Saturday, December 26, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Experiment 1 was made with Manichevitz Brownie Mix, because it was on sale for 50c at the Scratch And Dent. Lemme just say, this is the most amazing brownie mix ever. It's rich and uber-fudgy and even when it's cooked into charcoal briquettes, it's amazingly chocolatey. I should have just eaten it with a spoon, because, as you can see, the mix did not like the Puff Pan, no matter what the poorly-worded flier says about being able to use any mix. They burned before they were cooked enough to flip, the little flip-stick didn't work, and I had to flip them with a spoon, which scratched the pan and managed to knock half the batter out of each puff. but they were still tasty.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
So, I’ve been out of work for two weeks as of yesterday. Amongst other things, it means I’ve been baking. It’s like my go-to for filling time and burning off anxiety. And what that means is that I’ve been reading a lot of labels, and nothing gets my goat-shaped-cookie like stupid warning labels on food. I mean, seriously. Are you really so dumb, so disconnected from your foodsources that you don’t know that butter contains milk? That peanut butter has peanuts in it? That whole wheat bread contains wheat?
Here’s where my social Darwinism tendencies start showing: If you’re a full grown person and you don’t know these things and you have the sort of allergy where you should know them, maybe you aren’t meant to be alive. How can you be that helpless? Who was already that helpless that someone got sued and had to add these superfluous warnings?
I just had to vent. Because it’s stupid.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We used to have this little silver diner. It was good basic diner food, and they’d let me have the kids meal pb&j when I was sick or poor. And then they got bought out by a Greek restaurant, and I hadn’t been back.
I really should have tried sooner.
Because what they did was combine the diner food with the Greek food, and it resulted in this excellent breakfast you see here: Gyro Omelet with Feta. They don’t skimp on the gyro meat, and the egg is nice and fluffy and well-browned, and the feta is creamy and strong, but not overpowering. The hashbrowns are excellent (you can judge the quality of a breakfast plate on the quality of their hashbrowns), and the biscuit is light and very buttery and perfectly toasted.
They’ve also got a spanikopita omelet, and the more usual breakfast items and some sandwiches, but I’m glad I picked this one: it was exactly something different, and that’s what I was wanting.
Monday, May 11, 2009
My friend L is a whiz with home-made pizza. It’s never less than amazing, but this most recent time, we tried something new: Italian sausage, fresh fennel sauteed in butter, and roasted red pepper paste mixed into the sauce. It was delicious. The cheese was the moderate-quality mozzarella, the kind that stretches when you try to cut it and shreds when you use one of those cheese-slicer things. And it’s my new favorite fancy pizza.
It’s always amazing to me how different honeys can taste when you taste them back to back. I mean, I grew up with Clover Honey and when we moved to Florida, I sort of knew that Orange Blossom Honey was different, but I never really thought about it until I went to the South Florida Renaissance Festival a few years ago and devoted my whole attention to tasting the different honeys back to back. I bought a bunch, and then I didn’t think about it again.
Until lately, when I’ve been riddled with allergies and balancing on the edge of a sore throat.
Our last food drop gave me a bottle of Tupelo Honey, I bought my usual North Florida Wildflower Honey downtown, and when we cleaned out the kitchen recently, we found all the tail ends we had lying around: standard Clover in the little bear jars, Killer Bee and Heather from the Bee Folk, Buckwheat from the Scratch and Dent, and a little bit of West Virginia Wildflower from our trip through to Ohio. Here’s a not very pretty picture of all the honeys we have:
(that’s, from top and the crystallized one and moving clockwise: Clover, Tupelo, Buckwheat, Local Wildflower, WV Wildflower, Killer Bee and Heather in the center.)
