Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Mar. 31, 2011

Beyond EVOO - Meet Your 6 New Favorite Oils: I do love olive oil. Oh, you know I do. This article has a point though in that olive oil can't do everything, especially because of its low smoke point and honestly, some olive oils are so flavorful that you're missing the point if you're using them for anything other than finishing up dishes. Until this week I had never even heard of rice bran oil, but as a stir fry lover, I'm going to have to check it out.

Homemade Almond Milk: What I really love about this, aside from learning how to make almond milk, is the honest assessment of time and energy and money that goes into making something on your own. Yes, often times things at the store will be cheaper based on economies of scale and other factors and often times the stuff at home is just so awesome and why would you ever buy it again when you can make it, but sometimes that's just not true. I think this is all about personal preference and how much of your time you want to spend on something.

The Shelf Life of Jam: I am a fairly recent canner myself, so this was a very helpful article from my new favorite blog. And now I just realized I never blogged about the two jams I made last August. I'll have to get on that because they are delicious! If you're interested in canning, I highly recommend this blog. It's fun and informational and the photos are gorgeous.

(This is my life. Thanks Kirst!)
How to Make a Perfect Pie Crust: For some people (, taste is not the issue, it's presentation. Though I have struggled with pie crusts in the past, I am getting better. Tutorials like this and the one in my recently purchased (and super cheap!) Bakers Illustrated may lead to some much more photogenic pies in the future. If not, well, they taste awesome, so close your eyes and eat it?

I Love My Squeeze Bottles: How long ago did I bookmark this? Anyway, aren't squeeze bottles amazing? They make everything look fancy and, as the post points out, Anthony Bourdain is a big fan. I should probably get some next time I'm trying to impress my friends. I should also invest in some pastry bags. Not the point. The point is that simple things can elevate the look of a dish, like not having a weird looking pie crust.
 (Best recipe name. Ever.)
Nutella, Banana, and Coconut Hot Pockets: It sounds like a crepe, but it's a much fancier and nicer looking home made hot pocket. And now I have Jim Gaffigan's bit stuck in my head.

Mark Bittman & Others Fasting to Preserve Budget for Food Assistance: I love Mark Bittman. Food and social justice and activism go hand in hand.

Italy in Chocolate: WHAT? This is amazing and beautiful and oh so delicious looking. I would love to see this in person. What a way to celebrate your country's history!

Walnuts are the Healthiest Nut: I love this for two reasons. One - walnut are delicious. This is a fact. Two - that headline cracks me up.

(this cracks me up. So. Awkward.)
I'm also loving: bánh mì (oh give me that spicy carrot-daikon mixture any day); FUBONN!(except for the duck heads. I could've done without those); ridiculously delicious stir fry by Aaron; bshorrhandmade - "Do girl scout cookies make for an acceptable dinner?"; lavender milk tea; the spiciest ginger candy I've ever had (I had one heck of a Asian superstore Sunday); awesome Aaron made scalloped potatoes after a disappointing run; lemon-lime soda after every run (it's what I crave!); my first trip to Penzeys Spices; free Tillamook Cheese cookbook plus magazines from Sue (some really good stuff in there!).

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Roasted Garlic Soup with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

I know I made garlic soup not that long ago, but this is an even more garlic garlic soup. Seriously. And it tastes amazing. It’s a light-ish soup with a ton of garlic and, if you leave out the optional parmesan and use veggie stock, it’s totally vegan. Roasting veggies is one of my most favorite things ever, so when I saw this recipe, it was like the blog heavens parted and this recipe came down to me.

It’s that good. Make it while it’s still kind of soup weather.

Roasted Garlic  Soup with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes from Joy the Baker:

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

For the roasted garlic -
26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 Tb. olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the potatoes -
12 small new or purple potatoes or a mixture (which is really pretty)
2 Tb. olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper

For the soup -
2 Tb. olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, sliced into half rings
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
15 to 18 garlic cloves, peeled but kept mostly whole (guess which amount I picked)
4 c. chicken stock (or veggie or turkey, which is what I used)
½ c. milk (or any other creamy option listed in the original)
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, Parmesan cheese, and good olive oil for drizzling
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place 26 unpeeled garlic cloves in a small baking dish.  Toss with olive oil, a few pinches of salt and black pepper.  Cover dish with foil and set aside.

