Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Butterscotch Scones

I had bookmarked this pumpkin scone recipe for a rainy day (or you know, a snowstorm), and on an extra blustery day, I finally got around to making them with sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin.

I baked all of the sweet potatoes I had (5 or 6 smallish ones I think), and once they were tender, I scooped out their plump insides and pureed them. I conveniently ended up 2/3 C sweet potato puree - double what I needed for the recipe, but since the scones were so fantastic I made another batch 2 days later!

My other tiny tweaks to the recipe were:
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • no allspice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup soy milk instead of heavy cream
  • added butterscotch chips before adding the wet ingredients (maybe 1/4 C or so)

These were really really good, so good in fact, I think a third batch is in order!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hello, Sunshine!

Yes, there may still be snow outside, but inside it's a tropical paradise. Just look at all of this handpicked and hand-delivered Arizona citrus fruit!! What a wonderful treat!

Thanks ever so much Alice!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm happy cuddling up to my sweetheart wherever we are, but in my ideal world, that would be someplace warm, on a beach, looking out at the water. Hey, a girl can dream.

So in the spirit of that, I made Mike a sandcastle cake for Valentine's Day. It is a Tangerine Olive Oil Cake, based on this recipe. I subbed tangerines for blood oranges, and made one and one half times the recipe so I could fill up my bundt pan instead of a loaf pan. I topped it off with a simple orange glaze, and now it's just a matter of waiting to dig in!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fermented Delight

Nattō is a traditional Japanese food that people tend to love or hate, there isn't much room for middle ground. It is true that the fermented soybeans have a pungent aroma and a neba neba consistency (really slimy), and there were certainly some really slimy Japanese foods that I'm happy never to eat again - like grated yamaimo.

For some reason though, I loved nattō. And when one of Mike's coworkers recently shared some homemade nattō with us, I couldn't have been more excited for a familiar taste of Japan.

I gave the nattō a quick stir with my chopsticks, added in a bit of mustard, shoyu, and a handful of green onions and piled it all onto a bowl of rice. Delicious!

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Jeni's!

Wow. This holiday ice cream flavor might rival the White Chocolate Evergreen with a Red Currant Garland for my all-time favorite Jeni's flavor. Granted, it might sound like an odd combination, but the subtle licorice flavor from the star anise combined with the candied fennel made for a fantastic flavor combination. I hope they bring this one back next winter!

We also tried Jeni's Bourbon Buttered Pecan, and while buttered pecan isn't normally a top ice cream choice for me, this had a robust flavor and paired perfectly with the banana dessert I'd made.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Link Love.

Still looking for Valentine's Day ideas for your sweetheart? These have been all over the internet, but I still can't resist posting them. How darling are these fortune cookie coin purses? What better way to tell your beloved that you feel fortunate to be with them? Every purse is made from recycled leather and features a unique id so you can trace the source of the salvaged leather.

(image from artist's website.)

Or how about a shift from the standard bouquet? Terrain has beautiful blooming options, like my favorite below, the flowering oregano, and they are currently offering free standard shipping on orders over $50 with the code VDAY.

(image from Terrain's website)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Lucky Day!

I miss Japan. A lot. One way that I try and stay connected to life there is through my blog friend Kat's blog, Our Adventures in Japan. At the end of January she had a giveaway because she got over 500 followers, and guess who won? Me!!

Needless to say, I was extremely excited, and even more excited when this package showed up on my doorstep - love the Hello Kitty stamps, especially Hello Kitty with the origami cranes (far right stamp).

The anticipation!

And the bounty! Oh my gosh, I was blown away by all of the goodies packed into this box, it was unbelievable!! And Kat sweetly labeled anything that I might have wondered about, which was great, since I haven't tried to read any Japanese in months!

Here are some close-ups of what was in the box - a variety of chocolates and other sweet treats and Hello Kitty band-aids.

Chocolates with mochi, strawberry covered sticks, green tea chocolates, a Hello Kitty towel and Puccho soda candy (blue package). I'm trying to pace myself, so the Puccho soda candy is the only item I've tested so far. Each piece is subtly blue and white striped, and the chewy candy has both little blue gel bits and little white fizzy bits in it, so every bite is a taste and texture sensation. Yum!

Gadgets for making cute bentos, chocolate covered peanuts, a Hello Kitty amulet with Ramune candy, a handkerchief (extra fitting as it is the year of the rabbit!), and a Starbucks "Japan 2011" travel mug. I don't think I ever blogged about it during my time in Japan, but Mike and I collected Starbucks travel mugs from major cities that we visited (each city had their own unique design that captured the highlights of the city). So this is an awesome addition to our collection. Thank you ever so much Kat, what a fabulous giveaway!!