Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Picasa for Mac coming soon...



Lifehacker reports that Mac lovers out there might soon get a copy of Picasa. This plus my new-found bandwidth at home might just spell the end for my 5+ years of Flickr. With rumors flying about buyouts and staffing cuts, I'd sure hate to get the heave-ho without prior knowledge. I have over 4k images up on Flickr and haven't backed them up for a year or so.

Maybe I'll get lucky and the Mac version of Picasa will have an import feature directly from Flickr =)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

DIY Peppermint Patties

More holiday recipes from The Kitchn.

DIY Peppermint Patties
Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
1.5 tbsp softened butter
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cream
8 ounces (about 1-1/3 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable shorteningPreparation:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or a silpat. In a blender, cream together the sugar, butter, extracts, and cream on low speed. After the ingredients are combined, raise the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until mixture holds together very well and is creamy, not powdery.Using a teaspoon, roll the candy into small balls and flatten them on the wax paper or silpat with the palm of your hand into patty shapes. When done, put them in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate and the shortening in the microwave or over a double boiler.Using dipping tools or two dinner forks, dip the patties into the chocolate one by one. Drag them across the lip of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Return them to the wax paper or silpat, and place back in the refrigerator to set the candies. They should be ready to eat in a few hours.And that's it! Due to the dairy ingredient, these need to be kept in the refrigerator. Layer the patties between sheets of parchment in an airtight container. They'll last for a month.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rosemary Roasted Cashews



Another from The Kitchn.

1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated. Serve warm.

Ginger Cinnamon Caramels

From The Kitchn.

Ginger Cinnamon Caramels
2 cups heavy cream
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ginger extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Line a 9x13 baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and butter generously. Put the cream in a small saucepan and let it warm over low heat.

Put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat and stir vigorously until the sugar melts and dissolves. Stop stirring and turn the heat to high. Cook until the sugar turns dark amber. Take off the heat.

Whisk in the butter. VERY CAREFULLY pour in the cream and whisk it. The caramel will bubble up furiously and steam. Whisk until well-combined and return to high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring, then turn the heat to medium-low. Clip on the candy thermometer and let the caramel cook until the temperature hits 250°F. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the ginger extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan and let it cool.

When it has cooled for a couple hours, put it in the fridge to harden overnight. The next day, cut into small pieces and wrap. These are fine at room temperature. I sprinkled them with fine sugar for an extra little crunch, which was very tasty too.