July 29, 2006

Friday, Friday Parts XVI & XVII

Maybe I should change the name of this feature to "Whatever Day I Feel Like It Because I Am Lazy". Much, much delayed. On to the important stuff!

Kate's Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Tammy's Boquerones

Puffy Lemon and Cream Cheese Pancakes
over at Lex Culinaria

Molly's Pappardelle with Zucchini Blossom Sauce

Indian-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers by Indira

July 28, 2006

SHF #21 Jamaica Sorbet

(For those not in the know SHF = Sugar High Friday)

Participating in my first international blogging extravaganza, I present my very own creation, Jamaica Sorbet (or so I thought until I saw this). Here's what I did:

1 cup dried red hibiscus flowers
5 cups water
1/4 - 3/4 cup sugar
1 TB good tequila

Combine hibiscus and water in a pot. Cook over medium heat until misture begins to simmer. Let cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Add sugar to taste and mix well. I like my jamaica tart, so I added about 1/2 cup sugar, but I think that was a little bit too much. However, you if don't add enough sugar, your sorbet can be too icy, so proceed with that in mind. Cool for about two hours and let chill in the fridge overnight.

The following day, stir tequila into the jamaica and add to your handy-dandy ice cream maker. Follow your machines instructions. When done, pack in a container and put in the freezer until firm. I put a whole shot of tequila in mine which was too much alcohol and made my freezing time longer than it ought to have been. Consume, even if it's barely 7 am and it has tequila in it, hey it's Friday.

Now that I have conquered this, I believe that it is timew to realize my dream of Latino inspired sorbet trio. Pepino-Chile here I come!

Look here for more SHF entries, as of Sunday 7/30/06 whatever day she feels like. Thanks to Sarah for hosting.

(Any comments for my photo editing non-skills (especially from anyone who knows what they're doing)? I re-discovered Picassa this week and am fooling around with it. Advice is most welcome.)

Techonrati Tags:

Labels: , , , ,

July 27, 2006

A Little Bit of Borrowed Inspiration

It's still too darn hot to cook. Just the idea of turning on my oven or stove makes me want to run a cold bath and stay in it. From my rapidly growing collection of daily food blogs, I remembered two very interesting posts. And thus comes forth dinner.

We asked our neighbor, who conveniently calls Hawaii her home, if she had any good poke recipes. Not only did she loan us her Hawaiian home cooking book, she also rustled up a curiosity she found in the local Asian market: a poke kit. It was made up of a small packet of red Hawaiian salt, ogo (a feathery pink branching kind of seaweed) sesame seed and chili pepper. According to the directions, I added the ogo to a bowl of water and let it soak for 3-4 minutes. I drained it, chopped it into bits and added it to a pound of ahi chopped into 3/4" pieces. I tossed it with a tablespoon each of tamari and sesame oil, 3 green onions sliced into very thin rounds, a chopped garlic clove and a bit of chopped manzano pepper. I let that sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 350 (I know, I know, cold bath) and cut 12 wonton skins in half. Eschewing Heidi's other ingredients, I bake them plain on a Silpat for 10 minutes or so, until they were browned.

I carefully broke apart a Savoy cabbage into whole leaves, scooped a few spoonfuls of poke into them, garnished with some daikon sprouts and added the wonton chips. Of course we gave some to our neighbor, and she said that it tasted just like how it's made at home. Sometimes, I even impress myself.

Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll let the poke sit a bit longer in the fridge. Our second helpings tasted even better than the first.

P.S. I am well aware that I also need to take some very good instruction from these folk (Matt's permalinks still aren't working so well). My photos kind of stink.

Labels: , ,

July 24, 2006


So, after a long, hot, brain melting weekend, in which I put off the usual Friday post, I resolved to do one today, no matter how delayed. And then Blogger had its own little meltdown and I lost the post (true story!). The XVI edition of Friday, Friday will just have to wait. Hopefully, more interesting content will be forthcoming.

