Friday, February 13, 2015

World's best Valentine save

Photograph ©2015, Lori Korleski Richardson
It's Feb. 13, and you realize that you haven't gotten your sweetie anything for Valentines Day.

(It happens. I remember one night a city editor at our newspaper ran around gathering up all the red and white carnations the pizza guy had delivered with the pizzas so he'd have something to bring his wife when he finally got off work one Feb. 14.)

Don't sweat it. Tonight, make sure you have the following available:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Nuts (optional)
Sea salt or kosher salt

 Tomorrow morning, suggest your love attend a matinee with a friend, something you know she wants to see but you don't. While she's gone, turn on the oven to 170 degrees, open a 12-ounce bag of semisweet chocolate chips (make sure they are real chocolate) and empty it in an 8-by-8-inch pan that you have lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Spread them out. Then open a can of fat-free sweetened condensed milk and pour it over the chips. Put the pan in the oven. It should take about 15 minutes to melt. In the meantime, get out some vanilla extract, sea salt (or kosher salt) and if she likes nuts, a small bag of chopped pecans, walnuts, filberts, macadamias, pistachios or almonds. When you take the pan out, add 1½ teaspoons vanilla and mix the chocolate and milk quickly, gently (you don't want to tear the foil) and thoroughly. Smooth it out so that it goes into all the corners. Add the nuts and press them into the mixture, then lightly salt it all over. Put it in the refrigerator to set up for at least two hours. Take it out of the fridge, turn it out on a chopping board, peel off the foil, and cut it into little squares. Put the squares on a pretty plate, wrap in plastic, and put a bow on top of it.

Could hardly be easier. And hey, it's chocolate!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Grapefruit: Sweetened by broiling

Grapefruit is an odd fruit. It's too big to be eaten in one sitting by one person, since each half looks like a little bowl. It's best shared, but many older couples can't do that, if one is on statins.

And although it tastes of summer, all fresh and juicy and tart, cold from the refrigerator, it ripens in the winter.

And my favorite, Texas Rio Red, isn't as available in stores in the East as the Florida fruits, which aren't nearly as sweet.

To get around this, you can use your broiler to punch up both the taste and the sweetness. Some people like to put some brown sugar on top, but I like them plain. Just half your fruit, put it on a pan suitable for broiling, and put it under the preheated broiler until the rind is good and toasty. The fruit will be warm, the cells swell to almost bursting and all you'll need to enjoy it is a grapefruit knife and/or grapefruit spoon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A cruciferous Christmas

Crown him with many broccoli crowns: A photo from the produce section of Monterey Foods, courtesy of my friend Amy Pyle.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Fifteen foods to add to your diet for a healthful 2015

Photo courtesy of  kalettes.com
For the full story, go the Huffington Post.

If you just want the list, I'm glad to be of help:

1. Matcha tea (ground green tea with extra chlorophyll)

2. Broccoli sprouts

3. Crickets  (as well as mealworms, locusts, and grasshoppers)

4. Kalettes (a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale)

5. Plantains (boiled and mashed, not fried)

6. Umeboshi (Japanese fermented plum) paste

7. Watercress

8. Lychee

9. Capers

10. Black-, mung- and garbanzo-bean pastas and flour

11. Khorasan wheat

12. Purple peppers

13. Rosemary

14. Coconut flour

15. Pine nuts (look for ones not from China)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vitamin and supplement info in an interactive graph


SOURCE: PUBMED, COCHRANE
RESEARCH: DAVID MCCANDLESS, PEARL DOUGHTY-WHITE, ALEXIA WDOWSKI
CODE: ANDY PERKINS


I'm glad graphic artists are exploring new ways to convey information in charts. Sometimes the new ways are just confusing and actually worse at conveying the data than a simple bar chart. But sometimes, they come up something that works just amazingly well, like this one, courtesy of Information is Beautiful: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/

Even better, it's interactive, with links to take you to more information about each bubble.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turning pumpkin pie disaster into a win

Photograph ©2014, Lori Korleski Richardson
Pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving tradition. And this year, disaster.

Those of you who have known me or have followed this blog for some time have heard me confess that I am a cook, not a baker. Never was that more apparent than on the morning of Nov. 27, 2014.

Jim and our friend Carla had gone on a country walk, our friend Rob was getting some much needed sleep, and I was doing prep for our big dinner to come. Every thing was going well. I remembered in years past that the recipe on the side of the pumpkin can made WAY too much filling for my 9-inch pie plate and I didn't want to make two crusts. So I thought, why not make the crust in my 10-inch springform pan? I'd done quiches that way and they had come out fine, even though the edge slipped down a bit and dropped over the filling; at least they were easy to cut at the table.

So I found a recipe for an extra crispy crust (a key ingredient: vodka) and proceeded according to directions, but neglected to notice the pie weights (which in my kitchen are dried beans) were supposed to go on top of the foil during the blind bake. So when I took it out of the oven after 15 minutes, the beans decided to stay right where they were. And when I tipped the pan to shake them out, the entire crust came tumbling out. By the time I got it righted and all the beans off, it was in five big pieces and a lot of little ones.

I really didn't have time to start over, since the prep and resting times for it were well over an hour. So I took the pieces, fitted them in the 9-inch pie pan the best I could so that they came up the side but not over, and pressed them together. I took the dough that had been left over, made it into a tight ball and rolled it out. I took one of my small decorative cookie cutters and cut out as many little flowers as I could. I then placed them, overlapping slightly, on the top edge of the pie plate, and pressed them into each other and the piecemeal crust.

Then I took the recipe off the side of the can and modified it thusly. Success!

Lori K's shallow dish pumpkin pie

Serves 8

Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 can 100% pumpkin (15 ounces)
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 ounces heavy cream

Instructions
Beat eggs until foamy. Add pumpkin and stir well. Add the sugar and spices and stir until combined thoroughly. Add the cream and mix well. Pour into the crust. Cook for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool. I served this with 4 ounces of heavy cream whipped with about a tablespoon of hickory syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla. Be sure to freeze the beaters and bowl for a half hour or so before whipping for the best result.

Friday, November 21, 2014