Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kami's Costume Post

Here begins the epic costume post for Kami.  This could take awhile, so go to the bathroom, get a snack, and settle in.  We'll start with the costumes she has made for herself...cause she's awesome.

Her second year at Bay Area Renaissance Festival, as the Lady Mayor's Sister-in-Law

Her third year at Bay Area, as the Lady Mayor herself (upgrade!)  It's hand-beaded.  Yeah.

After a bad rain made the Lady Mayor unsalvagable, the costume got a face lift two years later:

It also had a surcoat that could be worn over the kirtle, although in Florida, it was rarely cool enough.

Kami's long-running character from the John LeVique Pirate days, Margarita Conchita Consuela Reyes.  She knows it's a moutful, but then, so is she!  Yep, she's the Spanish Harlot.

Then there's her costumes for others, beginning with the Baroness Blackheath.  The first dress was pretty heavy, and affectionately called the "Ottoman Empire" dress...cause it looked like furniture.  It's funny.  Nevermind.

The second edition was a lighter fabric, and had a slight change of sleeve design.  Yey, puffy sleeves!

The Baroness Blackheath has had numerous children, and among them were Victor and Tristan, who looked suspiciously alike.  Kami made them both doublets, sporting a fancy hidden zipper for easier dressing.
Victor Blackheath:

And Tristan Blackheath:

And the finest doublet she's made, and certainly the most difficult, the "Macbeth" doublet. (We can say that cause we're not in a theatre.  Thbpt.)

And originally created specifically for this character is the "Finnegan Murphy" coat.  It even has little interior pockets for pilfered items.  Well, he was the Prince of Thieves.  In that non-Kevin-Costner-cause-he-can-actually-act way.

And in the Giant Dress of Doom category, we present Kami's take on Queen Elizabeth I.  The silhouette was based on the Armada portrait, and the only things not made by Kami were the hat and ruff.  She decorated them, though.

We don't have pictures of a lot of Miss Kami's work, but should any come to light, they will be posted in the future.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Nom Report - Episode 7, Yule Log

To begin the tale of this Nom Report, we must back up a few weeks to the beginning of our culinary experimenting.  Regina was talking to her mother and debating holiday desserts, when her Mum commented, "We could always try making a Yule Log; I've always wanted to do that."  Not long after that, Regina and Kami had a similar conversation where Kami also declared her interest in making a Yule Log.  Then one day, while in a spectacularly bad mood, Regina decided to solicit requests from Facebook on what the next Nom-spiriment should be.  A friend commented that she'd "always wanted to try a Yule Log."  At this point it seemed that fate was telling us what our next project should be. 

Regina set about studying recipes for the project.  The trouble is that the recipes tended to all be totally different from each other.  It was hard picking one that felt "right" since we were rather in the dark about the whole project.  The icing and the filling were not a concern, since Regina can make buttercream and whipped cream in her sleep.  The issue was the cake.  The recipes were usually of two kinds: a torte-style cake with melted chocolate and lots of eggs, or a more cakey cake (Can't really explain that one better) with flour and cocoa.  We liked the idea of using melted chocolate, but were afraid the lack of flour would make the cake too dense.  Plus a lot of recipes used cake or self-rising flour, which we didn't have and weren't going to rush out and buy to only use half a cup.  Finally we found the recipe below:

2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan, and line with parchment paper. Grease paper.  Mix flour, soda, and salt together.  Beat eggs in a small mixer bowl at high speed, until thick and light - about 5 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar, and beat until thick.  Melt the chocolate and water together, and add to the egg mixture.  Fold in the dry ingredients, and mix gently but thoroughly.  Spread in prepared pan, and bake for 15 - 17 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Remove from oven and turn out immediately onto a tea towel that has been sprinkled generously with icing sugar.  Remove waxed paper, and trim of any crisp edges of the cake.  Begin at the narrow end, and roll up the cake and the tea towel together. Allow to cool.

This looked like it had potential, so we were off.  First hiccup: We had exactly three squares of unsweetened chocolate...and Regina put a little too much water in the bottom of the double boiler.  Never let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.  Kami got to find out first hand what burned chocolate looked like.  So after a quick glance at Mrs. Field's version of the recipe, we decided we could get away with substituting semi-sweet.  The second melting went without a hitch.  Oh, and Regina hates melting chocolate and water together, so skim milk was subbed for the water in the recipe. 

