Category Archives: party!

apple picking

I am a big proponent of photographing food. I don’t really love taking pictures of people or events or really anything like that for a few reasons. First, it always cuts into whatever is going on and everyone shifts around so their good side is out and all the fun stops for a second. Second, I barely look at pictures. Third, usually awesome events are accompanied by food, so I may as well just take a picture of the meal we had. But, this aversion to taking pictures of things (uh, people) that aren’t inanimate objects means that I have no pictures from my amazing apple picking adventure! Which was mostly an adventure in that we weren’t too too sure where we were going. But, once we (Alice, Liz, Matt, me) got to the orchard it was pretty standard. If your standard is awesome fun with many many apple snacks.

I definitely recommend apple picking next fall, I think it’s too late this year.

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And now, all I have is a picture of a bowl of apples, since I don’t like baked fruit and I ended up just eating several dozen apples over the course of a week or so.

summer salad, oops.

Okay I am really horrible and it’s October and here is the salad I ate all summer and, really, I can’t believe I am quite this bad at blogging, but maybe this salad will make up for all my shortcomings. It would not be the first time I have fixed a problem with avocado, nor will it be the last.

This salad comes via Mark Bittman’s 101 simple salad recipes. I sometimes think Bittman is a bit much, but I do agree with his stance on lettuce (thumbs down!). Lettuce is overrated, and you don’t need it to make a delicious salad.

Basically, this salad tastes like summer and takes maybe eight minutes to make if you have a difficult can opener. It tastes better with fresh, boiled, corn, or, if you are the luckiest, with barbecued corn, but I usually use a can of corn. It works.

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  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, diced

for the dressing:

  • 2 limes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (This stuff is way easier to find than you’d think, and it is so, so good.  New staple!)
  • a bit of olive oil

This is a salad.  So, you know, toss the ingredients and then add the dressing.  I promise this is such a great salad but also works as a salsa-type condiment, I think I put it on a burger at one point and really congratulated myself on that one.  I guess it’s a bit late for barbecue season but next year, next year.

!!!

I am pretty much the luckiest. (offset by being the worst blogger!) My birthday was last month, and look at the amazing gradient cake that Lindsay and Ashley made! It matched my nails, and was delicious! Thanks so much, lovely friends.

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I had the best birthday, we ate an insane amount of smoked meat (but not actual “smoked meat,” just meat that happened to be smoked), danced around to Bruce Springsteen, drank a keg on the roof, broke into a swimming pool, and basically had the best day and night ever.

summer pizza

Okay, this is late. It’s hard to be on the internet because it’s so nice outside and, you know, I’ve only been eating salad and lots of barbecued meat.  But, a few weeks ago Lindsay and I made a pretty delicious pizza.  It was mostly amazing because Lindsay made Jim Lahey’s pizza dough before I got there. I stopped by the Bellwoods farmer’s market and picked up some asparagus and some Monteforte dairy cheese, inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s asparagus pizza. We switched it up a bit, though, and used a base of dijon and balsamic vinegar.

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The whole thing is pretty easy, we just mixed up a bunch of dijon and balsamic vinegar, and spread it on the dough. Then we shaved asparagus (this was for sure the most laborious part… and the wait, I hate waiting for pizza to cook) and tossed it in the dijon/balsamic mixture, and threw it on the pizza. We shaved some cheese over top and baked it. This pizza was awesome.

pickles

I love pickles.  Making pickles has been on my to-do list forever, but higher on the list is “not die of botulism” so I kept not making pickles.  But, then!  I found a lovely book on quick pickles at Good Egg, and the main selling point was not speed and ease, but the lack of botulism potential. Basically, because these pickles are not canned, you have to eat them within two weeks, which is a fair price to pay for life. I know that the likelihood of getting botulism is low, but I am unwavering in my fear, so this book is the best.

Okay, enough about botulism. I made pickles! This book is also pretty exciting because it gave me lots of exciting pickle possibilities. This first round, I made smoky pickled corn. The book is a bit overwhelming because the recipes call for a lot of ingredients, but then you look at it closely and see that 8 of them are spices, so it’s okay.