Dice potatoes into large bite-sized pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place the foil-covered garlic cloves and the rosemary potatoes in the oven.  Bake both for 45 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the oven once or twice to toss around the pan to ensure even baking.  After 40 to 45 minutes, a knife will easily pass through the roasted garlic and roasted potatoes.  Remove both from the oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the roasted garlic from their skins and combine with the raw garlic.  Set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions and chopped thyme.  Cook until onions are translucent and thyme is super fragrant, about 6 minutes.  Add the two types of garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the stock, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer the soup until raw garlic is soft and tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and blend, in two or three batches, in a blender until smooth.  Return soup to the pot and add milk or other creamy thing and stir until milk has dissolved.  Salt and pepper to taste.  
To serve, stack roasted potatoes in the center of a shallow bowl.  Pour soup around the potatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil, a dash of fresh lemon juice and a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese.

This is an intense soup without being overly intense. The roasted garlic flavor is really mellow and the time the fresh garlic spends simmering takes out a lot of its bite. I think a few more potatoes would have improved this already stellar dish, but it was fine the way it was. I just love potatoes and garlic (have you read my bio?). I highly recommend this soup!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bread and Onion Panade with Spicy Greens

Until I read this recipe, I had never heard of a panade before. Think of it as a savory bread pudding. It’s a great main dish and also works really well as an accompaniment. Be warned, this is a time consuming dish. However, you can make the whole thing and refrigerate it for the next day just prior to the baking step. I bet the flavors would be really good if allowed to sit too, like stuffing.  This is an amazingly tasty dish (especially with my requisite extra garlic) and provided me with my first opportunity to cook with mustard greens. Tackle this. It’s not difficult, just long.

Bread and Onion Panade with Spicy Greens from Serious Eats:

Serves 8

¾ lb. good-quality sourdough bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 Tb. unsalted butter
1½ lb. onions, sliced into thin half-moons
7 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb mustard greens (or broccoli rabe or Swiss chard), cut into fine ribbons
Freshly ground black pepper
1 c. Cheddar- Gruyère (or Parmesan or just plain Gruyère)
4 c. broth (homemade is best)
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease the baking dish or Dutch oven with olive oil or butter. Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and toast for 45 minutes in the oven while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the butter in a deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams up, add the onions and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Cook over low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When they are soft, turn up the heat a notch or two and cook them for another 5 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stir frequently to keep them from burning.
Turn down the heat and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Add the greens and cook, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the greens with salt and pepper as they cook. When they are wilted and soft, take them off the heat.
Layer half of the toasted bread cubes in the bottom of the prepared dish. Spread half of the greens mixture over the bread cubes and pack it down into the gaps between the bread. Sprinkle with about half of the cheese. Make another layer of the remaining bread cubes and remaining greens. Cover with the remaining cheese. Heat the broth to a simmer in a small saucepan and carefully pour it into the baking dish. The bread and greens will look rather drowned and soupy; this is correct. Drizzle the top with olive oil. 
Cover and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover the dish and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving hot.

I’ve had this alone, with a burger, with salad, standing up in my kitchen. I am a little bit in love with it. The bitterness of the greens plays well with the bread and the richness of the cheese. Trader Joe’s has an amazing cheddar gruyère mélange that I highly recommend in general, but it worked especially well for this. It was devoured at Thanksgiving and again at my parent’s house over Christmas. Take the time to make this, you’ll look like a superstar.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Mar. 24, 2011

Did you know this week is American Chocolate Week? Yeah, neither did I. And I haven't even eaten any chocolate! I will need to fix that today.

Cereal May Help Ward Off Hypertension: Just in case you were getting bored of your cereal in the morning, this might give you a reason to go for the bowl. I try to switch it up by getting different cereals, but there's a reason it's such a morning staple - it's easy and it doesn't involve thinking. I also switch up my alternative milks to keep my no-think breakfast a little more lively. Right now I'm into coconut milk, but I also really dig almond milk and rice milk.

The Magical Bend: These are perfect! I have lost so many spoons in soup. Plus, they look really, really cool. I love it!

