The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Violet Sake and Vending Machines

2While I was visiting Kyoto I had the pleasure of staying at the Sakura Terrace.  There were many great amenities at the hotel, not the least was a free happy hour where guests got a free cocktail of choice each evening.

My plan was to try a different cocktail on each of our 4 nights at the hotel and on the very first night I got a violet sake cocktail. I LOVED it!! I’d never even thought of making a cocktail with sake, but it was delicious, perfectly balanced, refreshing and beautiful (I am a sucker for pretty libations).  123On the second night I got the violet sake again.  By the third night both my husband and I got the violet sake and by the end of the trip I had never branched out.  When we got back to the states I make it my mission to create my own violet sake.  4For months I played with various sakes, syrups and sodas to create the best possible drink.  It was a fun project and my husband especially enjoyed the position of official cocktail tester.  So here is the recipe!1Y2B2228 copy1 oz Monin Violet Syrup

2 oz Nigori Sake

3 oz La  Croix Lime flavored sparkling water

Mix syrup and sake. Add  water and ice and stir. Enjoy simple perfection!

You may have noticed the uniformed little ladies gripping the rim of the glass.  They were vending machine purchases.  One of the many things that I loved about Japan was the large amount of toy machines that contained the most bizarre little toys.  For 1 or 2 yen you could buy the craziest figurines and I bought many of them.  Far more than is acceptable for a full grown adult, but they were so interesting!! They had machines that sold nothing but old men sitting on benches, peeing dogs and even cute animals made into foods, such as a puppy made into a hamburger.  You can see what I’m talking about on the far right below. Untitled-11 I bough my flexible little ladies, a squat toilet, a woman serving sake, but the weirdest machine I bought is below!Untitled-1How weird is that!!! It is a baby head with an alien inside.  I didn’t have any coins when I spotted it so I dragged my husband into a cafe to get change so I could buy it! The best 2 yen I’ve ever spent!1


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Happy Epiphany: Let Them Eat Cake!

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Today is the day that the three wise men FINALLY showed up to bring baby Jesus some sweet swag. In various parts of the world this is celebrated by eating a cake that has a trinket baked inside of it. The person that finds the trinket, without eating/choking on it, is dubbed king, given a paper crown and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

This year I spent Christmas in France with my husband and in-laws so so we celebrated Epiphany a bit early with Galette des rois (King Cake).

The french version of King Cake is lovely, with a buttery, flakey phyllo housing   sweet frangipane. The trinket or fève is of a nicer caliber than the misshapen plastic Jesus that typically adorns the American versions and can come in a variety of shapes and themes.

My mother-in-law has collected fèves most of her life and has a impressive collection tucked away in a coffee tin. Over the years people have added to her collection and she now has hundreds of miniatures.  There are nativity sets, Disney Characters, monuments, barn yard animals, 1920’s actors, books, etc. I love looking at the every Christmas when we visit.3

I ate my slice fastidiously, confident that THIS year I had the fève.  No fève. But no one got it, so we had to try again later than night at dinner.

I carefully ate tiny bits, not wanting to break or swallow the ceramic prize.  And the Queen was…

My husband. Every freakin year!

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The prize was an adorable ceramic book: Le Diamant de la Couronne (The Crown Diamonds.

But it wasn’t a totally loss for me.  After careful consideration and dagger looks from his wife, my husband dubbed me Queen of the King Cake and I got to wear the crown for a bit.

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Ignore the look of extreme jet lag and exhaustion.

It’s good to be Queen!

If you want to make your own King Cake you can get my recipe from last year. It is simple and easy because I am a lazy chef, but it was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

https://thejealouscrumpet.com/2015/01/06/galette-des-rois/

1Y2B1373


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Chantenay Heirloom Carrot and Ginger Soup

Heirloom Carrot and Ginger SoupOn this gloomy, rainy Autumn day nothing is more perfect than a lunch of warm heirloom carrot and ginger soup. It is especially perfect when paired with fresh rolls and garnished with chives and dill.  Fresh RollsAnother great recipe for Chef Chris at The Bottle!fresh ginger

HEIRLOOM CARROT AND GINGER SOUP

(Serves 8 people)

2 tbs. whole butter

1 medium Vidalia onion

1 small clove of garlic

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tsp. salt and fresh ground pepper.

2 lbs. Chantenay carrots (any good sweet heirloom variety)

1 small piece of peeled fresh ginger (2 oz.)

6 cups vegetable stock (carrots, onions and celery)

1 cup heavy cream

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, sauté the roughly chopped vegetables in whole butter for five minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer for five minutes or until the carrots are tender. Puree and strain the mixture into another sauce pot and add the heavy cream. Bring to a light simmer and check seasoning. A few drops of lemon juice will help to bring out the flavor of the carrots. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, your favorite crusty bread and fresh herbs.

Carrot and Ginger Soup

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Honey Roasted Dates with Whipped Chèvre

Honey Roasted DatesOn a trip to one of my favorite produce markets, Garden Cove, my husband and I came across pints of fresh dates.Fresh Dates Neither of us had ever encountered fresh dates, though we are fans of the dried variety, so we were standing in the aisle debating how to eat them when an employee walked by.

“Excuse me,” said my husband to the employee. “How do you eat fresh dates?”

“Just raw,” the worker said. “But they are not for everyone. I love them, but there are many people who don’t like the taste.”

“What do they taste like?” asked Olivier.

After some pondering the employee said, “They taste like shirt.”

Olivier and I stared blankly trying to figure out what he really said, because surely shirt wasn’t what he meant.

Then the man pulled up the neck of his cotton t-shirt and pantomimes eating it.

“It tastes like… shirt?” Olivier asked skeptically.

“Yes, yes, shirt,” said the employee enthusiastically.

