Tag Archives: sugar

Candied Orange Peel

Buying gifts can start to quickly add up, and it’s hard to not feel generous during the holidays. Though I try to set a budget for each person on my list, it can be really hard to stick to; I aspire to be one of the greatest gift givers in my family and sometimes overdo it. To help ease the pain on my wallet, while utilizing my knack for baking, I set out to churn dozens of sweets out of my own kitchen to give my favorite people on the planet presents that are homemade and edible.

I entered my culinary arena at 10 a.m. last Saturday and lost myself in batches upon batches of cookies, cakes and candies. When I finally came to, after a whirlwind day of stirring, mixing, and whisking, it was getting dark outside and I happily realized I spent the entire day in the kitchen. True, I was definitely proud of my accomplishments as I looked around my kitchen and admired my own work: freezer bags and Tupperware containers practically overflowing with holiday treats. But, I was also overcome with excitement as I imagined my confections wrapped in red and green paper, tied with ribbon. What was even more thrilling was the thought of them being eaten. Read More…

Petite Palmiers

Typically, I’m a chocolate person. When I need something sweet, my preferences are likely to point me in the direction of Oreo’s, Hershey Kisses or M&M’s (plain, peanut, pretzel, you name it). There are occasions, though, where I’m in need of a buttery, flaky, pastry. Maybe something light, and delicate, and perhaps even aesthetically pleasing.

For example last summer, one of my Kitchen Kapers shopping sprees added a tart pan to my collection of kitchen toys; I decided, in the dead of summer, to make a blackberry tart. From scratch. Maybe the heat and humidity got to my head; I learned very quickly that working with pastry dough in inferno-like conditions is absolutely impossible. Not only was I practically melting in the hot kitchen, the dough itself pretty much liquefied.

Taking advantage of the chilly conditions, I was able to make a simple, buttery pastry that’s delicious for breakfast with jam or satisfying as a dessert. Though I spent the day making the dough from scratch (which will be posted to CleanPl8.com), here is a recipe using store bought, frozen pastry dough. Read More…

Mulled Wine

I’m not the biggest fan of cold weather, or hot weather for that matter. I prefer crisp days or warm weeks. If it gets to the point where it’s just impossible to look cute in layers upon layers of clothing, or if I am fanning myself in sweat soaked clothing, well, I’m just not a happy camper. There are not many cures for days when the weather is extreme; if it’s hot, I simply sit as still as possible, helpless and miserable, in my own puddle of sweat. If it’s cold, I head to North 3rd for a glass of their mulled wine.

The memory takes me back two winters, to a bitterly cold (though not snow filled) evening. Joe and I had parked a mere two to three blocks away from North 3rd, located on 3rd and Brown in Northern Liberties. Aside from the fact that my hunger pangs were, as always, pretty vocal, the short walk to the restaurant was almost unbearable. We could barely carry a conversation through our chattering teeth and the uncontrollable, convulsion-causing chills that somehow managed to sneak their way through down feathered coats, mittens and scarves. When we were seated at the restaurant, it was frustrating how long it took for us to thaw out and get comfortable. Examining the menu, still wrapped like an Eskimo, I became fixated on the mulled wine listed as part of the cocktail menu. One sip melts the frost from your fingertips, and leaves you with a warm, happy feeling. Read More…

Watermelon Granita

An abundance of summer fruits makes for a great alternative to what’s inside my snack cabinet. Instead of salt water taffy, caramel corn and ice cream, I’ve been reaching for strawberries, cherries or peaches. Fruits like this have been such a huge part of my summer diet that I’m now at the point where I’m dying to figure out a way to jazz them up. Believe me, I’m not bored with them, and I realize come December I’ll be going through summer-fruit-withdrawal; I’m simply trying to indulge my creative bug and get crafty in the kitchen.

If you peruse the internet and page through any cookbooks you have on hand, you’ll find creative ways to use your fruit: grilled or broiled, sautéed with butter and brown sugar, or reduced in a pan with alcohol and sugar. The possibilities are endless! Still, I was looking for a more seasonal approach and narrowed it down to frozen recipes using leftover watermelon. Though a search using key terms produced many margaritas and alcoholic beverages, I found a gem of a recipe on Food Network’s site

Granita is an Italian, icy dessert, made with an equation of a liquid plus sugar and possibly the addition of another flavoring. The freezing and “raking” processes, combined with the amount of sugar, give a granita the crystallized texture it is known for.  Read More…

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