Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grilled Garlic Flat Bread

Sometime earlier this month, Aaron said that whenever I make fancy things or fun new things, I make stuff that I like (which generally means lots of goat cheese). So I said I would make him a dinner filled with stuff that he really likes. And it turned out pretty well, I think. I was inspired by Kirsten, who showed me a collection of three ingredient summer recipes from Real Simple magazine. This is part one of the appetizers, which is of course modified.

Grilled Garlic Flat Bread modified from Grilled Flat Bread with Thyme from Real Simple:

Serves 2-3

¼ pizza dough recipe
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tb. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper

Mix together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic, sea, and pepper. Set aside.

Coat pizza dough with 1 teaspoon olive oil and shape into an oval. Grill over medium heat until puffed, cooked through, and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, brush with the garlic mixture, and cut into pieces.

It's crunchy, garlicky, and delicious. It's a fairly fast appetizer and you can dress it up in so many different ways using so many different herbs. I love a versatile dish and I will be playing with this one even after grilling weather has past.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blackberry Lime Muffins

Two weekends ago, I went camping with a few of my girlfriends at Mt. Rainier National Park (Renai (in two parts) and Brittany have already posted about it). Car Portland was in charge of breakfast, so I decided to make muffins because it’s berry season and I love muffins. They were delicious and it was an amazing camping trip, made all the better because my fall semester just started and I know I’m going to be bogged down in grad school stuff once again. Incidentally, this will likely mean a slowdown in posts. As always, I’ll try to keep up. In the meantime, make these muffins. They are fantastic.

Blackberry Lime Muffins:

Makes 18 small muffins

1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. homemade applesauce
1/2 c. Greek-style yogurt
1 egg, beaten
Zest and juice of 1 large lime
1 1/2 heaping c. Oregon blackberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together flours, oats, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together applesauce and yogurt. Add in beaten egg and mix well. Add lime zest and juice. I ended up adding in a bit more because the cinnamon flavor of my applesauce was overpowering the zesty lime flavor profile I was going for.

Slowly mix in dry ingredients, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Fold in blackberries. Add mixture to cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 of the way full, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

These ended up being more dense than I had intended, but were still amazing. I would have used all whole wheat flour, but I made these the morning of the trip and ran out. In the future, I will likely increase the amount of flour a bit, but for the most part, I loved them. They are incredibly moist and the best part is how the blackberries and lime play together. It’s one of my favorite flavor combinations. What I think is great about muffin recipes is how much you can play around with them. In the future, I might take out the lime and sub in blueberries. Because my applesauce is so full of cinnamon, I wouldn’t change anything else or maybe I could add lemon instead. The world is your muffin!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Aug. 26, 2010

The Beer Popsicle: This sounds an awful lot like an idea Aaron had. And it sounds like just what we need on these ridiculously hot days. What could be better?

(also for hot days!)

What Drinks Men Shouldn't Order: Dumb, just dumb. I only love it because it is so stupid. Oh hi, it's hot out. Oh, you're a man? No daiquiri for you. Drink what you want, everyone!. As an aside, I am very happy that I can spell daiquiri without spell checking it. That's also something I love.

10 Tips to Better Cupcakes: You know I've read this at least three times. I've also, without realizing it, have been following many of these steps already, especially the add gradually part. I think my cupcakes rock already, but I think they're just going to get better.

Baking Ingredients and Substitutions: TILT and general Better with Garlic favorite David Lebovitz has awesome notes about what to do when you modify baking recipes. This is especially important if you try to make things gluten-free or veganize recipes. The man knows what he's talking about and combined with the above, I see amazing vegan cupcakes in the future.

Food That Looks So Messy, It's Irresistible: I love this and it doesn't surprise me. With the big push toward sustainability and real food, wanting food in magazines and advertising to look real and delicious makes sense. Sure, it's going to look better on the glossy page than in your kitchen, but at least it looks real.

Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector: So much information about what is the most eco-friendly fish to eat that it just makes me hungry for wild Alaskan salmon (eco-best choice!). They have pocket guides too! Maybe you can't eat seafood all the time, but you can make smart choices when you do.

How Long Will Food Last In The Freezer?: If you buy some delicious, eco-friendly fish and don't eat it right away, how long will it last if you freeze it? This is a great guide, especially for people like me who sometimes forget what's in there.

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure: As if I needed another reason. My favorite way to eat dark chocolate? Take tiny bites and let them melt in my mouth. mmmm!

