29 March 2010

i couldnt resist

i know. i was just going to keep going on about california...but i made dinner tonight. i assure you, it was not fancy style. it was in fact, poached egg style. :) i went on about this yesterday so, i thought i would finally share my obsession. i am obsessed. seriously. its just a good accompaniment to any meal, and good for you! golly gee wilikers. the best part about dinner was that most of it was bought at the green market. eggs, check. beets, check. greens, check.

it was tasty and easy. made a simple vinaigrette: 1/3 C olive oil, 2+ (this depends on what you like) tablespoons balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a few shakes of mustard powder, and shook it all up. it was really good. threw some pine nuts onto a bed of greens addedd dressing, mixed it all together. that was the bottom layer. i steamed some beets, tossed with salt and pepper. my next layer. and, of course, poached two eggs. 
delish. xo

28 March 2010

cali-forn-i-a, part 1.

i just got back; well not just, i've been home almost a week and i've been busy so i havent had a moment to upload my pictures.  the trip was lovely. it was nice to be in the sun. i met my bf in san francisco for his final show, he's a comedian and very funny.  if you don't know him you should check him out. i'd say he's hilarious. there's really never a dull moment and i giggle all the time, its wonderful. 
thursday: i got to san fran on st. patty's day. a gentleman on the tram to my terminal scolded me for not wearing green...shame on me. five hours is a long time to go with out food. i kept resisting buying something on the airplane. i flew virgin and they let you swipe your card on a little tv basically plugged into your brain directly in front of your face so it was very, very tempting. i resisted. we landed 45 min early and my ride was far off...so i wanted to get food. a girlfriend of my assures me that ANY airport is international waters so McDonald's, etc. is of course fair game. i went looking...jordan, its san francisco, WHY would they have McDs or anything of that nature in the airport?! did i mention how nice and swanky this airport felt? it was like everywhere was 1st class. (only later did i realize that i was at the international terminal....) i was blown away by how nice it was. and since there was no McDs...i got sushi. who knew you could get really yummy (read fancy) sushi at an airport?
we walked around san fran a bit. went to philz coffee. if you live in or near or ever plan on going to san fran EVER...go here. they do one cup at a time and have great coffee. i had, i believe, julie's ultimate. with a name like that, i really couldnt pass it up. it was a bold, dark, smooth cup of coffee. they call it their classiest coffee for their classy coffee drinkers (me, duh!). we also went up to twin peaks and got a pretty amazing view of san fran. its really a beautiful city. id like to spend more time there. we met up with a friend of ours, actually they gentleman who played rory's wingman the night he first asked me out. the three of us, plus another friend went to Toms for pizza. i wish i had taken a picture of it. it was a bed of arugula on top of a pizza covered in Parm shavings. OH MY GOODNESS. it was so good. this may have tied for the best meal on my trip.
friday: we woke up at 7am to get to the airport to rent our car that we were going to drive down highway 1. albeit it was early, but i was still on east coast time, so when that alarm chimed, i easily got out of bed and into the shower. grant, rory's friend that we were staying with, had an orange tree in his front yard. AN ORANGE TREE, PEOPLE. i know, nothing unusual for ca folks, but it was pretty sweet. i picked two. and ate them on the road.
they were not as ripe as i was hoping. the smell was tastier than the bite. oh well. next time, maybe? 
we decided to get the heck outta the san fran area before we pulled off to eat breakfast, smart move on our part. i think we would have sat in rush hour morning traffic or gotten stuck in the daily morning commute someplace. in dc people used to drive 40+ minutes to work - blows my mind. thats a luxury of living in nyc. we can walk and take the train. granted it may take 45 min as well, but still, you can at least lose yourself in people watching, music or a good book. or if you are super skilled, all of the above. but i digress...breakfast! yums. so we stopped at a place in santa cruz called cafe brasil
 best decision we made. the food was awesome.
polenta, portabellas, spinach and a poached egg. SO good. i think this was my best meal while in california, so way to go santa cruz.  (side note: i love poached eggs. i cant tell you how often i eat them. have i gone off on this yet? i think its part of the reason i wasnt posting as much. b.c i was busy and my dinners have consisted of poached eggs and spinach and a grain, like every night. so why keep telling you that? but maybe i should. if you have yet to embark on a love affair with poached eggs...i'd be happy to help.) 
then back on the road. the drive was really really nice. there were so many artichoke farms! so many. i tried to take pictures of them but they all came out blurry and not good. they are large bright green bushes with leaves that look like they might have spikes on them and the jutting out from the center of the plant are these huge stalks with artichokes on the ends. every time i saw a big one, i giggled. they made me so happy. these fields and fields of artichokes. i love to eat them. i cant wait until they are in season. i'm not lying though, i sat facing outside with the window down, pointing and giggling. it was awesome.
we stopped in monterey next. on cannery row. stienbeck, anyone? we took these pictures there:
and thats all i have for now, there's more, but times a wastin'!


