Friday, August 29, 2008
Check them out.
Omnivore's Must Eat 100 - I scored a 57
100 Must Eat American Foods - I scored a 69
Thursday, August 28, 2008
But now the thing you're really here for.
Raspberry Topped Lemon Muffins
Care of Deb at Smitten Kitchen
1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 1/2-pint containers (about) fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 14 standard muffin cups (or 56 minis) with paper liners. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.
Divide batter among muffin cups (the 2/3-3/4 level worked well for minis). Top each large muffin with 4 raspberries (or mini muffins with one each). Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (baking time was on the shy side of 20 minutes for mini muffins).
This was the first thing made with the brand new Kitchen-Aid mixer!
I set the muffins out in the break room at 8:00am and by 9:00 they were completely gone.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
But my sister is awesome and full of surprises. Examples: age 2, dancing and (and I quote) "shaking her booty". This was also the year of outrageous possessiveness: screaming at her mother in the car "DON'T TALK TO MY SISTER! DON'T TALK TO MY DADDY!" Age 4, telling my friend who was smoking that he "stank like butt". Age 6 (and my favorite), drawing a picture of my then roommate and telling us, "Brandon is all alone. At prom. Wearing a purple purse."
And now my mayonnaise sandwich-loving little sister tells me, "I'm a vegetarian."
Laughing, I tell her, "But that's silly! Meat is delicious."
Her, looking long-suffering: "I know! But I just can't eat it."
Me: "Well, do you eat fish or cheese still?"
Her, giving me a look that can only be described as 'well duh!': "I'm not a vegan."
Why did I want to know what she did and didn't still eat? The Plan. Being as my father has decided it's unimportant or she's too young, he will not teach her to cook. Being the Super Cool, Very Awesome Older Sister who has a Wii at her house, I have volunteered to teach her.
So, the first weekend of September I am not only taking her for her first night over at my house, I am teaching her to cook.
I am keeping it simple: dinner and a dessert type item that she can take home (and to school to show off). The dessert item is simple- sweet muffins or cupcakes are both fun and easy enough for a beginner. The dinner is more complicated. It needs to be vegetarian-friendly (I'm humoring her current phase) but can include shrimp or fish. I want it to be something she can actually feel accomplished at making, but not something that is going to be too difficult for her to make. Flavors should be relatively simple because I'm pretty sure she's not down with the niceties of complex flavors.
So... any ideas?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This dinner was based around nectarines. Alex and I made the main course, Abby made the appetizer and Monica (and Andrew) made the dessert. Abby made a nectarine salsa and flat bread which was very delicious. Monica made a cookie sort of thing with nectarines on top, evil and wonderful all at once.
Alex and I made grilled pizza. I saw the recipe in Eating Well a couple of months ago and was really excited to make it. I filed it away for an occasion and when this one presented itself, I pulled it out. Alex was unsure because he claims that he's not a big fan of nectarines, but as EVERYTHING that was eaten tonight was delicious, maybe he's changed his mind.
Anyway... here is what we made:
Grilled Nectarine and Prosciutto Pizza
Adapted from Eating Well Magazine
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese*
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Yellow cornmeal for dusting
Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
3 tablespoons basil pesto
1/2 cup thinly sliced prosciutto
1 large ripe nectarine
1/8 cup shredded parmesan
1. Preheat grill to low.
2. Mix mozzarella and blue cheese in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a pizza peel or large baking sheet. Roll out the dough and transfer it to the prepared peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the dough is completely coated with cornmeal.
4. Slide the crust onto the grill rack; close the lid. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread pesto on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Quickly sprinkle three-fourths of the cheese mixture on top. Top with prosciutto slices, fruit and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with dried basil, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
6. Close the lid again and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned, about 8 minutes.
7. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the pizza before slicing and serving.
*I read this neat trick where if you put the mozzarella in the freezer for about a half an hour it's much easier to grate. We found that to be true.
We served dinner with a nice viognier from Mendoza, Argentina. It was a 2007 Atlas Cumbres.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I'm so excited!!
