The 350 Degree Oven http://www.the350degreeoven.com Adventures in Mika's Kitchen Wed, 14 Feb 2018 22:28:36 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Roulade Steakhttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2018/02/meat/spinach-and-cheese-stuffed-roulade-steak/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spinach-and-cheese-stuffed-roulade-steak http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2018/02/meat/spinach-and-cheese-stuffed-roulade-steak/#comments Wed, 14 Feb 2018 22:15:16 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8806

Spinach & Cheese stuffed Flank Steak

Flank Steak is a great cut of meat to make fancy-looking roulade steaks!  It is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat, and if cooked and sliced correctly – can be the centerpiece of an elegant or impressive meal!  One version of a roulade made with flank steak, is Braciole… an Italian version stuffed with breadcrumbs and cooked in marinara sauce.

Today’s recipe for roulade steak is stuffed with a blend of cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan) along with cooked spinach – it has a lovely color and when sliced, has a beautiful presentation.

When done, the roulade slices can be served as is (no sauce)… or you can add a mushroom based gravy, peppercorn-cream sauce, or an Italian style tomato sauce.  Enjoy!

Roulade Steak:

  • 1.7 – 2 lb. beef flank steak (whole piece)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 1 T. olive oil

Spinach-Cheese Filling:

  • 1 c. whole milk ricotta
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 5.25 oz bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place your flank steak on a cutting board and identify the grain (you want the grain to be vertical).

2.  Using a sharp knife (be careful!), butterfly the steak by cutting it in half horizontally, then flip it open like a book to double the width.

3.  Using a meat tenderizing mallet, pound the steak to even thickness, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

4.  Microwave the spinach in a bowl for about 2-3 minutes.  Chop the spinach, and the squeeze out the excess liquid (you can use paper towels to help soak up the liquid).

5.  Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

6.  Starting from the outer right edge of the flank steak, spread the filling to about 2″ from the left side.

7.  Roll up the steak like a cinnamon roll, from right to left.  When you are finished, the grain of the meat should be running up and down, along the length of the roll.  Why?  Because when you slice the roulade into steaks, you want to be cutting ACROSS the grain so that the meat isn’t tough and chewy.  Using kitchen twine, tie the roulade together.  Start at one end with a square knot.  Then make a loop, tuck the loop under and bring it an inch or two from the first tied section, then tighten.  Repeat and tie off more sections until you reach the end.  Finish by tying with another square knot.

8.  Place your roulade onto a foil lined baking sheet.  Rub the top with the olive oil.  Insert a meat thermometer, then bake in the 425 degree preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until center reaches approximately 120 degrees.  Finish by broiling on high for about 3-5 minutes to caramelize the top.

9.  Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil – allow to rest about 15 minutes before slicing into pieces.  (Just FYI You should be slicing ACROSS the grain of the meat.)

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“Hope Diamond” Martini (Butterfly Pea Flower Martini)http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2018/01/beverages-liqueurs/hope-diamond-martini-butterfly-pea-flower-martini/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hope-diamond-martini-butterfly-pea-flower-martini http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2018/01/beverages-liqueurs/hope-diamond-martini-butterfly-pea-flower-martini/#comments Wed, 17 Jan 2018 01:19:46 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8792

Butterfly Pea Flower Martini, A.K.A. the "Hope Diamond" Martini

Recently, we had dinner at Eddie V’s in La Jolla to celebrate an event.  For $16, you can get a “Hope Diamond” Martini with the listed ingredients of: “Grey Goose Vodka, Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur, Lemon, Pea Flower Tea, Diamond Ice Cube“.  The drink was really special… a lightly sweet, royal purple colored cocktail… with a sapphire blue ice cube floating in the middle of the glass!  But at $16… not something you would order everyday!

