Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: June 23, 2011

It's my good friend Lisa's birthday! We've already celebrated this week with a classic movie from the year she was born and tonight is cocktails at Holman's and this weekend is music and friends. So today...things I love Thursday...for Lisa!

The Museum of the American Cocktail: This is a real place and that makes me happy. Also, another good reason to visit New Orleans? I think so! There are some things that are so connected to the American cocktail scene, like the Manhattan, and who doesn't like learning more about the history of things like that?

Yoplait Pulls Eating Disorder Triggering Commercial Off the Air: This makes me very happy. Food should be enjoyed and loved, but not everyone has a great relationship with food (have you seen how much the dieting industry makes?). It's nice to see companies listening to feed back and learning from it.

Give Berries a Hot Water Bath to Prevent Mold Growth: Add this to the things I wish I knew earlier in life. Fortunately my strawberries from the market on Saturday have been holding on strong, but this is good tip to know. I always buy too many berries anyway because they are pretty and delicious and I want to eat them all.

Cooking at Home with a Chef: I love this story because it reminds me of growing up and how people would always say to my mom "oh, you married a chef? You must eat so well!" and we did. Because my mom is a badass cook! My dad did cook too and his meals were obviously amazing, but when you work in a kitchen all the time you don't always want to go home and make more food. So yes, having a chef around is excellent, especially for birthdays, but so is having a mom who can rock out the kitchen.

Our Other Sushi Chef is a Giant Squid: Yes! If you aren't following The Monkeys You Ordered tumblr, you should be. They take New Yorker cartoons and give them literal captions. How much better is the caption they made than the original ("He feels he can do more good working within the system."). See? Much more hilarious.
Iron Age Brewing Evidence Found in Southeastern France: Why does the BBC always have the coolest stories? Anyway, it appears that as 2,500 years ago, the French were into beer even though making wine was already becoming kind of their thing. And you think you know a culture.

And in other France is an interesting place news, 10 Goofy Foods You'll Find in a French Supermarket: Lisa likes to make fun of me a call me a world traveler in a snooty voice. Well, okay, so I have traveled a bit, but this is funny even if you've never been to France! Cold pancakes in a bag? What? Also roast chicken flavored chips taste like roasted chicken skin. True story.

Dream Puff Marshmallows: Marshmallows. Made with Guinness. Can I get these in Portland please? Imagine the s'more you could make with that!
I'm also loving: free burgers from Little Big Burger for the celebration of their opening on Mississippi (yes!); soup instead of running; knowing that next week I will get to drink my Alaskan Raspberry Wheat; making tasty birthday dinners for Kirst (and having her be impressed! Awesome!); seeing my fellow foodie and radtastic friend Patrice next week (woo!); free samples at the market; making sangria none stop because I have too much brandy; strawberries all the time; Aaron craving sushi; grilled skewers; @simonpegg "As the rasher of bacon said to the pork chop, it's good to be back."; tonight! (I LOVE HOLMAN'S!)

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

(Tea + banana bread = great way to wake up)
I love bananas. A lot. But do you ever go through phases with foods? I do. I really did intend to eat these bananas, but they got all brown and that’s when I say banana bread! I wanted to try out something from my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book I picked up at Title Wave a few months ago and wouldn’t you know it, it had a banana bread recipe. I took out the walnuts because Aaron doesn’t really like them, but if you’re into it, add a half cup of walnuts before baking.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking:

One loaf

½ c. unsalted butter
½ c. packed brown sugar
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. mashed ripe banana
¼ c. honey
2 large eggs
2 c. whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5” loaf pan.

Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and let it rest at room temperature, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the bread for 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and all it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

This is the moistest banana bread I have ever had. Ever. It is so good and you would have no idea there is whole wheat in it. If you forget about your bananas until they’re brown, I’d recommend this one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lindsay's Graduation Cake

So what do you do when you buy too many strawberries? Besides eat a ton of them, I mean. You make a cake. Specifically, you make a cake for your dear friend who is graduating from medical school. Yeah, my friend is a doctor. You don’t have a doctor friend? You actually don’t need an occasion for this cake because it is delicious and awesome and so summer.

The original is here and I made some modifications, some out of necessity and some on accident (like using all the whipped cream on one layer and then have to make more). I weighed everything like they do across the pond. If you don’t have a food scale, there are plenty of web resources for converting ingredients. It all works out, I promise. And your new doctor friend will be so happy.

Lindsay’s Graduation Cake modified from Mega Strawberry Summer Cake from Donal Skehan:

One rad layer cake

For the cake-
3 large eggs
225 g. sugar
50 g butter, melted
100 ml. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
210 g. flour
2 tsp. baking powder

For the filling and the topping-
80 g. strawberry jam
2 Tb. berry liqueur
300 g. strawberries, hulled
500 ml. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 345 degrees and grease two 9” cake pans (or, in my case, use the same one 9” cake pan you have twice).

