Tuesday, June 28, 2011
It all started on Twitter. Seems like everything starts on Twitter these days. That is what I get for joining in the foodie scene on there. So the conversation may have gone like this:
@janis_tester: I hate chocolate
@SwissMaidFudge: I bet you would love our fudge (or something like that)
@janis_tester: Maybe (I doubt that I said that because I am a wise guy that doesn't give in that easily but I don't remember what I did say)
Next thing I know the amazingly nice people at Swiss Maid Fudge emailed me and challenged me. I can't pass up a good challenge (poor Dr. Food gets roped in every time) So, the challenge was to do a Fudge Pairing. They kindly sent me the flavors of fudge of my choice and I could do anything I wanted with it. It could be drinks, or appetizers or anything. I can't ever let it be simple so I chose appetizers. Poor Dr Food would wake up in the middle of the night grumbling..."I think that cherry fudge would go with escargot" There there Dr. Food. Go back to sleep and don't worry so much. So we gathered a list of victims. We knew that these people could handle anything that came their way (well not really but I was desperate).
We would start off with a Manhattan. Get them a little tipsy and they will go along with the rest of the ride. This wasn't any Manhattan. This Manhattan had Swiss Maid Cherry Fudge paired with it. Our guest loved it. What wasn't to love. They may have asked for seconds. I may have asked for thirds (I was a bit nervous about what was to come).
Ouch, that shot is a little blurry. I think that was the 2nd or 3rd Manhattan. I swear I was just doing it to get to the Cherry Fudge and cherry.
Ok, so here we have Waffle sticks (no, I didn't make the waffles but I could have) stuffed with Swiss Maid Maple Fudge. We topped it off with a piece of maple smoked Vermont bacon. I was heartbroken that we didn't have any of our homemade bacon left.
Here it is. I pine for you bacon.
This did fine.
After these puppies came out of the oven the fudge was very soft but not runny. The taste of the Maple fudge with the maple cured bacon and the waffle (not homemade...shutup) was perfect. So there were smiles all around. I had confidence that 2 for 2 were well received. I decided it was now time for the Jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and dark fudge to make its debut.
This is before it went on the grill.
Let me tell you that this is one of the best things I have had in a long time. It was the winner hands down. It wasn't the end of the tasting but it was going to be a hard one to beat.
So for the appetizers out of the Swiss Maid Fudge this was the last item that we made. This was the most costly and the most time consuming and I had my hopes up high for it. The Foie Gras mousse was adapted from Micah Killough's Foie Gras Mousse recipe.
I might have liked it a lot because it had Armagac in it. I never told you how much I love Aramagac.
It also was cooked sous vide (which usually makes me cringe but I was being a good sport).
Dr. Food being the Dr. and all rigged up a "sous vide thingy". I think he almost lost it when I moved the bottle (I am sorry I am a little OCD about things in their own place) and the probe fell hitting the metal. "I am sorry honey, you love me for my brilliant sense of humor"
I got a little nervous when the gazilliondollarapound foie gras turned out like this...
I marched along like a good soldier.
Gelatin was added so I knew that it would firm up. However it was ugly, hence the need to blur the foie gras and focus on the beautiful Peanut Butter Swirl Swiss Maid Fudge.
I softened the fudge for a few seconds in the microwave so that it was spreadable. I then put the mousse and the fudge on white bread and trimmed off the crust. Yay! Fudge and Foie Gras.
All I can say is YUM! They were devoured and my guest loved em. Out of all of these creations I would have to say that the clear winner this round for the Swiss Maid Fudge Pairing was the Jalapeno Fudge Poppers.
So, there was a break and we had dinner.
I had already gotten all the components together ahead of time. Mis en place (SEE I know the fancy words but I feel like a fool using them)
Here are the leftovers of Paella. (Sissy, this is why I will never be a "Famous" blogger. I drink too much sangria and forget to take pictures)
Yay. Dessert time!
We had an assortment of the fabulous Swiss Maid Fudge. Did it stop there? No, that is too obvious.
We made Dreamcycle Fudge Sushi! By WE, I mean Dr. Food. He is the sushi roller in our family.
Once again the Good Dr. Food rigged up a sushi corner to cool off the sweet rice.
This sushi was good but it got a bit melty because we made it ahead of time.
Last but not least there was Swiss Maid Rocky Road Fudge Stuffed Strawberries with a Balsamic reduction. Obvious but had to be done.