So the cake went into the oven (parchment paper is your friend):

And we made the filling.  To make something a little more exciting than plain old whipped cream, we made Marcel "Death by Chocolate" Desaulniers' Speckled Cream.  It's simple and yummy, although it has to be under lock and key to protect it from Regina's Husband.

Speckled Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz finely grated chocolate (we used semi-sweet, but you can also use milk chocolate)

Combine the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer.  Beat on medium speed about 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold in grated chocolate.
When we took the cake out of the oven, we forgot to take a picture, but we were immediately concerned.  The top was supposed to spring back, but it had a bit of a crust and cracked.  It's possible we over-beat the eggs.  But we forged ahead and rolled it up (longways, despite the instructions):
And went to make the icing.  When the cake cooled, it was unrolled:

Oh dear.
It is not, in fact, supposed to be in two pieces.  Kami suggest we soldier on and attempt to roll it up anyway, cause it's an adventure, right?  So in goes the filling:
And we roll it up:

Cause that's how we roll.

Yes that is a giant crack in the side.  We could just say it's the seam, but:
The other side has one too, and it's even worse.  At this point we have redubbed the dessert the "LOL Log" because we are laughing so hard.  Kami valiantly points out that in the picture on her recipe, they HAVE CRACKS TOO!  We cling to this image as proof that we do not suck at this. 
Onward, cooking soldiers; we cut off the ends to make the branch-stump-things:
And do a crumb coat of icing.  For those of you who do not bake, this is a thin coat of icing that goes on first to collect and glue down crumbs, so they don't get in the pretty topcoat of icing.  This being Kami and Regina, we use the term pretty rather loosely. 

Crumb Coat

Top coat, with "bark" texture.  Just draw a fork through the icing.

First slice

And it didn't fall apart!

Results: It's a lot of work, but not as bad as we thought it would be.  Once we rolled up our tragically pathetic looking cake, we were able to glue it together with filling and icing, and it didn't look too bad!  Taste results...SWEEEEET!!!  We don't mean that in the "dude, awesome" kind of way.  We mean in the "might rot my teeth, oh, god, now I'm diabetic kind of way."  Regina was only able to eat half a slice.  Kami made it through her slice but admitted it was almost too much.  However, she did take the leftovers to work and said that it mellowed out the next day and didn't seem as sweet.  She said it stayed nice and moist and was a big hit with the co-workers.  Would we make it again?  Yes, probably, although not anytime soon.  And in the future, we will stick with the unsweetened chocolate. 

Note:  Regina does not use a recipe for buttercream icing.  We can tell you it uses 1 stick of butter and one teaspoon of vanilla.  Then she just adds cocoa until "it's chocolate-y enough" and alternates confectioner's sugar and milk until "it tastes right."  Sorry about that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Nom Report - Episode 6, Welsh Rarebit/Rabbit

This will be the last post of the archived Nom Reports.  The rest will be current, and hopefully accompanied by pictures.  With luck, Thursday will bring our attempt at a Yule Log, and the extensive Kami-costume post.  For today, the review of our attempt at Welsh Rarebit/Rabbit.

Welsh Rarebit  is a dish made with melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot over toast.  The name Welsh Rabbit is a joke on the Welsh that a poor Englishman's meat was rabbit, but a poor Welshman's meat was cheese.  It was also said that if a Welshman went rabbit hunting, he would have bread and cheese for dinner. 

Not wanting our meal to be just bread and cheese, Regina made some Pork Schnitzel to go with it.  Mixing cultures, to be sure, but Regina is an American of the Euromutt variety, so it seems appropriate.  We started with Alton Brown Welsh Rarebit recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup porter beer (We used Heineken instead)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar (We added a little extra cheese, maybe another ounce or so)
  • 2 drops hot sauce (skipped this entirely)
  • 4 slices toasted rye bread (We used a baguette, cause rye bread is icky)


In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot sauce. Pour over toast and serve immediately.

Although Alton says to serve immediately, we went a different route.  First, we buttered the bread on both sides and stuck it under the broiler to let it get toasty.  Then when the sauce was done, we poured it over the bread and put it back in the oven to broil for about 5-10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  While the cheese was broiling, we made the schnitzel.  We'll save that recipe for the Schnitzel and Spaetzle post we need to do. 

Results?  ZOMG, it was good.  The sauce tasted like really good fondue, and the bread was both soft and crispy.  It tasted great with the pork too.  While we thought it might be fun to add somethings like bacon or scallions in the future, it's perfect just the way it is.  We highly recommend this recipe. 

