Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Almost Samosas and Couscous


Dinner tonight: fake samosas and couscous. By fake samosas I mean pie crust pockets filled with curry-cumin-cayenne flavored potatos, peas, carrots, onions and garlic. Next door to the samosa imposter is a box couscous flavored with mushrooms and herbs.

Almost-Samaso Recipe

Pillsbury Just-Unroll Pie Crust (or store brand)
1 Large Yukon Potato
Mix of Frozen Peas and Carrots
Half an Onion
Teaspoon Minced Garlic
Teaspoon of Veg. Oil
Cayenne Pepper
Curry Powder

Cut potato into small chunks, put in a pot with water to cover, and boil for about 20 minutes. Saute chopped onion and garlic in the oil. Add spices and mix. When the onion is cooked, remove from heat and add peas-and-carrots mix to the pan. When potato is done, add potato chunks to everything else. Possibly add more spices if the mix looks a little lonely. Take the pie crust, roll it out a little thinner than to begin with, and cut out six rounds. Take the scraps, squish them together, roll it out, and then cut another two or so rounds. Fill each round with a small amount of the mixture. Fold the dough over to create half-circle shapes. Use a fork to squish the edges together. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for twenty minutes. Yum.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

hard candy


For this experiment I used LorAnn flavorings for the first time. Because the bottle said that the product was “super concentrated” I used a lot less than my recipe called for — big mistake. Each candy tasted mostly like corn syrup and only a little like strawberry flavoring. Next time I’ll probably add a whole bottle to one batch of candy.


The actual candy making process wasn’t that difficult.

1 & 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
flavor oil
liquid food coloring

Stir all the ingredients together in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat until temp reaches 300 degrees (or hard crack stage). Immediately remove from heat at 300, allow bubbles to subside, then add flavoring and food coloring. Probably about 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of flavoring (or a whole bottle of LorAnn flavoring) will work. Drop in food coloring until you reach a color that you like.


I used a plastic oriental soup spoon to stir and ladle the candy into the mold. I’ve seen recipes that recommend using a small funnel to make sure all the candy ends up in the mold. Although I had some strings and globs on my mold (since I don’t have a funnel), they weren’t a big issue.


A word about the molds: For this batch I used silicone ice cube molds that I bought at Target (I’ve seen them many other places as well). These babies worked like a dream. I poured the candy in (without oiling the mold), let the candy set, and then twisted the mold to pop the candy out. No mess, perfect candy.

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Cleanup: Let me warn you right now: cleaning up hard candy can be difficult. I put my pot (with some candy still in the bottom) in the sink, added some water, and *poof* — pot full of rock hard candy. It turns out that soaking a pot in hot water for about half an hour disolves and loosens the candy enough for it to come out of the pot.