Friday, August 22, 2008
2. While watching Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader (my guilty pleasure), Fox showed an ad for one of their new shows this season. All I could think of was 'REALLY?' It's called Hole in the Wall. Check it out.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Mine was a successful hunt. I found a recipe for yellow squash and bell pepper soup. I didn't have any yellow squash (and the idea was to use stuff we already had) I started to click away, but then I remembered we had zucchini leftover as well and decided to try an experiment.
Zucchini and Bell Pepper Soup
Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large bell peppers*
1.5 pound zucchini, sliced thin crosswise
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1.5 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add bell peppers and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in broth and bring mixture to a simmer. Purée soup until smooth, adding vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, and paprika. Stir in enough water to thin to desired consistency, and season with salt and pepper.
*The original recipe calls for yellow bell peppers, but I used one red, one yellow, and one orange pepper.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Afterward, we headed back up to our place and spent the rest of the evening hanging out. Once at home, I made two things: a wonderful summer salad and peanut butter brownies. The salad went over really well, as it was light and refreshing, and the brownies have been in the break room at my office for 40 minutes and are half gone (and this was a 9x13x2 sheet of brownies). The brownies were a perfect way to start off a Monday morning.
Served four as part of a light dinner.
2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 ear of sweet corn
4 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 apple (I used Pink Lady)
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp mustard
1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
Juice of one lemon
Put the romaine into a big bowl. Shuck the corn and grill it to desired doneness. Cut the avocado into small pieces and put in the bowl. Slice the apple into small pieces and put into the bowl. When the corn is done, cut the kernels off the cob and toss them into the bowl. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the top. If you want, toss in pieces of crumbled mild cheese, but I didn't because Dave and Lisa don't eat dairy.
In a small container, measure out olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Juice one lemon directly into mixture. Spoon in mustard and powdered sugar to taste. Mix well with a fork and then pour over salad.
Toss salad and serve.
Peanut Butter Brownies
Care of Deb at Smitten Kitchen
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1 1/2 cups semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until just combined.
Mix in chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top. (It will be thick, almost like cookie batter.)
Bake until brownies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
Put chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) in a heatproof bowl.
Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute.
Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.
Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Alex and I stopped off at the QFC on Broadway to grab a pre-chilled bottle of wine (our wine is still living in boxes right now). During the ten minutes at the QFC, we saw a kid stealing a bottle of wine who then looked around nervously as I stared at him and announced loudly "Hey, that kid totally stole a bottle of wine!" and a he-she prostitute dress in all white with thigh high white lace stockings and platform boots. Wine-stealing kid was in the parking lot as we were leaving snorting drugs. Good mix, kid. I continued to stare at him and he looked as if he was really paranoid.
We stopped at Ikea again tonight on our way home from my family reunion (we have one every ten years) and among other things, Alex bought me this neat giraffe.
So, RE: the family reunion. Like I said, we have one every ten years. It's my dad's entire extended family. Kinda neat. I was thinking I was going to be bored out of my mind, but I actually had a nice, relaxing day. Alex has now met all of my family minus one cousin on my dad's side. He played horseshoes with my family which was awesome. I'll post a picture when I upload them.
Everyone in my extended family (like my grandma's cousins and so on) remembers me because at the first reunion I attended at age 3, I announced loudly, "LOOK! COWBOYS!" when a couple of my Nana's cousins walked in. It's how they remembered me so well when I was 12, and again today. The took an obligatory picture of me with the cowboy (there's one at age 3 and at age 12 as well) and I got a picture of a couple of my cousins and myself. Two of my cousins are super close in age to me; one is nine months older and one is six months.
All and all, a good day.
Friday, August 15, 2008
It's because the motor is broken.
On the brand new fridge.
That cost $1500.
In two weeks, we get a new motor. Two weeks.
Quality control people! Don't sell customers things without making sure they work!
At least we don't have to pay for this. It's paid for by Whirlpool or Albert Lee. Either way, not us.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here's what I would do differently:
1. Less corn. Six ears is a lot, three probably would have been plenty.
2. More leeks. I love leeks.
3. Less sage.
But overall, delicious. I added some parmesan cheese and some butter, but not as much as it suggested.
Here's the terrible picture of it (the camera is still packed so I used my phone).
