Moose Country

My brother in law got me What’s New, Cupcake? for my birthday, and there was an adorable moose cupcake in the book.  And since his birthday is roughly two weeks after mine, and he has a soft spot for moose, I thought what better way to try out my cupcake skillz?

The goods:

  • cupcakes
  • Twinkies (nose)
  • mini M&Ms (eyes)
  • chocolate covered sunflower seeds (nostrils)
  • chocolate melting wafers (antlers)
  • Tootsie rolls (ears)
  • generous amount of frosting

The how:

  1. Make cupcakes.  I just made a box of regular yellow cake mix.
  2. Melt the chocolate melting wafers in a piping bag (or ziploc), and make yourself as many pairs of antlers you want.  I made 8 pairs to be on the safe side.
  3. Take Twinkies, lay them on their side, so the flat side is facing you, and cut at an 11 o’clock angle, 2/3 of the way in.  The bigger side (the right side) is what will become the nose.  What to do with the dinky little piece that’s left?  I’ll get to that later.
  4. Adhere the Twinkies to the cupcakes with frosting.  Be generous, you want those suckers to stay put!
  5. Chill naked cupcakes.  I tried the next step without chilling, and no bueno.
  6. Take about 2/3 of a can of chocolate frosting, put into a microwave safe measuring cup, and heat at 30 second intervals.  Stirring and checking every 30 seconds for a good dipping consistency.  Not too runny though!  You’ll most likely have frosting left over, so take the discarded ends of the Twinkies, and dip ‘em.  Chocolate covered Twinkies (aka Chocodiles)!!
  7. Dip cupcakes.  Since the cupcakes were so top heavy, I used a spoon to handle the weight of the Twinkie.
  8. Chill again.  Seriously.
  9. While the cupcakes chill, make the little moose ears with the Tootsie rolls.  I found that 1 Tootsie roll per pair of ears worked.  The heat from your hands will make the Tootsie roll manageable.  It took me a few tries, and I ended up more Tootsie rolls than I care to admit..
  10. Now adorn your moose.  Stick in the antlers and ears.  Attach the eyes and nostrils with some frosting, and pipe on some hair, beard, and even a smile.

These cupcakes are a sugar overload, so I only made 6, and made the rest of my cupcakes into a ‘forest’.  Just good ole white frosting with green sprinkles.

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 2 Comments

My bad..

I’ve gone missing for awhile..  with the holidays, then getting sick, then the holidays again, I just didn’t even want to look at a computer!

But, I’m back!  My first post of the year will be up tomorrow!

See you then!

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Laughing Cat Reisling

It’s my birthday today, and I need some wine to celebrate!

I’m more of a hard liquor gal, but I absolutely LOVE this wine.  It’s a sweet, fruity wine that my palate seems to tolerate well.

It’s from a Colorado winery, and it’s delicious.  I first found the wine when I got married, and my mother-in-law bought a bunch to include in our gift bags for out of town guests.

If you prefer sweeter wines, and happen across this one, give it a try!

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Kimchi

This is gonna be a big post; be prepared!

My momma called me on Sunday and asked if I could come down because she was planning on making some kimchi, and I’ve always bothered her about calling me the next time she did.  And lo and behold, she called me!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it down, so she agreed to postpone until Monday.

Making kimchi, is usually quite the social event.  Family and friends all come together to partake in the kimchi making because a) it takes a buttload of work and b) because socializing is fun.  I remember when I went out to Korea back in 2005, and all my aunts, my grandma and a few of the cousins all got together to make kimchi.  I have to say, it’s one of my fondest memories.

So you start off with Napa cabbage.  You can either half it or quarter it.  Then you dunk it into a salt bath (pretty much water with dissolved salt), and just layer the cabbage; sprinkling some more salt to every layer.  Then you add salt water until all the cabbage is just covered.  Did I mention you’ll be needing lots and lots of containers/buckets/ginormous bowl thingies that every Korean family seems to possess?  And salt?  Let rest for about 10 hours.

After the 10 hours, you will rotate the cabbage: top to bottom, bottom to top.  Let rest for another few hours.  My mom checked on them every once in a while, and when the cabbage is wilted, but still has a bit of crispness left, then you need to evacuate and give them a good washing.  Notice that I never mentioned washing the cabbage till now?  This is where you do it, thoroughly.

Washed and ready to go. Don't they look naked? The scraps in the back will be saved until last and then eaten the day of kimchi making.

The most important part of kimchi is the sauce.  Kimchi is nothing without sauce.  Every region is different, and even every family is different.  The ingredients in my mom’s kimchi sauce are: salted shrimp, anchovy sauce, dashi, dangerous amounts of garlic, ginger, water, Korean red pepper flakes.

Garlic and ginger blended with a bit of water; waiting to be mixed in.

Then in the big ass bucket/bowl, my mom julienned green onions and Korean radishes.  Have you ever seen a Korean radish?

You will suffer from internal bleeding if you get hit with one.

The bowl/bucket is big enough that she can put her cutting board inside and chop away.

See the big bowl?

Then come the radishes.

Don't worry, my cousin used a mandolin for half the radishes.

Then you pour the sauce in.

That entire pot was full. We get serious when it comes to kimchi.

And mix.

Why yes, those are plastic gloves made for kimchi making. Not barnyard animal insemination.

