Don’t Call Them Nuts!

Macadamia Testicle Shortbread

A few years ago, during a road trip across the States, I had the pleasure of staying with an older woman by the name of Henrietta Jolie.

The old clunker I’d bought to make my way across country stalled on me halfway through the middle of nowhere Oklahoma.  I waited for hours for another living soul to pass by but I had no such luck.

So, I ended up having to walk miles and miles in search of a gas station or at least something that resembled civilization! Nearly two hours later I saw in the distance, across a grassy plain and tucked between some trees, a small white cottage.

I nearly jumped out of my boots running towards the haven.  A young man tending the garden greeted me in the front of the house after getting over the shock of my appearance.

When I’d caught my breath, I relayed to him my ordeal.  A hearty laugh ensued followed by a reassuring pat. The young man (Lucas was his name), told me he knew a “thing or two” about fixing cars.

During our conversation, a plump old woman walked out of the house asking where the fresh eggs were. Lucas answered and quickly told the woman my situation.

Her meaty chin disappeared into her neck as she smiled and ushered me inside to “sit a spell and have a bite to eat,” while she called a tow truck. I wasn’t sure how long a “spell” was so I found myself constantly getting up, then sitting back down only moments later.

During one of these leg exercises, Mrs. Jolie ( as I later learned), came from the  kitchen carrying a plate with a sandwich on it and another plate filled with looked like square cookies.  My stomach churned and I feigned refusal, for politeness sake, but quickly accepted after her second offer.

The desert was actually shortbread. After the first bite, I begged to know the name and how to make it. She laughed a little and turned to look out the window behind me.

Her eyes glazed over as her memory swam backwards.  I knew that look…it was a look I was growing accustomed to.  It meant “I have a story.”

She told me that when her son, Lucas, was a little boy he had very strict school teacher who was “particular” about words.  Every morning Lucas would come home and tell her the new word he’d learned.

“It’s not called a lie mamma, Mrs. Ellis say’s to call it a fib.” “You shouldn’t say nasty mamma, it’s distasteful.”  So on and so forth this went for weeks.  Then one day, Lucas came home walking funny and complaining about his “testicles” hurting.

“Where in the world did you learn that word boy?” Mrs. Jolie had asked Lucas.  Lucas told her that during recess, one of the boys had kicked a ball and hit his “nuts.”

He went over to Mrs. Ellis crying saying his nuts hurt and Mrs. Ellis turned beet red and angrily told him never to say the word “nuts again.”

Mrs. Jolie gave her son some ice to help with the pain, and started cooking dinner forgetting the ordeal.  That night at the table, with whole family present and few friends from the neighborhood, Mrs. Jolie brought out her new shortbread recipe.

Filled with Macadamia nuts and topped with whipped cream, the shortbread looked delicious. When Lucas took his first bite he happily exclaimed, “I love Testicles!”

At this point in the story, Mrs. Jolie could no longer keep her composure and laughed loudly me along with her.  The proper name of this desert was Macadamia Nut Shortbread but the family called it Macadamia Testicle Shortbread.

For months poor Lucas substituted the word “testicle” for “nuts.” It’s strange how often we use that word.

She gave me the recipe shortly after the story and when the tow truck finally arrived with my car I found out the reason my car had stopped was because it ran out of gas…I’m a testicle…

 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups salted dry-roasted macadamia nuts

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Place macadamia nuts in a 4-sided sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, but keep the oven on. Allow the nuts to cool slightly and then coarsely chop.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip together butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until combined well. Stir in flour, nuts, and chocolate and gently stir with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Gently pat the dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Score into 20 squares with tip of a knife. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes, then carefully cut into squares with a sharp knife while the shortbread is still warm (cookies may crumble a little bit). Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

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Simple Healthy Snack

Raw Cinnamon and Apple Crackers

Thought it’d be nice to post somthing healthy for a change!

Ingredients

1 cup Flax seeds

1 cup Pumpkin seeds

1 cup Dates, into a date paste.

Pitted and soaked for 5 min.

1/4 Water for the date paste.

1.5 cup Apple juice

2 small pinches of Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons Mesquite

Directions

Pit and soak the Dates. Grind a flour of the Flax seeds and Pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder or blender. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a veggie juicer, make the Apple juice by processing apples until you have 1.5 cups. Alternatively you can use commercial apple juice. Pour the juice in the bowl and stir.

Make a date paste by processing the Dates with 1/4 cups Water in a food processor. Add the date paste with the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir by hand until you have a dough. Spread the dough on top of a teflex sheet on top of a mesh dehydrator screen. Form a large square with a spatula evenly, about 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) thick.

Draw a grid with a knife and dry for 2-3 (105 F) before you peel off the teflex sheet. The easiest way to do that, is to flip the entire screen, and then pull the sheet carefully from one corner, so that the bottom side of the crackers facing up. Now you can continue to dehydrate them depending on how dry or leather like you want the crackers.

(They will still be leather like after 8 h in the dehydrator.) Don’t store the crackers in the fridge, as they soften and be floppy. Store them in an airtight container in room temperature.

Try This: Hot Chocolate with Mint and Marshmellows

Hot Chocolate with Mint and Marshmellows

 Is that a leaf in my chocolate?!  Yes it is! It’s a mint leaf to be exact. While browsing the web and old cookbooks I came across this and had to try it!  I know it’s just hot chocolate and can be bought at Starbucks during the Holidays, but just look at that picture?  Is it not breathtaking?  I hope to become as good one day so I stop stealing pictures.  But anyway I urge you lovers of warm chocolate to try this.