I'm also loving: Portland Monthly's latest cover story about food carts, even if they didn't include two of my favorites (I should just changed this to things I love Thursday: food carts and farmer's markets); homemade burrito bowls by Aaron; fried chips at Holman's (plus their patio!); Renai's grilled salmon + a can of green beans on the fire; all day Sunday happy hour at the Alleyway; chile-spiced dried pineapple; getting other people really into food.

What are you loving this week?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Aug. 18, 2010

Oregon Farmer's Markets: I talk about farmer's markets on here a lot and there's a reason why. Look how many we have! And though I do love the huge one at PSU, how awesome is it to have one right up the street from your house? Our favorite ingredient lately has been green onion, but there's been some insanely beautiful broccoli lately too.

How to Make Brownies, Pentagon-Style: Yes, there is an official government brownie recipe. Yes, they need to be done a specific way. Yes, they need to be cut to a specific size. I find the whole thing hilarious.

Why Don't We Pay Attention to Women in the Kitchen?: An amazing short article on why we don't hear about female chefs nearly as often as male chefs. My favorite part is this: "There's the "women cook to nurture, men cook to win" line; the insistence that a cooks' hard-living lifestyle doesn't jive with the family oriented preferences of the weaker sex; and our favorite, the frankly ridiculous notion that girls just don't like to play with fire and knives as much as boys do." Crap, just crap.

Mario Soda Display by Unknown (via Neatorama)

Your Olive Oil May Not Be As Virgin As It Claims: I love olive oil to a ridiculous degree, so making sure it is what it's supposed to be is important. There's nothing like really good extra virgin on grilled bread. Taste it, check it, love it.

Like This Drink? Drink That Wine: What an interesting way to introduce people to new wines. I'm going to have to test their theory. Anyone want to join me?

Pietopia 2010 at Buckman Farmer's Market: The theme was your life in pie (sounds like Waitress, which if you haven't seen, is fantastic). Renai and I had planned on doing it, but missed the boat. Next year? I love the concept and want to do it so very badly.

Speaking of Portland events, apparently we have Baconfest. Though many will say that bacon is overdone, apparently we still love it here. There's a bacon dance off, you guys. A bacon. Dance off. I'm bummed that I'll miss that!

Unique Packing Designs: I am a sucker for interesting packaging. The first time I had Pom was because I thought the bottle looked cool (and I like pomegranate juice). I think the hanger tea is my favorite, though those animal cups are also really, really cute.

I can't stop laughing at this. Beeeeeeer!

I'm also loving: when a plan comes together (for a 3 course dinner); the smell of citrus when you zest it; Chopped having an episode with all women; knowing that my chocolate chip cookies will always come out perfect; getting comfortable with the grill; homemade pizza made by a good friend; antipasti lunches; late night french toast; fried plantains; smoothies; Honeymoon (tastes like summer); bananas like whoa; blogroll sharing with friends (aka The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag, run by my fabulous friend Patrice and her brother, Leo).

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SuperFrico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

You all already know how much I love cheese (check the bio!). It's kind of an old story. Yet when someone introduces me to more ways to love cheese, I am still excited. My good friend Renai shared this recipe a few months ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. The best part of grilled cheese sandwiches and nachos and basically anything with melted cheese is the crispy-crunchy, brown cheese on the side. Making a grilled cheese sandwich that purposefully adds a bunch of that to it? Sign me up.

Of course, school got in the way, but since the end of the semester, I've had time to go through all of those posts and recipes I've set aside for later and this one was at the top of the list to actually do. And because it is cheese, it is so worth the wait.

These sandwiches are also inspired by a fantastic food cart not too far from my house, Grilled Cheese Grill. the Jalapeño Popper is amazing. I really like that you can add potato chips to the inside of a sandwich. Talk about amazing! Any way to modify grilled cheese into even better grilled cheese is always okay by me.

SuperFrico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches modified from Herbivoracious:

Makes 2 awesome grilled cheese sandwiches

2 Tb. butter
4 slices whole wheat bread (better with crunchy artisan bread, but whole wheat does its job)
A huge pile of grated colby jack, white cheddar, and basil-sun dried tomato cheddar
6 Tb. grated white cheddar (from Tillamook. Obviously.)
4 Tb. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ sweet Walla Walla onion, sliced and grilled
2 pieces of bacon (for Aaron's sandwich)
A handful of crunched up Kettle Foods Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips (seriously, how did I not like salt and vinegar chips before? They rock!)