(recipe here)

Portland loves its food carts, but what we haven't had is a cart dedicated to food on a stick. Until now! Stick-It is in North Portland and all of their food is designed to be eaten without utensils. What's not to like about this?

Fake Accent: Most of these probably won't surprise you, but it's always fun for me to see food and dish origins. What I found most amusing about this was how many of the dishes weren't Italian (or the like), but Italian-American. I think that's one thing America does well. Traditional ethnic foods are modified and changed and become something unique to this country. So if you thought one dish was from somewhere, you probably are only a generation off.

My Avgolemono - a story of a once in a life time soup:Written by my friend Anna who is currently living in Texas, this is a rocking blog post that reminds me about why we cook - for the love of it. The crazy things we do in the kitchen might not always be picture perfect or come out the same way every time, but that's why it's so wonderful and so fun. I love her write up about this. Even better, she also included the recipe for her soup, which sounds amazing.

Proof Bagels Grow on Trees: If only this were true, I'd have a tree in my yard right now. I guess it might be time to make my own again. But I'll probably have to make lox too.

Sparkleskitchen: Just look at those macarons! I love the interview with her about food being crafty. Every once in awhile I feel like I'm not crafty at all because I don't knit or sew or make buttons or whatever, but I am reminded that I am crafty in the kitchen. I also love her answer for her most cherished handmade possession. Like her, I have found memories of my grandmother's food - like her peach cake. Every summer when she visited us in Alaska, I would get peach cake. When I visited her in Brooklyn a few years ago, I got a peach cake all to myself. Food memories are the best kind!

Two things I love - Cookie Monster and libraries. He just wants a cookie!
(thanks Turner!)

I'm also loving: free bags of bialys!; pizza time with Aaron and Lisa; Oregon strawberry ice cream mixed with Washington French lavender; QueenLBee - "#threewordstoliveby more cheese please"; being a smartass because I know what hamantaschen are; banh mi (and Vietnamese food weekend!); Stephen Colbert for this "If we mix science with food, it's only a matter of time before people believe we evolved from a PB&J sandwich" and also this "Why buy the cow when you can buy milk at the supermarket? It's a lot cheaper."; whiskey and coke; bagels for breakfast, lunch, and then again the next day; cheese sticks while watching Say Yes to the Dress with Lisa; snacks of apples and honey; Michael J. Nelson - "'Marshmallows are just way too hard to eat. Is there any way you can make a spreadable cream?' - some brave pioneer from the past."; roasted veggies with everything.

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rock the Cupcake Vote

My friend Jamie and I love cupcakes. It's part of how we became friends, I think. She's got a rad tattoo of a cupcake in space. Awhile ago I suggested that we bake cupcakes together, but there are so many cupcake recipes out there. I follow blogs that post cupcake recipes exclusively! So, dear readers, we need your help! Please pick one of the four following cupcake recipes and we'll make it next week. If you live in Portland, you'll get one!

Option 1: Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Cupcake Project. I love carrot cake. So does Jamie. Plus, look how cool those twirly carrot toppers are.

Option 2: Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes from The Good Mood Food Blog. Berries + vanilla. Yes.

Option 3: Tiramisu Cupcakes from Cupcake Project. These involve homemade ladyfingers. They look amazing to me.

Option 4: The Devil and The Monk Cupcakes from Cupcake Project. These sound the craziest out of all of them, but Jamie's a chocolate fiend and we're both intrigued.

Okay, so three of the four come from Cupcake Project, but what can I say other than there are some tasty looking cupcakes on that blog. Anyway...

what should we make? Pick one and let me know in the comments!

M. Biada's Lemon Ginger Wonder Drink

This winter has been the season of the plague. It feels like everyone I know has been knocked out at some point and sometimes they come back just to get knocked down again. This was true for me. I’ve been in a knock down drag out fight for the last few weeks and I’m finally winning (fingers crossed).
Want to know something that helped get me through? This cup of magic. Check out The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag for better pictures. Because I don’t have a French press (I’m not a coffee drinker), I followed Patrice’s advice to boil the garlic and ginger in water for 10 minutes. It was perfect. If you’re fighting the plague (or just a hangover), make this. You won’t regret it.

