Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As a matter of clarification, I would like to acknowledge that in elementary school I also had a yeast themed science fair project. My mother and sister helped me with it. And by helped, I mean that they did the project for me after I threw a tantrum and went to the movies with Tricia L. That yeast project was an award winner. Upon prompting, I vividly remember the delightful little rolls they made.
The previous entry refers to my 7th grade attempt to recreate that award winning project. I am deeply sorry if any feelings were hurt by my memory lapse.
Now come over and make some rolls for me.
LOVE YOU GUYS!
Fast forward to around Christmas time last year. Everyday Foods magazine (LOVE IT) had an easy recipe for yeast rolls. So I tried it and the rolls were really good and cute as all get out. I declared myself free of the yeast curse that I had been carrying for the last 20+ years and proudly announced to my mother that I would be bring the bread from Christmas. Thank goodness my mother had the sense to buy some backup rolls because the second batch turned out nothing like the first, and no one wanted to eat the little unleavened, heavy knots I ended up bringing to the celebration. (Thanks, Mom!)
While waiting for the yeasty magic to happen. I make sauce. Lets see. Onions, garlic, chiles, a sweet red pepper (not a huge fan of the veg, but get it in the farm share so I hide it in my soups and sauces), some tomatoes that I froze earlier in the year, and some oregano, parsley, and basil. Cook root vegetables and peppers til tender, add tomatoes, then at the last minute add herbs. Blend it up with immersion blender. (I have a tendency to fling hot sauce around the kitchen in this step.)
Here's a picture of some pretty cheese.
The Captain was in charge of pizza #1. He did some sauce, mozzerella, kalamata olives, basil, black pepper, and a dried chile.
Pizza #2 was my baby and I went for my new favorite. Sliced red potatoes, rosemary, parmigianno regianno, cracked black pepper, a dried chile, olive oil and some French grey salt.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven on the top and bottom racks for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
Here's pizza #1 out of the oven.
And pizza #2.
I like these pizzas because they are a good way to use up some vegetables, and its a nice way to go meatless for a night, but it doesn't really FEEL like a meatless night. Plus, they are kind of fun to make together.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
At This Point It Ceases to Be Informative and Takes on More of a "Look At My Stuff and Be Jealous" Vibe
Candy Yellow Onion
Butternut Winter Squash
Summer Squash (half share)
So I call this “Cream of Choose Your Own Vegetable Soup”. Today its corn.
Saute one diced onion with four chopped cloves of garlic and a couple diced chiles in a little bit of olive oil (and maybe a little bit of butter if I am feeling decadent.) When the onions turn transluscent, I add half of the kernels from the 3 – 4 ears of corn that I have removed from the cob. I throw in some thyme (thyme is ALWAYS good in a vegetable soup) and saute for a few more minutes. Then I add a little wine (boxed Pinot Grigio is perfect), cover the vegetables in chicken stock and allow them to simmer until tender. It doesn’t take very long with the corn; 10 minutes is plenty of time. I remove the soup from the stove, and puree with an immersion blender. Then I put it back on the heat, add the remaining corn, a bay leaf and enough stock to bring it to a consistency that I like. Then I taste, salt and pepper. Simmer again until corn is tender. Its ready. (You might have noticed that I don’t add cream to my “Cream of Choose Your Own Vegetable Soup”. I don’t like the guilt I feel the extra calories. And it really doesn’t need it. But, in a perfect world where fat didn’t exist, I might find occasion to enrich the soup with a little heavy cream right at the end.)
This soup is fool proof. I like to garnish with something crunchy like fried tortilla or wonton strips. As I am not a huge fan of frying things in my kitchen, I usually buy these thing already prepared. The grocery stores sell them in resealable bags over by the croutons and salad dressings.
I always make extra and freeze it for quick lunches. The Schnucks Olive Bar containers are the PERFECT size for freezing as they hold two servings of soup.
*How do I know if a vegetable is in season if I don’t have a garden or shop at the farmers market? The cheapest vegetables are usually the ones that are in season. Corn that’s on sale at the grocery store 4 ears for $1? That’s in season.
