Nov 7, 2014

F.F.F.- Red Bean Cake

Last night I stumbled upon a fascinating Korean cooking site  I was going to make and share a recipe from the site as this week's F.F.F. but sadly, the international grocery store that I love, didn't have a few of the key ingredients.  Already running late to see a friend, I couldn't try another store, and not wanting to alter the recipe, I put it "on the back burner" and grabbed something that looked amusing with the idea of trying it with my friend.  Turns out today was her birthday, I swear I didn't know or I'd have brought something better. 

 Happy Birthday Julie! 
This F.F.F. the Red Bean Cake edition is for you.

I know someone out there is thoroughly unimpressed by my choice.  But, I've never tried this.  So it's pretty cool to me.  And yes, I do realize it was made in Texas, but for goodness sake, would you just let me have my moment.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, red bean cake.  At first glimpse, I imagined a nice bit of fluffy or chewy bread with a tiny bit of red bean filling.  I've had red bean ice cream, and red bean dumplings before, so I know red beans.  Their flavor is mild with the earthy/wholesomeness of dates, or figs or molasses, but nowhere near as sweet.  The texture of the paste is like slightly grainy/dry pureed beans, which makes sense, because it is beans.

Cutting into the bean cake, I was surprised by how dense the filling was and how flaky the "cake" part was.  The "cake" is like a very tender pie crust.  When it first hit's your tongue, it doesn't have much flavor, but then, the richness of the crust hits you and the sweetness of the beans comes through, and it's like YUM! I'm not sure Julie is so keen on it, but my family loved the leftovers.

Nov 3, 2014

Presents from the Halloween Witch

Hopefully you and yours had a fabulous Halloween.  Ours was fun, but absolutely freezing!  Luckily, the cold windy weather didn't stop the Halloween Witch from making her yearly rounds to our house.

What's that?
You've not heard of the Halloween Witch!

Well then, let me educate you.

The Halloween Witch comes on Halloween night, to those who believe in her, and leave their hard earned Halloween candy from trick or treating for her.  Using her magic, she makes her way undetected into those homes, and takes the candy leaving a small toy in it's place.  I'm not sure of all of the details, but I have heard it told that she has an insatiable sweet tooth, yet sadly, she lacks the magical ability to make candy, so she takes this time of year to stock up.  She is a good witch, at heart, not the scary type, so you don't have to be afraid of her.

If you're new to the workings of the Halloween witch, there are a few very important rules to follow:
  1. She only comes to houses of those who believe in her and invite her.  If anyone in the house doesn't want her, she won't come.  If you have one child who wants her to come, and another who is afraid of witches, I suggest you leave the candy of the child who wants her to come in the garage, or car, or on an enclosed porch, shed, etc.  Then she won't come into your home.
  2. To invite the witch, all you have to do is leave candy and say out loud "this candy is for the Halloween Witch.  Those words give her authority to come and take the candy.  She has no power to do anything else, unless you break your part of the deal by leaving too little candy, or non candy items.(see below)
  3. You must leave at least half of your candy for the witch, more is always better and to be safe, you might just leave it all for her to pick from.
  4. Pretzels, chips, toys, fruit, and other non-candy items aren't usually accepted. 
  5. Not leaving enough candy, and/or leaving only non-candy items could result in unwanted consequences. She's good at heart, but you don't want to upset her, because she'll play tricks on you, like giving you pimples, or tummy aches when you eat the candy you should have given to her, or other non-harmful but annoying prank type stuff.  I've even heard that she's caused ant infestations in trick or treat bags of those who shorted her on candy.  Keep all this in mind before you think about inviting the Halloween Witch into your home.
  6. Since witches never accept or give things for free, she  always leaves a small toy or occasionally a much desired book or other trinket in place of the candy she takes.  That keeps things even Stephen.
  This year, she was very good to my kids, bringing my youngest son a Stretchkin, my daughter a book about sculpting dragons from polymer clay, her latest hobby, and my oldest son a small Lego set.  They were all very happy, and I'm quite happy to have the extra candy gone.  I even snuck our leftovers, from the candy we handed out, into the pile just so she would take it away.

Thank you Halloween Witch!