Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pineapple Parrot

I just realized, gasp, it's been a week since I've posted anything.
We had Tapas last week, and I've been busy this week preparing for my new ventures.
I'll be making and hopefully selling as well, my home made crackers and Danish Pastries starting next weekend.
I'll also be teaching some cooking classes starting next week, and I've been preparing my lesson plans, and hoping someone actually signs up for the classes.

Also, because it's been awhile since I've gotten together with the ladies on Friday night, I made another Pineapple Bird. 

Pineapple Parrot
I saw a video on Facebook, and had to try my hand at it.
I made one for Tapas last week as well.

 I think I like this week's one better, although that beak needs work.
At any rate, I remembered to take pictures of the whole process, so take my hand and I'll attempt to walk you through it.

First off, you need a good pineapple.   If you don't trust yourself to pick one out, ask a trusted friend to do so.  That's what I did last weekend, and it was a good one.  Then I attempted to pick one out for myself, and, well, it was not as good.

Next up, are your tools.  A sharp knife, a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp pair of scissors,  a carrot and a paring knife.  Wait a minute, you'll need the carrot but not for a few minutes, so you can put that aside.
And a cutting board.

Place the  Pineapple on a cutting board, determine it's not quite even on the bottom, so shave off a little on one side so it sits neatly.

Next:  Cut off the top third of the pineapple and set the bottom aside for a few minutes.
 Decide, you really cut it unevenly, so even it out, by cutting a thin slice from one side.
We'll get to it, soon.
Next up, you want to make the 'tail', so get your kitchen shears out and start trimming the leaves from the pineapple.
Like this:

Got your knife handy? 
Cause we need to get to cutting some more of the pineapple.
 Cut a piece off of each side of the 'tail', you just trimmed, and put those pieces aside.
Hopefully, you'll end up with a piece of pineapple that looks like this.
Now, that you have that done, it's time to make the bowl.
Cut down the sides with a sharp knife, but not through the bottom or the sides. 

 Continue until you've gone all the way around.    (By the way, this knife is a Miracle Blade and I love, love, love it.  I've used this Filet Knife for a lot of things, and it's been fantastic. Shameless plug here.)

You now have the beginnings of a pineapple bowl (and not the foodball kind either).   That round shape is still attached at the bottom so the trick now is to get it out, without cutting the bowl apart or nicking yourself.
Cut three or four slits just above the bottom of the bowl, and insert a sharp paring knife in and cut it free. 
(I would add that if you place a toothpick in each cut so you find it easier, it helps.  Believe me when I tell you that finding that slit after you cut it, is not easy).

 If you did it right, the whole center will lift right on out.

See, easy peasy.
Put that aside, while you get your creative juices going.
You're going to shape the parrot head next. 
Using a sharp knife, round off the squared off part of the tail.
Then get that carrot out, cut off a piece, and start playing with it.

Basically, you want to be able to stick it onto the pineapple in such a manner that it is even.  After you've pared the peel off, you can use the peeler to shape the carrot into more of a beak.  Use a toothpick inserted in the end of the carrot and stick it into the pineapple, or use a bamboo skewer, cause the toothpick you used didn't hold.
 Now that you've got it shaped, and mated, that bird needs eyes.  I used some cloves to make the eye.

Here's looking at you, kid.
  Sorry, couldn't resist that one.

 I didn't put the whole thing together until I got to the gathering on Friday, but this is how the one I made last weekend looked.  
 You stick one end of a skewer into the pineapple bowl and the other end into the parrot to 'perch' it on the side of the bowl.

That piece you cut out of the bowl?  Well, just cut the core out of it, then cut the rest it into little cubes, pile them back into the pineapple bowl and serve.  

Any questions?

No, OK, class dismissed.

Getting some practice in there.

Have a great week.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using any links to Amazon.  If you are uneasy purchasing an item through the links, you can go directly to Amazon to purchase the item. **

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tapas for May

 It's been a couple of months since we've hosted Tapas. 
But I got into the swing of things, sorta and we had fun last night.   I'll tell you all about it at the end of this post. 

Pineapple Bird
I had fun making this little guy. I'd seen a video on FB and a friend who knows how to pick out ripe pineapples brought me one, and I had to do it.  It was not a Pinterest fail.  At least I don't think so.

I'll tell you all about it in a later post.

But for now, let me share what everyone else brought, and then I'll tell you about my adventures...
And I had some, in the kitchen.

First up.  These mushrooms, and just after I took the picture I sampled one, and then went back and sampled more.
What can I say, I love Mushrooms.
Baked Mushrooms
 This little guys, very tasty.
 Pineapple Salsa, if you notice the bird is keeping an eye on it. This had such a lovely spice to it.
Pineapple Salsa
There were these yummy wings, and look at the pretty platter they're on. I love pretty serving pieces.
And then there was this Chicken Pie... which was so good.  I'm such a sucker for Chicken Pie.
Next up, some Tortilla Rollups, mine never look this pretty.
and a quick overview of the table, the flame lilies are so pretty in the middle.
Next these little yummy bites.  Set on some yellow summer squash with a pepper medly and sausage.
A Sausage bread roll.  Really unique and fun.  Tasted good too.
Pasta Salad.  Nuff said.  Well, not really, I got to keep some last night and it was a good breakfast.
Harriett makes some of the most creative things.  And these Deviled Eggs are some of them. The yellow were Curry and the green were Avocado.
There was also some Cheese and Crackers which are always well received.
 There was also a Seafood Salad, which was good.
I'm not forgetting dessert either.
Everyone went wild for this.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.   I got the recipe and will be making it soon, for us.   And I'll share with you as well.  