So, of course, we bought some to taste this shirt-flavored fruit for ourselves.

When we got home I washed and dried the dates anxious to give them a try.

Olivier and I bit into our fruit at the same time and damn it if it didn’t taste just like shirt! I mean seriously, it tasted like freshly laundered cotton and the texture was a bit mealy like a pear giving your mouth a drying affect, just like you shoved the corner of tee-shirt into your mouth. Very weird.

I was going to make an arugula salad with sliced raw dates and pine nuts, but decided to go with something more desserty. Plus I had just impulsively bought a lot of honey. 6The dates do have pits, so Step 1, halve 25 dates and remove the pits. Pit the datesPreheat oven to 400°. Put date halves in a plastic bag (or bowl if you’re not lazy and don’t mind stirring) and add 3 tbs honey, 2 tbs olive oil, and 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar. Shake or stir (good for you for not being lazy) vigorously. Place the coated dates on a cooking sheet and place in the oven.Honey roasted datesI roasted the dates for 10 minutes and then flipped them. Then I forgot to set my timer, got distracted and frantically pulled them out of the oven after another 20 minutes in the oven. This seemed to work out nicely for me and added a candied, honey-burnt edge to the dates. They were quite tasty. Whipped Chèvre Combine 2 oz of chèvre (goat cheese) with 3 tbs of heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla extract (I was going for half a tsp, but knocked my hand on the edge of the bowl and added a splash instead). I also added a half a teaspoon of confectioner sugar, not sure if this did anything, but I added it.

Then remove the yummy dates, top the whipped cheese on top and enjoy!2

 

 

 


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Making Pasta

Fresh PastaSeveral months ago I met Roberta Adams at a farmer’s market.  She was amazingly nice and invited me to come to her home and learn how to make authentic Italian pasta.

Roberta is on the far left.  This is the day I met her.

Roberta is on the far left. This is the day I met her.

I jumped at the opportunity and said yes right away.  It was pretty awesome, though I think I gain 10 pounds after my visit!  I also learned the art of pasta making and was surprised that it isn’t has hard as I thought it would be.feature2I did a post for the blog about pasta making for Huntsville Eats several months ago, but I wanted to share.  Make sure you check out the extended post on Huntsville Eats: Here.

Here is the video I did for them.  It is a first attempt so it is VERY rough and I made tons of mistakes, but I learned a lot!

 


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Galette des Rois

King Cake with two queens and a llama.

Left: King Cake Right: I didn’t have 3 kings so I had to make do with 2 queens (I guess the statue of liberty is a queen) and a llama.

Happy Epiphany! To celebrate the three kings locating baby Jesus (pre-GPS, a feat indeed) with their gifts of gold (score!), frankincense (aromatic resin.. lame) and myrrh (more resin… gee thanks) we eat cakes with a hidden choking hazards.

I wanted to photograph my galette with the three wise men, but I didn’t have three king figures, so I had to make do with 2 queens (and that is a loose interpretation of ‘queen’, since I don’t think the Statue of Liberty is technically a queen) and a llama.

In the states we eat sugar and dye covered King Cakes with a hidden plastic baby.  I’m not the biggest fan of the American version, but it is tradition.  In France they make Galette des Rois, an almond infused cake with a hidden porcelain figurine that many people collect.

I made the french version, complete with a porcelain fève, which literally translates to a fava bean.

ingredients

The ingredients of the filling of the king cake!

Galette des Rois

Frozen Puff Pastry

Filling:

1 1/4 cups of almond flour

1/3 cups of sugar

pinch of salt

8 table spoons of butter (unsalted)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add 8 tablespoons of cut up butter and mix.  Add two eggs and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.  Put in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.  1Take chilled puff pastry and cut into a circle.  I wasn’t very precise, but I had a pasta bowl and used that as my template.  2Next add the almond filling to the crust and don’t forget to add your hidden baby jesus.  Side note: Don’t forget to not choke on baby Jesus.  That would be a tragic celebration of his birth.  3Pinch the crust together to create a seal and coat the top of the crust with egg whites.  Sprinkle sliced almonds on the top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 28 to 30 minutes.

The mail carrier came to the door right when I was about to take my galette out and he’s a talker.  I got distracted chatting about the weather so my cake is a bit overcooked.  1Y2B1373

 

 


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The Scene: Berry Basil Muddle

Berry Basil Muddle

Recently I worked on a story for Event Magazine about local cocktails.  Some stories are more fun then others and this was a pretty fun one.  I got to travel around Huntsville, photographing and sampling (for educational purposes, of course) local cocktails.  Berry Basil Muddle

One of my favorite places was The Scene Bar and Lounge, located in the Bridgestreet Town Center in Huntsville Alabama.  I’ve been there a number of times prior to doing the article, and I especially love their cucumber mojito.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

The Scene is located in an upscale movie theatre called Monaco.  Monaco is pretty awesome.  It’s the standard stadium seating, big movie theatre but with really comfy Lazy Boy type seats.  There is also a wine vending machine, which is just cool.  But the best part is there is an over 21 section, which eliminates all those pesky (loud) high school kids.  It’s heavenly.   the scene and their drinks

It’s nice to grab a drink and appetizer before or after (or before and after) the movie.  The Scene has the best sushi!  (Yum)

During the shoot I got to sample the amazing Berry Basil Muddle.  It was pink, fresh and fruity.  And came with a fun garnish, which I am a real sucker for.  I would go crazy in Hawaii, especially if I could drink out of a coconut.

The Scene was kind enough to share their recipe with me, so you too can enjoy this drink perfect for the hot months of summer.

Berry Basil Muddle RecipeGo to The Scene, but if you can’t make your own.

Drinks at the Scene