Figuring out how to make this drink wasn’t too hard… peaflower tea (in teabag or loose-leaf form) was pretty easy to find on Amazon.  The Pamplemousse Rose liqueur, however, was a little harder to find… I couldn’t find this locally, and shipping alcohol in CA is highly regulated and hard to do.  So I substituted with St. Germain – a sweet liqueur made from Elderflower blossoms - which is quite easy to find at any BevMo or at almost any liquor store.

What really makes the presentation of this martini special, are the sapphire blue ice cubes.  Here, I used spherical ice cube molds… but if you really want to take this drink to the next level, get a set of diamond shaped iced cube molds.  (At Eddie V’s, they used a large sized square ice cube mold.)

“Diamond Ice Cubes” & Pea Flower Syrup:

My actual "Hope Diamond Martini" at Eddie V's in La Jolla

Hope Diamond Martini (1 serving):

  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 to 3/4 oz. pea flower syrup
  • 1/2 to 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain (Elderflower blossom liqueur)

1.  First make the Diamond Ice cubes:  Soak the teabags in the 2 c. hot water for about 5-10 minutes until the color has turned a dark opaque blue.  (You can experiment with how much peaflower tea to use… with this particular brand, it took me 3 teabags.)  Pour 1 c. of the tea into ice cube molds.  You can use spherical ice cube molds as I did for today’s martinis – or you can get really fancy and creative and use diamond shaped ice molds (pictured below).  Extra ice cubes can be kept in an airtight ziplock bag in the freezer for next time.

Next make the Pea Flower Syrup:  With the remaining 1 c. of warm/hot pea flower tea, add 1 cup of sugar.  Stir to dissolve, then cool and set aside.

2.  To make a martini, add your “Diamond Ice cube” into a martini glass.

3.  Add the vodka, peaflower syrup, lemon juice, and St. Germain to the shaker.  (Lemon juice is acidic and will turn the drink from blue to purple – the more acid is added, the more pinkish the color of the drink will become.  If you want a brighter fuchsia color, use more lemon juice.  If you want a more royal purple color, use less lemon juice.)  Use less peaflower syrup if you don’t want it to be too sweet – more if you prefer a sweeter cocktail.

4.  Shake the mixture with ice, then pour over the ice cube in the glass.

5.  Serve, and enjoy!  (You can double or triple the recipe in 1 shaker if you are making multiple drinks.)

 

 

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Orange Olive Oil Cakehttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/12/cake/orange-olive-oil-cake/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=orange-olive-oil-cake http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/12/cake/orange-olive-oil-cake/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:29:15 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8765

Orange Olive Oil Cake

With the upcoming holidays, I’ve been looking for some simple, but flavorful, dessert recipes to try out for Christmas.  I like to stick with ingredients that are in-season if possible – so for winter in Southern California… that means citrus!  I love the bright & tart flavors that citrus fruits impart to cakes… the inclusion of olive oil also helps to give this cake a very unique flavor.

The olive oil you choose for this cake depends on your preference… use high quality extra virgin olive oil if you would like the fruity essence of olive oil to be apparent in the cake (which is what I do).  If you are concerned the olive oil flavor might be overpowering, try it first with light olive oil (which has a more neutral taste)… then next time you make the cake see how you like doing half light olive oil, half extra virgin olive oil.

This olive oil cake can be modified to any citrus fruit (lemon, tangerine, orange, blood orange, etc.).  You can also add complementary herbs/flavors as well.  The next time I make this cake, I’m planning on doing a lemon-rosemary version (or possibly a lemon-lavender version).

Orange Olive Oil Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. orange juice (from 1 large Navel orange)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. orange zest (from 1 large Navel orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • powdered sugar (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9″ springform pan with non-stick baking spray (I use Pam for baking).  Wash and dry an orange, then zest.  After zesting, cut the orange in half and juice.  (I got enough juice + zest from 1 large Navel orange, but depending on the size and how juicy the oranges you have are – you might need more.)

2.  Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale (about 4-5 minutes).

3.  Combine the orange juice, olive oil, orange zest, and vanilla extract into a glass measuring cup with a spout.  Whisk with a fork to combine.