In your mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.

Mix the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract together in a measuring jug and pour into the sugar and egg. Mix through to combine. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and then using a spatula, gently fold in to the cake mix until completely smooth and combined.
Divide the mix evenly between the two baking tins and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When both cake layers are completely cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Put the jam and liqueur into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Place one layer on a cake stand and dollop with half the cream, spread evenly and then spread on the smooth strawberry jam. Carefully place the second cake layer on top and add the remaining whipped cream and strawberries.
This cake rocks even after a ride from Portland to Seattle and being transported between an apartment to a hotel room. It was a hit after a long day in the sun, celebrating the new doctor. Make this right now!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Knox Co. Whole Strawberry Jam

Aaron loves strawberry jam. When we buy it, that's what he goes for and though he did like my peach lavender and blueberry lime, he requested I make strawberry next time I made jam. There are a lot of strawberry jam recipes out there and the one I ended up doing was because it was the fastest one to make. There are a couple of others I'd like to try - one of which involves having your oven on for 10 hours, but for my first strawberry, I'd say this is the jam (ha!).

I'm getting better at canning, but I'll emphasize a few things - work quickly, but carefully, keep your area clean, and try not to scream when you get hot jam on your hands. It doesn't help anything. What does help is keeping a cool head, following directions, and hearing the ping as your lids seal shut, proving to you that you can can. It's awesome.

Knox Co. Whole Strawberry Jam from Lip Smackin' Jams & Jellies:

Makes 4-5 cups
4 c. strawberries
4 c. sugar
2 Tb. lemon juice

Wash, drain, hull, and measure the strawberries. In a large pot mix together the sugar and berries. Over a low heat, mix the berries until the juices are released. Raise the temperature. Stop stirring. Allow the mixture to boil at this point for 15 minutes. Do not stir; however, be certain that the mixture is not sticking at the bottom of the pan. Take a wooden spoon and drag it through the mixture. After 15 minutes, the mixture should be set. Pour the lemon juice over the top of the berries. Stir in the lemon juice and pour into the jars. Process for 10 minutes.

This jam uses no pectin, but it is thick. In fact, mine is more like a glue than jam. It is tasty, but hard to remove from the jars without some leverage and then it needs to be mixed with a liquid to be useable. So be sure to check when it’s set and don’t boil it too long.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pink and Green Pie

 For my birthday this year, Jamie got me The Boozy Baker because I like cocktails and baking (pretty awesome gift, right?). I was really excited when she gave it to me and I didn't want to wait long to make something from it. I always do a lot of planning and dreaming when I first get a cookbook, so it was nice to do some actual baking not too long after getting it. I had already decided to buy a bunch of strawberries to make jam, so I needed to find a pie recipe with strawberries - and there it was, the classic combo of strawberries and rhubarb, but just a little different. I brought a slice to my internship and the rest of the pie to Memorial Day brunch (yes, this was awhile ago, but guess what? Strawberry and rhubarb are still available at the market!). A half slice survived to the end of the day. It is very, very good and gave me my first opportunity to create a crust with vodka.

The only change I made was leaving out the pistachios, which I know mostly removes the green part from the pink and green combo, but Aaron is not a nut fan and since it wasn't an integral ingredient, I let it slide. Do yours however you like.

Pink and Green Pie from The Boozy Baker:

Makes one tasty pie

For the crust:
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1 Tb. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, child and cut into ½” cubes
1 Tb. vodka
2-4 Tb. ice water

For the filling:
1¼ lb. fresh rhubarb, trimmed
1 c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. berry liqueur
¼ c. cornstarch
½ c. strawberries, hulled and sliced

For the crumb topping:
½ c. all-purpose oats
2/3 c. rolled oats
¼ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
7 Tb. unsalted butter, diced

To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until coarse. Add the vodka and then the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 12” circle. Transfer to a 9” pie plate (mine is slightly bigger) and crimp the edges decoratively with a fork. Put in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.

To make the filling, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and the sugar dissolves, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the berry liqueur and cornstarch and stir until smooth. It will look like strawberry milk, which is weird. Anyway, once smooth, add to the rhubarb mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the refrigerator and cool for 30 minutes.

To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until it forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove the crust and rhubarb mixture from the refrigerator. Stir the strawberries into the rhubarb mixture and pour it all into the crust. Sprinkle with the crumb topping and bake for 30-35 minutes (mine was perfect at 30), or until the crust is crisp and golden and the fruit is bubbling.

This is a very tasty pie and though not radically different from the strawberry-rhubarb I’ve made before, it is a fun variation.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Braised Rainbow Chard with Cranberries

I love pizza. I really, really do, but when I made the Smitten Kitchen white pizza, it was my second pizza night of the week, so I knew I had to have some greens. I am in love with chard and I'm surprised that this is my first recipe post featuring it. I braise it a lot and mostly make up weird recipes, like a super chard quesadilla that no one but me would like.