Mix together white cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two slices of the bread. The original recipe mentions letting them sit in the butter for a moment and then flipping them, which in hindsight would've been delicious, but I didn't do that. Top slices with onion and bacon, if using. Pile on cheese. Sprinkle on crunched up potato chips. Cover with other slice of bread. I like to spread a little butter onto the top slice before flipping to ensure that it doesn't stick. Plus, it tastes great!

Press down firmly. I use a spatula. Flip a couple of times until cheese is melty and bread is golden. Remove sandwiches and lower heat to medium. Add a bit more butter if the pan is dry. Sprinkle the mixed Flagship and Parmigiano Reggiano in the still-hot skillet, in a shape roughly the same as the sandwich but a little larger.

As the cheese melts, it will begin to brown and crisp. Before this process is complete, put the sandwich back on top and press down to weld the frico to the bread. Let cook for one more minute, then using a thin spatula, lift out the sandwich, flip and serve. If there are more crispy bits left in the skillet, retrieve them and place on top of the sandwich. Or, if you're like me, just eat them because the crunchy bits are the best bits. The bread was a little burned because I was slow in flipping it over, but the frico made it all better. I may never make a grilled cheese sandwich without this again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Aug. 12, 2010

Shark Week by Mark V (via Bikehugger)
I love this so much, it's ridiculous

The 101 Best Sandwiches in New York: Please don't read this while hungry. I may have plotted an entire trip to the city that involves seeing my grandma and then eating almost every sandwich on the list. Seriously, just don't read it without a full stomach. The pictures are to die for, especially the Bánh mì ones. Goodness. Okay, I'm still hungry.

Tips for the Farmer's Market: As a frequent farmer's market shopper, I highly recommend this. Of course, I don't always get to the market early because I enjoy sleeping, but I am never there at the very end (unless I am scoping the place for super cheap deals or things to be given away). The Portland Market at PSU starts at 8:30 and is pretty packed from 10 on, so get there early!

Watermelon Cooler Push Cart: How is this a real thing? And what else can you put in there or is it for watermelons only? And how is this a real thing?

Portland is the #1 Street Food City: Slightly older news, but dang do I love it. I've been obsessed with street carts for the last few years and it's been amazing to just watch the scene blow up. There are carts everywhere now and newer, crazier food is happening all over the city. Aaron and I make a trip to one pod or another after each Friday of my in-class weekends. It's a great way to help me push through.

And speaking of amazing food carts in Portland, Savor Soup House was featured on Serious Eats this week. Savor is one of my most favorite carts in Portland, mostly because of the grilled cheese bar. I texted Renai after my first one featuring Tillamook cheddar cheese, goat cheese, grilled onions, and sliced apples. Yeah, it was that good.

Saying Good-Bye to Old Cookbooks: Also on Serious Eats this week was a feature about giving up the ghost on some of your cookbooks. One of the first things I did when I moved to Portland was try to copy the collection my parents have (Joy of Cooking, 1000 Chinese Recipes, NY Times Cookbook, Deli). While I do still use most of these, cookbook collecting can get out of control. Which ones are you hanging on to and which ones do you feel like can go to someone else?
UPDATE: When I spoke with my mom this week, she told me that she has long since chucked 1000 Chinese Recipes and never really liked it. Maybe this is why I've hardly used it? I do like the way it looks on the shelf though. If you have any recommendations for awesome Chinese cooking, let me know!

Why is Fanta more popular abroad?: An interesting article about why we aren't chugging Fanta like they do in Europe and elsewhere. My theory is different: it just tastes better over there. I drank so much of that stuff while traveling.

How Jimmy Carter saved beer: As a craft brewer fan, thank you Mr. Carter. Thank you for Widmer and Alaskan. Thank you for it all.

I'm also loving: pretzel M&Ms (salty and sweet deliciousness); introducing people to new bars/restaurants; baked beans; peanut butter on everything, but especially bananas; tapas for breakfast; super fresh, thick, meaty tomatoes; brunch with new friends; potatoes in tacos; plotting baked goods; the garlic hanging on my back porch; discussing cocktail preferences and restaurants with my boss; getting roasted broccoli to actually work; whisky gingers made with Pendleton and Reed's Raspberry Ginger Brew; twice baked potatoes with extra crunchy cheese bits on the edges.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Banana-Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Fancy dinners need to end with fancy desserts. David Lebovitz, who I’ve been talking about a lot lately, has a number of amazing dessert recipes on his blog. He’s where I got half of my idea for my Thanksgiving panna cotta (and when I discovered him, incidentally) and I am loving his recipes, even if most of the time it’s just with my eyes. I love bananas and this recipe seemed like a great way to use them. It tastes reminiscent of bananas foster, but without all the work. Or the fire.

