Sunday, September 28, 2008
Julia had a dinner party at her house on Saturday. I was asked to bring something, and mid-way through the day, Julia decided dessert would indeed be best. I didn't have any ideas, but had already been to Reading Terminal Market that afternoon and was between yarn stores, planning to head to the grocery store later. I figured inspiration would strike.
It didn't. But I remembered I had 6 apples I got earlier in the week from Reading Terminal and Everyday Food in the front pocket of my backpack. So I made John's Three-Layer Apple Cake. I won't reprint the recipe for you here because the only substitutions I made were a sprinkle of nutmeg for the ginger, and about two tablespoons dark brown and white sugar for the light brown sugar in the icing.
The icing is what nearly killed me. Never mind there's three sticks of butter in there--I don't have a handmixer. So I had to make buttercream icing by hand. That's a total of about 20 solid minutes with a whisk on "medium speed". My forearm is going to be huge. I also didn't have the light brown sugar to actually make it (neither did Food-Way, 7-11, or Rite Aid). I contemplated a caramel sauce or a peanut butter icing, but since we didn't have milk either, I would just go for it.
The cake was delicious, though. That's all I really cared about.
Today Nina and I went to the best Italian grocer in Center City. DiBruno Brothers was a culinary experience unlike anything else. We pretty much ate our way though the store. I walked out with some roasted turkey and Vermont cheddar for sandwiches (which I already got into--a-mah-zing). We got samples of parmesiano reggiano wrapped in prosciutto (made JUST for us by a very attractive butcher), I ate a lot of cheese thanks to a woman standing next to me who kept asking to try things, and Nina shared her house Latte with me, which had marscapone cheese and figs in it. (Alex, when you come visit, we'll be spending time here.) I spent half as much as I spent on groceries for the week, pretty much.
This week has a bunch of exciting things in store, food-wise anyway. We'll be eating sweet potatoes with adobo sauce, some peanut-citus soba noodles, and black bean stew. Keep a look out.
SEE IF THEY WET THEIR PANTS
The words Guru, Swami, Super Swami, Master, Teacher, Murshid, Yogi, Priest,
most of those sporting such a title are
The litmus test is:
hold tem upside down over a cliff for a few hours.
if they don't wet their
maybe you found a real
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
For this season, however, I have found a perfect solution. I treated myself to "Everyday Food" (a Martha publication, naturally) yesterday and included was this recipe for End of Summer Vegetable Soup. It elicited two helpings from my RA who stopped by to drop off a bowl from the cookies I made our floor last week, so I suppose it was pretty good.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
I hit the mark yesterday too, with a grilled ham and swiss on homemade wheat with mustard and caramelized onions. I'm not going to include a recipe with this because I think y'all are smart enough to figure this out--make bread, slice, caramelize onions with EVOO, pile with ham, swiss, and onions, slather one side of bread with dijon mustard, slather outsides of the bread with margarine, grill over medium heat until golden brown.
I did, in fact, break out the bread machine for this. But I know for a fact WholeFoods has a lot of good options.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Chickpeas roasted in a little olive oil until they're golden...heaven. Could have gone without the zukes, though.
Asian Dumplings loosely based on Alex's recipe and solid instruction
Monday, September 8, 2008
Makes enough for you, a roommate, and lunch the next day.
1 good sized onion, shoesting sliced with a mandoline or diced
1 zucchini, shoesting sliced with a mandoline, or chopped to the size of matchstick
Half a box of Rotelle
2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Half a lemon
1. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the olive oil and the onion. Sautee until soft over medium heat.
2. Add the zucchini, after chopping and patting dry with a paper towel.
3. Sautee enough so that the zucchini bends to your will, but not so that it turns to mush. It should cook down quite a bit, maybe to about half of what it was.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente.
5. Plate up the pasta with a heap of the onion and zuke mixture on top. Throw in a lemon wedge and a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The lemon really cuts the onion and is a great contrast to the parmesan.
So then last night, I made a quiche. I am famous for my quiche amongst old, wealthy women who came to the Women and God retreat at Lancaster Theological Seminary. I got up at the crack of dawn (like, 5) to make three quiches with Courtney Harvey. They were all incredibly delicious, if I do say so myself.
Zucchini, Bacon and Gruyere Quiche with a hashbrown crust
Serves about five or so. Or did in my case.
4 Tbs. butter, melted
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1 abnormally large zucchini, or 2 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups half & half
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 oz Gruyere, grated
1. Preheat oven to 450. Thaw and pat your hashbrowns dry. Mix with butter and press into either a 9" pie plate or 9x9 baking dish. If you use the baking dish, you may need a little bit more hashbrown.