My personal opinions: Clover is standard honey, but in comparison to the others, it’s not as complex, and it’s kind of… acidic? Something in the range of too sharp. It burns the back of my throat, and always has. Tupelo is very sweet and very light, almost floral, a little acidic. It’s got that song claiming it’s the sweetest, but that’s not true. And it’s supposed to be rare, but as it’s from this basic area, it’s not all that rare for me. Buckwheat tastes roasted, almost like molasses, but much smoother. I like it on whole wheat pancakes, but it’s too strong for yogurt. Local Wildflower is a good, well-balanced honey, rich and deep, but nowhere near as deep as the Buckwheat, moderately floral, and not very acidic, though it does sort of make the top of my mouth feel tingly and crawly the way good live-culture yogurt does. WV Wildflower is lighter than ours, and there were walnuts in this one, so maybe that’s why it’s a little bitterer. It’s also a little more… honey-like? Closer to Clover, I guess, so maybe they have more clover than we do. It’s definitely greener there, and it tastes ever so vaguely more herbal than ours. Killer Bee honey seems… zingier than regular or common honeys, and that might be just knowing where it comes from, but at the Rennfaire, we tasted them blind and it still seemed zingier, tarter, but not really sour at all, and not with the burning of Clover. It has bite, maybe. And Heather honey is very floral, very rich, and much more bitter than honey usually is, sharp in a non-acidic way, with a definite woody taste in the background. It immediately makes me think of summer in Scotland, with the flowers blooming and the cold stone and peat still underneath. It tastes like the air there.
Out of the honeys I don’t have on hand, Gallberry is my favorite. It’s exactly how honey should taste, smooth and rich and not throat-burny at all, and on the thicker side, but never crystallizing. And I’m also a fan of Arrowleaf honey, which is white and solid at room temperature, and as mellow as turbinado sugar, prefect for tea and for holding together things like peanut-butter balls and sugarplums. Mint Honey is on the darker side, a shade darker than Wildflower, and tastes like mint; I guess the pollen has the same menthols in it. I’m allergic to Radish honey because it’s got the same allergens as radishes have, and it burns a little in that same peppery way, but it’s tasty. Orange Blosson Honey has a definite citrus quality to it, but it’s more like the flowers and less like the fruit: pretty floral and a little acidic. I haven’t managed to get my hands on Lavendar Honey or that Hawaiian White Honey, but they’re on my list.
Here’s a prettier picture that I didn’t take:
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Remember the fishpockets from the grill? Even after D made the stirfry, there was enough leftover for one little packed lunch: Miso soup with the leftovers.
I get my Miso from J-List (which I’ve probably mentioned before). It’s a moist instant, not a powder*, and all you need is hot water. It lasts for ages and doesn’t need refrigeration, too, so it’s perfect for lunches.
I added sesame seeds, Kastuo bonito furikake and alfalfa sprouts, then mixed the miso and added the grilled veggies and catfish, and there you go! Lovely lunch!
*Here’s what it looks like:
I had to give up soda about… something like fifteen years ago when I first realized my stomach didn’t work right (it’s since been diagnosed as a malfunctioning stomach valve, after previously being diagnosed as IBS and realizing it was much higher than that. the two sides of my upper stomach valve get out of whack and pull against each other instead of working together, and fizzy drinks are a good way to set it off). But I miss rootbeer, and I let myself have one once in a while when the urge strikes me and my stomach is not too upset about whatever I’m doing lately. But see, not having had rootbeer in almost a decade before I started drinking it again, I have this idea of what it should taste like, and most rootbeers don’t taste like that, so I’ve decided to try all of them and find the best one.
This is Boylan’s, and it’s pretty close. It’s all natural cane sugar, not HFCS or anything (which I try to avoid because it’s bad for you, no matter what the Corn Council says, it tastes too sweet, and it’s a risk factor for other health problems I have). It’s sweet in that creamy way that rootbeer should have, and it tastes like rootbeer, not like licorice or like artificial rootbeer flavoring, which is flat and goes too far. I hate the idea that rootbeer should have ‘bite’—it shouldn’t. It just shouldn’t bee so freakishly sweet that you feel the need to add acid to balance it (poorly and lazily).