A note on the beer: Alton calls for stout, but we've seen other receipes that say pale or dark beer.  We chose to go down the middle, plus Regina uses Heineken in her Mac 'N' Cheese to great success.

The Nom Report - Episode 5, Beurre Blanc

So Regina decided it was back to chicken and time we tested a beurre blanc.  We had planned on using Alton Brown's recipe, but after a little more scouring of the web, Regina changed her mind.  If we were going to make this sauce, we might as well go to the woman who brought the recipe to the masses.  We're really not trying to replicate Julie & Julia here, but for some things, you just have to go back to Julia Child.

Regina did a basic panko-breaded chicken, and when she mentioned it to the Kami, she responded, "Now, what is panko?"  Cue Regina's gasp that Kami had not been introduced to the glory that is panko breadcrumbs.  For anyone in the same boat, please aquaint yourself with these breadcrumbs asap.

Although we cooked the chicken on the stove, and put it in the oven to keep warm, the sauce took so long, we could have just baked it in the oven.  We wanted to serve it over rice, and as usual, we forgot the rice.  But the tedious sauce process worked in our favor, as we were able to throw the rice cooker in the microwave and stall the sauce for a bit.  Recipe and notes to follow:

The Chicken (Insert Obligatory Clucking Noise)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts/fillets
Flour for dredging
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice (We have a couple containers of seasoning we've mixed ourselves that we threw in.  We think all told, they include garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, thyme, rosemary, basil, and pepper)

Flatten your chicken.  Regina does this by placing a fillet into a ziploc bag, and sealing it, then we pound it with the SIDE of our meat mallet.  Why the side?  Because the mallet is spiny on both sides, and Spiny Whammers tear the chicken.  If you have a non-spiny Whammer, then go to town.  When the chicken breasts are of uniform thickness, dredge them first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs.  You can either then toss them in an oven heated to 350 and cook until golden brown (probably 20 min) or cook them in a pan on the stovetop.  Heat olive oil over med-high heat and make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken.  Cook until the chicken is done (which Regina always has to test by cutting the chicken open).  Place chicken in the oven at about 200 to keep warm.

Don't forget to cook the rice ;)

Julia Child's Beurre Blanc

2-3 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into chunks (we used probably 2 sticks and an additional 3-4 tablespoons.  And the butter must be cold)
1⁄4 cup dry white wine (We actually used Chardonnay instead of Reisling)
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar (Regina did not buy Regina Vinegar.  Just sayin'.)
1 tbsp. minced shallots
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Have butter ready. Bring wine and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan; add shallots, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. (There should be about 1 1⁄2 tbsp. liquid left. If reduced too far, add 1 tbsp. water to remoisten.)
2. Remove pan from heat; whisk 2 pieces of butter into the reduction. Set pan over low heat and continue whisking butter into sauce a chunk at a time, allowing each piece to melt into sauce before adding more.  Regina's Note: Your burner should be giving off just enough heat so that you can feel it, but not more than that.  The butter should be melting very slowly.  If it melts too fast, the butter will separate.
3. Remove sauce from heat; whisk in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Serve with fish, poultry, or vegetables.

So this sauce does in fact take forEVER.  And we took a couple little tastes when it was coming to a finish and were disappointed.  But, intrepid ladies of the kitchen that we are, we put it in a bowl, grabbed the rice and chicken, and went to the table.  We put a little bit of sauce on the chicken and took a taste.  This was followed by us grabbing for the spoon to put a whole nother crapload of sauce onto the plate.  HOLY COW this stuff is good.  There is nothing else in the world that tastes like it, and any moment we weren't stuffing our faces was filled with cries of "OH MY GOD THIS IS GOOD!"  Lifelong friendships could be destroyed by someone taking the last spoonfull of this sauce.  The downside is that this sauce is SO rich, we must recommend French-sized portions.  The Nom Inspector and the Chef des Noms both felt a little ill afterwards.  And it was totally worth it.

So there you have it.  A French classic, made by yours truly to great success.  What should we make next-time, Nom-subscribers?

The Nom Report, Episode 4, Beef Stroganoff

This kitchen exploration has been better than retail therapy for us, and doesn't feel as much like instant gratification.  Cause instead of coming home with new stuff we shouldn't be spending money on, we can spend less on groceries, make dinner and maybe lunch the next day, feed a friend, and enjoy the glow of having made something special.

