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Category Archives: My cooking/baking attempts

Cheater Cobbler

It’s one a.m. in the morning…..
and I’m jonesin’ for pie.

AS IF I’m going to make a pie at one a.m. right?
Buuuuut I remember a recipe I saw called “EASY FRUIT COBBLER”.

Easy they said. Hmm.
Ok… it’s not pie, but I’m always down for anything easy.

(Don’t go there.)

So to follow, is cheater pie… but in a crumble, or cobbler… kinda.

Actually, I’ll call it, Cheater Cobbler.

Pie, cobbler, crumble, whatever. It’s sweet, warm, and comforting. What more do you want at one a.m.??

(Don’t go there.)

Check it out my gorgeous readers:

White Cake mix
Package frozen berries/fruit
2 lemon/lime sodas
Pan.

cheatercrumble1

It SERIOUSLY cannot get easier than this.

Put frozen fruit in pan:

cheatercrumble2

Sprinkle cake mix evenly over fruit:

cheatercrumble3

Slowly pour first can of soda over mixture. DO NOT MIX IT AROUND, DO NOT STIR!!!
Let it foam up in all it’s glory. Don’t freak out, don’t make it wierd.
Just marvel at your grade 10 chemistry class coming alive in front of you.

cheatercrumble4

If it seems a bit too dry still, start pouring the second soda in. You won’t need it all, maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 a can.

cheatercrumble5

Place in the oven at 350 for 40-45 min.

This whole thing took me less than 4 minutes to put together. Yes.. I timed it. I had to see how “easy” they really meant, and peeps, I gotta say, they were right! It took longer for the oven to heat up than it did for me to throw this together.

Now, it’s totally up to you what you do for 40-45 minutes at one a.m. in the morning while your cheater cobbler bakes. Just be sure to set the damn timer on your stove. No one likes burnt dessert plus you’ll be mad because the infomercial operator distracted you with the fatblaster 2000 on the phone.

When you take it out, be astounded at how much it looks like a cobbler… or a crumble… or a betty.. or whatever. I don’t know the difference between all those, (but if you do, PLEASE comment below and fill me in!!), but you get where I”m going with it.

Don’t expect this to taste EXACTLY like your sweet ole grandma’s cobbler,.. but it’s a superb stand-in. Besides, it’s the middle of the night and you’re not Gordon Ramsey.

(Although having Gordon Ramsey in the middle of the night would spell =AWESOME.)

cheatercrumble6

Smell its berry/peach happiness. Hear the bubbling sound of encouragement, asking you to curl up with the whole pan and a spoon.

But that would just be too much. ……………. or would it???

Yes…. yes it would.

Eating the whole pan would :
A- be too ridiculously much, and
B- be asking for a huge case of bubbly guts.

So, instead, practice restraint dear readers.

cheatercrumble7

Besides… it’s the new year… time for new  resolutions, new beginnings, portion control, fat blasters……………………
and a side scoop of ice cream to keep the cheater company.

My Christmas Love Affair

I’m in love.

Yes.. that’s right. LOVE.

And it happens every damn year around this time.

I’m in love for about a month.. month and half… and then we breakup. It’s the same old thing every year. You’d think I’d get tired of those messy shenanigans right?

Nope.

Around the middle of November, my mind starts to flash intermittently on images of years past with the great times we had. The smiles I smiled, the happiness I expressed, (sometimes even with a little dance), the loving looks that always linger longer than they should.

I get weak. I forget the previous year’s ugliness with the breakup. By December, I’m full into it.

I long.. I pine. I cannot stand it any longer.

I fall in love, all over again for another year. With who you ask? Not so much with who, but more with what.

Yes my dear readers, with the simple

BUTTERSCOTCH CONFETTI SQUARE.

Obviously you know I’m over exaggerating.

(ok.. KINDA over exaggerating.)

Anyway – Truth is,  is that the lowly confetti square treat is probably my most favorite Christmas “baking” to eat. Easy as hell to make and when you take your first bite.. peanut buttery, butterscotchy devine-ness… sweet,… smooth, …it melts in your mouth with the sweet whisper of “hello again, Lover”.