It comes in a glass bottle, which I think makes for a purer taste, and a brown one at that, so there’s no chance light can damage it (I know that happens to milk; I have no idea if it happens to soda, but I wouldn’t be surprised). And best of all, it’s not desperately fizzy like so many mainstream sodas! It’s got the sparkle, but it doesn’t overpower, and it doesn’t cause a lot of gas in my broken stomach, so I can drink this one entirely while it’s still cool, instead of waiting for it to de-fizz, and therefore having to drink warm soda.
That’s my shop in the background, where all my pack lunches are eaten.
(imagine the upside-down ! there at the beginning)
Every time I hear the name Sponch, my brain drops it into the Flash Gorden theme song (Sponch! Aww-wwww! He’ll save every one of us!); must be the exclamations…
Anyway, we found this on a display of Hispanic snack foods, and with a name like that, we just had to try it. It’s a cookie, like a Maria cookie, but softer, with marshmallow, strawberry jelly and coconut. There is nothing not to love about this snack. You get six in a pack and diabetes on the side, but who cares! It’s like a Snowball on a cookie, with jelly!
And then we found out that it came in grape, too…
… and were sad that it isn’t as good. The grape flavor is overwhelmed by the other flavors, as the strawberry is not, and it’s almost too sweet, as opposed to just sweet enough.
But it’s still pretty.
D loves tapas, so he made us a whole meal of lovely little bite-size foods:
1. Gazpacho with grilled salmon and celery:
2. Sautéed spinach wrapped in the awesomeness of bacon, and tipped with roasted sesame seeds:
3. Stuffed mushrooms filled with the mildest, creamiest blue cheese I’d ever tasted (seriously, it was like feta, only a little different, and nothing at all like metal feet):
4. Whole wheat crackers with sautéed onion, Swiss cheese and sliced red apple:
And all together it looked like this:
I think the spinach could have used a little more seasoning before being wrapped, but other than that, it was all amazing.
See what H is building there?
That’s right girls and guys, it’s warm enough down here to grill. Has been for a month, and we used the household fund to buy a real propane grill with propane and propane accessories, and we’ve been grilling at least once a month since. Here are the lovely things we’ve made:
First up, we made burgers. Lovely juicy burgers. Like, three times in two weeks.
Then we got adventurous: Fish pockets with roasted vegetables and grill-baked potatoes.
The fish was catfish, and some of the pockets actually had chicken to stretch them, because more people came then expected and the catfish was a little expensive. Veggies were zucchini, summer squash, onion, mushrooms and garlic with dill and lime.
See how excited D was? He made the leftovers into a magnificent stirfry that was super-easy, since all the meat and veg were already cooked: rice, oil and a little soysauce, then tossed with the leftovers.
After that, we made kebabs that I didn’t get pictures of because I was too busy stuffing my face: beef and chicken were marinated in soysauce, lemonade, butter, garlic, salt and pepper, then skewered with mushrooms, peppers, onion, apple, carrot and tomato, and grilled. We had M’s yellow rice on the side, and grilled pineapple for dessert.
And most recently, we made teriaki chicken:
… with lime-cilantro and sazon rice, butter-steamed fresh greenbeans, asian slaw and watermelon. h marinated the chicken in Soy Vey kosher teriaki, then made his own teriaki from soysauce, sake, sesame, garlic, ginger and sugar, and a little rooster sauce, and brushed that on while they were cooking:
Mmmm, the first watermelon of the season…
And for dessert, E’s mom, R, made us the best banana pudding ever: Mix the banana pudding with the milk, like usual, then mix in a whole can of sweetened condensed milk and a whole tub of Cool Whip, and layer it with sliced bananas and Neko Wafers:
Practically deadly, it’s so delicious. We’ve got tentative plans for a Bring-Your-Own-Steak party, and I want to have a block party to get to know the neighbors, and at some point this summer, we need to make roasted corn. Seriously.