Sweet Corn and Leek Risotto
1 medium red onion (or any onion), small dice
2 medium leeks, whites and light green parts, halved lengthwise and the cut into thin half moons,
4 cloves garlic, fine dice or mashed through garlic masher
red pepper flakes
1 cup risotto rice such as arborio
6 ears sweet corn
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine, plus 1/2 cup
4-6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, for vegetarian version)
salt and pepper
15 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade
butter (optional) or schmaltz (optional)
On your back burner, heat the stock to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup vermouth or white wine. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add a little olive oil, then add the onions and leeks and sweat them over slightly less-than-medium heat. Stir in the garlic and sweat for about 3-4 minutes, add the pepper flakes, then add the rice. Stir the rice until it has begun to pearlize - the grain will turn from all white to translucent with a little white spot in the center. Deglze the pan with the 1/2 cup of vermouth and stir. While the wine is reducing, cut the kernels off the ears right into the pan. After cutting the kernels off, turn the knife over to the dull side and scrape the "milk" off the cob. Throw the cobs into the stock. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper. Add one ladelful (I use about 6 ounces of stock per addition) of stock and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat, repeat, and repeat for about 20-25 minutes or so. The risotto is finished when the grains still have bite but are not chalky inside. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the sage and stir well. At this point, you can either add another ladelful of stock and stir it in lightly for a runnier risotto, or simply finish when the rice is as described above for a tighter risotto. I like mine somewhere in between - I don't like leftover liquid, but I do like the whole mess of risotto to relax into the bowl, not to stay in a mound.If desired, turn the heat off and add 1/2 stick of butter, softened and cut into chunks. Beat the risotto for 2 minutes with your spoon. Alternatively, you can pour about 1/4 cup of schmaltz over, along with 1/4 cup heavy cream, and beat for 2 minutes.
Recipe care of: Restaurant Widow
Made enough for dinner and lunch for Alex and me.
Maybe if I'm good, Santa will bring me one.
The other "big ticket" items I wanted, a sewing machine and the Wii Fit, I just bought so yay for that. I love finding good deals on stuff...
But as of this morning, it doesn't dispense ice. So... step in the right direction but still not a winner.
But to make your day (and mine) a little brighter, here is this tidbit of awesome, courtesy of Uwajimaya.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I came home and promptly slept for two hours. Woke up freezing my ass off but feeling mostly better. Watched some Top Chef (which I have never seen before!) and ate lunch. Felt sick again.
While waiting to feel better after introducing food, the fridge guys came. My coming home sick allowed Alex to stay at work, which worked out, being as I stayed at work on Friday and he was home dealing with stuff.
One. hour. later. The old fridge is gone (good riddance) and the new fridge is installed and smelling funny (new fridge smell is really not one for the air fresheners). Add five new scuff marks and you know where we stand now.
So here I am, lying on the new couch (which is lovely and comfortable) with a headache considering sleeping more because I am now overheated and not feeling in top shape. But my stomach has settled, so that's a plus.
However, all I can think about is how much I want to make glorious food. Not to eat, mind you, because food and I are not friends today, but just to make it to watch others enjoy it. I have a recipe for sweet corn and leek risotto that was supposed to be dinner last night (which was quite ambitious as the kitchen is not unpacked) and I REALLY want to make it but 1) food is not my friend and so bland is probably the way to go and 2) THE KITCHEN IS NOT UNPACKED.
This, however, does not affect the future and I want to make glorious food for the hell of it. I have a floor full of researchers who love free things and a couple buildings full of Amazon
Also, I have a painting all sketched out that I want to do but there are boxes needing to be unpacked!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
The charity we went through for movers was great. Our movers were AWESOME. If you need any sort of home work or moving done, go through the Millionair Club. The guys were efficient, hard-working, and had great attitudes.
In a few minutes we're going to run to Ikea and then we'll probably come home and assemble the bed so that we can collapse into it.
New fridge will be delivered on Tuesday and we may be taking the seller to court since the fridge was broken prior to us moving in. I'll keep you updated on that.
But the condo is beautiful and wonderful and I can't wait for you all to see it!
Friday, August 8, 2008
I guess if that's the only thing wrong in the entire scheme of things we're quite lucky. But I'm pissed because it means I won't be able to get popsicles this weekend! (Or, you know, transfer frozen foods from the apartment to the condo).