16 March 2010

irish yummys

as i will not be cooking tomorrow, i will be flying and eating at a restaurant in san francisco, chow provides this for you! (they dont have a share for blogger - weird! - so this may look all messed up. sorry.) you should go look at the post, the food looks AH-MAY-ZING! i'm a Guinness girl through and through and i would not hesitate to pour a pint into a meal. eat up!

A Dash of Guinness
Cooking with Ireland’s famed brew
By Roxanne Webber

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we've rounded up both sweet and savory recipes that incorporate dark, velvety Irish stout. Though some people will balk at the idea of pouring a perfectly good pint into your dish rather than straight into your mouth, we think Guinness's malty, toasty flavors cook up rather well. For more ideas check out this St. Patrick's Day Menu. And there are great discussions (and recipes) on Chowhound about Irish soda bread, stuffed cabbage, and St. Pat's.

1. Beef Braised in Guinness. Chunks of beef are browned with bacon and onions, then braised until tender in Guinness and beef stock.
2. Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue. A perfect St. Patrick’s Day party dish, this fondue uses Irish cheddar and stout in place of the traditional Gruy√®re and white wine.
3. Warm German Potato Salad. Try using Guinness for the tangy beer sauce that’s tossed with warm potato slices, fresh herbs, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs in this hearty side dish.
4. Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes. Guinness’s chocolaty-coffee undertones make it a natural fit for chocolate desserts. Here, cupcakes get a flavor boost with the addition of stout, then are finished off with a smooth cream cheese frosting.
5. Welsh Rarebit Bites. Toasted slices of baguette are topped with a melty cheddar, Guinness, and mustard sauce for an easy hors d’oeuvre.
6. Guinness Stout Marinade. Guinness, lime juice, and fresh herbs are blended together for an all-purpose beef marinade.
7. Guinness–Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. This unusual ice cream features the hearty flavor of Guinness blended with creamy milk chocolate and a hint of vanilla.
8. Guinness Pub Burgers. Adding Guinness to these burgers keeps them juicy and enhances their beefiness.
9. Gingerbread with Stout. Stout gives this gingerbread a dark, rich flavor and keeps it from being too sweet.
10. Cheddar Beer Dip with Smoked Sausage. A bubbling cheese dip full of hearty stout and smoked sausage bits, good served with pretzels or cut-up vegetables.
Roxanne Webber is an associate editor at CHOW.

15 March 2010

lead on

i am on my way to california to visit my bf. i'm excited to be out of the city for a few days and i'm in need for some fun and inspiration. so, this girl goes on vacation! yay! i will track my trip with photos....so many your head will explode. well, thats not a promise. i will try to take a lot.

i recently stumbled upon anthony bourdain's 'no reservations' on netflix. he's hysterical. he's craaaaazy. there's this mean in him thats so much fun. watch it. enjoy it.

09 March 2010

green market & kale

i decided after watching FOOD INC. that i was going to try to be a locavore (eat within a 100 mile radius of where you live)...its so hard to do. i imagine its also hard to start in the dead of winter. it also feels limiting and since i love food so much, i didnt want to limit what i could eat, i'm just going to know what i am eating, as much as i can. in order to do this, i have decided to control my produce, meat and dairy as much as possible. i started this week by going to the green market during lunch on monday. what did i see? kale, leeks, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes....LOTS of potatoes. an apple stand here and there and thats about it. not TERRIBLE but also, if i dont want to just consume starch, it seemed daunting. i bought some kale, some apples, onions and eggs. its a start. 

i wasnt going to eat pasta or bread this week (i'm going on vacation and want to look my best). ... well, i'm in the dumps and when you're in the dumps you want comfort food. and pasta, well, its a comfort food for me however it is served. and, with all this kale, i figured i'd put it in pasta! lets talk about this kale. it was beautiful. and i'll show it to you...

i've never had kale that was this crinkly. or schrounched. or gnarled. i'm not sure the right word to describe it. but it was that. whatever that is. and it was tough to cut and the leaves were small, but, it was so so good. now, for the pasta. talk about delish. there's something about a lemon sauce with pasta, its fresh. and it always feels right, especially on a day like today in new york. the weather was wonderful and its as if spring is upon us. i'm sure we'll be hit with something nasty between now and then, but for today, it was nice. 

so please, enjoy!