4.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, then slowly pour the orange juice mixture into the egg mixture.

5.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl to combine.

6.  Pour the dry ingredients into the liquid, then gently combine with a hand whisk.  (You should have a light and foamy batter.)

7.  Pour into the prepared pan, then bake for approximately 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.  When done, the top of the cake will be golden brown with the edges just pulling away from the pan (toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean).  Don’t be alarmed if the middle sinks in a little bit… as long as the toothpick in the center comes out clean, the cake is done… and not much you can do about it.  Olive oil cakes have a tendency to sink in the middle.

8.  Cool 15-30 minutes in the pan, then unhook and remove to cool completely on a serving platter.

9.  Dust with powdered sugar, and serve!  Cake will keep (covered) for up to 1 week at room temperature.

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Vegan Coconut Rum Cake (no eggs, no dairy)http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/11/cake/vegan-coconut-rum-cake-no-eggs-no-dairy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vegan-coconut-rum-cake-no-eggs-no-dairy http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/11/cake/vegan-coconut-rum-cake-no-eggs-no-dairy/#comments Thu, 30 Nov 2017 23:21:40 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8676

Vegan Coconut Rum Cake

This evening, I needed to make a birthday cake for a vegan friend… and I’ve already made her a Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze several times (based on the cake portion of my Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe which doesn’t require dairy or eggs)… thinking it was time to bake something different, I modified that recipe to make a Coconut Rum Cake.

For this recipe, you can use regular all-purpose flour… but if you can get it, White Lily flour (a Southern USA staple) is a great ingredient to make the texture of this cake fluffy and moist!  White Lily Flour is made from red winter wheat which has a lower protein (gluten) content than regular AP flour – this makes it the ideal flour for delicate baked products such as biscuits, quick breads, and cakes (not so great for bread making or products that require a higher protein content).  Unfortunately, they don’t sell White Lily flour here in California… so I usually buy it online.

Vegan Coconut Cake:

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour (White Lily)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. unsweetened coconut milk (for drinking), hot
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. white vinegar (or cane vinegar)
  • 1 T. coconut extract
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut
Coconut Rum Glaze
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 c. – 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. coconut rum (Malibu)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare bundt pan by spraying with non-stick baking spray (I use Pam for baking spray).  Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.

2.  Microwave the coconut milk for about 3 minutes to heat. (Use the unsweetened coconut milk that comes in a carton for drinking, not the heavier kind that is canned meant for cooking.)  In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, vinegar, coconut extract, and hot coconut milk.

3.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, mix until just combined (do not overmix).  Stir in the shredded coconut.

4.  Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.  Baking times will vary on your particular oven… so start with 35 minutes, but check before removing because your cake may need more time.  (My cake took about 38 minutes, on the convection setting.)  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, make the rum glaze.  Gently heat the sugar, salt, coconut milk, and coconut oil in a saucepan until bubbly and sugar is dissolved.  Continue to simmer, while stirring, until slightly thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat, and add the coconut rum.  (Start with less sugar if you like… you can always add an extra 1/4 c. if you would like your glaze to be a bit sweeter.  Normally when I make this type of glaze for Caribbean Rum cake, I use a dark rum… which isn’t very sweet.  But coconut rum, like my favorite Malibu, does have a lot of sweetness to it – so I feel you don’t need as much sugar.)

6.  With a small paring knife, lightly poke some holes in the top of the cake (this will allow the cake to absorb the rum glaze).  With a spoon, slowly spoon the glaze all around the top of the cake – do this slowly so that the rum glaze has time to soak in.

7.  Allow the warm cake to soak up the glaze and sit for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake platter.  Serve when cool!

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Taking a break!http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/05/uncategorized/taking-a-break/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=taking-a-break http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/05/uncategorized/taking-a-break/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 22:23:24 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8670

Hello Readers!  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe or how-to… but if you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I’m taking a break!

