Potsticker Soup

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Something I love to make during the colder months is Potsticker Soup because it’s ridiculously quick to make and it’s filling.

Ingredients:

1 32oz. carton Swanson Thai Ginger stock

1 24oz. bag Tai Pei Chicken Potstickers

1/4 C. Sugar (optional)

Parsley (optional)

Dried Orange Peel (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. In a large (I used a 5 qt) pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add sugar, parsley, and orange peel at this time, if you’re adding them.

2. Once the broth is boiling, add potstickers and bring back up to a boil.

3. Once potstickers are hot and tender, ladle into bowls and serve!

Kahlua Balls

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In an act of holiday kindness, I made “care packages” for my Dispatch team with these and the Rumchata Truffles included. Suffice to say, they went over well.

These are a variation on the recipe for Rum Balls provided by Food Network, modified specifically for my Dispatch team’s particular allergies.
Ingredients :

2 cups finely ground Gluten-Free Brownies (Prepare according to package [I used Krusteaz]  — sub out water for Kahlua, if you like!)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for rolling
1 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 to 4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup Kahlua
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (or chocolate almond bark base), melted, optional

Instructions:

1. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand, mix together the brownie crumbs, powdered sugar, and nuts.

2. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of honey and the Kahlua.

3. Using your hands, try to form the mixture into a ball. If the mixture won’t hold together, add a little more honey (or Kahlua).

4. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (I used a cookie scoop), then roll them in powdered sugar or melted chocolate, and let them set up. Then, let them age or ripen 24 hours.

Rumchata Truffles

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup of Rumchata
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
Vanilla almond bark or white chocolate chips for dipping the truffles
cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Set up a double boiler using a heavy pot and a Pyrex bowl. Fill the pot approx. 1/3 with water and heat water to just below boiling.  In the bowl, place your chips and Rumchata. Place the bowl over the pot. As the chips begin to melt down, stir the Rumchata and chips together, creating a smooth mixture.

2. Once all of the chips are melted and the Rumchata is incorporated, transfer the mixture to a container and let it set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

3. Use an ice cream scoop (smaller size), to roll the truffles into a 1 inch size ball. You might have to use your hands to shape the ball.

4. Using the double boiler setup from earlier, melt the almond bark or chocolate chips.

5. Dip the truffles into the almond bark and sprinkle with cinnamon to decorate.

Small Business Saturday 2015

In a new tradition I started last year, I like to highlight small businesses owned by my friends in addition to my own venture, Flying Tiger Designs. There are TONS of really awesome small businesses in local communities, though, and they should absolutely be patronized.

~ Samii

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

AnubianHost: http://www.anubianhost.com/

Ayden Lane Photography: https://www.facebook.com/aydenlaynephotography

Beauty by Brittany: https://www.facebook.com/beautbybritt

Blake Illustrate: http://blakeillustrate.tumblr.com/

Brillig and Mimsy: https://www.facebook.com/brilligandmimsy/

ByCats4Cats: http://www.bycats4cats.com/

Collared Corgi: https://www.facebook.com/collaredcorgi

Delilah’s Earth Crafts: https://www.facebook.com/DelilahsEarthCrafts

Draconas Creations: https://www.facebook.com/DraconasCreations

Felix Needleworthy Fine Renaissance Costuming: http://needleworthy.com/

Flying Tiger Designs: http://portfolio.samiitiger.com

Ink’s Mistress Tattoo and Piercing: https://www.facebook.com/InksMistress

Kangaroo Reef Mascots: https://www.facebook.com/Kangarooreefmascots

MoiraCoon’s Shinies: https://www.facebook.com/MoiracoonsShinies

Pendragon Chainmail: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PendragonChainmail

Reindog Creations: http://sugarbuzzstudios.tumblr.com/

Skullgarden ~ Art of A. L. Swartz: http://www.skullgarden.net/

Tag-End Emporium: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TagEndEmporium

Terraflora Designs: https://www.facebook.com/terraflora.designs

Russian Roasted Chicken

DSC_0812For Stone Dog XII, being held in 2016, I’ll be the head cook for our Russian-themed Feast. Since it’s my first go-round, I was asked to try the recipes I’ll be making (and actually document them, in some cases). Given that it’s the day before Thanksgiving, I figured I’d make the chicken dish I’m planning; it’s not turkey, but it’s pretty amazing all the same.

One batch makes ~10 lbs or 20 pieces of chicken.

Ingredients:

16.9 oz. Baltika No. 9 Russian Lager

1/4 C. Sea Salt

3/4 C. Sugar

1.5 L  Hot Water

1.5 L Ice Water

10 lb. or 20 pc. Chicken Thighs

1/4 C. (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter

1 Tbsp. Each of:

  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Minced Garlic

Instructions:

1) Combine Russian Lager, Salt, Sugar, and Spices in a large bowl or kitchen tub. Stir to combine ingredients and begin dissolving salt and sugar for the brine base.

2) Heat up 1.5 L of water to just below boiling. Once heated, add into brine base and stir in, ensuring salt and sugar are dissolved.

3) Add 1.5 L of ice water to cool the brine down.

4) Add chicken, giving it a stir to distribute the spices throughout the mixture.

5) Cover chicken and brine, and refrigerate for 16-24 hours.

6) When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 375* F, line pans with foil (helps with clean-up later), and melt butter.

7) Pat chicken pieces dry and lay them out in a single layer on the pans you’re using. Baste chicken with melted butter before placing in the oven.

8) Place chicken into oven and set the timer for 60 minutes. At the 40 minute and 20 minute marks, baste with more butter.

9) At the end of 60 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a kitchen thermometer to 165* F. Once it’s at 165* F, remove chicken from oven and allow it to rest prior to plating and serving.

10) Serve and enjoy!

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Cloud Observation 14

DSC_0830Date: 10/22/2015

Time: 1451 (2:51 PM)

Location: Home, DeKalb, IL

Cloud Types: Altocumulus

Cloud Coverage: Scattered

Temp: 63* F

Wind: Calm

I walked out of the house earlier after sleeping to run errands, and had to squint for the first few minutes to let my eyes adjust. Holy crap, was it bright! …But it was so nice compared to this morning!

Cloud Observation 13

DSC_0814Date: 10/22/2015

Time: 0631 (6:31 AM)

Location: Rt. 38 EB, DeKalb, IL

Cloud Types: Cumulus

Cloud Coverage: Broken

Temp: 52* F

Wind: Calm

After pulling an all-nighter to reset my sleep cycle for 3rd shift, I wanted to see the sunrise… Only, with the incredible amount of clouds present, there was no sun to speak of. I was rather disappointed by that, by the way.

Cloud Observation 10

DSC_0779Date: 10/20/2015

Time: 1657 (4:57 PM)

Location: Starved Rock State Park, Utica, IL

Cloud Types: Cirro Stratus

Cloud Coverage: Scattered

Temp: 76* F

Wind: SW 9 MPH

All good things must come to an end, right?

Midway through the day, I got stung by some sort of flying insect (likely a bee). Thankfully, I’m not allergic, but I was ready to ragequit and go home, but I have good people who take care of me. After I doused the site of the sting with water from my bottle, Haelga pulled out a small tube of tea tree oil ointment and applied it to where I was stung. We kept walking down to one of the canyons, where I grabbed this shot:

DSC_0681So worth the minor irritation.