For Tuesday's effort, Regina decided to give her Royal Inspectorness a break from chicken and we went with Beef Stroganoff.  Regina's father makes fabulous Beef Stroganoff; it was always a favorite growing up.  Unfortunately, like so many things her Da makes, she just can't replicate it to her satisfaction.  Part of the problem is that said father seems to cook by pure instinct and doesn't always remember what he puts in dishes.  Or maybe it's the love he puts into his cooking for his family, but it's just never the same.  So in the same way Regina had to make a new kind of spaetzle to adjust for that disconnect between his cooking and hers (more on that later), she hunted for a beef stroganoff recipe that was tasty but different enough that it didn't feel lacking.

After a bit of effort (no, we don't WANT a recipe with condensed soup in it) Regina found something with potential on the ever reliable  A disclaimer at the bottom of the recipe warned that it had not been tested by Food Network Kitchens.  Dun dun duuuuuh!  What the hell, we're trying it anyway.  Recipe first, then comments:

Beef Stroganoff
  • Butter and/or olive oil for frying
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 (20-ounce) sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch strips (We used top round, which was cheaper, and worked fine)
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine, plus more for deglazing pan (We actually ended up using about 1 cup)
  • 16 ounces beef stock
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire
  • Salt and pepper
  • Egg noodles or rice as an accompaniment (We used egg noodles)
  • Garnish: parsley (Didn't bother with this)
In a hot saute pan melt butter and saute the mushrooms first then add the onions. The mushrooms take a little longer. In a separate pan brown strips of sirloin that have been dredged in flour. Set aside. When the onions and mushrooms are done, deglaze both of the pans with a little white or red wine and combine all ingredients into one pan. Add 2 cups beef stock, white wine or water and 1/2 of the pint of sour cream. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. During the cooking the sour cream will separate and some of the butterfat will become visible. This is normal, just stir the pot. Just before serving add the balance of the sour cream, stir to combine. Serve over noodles or rice pilaf and garnish with parsley.

First of all, if you read the recipe, you will note that it never tells you when to add the Worchestershire.  Because of this, we forgot to put it in.  We don't think the result was lacking because of it, but you can use it and tell us how it is.  We would add it with the beef broth.  Also, regarding the wine, we used Riesling as usual.  But Regina was a bit concerned about just using the wine and the beef broth together without reducing some of the alcohol.  So we measured out about a cup of wine, deglazed the pans with about 1/4 c total, combined the pans, and then added the rest of the wine.  We let it reduce to about 1/2 a cup, and then added the beef broth.  Oh and we also took some advice from Julia Child, via Julie & Julia (love that movie).  That bit about don't crowd the mushrooms is totally true.  We didn't even use the whole 8 oz, but they were perfect according to Kami.  Regina doesn't eat them, she just uses them for flavor.

Overall, Regina enjoyed this recipe and the Nom Inspector (which abbriviates to gave it an enthusiastic stamp of approval.  Regina ate the leftovers for lunch and they reheat well.  We will definitely make this again.  We might even try it with red wine in the future, but it's good with the white.

The Nom Report - Episode 3, Garlic Cream Sauce

So on the previous Report, our lemon chicken was a bit over- lemoned as you may recall.  So the search for the perfect white wine sauce continued on Thursday.  The Nom Inspector returned to be experimented on once again, with no compaints.  The new recipe came from, courtesy of the Dinner Impossible Dude.  That is obviously not his real name, but Regina doesn't like the guy that much, so she just can't be arsed to look it up.

 The recipe was intended to be served on shrimp and scallops, but the chef wasn't in the mood for seafood.   So chicken it was to be.  Fortunately the Kami gave no objections, so we made the chicken itself the same way we made it for Lemon Chicken, and just made the new sauce with it.  We also remembered to make the rice this time.  Yey, us!

The Verdict?  Yum!  Regina prefers this sauce to the Uber-Lemon sauce, and the more we ate, the more we liked it.  We do think it needs a little something, so maybe we should add lemon, just not as much as was in the previous recipe. Or maybe add a little less cream than it calls for.   It was good with rice, and good over pasta when Regina reheated the leftover sauce the next day.  We would certainly make this again.  The Nom Inspector gave this her seal of approval as well.

Garlic Cream Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves shallots, chopped (Shallots vary a lot in size, so we just did about 4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 cups white wine (We used Riesling...Regina always uses Riesling)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked pasta or rice, for an accompaniment

In a large saute pan, heat 1/4 cup oil and cook garlic and shallot until translucent, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and add parsley, basil and thyme and let the liquid reduce by half. Using a fine strainer, strain the reduction into a clean saucepan and add the cream. Over low heat, let the sauce reduce to medium thickness.

