Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Sometimes I go a little overboard in my Pumpkin Carving
Note: No pumpkins were harmed this year!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Halloween Treat That Goes Squeak!

  "Back in the day" used to get homemade treats from your neighbors when you went Trick-or-Treating. Well, thank you crazy people for ruining that for the rest of us. Even prepackaged candy is supposed to be looked over by concerned parents. 
    If you are throwing a party, cute and creative treats are a must. If you are looking for something kid friendly (and adult friendly too) and you have 10 minuted to spare, I highly recommend making these easy and super cute chocolate mice.


Here are the three basic things you need. Marischino cherries with stems, slivers of almonds, and Hershey's kisses.

Drain and pat the cherries dry and unwrap the Hershey's kisses. Melt some of the kisses in the microwave or in a double broiler. The cherries are the bodies of our mice and the stem will be the tail.

Dip, dunk or otherwise just cover the cherry in the melted chocolate.

Try and position the tail so it curls
or is pointed up.

Next, take your almonds (the ears) and stick them onto the melted chocolate. Try and position them so the points are up.

You can add some personality depending on how
the ears are put on.

Next, take your unwrapped Hershey kiss and use the melted chocolate to "glue" the head on.


Now all that's left is the eyes. You can use sprinkles, red chocolate, or jimmies.

I used these and picked out the red ones.

"Glue" the eyes on with the melted chocolate. A toothpick helps with getting the chocolate on.

Eat your heart out "Halloween Wars"!

Pop the mice in the fridge so the chocolate hardens up. You can set them around a cheese plate, use them as a cucpcake topper, or serve them as is.

Halloween magic in no time!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Incognito Pie

You remember Bobby Bear singing the Shel Silverstein poem "The Wonderful Soup Stone"?

"I swear you could taste the chicken and tomatoes
The noodles and the marrow bone,
But it really wasn't nothing but some water and potatoes
And the wonderful wonderful soup stone."

Well, I found the wonderful, wonderful Red Kuri Squash while I was at the craft fair. The fair was at a garden co-op and while I was trying to warm up inside the farm stand I was looking at all the goodies they had. 

Mis-named as "Red Kurl"

     I had never seen this kind of squash before, normally you see butternut, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti, etc...I was told that this squash is more of an heirloom that is grown in Meso America and that it tastes like had me at chestnuts. I love chestnuts and I'm happy that they are making a comeback in the American garden. If I could find a place to plant a tree in my backyard, I would. No Thanksgiving in my house is complete without chestnuts. Right before turkey day, I like to roast them in the oven. I put my chestnuts in my stuffing and the stuffing does NOT go in the bird! I always get twice as many chestnuts so I can eat them as I peel them.
     Back to the squash. I picked out a lovely squash and took it home. Then I ran into my problem...the problem of "Oh crap, I just bought this really cool thing and have no idea how to use it". Then I though, well, squash is squash....soup? Though I found this really great recipe at The Kitchn for a Kuri Pumpkin Coconut Soup, sadly I didn't have enough squash.
   So I thought how about a pie? If this squash is supposed to be in the pumpkin family and tastes like chestnuts......
   I first cut the squash and roasted it in the oven. The squash is *very* hard to cut. I ended up using a big sharp knife and banged another knife on it to hack my way through it. I scooped out the seeds and quartered each half. I drizzled melted butter over the squash (it was on a cookie sheet) and placed it in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees.
   When it was all nice and golden brown, I took the squash out and let it cool. Then I sliced the skin off and had my first taste. I tasted exactly like chestnuts! It was so weird....
    I then pureed the squash. You can use a food processor, blender, etc.....
    Wile the squash was cooking I was making my dough. I used Martha Stewart's recipe for tart dough because it sounded really good and when it's baked, it tastes like a sugar cookie.


6 tbspn salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

First beat the powdered sugar and the butter in an electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) until they are creamy. I chopped my butter up and added it slowly.

Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix them in.

Add 3/4 cup of flour and mix on low speed until combined. Then add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix until that is combined. Do NOT over mix!!!! Then you will have tough dough that will not want to be rolled out. The key is to mix the flour in until it is just incorporated into the rest of the mixture.

Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a circle, flatten it, wrap the dough and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

If you time things right, the dough can be chilling while the squash is cooking.....