Theres something special about making food and beverages from scratch.  I’m sure wine tastes much better after you’ve squashed grapes for hours with your bare feet! The same is true for this!  The chocolate is so thick and rich it’s fantastic! Please don’t take my word for it!

 Ingrediants

1 cup cream

1/2 cup milk

5 sprigs fresh mint

pinch of salt

1 & 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate (70%)

Directions

In a small pot boil the milk and cream. Add the mint and put aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile chop the chocolate and put it into a medium bowl. Gently bruise the mint in the cream mixture to release some of the essential oils.

Add salt to the cream mixture and bring back up to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove the mint.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute. Whisk the cream and the chocolate together so you will get ganache.

Ganache can be refrigerated for about 2 weeks. When in the mood for more simply put 2 tbsp of ganach into the cup and pour in a hot milk.

Try This: Hazelnut Cookies with Blueberry Ganache Filling

Hazelnut Cookies with Blueberry Ganache Filling 

Amaze your friends with these Macaroon look alikes!

Ingrediants

       For the cookies
3/4 cup hazelnuts. toasted, any loose skin removed, and cooled
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 drops blueberry flavoring
2-3 drops food coloring (optional)
          
   For Blueberry Ganache:

 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Grind nuts and sugar in a food processor until powdery. Beat together butter, zest, salt, blueberry flavoring, food coloring, and nut powder in a large mixing bowl with rubber spatula until creamy. Add flour and keep mixing until well incorporated and forms a dough

Roll about 1/2 teaspoon of the dough into tiny balls and arrange 1-inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until they turn light brown. Transfer to wire rack and let them sit to cool completely. Place the fresh blueberries in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat , stirring occasionally, until the thick sauce forms and reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from the stove and set aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, then add blueberry sauce and heavy cream. Stir until the ganache is smooth. Transfer ganache to a piping bag, snip off the bottom of the piping bag to form a small hole. Pipe small mound of ganache onto the flat side of a cookie and top with other cookie, pressing 2 cookies together to help adhere. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Image and recipe courtesy of: Red Shallot Kitchen

Food For All: Dinner & A Cemetery

Image

Ever had dinner around a bunch of dead bodies? Unless you’re a serial killer the answer is probably no.  So for all you murder free people with an itch for something unique and delicious, come to the Bonaventure Cemetery  for a Feast of Flesh! I mean food!

When: May 18, 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.

Where: Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah, GA

Price: Tour- $20; Dinner- $15

Contact: (912) 816-4460 

Age limit: None Specified

This tour is complete with morbidly curious exhibitions, along with Q&A session over dinner, with storyist and event host, Shannon Scott! Still includes group photo & official event poster!

The Tour: An opportunity to see Bonaventure Cemetery, in a legal way, after the sun sets and after the gatekeeper jangles the lock & chains behind us! Then the real show begins! If you’ve never seen Bonaventure during her “enchantment hours,” then you’ve not experienced the whole spectrum of colors, sights and sounds of this place so loved by history and the world!

So bring a flashlight, bring a camera, bring your nerves & no worries, this tour will give you an appetite for food & more stories!

Event info courtesy Savannah Now

Mothers Day Breakfast Surprise!

Happy mothers day! Sorry for late post, I spent the day traveling back from my moms house.  I had the most amazing weekend with my family, laughing, talking, reminiscing, yelling, strangling…nothing out of the ordinary.

But, joking aside I really wanted to make this mothers day very special.  My mom gave up a lot for us children including an a career as a singer for Motown Records!  Yes you heard me correctly Motown Records!

My mother is an extraordinary singer (and still is) but strongly felt she needed to raise her kids so she turned down an offer from Motown!  Now, you’re probably staring at this screen slack-jawed and wide-eyed but let me assure you she never regretted it and we are eternally grateful to her.

You see how most celebrity kids turn out, LITTLE BRATS THE LOT OF THEM! *Just kidding* but most importantly, signing a Motown Records contract was equal to selling your soul.  You signed 10 years of your life to become a puppet and my mother escaped that.

Yes, she could have made Whitney Houston sound like clanging symbol (too soon?), but she raised us instead and seeing what we went through, if it hadn’t been for mom we’d be nowhere good, maybe even dead…That might sound rather extreme but if anything its an understatement.

I really wanted to do something special for her so, I split her mother’s day surprise into two parts! First, on saturday I bought her a lovely Hibiscus tree with exotic, oversized red flowers bursting from beneath the leaves and hung little tags from the branches with love notes from all her children! [AWWWWWWW!!!]

I modged podged the tags to water seal them!  She loved it and now every year we can add to the tree! She loves sentimental things like that and really enjoyed the gift!

Then today, my siblings and I woke up early to cook her breakfast and set the table up like a little tea party.  We baked mini carrot cake muffins, raspberry thumbprint cookies, and Cream Horns then brewed some tea. We also chopped up some strawberries and bananas and set them in a little saucer.

For the main course, we cooked eggs with mushrooms, onions, sausage and mozzarella cheese.  Her expression showed her excitement when she came downstairs and saw the nicely decorated table with a host of food! Seeing her smile was the highest praise!  Hope your Mothers Day was just as fantastic!