June 26, 2006

Bon Voyage

If I was a better blogger, I would have postdated a few posts, found a sub or researched some way to get internet access in Prague and Vienna. Sadly, I did none of those things. Does it count if I gave serious thought to it but ended up getting distracted by other travelling details? (Note to self: do NOT forget passport!) This will be my last post until I return on July 11th. Expect lots of food reviews, pretty pictures, and most likely my return to a more canivorous diet (I hear that the Czechs are not too fond of their veggies. They do like themselves lots of sausages and beer though).

Until my glorious return, I would love it if everyone could leave a note in the comments section telling me a bit about yourself. Where you are, how you found this spot, what you like to cook, what books, if any, you cook from, if you have your own spot in WWW and if you have any suggestions for me about this site. Have a fantastic two weeks! Eat well!


June 23, 2006

Friday, Friday Part XI & XII

Two weeks for the price of one! And the last weekly post until I get back on the 11th! Feast your eyes on these:

Mexican Wedding Cookies from Heidi

Simplicity itself: Kate's Spaghetti con Aglio, Olio e Pepperocino

Nic's Perfect Pizza

Clothilde's Langues de Chat au The Vert

Your mother's a hamster.... Nicky's Elderflower Sirup and Fried Elderflowers

White Peach Sorbet and Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream (drool) from pastrygirl

Spicy Onion Jam over at Lex Culinaria

Have a fantastic weekend y'all!

June 21, 2006

Happenings Redux

Yesterday, I gave my boss my resignation notice.

Today, I met the head of my new department, registered for classes, got my student ID, and paid for my first semester of school.

In 6 days, we leave for Europe for 2 weeks.

I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

Labels: ,

June 19, 2006


Because of last week's madness, I let my weekly posts slide. Honestly, I think it's a good thing. As pretty as Farmers' Market produce can be, I don't think that a picture of it is worth the bandwidth every week. Also, the dinner bit is going too, unless I hear any outcry. I didn't really follow it and would feel guilty when I didn't. From here on out, I will only be doing my Friday round-up post as a regular feature. And that's all the news that's fit to print.

Cookbook Awards (Adam's Non-Meme) Part IV

The Finale!

The O.G.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Best for a Specific Purpose Award

1. The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Yes, it is fantastically over-analyzed and totally and completely obsessive (the percentages at the end of each recipe kill me) but with good reason. Everything in this book is delicious, no really, everything. When I first got it, I went on a bread baking frenzy and while it took up amazing amounts of time, it was worth it. Even when I stayed up til 2 am on a school day to make the raisin-cinnamon swirl bread and was bloody exhausted the next day. I think that I have a tragic raisin-cinnamon swirl bread deficiency in my diet come to think of it...

2. Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison

Want something to wow your skeptical canivorous family? Something that will make them forget that believe-it-or-not this meal actually contains no meat whatsoever? Or do you want something quick that you can whip up when you get home that has vegetables in it? This book is your friend. If you don't have her other books though, it can be frustrating because she calls for recipes that are in her previous books as complements or desserts, which what a sleazy way to get people to buy your other books. Yuck. Anyway, it has pretty pictures and tasty recipes.

3. Desserts by Martha Stewart

(Blogger is also lying to me and saying that the picture of the cover is in this post, but it's not! Picture to come as soon as Blogger obeys. UPDATE: Blogger is still not obeying.)

My one and only of hers. She is a dirty, dirty liar and none of her recipes (except one, the cranberry upside-down cake) ever turn out the way that they ought to, even if you follow the recipes exactly. Her minions make a pretty book though. One that you insist on continuing to make things out of because they're look so damn good though by the end you will be cursing her name and calling yourself a fool. Ahem.

June 18, 2006

Cookbook Awards (Adam's Non-Meme) Part III

The inspiration

Part one here

Part two here

Glad to Own But Barely Use Them Awards

1. La Bonne Cuisine... by Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange

The partner's mommy gave this to us as a house warming present. It's absolutely fascinating but not very practical for my day to day use. I like having a better understanding of classic French cuisine but I'm not likely to find dinner in it, especially not if we continue with our non-canivorous lifestyle.

2. Lord Krishna's Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuni Devi

Fantastic resource for Indian vegetarian cooking. Not practical at all unless I want to spend days making dinner. Nor do I have most of the kitchen supplies or access to the ingredients required. (Partner adds, "Nor do they have f****** garlic or onion in their recipes because they're a weird cult." When we do make things out of here, we add the garlic and onions, even though it heats our blood. Mmmm, hot blood.)

3. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

The mack daddy of cooking references. I have yet to really go through it though because I am a bad, bad future culinary student. It's a lot of information to absorb at once, even too much for my sponge-like brain (Spongy because I seem to retain an enormous amount of ridiculous information, not because I have a brain-wasting disease, knock on wood).

4. The Way to Cook by Julia Child

Look at the author. 'Nuff said. Ridiculous instructions, a lot of work and totally admirable. Once, I thought that I made a recipe out of this and I was so very proud of myself, until I realized that I totally screwed it up. Whoops.

El fin para manana.

Cookbook Awards (Adam's Non-Meme) Part II

Part one is here.