Anyway, I starred this recipe before Thanksgiving and didn't integrate it into the dinner. I'm glad it will languish no longer because this is fast, easy, and very, very tasty. I did a half size of the original recipe and it was a good way for three people to get some greens in before pizza.

Braised Rainbow Chard with Cranberries from Serious Eats:

Serves 3 as a side or starter

1 bunch rainbow chard
2 Tb. olive oil, divided
½ medium yellow onion, sliced into half-moons
1 Tb. dried cranberries (I only had the TJ’s orange flavored kind, but it worked)
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
¼ c. water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare chard by cutting stem out of center of each leaf. Trim ends of each stem, then cut on bias in 1½” pieces. Tear leaves into 3 or 4 pieces each.

In medium straight-sided sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and lower heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cranberries, chard stems only, garlic clove, and water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and braise on low heat for 30 minutes.

Once chard stems are tender, remove lid and increase heat to high. Add chard leaves, and use tongs to turn leaves in pan until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, drizzled with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

They were earthy, like chard always is, but also tangy and delicious. I was only a little worried that the orange flavored cranberries would detract from the other flavors, but it paired really well. The textural differences also make this a simple, but exciting dish and a great way to start a meal. Seriously. So easy. If you see some gorgeous chard at the market, like I have been, try this one out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pizza with Bacon, Onions, and Cream

My friend Adam recently finished his master's thesis and I wanted to celebrate that achievement. The best way to celebrate, in my opinion, is with food. I have far too many recipes starred in my reader, so I decided to tackle a couple of them that would work well for a midweek meal. Smitten Kitchen always comes through - for both the midweek easy (like this pizza) to the I'm going to spend all day Saturday making this. I also have my go-to pizza dough recipe thanks to my mom and I had everything I needed in the house, so this was a snap to put together.

Pizza with Bacon, Onions, and Cream from Smitten Kitchen:

Serves 3 with another pizza and a side

½ pizza dough recipe
Olive oil, for oiling baking sheets
½ c. fromage blanc or ricotta (I had ricotta on hand)
½ c. crème fraîche or sour cream (same)
1 Tb. all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ lb. thickly sliced smoky bacon, cut crosswise into ¼” strips
½ medium onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon crisps up. I accidentally burned some of the bacon, so I added in some turkey bacon and combined the two. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize.

Whisk together (or blend together in a food processor, if you want it silky-smooth) ricotta and sour cream with flour, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out to a rough round, about 1/8 inch thick. If the dough becomes difficult to roll, let it rest for 10 minutes, then continue. I reserved one of the rounds for a pizza that Aaron made using marinara as the base.


Oil a large baking sheet. Transfer the dough. Spread the cheese mixture over the rounds to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with the bacon and onion. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.
I loved this pizza! I've never made a pizza like this one before, but it was tangy and rich and had great contrasting textures. Adam said he doesn't usually like white pies, but this one was good. We have a winner for the weekdays. I love experimenting with pizza and I'm glad have made another tasty pie.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: June 9, 2011

This should be called the yes! it's finally sunny! edition. Or the I actually have a little bit of time to make a post edition. Or the break from homework edition. The point is - hi! I love things related to food. Let's get to it before I get sucked back into homeworkland.

D. Trump Offers Worst Excuse Ever for Using a Fork to Eat Pizza: I love pizza. A lot. I was taught at an early age to NOT EAT PIZZA WITH A FORK and I'm from ALASKA (though raised by New Yorkers to be fair). I love this post because it describes exactly how I feel whenever I see people do this. If you don't want the carbs - eat something else. The end.

The Dog House PDX: An entire cart dedicated to tater tots. I'm sold.

And in other food carts news, The Greatest Food Truck Ever?: I love Star Wars. (I think that's fairly obvious now). I love food. This is perfect.

(see? Star Wars!)
10 Simple Kitchen Tips You Wish Someone Had Told You Earlier: I do know a lot of this stuff - now. For people just getting into cooking, this stuff won't seem obvious until later. I like big onions though - but I'm a fan of big onion flavor. The point is cooking is a learning process, but it's nice when someone helps you out early on.

A Slice of History: Awesome Tillamook recipes from 1934. Sounds "extra good" to me!

Greens Gone Wild: This whole post reminds me of Renai. Even though we're winding out of spring and into summer, get your greens while you can!
(also, fail on the spelling of avocado in the original post)
It's summer, so this Seared Watermelon recipe sounds so exciting to me right now. Well, probably just because the sun is shining at the moment (even though I'm indoors in a library), but dangit! I love summer. I also like finding new ways to experiment on the grill.

