Friday, October 8, 2010

Dessert results, two months later! Month and a half? :-D

So, I should never brag.  Ever.  I was so excited to make some delicious, home-made cake for dinner with our choir friends (um, months ago.  Sorry.) that I should have KNOWN it would all go awry. 

Attempt #1: The carrot cake:
Delicious recipe, and I've made it before.  Unfortunately, the tester was deceptive, and I came out with a medium-rare cake.  Sure, it was delicious, but it sure wasn't anything I'd serve anybody else!

Attempt #2:  My no-fail, amazing, people apparently dream about it chocolate cake (here I go again).
Where to begin??!  I forgot the sugar, which I realized about 20 minutes into baking.  Attempting to stir it in to my half-baked cake did NOT go over well.  After that, I baked for the prescribed amount of time, only to once again have an under-done cake.  I think I'd rate this one at medium.  This has prompted the hubs and I to consider an(other) in-oven thermometer, just to make sure the thermostat is functioning properly.  I digress.

Attempt #3:  The grocery store had a sale on pound cake and strawberries:  Buy one, get the other free.  Sold.  We now have dessert.

Now, I did go ahead and bring the chocolate buttercream, just melted a bit in order to make it into more of a sauce.  I also made some fresh whipped cream, so that, fresh strawberries, fresh peaches, chocolate sauce, and a store-bought poundcake made for some delicious dessert. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The hubs and I are having dinner with a choir friend and her husband this Sunday, and we (I) have been asked to bring dessert!  Joy of joys, the seed from which my eventual love of all things culinary first sprouted, dessert!  But what to make??  I have my standby awesome chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream... it's a blend of Ina Garten's "Beatty's Chocolate Cake" (the cake, not her frosting!) and the chocolate cake I used to make at the Flying Monkey Patisserie in Philadelphia, all with a delicious milk chocolately chocolate buttercream that lives up to its name in its ingredients:  Chocolate, Butter, and Cream.  Hey now, I've never said I make it easy to lose weight in my house...

But there are so many other good things to make!  If pears were more in season, and if we were a bit more into fall, there would be the pear apple and cranberry crisp... My cookies are usually well-received... I could do cupcakes, pies, tarts, heck, even ice cream!  What should I do??  (Ha, this is a test to see if anybody actually reads this ;)). 

So I ask you this:  If we were having a grilled dinner on a late summer evening, what would you want for dessert?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update on the kitten and a recipe!

So, I'm happy to say that Olive, the kitten, is back to her usual self...  squeaky and nippy, ready to wolf down food, playing with her toys and the cat tree, and trying to eat whatever it is that I'm eating... I could still do without the 4am foot attacks as I sleep, but N assures me they will stop.

Last night I had a bit of a smitten kitchen fest... I made the following recipes:

Eggplant salad (no toasts)


Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

Click through for her pictures and the recipes because both are amazing!

A few notes:  I added capers and prosciutto to the eggplant salad and we tasted it on little cubes of bread.  Salty but delicious!  Also, I didn't measure the cheese.  Seriously, who measures out cheese??

We only had 9 ounces of tomatoes for the second recipe, so I tried to pare it back a bit (again, not measuring.  I am my mother's child.)... it ended up a bit short on tomatoes throughout, but where there were tomatoes, there was deliciousness.  Where there weren't tomatoes there was also deliciousness because there was toasty garlicky olive oiled bread with cheese on it.  Hello, yum.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sick Kitty :(

Olive, our littlest, is taking an emergency trip to the vet today.  She's been off the past couple of days, and last night into this morning was really pretty lethargic and not interested in eating her food.  Well, she'd start squeaking when we approached the food drawer, but anything we'd put in front of her (the same as what she's been eating since we've had her) just didn't seem to interest her... We know she's hungry; she just won't eat.

We're afraid it might be because of a plant we had in the house that may be toxic to cats.  We got the plants at Home Depot, and I'm considering writing to their corporate offices to ask that they have their plant suppliers indicate whether or not the plants they sell are safe for certain animals.  I know that it requires a certain amount of vigilance on the pet owner's behalf, but a little extra help certainly wouldn't hurt, and to me, it would definitely be worth not seeing your pet so sad and unhealthy.

Anywho, here she is, in all of her windowsill-loving glory: Olive.

And, in case you haven't seen it yet, here she is when we brought her home.

And, because it still makes me giggle, here she is getting her first bath.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I have a blog?

Oh, that's right... hi!  Yes, I have been remiss in my blogging, as I often am whenever I try to take on a project like this.  I hope for that to stop though, and in order to do so, I will make my goals less lofty.  I will still post recipes and food-related ramblings, but they may be more brief.  I will also try to just make this more about whatever is going on in our lives... (A big part of which is why I haven't been writing - we haven't had lives!)

