Fig Bars

We made home-made fig bars today, from scratch. Nice recipe we found with some modifications. We used fresh figs instead of dried figs to make the filling, we cut down the sugar and we didn’t run anything through a food processor. Super nums!

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Organic dark chocolate wars, part 1

We got some organic dark chocolate bars today. From left to right we have Grenada 71%, Rapunzel 70%, and Equal Exchange 71%.

First let’s look at the packaging. The Rapunzel bar has an old-school foil inner wrapper, giving it a story-book Wonka bar sort of feel (never mind that real-world Wonka bars are horrific blocks of cheap sugar and artificial chocolatey flavor). Next, the Equal Exchange bar has a somewhat disappointing plastic inner wrapper. The Grenada bar has a fairly standard foil-covered paper inner wrapper.
Now let’s break off a chunk of each bar to check for texture. Really, they all had about the same texture in this test. Pretty satisfying all around. Now the fun part: the taste test!
First we tasted the Rapunzel bar. Pretty good, with fruity undertones, but a bit tart for my palette. It’s hard to eat more than a few squares at a time.
Next, the Equal Exchange bar. Yum!  This is what chocolate tastes like. I could eat the whole thing right now.
Finally, the Grenada bar. Again, pretty good (after all, it’s chocolate) but it doesn’t balance out quite right.
Conclusion?  Despite the somewhat lame wrapper, the Equal Exchange bar comes out on top. It was the first one to disappear completely in our chocolate eating test kitchen.
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Fried Dumplings

Visiting family for Christmas. We made home-made Chinese pork dumplings!

And then we fried them! Significant yum.
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Cast iron pear upside down cake

Here’s a nice pear upside down cake, cooked in our favorite cast iron pan. Can’t beat that for simplicity. It came out pretty nice.

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Cookie failure

Well, these cookies didn’t exactly turn out like I’d hoped. Something about my oven temperature, or the amount of baking powder or something, made them flatten out too much. Next time, Gadget. Next time.

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Exotic fruits

We bought some exotic fruit at the grocery today. The first one is dragon fruit. Now, the first thing you’ll likely notice about dragon fruit is that it was brought here to the Earth by space aliens. When you cut it open, you get a surprising contrast between the skin of the fruit, and the yummy edible part on the inside. That skin peels right off the inside part, almost like it’s an artificial wrapper, like the wax they put on a nice cheese. The fruit tastes great, almost half-way between kiwi and cucumber.
Next up is this orange spikey thing. I don’t even know what it’s called. Cut it open and again, surprise, the inside doesn’t match the outside at all. This one tastes kind of like a lime, only sweeter, like you mixed it with agave nectar or something. Yum!
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Basil pizza

Sometimes you make a pizza and it just turns out. This one is made with whole-wheat dough, and fresh basil on top.

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Chicken parmesan

Chicken parmesan.  Oh yeah. Someday I might show you how to make this.  Crispy cheese on top, all tomatoey and such.  Juicy chicken on the inside.

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Peanut butter cookies

We made peanut butter cookies today.  We got this recipe from Martha Stewart.  That woman knows her cookies.  Personally, I’d like them to be a little more chewy.  I need to do some homework on that.

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First time crepes

We tried making crepes for the first time today.  It nearly almost worked.  I can tell you, these things were yummy.  But as you can see from the photographs, they came out somewhat irregular.  Check out the golden crispiness and the flaky edges though.  Next time, they’ll be nice and flat too.

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