It should look like that. Throw it in the oven for 25 minutes or until it sets and the edges look crispy.
2. While the crust bakes, grate the cheese, slice the zucchini the size and shape of matchsticks or in ribbons, as the Gourmet recipe suggests, and cook and chop the bacon.
3. Whisk the eggs, half & half, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir in the zucchini, bacon and cheese.
4. When the crust comes out of the oven (careful! It will be hot), pour the mixture evenly into the crust.
5. Bake for 27-33 minutes, or until the filling has set and appears fluffy, lightly browned, and no longer wet. Let it cool for at least ten minutes before slicin' into that baby.
Nina and Courtney Brown seemed to enjoy it (in a shamefully dark photo).
Friday, September 5, 2008
Classes have been good, though I have come to loathe the bookstore. Since when was it okay to charge $130 for a book? Aren't we, as college students, smart enough to fight this? I feel they probably inflate the prices because we need the books, and when there is high demand (real or constructed), we know that prices inflate.
Maggie, our big yellow dog, was put to sleep this week, too. She had torn her ACL, and when it got worse, they took her for x-rays and discovered she had cancer. So they put her to sleep. She did, however, live 10 really awesome years and host many a good party with, greeting people with saliva and dog hair.
Adelaide is coming to visit this weekend, and we plan on going to First Friday and doing touristy things tomorrow. Though I've already been this week, I hope there is some Banana Leaf involved. That Malaysian food is out of this world.
Oh! And remember that stitch pattern I was talking about a few entries ago? The guy who made that amazing neck warmer was nice enough to send it. I'm still trying to figure out how it works (it looks too easy to be real) but I'll be sure to let you know about the end result.
This was going to be a short, short entry followed by a poem I wanted Alex (and everybody else) to have, and befits my attitude, so without further ado:
My Lord told me a joke.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Yes, these are the cookies from 101Cookbooks that I was talking about at the end of my last post. I was told to bring something to a reunion party at Julia's new apartment, and since these intrigued me so much, I thought they'd do. They were meant to be, in a way. Heidi said in the post she had planned to make them for a trip to Philadelphia. I also found the Whole Wheat Pastry Flour at the Reading Terminal while buying vegetables. Serendipity?
So here's the recipe, rewritten, in case you want to try this for yourself (Alex).
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (they were cheaper at Whole Foods then Supahdupah Fresh, I don't know what that was about, but look forward to more poppy seed recipes--I'll have them all year, I'm pretty sure.)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, or uh, margarine if you're cheap
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large egg yolks (I must have misread that, I put the whole egg in. But just do the egg yolk, I thought my batter was a little sticky)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
6-7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or half a bag of Whole Food's dark chocolate chips)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until it is fluffy and creamy. Add the sugar and mix some more, scraping the sides of the bowl once along the way. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again if needed.
4. Being careful not to over-mix, stir in the flour mixture by hand (Don't screw up the gluten!). If the dough is on the dry side stir in the milk as well (This didn't happen for me. But you'll need that milk for another step).
5. Throw the bowl in the fridge with a damp towel over it for at least half an hour--or as long as you can wait. I was in a time crunch, but believe me, let that dough chill for as long as you can. It will make your life so much easier.
6. Turn the dough out on to a well floured counter top. Kneed it a little. Cut the dough into four quarters, then shape each piece into a ball. Throw the other three back in the fridge while you work with the first ball.
7. Flatten the dough to about an 1/8". This is "wafer thin", but since I'm not Catholic I'm not sure what that means exactly. You're going to need lots of flour on your rolling pin. Cut out your cookies.
8. Load up the baking sheet with parchment paper and send them into the oven for 7-8 minutes, until they're golden on the sides.
9. Using a double boiler method (ghetto!) throw the chocolate in the bowl once its been heated a little by the hot water. Stir constantly, as nothing is worse than burnt chocolate. Add a few tablespoons of milk and whisk, so you have a stiff ganache. Don't add too much milk, as you don't want a milk chocolate center.
10. Quickly spread the chocolate on the flat side of the cookie and sandwich them together. Cute, right?
They were too healthy tasting for Sydney, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them. The light, subtle cookie complements the dark chocolate in an almost savory way.
Tonight I made a lentil stew (which, the last time I made it, people skipped school to eat) for the biddies, and of course, a Jesus-Approved Peach Cobbler. The original plan was an apple pie with Gruyere baked in to the crust (a la "Pushing Daisies"), but due to labor day and the Reading Terminal being closed, I settled with Jersey peaches from Whole Foods.
I have been doing other things since I've arrived, like buying a pie plate and setting up the apartment (read: the kitchen). I guess if you really wanted to know, you could watch Marc's video blog. I warn you, the dancing may shock you.