Add the pillowy texture of fruity mini marshmallows and you pretty much have the reason why love was invented.

I LOVE this dessert. But we always have to breakup after Christmas because well, with any good relationship, you don’t want to burn out on each other, and well… the unhealthyness of it all. OMG, the calories!

If I didn’t stop eating it, I’d be like some 800lb strung out dessert addict shoving a bag of mini marshmallows in my pants at Safeway so I could go home and make my next hit.

So, we have our little love affair for the season, and in the new year, we say goodbye.

I just don’t want to think about that part right now.

Butterscotch Confetti Squares

Ok. Here we go:

1. In a super cute pot like mine, melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 stick butter
2. Add 1 cup of Peanut Butter, and 1 bag of butterscotch chips

consquares2

3. Mix till melted and let cool a bit. DO NOT DRINK. It is NOT a beverage!

consquares3

4. Add 1 bag mini marshmallows. Do you like the action shot?

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5. Mix together till well coated and put into greased dish

consquares5

consquares6
Chill dessert for at least an hour to set up.

Take heed. Your love affair will begin after the first bite,
but don’t come crying to me when you can’t stop. I warned you.

Enjoy!

confetti squares

Morning & Booze is wrong? Then I don’t wanna be right.

Cold, snowy sunday morning’s are awesome aren’t they? Laying around in your heavily pillowed bed with your flannels on, the Food Network channel playing on the television as it watches you drift in and out of your lazy slumber. Your cuddly loyal puppy softly snoring at the end of the bed by your feet. AAhhh yeah… nothin’ like it… right?

Yep……UNTIL you have to haul that lazy ass OUT of your cosy bed to let the damn dog out so he can get his morning constitutional going on. The house is cold, the floor is cold, old man winter laughs and points his grossly knuckled finger at you as you stand there at the patio door, going from toasty to frosty in mere seconds. You catch your reflection in the glass. Your miserable scowl along with the rat’s nest taking up space at the back of your hair pretty much indicates how your day is going to go hereon in.

Fear not as I have the most righteous solution, hands down,  to get your sunday back on track. Do me a favor, get your coffee brewing and let’s get drunk….. just kidding…. well, kinda kidding.

Hey, don’t judge.

Boozy Morning Coffee Elixir

(aka Bailey’s Irish Cream knockoff).

l cup cream

bic1

l can sweetened condensed milk

bic2

2 tbs chocolate syrup

bic5

l tsp vanilla

bic6

I used a vanilla bean paste cuz I’m fancy like that, but regular vanilla extract will work just as well.

l tsp instant coffee granules

bic4

l & 2/3 c Irish Whiskey

bic3

I used l 3/4 cup of CANADIAN Whiskey. Why?

You know why.
(yaaay Canada!)

Mix all the ingredients together and “whaz” it up (Jamie Oliver’s lingo) in your blender. Easy Peazy right?

bic7

Ok, so here’s the thing.  Taste as you go people. If it’s not coffee-ish or chocolately enough, jack that bubba up with another tablespoon of syrup, or another tsp or two of coffee granules.  Make it your own sistah!!… or…………………. guy.

If I was going to make this again (ohhhh and you can bet your slobbery slurs, I will), I’d definitely put extra coffee and chocolate syrup in it. Maybe even a bit more vanilla and if I was feeling particularly saucy, I’d sprinkle some cinnamon in it. But that’s just me and my brilliant mind. I know you can be brilliant too – taste taste taste – till it’s purrrrfect for you.

For a NON-driving, anytime treat, just pour some over ice. Like this:

bic8

So here ya go. If you have the ingredients, you can whip this up in the time the dog does his #2 and the coffee is ready.  Pour a splash into your coffee, shuffle back to bed and cuddle up with the cup under the covers.

Sip it. Love it. Whisper sweet nothing’s to it.

And when you want to tell the world about this delightfullness and it’s miracle of making your Sunday perfect again, remember, brush your teeth. Boozy breath is one thing, but MORNING boozy breath is just wrong.