July 21, 2006

Vacation Food: River-Front Dining and the Green Fairy

Part One is here.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov is a small walled city on the banks of the Volta about 60 km (I think) from the Austrian border. Every meal we ate here, besides the breakfast provided by the hotel, was along the river. The river makes a U-shape in the middle of town and on both sides there were numerous places with river-front dining. Our first day there, I eyed a cute little stand selling all sorts of cool fruity drinks, with or without alcohol and I insisted that the partner and I each get one. They had teeny tiny watermelon wedges, how could I resist? It was fun to sip something cool while people watching.

The best place we went to was vegetarian and also had the best beer we tried in the Czech Republic. It was a very local dark beer that really tasted like it was dark, unlike all the other ones that we sampled. Pity, we couldn't find it anywhere else during our stay. It was so nice being able to look at a menu with the knowledge that I could order anything off of it. For our other dinner in town, I had a whole trout. It was the first time I ever ate anything that still had its head attached. M dared me to eat the eye, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

I forgot to mention earlier that Absinthe is legal in the Czech Republic. The partner indulged a few times and while I was less than enthralled with it, it was still interesting to try it out. We had a very light green one while in Prague and a darker green, and not-as-good quality, one in Cesky Krumlov. We also tried a red one at the waitresses recommendation which tasted far too much like Campari, the devil's drink, for me to like. Darn me and my American bitter-disliking taste buds. David Lebovitz also has interesting info about Absinthe on his site. Yes, it made my tongue numb and yes, it made me very,very drunk.


July 20, 2006

A Few Ways for Me to Use My Neglected Ice Cream Maker

From my notebook of food ideas:

Latin American Trio: Jamaica Sorbet, Mojito Sorbet and Mango Sherbet or Coconut Sorbet or Pineapple-Habenero Sorbet or Cucumber-Chile or Avocado Ice Cream or something else? This is still clearly a work in progress.

Frozen Gazpacho: Tomato Sorbet, Cucumber Sorbet and Red Pepper Sauce

Kir Royale: Cassis Sorbet with Champagne Jelly

Frescata: Strawberry Sorbet with Champagne Jelly

Southern Trio: Buttermilk Sorbet, Corn Ice Cream and Peach Sorbet

Frozen Chocolate Dipped Strawberry: Chocolate Sorbet/Ice Cream with Strawberry Ice Cream/Sorbet. One will be sorbet and the other will be an ice cream

Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie: Lemon Sorbet, Lemon Ice Cream and Meringues

Deconstructed Apple Pie A La Mode: Cinnamon Ice Cream, Baked Baby Apple, Sables. I am particularly interested in this one.

Deconstructed Pesto: Basil Gelato, Olive Oil Gelato, Parmesan Gelato and Pine Nut Cookies. I can't decided if this one sounds intriguing or horrible.

Any other clever ideas?

July 19, 2006

Vacation Food: The Good, The Bad and The Godawful

Prague, Czech Republic

Before we left, I knew from my minimal amount of research that Prague is not a vegetarian-friendly city. I was expecting that the partner and I would live off of french fries for the week and never see a green vegetable. This was only partially true. Yes, fried cheese was an vegetarian option almost everywhere we went, thankfully this was not the only option. We could also choose from woefully overcooked pasta with frozen veggie mix tossed with condensed cream of mushroom soup, the ever popular garlic soup, which was delicious but also probably made with chicken stock but I chose to ignore it, and lots of fried fish. Far, far, far too much fried fish. I thought that maybe it was just the vegetarian food that wasn't up to snuff, but the partner's mum and dad weren't too fond of Praha cuisine either.

There were some bright spots. At the hotel we were in they served breakfast which was mostly the same every day. I really liked the pumpernickel bread and the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers that were laid out. I never thought of having vegetables like that for breakfast before, but now I'll have to remember it for later.

Of course on the very first day, I found out about the two open air markets near Old Town. The first was behind a Tesco (European version of K-Mart) and while it wasn't a farmers' market, I did get to sample my very first red currants. Oooh, tart! One of the professors in K's (partner's mom) program brought his whole family along and his adorable, precocious daughter popped the currants like candy. Just thinking about that makes my mouth pucker. The next market was much larger. Half of it was green grocers and the other half was tourist crap. We bought a bunch of radishes and a bag of cherries for our mid-morning snack. M, partner's dad, was horrified at our willy-nilly radish eating, but they tasted good and fresh.