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  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, cut in rings
  • 4 tomatillos, quartered (take off the paper skins!)
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 4 cups white vinegar (this was supposed to be white wine vinegar, but I misread it)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 4 dried fresh chilis, sliced
  • 4 ears of corn, cut into chunks

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic, peppers, onions and tomatillos until everything is softened.  Don’t brown them!  Set them aside, then bring all the other ingredients except the corn to a boil in a really big pot.  Boiling vinegar smells crazy, you might cry.  Add the corn once everything is boiling, and then let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat off and let everything cool.  Keep these in the fridge and eat them for 2 weeks, no more!

I had many fake ploughman’s lunches with these pickles, and was pretty into it.  Eat the corn rounds like corn on the cob, they are pretty spicy but pretty delish, I think.

a homemade life

A really awesome development in my life has been a new, totally fun cookbook book club.  The main regret of my last two months was forgetting my camera for our first amazing dinner talking about, and eating from, the River Cottage Meat Book.  Basically, it was the best.

But, this past month (week, still, as I am trying to blog better, you know?) we had a delicious brunch eating from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. I’ll spare you my many thoughts about the blog-to-book transition, instead saying that many many amazing breakfasts (and lunches, and dinners) can come out of this book, or they could just be merged into a super brunch like last weekend. The biggest downfall of the day was that apparently we all have a serious sweet tooth, so we ate coffee toffee, french toast, cupcakes, scones, fruit preserves, and bacon. Of course everything came together with maple syrup, best best best.

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I made this semi-crazy corn bread. It was good, but really needed fruit or (better) maple syrup to tie it all together. I am not totally sure about how I feel about it, but I think other people sort of liked it (unless they are trying to not hurt my feelings, but it’s okay guys!). Anyway, here is cornbread with a caveat: it is sweet, desserty, and kind of has a texture that gave me pause. But, if you are looking for something sweet and desserty, pour some maple syrup on this, because it is okay! (big sell, here, guys.)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350, and butter a pan (square, 8 inches, ish) and put it in the oven to heat up.  I don’t know why this step happens, but I did it…  Melt the butter in a microwave, let it cool a bit.  Stir the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda together.  Add the eggs to the butter and whisk.  Add the sugar, salt, milk, and vinegar to the butter and eggs and stir together.  Add the flour mixture and stir until there are no lumps.  Pour the batter in the pan and pour the cream into the middle of the batter.  Don’t stir.  Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

The cornbread is sweet, and the cream turns into a custard, somehow, so be warned!

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I think we generally agreed that the best tip from the book was using canola oil (lots) to fry french toast.  Seriously, it is noticeably better!

ricotta pie

I am actually a pretty horrible baker, for many reasons.  One, I like to add things to the recipe, which sometimes works but less so with baking.  Two, I always add things in the wrong order.  Three, I get so excited and always check on things a million times while they’re cooking.  Four, I really can’t resist sampling while I make treats, which definitely throws off the recipe.  Anyway, I don’t bake too often, but this recipe looked like it might turn out alright, and I tweaked it enough so that even if it didn’t work, it maybe would only sort of be my fault.

The original recipe is from Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries, which is a beautiful beautiful book, and is actually for a ricotta tart with a chocolate crust.  Because of my super basic baking skills, I didn’t feel up to making a crust from scratch.  I also kind of hate store bought crusts, so I decided (with help! best idea from Kristina!) to make a phyllo crust.

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For the crust:

  • a package of phyllo
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

First off, because I was sort of making this up as I went, I’m not so sure about the measurements.  But you just grease a pan, with butter (or I guess a pie plate would be so pretty but I’m way better with straight lines), and then lay down a sheet of phyllo.  Mix the butter and honey together.  Using a pastry brush (one of the very few times I prefer silicon to a more natural material since it cleans so much better than a brush), spread on the butter honey mixture to cover the phyllo completely.  Add another sheet of phyllo, and repeat as much as you’d like.  I think I did about eight sheets but it’s really up to you.

For the tart

  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 dozen cardamon seeds (really as many as you’d like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375.  Whisk all the ingredients together and pour the filling into the pie plate.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until it looks set and a bit golden on top.  I can’t lie, this is a good dessert and a really amazing breakfast. The cardamon makes it taste like you are maybe having a chai instead of dessert for breakfast.  Next time I’m going to add cloves, too.