weekend recap: thanksgiving
2 December 2009, 11:37 am
Filed under: baking, cooking, weekending | Tags: ,

Thought I posted this on Monday. Hehe. Thanksgiving was a success- the six of us had an excellent time cooking, baking, talking, eating…  G & I dragged our table into the living room, then set up a buffet in the ‘dining room’, aka where the table is normally. Whatever, you’ve gotta make do with what you have, right? After a fun meal, we took a stroll to the movie store, rented Coraline and Away We Go, and came back for dessert and some sleepy movie watching. I even managed to finish sewing the festive table runner I started the night before!

Some other highlights from the weekend:

  • a friday at-home happy hour of wine, cheese, and grapes +  gin rummy
  • a few craft store runs to gather some christmas gift ingredients
  • catching up on photo editing- check out the seattle set here and photos from our solstice canyon hike here
  • watching a thrilling steelers game (despite the loss, dennis dixon played pretty well under pressure)
  • hanging out with a friend visiting from DC
  • baking yummy herb whole wheat bread with the massive amount of fresh herbs we had left over (rosemary, sage, thyme + nutmeg)
  • a lot of errands
  • a lot of leftovers
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101 head starts on the day
19 November 2009, 3:04 pm
Filed under: cooking | Tags: , , , ,

101 Head Starts on the Day

This list may be more daunting than Thanksgiving itself! Luckily co-cooking with friends-who-happen-to-live-25′-away has the added benefit of two available ovens.

What are your Thanksgiving favorites? Last year while we were menu planning, we were all torn between cooking beloved family staples and trying out some new dishes. In the end, I think we had a balance of both. We also have a lot to live up to turkeywise- it was hands down the best turkey I’ve had (and mama p can make a mean turkey). We’re pretty sure that brining it was the secret (thanks Alton Brown, you never disappoint).



365 | 100509: red risotto
6 October 2009, 12:59 pm
Filed under: 365, cooking, photography | Tags: , , ,

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photo of the day

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Beets were waiting patiently in the fridge. Arborio rice caught my attention. And this risotto recipe tied it all together. I substituted frozen spinach for the beet greens, since I left the beet greens at the farmers market (I know, blasphemy!).

Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets, via the nytimes:

3/4 pound beets (1 bunch small), roasted

1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed 1/2 bag frozen spinach

6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnarolli rice

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 cup red, rose, or dry white wine

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 to 1/2 cup, to taste)

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Season well and turn the heat to low. Stack the stemmed, washed greens and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan or wide, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock (about 1/2 cup), enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly (adjust heat accordingly). Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, stirring often and adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the greens and the diced beets, and continue adding more stock, enough to barely cover the rice, and stirring often, for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. Is it cooked through? It should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Definitely not soft like steamed rice. If it is still hard in the middle, you need to continue adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes or so. Now is the time to ascertain if there is enough salt. Add if necessary.

5. When the rice is cooked through, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and stir in another half cup of stock, the Parmesan and the parsley. Remove from the heat. The rice should be creamy; if it isn’t, add a little more stock. Stir once, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

As this was my first attempt at making risotto, I’m rather pleased with the creamy texture. Of course, it does take a while, considering roasting the beets is a prerequisite, and ladling the stock a little at a time can be tedious. After some heavy seasoning and a few bites, we decided it was pretty yummy, and definitely beautiful (way more red than the nytimes photo!). Next time I’d probably add more garlic and use all chicken stock to really infuse the flavor in the rice.



weekend recap
28 September 2009, 11:12 pm
Filed under: 365, baking, cooking, listening, weekending | Tags: , , , , , ,

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friday:

  • a run at the beach, which is turning into a fun friday tradition. i definitely tend to push myself more there, i guess since the scenery is so much better and the path just keeps on going… i think i need to reevaluate my running route in west hollywood, I tend to get stuck within a few key busy streets that i don’t like to bother crossing. or maybe i’ll just start running in santa monica more, since the sun is disappearing earlier anyway.
  • finally went to canter’s deli. we split some delicious matzo ball soup and reubens (leftovers for lunch today, yum). (by the way, is it weird that we got saltines with our matzo ball soup?)
  • followed by a game of scrabble (i lost, but had a good a-m-e-o-b-a + l-i-b-i-d-o combination) and a few rounds of set, forgot how incredibly fun and addictive that game is.

