Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Backward Glance and a Forward Stance

(Can you tell I'm an Edith Wharton fan? :-)
My verdict on the savory bread pudding is: enh. It looks very nice in the photos, but warmed up in the microwave it ends up being not so flavorful, and soggy scrambled eggs and corn on the bottom. Although the corn is good and sweet, the soggy egg/cream combination does not do it for me. Any advice/ comments as to why that is? I had misgivings myself, but as this was (as usual) an experiment, I plowed full-speed ahead anyway. Let me know what you think.
That was made 2 days ago (and I will still be eating it for lunch at work all week). Now I'd like to turn to tonight, and what I made 'fuh comp'ny.'
The miso-pork-sweet-potato is an old favorite now, (although this was an innovation: keeping both the sweet potatoes and the miso pork mixture warm in a 150-degree oven- that was an attempt at food safety for the pork. You'll notice the blurry quality of the photo as I attempt to open the oven door with one hand, take the picture with the other so as not to let out all the heat!) the kale side dish a ragged, thrown-together effort, (the attempt to include some color throught he YELLOW and PURPLE sweet peppers- 50 cents a-piece!- went awry as they were trapped between the onions and kale and kind of wimped out) and the peach galette was my first successful endeavor with a real, honest-to-goodness, from-scratch pie crust (from Epicurious). Ready for Battle!
(this is halfway through the 'forking') It worked the biceps, let me tell you! Of course, now that I've done the butter and flour mixing 'by fork' I think I can progress to using the food processor, having earned my street cred. It was good, folks. Even with white peaches, my yellow favorites no longer being available at the farmers' market.Mmmmm... ready for the creme fraiche, aye, matey!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A-ha, er, hmm...

So the reason there were so many things 'wrong' with my roasted tomato sauce on that gnocchi was that I had only completed the first step of making the sauce: roasting the tomatoes, albeit in a fancified way. Apologies, and I will have to try the rest of the Leftoverist's recipe on the one serving of roasted tomato I have left some other time.
For tonight, I have been active, and come home with such a terrible hunger at 9 PM, that all that will do is to pull out the newly bought flatbread crisps, futz around in the fridge for a jar of roasted tomato and olive bruschetta that I have been trying to throw away for some months now (thrift prohibits my hand from following through, even though memory would have it gone), and plunk down to read the opening sally of a random romance I picked up at the library. Yes, Reader, that is where I whiled away about an hour this evening. Ever so nice. And then, since I had a few corners to round out for a dinner for friends tomorrow, I made a wide loop home by Whole Foods, and returned triumphantly home way past dinnertime, "two bags full," of good food and good books. What a lovely crisp fall evening.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Neither trudging nor trailblazing... forward

So I did get around to having that roasted tomato sauce on gnocchi, tonight, in fact. However, in several points my sauce needed help:
too soupy (should have used more than 2 tomatoes and broiled better)
too seedy (should have removed by straining or something)
too clumpy (should have ... smushed it with a fork?)
too ambivalent a color (again, more tomatoes, and not one red and one green would have helped)
Anyway, the flavor is still nice, and the vegan potato gnocchi in the frozen section of Whole Foods 'paired nicely.' Meanwhile, I returned to one of my standbys for a vegetable side: Roasted Cauliflower from Brownie Points blog. I used to have the blog on rotation, but as posting there is very infrequent, dropped it. Now I shoot straight for the cauliflower recipe, simple as it is. :-)
Also meanwhile (since I feel like I am just winding up for a run of cooking projects this week), I tried this recipe from The Leftoverist: Savory Bread Pudding with Corn and Tomatoes (and zucchini, in my case). Here's the before:
As I write, it is 18 minutes past her baking time, and not yet done however. This might be because the roasting of the zucchini didn't get out enough moisture and so now the bottom of the pan is still soupy. Or it could be because her hint about surrounding the loaf pan with boiling water (on a baking sheet) was foiled by my not-flat oven shelf, in which water runs down and toward the back and quickly provides an impression of Old Faithful. Something tells me that might not be good for the oven. *sigh*
Oh well. In other news, I had a very successfully balanced day: farmer's market bounty (all for $21),
a late and delicious brunch (pear with cottage cheese and drizzle of maple syrup),
going to the gym, and catching up with a dear friend on skype. In fact, the brunch was so good, the pear had to come back for an encore! The encore included a certain unidentified, whipped, chocolate-bearing substance (butter? cheese? I still don't know) procured from Founding Farmers last weekend, smuggled out in a Tupperware. Ahhh, glamourous thriftiness. I recommend FF for their philosophy and a few things very well done (such as the heavenly grits!). Anyone in DC, show their support!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still Blah but Something Else Approaches