Clickin’ the Heels for a Tart

Seriously now. Who wakes up thinking… ‘I want to make an onion tart.’

Me.

Maybe I was channeling Martha Stewart  or Julia Child (I should be so lucky… about Julia, not Martha. No need for me to be more tight assed than I already am.)

But here I was, waking up to thoughts of caramelized onions in a tart-ish type thing.

Have I ever WANTED an onion tart?

Have I ever REALLY liked puff pastry?

Do I ever REALLY want onions on ANYTHING??

No.

So what’s up with the figurative mornin’ wood for an onion tart?

Regardless, I followed the urge and got my butt to the store, to buy the stuff I needed and went home.

Following Bon’ Appetit’s recipe, I got to work.

Onions. Puff pastry. Bacon. Creme fraiche ( I know…shee shee foo foo, right?).

Here’s the  goods, in picture form.

Roll out the puff pastry in a sheet.

Turn up the edges. (I forgot to take a photo of this. Yes, I know.) Chill. (The pastry, not you……….. Ok, you too.)

Recipe says 3 strips of bacon but COME ON. Don’t you know when it comes to bacon, 5 is the new 3??

Cut them up to make fancy french named bacon-bit type things called LARDONS.  Funny name,… Lardons. Sounds like something that should be stuck to my fat ass… and…actually… um..

nevermind.

t2

t10

Meanwhile, in a bowl put honey, white wine and bacon drippings and whisk together. Set aside.

t4

Now for the onions. I used two big ones (as you can see)

t1

and sliced them using my mandolin. Trust me, I used it for the cheesy potato fiasco here and I used it again. Listen, I implore you… make your life easier and more “cheffy” by getting one. Mine cost a whopping 9.99.

G’head. Make some big ass rings with that bubba.

t5

Mix the honey mixture with the onions, make sure you coat them well, and spread on a parchment cookie sheet.

t6

Slide in the oven and go make yourself useful. Crochet a hat. Go river rafting. Cure world hunger.

30 min later, stir the onions. Keep this up till you see them getting toasty and caramelized.

In another bowl, put creme fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg together.

t3

Pour the creme fraiche mixture onto your chilled pastry things evenly. (Yep. Forgot the photo.)

 Place onions on top evenly. (aaand yet again, forgot the photo.)

Get your sprinkle on with the bacon. Evenly.

(finally got my poop in a group. Here’s the photo.)

t7

In the oven she goes. Recipe says 20 minutes, but I had mine in there a good 30, so keep an eye out so they don’t burn.
Take them out when the pastry looks nice and toasty, and the filling is kinda bubbly. Cool a bit.

Taste.

Oh sweet baby Jesus.

I literally CANNOT remember when I had such a great tasting morsel of food that I actually made. (Ok, except for the toffee thing here, but that’s chocolate and doesn’t count).

The sweetness of the onions, the creaminess of the creme fraiche, accented with the salty/smokiness of the bacon and the buttery, flaky, crispy yet tender bite of the pastry all came together in a way that makes you wanna jump and click your heels in a leprechauny way, and not give one shit how stupid you look doing it.

I actually had to phone people to tell them how good it was. If you’re any self-respecting foodie, you know what I’m talking about.

t8

I’ll agree, she’s the wallflower of tarts, but she’s the kind you wanna bring home to mom, that’s for damn sure.

And I don’t really like onions… or puff pastry..but this is a whole new ball game.

Trust me on this one.

Bon Appetit!

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/honey-roasted-onion-tart

Hershey shmershy… You can make candybars too!

All right all you chocoholics out there. Here’s one to saddle your candy lovin’ ass up to. Do you like the taste of toffee and chocolate laid upon each other? Maybe a threesome with some nutty ground pecans?

I heard you scream “Yes!” from way over there you candy freak.  Get your pots and pans out, wipe the spittle off your chin and let’s get this show on the road.

I have a crazy cookbook that a friend gave me that replicates famous recipes. Being a lovely and somewhat sheltered Canadian, I am not familiar with a lot of the American wanna be recipe clones. However, I DO know what a Heath Bar is. Oooh yes fellow chocolate addicts, I am familiar. We have Heath’s sister bar here in Canada called The Skor bar. I’ve had hundreds a few of those bars in my lifetime.