I started this blog with the intention of posting some recipes now and then, as a step-by-step “how to guide” for people who are learning to cook/bake.  I also wanted to help give more experienced cooks and home bakers an opportunity to learn different cuisines and techniques, and to help cultivate a curiosity about trying new ingredients and techniques.  As our technology progresses, people overall seem busier from day to day, with less time to devote to things like cooking.  I noticed that many young people seem disinterested in learning how to cook/bake… it makes sense… the world is changing and we all have less time to devote to learning these skills (that many perceive to be difficult) and must prioritize other things in our lives.  I wanted to help change this misperception that “cooking is hard” and make it easy for people to learn, at their own pace.

Hopefully the recipes that I have posted over the past few years have helped further this goal.  My website is here, for free, for anyone to read… so please take what you like and leave the rest!  By no means is my way the only way of doing things… and I would encourage everyone to experiment in the kitchen with ingredients and techniques as much as you can.  I’ve learned a lot from trying new things – being excited by seeing a new spice in the market or a new type of cooking tool or utensil… and I hope that I have helped in some small way to cultivate that curiosity in my readers.  Aside from having a kitchen with cabinets overflowing with all sorts of ingredients, pans, and tools (I ran out of space a long time ago!)… my “experiment” has been a happy one, something that brings me great joy.  Yes, I’ve had a lot of failures (exploding dough, batter overflowing onto the oven floor, wasted ingredients, etc.)… but with every failure, I’ve learned something and it has made me better in the end.

To access my recipe index (quickest way to find a specific recipe), click the tab at the top of the page that says “Recipe Categories“, and it will take  you to my index page that lists all the recipes that I have ever posted on this blog.  You can also hover your cursor over the “Recipe Categories” tab, and the individual categories will appear below that you can click on – and then you can scroll through the pictures.  I have tried to divide the recipes into categories that make sense (like a cookbook); cake, quick breads, cookies, types of cuisine, etc.  If you are searching for something specific, you can also enter some key words into the search box (on the right sidebar) which should (hopefully) pull up what you are looking for.  I have 6-7 years worth or recipes that you can access on this website… over 339 blog posts to this date!

Since the beginning of this year, I have decided to take a much needed break.  Part of that is because the two little guys on the top left of this screen are keeping me busy in much of my free time… my little shelter kitties that are the BEST CATS EVER!  The other reason is that while I love cooking and baking… the pressure to pull out the camera and take pictures, measure ingredients exactly, and hurriedly upload and write everything up so I don’t forget the steps of what I did was taking the joy out of my favorite hobby.  Hopefully what I have done so far is enough to give my readers “the basics” of my experience.  This is by no means a “goodbye” letter… I still plan to post some recipes now and then if I do something new and exciting, or make something worthy of sharing.  Thank you for joining me on this journey!

-Mika

>^..^<

 

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Buffalo Chicken Ranch Diphttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/01/appetizers/buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/01/appetizers/buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2017 21:13:24 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8653

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

There are many  versions of “Buffalo Chicken” dip… and if you’ve ever had it… it can be quite addicting!  This is my version of that dip… which I like to make with ranch dressing (because I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese).

Because you can use pantry ingredients (including a can of Costco/Kirkland cooked chicken breast)…. this is a great recipe to make in a pinch when you are short on time, or don’t have time to run to the store for ingredients.  You can cook your own chicken breast and shred it if you like – I find the Costco chicken breast tastes pretty good in the dip (and it saves time)… so that’s what I use.

Feel free to substitute your favorite ranch dressing and hot sauce.  I love Cholula hot sauce… but most others will work well too.

When I got my crockpot (a long time ago), it came with a freebie… the “little dipper“. The little dipper is a mini-crockpot that works wonderfully to keep hot dips or fondue warm and melty all day.   You can buy the little dipper by itself if you already have a crockpot… but I just noticed that many places online are still offering the free little dipper with crockpot  purchase.

