Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pralines

There's a fantastic little Cajun restaurant in my town. Every once in a while a friend and I have one of their delectable pralines after a po' boy lunch. Every time I have one I think... I bet I can make these. So recently I found a few recipes that looked good and gave praline making a try. I must admit there's kind of an art to it.

What you need:
  • 1 ½ cups pecans (I used pecans and almonds)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  •  ¾ cup brown sugar
  •  6 tablespoons butter
  •  ½ cup milk
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  salt, pinch
What you do:
In large saucepan over medium heat, lightly toast pecans. Watch carefully, you don't want them to burn.

Add sugar, butter, brown sugar and milk to the pecans.

Slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Don't stir the mixture once it starts to boil! Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees. I use a thermometer to get the temperature just right.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and salt. Stir well and allow to cool (a minute or two) just enough to thicken a bit. Continue to stir while it's cooling. It should start to lose its sheen.

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool completely.
Confection Perfection!
This batch of pralines was made for my special friend's Birthday.  Happy Birthday Friend!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Live Oak Brewing Company

I recently had the most delicious pint of Live Oak HefeWeizen at a beer garden. As crazy as it sounds a glass of beer swept me off my feet. It inspired me to look into taking a tour of  Live Oak Brewing Company, a home-grown East Austin brewery. Turns out they give tours twice a month and take reservations a few days before the tour date.
The brewery is located in a little hole in the wall of a place that lacks air-conditioning or heat, in other words it's not fancy. But what they lack in fancy they make up in special beer and brewers who are truly passionate about their craft. My favorite part of our visit was the very generous samplings of their Live Oak brews. We sampled the Pilz, Big Bark, Liberation Ale, Primus, and my favorite the HefeWeizen. Oh and did I mention that the tour and all of the tasty beer is completely free. Yes you heard me, Free Beer!
 If you happen to spot Live Oak brew on tap at a watering hole in Texas give it a try. Or better yet if you're in the Austin area I recommend you stop by Live Oak Brewing Company for a tour.
Cheers!!