 So not only did the promise of buttery toffee smeared with milk chocolate spur me to make this recipe, it was THIS genius line that was included in the instructions:

” Boil first three ingredients until it thickens and looks like a paper bag”.

Ummmm huh?

Who gives cooking instructions like that?????

I was sold.

This is how I did it:

Take one cup of sugar, half a cup of butter, and half a cup ground pecans.

Combine in a pot…… like this:

heathpot

Begin to heat and start to constantly stir.

Stir some more.

Then stir even more.

FINALLY, when it begins to boil…

stir more.

heathpot1

As I was stirring, I was finding that the butter didn’t want to incorporate nicely into the rest of the mixture, but well.. I just kept at it like the dedicated blogger I am…

(Hope your happy. Sigh.)

 I’m assuming that this is the stage that the paper bag look was supposed to magically appear. I was hoping that the author REALLY meant that the mixture would look like a paper bag, and not just mean THE COLOR of a paper bag… otherwise, it would make more sense to just SAY that, right???

Anyway.. this is what it looked it at that stage:

heathpot2

No paper bag appeared….. only shattered expectations.

So when it reached the COLOR of a paper bag, I took it out of the pot and spread it on the parchment lined tray. I spent some time and smoothed it out, pushing it into the corners. The excess butter from the pot was somehow reabsorbed, so, hey, thank you science.

The mixture was not enough to spread on the whole pan unless you want it the thickness of saranwrap, so I just used half the pan – it’s not rocket science.

heathpan

heaththickness

I took my chocolatey kisses and spread those little bubbas all over the SCREAMIN HOT mixture you just spread on the pan. The heat will melt all the chocolate so you can spread it all over. Ooooohhh yeah… melty spready warm milk chocolate. You’re pretty much emotionally dead if you don’t love that moment….. that, or you’re a guy – one of the two.

Check out this love in:

heathkisses

heathchocolate

It took a while to cool off because obviously, melted sugar is pretty much molten LAVA.  I geniusly hastened the cool-off  period by putting it in the fridge and when it cooled, cracked it all into pieces.

Do me a favor. When you make this, (and I know you will), and break it up to pieces, slide a piece in your mouth. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue then crunch up that buttery tasting toffee/pecan mixture.

heathfinished

Close your eyes in pure culinary ecstasy.

You can thank me later.

Of course, this recipe gets a 12 out of 10.

blueforkinfoodiestamp

Anthony and His Snazzy Potatoes….

I decided to randomly open Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook and cook the recipe on the page it opened at.

Gratin Dauphinois,
page 240 (recipe to follow)

Potatoes, cream, cheese, other stuff.

A.K.A. Scalloped Potatoes

Kinda.

And if not scalloped, DEFINITELY, Snazzy Potatoes.
(Thanks Jamel for “snazzy“. Gotta love that word, SO appropriate for this)

One of the best comfort foods to put in a bowl. You can be all homey and slide on furry slippers, cuddle under a blankie, and fill your face with these  while still eating a SNAZZY upscale potato dish with a french name. You’ll be cool.

Oh, and eat it with a wooden spoon, there’s something just SO much more ‘yummier’ about food when you do that. Seriously, try it. Trust me.

Ok.. so here we go.

Ingredients : Potatoes, cream, cheese, shitloads of garlic, nutmeg, herbs and a bit o’ buttah.

snazzypot

Peel and slice to a quarter-inch, 7 Yukon gold potatoes.

Um yeah,..  I just used regular white ones and a mandolin.

Why use a knife when you can tempt fate and digit health when you have a mandolin??? Thrills and spills man,.. thrills and spills. That’s my M.O.

snazzypot1

Smash up the garlic, but leave it sort of whole so you can fish it out later. Like this:

snazzypot2

Throw the potatoes with the garlic into the pot and add the cream, herbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

snazzypot3
Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350.

