Monday, May 09, 2011

Broiled Grapefruit

Today I'm flying to Belfast to visit my friend Corey. She's been living in Northern Ireland since February and I miss her like crazy! Okay, so today I'm flying there and tomorrow I'll be there and then take a bus actually into Belfast and then take a couch (bus) to Enniskillen. So I likely won't be posting for the next 10 days. Before I go, here's a Corey recipe that I did and never posted from January when she was doing a 30 day no processed food challenge. It's perfect for today too.

Broiled Grapefruit from Corey:

Serves 1

Medium size grapefruit, cut in half
½ Tb. raw honey

Place grapefruit halves in an oven safe deep dish. Pour honey on the halves. Put in oven under the broiler setting and cook until honey starts to sizzle, about 5 minutes.

This is a rad breakfast because it still has the tang of the grapefruit, but is a little sweeter. And could it be any easier? Corey recommends eating some almond or peanut butter to fill out your morning meal. Watch her video. It’s cute.

And see you all later! I will be filling myself with home cooked meals, Guinness, whiskey, potatoes, gossip, and the beauty of Northern Ireland.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Cupcake Swag from Mom

Today is Mother's Day! My mom is super rad. I meant to blog about this earlier, but with the end of the semester, I got a little crazy. Anyway, want to know how rad my mom is? Check out what she got for me for my birthday!

That's sprinkles (because everyone wants them), a cupcake corer for filled cupcakes, a decorating set for making beautiful filled cupcakes, and liners...
in my wedding colors. Yeah. My mom is rad.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Noodle Apple Kugel

I was invited to my very first seder over Passover (I missed this in the past somehow) and was responsible for dessert. I couldn’t get kugel out of my head, even though my mom informed me that it is more of a side than a dessert. I had to do it. The reason I found out about the side part at all was because I called to ask which was better: noodle or matzo kugel. The answer was a resounding noodle. Side or no, Passover or no, this is a good way to end a meal. The original had raisins, which I left out.

Noodle Apple Kugel from the 2nd Ave. Deli Cookbook:

Serves 8

1 lb. medium egg noodles
4 c. peeled, cored McIntosh apples, sliced into 1” pieces ¼” thick (I went for Pippins because they looked gorgeous at the market and are right in between sweet and tart)
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 Tb. unsalted butter
2 Tb. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 c. creamed cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
Butter for dotting top of kugel

Fill a large stockpot three-quarter full with water, and bring to a vigorous boil. Toss in noodles, and cook 5 to 7 minutes until al dente. They say rinse your noodles. I shuddered. Don’t rinse your noodles. Ever. Drain and set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apple slices with cinnamon. Melt butter in a large skillet, and sauté apples on moderate heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and sauté for 1 minute more. Refrigerate mixture to cool.

In a large bowl, combine sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, and salt. Gently fold in noodles and apples.
Pour noodle mixture into a greased baking pan, dot with butter, and baked for 1 hour or until top is golden brown.

This is tasty, but dense. Parts of it were a little too noodle heavy for me. Manischewitz egg noodles come in 12 oz. packages, so adding in the extra 4 oz. to meet the recipe was part of the problem. I’d recommended upping the apples and the sauce and reducing the noodles to get a creamy base. That’s what I’ll do next time I tackle this one. Overall, though, it’s a good compliment to a meal.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Cheesy Baked Ziti

I am in love with Tillamook. I think this post makes that obvious. Aaron does too and he was excited to give one of their recipes a whirl the other night. We reduced the recipe by half since there are only two of us, omitted the bread crumbs (½ cup), and added garlic (because it’s, well, me) and sausage (because it’s Aaron), but the rest is all Tillamook.

Cheesy Baked Ziti slightly modified from The Tillamook Cheese Cookbook:

Serves 6

1 16 oz. package ziti
6-8 qt. water
1 Tb. butter
1½ c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, plus extra to spread on top
1 Tb. olive oil
Marinara sauce (pre-prepared or your own)
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 chicken sausages, chopped and cooked
2 c. shredded mozzarella
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the past in the water to al dente. Drain and reserve.