In the frou-frou shopping district we went to fanciest ice cream parlor I will ever go to. There were chandeliers, mirrored walls and red marble at every turn. It was incredible. And they had the delicious gelato too. Our first time there, I foolishly ordered sorbettos, and when we all shared tastes I deeply coveted K's walnut gelato. Longing to taste it again, we came back the next day and not only did they not have it, the staff were incredibly rude. *Sigh* Now I will just have that memory of a mere spoonful to last me the rest of my days.

My favorite restaurant in Prague was right by the entrance for the Praha Hrad. I think it was called the Flying Pig. They had red geraniums in all the windows and the interior was rustic but polished at the same time. Our first trip there, I ordered the fettucine in truffle cream sauce. Holy cow, this was good. Either they put real pieces of truffles in it, or it was perfumed heavily with them and had huge pieces of porcini too. I was so entranced that I didn't want to talk while eating, nor did I want to participate in the conversation about how men and women are treated equally in the arts and the workplace (They're not treated equally, if people are not given the same opportunities to succeed.). For our second trip there, the partner and I went tomato crazy and had bowls of gazpacho and salata caprese for lunch. Both were fantastic.

This is getting long, so I'll get to Cesky Krumlov and Vienna later.


July 17, 2006

Vacation Recap

If anyone is interested, I posted a short review (with pictures!) of my European vacation over at my other site.


RECIPE: Squash Blossom Frittata

This was our flowery lunch yesterday. We had zucchini blossom frittata with an arugula salad decorated with nasturium and chive blossoms from our garden. I feel a bit foolish that I spent $2 on 6 zucchini blossoms from the Very Expensive Farmer's Market Stand (tm) especially since if I had my dream garden, I'd be tearing my hair out over how many squash we have all ready and plucking the flowers off the vines just to hold back any more squash production. One day, I will have the garden of my dreams and on that day the heavens will open, angels will sing and I will curse my overabundance of produce. Today is sadly not that day.

Squash Blossom Frittata from Gardeners Community Cookbook edited by Victoria Wise


6-8 squash blossoms
2 TB butter
2 small summer squash, sliced thinly
2 green onions, sliced thinly
4 eggs
1 TB milk
2 TB chopped fresh herbs, I used parsley but I think mint would also be lovely
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Wash blossoms extremely well. Buggies like to hide in them. If you're feeling particularly exact, you can pat them dry too. Guess what I did? Slice blossoms thinly.

Combine eggs, milk, herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.

Preheat broiler.

Melt butter in oven-safe saute pan. Add green onions and squash. Saute two minutes. Add squash blossoms. Stir to combine quickly. Add eggs. Cook for three minutes, or until eggs are mostly set. Sprinkle cheese on top and run under broiler for three minutes, or until frittata is puffed and golden. Serve with flowery arugula salad and good toast with butter.

Labels: , , , , ,

July 14, 2006

Friday, Friday Parts XIII, XIV & XV

Short and sweet:

Vanessa's Mojito Sorbet, mmm yes please.

Matt's ideas for melon sound fabulous and so does his recipe for tomato-fennel soup but his permalinks aren't working, so just do a site search.

Molly's Buckwheat Blueberry Bundt Cake

Oh, baby. Dana's Frozen Honey Mousse. I think this would be an excellent way to use my Austrian honey.

I think my sweet tooth has taken over again, which is unfortunate because it's not going to get to taste any of these for a while. As a result of eating far too many French fries than I know is good for me on vacation (vegetarian options were few and far between), I have placed myself on a extremely low-fat diet until I stop feeling like a not-so-little grease ball.

July 13, 2006

Welcome Home (A Photo Essay in Two Parts)

How the garden welcomed us home:
How the bunny welcomed us home:(This was my mother's copy of Shakespeare plays that she used in high school.)

More to come....