Dubbed Wendy’s Crafty Sweatshop years ago, the week or two before Christmas is time to make all the treats to go along with the jars of jam and veggies put up over the summer. This year added caramels to the lineup (recipe and pics soon) that always includes biscotti and chocolate covered popcorn.
I came across this recipe a decade ago through in an email newsletter from Worldwide Recipes. It’s been in the holiday line-up ever since.
A few notes- doubling this recipe makes about 14 gift-sized bags of popcorn, fewer servings if you pack it in tins. I like to mix the white & the chocolate together.
Heavenly Popcorn packed into gift bags.
- 14-15 cups plain popped corn (remove uncooked kernels)
- 2 cups dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 lb confectionery coating *
- 3 TBS creamy peanut butter
In a large deep roasting pan, combine popcorn and peanuts. In the top of a double-boiler over simmering water, melt coating and peanut butter, stirring occasionally (I did this step in the microwave). Pour over popcorn and stir to coat. (Take off rings or use gloves- this makes a mess). Spread evenly on waxed paper and allow to set for about an hour before bagging.
Coat the popcorn, allow to set on waxed or parchment paper.
* Look for confectionery coating (also called bark, almond bark or candy coating) in grocery stores with baking supplies or in stores selling chocolate candy discs for melting and pouring into molds. I would not recommend using a regular chocolate candy bar. I don’t think it will set for you correctly when it hardens.
When a friend calls and invites you down to her husband’s commercial fishing boat, the answer should be a resounding YES! Grab an insulated bag and your camera and head down to the dock. Gig Harbor‘s roots are in fishing and a fleet of commercial fishing boats are based in our Harbor. Our Annual Maritime weekend includes a blessing of the fleet.
Commercial fishing boats lined up in Gig Harbor for the annual blessing of the fleet.
This was my first invitation to one of the fishing boats and I was not going to miss it!
How much of a fish did I want? I don’t even know how much fish an entire fish entails. How about enough for six people for the day after Thanksgiving dinner? I think that came to about a third or maybe half of the fish. All I knew is that the steaks looked beautiful and I couldn’t wait ’til the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy them.
Cut from freshly-caught fish.
With a houseful of people and a fridge full of leftover side dishes, an easy grilled salmon and a serve-yourself buffet of reheated sides was the perfect meal after a long, rainy day at the Children’s Museum.
Grilled wild salmon steaks with a miso glaze.
Super-easy, here’s the recipe. You’ll have to find your own fishing boat connection though.
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 teaspoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
- 1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- Preheat broiler.
- To prepare fish, combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and brush evenly over fish. Arrange fish on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil for 8 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- To prepare spinach, while fish broils, heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and spinach to skillet; cook 30 seconds or until spinach just begins to wilt, tossing mixture constantly. Stir in 2 teaspoons soy sauce.
I cooked mine on the grill, it turned out fine.
I am a big fan of spoon breads (breads you mix up with a spoon as opposed to a yeast bread that needs to be kneaded and rise and be kneaded again and rise again….) A spoon bread can be ready for the oven before the oven is ready for the bread. I was intrigued by a spoon bread that also required yeast but no rise time. After a rainy afternoon spent on the soccer field I wanted a bread that could be ready quickly but also complemented the baked ziti I was making for dinner. Beer breads usually go best with chili or stew but I was willing to give this one a try. As a added bonus, it was easy enough to put together that Princess Leia could actually do most of the work.
Basil Beer Bread from Real Simple
Makes 1 loaf | Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 1hr 05m
Get into the habit of weighing your flour. It’s faster, less messy and more accurate.
- Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a baking sheet. In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.
Lots of jobs for little hands.
2. Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared sheet.
3. Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
The finished loaf.
The bread looked finished at 40 minutes, but upon cutting it open I realized it needed that additional 5 minutes. Err on the side of overcooking it a bit. It’s so moist it can handle it. I think I would use a slightly lighter beer next time (I used a Newcastle). Fans of ales or darker beers would probably be just fine with the result. That being said, there’s hardly any left post-dinner tonight. Toasted in the morning with breakfast? Absolutely.
PS This is the baked ziti we had for dinner.