Monday, September 30, 2013
This kale salad with pecorino and walnuts, from Smitten Kitchen, was the last thing I made before I left for a 2 week trip to Shanghai to visit Drew.
I had just returned from a 10 day trip to Chicago and Minnesota, and after eating anything and everything, I was in need of some detoxing (though I think the cheese and walnuts defeated the purpose here). The salad was super salad and a breeze to put together. I like kale, but usually when I make it, I just saute it and that gets boring, so I'm glad to have another way to eat it.
Friday, August 23, 2013
You know that 'birthday cake' flavor?
I love it.
I don't know why.
For some reason, I've never tried to emulate it at home. Until now.
I stumbled across this recipe for Funfetti cookies. I had the feeling that they might be like the birthday cake flavor I adore, and I was right. Apparently, the secret is a combination of vanilla extract and almond extract.
Well, guess it's not such a secret now.
I really liked these cookies. They were soft and buttery, and I know sprinkles are weird and artificial, but they're so festive and fun! These cookies were a great way to use them up.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Judging by the content of food blogs and food magazines, you'd think every gardener had bumper crops of tomatoes, but that's not the case with me. Not exactly.
I have two tomato plants, both volunteers, and one is about 3 times the size of the other. So I guess I have like one and a third tomato plants, not two. Until the past week or so, I was fighting with the snails, who liked to eat chunks out of each tomato just as they turned red (the tomatoes, not the snails). I have no idea what happened to the snails (I was not doing anything to get rid of them), but now I'm relieved that I can finally allow the tomatoes to ripen on the vine and stop picking them as soon as they turn the faintest shade of red.
In contrast to past years, I haven't bothered to keep track of the garden's productivity. I have no idea how many pounds of tomatoes each plant produces, but I estimate that every week or so, I find myself trying to figure out what to do with the ones that just seemingly appear on my windowsill.
Last weekend, I made pizza, which was, for the most part, from the Pioneer Woman's recipe (though the crust is from the Smitten Kitchen. While the tomatoes marinate in balsamic vinegar, sauteed garlic, and basil, I par-baked the crust and then assembled the bottom layers of the pizza-- pesto, parmesan, and mozzarella. I returned the pizza to the oven to melt the cheese, then topped it with tomatoes, and returned it to the oven long enough to warm the tomatoes.
The pizza must have been good because, and this is embarrassing to admit, I ate it in two sittings.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
I love cheesecake brownies, but oddly, I don't make them that often. I had a craving for them last week and so I had to make them. The recipe is from Baking Illustrated, and the raspberry addition is my own (I dolloped raspberry jam alongside the cream cheese mixture). These are really good, but there's just not enough cream cheese mixture, but fortunately, the raspberry jam makes up for it,
I moved a couple weeks ago, and I'm glad to report that I'm all settled in. Moving is hard, and I'm pretty sure it's rarely fun. Anyway, you learn some stuff about yourself when you move, like where your priorities lie. It took me almost an entire day to unpack the kitchen, but only an hour to unpack my clothes.
You also make some strange discoveries that leave you shaking your head and muttering "why? why?" I mean, whose idea was it to buy Nutella from Costco? (I might have had something to do with that decision, but, of course, the thing to do is to blame the person who is not there to defend himself.) And, how many containers of sprinkles does one need? In case you're wondering, the answer is, apparently, 7.
It was sad to leave the old place, but since it was scheduled for remodeling, I had no choice but to move. The new place is small and cozy, and I love all the natural light (the old place got no light at all, and we affectionately refer to it as "The Dungeon"). We also have a porch for plants, herbs, and lettuce.
And did I tell you that I grew pumpkins in my garden? They're currently curing on the porch. My grandparents (who used to grown tons of pumpkins, and really big ones!) would be so proud.
Now that I've moved, all the personal stuff in my life has calmed down. First it was Drew leaving for China for a year, and then it was packing, moving, and unpacking. So now, basically all I've been doing is working. But, I still have to eat, right?
I came across this recipe for mushroom pasta in the Los Angeles Times last week, and I was inspired to make it right away. It was easy to make, but it wasn't actually that good. Or bad. I couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. Oh well, not every recipe can be a keeper.
Monday, July 15, 2013
I don't know how this happened, but somehow, I ended up with a bottle of Kahlua. I don't know where it came from. Maybe leftover from a party a long time ago?
I do know, however, how I ended up with rum, amaretto, brandy, and hazelnut liqueur. Sometimes I bake with booze*, but I end up with a lot of leftovers because 1) recipes don't call for that much alcohol and 2) Drew and I don't really drink at home (unless it's wine for me).
But back to the mystery Kahlua.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm moving and I'm trying to clean out the kitchen. I tasted the Kahlua, and it was still good (full disclosure: I tasted it after drinking a glass of wine), so I decided that I had to use it. I did some quick browsing on the internet to see what kinds of things I could bake with Kahlua. I came across this recipe, and while I normally don't just dive into recipes by unknown blogs (uh, unknown by me, that is) without some sleuthing, I made an exception because it called for 3/4 of a cup of Kahlua, and guess what? That's exactly how much Kahlua I had.
It was fate.
The Collegiate Baker's recipe is for a layer cake with frosting and chocolate curls, which looks lovely, but I made mini cakes instead because they are easier to share. As I was mixing the ingredients, I thought to myself "This better be good; I'm using the fancy cocoa powder!" And it was; the Kahlua was subtle, and the cake was rich and chocolate-y.
*I bake with bourbon too, but I must bake with it more frequently because there never seem to be leftovers.
I'm moving in a couple of weeks, and I'm trying to use up the food in the kitchen. Even though I'm not moving very far (it's only about a 5 minute walk from my current place), I'll be sharing kitchen space with a roommate now (a friend from my program), and I don't want to take it all up.
So, these olive lentil burgers were a great opportunity to use up the kalamata olives, lentils, and panko that were hanging around. The recipe was from Post Punk Kitchen, a vegan website, but as these were baking up, all I could think was "oooh, these would be so good with swiss cheese." I don't think that's what they had in mind, but I was right.
My garden has been steadily producing tomatoes lately, so I made tomato jam over the weekend. On it's own, it's a bit too sweet for me (I think Drew would think it's perfect though), but fortunately you're not supposed to eat it on its own, and it was perfect on this burger. Tomato jam tasted like ketchup, except infinitely better.