M. Biada’s Lemon Ginger Wonder Drink from The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag:

Tea kettle full of almost boiling water
1” cube ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 Tb. of honey
1 lemon, peel chopped off if not organic, or if organic, washed and cut into wedges that can be squeezed easily.
1 pinch of powdered cayenne pepper

Heat water in tea kettle until almost boiling on the stove. Cut garlic, ginger, and lemon and add to your French press. If you’re using a lemon that’s not organic, peel the lemon before cutting into a dice, squeeze diced lemons into French press, releasing some of the juice before putting diced lemon in press. Add tablespoon of honey and pinch of powdered cayenne pepper. Add almost boiling water from tea kettle, stirring ingredients in French press with a wooden spoon.

Using the French press, plunge down onto ingredients 3 – 4 times, applying pressure to release flavor. Pull press half-way up and let steep for up 3-5 minutes before serving. Because I don’t have a French press (I’m not a coffee drinker), I followed Patrice’s advice to boil the garlic and ginger in water for 10 minutes. It was perfect.

Serve in a mug and feel that nastiness leaving you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things I'm Loving Thursday: Mar. 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I'm not even the least bit Irish, but isn't that part of the point of St. Paddy's? And it's almost spring and that puts everyone in a good mood.
Leprechaun Trap Cake: How cool is this cake? It's ridiculous, in the best way.

'Culture', a Magazine for Cheese  Lovers: Okay, so I know there are magazines for just about everything, but somehow this still surprised me. If you know me, you know how much I love cheese. I'd love to check out an issue of this.

Cruelty to Animals: This is a review of Mark Bittman's article on the pet/farm animal divide. Unlike many articles I have read about this, this one doesn't say "this is the right answer, that's the wrong one." Food politics are honestly really, really annoying to me. I feel like most people should make the choice that's right for them, based on their lifestyle and income level. It's complex and this is well worth a read.
Irish Potatoes for St. Patrick's Day: There are a lot of recipes that have been posted today for St. Paddy's day, but this one was one of my favorites. Mixing in pesto is so simple, but it's not something I thought of right away. Baked potatoes are fun and easy and any new way to play with a basic favorite is fine by me.

How Green is Your Fast Food?: I've cut back on fast food and generally hit up Burgerville when the mood strikes or some other local fast food type place (what? Burgerville is really tasty. Have you had their fresh strawberry smoothies that are only available in May/June. Yeah. Yeah.). Anyway, this list is really cool. It's easier to make choices when you have more information.

15 Best Food Charts: I posted the cupcake one last week, but I think #1 on the list is my favorite. I'm mostly posting this for my food and chart loving friend Kirsten. Also awesome? The one about sriracha. But that's because everything sriracha is awesome.
(recipe here)
Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan: One the list of herbs I love, rosemary is very near the top. I have a distinct memory of watching a cooking show with my mom and brother and the chef battered chicken in polenta and then skewered it with a rosemary sprig. I also remember drooling. This caused a similar reaction.

And speaking of herbs I love, lavender is a recent addition. Last year I bookmarked this post in Serious Eats. If you're looking to get into lavender or just want more recipes, this is a good read.

I'm also loving: roasted veggies with tumeric; Little Big Burger opening a location near me; birthday dinners on the Ides of March; my new love for bread pudding; any birthday plan that involves seasoned chips from Holman's; sharing tacos; cheese sticks; leftovers that still rock three days later; honey in tea; unexpected kalamata olives.

What are you loving this week? 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