Kale w. Spaghetti, Lemon and Cheese.
adapted from poppytalk
serves ~3

  • 250 g of spaghetti (or whatever you have)
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (i say use however much garlic you can handle)
  • 2 shallots, minced (i had a med. yellow onion, so i used half of that)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (again, however much you want)
  • 1 bunch of Kale (or swiss chard) tough stems removed and leave chopped into ribbons
  • juice and zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1. boil salted water and cook the pasta as per directions. (dont watch the water boil, that wont help it...) in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over med-high heat and saute garlic, onion and red pepper flakes until fragrant. add in the kale and cook until wilted, stirring a bit, not constantly. if it gets dry, add some of the pasta water to keep it a little wet...sweaty, if you will.
2. drain pasta reserving some of the cooking water. about 1/2 cup of it. this will help create the sauce. add the kale to the pasta pot, dump the pasta back in and add some of the liquid.  toss with tongs and add in the zest and lemon juice. when the pasta is well coated, sprinkle with the cheese and give it one (or 8) more tosses. i dont think i added enough cheese, so i sprinkle some onto my pasta when it was plated. 


01 March 2010

more one a days

the day after
the best cake i've ever made
snowed in
spicy clean-up

i made bread, ya'll. i made bread

i have been thinking about making bread for a while. for a real long time. a girlfriend of my embarked on this adventure by buying a baguette pan (!) and she made french bread ya'll. i think i'm a little nervous to try that, but what i wouldnt give to be able to make french bread. i think a crusty warm baguette may be one of the best things in the world. and, for that matter with nothing on it because it just tastes that good. 
i digress. so. i made bread. it was an interesting process. i didnt have active yeast, i had instant yeast, so i was worried about my ratios. but, all in all. i think it turned out pretty great. the bread was a little dense and tough...the dough was tough to knead. i wonder if i kneaded it too much...i will have to do some research on that. i cannot tell you how happy it made me to have made bread. the anticipation as the wet dough rises created this palatable energy in the apartment as i busied myself doing other things....reading lines, surfing the inter-web...i just wanted it to get bigger so i could knead again and wait again, so that it would finally be ready to put in the oven! and the smell! as the bread turned a beautiful shade of golden brown, the whole apartment smelled of wonders! i think i just love bread. i could be a carb-a-vore. seriously.  
please try this. the satisfaction you have when  you bake your own loaf of bread is ridiculous. so, why not, give it a shot.  i cannot wait to start playing around with bread recipes! 
Two Crusty Round Loaves
  • 4 cups bread flour (the higher gluten content in important)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
1. Measure out 1/4 cup of bread flour and reserve a the clean counter top.  Place the remaining 3 3/4 cup bread flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.* Measure the salt and place on one side of the flour and add the yeast to the opposite side of the flour.  Pour the warm water in the middle and mix on low speed (with the paddle attachment) until the dough just comes together. 
2. When the dough forms a mass, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Dough should clear the sides but may stick to the bottom a bit.  If you feel like the dough is too sticky or too dry, feel free to add a touch more water or flour by the tablespoonful.  After 2 minutes, let the dough rest for five minutes.
3. After the five minute rest, mix the dough again for 3 minutes.   Place the dough on the counter and, using the 1/4 cup of bread flour we reserved in the beginning, hand knead the dough.  You may not need to incorporate the entire 1/4 cup.  If the dough feels firm and solid enough, just knead for a few minutes and prepare it to rest.  You should have a satiny, smooth compact ball.
4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn the dough over to coat the entire dough lightly in oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rest for 1 1/2 hours.  The dough should double in size.  Remove from the bowl, punch down and reform into a ball.  Return to the bowl, cover and allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
After the second short rest, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 pieces.  Form each piece into a smooth, round ball, tucking any haggard edges on the underside of the dough.  Leave to rest, covered with a damp cloth, on the lightly floured surface for 45 minutes to a hour.
5. During the last 20 minutes of the resting period, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a baking rack in the lower third of the oven and leave either a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet in the oven to heat as well. 
6. Just before the boules are set to go in the oven, slash the top of the loaves with 2 to 4 slashes, using a sharp knife.  This will allow the bread to expand in the oven.  Remove the super hot baking sheet from the oven.  Carefully transfer the dough onto the baking sheets and return to the oven.
7. Here’s some fun!  Just after you put the bread in the oven, take 1/4 cup of water, open the oven door, quickly poor the water onto the hot oven floor and immediately close the oven door.  We’re creating steam here people… it’s exciting.  Wait 2 minutes and repeat the process.
8. Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes.  They’ll be golden and gorgeous.  Remove from the oven and insert a thermometer.  The temperature should be between 190 to 210 degrees F.
You should wait until its totally cool to slice into it...i couldn't, but you should try. 
 * I don't have a stand mixer, so i followed some instructions for another way - You should be able to follow the directions as listed but instead of using the mixer to do the mixing do this instead: Put your dry ingredients (minus yeast) in a bowl. Make a well in that hill and pour your luke warm water into it. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and wait a minute or so. Then start to mix in the flour with the water until you get it together into a doughy gloop. Then knead the dough until it gets the nice smooth consistency and it stops sticking to the bowl as much–you may need to add a smidge of flour to get it to this consistency.