But in reality, I started composting last Fall. A la Rachel Ray, I had a large plastic bowl that I kept on the countertop. Whenever I cooked, I would throw any leftover plant materials in the bowl. Then, after dinner, I would go out, dig a hole in the garden, and bury it. Seriously. Kind of goofy, but I kid you not, when it came time to start working the soil in the garden this spring, the little compost holes had turned in to black patches of rich organic material. I will admit that some things didn’t breakdown very well using this method, mostly onion skins, corn cobs and corn husks. AND it was a little harder to bury things when the ground froze. AND we had some plants pop up in the garden of unknown origin (we called them “volunteers” most likely plants that sprung up from the seeds I discarded.) Still, I think it was worth it and a great way to generate less trash and benefit the garden.
Anyway, here’s a list of things that I compost now:
Ø Coffee grinds (and filters)
Ø Vegetable and fruit peels/seeds/stems
Ø Egg Shells
Ø Paper towels
Ø Newspaper sheets (on the occasion we end up with some)
Ø Leaves from the yard
Ø Garden clippings
Hmm, here's whats in my counter top composter right now. The lid has some kind of charcoal filter that makes it not stink while its sitting there on your counter.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Step 1 (above): Place mint leaves and half of a lime (cut into festive sections) in a glass.
Step 2 (below): Muddle.
Step 3: Add some brown sugar and rum (my friend in Miami suggested Mount Gay as a great baseline rum - and he was right - thanks Carl!) and stir.
Step 4: Add crushed ice. I crush mine by placing ice in a bag, covering it with a towel, and wacking it with a rolling pin. I'm high tech!
In a pyrex measuring cup, place a handful of basil, a handful of pinenuts, a handful of parmigiano reggiano, several grinds of black pepper and some olive oil. Whirl it up with an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Or a little lemon juice and garlic. Stir. Stick in a ziplock bag, press all the air out and freeze. Come the cold of winter, remove from freezer and enjoy its summery goodness on pasta (with grilled chicken) or slathered on some rustic bread.
Well, I do love Martha, so I did go out and buy some cloth napkins at Target about a month ago when I read that. And, I'm gonna say, as a person who has pretty much ALWAYS used paper napkins, I LOVE USING CLOTH NAPKINS. And it has nothing to do with the earth or nature or animals or our children. They just feel better than paper napkins. And they make everything I cook seem that much nicer. I don't know why this didn't occur to me before.
Anyway, this market has a pretty cool history. Apparently between 1906 and 1907, the price of onions in Seattle skyrocketed. The citizens were angry about paying fees to middlemen who brokered the produce. A councilman at the time suggested a public street market where consumers could deal directly with the farmers. On August 17, 1907, the market opened to 10,000 customers and sold out before noon. Today, the market has 120 farmers and another 190 craftspeople.
This is where they throw the fish. Unfortunately, no fish were being flung as I snapped some photos on Wednesday.
Above is the Lemon Curd Tart with Toasted Marshmallow and Candied Grapefruit.
Here we have an Espresso Eclair. Yum...breakfast.
This was my favorite of all things tasty Seattle. A Coconut Cream Pie Bite. Yowza it was delicious.
And finally as promised earlier, a Buttermilk Lemon Thyme Cupcake with Huckleberry Buttercream. It was phenomenal. (Hopefully you can't see that the other side was smooshed. I ran into the bakery door with cupcake in hand and smooshed one side of it into my boob. Which was a nice little icing souvenir on my sweater all day.)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Olympic Mountain Dark Chocolate Trail Mix of course. That’s peanuts, fake dark chocolate m&m’s, almonds, and raisins that we picked up at the Safeway. It got me thinking. What would I put in my trail mix if I made it myself? Dried strawberries, candied walnuts, REAL peanut m&m’s….maybe dried cranberries or cherries or blueberries? Ah, who am I kidding, this entry is just an excuse to post a picture of me at the top of the ridge and some of the cute animals I saw along the way.
I call them "mountain birds". They made the most soothing sound as they nibbled on whatever was in the grass.
Friday, September 25, 2009
So, after we are seated, everyone starts looking at their menus. I, of course, grab the wine list. Now, the wine list wasn't a list, per se, it was a book. Several pages of wines, some beers, and specialty cocktails. I am trying to find a "by the glass" Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris, when another guest places two bottles of wine, that he had brought from home, on the table. The restaurant is kind of fancy, well, fancy enough that they already have red and white wine glasses on the table, and they remove glasses according to what you order.
Those of you who know me, know that I am a wine drinker. But not an educated or snobbish one. I rarely spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine and, honestly, I usually buy my Pinot Grigio (the Bud Light of wines) in a box. But I do know some rules regarding dining. So, I make a few assumptions based on the fact that this man has brought in a couple of bottles of wine to a nicer restaurant.