Do you like math? How about pie? If you like one or the other (or both!), then today is the day for you. It's the celebration of the mathematical constant pi (π), which is often represented in it's shorter version 3.14. That's today! If I had planned further ahead, I would have made a pie today. As it is, I'm going to round up the  awesome pie recipes that I've posted in this blog.
  •  In my very first pie post, back in old 2008, I made my very first apple pie and my very second pumpkin pie. Though I'm still not a pie pro, it's fun to look back at my pie early days. Plus, they were both delicious.
  • Remember way back in the day when I was really into savory pies? I still am! I had forgotten all about this Broccoli-Cheddar Pie (I mean, 2009 was such a long time ago in internet years). The crispy grated potato crust was amazing and it would be so much easier to do now that I have a food processor!
  • Just a short time later, I banged out another savory pie, this time with an actual pie crust. Just looking at the pictures from the Spinach-Ricotta Pie makes me want to make it again.
  • Not all of my savory pies were successes. Shortly after getting my food processor, I attempted this Potato Onion Broccoli Cheddar Pie, which though not fantastic, was a good first attempt. And now in 2011 I'm reminded that it was a first attempt and I should give it another try.
  • Last spring brought this Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie to fruition (haha! I'm so punny!) and now that spring is coming this pie may need to happen again.
  • Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of life and last year I decided to do that with traditional apples and honey in a brand new tart (which is basically pie, in my opinion) that I made up. Sweet, sweet memories.
  • Also from last fall, this OMG so good Roasted Pumpkin Pie made its debut at my Thanksgiving table and I still dream about it.
Apparently all of my future plans, after going through these recipes, involve making pie. What are your favorite pies? Where do you like to go to get pie? 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Mar. 10, 2011

Battleship Drinking Game: You'd think this would just be a modification of regular Battleship, but with drinking, but oh no, dear reader. No, someone invented a Battleship game with drinking built in. This just cracks me up because everyone I know has cheated at the original game, but I imagine with drinking involved the cheating will just seem obvious. Also, have you looked at Battleship lately? It's gotten really complicated! I can't even find the original one on the Hasbro site.

Woman Trashes Bakery in "Cupcake Rage": You know, I really love cupcakes. I do. I, however, generally keep back up choices in mind when going out for cupcakes. I don't totally take apart a bakery because they don't have my flavor. This cracks me up! Maybe she played a round or two of Battleship before going out?

Pel'Meni in Seattle: I stumbled across this last week and immediately had to post it to Facebook, where everyone had basically the same reaction I did - heck yes! For those of you who don't know (and I'm not sure I have many non-Juneau readers, but anyway), pel'meni are these amazing little Russian dumplings made with meat or potato that are perfect for lunch or filling your belly after a night on the (very very small) town. The fact that I can now get it at less than 200 miles away as opposed to Bellingham or Juneau makes me so, so happy. Seriously. I am also glad that I was able to inform Renai and Amy about this because at least they are in Seattle. Road trip for pel'meni? It could happen!

The Mutato Archive: This is a really cool examination of non-standard produce from Berlin's farmer's markets.

Some Bottled Water Thoughts (and Maybe Some Rants): This sums up basically everything I think about bottled water. Though I haven't seen Tapped yet, I have been all about taking back the tap for some time now. It's not hard to get a reusable water bottle and a lot of them are really cool looking too. I'm lucky to live somewhere that has good tasting water (though not as good as the stuff I drank in Juneau), but getting a filter is also really, really easy. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but this is a cool article for those of you who haven't read it.

20 Recipes for a Big Italian Supper: I'm obsessed with big Italian meals. When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be Italian. I saw The Godfather and Goodfellas and often ignored all of the violence because I was so focused on the big family meals. How cool is that? So I'm not from a big Italian family, but I am from a family of Italian eaters and this sounds like a fun Sunday to me.

The Anatomy of a Recipe: If you click on nothing else, please look at this chart. It says everything that needs to be said about cupcakes.Recipe charts are so cool and I would definitely put these up on my kitchen walls.

How can you make cupcakes even better? Cupcake Fondue! Tasty cupcakes that are easy to share. I love everything about this.

I'm also loving: going spicier with my Thai food; crusty, crunchy, delicious bread; loving soup and then hating it because I'm eating it all the time and then loving it again (oh soup!); getting offers for breakfast at midnight; extra garlic in everything; faux-tapenade quesadillas; tea all the time; humongous oatmeal brulee from Gravy; Aaron starting to eat sushi; piiiizzzaaaaaa; talking refried beans with my boss; every flavor of kombucha ever; Corey doing the Julie/Julia experiment with my blog in Ireland with her boyfriend (I'm so special!); also, being her food reference person (who knew sour cream would be hard to find in Northern Ireland?); fancy instant ramen; baked sweet potatoes.

What are you loving this week? 
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