Next time on NOMS OF OUR LIVES: Regina contemplates trying yet another white wine sauce...Alton Brown's Beurre Blanc!  Will Kami tolerate another night of chicken?  Will she rebell and express her longing for a grapefruit?  Find out, on the next episode of...THE NOM REPORT.

The Nom Report - Episode 2, Lemon Chicken

Regina recently went hunting for a beurre blanc recipe and came upon something entitled "Chicken French with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce."  We were picturing something a bit like Chicken Milanese (Grillsmith) or Chicken di Pana (Cheesecake Factory).  It was less creamy than they are, perhaps due to a complete lack of any actual cream in the recipe.  How did we miss that? 

The Verdict?  Would make again, but with some alterations.

First of all, this recipe sounds complex, and it's not.  Regina thought it was really easy to make.  We LOVED the way the chicken came out in this.  For something that simple, it tasted fancy.  The sauce however, was problematic.  Regina thought the lemon was a bit overwhelming.  The Nom Inspector (ie, Kami) enjoyed it but she may have phrased it best: "I love lemon, but I would REALLY have to be in the mood for it when I ate this."  We decided next time, mixing in a cup of cream at the end might mellow the sauce a bit and taste more the way we expected.  We had planned to serve this over rice, but we were out, so we served it over pasta.  We did add the cornstarch as suggested.  Also note that this makes a lot less sauce than you'd think.

Chicken French with a White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 c. dry white winejuice of
1 1/2 lemons
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In wide, shallow bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic, stirring to combine.  In large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium high heat until almost smoking.  Meanwhile, pound chicken breasts to even thickness and season with salt and pepper.  Toss chicken breasts in flour mixture and place, breast-side down, into preheated pan.  Cook over medium high heat until breast side is nicely golden browned, about 7-10 minutes.  Flip chicken breasts to breast-side up and cook until golden browned and chicken breast is cooked through, about 7-10 more minutes depending on thickness.  Remove chicken from pan, place on platter and into preheated oven to stay warm.  Add white wine to skillet and stir to deglaze, scraping all browned bits up from bottom of pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes.  Add lemon juice and stir, cooking until reduced by at least half, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste (Note: if you’d like the sauce thicker at this point you may add a slurry of 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp water and heat, stirring constantly for 30-60 seconds).  Remove platter from oven, top with sauce and serve immediately.

Next time, on The Nom Report - Kami is subjected to more chicken, this time in a garlic cream sauce that is intended for seafood.

The Nom Report, Episode 1

Not too long ago, Regina decided to work off some bad feelings in the kitchen and invited Kami over to taste the results.  It didn't take much time for such experimenting to become a weekly ritual for testing recipes.  Previously archived on Regina's Facebook, we will be moving the records of our Nom-speriments here.  Future tests will hopefully be accompanied by pictures of yummy-ness.

Experiment 1 - Thanksgiving Dessert

Regina was overcome with the urge to test out a dessert recipe, and decided she might as well try something she could make for Thanksgiving.  It was surprisingly easy, and Kami and Regina both declared it a success.  It was called Pumpklin Chiffon Dessert or something like that.  It's very rich, but lighter and airier (airy-er?) than your typical pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake.  A nice option for a Florida Thanksgiving we think, since you never know when you'll spend the holiday in your shorts.  In hot weather, in a small apartment, turning the oven on as little as possible is a plus.  Not to mention, if you'll be cooking all day, you can make this the night before. 

Now the recipe calls for "frozen whipped topping" i.e, Cool Whip.  This is fine for other peoples (picture Regina saying "other peoples" with her nose in the air and a comically snobbish expression) but not for someone who has a long history making her own whipped cream.  So she made a few adjustments to the recipe, but we will include both versions.

Pumpkin Chiffon Torte (oh,'s a torte...kinda)

1 cup finely crushed gingersnaps
3 Tablespoons butter (Regina used salted butter and it turned out fine)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin - NOT pumpkin pie filling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping*
Additional whipped topping, if desired (not necessary the way we made it)

*If you do not want to use Cool Whip, combine 2 cups heavy cream, half a teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat on medium for about 2 minutes so sugar can dissolve, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until needed.

Combine cookie crumbs and butter.  Press into the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan and set aside (note: We forgot to grease the pan and it came out just fine).  In a saucepan, combine gelatin and milk; let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat milk mixture to just below boiling; remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved.  Add the pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; mix well.  Fold in whipped topping (or fold in 1 heaping cup of whipped cream - you'll have extra).  Pour over crust.