So, with all that being said, a little update on what's been happening over the past 7 months or so...

We've been working.  A lot.  The Hubs took a new position with his company back in April (or around there anyway), and went from working 14-hour days wherein 5 of them were commuting back and forth from home to work, to working 14-hour days driving a box truck, doing lots of lifting and bending and stacking of things, and not having weekends.  His new position mandates a M,T, Th, F, Sat. schedule, and so, weekend road trips are a thing of our past (and our future!)...  I've recently taken on a second fun job, which will only require one evening and one weekend shift per week once we open, but for the last two weeks or so, I've been working my regular job, driving 40 minutes to the fun job, working for 2-5 hours, and then driving home.  It's probably kind of dumb of me to do that, since that leaves me even less time to get things done at home, but it's a fun second job, and I know of several people who will be happy because of the things I can buy there :)

We've also sold the condo!  Yay for being able to actually live like we have two incomes now! :)

Onto food-related topics, we're both trying to be better about what we eat, for health's sake, for our waistlines' sake, and for the earth's sake.  We have a small garden in the back where we're trying to grow herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and brussels sprouts.  I just heard a piece on NPR this morning about "Meatless Monday", and I think I'm going to try that next week!  I've often said that I could be a vegetarian if not for bacon, and honestly, if an animal is going to give up its life for me to eat it, I want to treat it with as much respect as possible.  To me, that means purchasing sustainably/ethically raised and slaughtered meat.  Since that meat is more expensive, we'll probably be eating less meat in the near future, which really is fine.  I <3 quinoa, and The Hubs is an adventurous eater, so we should be okay.  :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pics or it didn't happen!

I was planning on adding a picture post soon, and the other evening, The Hubs confirmed my suspicions that a blog without pictures is boring.  :)  Instead of putting away the folded laundry currently taking over our living room, I bring you pics!

My first food entry involved inspiration from my brother's blog - Banh mi, aka Vietnamese hoagies.  To show you a bit of the construction, I took some pictures.  Also, a little later on, The Hubs is the photographer to be credited.  He is wonderful.  There I am, in the middle of making his dinner after 5 hours of commuting (2.5 hrs there, 2.5 hrs back), and he's happy to slow the process down to take some photos :)

Anyway, the construction of the sandwich.  Delicious, delicious sandwich:

Sriracha Mayo

+ jalapenos for The Hubs (anybody know how to add a tilde in here?)
+ meatballs
All together now...



And for the random pasta night, here goes nothing!

The whole stove:

Easiest sauce ever:

The finished product! 


The other night, wanting to use the rest of the pork from the banh mi, I made it again, but this time, made the meat into patties which fit nicely onto the baguettes :) The mayo and the daikon/carrot pickle, having had a few days to blend their flavors, were even more flavorful this time, if that was even possible, and they were, once again, amazing.  The Hubs took some pics of the whole process, so I'll share them with you now!

So I'm kind of lazy about chopping herbs and onions...

The Hubs's snack (I had a need to vacuum that night, and I didn't even get this started until after he got home! :(  On the plus side, the downstairs is now nice and clean :D)

Patties on the stove (I added sesame seeds too)

My helper that evening (she's not really glaring, just reacting to the pre-flash flash):

The finished product!

OM nom nom nom.

Okay, we're all caught up on pics!  Stay tuned for the next episode: Be Careful What You Wish For (be careful about that for which you wish?  Don't judge me for my grammar, please :D)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Appetizer idea

Okay, I know, I promised pictures, but I'm still writing this from work.  In fact, I just hit "publish" on my last post, and decided to put this down into writing before I forgot.

My brother's banh mi recipe was a huge hit.  Banh mi ... but it got me thinking about entertaining.  These little meatballs would surely be a hit at a party, but since they're not in any kind of sauce, serving them from a crock pot wouldn't work, and who wants to pick up a whole huge hoagie at a party?  Okay, maybe lots of people, but I don't want to make a ton of hoagies for a party, so I decided to just break it down. 

Where I live, we are fortunate enough to have an amazing little bread shop, Bakers on Broad.  I got the baguettes for last week's banh mi (in sandwich form) there (15 minutes before closing!  I bought their last 2 because, well, they know how to make bread!).  Deconstructed, the banh mi could easily make a bruschetta-type appetizer...  instead of using the bread to hold a sandwich, what if I would slice it into rounds, top with a little bit of the hot mayo, then a meatball (perhaps slightly flattened, to make biting into it easier), and then topped off with the carrot/daikon pickle??  (If I didn't before, I should mention that I used the cilantro directly in the sriracha mayo). 

