Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipes from Ollie J -- Pauline's Brittle

Pauline is my recently turned 90-years-old cousin on my mother's father's side. She was related to Ollie's husband Jack, through Jack's mother Mary Ann. My great-grandmother had two boys, half brothers. Jack was my grandfather, Pauline's father, Ira was the other boy. (Got that?!) G-grandma's family genetic legacy is quite strong. There's a resemblance that was passed down to Grandpa Jack and Pauline, my mother, me and my brother J, and now to Amber. It's fairly obvious, even with the passage of time and the branching of the family tree. I was speaking with another cousin from that line at Ollie's funeral and people approached us saying that we must be "kin" somehow, since we looked alike -- although there had to be a good 40-50 year difference our ages. That cousin had to do the convoluted genealogical explanations back up the family tree to where the lines divided, but she could do so with ease!

I'm glad that Pauline and Grandpa Jack can make an appearance here on the blog, even if it's a brittle one.

Pauline's Brittle

2 cup - R. Peanuts (Mom says this means raw. I couldn't find them. Used shelled/roasted)
1 cup - Sugar
1/2 cup - White Karo syrup

1/4 cup - water

1 tsp - Soda

Combine all ingredients except soda in a pot - Cook on high heat & mix constantly until mixture begins to turn brown* - Remove from heat. Add soda and stir quickly -
Instantly spread on greased cookie or candy sheet. (I used my Silpat.)

Spread the mixture very thin. Let cool for hours before cracking.

*Bring to rolling boil over heat. Takes about 8-10 minutes after this point for it to turn brown. It's a subtle change. The syrup gets thicker and there a slight change in the smell. Be careful not to scorch the sugar mixture.

Do not touch the hot sugar! Use a LONG spoon/stirrer, maybe not metal.

I used shelled and roasted peanuts because I couldn't find any raw ones. Everything I found was roasted already. The shelled and roasted peanuts gave it a very smokey peanuty taste. I may use lightly roasted (non-salted) ones for the next batch, and, based on the suggestions of my colleagues, try updating the recipe to "fancy" by sprinkling fleur de sel (aka sea salt) over the cooling brittle.

SOOOOOO good. Ridiculously good.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 A-Z: H is for

Herons: Watching a mated pair of blue herons take off over the river and the cottonwoods during a perfect dusk, with the mountains backlit in pink hues ... wishing I wasn't driving and that I had my camera handy.
Hurricane (Utah): Pronouced: Hur-i-kun ... not Hurry-cane ... It's sure windy up there.
Hiking: You know you're not in shape when ... Well, let's just say, you know you're not in shape. First we hiked up to Atlatl Rock at Valley of Fire.
Then there was hiking to the Cabins...
Then I was scrambling after my fearless nephew/mountain goat. Yo DREW: Slow down kid. Please. If I loose you or you break on these mountains your parents will KILL me. Plus, (panting and wheezing), I'd have to haul you back UP the slopes.Kids can get stuck in the darnedest things. and HUGS: Lots of hugs

(Finally, a sighting of the elusive family triple hugging phenomenon! This is a miracle!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 A-Z: G is for

Giggling Girls: See Amber and Elle
The Gorge: Driving back and forth and back and forth, over and over again
Going back to Grafton: Probably not the best idea on a cold, wet, rainy/snowy day in an Echo, on messy mud/clay roads ... but I knew what awful road conditions looked like, and it was just cold enough that the roads were still pretty solid. Slippery (as we discovered on one turn), but passable.

I like visiting in different seasons. You get a different perspective, and often you see things you normally might miss ... like local wildlife. I missed Gandalf though.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 A-Z: F is for

Fat Boys: A Holiday Item Available October - December
leading to the necessity of purchasing Fat Pants (but totally worth it!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 A-Z: E is for

Elk and Elk Burgers: At Blondie's Diner near Zion National Park in Utah. As we drove into the parking lot behind the building, we saw a bull-dozer loading feed into a trough. At first, I thought they were deer. Kelli pointed out that they were elk. That was cool enough. Who sees domestic elk in NYC? And then I saw the menu. So ... I ate locally. Very locally. It was so good. Plus, all the extra bits are used as decorations.

Elle: My little Elle-Belle has gotten so big since I saw her last. Walking and talking and opinionating, oh my. Plus ... such a good "mama" to her dollies and a big sister to be.
My goodness, what big eyes you have.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 A-Z: D is for

Dust: Achoooo!
Decaff Dr. Pepper: It's so nice to get the decaffeinated cans. I drank SO much Dr. Pepper on vacation.
Dam House: Isolation and quiet are so nice. Though I am about 20-30 years younger than the local demographic.
Dollies: I would have played with the girls' dollies, but some people don't share well.


Drew: Happy 5th Birthday Drew!

The many faces and facets of Drew.

I'm a foxy guy.
Talk to the hand!
Painting for Grandmary
Let me see, let me see!
Playing around ...
Posing for the Paparazzi
Drew and his lady
Hiding out and sleeping
Shy guy
Who needs high tech toys?