After ten minutes, put potatoes into a buttered dish, fish out the herbs and garlic from the cream, and pour the cream over the potatoes.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the dish and throw it in oven.

snazzypot4

Cook for 45 minutes.

Ok, so that’s what the recipe says to do.. but by the time I took the potatoes from the pot and put then in the dish, they were pretty soft, so to cook them for an additional 45 minutes is just crazy talk unless you want a mass of mushy brown/burnt potatoes stuck to your pan. Use your judgement though, you aren’t stupid, my pretties. You can figure out this timing thing. I cooked mine for 25 minutes. They weren’t all golden brown and gorgeous like a brazilian model, so I cheated and used the culinary self tanner.

THE BROILER.

3 minutes did the trick.

Check it  out:

snazzypot5Okokokok.. they could be a bit more “golden” on the scale of brown,

but hey, what if I burned the stuff….. THEN what?? What sort of photos would I have to impress all you beautiful people with???

Cuz…….you ARE impressed, right?……… RIGHT??

snazzypot6

Review:

Bland with a capital BORING.

They were rich and creamy, no doubt. The cheese added more richness, but wow man…B.L.A.N.D.

Even with all that garlic flavor infused into the cream, I actually added extra salt to liven it up a tad and that helped. The cheese on the top was yummy and flavorful, but I could have slumped over and started snoring with the spoon hanging out of my mouth when I tasted the inside.

However, that being said, if you like food on the more tempered side, and love the richness of sultry whipping cream with melted cheese and soft potatoes, then you’ll love this dish. It will wrap it’s starchy little arms around you and rub your back while you lay your head on it’s breast as it lulls you in Carb Land. It’s good for that, and it won’t mind that you have garlic breath from hell.

FROM HELL.

I give Anthony Bourdains Gratin Dauphinois a

6/10

blueforkinfoodiestamp

RECIPE:

8 servings

– 7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

– 1 cup heavy cream

– 1-½ cups whole milk

– 5 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled, divided

– ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

– 1 sprig rosemary, about 4 inches long

– 2 sprigs Italian parsley

– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

– ¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into quarters; cut crosswise into slices about ¼-inch thick. Place in a 6-quart pot with cream, milk, 4 crushed cloves garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently 6 minutes. (Stir often to prevent potatoes from sticking to bottom of pot.) Remove pot from heat and discard garlic and herb sprigs.

2. Use remaining clove garlic to run around the inside of a 2-½-quart gratin or baking dish. Butter the inside of the dish well so that it’s evenly coated. Transfer potatoes and cream to the dish and sprinkle top with Gruyere cheese. Bake about 45 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

From “Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook”

Fantastic Forkin’ Foccacia (foto filled!)

cutbread2

Just LOOK at that amazing carby goodness.

It’s so good, it would bring you to tears, and you’d be crying, “whyyy.. WHYYY is this sooo damn good?”

It’s good because I made it. Listen, there’s no shame in my game when it comes to creations of the bready sort. (except for some hotdog buns I made the other day. CRUNCHY. Lots of shame there.)

However brothers and sisters,  the good news is, is that YOU can be a culinary carby wizard too.

Alright, ok ok. Truth be told, I’ve been making this bread recipe for about a year or so now. So I was pretty confident that it would be damn good. What, you expect me to use an untested recipe for my VERY FIRST COOKING TUTORIAL??

The head’s not just a hat~rack, friends.

Ok, here we go:

The recipe is SUPER damn easy. Trust me. A monkey can make it, and most likely probably has.

The recipe will be posted at the end of the tutorial. Until then, sit back, follow along and enjoy the thrills and spills of this pictorial instruction.  Btw, I forgot that I was actually doing a tutorial when I started making this bread, (yes. I know. It’s my first time ok??) and forgot to photograph the yeast in all it’s bloomy and foamy glory. Oh well. You guys are geniuses anyway and can figure that shit out. So, the pics begin at the whole magic of the mix~master part.

FIRST STEP: Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in 2 cups of warm water. Then add 4 teaspoons of yeast. I used Fermipan regular yeast. Let it sit for ten minutes.