Adam's original post is here.

Most Beautiful Cookbooks Awards

1. Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

This couple travels the world with their family and heavily researches their new topic. They take their own pictures of the people they meet and the food they see. Like all their books, Home Baking is so achingly beautiful, I want to run out and buy tons of flour so I can make everything that is contained within its pages. I also deeply covet all of their other books, Flatbreads and Flavors, Hot, Sour, Salty Sweet (Southeast Asian food), Seductions of Rice and Mangoes and Curry Leaves (Indian food). Unfortunately, I am still under my self-imposed cook book moratorium. Soon you will have siblings, my pretty, soon.

2. The Last Course by Claudia Fleming

How dangerous is it that I have this book? So very, very dangerous, like 5,000,000 calories or so. Like the previous book, I want to drop whatever it is I'm doing and make every single thing I find in here, even the recipes with bleu cheese. If you know me, that is high praise indeed. Previous attempts have not gone so well but I am perfectly willing to admit that this is the fault of the impatient chef (me) and not that of the author. Just thinking about this book is making my mouth water.

3. The Zuni Cafe by Judi Rogers

What can I say about this that has not all ready been said? This book is an inspiration. I hope one day to be as talented as Rogers. I hope one day that I will gather up enough courage (and time) to attempt making more of her recipes. The slow roasted artichokes on a bed of onion and lemon that I did try were delicious but it took over and hour and a half in prep work to do it. I had to thinly slice a pound of onions and a handful of lemons, terrified that I was going to lose a finger in the process. I definitely need a mandoline.

I'm off again for more work, no rest for the weary. Be back later today with more.

June 16, 2006

Cookbook Awards (Adam's Non-Meme) Part I

The AG (who I've been reading a lot of lately) did his own cookbook awards today and asked that others join suit. I'm obsessed with lists and avoiding doing some more mass chicken carnage (Did I tell you I'm catering a party tomorrow? I'm catering a party tomorrow for 60. Yay! They're eating a lot of chicken.) so here it goes:

Best Desert Island Cookbooks:

1. The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl

I have to agree with Adam here. The Gourmet Book is fabulous. Almost everything looks delicious and all of the recipes that I've tried out of it turned out well and were tasty. Especially the world's most fantastic peanut butter cookies. You can thank me later.

2. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

I have a love-hate relationship with Madison. I love her early books but her later books have a lot of repeats from the previous ones. Not enough to keep me from buying them, but just enough to irritate me. Sigh. This is her vegetarian masterpiece. Without it, I'd probably be malnourished and very hungry. Good thing I have a copy.

3. A Year In a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop

Here's the thing. I love the book; it's been missing since we moved 4 months ago. I've been avoiding buying a new one because I keep on thinking that I'll find it somewhere. Books just don't just get up and walk away, do they? I've made about a quarter of the recipes in it, which is a lot. I love how the book is divided up according to season and almost everything can be made in under an hour. When you get your own copy, please make the Green Emerald Soba Salad (I add a tiny bits if tofu), the Hoisin-Glazed Tofu, and the Israeli Salad. I really need to get a new copy.

4. Best American Recipes 1999

Super cheesy title, when my sister gave this to me, I was kind of turned off by it. That's because I'm a snob. Don't let your snobbery keep you away from this great book. It has a ton of recipes that I've actually made (Strawberries in Champagne Jelly, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Roasted Sweet Root Veg with Cumin....) and all but a few I'd want to make again. Pick it up, even though it has a doofy title, especially if you can find it in the bargain bin.

5. The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

This is my favorite text book ever. I got it for horrible class I took three years ago. Ugh, a serious disappointment. However, getting this book out of it made it worth it. The megaderra (lentils with carmalized onions and rice) is a staple in our house, and everything else I dabbled in has been great. The folk stories are cute and I like reading about Rodin's childhood in Egypt and the long culinary history of the area. The cover is gorgeous too.

This is getting a bit lengthy and I have some more chickens to massacre. More to come tomorrow.

P.S. If anyone is interested, pass the non-meme on! If not, I'm interested in what people think of my choices. What are yours?

June 12, 2006


I have placed a moratorium on any new cookbooks entering my shelf (at least those purchased by me, if you know me and wish to give me a new cookbook, be my guest). At last count, I have 58(!), 10 of which were purchased within the last 5 months.

Not too long ago, I used to lovingly flip through the pages of my pretties and absorb all of their content. Now, I only have a vague understanding of what is contained within their many pages. Enough!
I decided to re-acquaint myself with my babies. I am getting a bit tired of the recipe listings in my head and they need to be refreshed.

My OCD tendencies involve me sifting through my books and listing which recipes I want to try from them. It's quite a list so far. If any of you have suggestions from my books (see left column), please let me know.

June 10, 2006

DINNER: June 10th-17th

Saturday: Ivonne's Pizza with Arugula Salad

Sunday: Enchiladas with Squash and Mushrooms

Monday: Spanakopita

Tuesday: Thai Curry with Veg and Tofu

Wednesday: Pesto Genovese

Thursday: Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

I'm having serious doubts about this feature. Is it boring for me to post what our dinner plans are each week? Is there a more interesting way to go about this? I like being able to track how our eating habits change with the seasons but I don't know if anybody else finds it useful... Any suggestions?