Heat the butter and heavy cream over medium-high heat in a 1-2 quart saucepan, stirring frequently. When the mixture starts to bubble, stir in the nutmeg and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Grease a large 13x9x2 baking dish with olive oil. Pour the pasta into the baking dish. Add the marinara, garlic, sausage, cream sauce, and mozzarella to the pasta, and stir well.

Top with more Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbling. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or place under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp the top, if needed.

Cheesy, fast, and delicious. Leave it to Tillamook to come up with a stellar cheesy recipe. I loved this so much I almost forgot to take a picture of it. Are you busy tonight? Make this. Totally worth it.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: May 5, 2011

Today is a great day! Why? Well, beyond just being a victory at the Battle of Puebla and a turning point in the Mexican war against France, it's also my mom's birthday! Built in party (look out for booze links!). So here's some stuff I'm loving because it's Thursday and because I love my mom (hence the cuppa picture. We drink a lot of tea when we're together).

New York Public Library to Brew George Washington’s Personal Beer Recipe: Because today is historical, here is an historical link. How cool is this? It's going to be tasted for the 100th anniversary of the NYPL's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Beer. Libraries. History. What's not to love? Thanks for sharing this Turner.

What They Ate in Colonial Virgina: Another piece of food history! This one comes to me via my fabulous friend Serenity. It's interesting how food habits change, but certain things remain the same, like the want for a hearty meals and sharing with your family. Also, does anyone else automatically think of the Oregon Trail when pemmican is mentioned? No? Just me? Ok.

10 Things to Taste in New Orleans: Also from the South, but in modern times, this is a fabulous list of what to eat when in NOLA. Now I want to go back and eat everything. My palate has expanded so much since I was there and I think I could really get into it. Though there are good places to get similar food here in Portland, being in the birthplace of such fabulous cuisine is just so much better.
The World's Best Cities for Beer - Portland: I actually found this through an article about Philadelphia, but whenever I see any list about beer cities, I have to check for Portland. We're usually on it and with good reason: there is so much good beer here!

How Long Can You Survive on Beer Alone?: In lamer beer news, some guy did a beer fast and ended it with a bacon smoothie. The reason I love this though? It turns out you can survive on beer alone...but just long enough to develop scurvy. Maybe mix in some citrus margaritas?

And if you're going to make margaritas, why not check out The Best Cheap Tequilas Under $25?
Bicycle Wine Rack: Because you like wine and the environment. Or for a picnic in the park? Also, my mom likes wine. If she lived closer, I could bike it over with this! I just love that this is a real thing.

Garnish - The Most Misunderstood Word in Cooking: All the food on your plate should have a purpose. The garnish is there to enhance not just the look of your food, but the flavor profile too. Michael Natkin offers up some great suggestions for garnishes that will improve your dish.
I'm also loving: "Almond butter is the champagne of nut butters." - Patrice; berry-rhubarb ginger floats on sunny days at Ruby Jewel; did you see this soup that Kirsten made for me? So good (and a secret)!; grilling season is here!; nacho delivery service, why aren't you real?; surprise pancake breakfasts on a workday; "Food trend you wish would fade away? 'Guy Fieri.' —Porkins"; pizza for helping friends move; made up quesadilla things with tons of rainbow chard; spinach on burgers; basically running to Russell St. on a last minute invite; and on that note, pimento cheese; the smell in the house after I bake cookies.

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Blueberry Lime Jam

Yesterday I posted about the rock my world peach lavender jam. At the same time, I made this one, which is also really, really amazing. The only caveat I'd add to this post is that trying to do two different kinds of jam at once is not a great idea, especially for a beginning canner like myself. There was a ton of stuff going on at once and though it all worked out, I wouldn't attempt it again, at least not yet. This jam, though, rocks. A lot. Get good blueberries and limes and you're good to go.

I followed the canning directions from the other canning book for this one to get a proper seal on the jars. This one makes me wish it were warm and summery again. Until then, I guess I'll just have to eat more jam.

Blueberry Lime Jam from Lip Smackin' Jams & Jellies:

Makes about 6 cups

4½ c. blueberries
6 c. sugar
2 Tb. lime juice
Grated zest of 2 large limes
3 3-oz pouches liquid pectin

Remove any stalks from the blueberries and rinse under cold water. Drain well and put in a saucepan. Crush the berries a bit with a masher. Stir in the sugar, lime juice, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning. When the mix reaches a full boil, cook for 1 minute, and then stir in the pectin. Return it to a full boil for another minute.
Place in jars and process for 10 minutes, following the directions of your canning book and the advice I posted yesterday.

Keep in a cool, dry place.
I had a little extra than 4 jars, so I put some in a smaller jar in my fridge and thus got to enjoy it right away. It's tangy and fruity in a way that reminds me a bit of a summer cocktail, but is also perfect for your morning muffin or scone. When you've got a bunch of blueberries, I highly recommend this jam.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Peach Lavender Jam

Last summer, I got really excited about canning. I remember watching my mom do it when I was little and talking to her about it as I got older, so I thought it was time to do it myself. I had picked up a couple of books at Title Wave, where I volunteer, bought a canning pot and the rest of the canning accoutrements, and headed off to the farmers market. And I made jam. Two kinds. And totally forgot to blog about it!
I realized this (again) the other day after going through most of a jar of the peach lavender. It is so good, I want to eat it on everything and I want to share it with you.

Before diving into the recipe, you need to get yourself a canning book. I really like The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving, which is where I got this recipe, but there are other great ones out there (like this one by Ashley English, which Renai loves, and this one by Ball, because they know canning). I really like mine because of the step by step instructions and timing reminders for while you work and it's meant for smaller recipes, which is awesome since I don't have a ton of space. Plus the flavor combos look unusual and fun. Canning is an amazing way to keep the flavors of produce at their peak all year round, but it needs to be done safely and with careful reading, you'll be able to get the basics and then do any recipe you find. There is a lot to canning, but it's not ridiculously difficult, there's just stuff that has to be done a certain way, like not swapping out powdered for liquid pectin. Read. Be informed. Then can. When peaches are back in season, make this. It's ridiculous and you'll want to put it on everything too. 

Peach Lavender Jam from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving:

Makes 6 cups (1.5 liters or in my case, four jars)

2 Tb. dried lavender flowers
½ c. boiling water
4 c. finely chopped peaches (about 5-6 medium peaches)
2 Tb. lemon juice
6 c. granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

Place lavender flowers in a small bowl. Pour boiler water over flowers and steep for 20 minutes. It turns into a beautiful purple color. Strain and discard flowers. During this time is probably a good spot to get your jars ready for canning, but make sure you follow the directions of your book!
Combine lavender liquid, peaches, lemon juice, and sugar in a very large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
Ladle into hot jars and process for 10 minutes, which you will know how to do when you read your canning book. When the processing is finished, turn off the heat and remove lid from canner. Allow jars to remain in the water for 5 minutes to stabilize the pressure inside the jars, then remove from canner. Use a jar lifter, which is so awkward to use and may involve in some almost lost jam, if you're like me. Be sure not to tilt the jar to prevent the contents from running under the lid. Transfer the jars to a wooden cutting boar or a surface covered with several layers of towels or newspaper. Do not place jars on a cold hard surface or they make break. 

Do not dry jars or tighten seals. Any water on top of the jars will evaporate during the cooling period. Let the jars cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. Then check the seal. It is easy to tell if the jars are sealed as the metal lids curve downwards. you can refrigerate any jars that are not sealed and use the contents for up to three weeks. Remove the screw bands (my mom also recommended this as you can see better if something starts to grow on your jar), dry them, and store separately.
After all of that, guess what? You have kick ass jam! The lavender plays so well with the peach, giving you an herb-fruit one-two punch. If you haven't been into lavender as a flavor before, I think this jam will change your mind. I love it on toast with cream cheese, or just toast, or just everything. I mixed some in with some cottage cheese the other day and that rocked too. I'm seriously convinced there's nothing this jam can't do. Give it a try. I think you'll be surprised at just how awesome it is.
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