a container of yogurt with some sugar and flavoring than separate a bunch of eggs for the fancy custard recipes that came with the maker. Fortunately for me, the former is exactly what you get to do when making this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I scaled the whole thing up by 1/4, since I used a four-cup container of Greek yogurt. Most ice cream recipes need a few hours of post-churning freezer time, but here, the thick yogurt means this is ready to eat right out of the churner and potentially save yourself some time. I was concerned this would mean too-solid yogurt later on, but the texture was still perfect several hours later. Yogurt = superfood.