STEP TWO: Combine bloomed yeast and all other ingredients in bowl. Add herbs into the mixing dough at this point. I used rosemary because I LOVE rosemary, but you can use any italian type herb you’d like.

bread1

STEP THREE: After removing from bowl, knead dough (like, 10 times maybe) into a ball. Lightly spray or grease the bowl so it doesn’t stick as it rises. Replace, and cover with a nice clean tea~towel (mine was all brand new and creased. I love new.).   Put in a warm cozy place so all those itty bitty bacterias can fart their butts off and make your dough rise. Time 30 minutes.

bread2

Thirty magical minutes later:

breadproof

STEP FOUR: Punch down dough and divide in half.

dividebread

STEP FIVE: Take half the bread ball and roll into a rectangular shape to fit the baking pan………

breadpan

…………………that you lined and greased while the dough was rising. Oh, I didn’t include that step, you say? Well, I’m KINDA including it now, and remember, you’re all geniuses people, .. do I really NEED to?

Ok, I need to. Line and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper. Sigh.

Put the said doughy rectangle into the pan.

Also:  With the other half of the bread, divide it into 8 pieces and roll them into balls. Score the top of the bun with a knife. I think they look like little bums in this photo.
Place on a different pan, lined with parchment paper.

buns1

Cover both and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350, and go clean up your damn kitchen.

30 glorious minutes later:

breadproof2

STEP SIX: Take thy fingers and starting from the top, poke some holes all the way down the top of the dough. Not too deep, but not too shallow either.

Here, like this:

dimpleddough

STEP SEVEN: Ok, so now is the yummy part. Lightly sprinkle some olive oil over the top. Top with any topping you’d like. I used sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, shredded asiago cheese, and black olives. I also sprinkled italian seasoning and coarse salt as well.  If you google foccacia toppings, you’ll see a cornucopia of ideas.

Looky:

toppedbread

STEP EIGHT: Slide it into the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes or until nice and golden brown.

(Don’t forget to put the buns in the oven too!)

Like this:

bakedbread

and like this:

baked bun

Wait ten minutes and you can take it out of the pan if you wish to cool further. I didn’t. I left the sucker in there. It was fine.

2~bite Review:

cutbread1

Now, as for the foccacia, my initial thought was that I burned the sundried tomatos,

but my taste test reviewers said they didn’t think so and that they didn’t taste burnt. I’ll go with that opinion.

Ok, again, truth be known, I actually had a PIECE of this bread, not just two bites. But lemme tell ya friends and neighbors…. this foccacia literally made me say “OMG” out loud to no one but my dog. He looked at me like he wanted to try it too. (He did.)

Warm, soft and yummily bready on the inside. The top was a bit crunchier and with the taste of the cooked crunchy cheese, black olives and coarse salt combination, it REALLY made my day. The top was still soft-ish from the sprinkling of the olive oil so it wasn’t like, cracker crunchy if that’s what your thinking.

Oh but good gawd it was good!!

For Real.

Phew! I wanted to eat another 2 pieces but I refrained and brought it to a family bbq instead.
They loved it.

This recipe is really easy to do, and really versatile. You can leave out all the herbs and such and just make a regular loaf of bread, or roll it out and make pizza crusts. You can add another few tablespoon of sugar to the water, and it will result in a sweeter type of bread that you could roll out, spread cinnamon and sugar on, roll it up and cut into slice to make cinnamon rolls.  The possibilities are endless. ENDLESS!!

So, I’m going to give this bread recipe a 10/10 because it’s so tasty, easy, and versatile.

Go forth and BAKE BREAD lovelies! (Recipe below)

blueforkinfoodiestamp

Easy Basic Bread Recipe

5 cups of white flour
2 cups warm water
1tbs sugar
4 tsp Yeast
1/4c oil
1tsp salt

Dissolve sugar into warm water. Add yeast. Let proof for 10 minutes.
Add flour and the rest of the ingredients. Mix or knead until dough is elastic and smooth.
Spray/grease bowl and cover to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
After 30 minutes, punch down and shape into whatever application your using the dough for (ie, bread, pizza crust, buns, etc)
Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (usually) and/or golden brown.