Farmers' Market June 10th

We got nectarines, radishes, herbs, summer squash,broccoli, Japanese turnips, green beans and local honey, in case I want to make my own graham crackers again. There were also some strawberries that didn't make it home, ahem.

I also took my first (and most decidedly last) wheat grass shot at the market today. It made me feel like I downed a triple shot of espresso and then ran around the block a few times. I mean that in the worst way possible. Perhaps that explains the poor photo quality.

June 09, 2006

Friday, Friday Part X

I don't care that it's not "technically" summer; in Meredith Land, if it's June, it's summer. Here's some recipes to get us started.

Nic's Watermelon Gazpacho

Ivonne's Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Sage

Looks like almost everyone is out and about enjoying the weather instead of staying in and cooking. Sounds good.

June 08, 2006

RECIPE: Fresh Fava Bean Soup

Adapted from Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day

Pretend that there is a picture of a big red bowl filled with a pretty light green colored soup. I was too tired and forgetful to take a picture last night.


3 lbs fresh fava beans
4 cups vegetable broth
2 TB olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

If you are going to make your own stock, now would be the time to start. Shuck favas. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. When ready, add favas to water. Boil 3 minutes. Drain beans and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel favas. (If you are making your own stock, it will probably be done by now.)

In a soup pot, saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Pour stock into pot and add favas. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until favas are tender, about 7 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in the blender. Be careful, the soup is hot and if you fill the blender more than half full, you might have a hot soup explosion all over your kitchen and yourself. I have learned this the hard way many times over. Return soup to the pot and reheat gently. Taste for salt and pepper.

This soup is good with some parmesan grated on top. I suspect that a little lemon zest, chopped parsley or basil would also be tasty.

Labels: , , , ,

June 04, 2006

DINNER: June 4th-9th

When it's very warm, a young cook's thoughts turn to salads. Lots of salads.

Sunday: Warm Seafood and Rice Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Corn and Cilantro Vinaigrette

Monday: Thai Cabbage Salad with Tofu adapted from Local Flavors (we didn't get to it last week)

Tuesday: Spinach-Arugula Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumber, Roasted Red Onion, and Popped Mustard Seeds adapted from Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Wednesday: Caramelized Fennel Pasta adapted from Local Flavors with Parsley Salad from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Thursday: Mushroom-Zucchini Enchiladas adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Friday: "Burgers" and Oven Fries

June 03, 2006

Famers' Market June 3rd

This week we've got what appears to be the last favas of the year, the first corn that I was willing to purchase, lots of greens, herbs, chilies, lemons, bunny food and nectarines.

June 02, 2006

Last Course Round 2: Cherry Cheesecake

I promised myself that I was going to follow the directions exactly this time, unlike a few weeks ago. I even made the dang graham crackers from scratch. However, here's what really happened:

I thought we had honey. Apparently not. I used a mix of light corn syrup and molasses for the graham crackers, which are the best graham crackers I've ever had in my life, maybe it's the two sticks of butter that went into them. It broke my heart to grind them up for the crust. They broke my heart again after painfully trying to pat out an even base in the tart pan, to see them baked down into a giant cookie after taking the "crust" out of the oven.

I was also under the impression that we possessed star anise. I don't know why. I think maybe we had it at one point, I didn't use it and in the Great 2006 Move, I chucked it. After a few googling searches, I ended up using Chinese Five-Spice Powder instead in the red wine sauce. I couldn't really taste it. I also think that I didn't cook the wine down enough and my sauce came dribbling down the sides, onto the board (see photo below). When I returned to it later, there was a puddle of sauce on the floor. Whoops.

Vegetarians (even fake ones like myself) don't eat gelatin. I used agar instead. I think that it didn't make too much of a difference. I was afraid of agar before because of previous kitchen disasters, now I really like it.

Conclusion: I liked the filling a lot (so did my neighbors and landlords who we pawned the leftovers off on). It was very light and airy. I plan on experimenting with it more. If I make my own graham cracker crust, I will just bake a giant graham cracker into the tart pan instead of making individual ones and grind them up. Or, if I want to make myself stark raving mad, I can fulfill my visions of wee individual servings of cheesecakes. I prefer the cherries unadorned. The sauce is messy and doesn't really add anything to the overall affect. Next time, I will just arrange the fruit prettily on top.

Friday, Friday Parts VIII & IX

Two weeks in one!

Heidi's Triple Chocolate Espresso Cookies, need I say more?

Kate's Raisin-Nutmeg Scones

Nic's Vanilla-Ginger Scones and her Vanilla Pudding Pops

Sam's Chocolate-Mint Truffle

Matt's Capirotada

Jennifershmoo's Tahinopita

After all that we're going to be thirsty. Try L's Hibiscus-tini or Chubby Hubby's Vanilla Old-Fashioned (cribbed from Food & Wine's Cocktails 2006)!

Is my sweet tooth taking over? Perhaps.

June 01, 2006

Love is...

Giving me the first little bitty tomato from our collection of heirlooms and not making me share.