Now here the recipe says to refrigerate for at least three hours and serve with additional whipped topping.  But we had extra whipped cream from making our own, so we just spread the extra over the pumpkin mixture before chilling it.  We were quite happy with that decision.

After chilling 3+ hours, run a knife around the edge of the pan.  Remove sides of the springform pan and serve.

Regina really doesn't think this is a "torte."  A torte has eggs in it.  Anyone want to suggest a better name for this?  How about Pumpkin Bavarian?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Regina's Costumes

Let's start the costuming portion of this blog by showing off some of our past work.  Regina's costumes for various Ren Faires and Conventions shall follow.  Cause she doesn't want to have to follow Kami's post. 

Regina's costume for Lady of the Lake Renaissance festival, where she played Lettice Dudley.

Her longest running character at Bay Area Renaissance Festival, Hazel Hilldebrand, a Mummer.

Regina's first character at Bay Area Renaissance Festival, the Earth Fairy.

At the Dawn Look-alike Contest at Dragoncon 2009

Dawn Look-alike Contest at Dragoncon 2010

Cruella De Ville - as a Las Vegas Showgirl, Dragoncon 2010

Herein ends the short Costume Show-off post.  You'll be here all night for Kami's.  

Obligatory Introduction Post (of Doom)

As all crafters and costumers know, there is a fatal ennui that comes from not having a project to work on.  Most of us alleviate the threat of it by having at least 67 projects in progress at one time, plus another 39 floating around in our heads for “one of these days.”
The Wylde Hills blog is intended to provide an outlet for the creative experiments of two intrepid (and fabulous) ladies.  In other words, we're keeping a record so we can point to it and go, "See!  We finished stuff!"  Our two typical creative endeavors usually involve either sewing or cooking, and both will be discussed here.  They say you should have a very specific topic for your blog.  We say, "screw that." 
And now, to introduce the players of the Wylde Hills Blog:
Kami (the Wylde) and Regina (the Hills).  Kami and Regina met at work, where Kami was Regina’s supervisor.  Several jobs and lots of life changes later, we’re best friends and collaborators.  Granted, a lot of that collaboration is “I’ve tried to do too much!  Help!”  Just the same, we’ve done some amazing work.  It’s high time we actually PLANNED to do a project together.  So we have embarked on weekly recipe testing experiments, and will soon be facing down a grand costuming experiment.  More on that later.
Kami has a Master’s degree in Theatre.  Regina has a Bachelor’s degree, also in Theatre.  Kami’s favorite period for historical costuming is Georgian, and her favorite color is purple.  Regina’s favorite period is Victorian (bustle) and she does not have a favorite color.  She does however, have lots of rules about color, like not using purple and red together, or brown and black, and hates mixing metallics.  Kami thinks these opinions are bizarre. 
Kami is a meticulous seamstress with the knowledge of all the proper techniques.  Regina is a meticulous costume crafter, who will bead a garment by hand, but would rather rush through the actual sewing.  Regina is the lead cook in the kitchen with a tendency to go, "Eh...let's skip that part of the recipe and try something different!"  Kami follows recipes to the letter, otherwise she runs the risk of burning water.
Kami is a Cancer  who tends toward the melodramatic moodiness of a creature that that lives by the motto, “Bitch! ::Pinches:: No don’t hurt me! ::Retreates into shell::  Kami’s fight or flight response has an extra option.  FREAK FIRST, than fight or flight. 
Regina is an Aquarian who tends toward the quirky contradictory nature of that sign, varying between the highly intelligent discussion and bizarre nonsequitors.  As in “Well if you examine the symbolic nature of the color palette in this scene…PUUUUPPPPPYYYY!!!”  Regina’s emergency response system is set firmly on flight with her first inclination being to hit the deck. 
While sewing, Kami always explains what she needs in great detail that Regina probably won’t remember after step two.  Regina explains what she needs by telling Kami, “It needs to look like this…make it happen."
While cooking, Regina mostly takes the reins, while Kami acts as the lovely and talented assistant - and official Nom Inspector.  Kami thinks she has the best end of the deal.
Hopefully some people will join us on our journey of Epic Costuming and Experimental Cooking.  We'll be over here, eating too much and stabbing ourselves with sewing needles.
Oh,and life is more entertaining when you randomly add "of doom" to the end of things.