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip:

Use your favorite hot sauce, ranch dressing, cream cheese, and a can of chicken breast for an easy appetizer!

  • 12.5 oz. can Costco/Kirkland cooked chicken breast
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. hot sauce (I like Cholula)
  • 1/4 c. ranch dressing
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper to taste

1.  Combine the cream cheese, drained chicken breast (meat only), hot sauce, ranch dressing, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan over low heat.

2.  Stir, and break up the chunks of cream cheese a little bit to make it easier to melt.

3.  Cook on low until everything is melted together and bubbly.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

4.  Serve warm with tortilla chips!  (If you have a dip warmer, keep it in that so that your dip stays warm and melty.)  Enjoy!

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Glühwein (Austrian mulled wine)http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/austrian-german/gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/austrian-german/gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine/#comments Sun, 25 Dec 2016 02:23:09 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=6455

Austrian Glühwein

Glühwein is a traditional beverage (served hot) during the Christmas holidays in Austria and Germany.  It is typically made with red wine, spices, and sugar… and heated gently to avoid cooking out the alcohol.

This is my father’s recipe for Glühwein.  He’s never written it down, but I’ve been watching him make it every Christmas my whole life… and this year I decided to measure the amounts of ingredients used.  But really – this is a recipe meant to be customized to your liking.  You can make it more strong by using less water, sweeter by using more sugar.

Use inexpensive wine.  Traditionally, red wine is used… but my dad often makes this with pink or rose wine as well.  I’ve also used white wine in the past – so use what you have!  You can also add citrus (orange and lemon slices) – but I’ve grown up drinking it with just spices, so I don’t add citrus.

Glühwein (Austrian mulled wine) 4 servings:

  • 1 bottle (inexpensive) red wine (750mL)
  • 3-4 c. water
  • 1/2 to 1 c. sugar
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1-2 whole star anise

1.  Toast the cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise in the bottom of a large sauce pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  (This helps to release the flavors from the spices).

2.  Pour the bottle of red wine and water into a large sauce pan.

3.  Add the sugar.  (If you aren’t sure how sweet you want your Gluhwein, start with less sugar – you can always add more if needed.  I like mine sweet, so I add the whole 1 c. amount of sugar.)  Over medium heat, allow the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally.  (Do not let the mixture boil).

4.  Reduce the heat to low, and keep the temperature just under a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

5.  Using a wire mesh, scoop out the spices.

6.  Serve the hot glühwein in mugs.  (You can add a shot of rum or brandy for an extra kick if desired!)

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Metallic Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments & Dinosaur Wreathhttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/craft-projects/metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/craft-projects/metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 18:41:00 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=7937

Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments

Ok.  I know this isn’t cooking or food… but instead a little DIY craft project for a change!  Sometimes you need a little “change” from the ordinary… so I decided to make a dinosaur Christmas theme.  I made a bunch of dinosaur ornaments for the Xmas tree, and a dinosaur wreath for the door… out of inexpensive plastic dinosaur toys.  (This also doesn’t have to be done just for Christmas… larger plastic toys can make a nice shelf decoration or funky piece of art!)

You can purchase small plastic toys online, from the dollar store, or the toy section of your local target or walmart type store.  This technique should work with any type of plastic toy… you could use zoo animals, cars… whatever!  Medium/large toys work well for Christmas ornaments, the small/mini ones are great for wreaths.

Just be careful because the hot glue gun puts out molten lava like glue… it’s hot and it will really HURT if you get some on your fingers!  Also, make sure you do this in a well ventilated area (outside is best), because the plastic and the spray paint will give off some potentially hazardous vapors.

Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments:

Dinosaur Christmas Wreath

Dinosaur Christmas Wreath:

1.  Insert the screw eye pins into the back of the plastic dinosaurs. (You can find these hooks at a hardware or craft store – I found it easier just to buy online.) At first, I tried to poke a hole into the plastic with a thumbtack, then try to “screw” the hook into the hole.  After taking forever on the first one – and hurting my fingers in the process – I tried a different approach: I lit a tea light candle, then holding the “eye” portion of the screw with small pliers, I held the pin portion into the flame of the candle to heat it up.  After about 10 seconds, the screw was hot enough that I could just quickly push it into the plastic dinosaur (it melts the plastic to allow the screw in, then hardens almost immediately around the screw).  Be careful to do this in a well ventilated area, because there were some funky fumes coming off the melted plastic!  (These were about $13/dozen for 4″ to 7″ dinosaur plastic toys.)

I also inserted hooks into the back of  plastic dinosaur fossil toys (These were about $12/dozen for about 5.5 inch toys):

2.  Once you have inserted the hooks, take your toys outside and set on top of some newspaper or parchment.  (I did this outside on a non-windy day).  Spread the dinosaurs out individually (so that they are not overlapping), then spray with your first coat of spray paint.  Once dry, flip your dinosaurs and coat the other side.  When dry, check to make sure you got all the nooks and crannies, and touch up any unpainted spots if needed.

I used both gold and silver spray paint.  If you aren’t using Krylon Metallic Spray Paint, make sure you go with a brand of spray paint that can be used on plastic.  I purchased the Krylon from a craft store (Michael’s), but you can also buy this type of spray paint online, or from a hardware store.

3. Now you are ready to hang your ornaments!  Here’s what my dinosaur Christmas tree looked like in the daytime:

And at night with the lights on:

4.  Dinosaur Wreath:  Purchase small/mini plastic dinosaur toys.  (These were about $13 for a bag of 96 pieces, approximately 2″ in length – about the same size and quality of little green army men.)  Lay a wreath form on top of some newspaper or parchment.  (If you don’t have a wreath form, you can do what I did and just unravel and bend a metal coat hanger into a ring shape.)  How big should your wreath form be?  Whatever size you choose, just make sure it is slightly smaller than your Evergreen wreath (see the size difference in step 5 below).

Using your hot glue gun, attach the small plastic dinosaurs around the diameter of the wreath form.  (Allow the glue to cool and harden as you go, so that the layers don’t fall apart.)  Eventually you will want to start overlapping the dinosaur layers so that the entire wreath has structure and stays together.

5.  As in Step 2 above, take your cooled and hardened wreath outside and spray paint from various angles in the metallic color you prefer (I liked gold) using the Krylon spray paint.  Once the paint is dry, use wire or small zip ties to secure the plastic wreath on top of a plain evergreen wreath.  Decorate with a nice bow or ribbons, then hang!

6.  Enjoy your dinosaur themed Christmas decor!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Breadhttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/breads-quick-breads/pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/breads-quick-breads/pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:47:49 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8595

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

This week I had some leftover pumpkin puree in the refrigerator that I needed to use up before it went bad… so I decided to make a Japanese style pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread.  This is not a cake-like sweet loaf like pumpkin bread…. instead, it’s a yeasty bread that you can slice to make toast or french toast.  It is wonderful in the morning – lightly toasted, slathered with butter!

The dough is the same texture-wise as a Japanese “shokupan”.  If you go to the Japanese (or Chinese) Bakery, they have all different kinds of variations of Shokupan (a soft and fluffy Japanese sandwich bread, often made as squared loaves) – red bean, sesame seed, raisin, etc.  My all time favorite is the plain one – “Japanese Milk Bread” which also makes a great cinnamon roll or dinner rolls!

