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    Entries in homemade is best (66)

    Tuesday
    Apr172018

    Perfectly Peeled and Pared Pineapple

    Well, I bought another pineapple, and as promised, I’m going to show you how to prep it. I’ll be honest, I used to be pretty intimidated by whole pineapples. So much so, that I refused to buy pineapple that wasn’t already processed for me. I know they make tools that are supposed to make it “super simple”, but I just don’t have room for something like that. A few months back, I had some incredible pineapple on a buffet. Then, I came across some pineapples at the store that smelled amazing, so I just decided it was time to get over my fear and dive it. Turns out, it couldn’t be easier!

    To pick a good pineapple, try to find one that has a fair bit of yellow on it, but even more importantly, smell the bottom of it. If it’s ripe, it will have a wonderful pineapple aroma. Lay your pineapple on its side and cut off the top.

    Turn it around and cut off the bottom. 

    Now you have a flat surface for it to stand on.

    You should be able to see a line of eyes around the edge. Place your knife behind one of those and slice all the way down.

    If there are still eyes or seeds, make another thin cut in the exact same place until it looks like this.

    Now place the knife behind the next row of eyes and slice all the way down again.

    Repeat until you’ve gone all the way around the pineapple.

    Now, cut vertically, straight through the middle of the core.

    Two perfect halves.

    Now take each piece and cut it in half.

    Nothing too difficult yet, huh?

    Place your knife just above the core and cut at a 45° angle to the board.

    Don’t throw the core away though. If you're not going to use it right now, freeze it for later. Pineapple Sweet Tea is to die for!

    I like to just cut each quarter in half lengthwise and then slice pieces that are something like ½ inch thick.

    The perfect size for snacking. 

    I have also discovered that fresh pineapple is fabulous with vanilla yogurt. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, do. The yogurt really mellows the acidity, and the whole thing just becomes sweet, fruity, creamy deliciousness. For yogurt, I prefer smaller pieces though, so I cut each quarter into fourths lengthwise, and then slice.

    So there you have it. It literally takes about 5 minutes and you have pineapple for snacking, for yogurt, and a core for making pineapple water, or even better, Pineapple Sweet Tea. As a bonus, I’ve been finding pineapples consistently for around $3, which makes it way cheaper than the already processed stuff.

    What produce item are you intimidated by? 

    Wednesday
    Mar072018

    Dark Chocolate Raspberry Crunch

    Recently, Costco started selling this amazing stuff they call Dark Chocolate Raspberry Chia Thins. Basically, it’s thin pieces of dark chocolate freeze dried raspberries and chia seeds. It is incredibly delicious.

    The only problem is the chia seeds. You see, when chia seeds spend a little time in a wet environment, like your mouth, they become slimy. So although they add a delightful crunch while you’re eating the treat, an hour later, you’re picking little bits of snot out of your teeth.

    This has a way of ruining the whole experience. I had been thinking about making my own with just the raspberries, but I really do like the crunch. I had thought about using chopped almonds, but that’s a different kind of crunch. Then, one morning I was sharing a poppy seed muffin with my mom and I finally had the answer. Poppy seeds could provide the crunchy texture without the subsequent slime problem.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • Dark Chocolate (just over a pound)
    • 1.2 ounces freeze dried raspberries
    • 1 – 2 teaspoons poppy seeds 

    For the chocolate, I absolutely love Trader Joe’s pound plus bars. I used the whole thing minus about 2 Tablespoons of shaved chocolate that wasn’t needed during tempering. And speaking of, the first thing you need to do is temper your chocolate. I have a whole post about how to do that here. Once you’ve done that, you should have something that looks like this.

    I only used 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds, but if you want more crunch, it can certainly support 2.

    Stir those in, and then it’s time for the raspberries. Once again, Trader Joes was where I got mine. They are a really good source for stuff like that.

    Crush any of the whole berries inside the bag and remove the moisture thingy.

    Then pour the raspberries into the chocolate.

    Stir until everything is completely coated and evenly distributed.

    Pour it only a parchment lined sheet pan (13x18 ish), scraping out every last drop, because trust me, you are not going to waste any of this.

    Spread it until it’s about ¼ inch thick. It will probably just about fill the pan.

    Now, as long as your house is not too warm, just walk away. If you’ve successfully tempered your chocolate, it will soon set and turn back into the consistency it was when you bought it.

    Give it a few hours to let all those cocoa butter crystals finish doing their thing, and then just break it apart. I got my hands nice and cold under the tap and then dried them thoroughly and snapped the chocolate into small pieces.

    I just love the bright pops of red! Isn't it beautiful? Prepare to be blown away by how incredibly delicious it is, as well! Costco’s got nothin’ on me!

    It’s possible I’ve started something dangerously addictive. I’ve thought of all sorts of things you could do this with. I might try a white chocolate and mixed berry one next. You could use any variety of chocoate, add chopped coconut chips, any kind of nut… I’m afraid the possibilities are endless! What kinds of things do you think would be yummy?