What I Learned This Week: #86

Monday, January 14 – Saturday, January 20

The Week In Brittle: A sale on raw peanuts was just the nudge I needed to try my hand at homemade peanut brittle. A Southern candy, I’ve had good and bad peanut brittles but the recipe from the Treasured Harvest Raw Spanish Peanut display seemed easy enough despite being one of those recipes that call for the cook to do a couple of the steps quickly – always nerve wracking the first time through.

I got out my rarely used candy thermometer and for the first time passed the “soft ball” candy stage (caramel, essentially) and took the mixture to the 300 degree “hard crack” (brittle, or hard candy texture). And then I promptly dropped my spoon into the scalding hot cauldron of sugar. While I’ve been known to pluck items out of soup pots and skillets, I know better than to stick my fingers in boiling sugar. Luckily I had a pair of pliers on the counter which I used to pluck out the spoon. That’s when I realized I had a spoon coated in a hard candy shell. I freaked out a bit thinking I’d ruined a utensil, but more urgently, I was at the quick moving part of the recipe.

One spoon down, I grabbed another and quickly completed the final steps of the brittle spreading it onto the baking sheet. Then I quickly switched my attention to cleanup before the candy really set on my stuff.

It took a bit of hot water and effort but the utensils were saved and the brittle was delicious. The flavor from really cooking the sugar to 300 really came through. Also, it turns out January 26 is National Peanut Brittle Day. I think I’m ready.

The Week in Biscuits: Snowed in this morning I decided to make some traditional Southern style biscuits. (Just realized I’m in a bit of a Southern recipe jag.) Biscuits are a pretty easy “fast” bread, meaning the dough doesn’t have to rise. The fluffiness in these comes mostly from the baking powder. The first time I ever made biscuits they looked like little flat disks, what I imagine Civil War era hardtack to look like. Practice and patience have improved my biscuit situation tremendously.

The Week in Dry: Twenty Days into Dry January and I’m dreaming of bourbon and happy hour. In the meantime, today I drank Coke and a water out of beer glasses while sitting at the bar at Lucious Q. Sigh.

The Week in Yay Snow!: This week’s winter storm (second weekend of snow in a row, Yay!) appeared on Saturday evening. I was already home, wrapped in blankies, when I heard the weather turn from rain to ice pellets. This morning I woke up to a few inches of snow with a layer of ice underneath. Also, it’s brutally cold outside which I can feel inside my apartment that sits in the 1910 era marble and stone, no insulation structure. I came thisclose to not getting out of bed. The downtown streets were slushy when I went out about 1 pm and the sidewalks are going to be icy for a couple of days.

Sunny, but cold. I took a brisk walk to Findlay Market to stock up for the week.

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