Banana-Brown Sugar Ice Cream from David Lebovitz:

Makes about 3 cups

1¼ lb. very ripe bananas (6-7 medium), peeled and cut into ½” slices
¾ c. dark brown sugar
2 c. full-fat sour cream
Big pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. dark rum
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a wide skillet or saucepan, heat the brown sugar with ½ cup of sour cream, stirring, until smooth and bubbly. Add the bananas and salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bananas are soft and completely cooked through. It should take about five minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, rum and vanilla. Puree in a blender or food processor until completely smooth.

Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. I ended up doing it for a few minutes over the normal amount for my machine (22-25 minutes) due to doing many other things for our anniversary dinner, including burning the broccoli. Freeze for at least two hours. Because this is a non-cream based ice cream, it freezes harder than others and you will need to leave it out at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to bring it to a scoopable level.

I like this ice cream, but I do agree with my friend Kerry and Aaron that it is a little weird, owing to the addition of sour cream. The texture is also a little grainy. I think it would be fantastic with coconut milk, as the original recipe started with, but I also think that the mixture would be great in my normal ice cream base (originally seen here). I think that’s what I’ll try next time. Make no mistake, I dig this ice cream and it was a fitting end to my anniversary meal, I just think it could be even better.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beer Steamed Mussels

Aaron and I both love seafood a lot. I also love Tastespotting a lot and when I came across this recipe, I knew it was what I wanted to have for our anniversary dinner. This is a fast and easy recipe, made all the easier by Aaron going grocery shopping before I got home from work and buying amazing Washington mussels. I can't think of a better way to celebrate an anniversary than cooking together.

Beer Steamed Mussels from Big2Beautiful:

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ sweet Walla Walla onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. mussels
8 oz. Widmer Hefeweizen
¼ tsp. salt
½ lemon
Finely minced fresh Italian parsley (never curly. Never.)

Heat a large sauté pan or pot over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and the onions and sauté for about 2 minutes, then add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the mussels. Pour in the beer and season with salt. Once the sauce starts to boil, cover tightly. Cook for a few minutes until the mussels have opened. Squeeze the lemon over the mussels and sprinkle with parsley. We then added in egg noodles we had already boiled and a few seared scallops that didn’t end up getting wrapped in bacon (like these ones from Valentine’s Day this past year).

So delicious! What you can't see in the pictures is the amazing amount of sauce (also known as cooking liquid) at the bottom of the pan. We had some amazing baguette from Pearl Bakery that Aaron picked up at the farmer's market that was perfect for sopping that up. I do love mussels and because I don’t have them much, these seemed even better. I love the idea of cooking with beer rather than wine, though wine is also delicious. It doesn’t taste much different at first, but you get a hint of beer after each bite. The citrus nature of Widmer Hefeweizen (always our beer of choice) also blended really well with the addition of the lemon.And though I love basil, I think fresh parsley was a great choice. I try to go for what I have on hand that is fresh rather than dried. It was also excellent the next day! I mixed in some of the leftover oven roasted broccoli and it made for a dynamite lunch.

Cooking with your love is a great way to celebrate. I highly recommend this recipe, even on non-special occasions.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Oven Roasted Broccoli

My wedding anniversary was this past Wednesday. While pouring over recipes to make sure Aaron and I had a very special meal, I came across this, which seems ordinary, but with everything else we eventually had planned, so perfect. Aaron and I are big broccoli lovers, so broccoli as a side for a very special anniversary dinner seemed to be just right. Unfortunately, with all of those other things going on, it didn't end up being just right, but there's hope for next time! I didn't really measure for this one, but the original does has measurements.

Oven-Roasted Broccoli from Honey & Jam:

Serves 2

1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
Olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss broccoli and oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes. Stir more olive oil, garlic, and red pepper in small bowl. Drizzle garlic mixture over broccoli; toss to coat. Roast until broccoli is beginning to brown, about 8 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Do not, as in my case, let the oven beep too much because you're doing five other things, and let the broccoli burn. I also think they were in there too long anyway. And then get smoke in your eyes and rub them and have your contact fall out so that you have to run upstairs to put it in solution and put on your glasses. Yeah, don't do that. The stems were still really good, but the tops were quite crispy. I will definitely be trying this again and more attention will be paid. I'm only considering this a partial failure because I did still eat all of mine. I can tell it's going to be so good next time!