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photo of the day

saturday:

  • yummy egg-and-whatever-leftovers-are-in-the-fridge scrambles
  • planned on going to the red bull soapbox race, but it just didn’t happen. probably better, since it was close to 100 degrees downtown. instead i whipped up smitten kitchen’s cheesecake marbled brownies (i just couldn’t resist any more). they are amazing. though my swirls weren’t quite as beautiful as deb’s.
  • headed to barney’s beanery for the penn state/iowa game. pretty awesome that it’s within walking distance, and just so happens to be the penn state bar (with a 25% discount for alums, whee!) awesome atmosphere (complete with citizen’s bank buttons!), but the game was shitty. ugh. iowa is officially our nemesis.
  • natalie finally made it from san diego for the end of the game, and then we went home to “nap” before getting up at 2am for our sleepover in hollywood forever cemetery and the sunrise Bon Iver show…

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photo of the day

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sunday:

  • we got to the cemetery and there were already a ton of people camped out, so we spread out our sleeping bags and nestled in for a showing of bottle rocket, planet earth, and (in my case) a little snoozing. a thick layer of fog rolled in around 4 or so, and hung around for the rest of the morning. at 5:30 we were ‘gently’ nudged awake by buddhist monk chants, and Bon Iver started their set around 6am. having a sunrise concert in a cemetery was seriously one of the best ideas ever, and made what would have been an already amazing concert even better. natalie took some great photos for pitchfork.
  • after swapping banana bread and brownies (score!), she headed back to san diego, i took another nap.
  • got up a few hours later for my swimming lesson!
  • urth cafe for some coffee, and then more napping. football. scrabble. did i mention napping? (seriously, how did i make it through school?)
  • made some golabki and called it a weekend.


vegetable lasagna
24 September 2009, 10:53 pm
Filed under: cooking | Tags: , , , ,

I forgot to share my veggie lasagna recipe with you. Unfortunately there is no chance of a photo here, as it is long gone. It turned out to be a derivative of the New York Times recipe for lasagna with chard and ricotta. I added more veggies and substituted cottage cheese. When I make veggie lasagna this way again, I’d probably subtract the egg- the cottage cheese isn’t quite as thick as the ricotta. Other than that, it’s pretty delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound regular or no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 generous bunch Swiss chard (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 squash
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • leftover eggplant (cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • dried oregano, basil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • mozzarella cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil while you prepare the chard. Fill a bowl with ice water. Tear the leaves from the stems and wash thoroughly in two changes of water. Discard the stems or set aside for another purpose.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the Swiss chard leaves. Boil 1 minute (from the time the water comes back to a boil), until tender but still bright green, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer and transfer to the ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  3. In a wide, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the veggies, saute for a few minutes, add the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the basil sprig. Stir in the Swiss chard and remove from the heat.
  4. Mix cottage cheese, mozzarella, egg, dried basil, dried oregano.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a square or rectangular baking dish (no bigger than 2-quart) and line the bottom with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  6. Layer tomato-veggie sauce / cottage cheese mixture / parmesan / lasagna noodles. Repeat a few times and finish with a layer of noodles and the remaining Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes, or until bubbling and the pasta is tender. Uncover, allow to sit for 5 minutes, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: You can blanch the chard and make the sauce up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in covered containers. The lasagna can be assembled a day ahead of time and refrigerated until shortly before baking.



haiku de potluck
3 September 2009, 10:29 am
Filed under: cooking, living | Tags: ,

via haiku lunchbox:

image via haikulunchbox.com

image via haikulunchbox.com

Late summer potluck —
You grill burgers, I bake pie,
Garden offers salad

— 9.02.2009, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania

This makes me want to host a potluck! And have a garden!



honey ginger chicken with israeli couscous
28 June 2009, 10:00 pm
Filed under: cooking | Tags: ,

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This is a really delicious honey ginger chicken and israeli couscous recipe. Israeli couscous may be my new favorite thing. The texture is amazing- a cross between rice pilaf and regular couscous. It holds its firmness and is delightful to eat. Yum. In this recipe, you lightly toast the couscous with a little oil, shallots, a bay leaf, and a cinnamon stick before adding chicken stock and boiling. I get super excited when I’m searching for a recipe and actually end up having random items on hand- in this case the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.