I say this every time – but I LOVE my Zojirushi Bread Machine so much!!!  It has a “basic dough setting” where you just dump the ingredients in, turn it on, and 1 hour 50 minutes later you have a perfectly made dough that is ready to use.  It makes the kneading and rising process so incredibly easy – so much so that I use it to make bread dough, yeast leavened pastry dough, even bao or bun dough all the time!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread:

Pumpkin Shokupan (bread) dough

  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. tang zhong (recipe below)
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast

Tang Zhong:

  • 1/6 c. bread flour (fill a 1/3 c. half way)
  • 1/2 c. water
Cinnamon filling:
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. softened salted butter

1.  Make the tang zhong.  Put the bread flour and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until smooth (no lumps), and cook/stir until swirl marks appear.  Turn off the heat and let the tang zhong cool.  You should have about 1/2 c. tang zhong and will use all of it in the recipe.  (I will often make a double batch if I am planning to make more dough within 2 days – extra tang zhong can be stored in the refrigerator.

2.  Add the pumpkin puree, egg, milk, cooled tang zhong, UNSALTED butter, salt, sugar, and maple syrup to the bottom of your bread machine pan.

3.  Add the bread flour, then create a small depression in the top.  Add the yeast into that small depression.

4.  Set your bread machine to its “basic dough” function to knead and raise the dough.

5.  Meanwhile, mix your brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened SALTED butter in a small bowl to make the cinnamon filling.  Set aside.  (If your butter is too cold, or your brown sugar has become hard – you can microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften.)

6. When your dough is ready, dust lightly with flour (try not to handle too much because the dough will be sticky).  Roll out into a large rectangle.

7.  Spread the cinnamon mixture over the dough.

8.  Roll the dough up into a cylinder.

9.  Squash the cylinder, and place in a 9″ X 5″ non stick loaf pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 335 degrees F.

10.  Use a sharp knife to slash a long line across the top of the dough if desired (this step helps to allow the expansion of your dough while it bakes, but it didn’t make for a pretty loaf top crust… next time I might skip this step).  Brush the top with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 T. water) if desired, then bake for 30-40 minutes.  (For me this was done closer to the 40 minute mark… I think because of the extra moisture in the cinnamon filling.)

11.  Remove the loaf from the oven, allow to cool 5 minutes.

12.  Remove the loaf from the pan, then allow to cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!

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Spicy Tangerine Margeritahttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/fruit/spicy-tangerine-margerita/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spicy-tangerine-margerita http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/fruit/spicy-tangerine-margerita/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 23:18:54 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8528

Spicy Tangerine Margarita

There’s a restaurant nearby that we go to sometimes that has a wonderful margarita called the “spicy tangerine”.   It has a lovely sweetness, with a mild kick of spice and heat.

This is my homemade version of that drink – use fresh limes & tangerines to make the juice for the best flavor!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Spicy Tangerine Margarita (1 serving):

To segment a tangerine, cut the top and the bottom off. Then set on a cutting board, cut off the peel vertically around the fruit. Then over a bowl, use a knife to cut between the membranes to release the segments.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Patron silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh tangerine juice (about 1/2 to 1 tangerine, depending on size)
  • 1 small red chile pepper

Garnish:

  • Margarita/coarse sea salt
  • dash chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

 

1.  Peel and segment the tangerines, squeeze any remaining juice into the bowl.  (Here you can see that I segmented about 10 tangerines, and ended up with quite a bit of juice.)  If you don’t want to bother with segments, just go ahead and squeeze the tangerines to juice them.

2.  Mix a small amount of the margarita salt with a few dashes of the chili powder and cayenne pepper.

3.  Rub the cut surface of a lime along the rim of a glass, then dip into the spicy salt mixture.

4.  Slice the chile pepper.  (I’m using a small red Jalapeno pepper from my garden.)  Use the entire pepper if you want a spicier margarita, use less if you want a milder margarita.

5.  Add the Patron, Grand Marnier, lime juice, simple syrup, cut red chile pepper, and tangerine juice into a cocktail shaker.  (You can also add a few segments of tangerine.)

6.  Use a muddler (or the back of a wooden spoon) to mash and bruise the chile to release the flavor.

7.  Add a little bit of crushed ice, shake until frosted over.

8.  Pour over ice into the prepared glass.  Enjoy!

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