UPDATE: It works! Well, I got it to work. And it really is fantastic and now one of my favorite ways to eat one of my favorite vegetables.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Asian Style Ahi

Back in January, after a long in-class weekend, I went out with a few of my classmates. This is when Kirsten and I started talking and discovered that we are both really into food and food blogs and talking about food. I love her blog, A Cilantro Color and have been meaning to try something from it since its inception. One of the reasons I love it is because of cilantro. So many people hate it and that is ridiculous! Like Kirsten, I got into it when I started eating a lot of Thai food. When my parents started making it, after a trip to Kauai, I was anti-cilantro. And then I stopped being a big baby, ate my first pad thai, and fell in love with cilantro. (If you're not into it, check out Kirsten's post about cilantro haters here.)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I finally tried one of her recipes or rather, I used her marinade, slightly modified, for ahi instead of shrimp, which she mentions as a use in the original post.

It's fabulous. You should try it too.

Asian Style Ahi modified from Spicy Asian Style Shrimp from A Cilantro Color:

Makes 2 ahi steaks

2 medium ahi steaks
4 Tb. rice vinegar
5 Tb. soy sauce
Juice of one small lime
5 Tb. grated ginger
3 dried Thai chilis, minced
2 tsp. Asian garlic chili sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tb. cilantro, chopped
2 Tb. olive oil

In medium bowl add rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, Thai chili peppers, garlic chili sauce, garlic, and cilantro. Mix well. Add ahi to bowl. Put in refrigerator to marinate overnight. Kirsten’s original recipe has it for 30 minutes, but as I was getting ready to prepare dinner, Aaron and I were invited out by friends, so we set it off to the next day. I think the flavor would be amazing either way.

Set your grill to a medium flame. Ahi should be served seared and rare. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until edges brown, and turn once, grilling for another 2-3 minutes. Because the marinade sunk in so much, it was hard to tell when the edges were perfect, but going off of time, it ended up being cooked perfectly.

Serve with rice and vegetables. Aaron made some awesome stir fry veggies that went perfectly with the fish. The ahi itself was amazing! It was slightly spicy, a little sweet, and had an amazing depth of flavor. It was also awesome as lunch the next day. I can’t wait to try more of Kirsten’s awesome recipes!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Garlic Success!

Remember back in October when I planted 30 garlic plants and I had a patch of ground in my backyard that looked kind of like a grave?

Yeah, this. Well, guess what? It went from this

to this

to this and finally...

to this!

Please forgive my dorky face and outfit. I had just come back from a run and decided to harvest all of the garlic while I was already in sweaty clothes. All 30 plants produced heads of garlic, some much smaller than others, but so far all delicious. They hung out in a woven basket and a cowboy hat on my backporch for a couple of weeks, then came inside to be cleaned (other than the ones I had already eaten), and are now back outside, hung up by fishing line because I didn't have any twine or string.

And they're all so good! I've marked off bunches that are likely seed garlic for the fall and the rest are going into my food. It's so satisfying going into your own backyard and grabbing garlic that you're going to cook with right then. I'm really pleased with how this all turned out and I couldn't have done it without my dad, who guided me the whole way. Thanks to his seed garlic and advice, I got 30 heads of garlic and next year I'll have 30 more!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Aug. 5, 2010

It's the triumphant return of Things I Love Thursday! I have been collecting things to share, but it all fell by the wayside what with grad school and a super short semester and one of the hardest classes in my program. I have been thinking about it though and I am so happy to do this again! Forgive me if some of the news is, well, old news at this point.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Food: What your food looks like on the inside. This is so cool! I think broccoli is my favorite (probably because I love broccoli so much from the outside too), but the cucumber also looks super rad.

Kids Cooking Classes at the Portland Farmer's Market: Most of these dates have past, but I just love the way they are getting kids involved in cooking, especially because it's cooking with local ingredients. I watched my parents cook a lot when I was a kid and loved getting my hands in there when I could. Mostly so I could eat the cheese, but you get the point.

Bunny Sugar Cubes by bunnysgobounce (via girlybubble)

Tasting Rome: David Lebovitz is one of my favorite food bloggers (I mentioned a post of his in the last Things I Love Thursday) and his descriptions of food always make me so hungry. I've been dealing with the travel bug lately and this post has not helped my growing desire to go to Italy. Just look at that gelato!