And then there was me...
Or rather what I made.  Some Spring Rolls, which I've made before and will make again, I'm sure.
Also this Crockpot Pork Loin, which my sister made the last time I visited with her.  Hers was much better.
and I also made some Za'atar Pita Chips to go with some hummus.  I had adventures making them, I tell ya.
and there was the Parrot, but you've seen that already.
Deviled Eggs with Black n' Bluesy Seasoning from Legions of Spice.  I just added a teaspoon of the spice to my already prepared egg filling, which gave it that lovely orange tint along with some extra flavour.  They gave me some of the seasoning to play with, and so far I've used it with the Cajun Shrimp Spring Rolls I made the other day, as well as the eggs today.  I'm thinking this would be great for Halloween eggs as well. 
Deviled Eggs with Black n' Bluesy Seasoning from Legions of Spice

And now for the adventures...
I wanted to make some Za'atar Pita Crisps to go with the Za'atar Hummus I'd made, but the first pan burnt. These were actually the only ones I rescued.  The second panful, ended up as an offering to the Kitchen Goddess, aka, the garbage can.  And I did eat a few along the way as well.  I like semi-blackened bread products.
What can I say?
 I wasn't too thrilled with the Spring Rolls either.  I could not get them rolled up tight enough.  But they were still edible.
At least I assume they were, since the plate got cleaned up.
For the first time, ever...  We only had one dessert, and it was so popular I thought things might get ugly, in case people didn't want to share (just kidding, sheesh).
I ran, well, walked quickly, to the freezer and grabbed out a Danish Almond Slice cake, which I also call a Kringle.  Thawed it, sliced it and set it out.
It disappeared as well. 
Danish Almonds Slice Cake.
 Well, that's it for this month.  
I've got the wine glasses washed and put away, the kitchen is tidied up and I'm going to go and relax for awhile. 

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Cajun Spiced Shrimp Spring Roll

I knew this was coming up and kept planning and planning and tried to decide what I could make and then I got it.
I'm talking about Fish Friday Foodies who are a bunch of bloggers who get handed a challenge to  make a new recipe within a certain theme.   This month Caroline gave us the challenge of Seafood with a Bit of Spice.

I made some Cajun Spiced Shrimp Spring Rolls.
Cajun Shrimp Spring Roll

I'm all about spice, love my spicy foods, and was racking my brain trying to come up with some kind of spice, and then...

Legion of Spice contacted me and asked if I'd like to try their spice mix, and I said, Yes please!

I'm so glad I did.

For my part in this month I wanted to use this new Spice Mix called Black n' Bluesy which is a Cajun  Blue Cheese Rub and Seasoning from Legion of Spice.  (BTW, they're coming out with a few more blends soon.)

Black n' Bluesy Rub and Seasoning
I need to go buy more shrimp, lots more shrimp and make more and more of these Spring Rolls and maybe I'll even share them next time.

Recipe:  Cajun Spiced Shrimp Spring Roll

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled
1/3 package Bean Thread's, cooked and cooled (or Cellophane noodles)
1/4 head lettuce, finely shredded
1 green onion, minced
2-4 strips carrot  (use a peeler)
4 sheets Spring Roll Rice Paper
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Sweet Soy Sauce
1  heaping teaspoon Black n' Bluesy Rub and Seasoning
1 teaspoon olive oil for sauteeing.

Heat a small sauce pan with the olive oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle the shrimp with the Black n' Bluesy seasoning,
Shrimp with Black n' Bluesy Seasoning
place into the pan and saute the shrimp on each side for a couple of minutes or until cooked.  They don't take long.  Set aside to cool.
Cook the Bean Threads according to the directions on the package.  Mine just said to pour boiling water over the bean threads and set aside for 15 minutes.  Take the Bean Threads out of the hot water, drain and place into a bowl.  Mix the Rice Wine Vinegar, sugar and Sweet Soy Sauce together and pour over the bean threads.  Set aside to cool.   Cut the lettuce up, in fine shreds.  Chop the green onion and then take a couple of strips of carrot off of a peeled (and hopefully washed) carrot.
By this time the shrimp and Bean Threads should be cooled.  Mix the Bean Threads in with the lettuce, and then have fun. 
Dip a sheet of Rice Paper into some hot water to soften.  Then place the softened sheet on a damp surface, like my cutting board here.  Lay a row of shrimp on the middle,
then a couple strips of carrot,
and then mound the lettuce/bean thread mixture on top.
Fold the top down over the filling and then fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder.
Stop and admire the pretty roll, take pictures, and then realize you should have rolled it tighter.
  Cut in half and serve with some sweet hot Chile Sauce.
And then use a fork to get every last bit of goodness up.
 I was actually tempted to lick the plate.

The combo of spices was very nice.  I wasn't too sure about the cajun and sweet hot chile sauce combo, but they got along very well in my mouth.

*I was given a sample of this spice mix to use and develop recipes from.  All opinions are my own and reflect my experience with this spice mixture.
Please check out Legion of Spice as well.  They donate a portion of their sales to help out the hungry  and are also offering free shipping for the month of May.  And... They don't use a whole buncha salt either.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using any links to Amazon.  If you are uneasy purchasing an item through the links, you can go directly to Amazon to purchase the item. **

This recipe was also shared on Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

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