Saturday, August 25, 2012

Making Play Dough

I volunteered to make playdough for the bear cub's preschool class the Friday before last.  The teacher finally emailed me the recipe they wanted me to use yesterday and the bear cub's first day is Monday.  I was a little upset about her sending it to me so close to school starting until I found out how incredibly easy and wonderful it is to make.  I didn't take pictures of the process and I sort of wish I did because it is pretty cool how the liquid turns into dough.

Anyway, here is the final product.  Each bag is over 5 cups of playdough.

And of course, you want the recipe, because I think it's so much fun to do.
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • food coloring 
  • Add the food coloring to the water.
  • Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan.
  • Cook slowly on medium to high heat and stir until the playdough thickens. 
I made a few changes.  I added the food coloring after the dough was finished and used Kosher salt since I didn't have enough regular salt for even one batch.  Since the water I used was hot and we were cooking it, I figured that chemically it didn't matter as it would dissolve.  It takes just a few minutes for the dough to thicken.  You'll want to take it out of the pan to cool as soon as it thickens or it will continue to cook and you may have a dryer dough.

For the color (this is mostly for my future reference), I used Wilton gel food coloring.
For Red: A lot of it.  Probably half a container of the Christmas Red to get a vibrancy I liked ~1/4 ounce
Orange: 3 ml Orange
Yellow: 1ml Golden Yellow
Green: 2 ml Kelly Green
Blue:  3 ml Royal Blue
Purple: 2 ml violet + 3 ml Burgundy

My mom asked me if how much cheaper it was to make it vs. buying the same amount of PlayDoh.  I figure it is at least 36 regular sized jars of PlayDoh which would cost about 36 dollars to make.  Making it myself cost 12 cups of flour (~$5), 12 Tbsp of cooking oil (~$.50), 6 tsp of Cream of Tartar (~$2.00), 6 cups salt ($1), and the food coloring ($1.50 as I bought it at Michaels with a 50% off coupon and used very little other than the red) so $10, but really probably less as I overestimated on all these prices.  If I make it for the girls, as I surely will, I'll be making a batch, separating it into 6 pieces and coloring them individually.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Two Restaurants

I'm not a food blogger and really my tastes don't necessarily line up with other peoples.  I really like food, but I'm also really picky.  I will eat pretty much anything, but it has to be prepared right.  I'm sensitive to too much salt and weird textures and all kinds of things.  I like to rag on Q's family because they are picky eaters, but really I'm not the easiest person to make happy with food either.

That being stated, there are two restaurants in San Antonio that I really like.  One is a constant favorite of mine, Scuzzi's.  It isn't a chain and it's local.  They don't have a website you can access and it's located in a very unimpressive building in a strip mall off of 1604 and Northwest Military Highway.  Q likes to deliberately pronounce their name wrong so that it sounds awful, but they have the best chicken cacciatora that I have ever eaten and their cannelloni di pollo al forno impressed me so much that I attempted to duplicate the recipe.  It is moderately priced and definitely worth the trip.

Another restaurant that I'm going to laud is Fonda Argentina, on Henderson Pass about 1/4 mile off of 281 near the movie theater.  This apparently is a chain in Mexico and the one in San Antonio is their first in the states.  Q and I have been talking about trying it out for about 18 months, since the sign that it was coming has been posted that it was coming for that long.  We went for the first time last week and I wanted to blog about it then, but I left thinking I could look up the menu and info for the restaurant online and it turned out that they don't have an American website of any info for the restaurant we went to other than the address on the Mexican website.  Today I stopped by to get pictures of the menu though.

It's a grill, so mostly meat.  I'm not a big meat eater and Q couldn't pass up trying the Argentian style hamburger so I can't comment on the quality of the meat other than to say that the other customers seemed pretty happy.  Also, we didn't order any alcohol, but I saw a gentleman taste his and immediate grab the bottle to look at the label, so I'm thinking that at least what he ordered was very good.

I got one of each of the empanadas.  They aren't like Mexican empanadas or Panamanian empanadas (which I was sort of hoping for), but they were very good.  They are also large.  I tasted all six there, ate all of the rajas con queso (poblano and cheese), and brought the rest home.  The cebolla y queso empanada was like biting into a solid version of a gourmet French onion soup wrapped in a tasty pastry.  You could taste the wine, onion, and cheese mixture blended exquisitely.  I think next time I might get the Surf and Turf kabobs as the order that I saw going by looked very appetizing.

Here was our waiter.  He was great.  He recognized me today and was so nice both visits.  He took everything in stride from our ordering water to drink (which we almost always do) to my many questions.  He also laughed good-heartedly at my saying I wasn't much of a meat eater while showing up to what is essentially a steakhouse and offered suggestions to make me happy (though the ordering one of all the empanadas was my idea).

The menu:

This is the dessert I had.  It is the Alfajor con Dulce de Leche, traditional Argentian puffed pastry filled with carmelized milk. The name and description doesn't really tell you, but it is a little like baklava in that it is layers of flaky pastry filled with creamy goodness.

I told Q that I'm tempted to stop by once a week in the middle of the day with the girls and order just and empanada or two for lunch.  I can just see how they would feel about that in their fancy restaurant with my boisterous darlings running around.  I might just do it anyway.