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Member Since 09 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Oct 17 2018 09:33 PM

Topics I've Started


01 April 2018 - 07:04 PM

I did some experimenting with a gingerbread recipe today. This is the process I followed today, but I will probably try again without the temperature adjustment at some point later. I can't get a good pic right now, but will try again tomorrow during the day, if there's any left at that point. 


In a medium bowl, mix together:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1-1/2 tsp ground ginger

1-1/2 tsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp chipotle chile powder


In a small bowl, melt in the microwave then let cool a bit:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup water


Stir into the butter and water:

1/2 cup molasses

1 large egg, slightly beaten


Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.


Heat the oven to 325F.


Line an 8” square pan with foil (leave some foil over the edges), generously spray with no-stick spray, then fill with batter. Bake on a middle rack 15 minutes, then rotate the pan front to back. Note the batter will still be pretty wet at this point. Increase heat to 350F then bake another 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes then, using the overhanging foil, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


This is nice and moist, with a lighter texture than is yielded from the original recipe. I've got another couple of tweaks in mind already and will post when I make it again. One of those tweaks whispers "rum", but I'm not sure if I'll go there or not. We shall see!

Pic upside down?

16 April 2017 - 09:50 PM

The bottom pic is displaying upside-down and I am not sure why. It displays correctly when I navigate to it on my website. I haven't seen that happen on this site before, so wanted to ask about it. Yes, I tried multiple browsers, all display it upside-down.

Kind bars - Roasted Jalapeņo

05 April 2017 - 09:17 PM

Brand: Kind

Label: Strong & Kind

Flavor: Roasted Jalapeño Almond Protein Bar

Link to product information: Kind Roasted Jalapeño


You might already be familiar with Kind brand products, particularly their sweet snack bars and granolas. I've tried and liked a few varieties and was curioius when I found the "Strong & Kind" savory snack bars. As the label promised, the bars do not taste sweet. Those following a gluten-free diet will like that the bars are gluten-free. The nuts and seeds that comprise these bars are held together with a honey and glucose syrup, but the seasonings (smoked sea salt, garlic and onion powders and jalapeño) prevent the syrup from coming across as sweet.


Upon opening the package I first smelled the bar. I was pleased that it had a very strong jalapeño aroma, as I really like jalapeño flavor. I then looked closely at the bar and found it was mostly almonds and seeds. I was expecting to see obvious signs of jalapeño bits, but didn't find much. At the first bite I mostly noticed the nut, seed and seasoning flavors other than jalapeño, along with a mild heat. I would say the heat level is a bit stronger than the average Midwesterner can handle, but definitely not very hot for a chilehead. I ate the entire bar and found myself still searching for jalapeño flavor to the very end. It's there, but it is so mild as to be barely discernible. This surprised me, given the strong jalapeño aroma.


My overall impression was that the bars are good, but most of what they are good at is being savory nut and seed bars. If you are looking for mild heat and a less-sweet snack option, then these bars will do well for you.


Kind does make other Strong & Kind bars, such as their Thai Sweet Chile bar and Hickory Smoked bar, which I have not tried yet. For the jalapeño bar, I would rate it 3 stars out of 5, based on my personal preference for more jalapeño flavor. At the same time, we all know that more jalapeño flavor also equates to more heat, and I can tell that die-hard chileheads are not the primary target market for these bars. For someone who is not searching for more heat, then, I would rate these as 4 stars.

Spicy Hard Cider

05 January 2017 - 07:56 PM

We received a couple bottles of hard cider for Christmas. The first: Seattle Cider Company Three Pepper cider. The link will take you to the home page, if you choose to look, then the Three Pepper version can be found under the Limited tab.
Their description:
APPLES: Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala
TASTING NOTES: A small batch, limited edition cider available only at The Woods. Featuring an aroma of fresh, green jalapeños paired with a unique flavor profile, combining the taste of poblano, habanero and jalapeño peppers, this cider offers a kick followed by a subtly sweet finish. 
ABV: 6.9%
BRIX: 2.6
Our impression:
You will like this cider if you like monterey jack cheese. Seriously, it tastes a lot like the cheese, especially at first. In case you are thinking "apple", slow down. This doesn't taste strongly of apple. In a way it reminds me more of a nice sauvignon blanc with a bit of sparkle to it. The label has a slider bar as a scale from dry to sweet and the mark is set 3/4 of the way towards sweet. I don't know that I would rate its sweetness that high; I'd place it at half way, max, though others might disagree. I didn't really get "sweet" out of it until I was done drinking, so the label's description of "a subtly sweet finish" is pretty accurate.
Three peppers.... If you are a true chile head, your first couple of sips will leave you wondering where the chiles are. Eventually, though, you will pick up on a very mild heat. Unlike some chile-infused beverages, this doesn't really build as you continue to drink, but stays very mild. However, I think it is the pepper flavor that shifts it more towards monterey jack cheese than cider, in terms of flavor. At the same time, the pepper flavor itself isn't all that strong, either. 
Overall this is a light, crisp beverage, delightful to drink as long as you aren't demanding a strong apple flavor and nor a strong chile flavor or heat. It's easy to share with non-chilehead friends, though some might still find the heat intolerable. I can see buying it, myself, as a light summer drink. I do like a good sauvignon blanc, so this rates well with me.






EDIT: While their website states that this is available only at The Woods, the bottle I received was purchased at Jungle Jim's in the Cincinnati, OH area.

Any Tips for Cutting Hard Squash?

19 September 2016 - 04:33 PM

I like to get pie-size pumpkins, slice them thinly, then dehydrate the slices. But this year I've rather met my match with a pumpkin that was hard as a rock. I could not make a dent in it with my sharpest knife, and the veggie peeler simply complained loudly and let me know it was going to break if I continued with it. Ok..... so I finally boiled the thing for a few minutes, turning it in the water from time to time. Fine. Dandy. I managed to get an ultra-fine sliver of the peel off after this. Next step - boil it again. Long story short is that I was ultimately able to cut the darned thing into quarters. And I managed to do so without damaging the cutting board, the counter, or myself. The knife may be duller, but the sharpener will take care of that.


Still, the cured rind is still attached. I can slide my thumb (with difficulty) between that and the flesh and break off small pieces. But frankly, only so much. I finally decided that we are having pumpkin with hot peppers as part of dinner. The heck with getting the rest of the rind off - this baby will be nuked. I've been at this for an hour and a half, fuggetaboutit. 


Do any of you have tips or tricks for cutting open a particularly-hard pumpkin? Yes, it must still be edible at the end of the process!  ;) Yes, I seriously entertained the idea of using the table saw or the miter saw, but nixed those options already. Hmm.... maybe my Dremel with a fresh cutting disc on it.....