April 27, 2011
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a 3-day weekend with absolutely no to-do list. It was marvelous, the sort of perfect weekend that you dream of, but rarely get to experience without something getting in the way. It all started with a nice, lazy, drizzly day. There was coffee with a friend, some errands, lunch at a great new sandwich shop, and then periods of relaxation and doggy-snuggling punctuated by just the right amount house-cleaning to leave me feeling, at the end of the day, that I had managed to perfectly balance being productive and lazy. And, just when the weather began to look like roasting season was its end, we got a perfect chilly and wet evening for turning on the oven one last time. We roasted a beautiful piece of lamb, all dressed up in herbs and garlic, and smeared the most delightful blackberry-Malbec sauce on each bite. We whipped parsnips with the tiniest amount of clove and nutmeg, just enough to elevate them to "fancy." And at the end of the night, we felt lucky, happy, full, and pretty psyched that it was still only Friday....
April 19, 2011
My goodness I've been terribly absent lately. It's not because I've been globe-trotting or accepting awards or whatever you probably assumed I was doing. It's just because the usual stunning DEB meals have not been exciting enough to share with you. Or have been gulped down too quickly to allow for photos.... It's all coming to an end, though. There are grocery lists and notes jotted down on various receipt-backs and stuffed into my purse that are waiting to be referenced over the next week. My planner is once again serving its ultimate purpose as a place for meal-planning, leaving dentist appointments and lunch dates woefully forgotten. But all in the name of good eats!
April 6, 2011
I kind of did something amazing. It involves butternut squash (go ahead, you can groan), and blue cheese, and some of those fancy vinegars from Blue Sky. There was one last squash in our pantry, waiting to be used up before we moved on to peas and asparagus and said goodbye until next fall. I wanted to do something completely different, something to end with a flair this months-long love affair we've had with butternut squash. So I thought about empanadas, and I thought about mole, and finally I thought about croquettes.
March 25, 2011
I'm not sure why I've been entranced with the idea of hand pies this month. It could be that with the busy schedule I like the thought of having something to go from freezer to plate that's homemade and flavorful after a long day of work. It could be that I just like any excuse to use my killer pie crust. It could be that I need something appropriately British to match the accent my internal dialogue has picked up since I spent two sick days on the couch watching Downton Abbey. Or it could be that they're just a really great idea. A pie you hold in your hand. A pie you can eat all by yourself without getting funny looks. A hand pie!
March 21, 2011
This was our dim sum dinner a few weeks ago- one of several we've had and probably the best one so far. We had char siu bao made two ways, umami eggs, and sauteed gai lan, which might be my new favorite kind of greens. Really the only problem with this meal came at the end, when we were left to suffer a persistent lack of green tea ice cream despite our endless whining about needing some.
March 17, 2011
There were a lot of great things cooked over at the Dog Eat Blog house during the last few months, but between bad lighting, busy nights, and sheer laziness, they were never properly documented for you. And they were good enough that they deserve to be shared. So I wanted to make a list, with short, quick recipes, of some of the things I delighted in making and eating over the past couple of months.
March 12, 2011
Have you heard of black garlic? It's garlic... that's black. It comes with a reputation for having lots of umami, which may or may not be my new favorite word, by the way. I found it at Whole Foods one day, and had read a few recipes that used it but wasn't entirely sure what to do with it for a while. I cut open some cloves and smeared it on bread with arugula pesto and fresh ricotta, stirred it into a sweet potato hash, but neither application really highlighted the black garlic flavor. This recipe did exactly what I wanted. It was phenomenal.
March 9, 2011
I have never been known to be at a loss for words. I like them so much I talk to myself all the time. I compose emails, blog posts, and phone conversations in the car or while I run. But right now, I'm suffering from a bad case of writer's exhaustion. Between my thesis, editing papers for my students, writing articles for a new side job, patent and grant writing at work, I'm just done with words.
March 5, 2011
I have never understood why some people don't like cilantro. It's got this bright and sunny flavor that goes well with any protein or vegetable, that just taste like "fresh." It's my deserted island herb- if I could only bring one, it'd be cilantro. I understand not liking parsley, or rosemary, or even not being a fan of basil (although I'd probably give you grief about that one). Maybe it's like the aspartame-flavor gene, some people have a bad cilantro-flavor gene.... and I say, all the better for me- more to grace my plate!
February 27, 2011
The February 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Mallory from "A Sofa In The Kitchen." She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
(And I'm making it just by the hair of my chinny chin chin.... finished the panna cotta and cookies yesterday, and managed to get some good pictures while the sun was out today!)
The dogs are just as bad as E and I about wanting to get out of bed in the mornings, especially when it's chilly outside. They'll wake us up demanding breakfast and as soon as they've eaten, they climb into bed with us to warm back up. During the week, they're on their own for snuggling, but come Saturday morning, the whole family gets to sleep in. Freya will bark at the side of the bed, demanding that we make room for her. Ellie will bounce her little head up with a tiny whine to let us know she's ready to be invited up for that last hour of pre-dawn sleep. We read a bit, or fall back asleep briefly, and generally enjoy the fact that we don't actually have to be anywhere just yet.