And while I'm talking summer recipes, check out Roasted Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella from Smitten Kitchen. I am also a fan of keeping the oven off during the summer (I always seems to fail at this though) and what do I also love? Anti pasti. Call it appetizers or by any other name and I am all about it. I'm a born apps and sides girl.

I'm also loving: the strange complications of trying to transport a cake to Seattle without a proper vessel to put the cake in (more on this soon); eating curry outdoors; accidentally running into the CakeSpy shop while walking around Seattle; also, holycrapbestclamchowderever at Six-Seven; finally getting Pel'Meni in Fremont (almost as good as the original plus getting potato without fuss); getting bad ass pickles from you-know-who; excellent pasta dinners from Aaron after working out; how awesome pizza tastes after a long bike ride; Hopworks having a new location on N Williams; dessert planning for friends; lavender mint water; strawberries everywhere; summer produce in general; @Stephenathome (aka Stephen Colbert) "Revenge is a dish best served cold. That's why I always take my revenge in the form of gazpacho."

What are you loving this week? 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Travel + Food: Northern Ireland

I feel really special as this trip over was my third time on the Emerald Isle. This trip, though, was a lot less of all over the place and much more settling in and getting to see stuff I had missed the first two trips and stuff I had never even heard of.

Corey and her now fiancé (yay!) live in Enniskillen, which is an about 2 hour bus ride south of Belfast. We flew in, took a bus from the airport into Belfast proper, and then the bus to Enniskillen - all after flying all night. We were very, very tired. After all that, though, we got to spend an incredible 8 days with Corey and Brian, making food, eating food, drinking deliciousness, and seeing weird food items at ASDA.

Making Food

Aaron making cheesy baked ziti with locally made Irish herb sausages and Irish cheddar. We had it with g-bread (as Corey and Brian got it) and broccoli. And then we went and saw Thor.

Corey making margarita chicken. Corey has a file folder on her computer dedicated to recipes I've posted. She said that she and Brian are Julie/Julia-ing me. I feel so special! We used the chicken in burritos while watching Celebrity Juice (which is ridiculous and if you can watch it, do).

Corey and I made mint lavender shortbread cookies with lemon frosting. That's Corey mixing everything by hand. I do not miss those days! These were very tasty, but a little too herb-y, almost savory in flavor. When Corey made the frosting, it returned to the dessert realm. They'd be worth another shot with less lavender or working them into the recipe in a different way.

They are best enjoyed with a Guinness.
A breakfast galette, modified because I couldn't find cornmeal, with bacon, Irish cheddar, more delicious Irish cheddar and an egg on top. Crunchy and a wonderful way to start a rainy Irish day on Devenish Island.

Eating Food/Drinking Deliciousness
 Jack and Ginger in a can. And it's actually a really well made cocktail. Go figure.
I'm not a huge fan of Stella, but after recommendations from Corey and Brian, I went for it and it is also surprisingly good.
Aaron, Corey, and I went on a bus tour of the North Coast and one of the stops was at Bushmills. I tried the Black Bush (right), Corey had the tiniest hot toddy I have ever seen (center and below) and Aaron tried out the 10 year. It's weird ordering whisky in a cafeteria, but we rolled with it.
Aaron hadn't had Irish stew yet, so when we got to Giant's Causeway, he had to get it. Warmed him up for a cold walk around.
Magners Cider - actually tastes like apples! We drank a lot of this on our trip.
Best Jameson and ginger I have ever had. Seriously. Super spicy ginger is what Jameson craves. I drank it in our little cubby at the Crown Bar, which is across the street from the Europa Hotel, formerly the world's most bombed hotel.

Historical Food 

All of these were at Enniskillen Castle, which has two awesome museums. That poem cracked me up - "whatever it was of destroyed me". And in case you were wondering, yes, in medieval times even babies drank beer.

Northern Ireland Has Weird Food (and some awesomeness too) 
This part is my favorite. We saw so much strange, awesome, crazy, and interesting food related things that I felt the need to post all of them.

At ASDA there are many things - like pork scratchings, whatever those are. And strange puddings. And punny crisps. Also - REALLLLLLY cheap Cadbury eggs. That's a 6 pack for about $1.30. And they are available year round. Yeah.
 These are gummies. They were at the Marble Arch Caves. I don't get it.
This was in the case before we ordered our Bushmills whisky.  Can you tell what it's not?
It's a strange world when Guinness, which is delicious, is the same price as Coors, which is clearly not delicious. And don't say that's because Coors is an import to Northern Ireland - Guinness is expensive in Dublin, the city where it's made, in bars less than 20 blocks from the factory. And Coors is just gross.
I totally ate some. It was just chocolate. Aaron and I bought this to spend our last pence at the airport. Totally worth it.

I hope to visit the Isle again someday and see some more sites and funny signs and drink Magners and the best Jameson and ginger in the world.

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