Now’s the fun part.  Throw in the cabbage and smother in sauce.  Actually, it’s a bit more delicate than that.  You have to make sure you get the sauce on every leaf, so you separate them one by one, and make sure you get even coverage.  And this part is why you wear crappy clothes when you make kimchi.  You’ll get home and start seeing these red spots all over your clothes, and will be grateful you wore clothes that you don’t care about.

You don't want to do this without gloves. You'll stain your hands red, and you'll smell like garlic for the rest of your life.

The kimchi is stored in a container and kept refrigerated, and it’ll last us around 6 months.  Yes, 6 months.  The kimchi will start to ferment, and it will start giving out it’s own juices to add to the mix.  Some people like to leave out the batch that will be eaten soonest, to let it ferment and age faster, but we like fresher kimchi, so it goes into my mom’s special kimchi fridge immediately (yeah, she has a kimchi fridge; Google it).

Don't look at the kimchi, look at my mom sitting on phone books.

And as always, you can click on a picture to make it bigger.

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 2 Comments

Halloween

I had my cousins over for Halloween this year, and I thought it’d be fun to decorate cookies and cupcakes.  They’re in 4th and 1st grade, so I baked everything before they came, because I felt like I’d lose their interest rather quickly, if they were required to bake and decorate!

The layout includes: ghost and pumpkin Peeps, chocolate and vanilla frosting, pumpkin spice cupcakes, various sprinkles, colored royal icing, and sugar cookies.

Clockwise: pumpkin, cat (NOT a dinosaur, thank you), ghost, and bat.

Our handiwork.

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 3 Comments

Our anniversary and room service

Last week was our anniversary.  We got a room at the Hyatt Regency, and when we checked in, they asked what we were there for.  I informed them that it was our anniversary, and she gave us an upgrade.  Woot!  Check out our view from the 26th floor.

Well, we went out to dinner that night, and when we got back to the hotel, there was a card, signed by the front desk staff, with chocolates, berries and champagne.

How very kind of them.  Well, we got a little buzzed that night.

The next morning, we got room service.  I was really excited, because I’ve NEVER gotten room service before!  Because let’s be honest, the only time you spend time in a hotel is when you’re traveling, and when you’re traveling you want to eat the local fare, so of course you’re not gonna get room service!  Therefore, I’ve never had room service, and I was excited.

The hubs got a breakfast burrito.

And I got a cinnamon roll french toast.  Yes, I had sugar for breakfast.

Then, I fell in love with the mini Tobasco and ketchup.  There was a highly amused husband sitting across from me while I was happily taking pictures.  And yes, I swiped them, haha.

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Pork Green Chile

I had a big ole pork roast sitting in the fridge asking me to use it, when I thought it would be great for pork green chile.  Problem is, I’ve never made pork green chile before.  So I went to All Recipes, and found one that looked simple enough for me, made a couple changes, and gave it a whirl.

What you need:  1 white onion chopped (I used frozen), 2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder roast, 21 oz. of green salsa, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (I just tore it with my hands), 2 – 3 jalapeno peppers, salt and pepper.  Oh, and a crock pot.

I layered the onions on the bottom, and put the pork on top, then seasoned with some salt and pepper.  Then I poured the salsa on top.  I used three cans of Herdez green salsa.  You can usually find it in the ethnic aisle.

Then I added the cilantro and peppers.  I cooked it on High for 4 hours, and removed the pork to shred.  I always like to shred in a bowl, that way the juices don’t escape and make a mess.

The original recipe said to drain the liquid and discard the onions, peppers and everything, but I thought that was a waste, and just decided to blend everything for a smoother consistency.

I added everything back into the crock pot, and set it on Low for another two hours.

Served with Mexican rice (from a box, sorry), lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, corn and flour tortillas, tomatoes and avocados.  All on the side of course.

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Measuring spoon fail

Don’t ask how it happened.  Because I really, really, don’t know.  Really.

I was making some soda bread, and a few minutes into baking, started smelling the foul stench of plastic burning.  Somehow, my measuring spoon had fallen into my oven and melted.  Perhaps it got caught on the baking sheet and followed it in?  Sadly, I lost my tablespoon, and my bread.

Oh, the shame..

Formerly a pink Kitchen Aid tablespoon.

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 1 Comment

New Kitchen Accessory

My husband has been eying this piece of machinery for quite some time, and so we made an impulse buy one day, and came home with a Keurig.  I will confess, this might be one of the best impulse buys ever.

It brews up a single serving of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and the likes.  It requires that you buy k-cups, but there’s so much out there to choose from.  Just pop in a k-cup, and press the brew button.

I’m not a huge coffee drinker, so whenever I made a pot of coffee, I always threw most of it away.  But this little guy, I’m kind of in love with him.  ♥

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 2 Comments

Choice City Butcher and Deli

The hubs and I went to a football game last weekend up in Fort Collins.  It was CSU v. TCU.  CSU is not ranked.  TCU was ranked 5th at the time.  I’ll let you guess the outcome of the game.

After the game, we went to Choice City Butcher and Deli with a couple of our friends who highly recommended it.  They grind their own meat, make their own sausage, cut their own steaks, and the whole shebang.  How can you go wrong?

I got the Choice City Burger, which was a buffalo burger, with Irish cheddar, red pepper aioli, balsamic onions, and bacon.  Say it with me: mmm.

I got it with a side of their zesty potato salad, which was interesting.  It tasted like it had a bit of mustard, vinegar and dill.  Not your average potato salad.

We even got a present for our house guest.

Don’t worry, I pulled out an old sheet and made him stay on it while enjoying his bone.

Categories: Corned Beef and Kimchi | 3 Comments