We're also going to skip the Aqueduct concert tonight to go look at fridges. I am displeased.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The 26X was 20 minutes late (and the one at 7:10 didn't even come) so Alex and I took the 16 instead. The 16 gets me to work late because it's a local bus that goes through Queen Anne before going Downtown. So by the time I got to the second bus and then out of the tunnels, I was nearing being 15-20 minutes late to work. I booked it up the escalator, which was fine until I tripped and nearly faceplanted. I saved my face by jamming my wrist and banging my shin on the steps. I'll probably have a stiff wrist for a couple of days and a pretty neat bruise on my shin. When I told my coworker what happened (after running in, breathless) she was like, "Oh you poor little kid!"
The frustrating thing is that it was all for nothing because my boss wasn't even here when I arrived, twenty minutes late. It wouldn't have mattered because it wasn't MY fault I was late, but still.
So anyway: I don't lift my feet high enough. Maybe that's part of why I'm so accident prone? And how do I go about rectifying that?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We take a very popular route in the morning. It's the 26 express and it is ALWAYS full, even when we have the bigger bus. Lately though (after we got a new driver who is a scary driver and also very gruff) we have had the small bus. All the people who take the this route can not fit on the small bus. The bus driver skips stops and on those where he does stop we get all crammed on there and on warm days like today it's especially uncomfortable.
Which brings me to the point of this post: bus people.
On crowded buses, there are two kinds of people: seat people and standing people. The seat people don't give a damn about the standing people (unless you're elderly or very pregnant or injured, but sometimes not even then). It was very hot and stuffy on the bus this morning. But none of the seat people had opened any windows. And when I had the audacity to ask if they would open them, they stared at me like I had asked them something inappropriate or rude.
For love of your fellow human being, people, please open the windows. That way there is air flow. You might not care if you're a seat person, but to the rest of us who are crammed in there like sardines, it can be the difference between a mildly unpleasant bus ride and one where we get off several stops early just to escape the hell on wheels.
Monday, August 4, 2008
1. The GRE
2. Grad school
---->2. Supplemental Packets
---->3. Letters of recommendation sent on time
->b. Acceptance (or lack thereof)
3. Moving (though this will be off the list as of Saturday afternoon)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
This morning Alex and I put the last coat of paint (hopefully) on the walls in the second bedroom. We'll run by tomorrow to make sure everything looks fine and pull up drop cloths and such.
And now... to packing!
Here are pictures of the food: sherried mushrooms, serrano ham wrapped asparagus, red wine and garlic chorizo, and seafood and chorizo paella.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
We did two coats of primer yesterday after work and pretty much came back to the current place and collapsed into bed about 12:30am. We went back this morning at 10:30am to put a coat of paint on. After one coat, we ran to the grocery store to get stuff for tonight's Spanish dinner, as well as groceries for the week. We had originally planned to go back and do the second coat of paint after grocery shopping, but decided to go back to the apartment and prep food and shower so that we didn't have to rush later. We'll go back tomorrow morning and finish the last coat and then back here to finish packing.
I made Alex the sous chef today (normally my part if we're cooking big dinners) and I'm the one doing the cooking. I'm excited for the dinner and hopefully it'll turn out well. We're having three of our lovely friends over: Monica, Abby, and Andrew.
Friday, August 1, 2008
As soon as we get off work, we're heading to the condo to prime the second bedroom. Right now it's painted in a very beautiful color (audobon russet, I think it was called) however it's the back bedroom and doesn't really get a lot of light so the darker color REALLY darkens the room. So we're painting it a very pale yellow or green. Not quite sure yet.
Alex ordered the couch today (Leona, from Dania) to be delivered next Friday. The internet will also be set up that day. We move the following Saturday so we'll be all set. Sunday is unpacking/Ikea run. The Ikea run is for the TV stand, bookshelves, coffee table and other odds and ends that we want. Yay for new stuff! Needless to say, we should be quite comfortable.
Today is Friday and I am excited. My coworker and I are heading to Purple to celebrate the last day of data collection for one of our studies. I love the wine selection at Purple, though I am just now reminded how much it's going to suck to move the wine collection into the new condo...