Ginger Consumption Reduces Muscle Pain: As if I needed more reasons to eat ginger!

Star Wars Cookie Cutters: Yeah, you know I got these. I haven't used them yet (maybe it's time to make some black and tans and call them dark side/light side?), but I am excited to do so. I was so happy when I walked into the Williams-Sonoma on a whim and got one of the last boxes of these. You know Aaron was stoked too.

Experimental Gummy Bear Surgeries: So adorable. So delicious. Also, a little crazy.

Green Tea's Wild Bite: A fun exploration into the many ways you can use green tea.

Vitaminwater Isn't Healthy: This is great news! Food companies need to be more responsible in their advertising and the claims on Vitaminwater have been completely ridiculous. I love water, personally, but sometimes it is fun to dress it up. Lemon juice is always a good way to go. Or cucumber slices. Pretty much anything works better than high fructose corn syrup.

(go look at the rest of A Matter of Taste. Seriously beautiful stuff.)

I'm also loving: pickles, pickles, pickles (especially bread and butter!); the patio at the Rose and Thistle (I knew about the darts, but not about that patio. How I ask you? How?); PSU and King Farmer's Markets; super amazing anniversary dinners with Aaron; leftovers from that dinner for lunch; talking food and food blogs all day long with Kirsten; food carts opening up right by my house; grilling; Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches; homegrown garlic; raspberry-ginger everything; sweet and spicy pecans; "A proper tea is much nicer than a very nearly tea, which is one you forget about afterwards" - AA Milne.

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ground Lamb Stroganoff

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big meat eater (10 years as a fake vegetarian will do that), but Aaron has gotten me to eat lamb from the farmer's market. He made this a couple of weeks ago and it really is so good and so easy. This would be perfect for a mid-week meal or any time you're really hungry and the idea of cooking sounds awful. Plus, it doesn't make the house too hot, which I like.

Stroganoff is usually made the strips of meet, generally beef (as in the original), but I think it worked really well (not that I'd really know the difference).

Ground Lamb Stroganoff from Diana Rattray (About.com Guide):

1 lb. ground lamb
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tb. butter
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. all-purpose flour
1 c. chicken broth
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
3 Tb. sour cream, room temperature
8 oz. rotini noodles

Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan and blend in flour to make a roux. Gradually stir in chicken broth, stirring and cooking until thickened and smooth. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; quickly brown lamb and onion on all sides. Depending on your lamb, you will want to drip a lot of the fat off. Add meat and onions to roux and sauce mixture. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil noodles, drain, and set aside.

Stir in sour cream and heat through but do not boil. Serve over noodles.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Vegan Raspberry Ice Cream

Shortly before being gifted so many raspberries, I saw this recipe. David Lebovitz is one of my favorite food bloggers and I was super stoked to see an ice cream recipe, as ice cream is one of my favorite things to make. I thought of it again when I was coming down to my last pint of raspberries and though yes, this is the way to finish off that flat.

Through careful cobbling of his vegan strawberry ice cream with the Ben and Jerry's recipe for raspberry ice cream, I think I got something nice. I omitted the honey as the raspberries were so tart, the flavor really would've been lost. There's more sugar in mine than his because strawberries don't need it, but raspberries do.

Vegan Raspberry Ice Cream modified from Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream from David Lebovitz:

Makes 1 quart

1 large pint raspberries
¾ c. sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ c. rice milk
2 Tb. raspberry vodka

Mix raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Mash berry mixture using a potato mashed. Add rice milk and raspberry vodka (regular would also be fine, I just happened to have raspberry Stoli on hand) and mash until pureed. Generally when making ice cream, you don't add the liquor in until the end because it lowers the freezing temperature, but because this is dairy free, it needs the vodka to prevent it from getting too hard.

Chill thoroughly and then mix in an ice cream mixer for 22 minutes (or according to the manufacturer's instructions). Freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, and serve. I'll admit, though, that I couldn't wait and had some immediately after I turned off the machine.

This stuff is incredible! It's like creamy sorbet, but somehow not sherbet-y. The raspberries are super tart and they were just made for this. The addition of the raspberry vodka is perfect and it is still so soft, unlike many other vegan ice creams I've had. I've been mixing it with mango sorbet and I'll tell ya, it tastes like summer.
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