Something Else being an IV drip of inspiration, most recently from Orangette! I went back to read the beginning of her blog, to see where she came from, in effect, and take courage that she didn't always have the fiance, the new business, the monthly Bon Appetit column, etc, etc, etc. In fact, she was finishing up a Master's, discarding plans for a PhD, and depending on food, writing, and girlfriends to lead her to the Promised Land of her future... and they did! In such marvelous fashion! :^)
Anyway, I had a funny thought cross my mind today, which I thought I would post, even though it's not related to food or writing. What crosses your mind when you see one of these, with no trailer/ cargo attached?
I saw one tooling (inclined to also use the word, "put-putting") around Logan Circle today, and this is what I thought of: an overblown, blustery, pompous male, a la Malvolio of 12th Night but on the chubby side, instead of tending toward thin. Without the rest of the semi-truck, the cab feels like a big belt buckle with nothing to show! Just injected a little preposterousness into my day. And a good chuckle.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Blah

No new exciting locales, just me.
In fact, not even much new cooking. Been too busy going on dates (alternate 1) and feeling so whacked-out and feckless (alternate 2) this week to do much, except write out a Big List of Recipe I Want to Make, from all my favorite blogs. This has been top of the list for the last 4 days, and I've got tomatoes I've really got to use, but what do I do? I come home, read, surf, nap, watch a DVD, de-clutter but none too effectively... what exactly am I avoiding?? I wish it would just come out, come out, wherever it is, so I could move on! Maybe if I stare long enough at this beautiful picture I will be motivated...
but then again, it may just allow me to veer back into over-bubbly, under-reflective action. I am not doing so great at finding my "Balance" for the past couple of weeks, but I am trying! Depend on it...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not exactly up to snuff

Home Efforts: A purslane salad which started out well, with some tired cooked corn off the cob, added to cucumber.
Then I had the bright idea to roast the tomatoes I had that were on the far side of gone, to concentrate their flavor... and the same with the one lonely-looking red pepper that hadn't been used the week before...
...with the result that the salad didn't really highlight the purslane's lemony brightness, nor succeed in bringing out the rich sweetness of the tomato. Rather, they kinda glopped together unattractively.
Oh well. I knew it was healthy, so I had to eat it. And it was at least colorful. Aren't you glad I show you the not-so-great dishes too?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Boston Excursion

So since the last soup entry subject matter, I took a trip to Boston. It wasn't my first time there, but the only things I remember from my first trip, which lasted about 2 days, was the Firsts:
  • First time at Dunkin' Donuts
  • First time at a Mongolian-style grill
Other than that, I was with my cousin and helping her move, sort of. So THIS time, even though I was dealt a rough hand of cards in how I arrived and with whom (for work and with no one), I adjusted my thinking cap and thought I wasn't going to cry over spilt milk-- I was going to go out and taste the cheese!
Or oysters, as it were...

At the lovely Neptune, Oyster Bar Extraordinaire. Apparently one of the "it" places. You know, the kind that makes you wait outside for 45 minutes to an hour, just because. Except that I knew the concierge at the Ritz, so he called ahead, and even 45 minutes later (I walked), the seat was held just for me. Another first!

Other highlights (which I can't manage to get near or wrap around the photos, so you'll just have to guess the description that fits the photo):
  1. Bova's Bakery bread, which lasted in its paper bag in another plastic one for several days while still maintaining crazy levels of freshness, both crumb and crust. Something an unreasonable person might kill to get the secret of.
  2. Macaroons. Not the French-so-called, scone-like, coconut-festooned versions you may have seen around in American bakeries. No, sir: the kind that have a mysterious ability to be chewy and fragile and the least bit sticky, and with a pleasant crispness to the outside. The photo is of a pistachio specimen.
  3. Pastries in the North End, Boston's Italian neighborhood. Ok, so maybe everything in the North End was a highlight. It was like a landed in the frickin' Godfather! There was a saint festival, with an icon, with lights, with singing, at night! It was awesome. I spied these clam-shaped pastries which looked so fun, but turned out to be filled with a sickly-sweet cream that kind of made you want to stop after 3 bites, but there was So. Much. More. Ohhh...
  4. Gelato Italiano: Cinnamon! I found a very good substitute for the Cinnamon Ice Cream of my dreams, otherwise known to be that of a certain Berlin establishment, also extant in the Netherlands, called Australian Ice Cream. Divine. Anyway, THIS stuff was also top-notch, and benefited a homeless shelter-services agency to boot. That like, erases the guilt of the calories, right?
  5. Finally, best for last: cannoli so fresh you see the shells being filled in front of your eyeballs, at the street festival! Very yummy. By the way, is it trying to tell me something with that logo: "Very Agile" i.e. You Will Not Be If You Eat Too Many?? Hmm.
Ah, Boston, I think I could live with you. Yup, no problem.