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (or a silpat pad), roll out the dough so it will fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the overhanging dough. I used my left over dough to make "cookies". I just cut up the strips of dough and popped them in the oven for a bit, they tasted like sugar cookies. Put the pie pan with the dough into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Pie crust ready to go in the oven

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the pie pan from the freezer, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and fill the pie with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the parchment and pie weights/beans (the weights will be hot!) and return the crust to the oven and continue baking until light golden brown all over, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. While the shell is cooling, you can make the filling!

I had enough dough to make a mini-tart as well.

Kuri Squash Pie Filling

I modified one of my favorite pumpkin pie recipes for this. 

8oz mascarpone cheese (this is what gives tiramisu it's creamy texture)
1 1/2 cup roasted kuri squash puree
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tspn fresh ground cinnamon
1/8 tspn fresh ground nutmeg
2 tblspn all-purpose flour
1 tspn vanilla extract

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth, a minute or so, you'll be able to tell that it's loosening up a bit. Add the kuri squash puree, egg, brown sugar and the spices. Beat until they are incorporated. Then add the flour and the vanilla. Beat until everything is combined.

Pout the mixture into the crust. Place it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The surface should have some cracks in it. If you are worried about your crust burning, you can add some tin foil around the edge to protect it. 

Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes. The you can put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with some whipped cream and enjoy!

Cake needs a reason, pie, not so much. Yay Pie!

Now, you might want to substitute another squash for the red kuri, I say, okay, but at your own risk. 
  This pie has a super velvety texture and the flavor is outstanding. It's not too sweet and you can definitely taste the chestnut tones. I don't know what another squash, like butternut, would taste like in this. 
   If you can get your hands on some Red Kuri Squash, I highly recommend making this pie!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rainy Day Craft Show

MinkCouture's first craft show!

Some of our Vintage Halloween items
DIY's to come!

Doesn't our Book Transformation make a great card holder?
And don't our Halloween cards look cute?

Some of our mini-fascinator hats

Halloween Postcard hanger

Upcycled Bottle cap and vintage neck tie jewelry

Hand Dyed Scarves

Our Adopt-a-Spider Program

Hand beaded vintage button bracelets
More hats!

It was a rainy day, but a fair turn out! If you didn't get a chance to buy your item, contact us and we'll let you know if its still for sale since we havent gotten around to putting everything up on Etsy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

From the Shelves: The Snark Handbook

I love a good snark, who doesn't? That perfect punchline to the joke that someone is trying to make you into. Or, maybe just that thing that was missing from the presidential debate last week.
   "The Snark Handbook: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring" written by Lawrence Dorfman  defines snark as:

n1: biting wit 2a: a smart ass remark: slylying disparaging  comment 3:bastardization of "snide remark"

adj: Irascible, snappish

More known to the Brits, the epitome of American Snark, in my opinion, is Dorthy Parker. She of "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" and "It's a small flat, I've barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends". Snark is the smart comeback, but with that edge that borders on someone saying to you, "What a bitch!". Which you know you like, you snarky devil you!
  So, here for your viewing pleasure, some of my favorite passages for  you to use in your daily life.

Snarky Sex

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall"
   -Eleanor Roosevelt-    

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly
    -Mae West-

If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
  -Dorthy Parker-

Snarky Relationships

You cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic, and then give in.

Every time I look at you, I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.
  -Oscar Levant-

Man: Your body is like a temple
Woman: Sorry, there are no services today.

Snarky Remarks About Children

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
   -George Burns-

My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
  -Rita Rudner-

I can't believe that our of ten thousand sperm, you were the quickest.
  -Steven Pearl-

Being Snarky at Work

I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.

I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

Some people see things that are ans ask "Why?". Some people dream of the things that never were and ask "Why not?". Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that shit.
  -George Carlin-

Snarking About the Economy and Money

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
  -Dorthy Parker-

A lawyer was reading out the will of a rich man to the people mentioned in the will:
 "To you, my loving wife Rose, who stood by me in rough times, as well as good, I leave you the house and $2 million"
  The lawyer continued, "To my daughter Jessica, who looked after me in sickness and kept the business going, I leave her the yacht, the business and $1 million."
  The lawyer concluded, "And to my cousin Dan, who hated me, argued with me and thought I would never mention him in my will: Well, you are wrong. Hi Dan!"

Snark and Politics, a Beautiful Combination

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
   -Mark Twain-

What do I think of Western civilization? I think that it would be a very good idea.
   -Mahatma Gandhi-

Don't be humble. You're not that great.
  -Golda Meir-

 The snark continues through the book, covering death, music, movies and literature.
  Let's hope our candidates pick up a copy and bring the snark to the next debate. If not now, then when?!