Sounds good enough to me... consider them on the menu for the next time we have company!  Well, expected company, that is.  I don't think I'm whipping these up out of the blue should anyone just decide to stop by :) 

Raiding the pantry

First of all, please let me apologize for the lack of photographs thus far.  They will be added in another entry when I get home.  I went in to work today for a little while, and while I'm waiting for my media to warm, I'm going to write a little :) 

Last night, The Hubs and I needed dinner, but we were making a ton of progress on the house (moving furniture, cleaning, laundry, etc.), so I didn't want to make anything elaborate (nor did I really think I had the ingredients to do so).  Also, we're trying to be good about what we eat.  Having just discovered an amazing little Mexican place in town, as well as our love of take-out Chinese, Vietnamese, and, of course, pizza; this can be a difficult task.  Rather than spending money (calories, fat, sodium, etc.) on delicious, delicious take-out, we raided the pantry.  Now, The Hubs has always found my pantry to be a bit of a curiosity... I can make, at any given time, panckaes, couscous, falafel, pasta, any one of a vast number of baked goods, rice, sushi, etc... but I will still say "I have nothing to make!".  In an effort to fix that, we went to go-to staple #1: Dried pasta.  What to serve with said pasta?  Well, the jar of spaghetti sauce that we had left over from a camping trip had gone the way of the fungus, and so I thought, "butter and garlic?".  Not the worst thought ever, I don't think, but a quick survey of the contents of the NEW REFRIGERATOR (yay yay yay yay yay!) unveiled a nice surprise - a package of Leidy's Andouille sausage.  Living near Hatfield, PA means that there is lots of readily available locally produced pig in any grocery store.  :)  Anyway, I had the water on for the pasta, and decided I'd saute some garlic with the andouille, sliced pretty thin.  I also happened to discover a can of plain tomato sauce (a 32-ouncer), which I decided to heat up (instead of adding oil to the pasta, I'd add some moisture with tomato sauce).  A few leaves of fresh basil torn up, and some of the garlic from the andouille pan made for a nice, light-tasting sauce that complemented the dish quite well.

Everything was finished at almost the exact same time (I don't know if I could do that again if I tried!), and so it was experiment time.  Now, for those of you wondering what Andouille sausage is, it is this: Snausages!  A cajun spiced sausage.  Honestly, I wasn't exactly how that would pair with a more traditional Italian sauce, but let's put it this way: The Hubs loved it, and I'm now convinced that, just like bacon, everything goes with sausage :)  The plates were finished off with a fresh shaving of parmaggiano reggiano, and dinner was consumed in good order.

I think we can claim this raid a victory!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Task #1

I have been given the delightful task of creating something tasty as a thank you for The Hubs's coworkers (I felt it should be capitalized), as they were kind enough to get us a gift card to Target for our wedding!

Stay tuned for details!  I have ideas... just want to get some confirmation on them... :D

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner was straight-up taken from my brother's blog: - the Banh Mi recipe.  Check out his blog - it was AMAZING!  Delicious.  I took a couple of liberties with the recipe.

My brother told me how to use my food processor to turn the fresh pork into ground pork.  I can be lazy when it comes to fine chopping, so I just threw the green onions, basil, and garlic into the food processor, ground it all together for about 10 seconds, and hey presto, there we have it!  I opted to have mine without the extra peppers (I'm not the most tolerant of spices), but the hubs had his with the peppers, hot mayo, sriracha meatballs... We used a fresh baguette from the local bakery, which was also amazing, and retired to the couch to watch LOST on our new tv while hanging out with our kitties, Fuzzy and Chomp.

I'll post some pictures when I get them off of the camera, but for now, if you want, just go to my brother's blog :)

Well, here goes nothing!

Yes, I am jumping on the blog bandwagon.  My inspirations were many: blogs I have read, my husband's encouragement, my brother's food blog...   I'm sometimes known for being excessively wordy, so maybe this outlet will spare those who have to listen to my voicemails and directions, or read my e-mails.

I love food.  Love it.  My background is in biology, but if I could do anything, I'd own/run a bakery.  Maybe that will happen someday, maybe not.  In the meantime, I will cook and bake whenever I can.  My husband loves it (for every cooking-related wedding gift, I thanked the giver of the gift in anticipation of the joy I would have in using it and the joy the hubs, as he will be known from here on out, in eating whatever I cooked using them), I love the process of cooking, and we both love eating.

I will try to post recipes, photos, inspirations, any info on our life as newly weds that might be fun (so maybe it's more of a lifestyle blog than a food blog?  Who knows...).  We have moved into a 1920's row home that I purchased as a singleton, and already, the hubs's touch has proved invaluable in making this our home.

We have lots of projects to complete, lots of meals to cook, and lots of road trips to go on.  Who's up for a little adventure?!