Carrots and Umbrellas

Carrots and Umbrellas

Decorated with orange-dyed, turquoise blue dyed, and pale green dyed Godiva white chocolate, dyed black semi-sweet chocolate, homemade chocolate frosting, and green sprinkles.

The umbrellas were meant to match like a “mother and daughter” set.
Unfortunately the larger umbrella broke before I could take the big photo of all the decorated kookys in one shot. I think next time I will make chocolate umbrellas and glaze the backside with chocolate for extra strength.

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Insect Kookys

Insect Kookys

Decorated with red dyed Godiva white chocolate, pale green dyed Godiva white chocolate, dyed black semi-sweet chocolate, pearlescent sprinkles, dyed black coconut flakes, and chocolate chips.

These spring creatures are a dragonfly, woolly black caterpillar, a ladybug, and a bright green caterpillar.

Spring Kookys, part 2

Spring Kookys, part 2

Spring Kookys, decorated with dry coconut, sprinkles, white chocolate, and homemade chocolate  frosting.

This photo was meant to mimic the previous Spring Kookys photo of undecorated Kookys, but one broke. So I thought I’d make a game out of it–can you tell which Kooky is missing in the above photo?

springcookies2013.1

Spice Blends, Some Exotic Aisle: Beau Monde

Beau Monde means “Beautiful World” in French; but in French cuisine, this spice blend doesn’t mean anything.

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Beau Monde is a blend of celery seed (red bowl), onion powder (orange bowl) and salt (yellow bowl) created by US spice brand, Spice Islands, in the 1940s.

Used in: From what I’ve read, Beau Monde, Dill, and sour cream has been a go-to party dip served with vegetables or chips since the mid 20th century. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dip was the inspiration behind Sour Cream and Onion flavored potato chips, which are very common in the United States. These were the days before Ranch was the most popular salad dressing flavor, and a household name. More on that later.

Other uses: Dairy-based Dips, condensed soup, any dairy creamy-based dish.

It’s hard not to taste Beau Monde and think it was the predecessor to Ranch. Ranch, as in Hidden Valley Ranch, was created in the 1950s by a Nebraskan couple who bought land in California.

By the late 1980s, I remember the Hidden Valley brand arriving in the supermarkets in bottles, and as a powder to be added to sour cream or plain yogurt. It wasn’t long before a ranch flavor was added to potato chips and corn chips. When Buffalo-style chicken wings became one of the most popular appetizers in bars, ranch and blue cheese became the two most popular dipping sauces to accompany them. Which do you prefer on wings? I like Blue Cheese.

Spice Blends, Some Exotic Aisle: Garam Masala

Spice Blends are great for invigorating the flavor of cooked vegetables. They also make great dry rubs or a tasty addition to breading mix before meat is deep fried in oil.

That being said, the last thing anyone wants is to try something new, be sorely disappointed, and throw the unpalatable food out.

So I’ve added a new series to this blog spotlighting spice blends. If it sounds good, try it; if it doesn’t, at least you know what you’re missing and you’re more than okay with that.

I’m starting with one of my faves: Garam Masala (guhr-ahm mah sah lah)

Garam

Starting with the red bowl and moving to the right, we have Cumin, Black Peppercorns, Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Coriander.

Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend, whose versions vary across the subcontinent. Masala means blend, Garam means heat. But don’t be ‘alarmed’–the heat comes from its whole, unground spice pods, kernels, and sticks being simmered in oil to extract their individual flavors, and combine with the others for maximum impact. When the dish is ready to be served, ground spice is dusted on meat and vegetables.

In its native area, Garam Masala is used in curries.

Other uses: Here is the States, I like Garam Masala and melted butter for a great sugar-free flavor on sweet potatoes. Garam Masala is also tasty on scrambled or fried eggs. It would probably be pretty tasty on french toast as well.