- I assume there will be a corkage fee. (I was correct, there is a $25 corkage fee per bottle at Anthony's Pier 66.)
- I assume that there is something special about the wine. Its either rare, or unusual, or the restaurant carries nothing like it.
- I assume its expensive.
So, the waiter decants the first bottle of wine and offers some to everyone at the table. Now, I'm not normally a red wine drinker, but I am also not one to pass up a special, rare, unusual, or expensive glass of wine either. I accept a glass. I swirl it around the glass a little bit in an effort to make it look like I know what I doing. I stick my nose in the glass and breathe in as I take a sip. And...
It was okay I guess. But, like I said, I'm not an educated wine drinker. I chalk my indifference up to my lack of knowledge.
Around this time, someone passes the bottle to me, so that I might admire it. It was a bottle of 2005 Chateau Ste Michelle Orphelin Red. I like Chateau Ste Michelle, but I wasn't aware that Chateau Ste Michelle made wines so fine that anyone would decant it, or pay a $25 corkage fee per bottle (actually have your host pay a corkage fee) for the privilege of bringing it in and drinking it at a restaurant.
I'll save you the trouble of googling it, cause I already did. The Orphelin Red is a $15 bottle of wine.
I wonder what the waiters thought of us.
Anyway, I still have that unopened huckleberry honey. I finally tried this unfortunately named berry for the first time yesterday. Borrowing a description of it from one of our dining companions, the huckleberry is "like a poor man's blueberry".
Huckleberry things I had tried since losing my huckleberry virginity:
- A spinach salad with chanterelles, chevre, pecans, huckleberries, and a poppyseed vinaigrette
- Huckleberry ice cream with huckleberry syrup
- Huckleberry burnt cream (serve as part of a trio of creme brulees:vanilla with a pineapple garnish, huckleberry with a strawberry garnish, and some absolutely KILLER ginger creme brulee with crystalized ginger garnish-to die for)
The bakery across the street from the hotel has a (get this) Lemon Thyme BUTTERMILK cupcake with Huckleberry Buttercream that I think I will try today. At the very least they are adorable cupcakes.
Now if I could just find a region where they honor the farkleberry.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Well, maybe not exactly. But that's my farmer. I'm excited for the folks of North St. Louis as there really is no source for anything remotely fresh around those parts.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
• Dark Red Norland Potatoes
• Yellow Onions
• Green and Hungarian Bell Pepper
• Banana Pepper
• Butternut Squash
• Sweet Corn
• French Radish
• Lettuce and Arugula salad mix
• Sweet Potato
• Green Beans
A little history for you:
This squash was popular through the 1920's and then fell into obscurity. It has a thin, tender skin that doesn't travel well or store for periods of time, so its not well suited for supermarkets. If you see some at a farmers market, do yourself a favor and get one.
I typically cut them in half, seed them and steam in the microwave. Then I scoop out the flesh, and mash with a little butter, salt and pepper. I finish with a drizzle with maple syrup and throw a few walnuts on top. Good stuff.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Step one: Cut pork tenderloin into bite sized pieces. Marinate in garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, onion and green pepper.
Step two: Soak black beans in water.
Step Three: Boil beans in soaking water for 45 minutes to an hour (I added some chicken base cause I am crazy like that.) Prepare sofrito. Sofrito is onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Fry OGS&P in some olive oil until onion is transluscent. Take some of the beans, mash them up and add them to the sofrito pan. Fry it all up for about 5 minutes. Dump sofrito into bean pot and add oregano, sugar and bay leaf. Boil for a couple more hours.
Step Four: Cuban Bread. Take 1 packet of yeast, mix with one tablespoon of sugar and two cups of water. Let proof. After 5 minutes it should be bubbly and stinky. If you don't have the bubbles or the yeast stink, scrap the project and start over. Bad yeast will kill this project. Take the bubbly, stinky funk, and put it on the KitchenAid (with the dough hook) and knead it, adding 1 cup of sifted flour at a time. At about 7 cups you should be done. You want a firm dough. Grease the bowl and the dough, cover with a cloth, and let sit, in a warm place until it doubles.
Oh this bread is soooooo delicious.
At some point, if you had been thinking about it, you would have started some rice. At the same time you would have heated up some oil in a non stick skillet on the stove. In small batches, fry up the pork (and onions and peppers) in small batches until brown. It was really good, although beans and stuff don't photograph that well.