Thank you Swiss Maid Fudge. You made a Fudge lover out of me in the end. I would also like to say thanks to old friends and new friends for being brave enough to trust me. People that didn't know me were safe in their ignorance of the weird things I am capable of but the old friends should have known. In the end our stomachs were happy.
Swiss Maid Fudge
P.O. Box 450
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This weekend was a lazy sort of weekend because we took Friday off to just have fun. We ended up going to farms and talking to farmers and going to a slaughter house. My kind of day!
The slaughter house is called "Blood Farm" yeah really it is. The family is the Blood family and they have been around for generations. We bought a brisket from them. When the guy brought it out he said "We just cut this off the cow". That might have been a bit too much information but it IS a slaughter house.
This brisket was being smoked in the smoker for our camping trip. We are going to Maine with our neighbors (waving to Cathy and Jeff and Syd and Jordan and Taylor). I am also bringing fixings for Smores. I love smores.
At the same time we were making short ribs for a BBQ we were having on Fathers Day. Our friends were coming over and we decided that we would make short ribs for the BBQ and some Brats (for Charcutepalooza challenge).
Ok ok, but I am getting way ahead of myself. Yes, I was the youngest child and if I don't talk really fast and spit it out really fast someone will talk over me.
Shrink:" Janis, why do you feel like you need to impart so much info all in one sentence".
Janis: "Uh, I don't do that do I?"
Shrink: "I don't know YOU tell ME do you?"
Janis: I was a youngest child and it took a lot for anyone to listen so I turned to blogging and meat and run-on sentences.
Shrink: Where does the meat play into this?
Janis: I don't know. You tell me.
Ok so I am starting over. Friday night:
Beautiful piece of Salmon. I decided to make Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Oregano Oil. I love this dish. I made it for Annie and Tim when I was staying with them. You can find the recipe here
I love having the opportunity to go in the garden and pick the herbs. I have a boat load of oregano. I also had the basil.
Good dinner but moving on...
While the brisket and ribs were in the smoker I was making garlic confit for the wedge salad. Not ANY wedge salad but a Thomas Keller wedge salad from his book Ad Hoc.
Good old Tom (we are close and he said I could call him that) said to roast the tomatoes.
Dakota was on "standby" for anything that got dropped on the floor. She stands vigil over our kitchen floor. We started grinding the meat for the Brats.
Oh, and meantime Tom had me making Aioli (made with the confit garlic)
Oh and and....wait...
Some ventreche for sprinkles on wedge salad.
Um. Whew. We also smoked some chickens. Which we were going to eat with the salad. After sausage making, and brisket rubbing, and all that, I just wanted chicken.
I also made a Mango Rice Salad to sit overnight for our BBQ on Sunday. I will give you the recipe. It is easy and good.
Gratuitous Bratwurst shot.
Brisket came out of the smoker and was a thing of beauty. Once again Dr. Food worked his magic with the smoker.
So here is the wedge salad. Can I tell you that even after making the dressing out of the aioli that I made with the garlic confit and the maytag blue cheese, it was still just a wedge salad. Not even a particularly good one. You see, the thing that makes a wedge salad good is that it is just a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon that is a little too salty and bread crumbs that come out of a box. What you expect is the sum of all the parts. With this salad the sum did not add up to all the parts. Oh well, I still love you Tom.
Sunday morning I made a Strawberry pie thingy. It too failed. It looked pretty but hmmm, how do I put this? It wasn't good. Didn't help that our oven shut down and had a nervous breakdown.
So Fathers Day came around and our guests showed up. There was lots of swimming and sitting around the pool. Dr. Food grilled up the Bratwurst and they were well worth the effort (will talk more about these in the future)
Always a bad shot but I knew you wanted to see.
Ribs...hmmm. I am sure they were awesome as always but to tell you the truth I didn't taste them. At this point I was kinda tired (to put it mildly) and I wanted to taste the Bratwurst.
But there were cute faces...
All in all a nice day.
Mango and Jasmine Rice Salad
Los Angeles Times but given to me by Kay Hartman
1 cup jasmine rice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno chile, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup peeled and diced mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Cook rice according to package directions. Let stand, uncovered,
Meanwhile whisk olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno and salt until
blended. Add to rice. Add mango, red onion and cilantro. Toss to
blend and serve at room temperature.
Garnish the salad with sliced cucumbers and wedges of tomato.