Saturday, May 21, 2005

15 and life, you're crying

perhaps, if you are a white girl like me, you have never been to a quincenera. but i got myself invited to one today, and people, i must tell you. YOU ARE MISSING OUT! BIG TIME!

things i saw today that i have never seen before:

* a party that had THREE, count them, THREE separate bands playing, sometimes overlapping, and always LOUD
* a roomful of taffeta
* boys (attendents) doing a little shuffle, shuffle dance with roses in their hands
* a fire dance of some sort, where all the boys held cups of fire and did a dance. around all that taffeta! i was nervous!
* a dance similar to the horah, but instead of sitting in chairs, the girl sat (and then stood!) on some wrapping-paper covered piece of wood. i was nervous!
* a creepy looking quincenera doll that will probably give me nightmares
* a cake with more layers than i could count
* fake roses with fake water drops on them
* hairstyles that seemed so wild, i was afraid they were going to get up and head out on their own

Sunday, January 30, 2005


because "i want to be a girl who uses stale bread", i made this savory bread pudding for dinner. good and easy, but not out of this world.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

scallion goat cheese muffins

these are deeeeelicios (according to my husband). definitely savory-- would be great for a brunch. couldn't be any easier to make, either.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

cheese, onion and potato pies

these are the perfect comfort food for these cold, winter days.
recipe blatently stolen from the domestic goddess cookbook (which i HIGHLY recommend). it is easy to double this recipe and put half in the fridge for a really quick dinner another night in your week.

2 large egg yolks
1 tea. salt
2 tbsp. cold water
1 2/3 c. flour
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
7 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced

2 large potatoes, chopped into 1x1 cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
4-5 ozs. sharp cheddar grated
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
1/4 c. red leicester cheese, grated (you can substitute this with other british cheeses, if necessary)
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
4 tbsp. creme fraiche- to bind
salt and pepper

2 4-cup popover pans (i used big muffin pans, and that worked fine. so would deep ramikins)

for the pastry:
mix the dry ingredients together. add the egg yolks, vegetable shortening, and butter and mix again. add the water to bind it all. divide into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

preheat oven to 400 now.

for the filling:
peel and dice the potatoes, put them in a saucepan with plenty of cold water and bring to a boil. boil gently for 5-10 minutes, or until the cubes are cooked but retain their shape. drain and leave to cool.
in a large boil, combine the green onions, cheeses, slightly cooled potatoes, and parsley. bind with the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper (i like more than a little salt, fyi). take the dough out and divide one of the piles into 8 pieces, roll each one out, and cover the bottoms of the popover pans. fill with the potato mixture and do the same division and roll outs for the other disk of dough. use these for lids and press them together with the bottom dough, leaving a small hole in the top.
cook for 20 minutes- the pastry should be firm and slightly golden, but still pale. let them sit for a few minutes and maneuver them out with a knife (surprisingly easy!). damn, they are delicious. enjoy.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

squashy recipes

yum! i haven't tried them, but all of these winter squash recipes look delicious.

Monday, January 03, 2005


if you know me, you know i would not be alive today if it were not for trader joe's. they are my food lifeline, if you will.
new discovery there: cinnamon almonds. oh god. oh god.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

bruschetta of blue cheese, tomatoes, and pecans

you have to like blue cheese to like this bruschetta. i happen to love blue cheese (and most strong flavors), so it's a hit with me. goes well with the garlicky soup, but i wouldn't recommend the combo if you are going on a first date. for us old, married folk, nobody cares.

1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
2 ozs. cream cheese
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
2 cloves garlic
1 c. cherry tomatoes
bunch of basil
loaf of good crusty bread
black pepper

1. in a small bowl, mash the cheeses together until they are one. add the pecans
2. toast the bread until browned on both sides.
3. rub bread with garlic then spead the cheese mixture on top. arrange the tomato pieces on top, and add a piece of basil and a dash of black pepper.

garlicky white bean soup

this is perfect for a cold, rainy day. goes well with blue cheese bruschetta for a little something fancy, but it's a nice stick-to-your-ribs soup alone.

1 c. dried white navy beans
1 tsp. minced rosemary
1/4 c. olive oil
1 large onion
6 big cloves garlic, or more to your taste
1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
3 to 4 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. put the beans in a colander and rinse them. put them in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. let the beans sit and soak for 1 hour.
2. drain the beans, then put them back in the pan with 5 1/2 c. fresh water. bring to a poil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until they are tender, about 1 hour.
3. while the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. and the onion and garlic and stew them with the oil for about 20 minutes. after 20 minutes, stir in the tomato, increase the heat a bit, and stew for another 10 minutes.
4. when the beans are tender, add the garlicky/ oniony/ tomatoey/ olive-oily mix to the beans. add the bouillion cubes and bring the soup to a simmer. add the salt and pepper.
5. remove 1 c. of just the beans and blend in a blender until smooth. add the puree back to the soup (it might also be interesting to just puree all the soup for something really creamy. let me know if you try that!). simmer the soup for another 10 minutes before serving. top off with a little parmasean if you have some.

kitchen tools

please do not go any further with your baking until you purchase a kitchenaid freestanding mixer. it will cut your baking time in half and is cute to boot!

a note on cooking with your furry friends

dog tongues are the perfect tool to lick the beaters!

chocolate pavlova with tangerine zest whipped cream and fresh fruit

6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
zest of 1 tangerine
6 ounces raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mango, etc.

Note: Adding the sugar gradually to the egg whites ensures that the sugar completely dissolves and does not produce a gritty meringue.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) circle on the parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the vinegar and vanilla extract. In a small strainer, sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with the rubber spatula, fold in. Lastly, fold in the chopped chocolate.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringues to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Bake for about 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours or until the outside is dry. (The outside of the meringues will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed. There will be cracks and you will see that the inside is soft and moist.) Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.

The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.

Just before serving gently place the meringue on a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and add tangerine zest and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit on top of the cream or put the different fruit and cream in bowls and have folks serve themselves "sundae syle". Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold and once you add the cream and fruit the meringue will start to break down.