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Charcoal

 

charcoal waffle ornament

Would you like some coal with that Christmas? photo by vsimon

 

I have gotten really good at making charcoal.

And become a danger in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the stove as I was reducing apple cider. There was a thick column of smoke leaving the pan. The pan and it’s contents  immediately went outside, leaving a trail of smoke behind me, stinking up the kitchen. The heavy stainless saucepan was salvaged later, with a lot of scrubbing.

Surprisingly, the smoke detector didn’t go off.

Today it was waffles. I am using up my formerly vast collection of gluten free whole-grain flours. These were going to be Quinoa Cocoa Waffles. But I had only a little of quinoa flour left, so I had to mix in the rest of the teff flour, and then some amaranth flour to get the necessary 1 cup measure.

I made 4 squares without incident. We put a chocolate chips into each well and kept them warm in the toaster oven. The bittersweet chocolate got all nice and melty. We slathered peanut butter over the liquid chocolate. It got all nice and melty too. Vince put some  maple syrup (real of course) on his waffle. I skipped it since I didn’t want the extra sweetness.

Meanwhile I put the remainder of the batter in the waffle maker and sat down to enjoy a lovely lunch while we watched FoodTV.

You can guess what happened.

Two shows and an hour later I got up to do the dishes. Darn, I could see that the waffle maker was still plugged in. There was only the faintest acrid smell. And I was afraid to open the lid for fear of another column of smoke. The ceiling is white, I’d like to keep it that way.

Inside was a nice piece of charcoal though. And I did check the smoke detector.

IMG_9034

charcoal waffle photo by lsimon

And BTW, the other waffles were delicious.

(reposted from 2009)

Trick or treat?  Treat for a Halloween dinner party, or family meal!

roasted witches fingers with honey mustard sauce

roasted witches fingers with honey mustard sauce photo by vsimon

And a treat when you use the non scary version of this recipe throughout the year- oven baked chicken tenders.

Do take it easy on yourself.  Once the hands are acquired, you can prep the fingers the day before and quickly roast, just before serving.

The honey mustard sauce can be made anytime.  It keeps in the fridge for weeks.  It is good as a salad dressing or on all kinds of cooked veggies too. 

We used grainy mustard here.  You can use any kind, even yellow.  That would look way cool on a black plate.

Roasted Witches Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

Serves 6 metric measures
Fingers  
1 ¼ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast 600 gm
2 tablespoons oil 30 ml
1 cup tortilla chip crumbs, see note below 150 gm
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes 10 gm
2 teaspoons paprika 4 gm
½ teaspoon thyme 1 gm
¼ teaspoon black pepper .5 gm
15 black olives, sliced in half the long way 15
Sauce  
½ cup honey 120 ml
½ cup mustard 120 ml

Butterfly the chicken breasts so you have six portions.  “Butterfly” means to slice the breasts horizontally in half.  The halves will be thin and open like two pages in a book.  Cut each breast through, separating the pages.

Cut each butterflied breast so they look like hands with fingers. Butterflies, breasts, pages, hands, fingers.  Are you still with me?  Good thing there is a picture.

If you are making this on any given weeknight, cut the fingers all the way through.  So no scary hands.

Massage oil onto all the surfaces, including between the fingers.

Mix tortilla chip crumbs, dried onion flakes, paprika, thyme, and black pepper on a shallow plate.

Dip fingers in the crumb mixture until all surfaces are covered.

To make clean up easier, line a sheet pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper.  Arrange fingers on top.   You can get 3D results of you scrunch foil to balls and drape the fingers over them.

Add a black olive half for each fingernail, omit for regular chicken fingers.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to roast.

You need a blazing hot oven to crisp these quickly.  So at least a half an hour before cooking, preheat oven to 425.  You could even heat to 450.

I can’t because that makes my smoke detector go off.  The oven is clean, the smoke detector just doesn’t like the heat.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, or anytime, stir honey and mustard together.  Pour into a small serving bowl.

Note: you can easily make your own tortilla crumbs.  Pulse them in a food processor for just a few minutes.  Be sure to buy gluten free tortilla chips.

Southern Home-style Corn Flake Crumbs are gluten free, convenient, and tasty.  You might be able to buy them at your grocery store. Or you can order online.

I have done both, made my own, and used the premade gluten free crumbs.  Each works well.

Serve with  Foamy Bug Juice and eerie background music.

My costume is still undecided.  I have been a witch (not good this year), Marge Simpson with big blue hair (not good this year), a giant black spider (bug juice-also not good this year).   What are you dressing as this Halloween?

Foamy Black Bug Juice

[Reposted from 2009.]

I hope you are planning your Halloween dinner menu. How about starting the evening with Foamy Black Black Bug Juice?

foamy black bug juice

Foamy Black Bug Juice photo by vsimon

Foamy Black Bug Juice

Sweet, tasty, fragrant. Spicy fragrance, not icky stinky. And just gross enough in a clear glass. Make this right before serving for maximum foam. You can spike it with ETOH (alcohol) for the adults if you like.

serves 6 metric measures
1 tablespoon honey 15 ml
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 gm
2 tablespoons dark raisins 15 gm
1 cup grape juice concentrate 240 ml
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate 80 ml
5 cups sparkling water 1.200 liters

In a small bowl, stir cinnamon into the honey. Drizzle honey mixture around the inside rim of the glass. You will have sticky fingers if it gets on the outside. And that isn’t always a bad thing.

Add a few raisins to each glass.

Carefully add juice concentrates to a tall glass pitcher. Try to be neat and not to get it on the side of the pitcher. Or be messy, it just adds to the eeewww factor.

Add the sparking water and watch it foam.

Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lots of foam. It will sparkle in your nose.

Stay tuned for the entree.

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