February 25, 2011
Pardon me for a moment while I nerd off a bit... Have you heard about this "umami" that's sweeping the foodie world? (Sorry, I promise not to say foodie again. I don't know about you, but the word makes me cringe.) At any rate, people are throwing "umami" around and it's actually all for a very good reason. Umami is one of the five basic tastes. The mysterious "they" added it on to the list with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter a couple decades ago at a symposium dedicated solely to the understanding of this taste. The Japanese have been touting it for much longer, and it basically means "savory."
February 21, 2011
My sincerest apologies for being absent these past few weeks; I'm still getting into the rhythm of this whole blogging thing. Things have been pretty busy, but in a very good way. There has been lots of thesis-finishing, a bit of job-hunting, some dog-sitting, birthday-celebrating, new flavor-discovering, good book-reading, exciting new book-starting, warmer weather-appreciating.... and of course cooking. The DEB kitchen has been rather busy, and I have loads of tasty treats to share with you that will trickle out as I get the photos uploaded. (Note- photo quality may be lacking in the upcoming posts as I'm doing the edits on my lap-top and I can't ever tell if the color is right. As always, you have to trust me that I don't actually cook or eat ugly things.) To start, here's a simple recipe that's perfect for the coming end of the season: one more taste of the winter greens and squashes, warm and light, and perfect with a glass of white wine to remind you of warm and sunny days ahead.
February 8, 2011
I know I've recently bestowed the incredibly delicious bacon jam upon you all, and you probably thought that was quite enough bacon debauchery to last me a while, but it was most certainly not. In the same vein as the bacon-pecan cookies, I've yet again managed to take an ordinary sweet and bacon it up right into the ranks of amazing.
January 30, 2011
January 27, 2011
This was not so much a recipe as a project. The kind that involves file folders, spreadsheets, hours of research, and weeks of planning. I have admitted before that I'm not much of a recipe gal. So when I saw that this month's challenge involved 5 pages of instruction, and that that was just a fraction of the final product, my first thought was to bow out. I don't even have a real sweet tooth. I don't actually care if my food looks good. But then I remembered that the reason I joined this group was to challenge myself. And taking a sick day on the second challenge seemed kind of weak. So I steeled myself, took a deep breath, and said "Challenge Accepted." [Insert Dartagnon-like glove slap here]
January 26, 2011
I lost a dear friend this week. She was born Darlene, and was lovingly dubbed Jarlene a few years after I met her. (You see, her license plate was JAR-2081.) She was my 1997 Toyota Camry. I bought Jarlene in 2002, and we spent 8 years together (her "Glory Years," she always said). I can still remember the day I met her- a late summer afternoon, in the dealer's lot.
January 25, 2011
I am extremely excited about this post because it involves bacon and sandwiches. I feel very strongly about both. Bacon is one of the only meats that I actually missed when I didn't eat meat. Occasionally a burger also sounded good, but mostly bacon was what I found myself longing for if ever wanted meat. Bacon is also really one of the only meats I like in a sandwich. Most deli meats disturb me- have you seen the "turkey breast" at the Boar's Head counter? No turkey's breast ever looked that uniform and unstriated. It's completely unnatural. And speaking of sandwiches, I can go on a good rant if I'm served one with sub-par ratios among the various ingredients, or worse, if there isn't an arrangement such that each bite contains some of each ingredient. How annoying is it when you get a sandwich with one round tomato slice, a pile of onions, an squirt of mustard all in the center of the sandwich so that the corner bites have nothing but cheese and bread crust? It's really annoying, that's how.
January 13, 2011
I swore I would make a recipe as I baked this dish. I would be testing two different permutations, so certainly I could keep tabs on how much of each ingredient I used so as to best direct you toward the perfect savory bread pudding. But instead, I got caught up in winging it and the drooly anticipation of my dinner, and so instead, I have a wobbly sort of recipe, and a set of suggestions- AND links to where you might find less wobbly recipes and more suggestions. I do all of this because I want you to make this bread pudding, before it gets warm and the fun of comfort food is replaced by the bright colors of spring vegetables.
January 8, 2011
I know what you're thinking, who starts off the new year with fried foods? Didn't we just indulge for 3 weeks straight? BUT, this fried food is topped with a slaw. A slaw with no mayo. A slaw made with fruit. (Slaw is starting to look like a really weird word right about now...) So relax, your resolutions are safe. And you will thank me, because this is a fantastic dish. Perfect to snack on, a great dinner accompanied by a green salad, and likely to be a show stopper at a party.
WARNING: Sections of this post are rated PG for being "Pretty Gross." Or "Particularly Goosey." Or "Perceptibly Greasy." Or... ok I'll stop. Basically, what I'm saying is that there are waterfowl body parts graphically depicted.
January 4, 2011
The holidays are behind us and it's back to real life. I haven't posted in a while because I've been
working so hard on my thesis enjoying the time off work and trying to finish the leftovers our families bestowed on us after Christmas... so there hasn't been much to blog about. Short notes on the Dog Eat Blog Holiday include: