And here’s the final entry for my April baking craze…
I’ve had a pomegranate sitting in my fridge for an embarrassingly long time, and no idea what to do with it. So, I decided to make another batch of muffins, last week, to use up the seeds.
By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate with no mess and no fuss?
Fill a big bowl with cool water. Submerge your pomegranate, and cut it in half with a sharp knife. Once it’s halved, use your fingers to scoop out the seeds and crack the fruit further open, all underwater. The seeds sink to the bottom, while the pith and peel float to the top. Simply skim off the chunks of pith and peel, at the end, and drain your seeds. You’re all set, with no juice staining your fingers, your table, or your clothes.
The following recipe is adapted from one found here.
Since I’ve apparently decided April was microwave baking month, for me, I’ll round it out with the other two microwave muffin recipes I tried, this month. These both were hits, though I’d advise having a big glass of milk ready to go, when you eat this one! This recipe was adapted from one I found here.
My best purchase, recently, has been a set of silicone muffin-cups. They’re safe for microwave use as well as oven use, and the Rum Double Chocolate Microwave Brownies come out like a dream, with them. Using them is much, much more convenient than using a mug, too. Anyway, I’ve been doing more experimentation with microwave ‘baking’, using them. In one round, I made the brownie recipe but added about half a cup of chopped kumquat I had left over from the salsa, and let me tell you, dark chocolate, coconut rum, and kumquats? Great pairing. In the next, I could no longer find kumquats in my neighborhood, so bought a carton of strawberries instead, and made a rum-less version to use up some milk chocolate chips I wanted to get rid of. That variation was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but they seemed to go over well at work.
Anyway, all of this left me with most of a carton of strawberries to use up before they went bad, and then someone gave me a couple of bananas, which I don’t usually eat on their own. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and whip up something using both fruits. Google, as usual, led me to a helpful recipe, and I figured I might as well discover whether an oven-baking recipe would work in the microwave as well.
(Spoiler alert: It did.)
So I’ve been playing more with photography, lately. The other day, I happened to pass a fruit stall on the street and saw these (okay, I’m going to be stereotypical and say adorable) little citrus fruits heaped in baskets for less than $3. I honestly wasn’t what they were, at first. I came home and googled about my confusion, and it turned out they were in fact kumquats, which I had never seen before that I could recall. The obvious solution? Buy some the next morning. They were tiny and adorable, okay.
So there I was, reading the student newspaper with my class, when an article on weird foods popped up. One of the foods mentioned therein happened to be Pepsi-chicken flavored potato chips, which are apparently a thing in China. Which is apparently because cola chicken is a popular dish, in some parts of China. Pepsi chicken. It didn’t sound like a very intuitive combination, but the more I thought about it, the more I actually wanted to try it. I mean, I’d heard of using cola in barbecue sauce, and I’d heard of using it to marinate/tenderize meat. Why not?
So I did.
This was admittedly a complete and utter experiment, based tenuously off of this recipe, and there are a number of things I would do differently if I made it a second time. For instance, googling the appropriate handling of cardamom pods before putting them into a dish, not after. All in all, though, I think it turned out pretty good. It’s sweet, a bit spicy, and has a definite gingery kick. It would be great over a little steamed rice.
If you haven’t seen The Hobbit yet… well. What are you waiting for?! If you have, or have any familiarity with Tolkien’s books, you probably know that Hobbits hold the culinary arts in high regard. This soup is a flavor blend I got the itch to experiment with a couple months ago, googled around and found a recipe for here, then had the renewed urge to try after seeing the film, but didn’t get around to making until today. All of the ingredients, I feel, would be the sorts of things easily found in Tolkien’s Shire–I couldn’t help but glance twice at the contents of Bilbo Baggins’ pantry in the movie, after all. Potato soup, of course, is a firm staple in the realm of comfort food (for me, at least). This recipe, however, dresses it up and gives it a rather classy twist, perfect for entertaining a crowded table on a cold winter night.