Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A colonial holiday, part I





More to come soon, but here are a few photos from our Thanksgiving trip to Williamsburg, VA.  
(I had a little fun editing these photos with a new toy I received for my birthday, yay for iPhoto!) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Angel Eggs


My absolute favorite part of all holiday related meals is the Deviled Egg.  I know it's not a consistent hit amongst everyone, but that usually means more for those of us who love 'em! 

I've made a number of variations, some with tarragon, Dijon mustard or even capers, all of which have strayed from the traditional mustard/mayo/paprika classic.  You can't go wrong, in my opinion. 

When I was a kid, the word devil kind of creeped me out, so I called them Angel Eggs. 

What's your favorite holiday food?  Are you making a traditional family dish this weekend, trying out something new, or skipping cooking altogether? 

Know it all


...just in case you forget. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

DIY Vegetable Bouillon

I want to share my adventure of making homemade vegetable bouillon with you.  I guess I think of it as an adventure because I find it so exciting to make such a practical and tasty pantry staple so easily.  If you have a food processor, it's a snap.  If you have a stick blender, it's still snappy.  If you don't have a machine to do the quick and easy chopping for you, it's time to invest (or add it to your Christmas wish list).


Heidi Swanson has a lovely recipe for veg bouillon on her blog, 101 cookbooks.  I also enjoyed cross referencing her recipe with this one from In Jennie's Kitchen.

Key ingredient in both recipes and with all bouillon: salt. When the large quantity of salt is added, it naturally preserves the vegetables and allows the mixture to be kept in the fridge for weeks. You can put the extra in the freezer, although it won't actually freeze solid because of all the salt.  


I used garlic, onions, carrots, celery, shallots, fennel, sun dried tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.  Mushrooms, turnips or leeks would also be lovely, but this recipe is very flexible. 


And of course, a lot of salt.  I used about 7 ounces, but better to start on the lower end than to make it too salty.


I added these beautiful whole peppercorns but found they didn't quite grind properly when mixed with all the other vegetables.  Perhaps start with the peppercorns and carrots so they'll grind down nicely. 


Once jammed in the food processor, your ingredients will be look something like this. You might find it easier to make two batches, since there are so many veggies involved.

Start by pulsing the veggies about 20 times or more if needed; this will quickly break them down and allow them to mix properly.  Add the salt last, then let it mix with full power until you get a nice swirl going inside the bowl. 


Once pureed, it will turn out looking something like this, depending on how many green herbs you use or if you choose to mix up the vegetables and add mushrooms or turnips.   


Add about a teaspoon of bouillon to each cup of water.  Adjust depending on how salty you like your broth.  


With four carrots, one fennel bulb, one onion, four garlic cloves, two shallots, four celery ribs, half bunch parsley, half bunch cilantro, three tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, one tablespoon peppercorns and seven ounces of salt, I ended up with almost 3 pints of bouillon.

Use as stock for any broth-based soup, add to risottos, sauces, chili or anything that needs a little extra flavor. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

A week ago I mentioned my weekend plans would include these delectable little morsels in my baking plans.  Well, here's proof that I got to it (albeit a week or so late in posting).  


Here's the recipe I used and a simple equation that made it all possible.  I ended up with exactly 36 cookies, which lasted the two of us approximately 5 days of non-stop cookie eating enjoyment.  

Key ingredient that makes this chocolate chip cookie stand out: sea salt.  I'll never go back to regular, granulated salt in my cookies again.  
Start with this:


You'll get something that looks like this:


Take that and make this:


Bake these at 360 degrees for 14 minutes and you'll get this:


Easy math.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gotta love Don



If you don't watch Mad Men, don't bother.  If you do, this is sooo quintessential Don Draper.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Monday

Let's do this.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have a delicious weekend!


This weekend I want to make these yummy, "best-ever" choco-chip cookies (they really are amazing) and attack that bouillon project I've been eying all week long.   Anyone else doing some home-cookin' over the weekend?

In calendar related news: less than two weeks until Thanksgiving (and my golden birthday)!

See you soon...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brown or brown?

Coffee Bean

-or-

Pecan

I loved these bags so much I decided one needs to be mine (actually, my mom suggested it).  

Which color do you like more?

DIY Bouillon

Why pay $3.99 for 16 oz.'s of vegetable flavored water in a waxy box?
















I'm planning, ...trying, ...motivating myself to muster up the strength to hop in the kitchen and make homemade, delicious, hearty, healthy, no MSG or sick additive packed BOUILLON!

It's really not hard at all (if you have a food processor). And let me tell you, this stuff comes is so, so handy for all that winter cooking you'll be doing.

Stay tuned for photos.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Madewell finds

Something for a holiday party

Something to wear with my new boots

Something to cozy up in

On sale! at Madewell, J.Crew's younger cousin.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alpinist's Alphabet


A rather fun print for the Alpinist in your life.  Good find, Ryan! 

Falling Back


How It Happens 
The sky said I am watching
to see what you
can make out of nothing
I was looking up and I said
I thought you
were supposed to be doing that
the sky said Many
are clinging to that
I am giving you a chance
I was looking up and I said
I am the only chance I have
then the sky did not answer
and here we are
with our names for the days
the vast days that do not listen to us

 — W.S. MERWIN

Monday, November 8, 2010

Replacements

I'm a vegetarian.  (Gasp!)

Not sure if you knew this, but it's true.  Life-long, true-blue, never-ever liked the texture, taste, or even the look of meat.  Especially red meat.  The smell, on the other hand, has never bothered me.

Being someone who loves food and appreciates a well-rounded pallet, I know that not eating meat makes me kind of a foodie wimp, or at least causes me to lose some street cred.  Ohh well. I'll eat just about any dessert or pastry, so at least I've got that going for me.

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Recently, I've found two recipes for traditional meat dishes that substitute the meat, for, well,...not meat.  And not fake meat (which really, is just so grossss), but rather, tasty, hearty ingredients like lentils and mushrooms.



I can't wait to try.  Whaddya think?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday in Wellington

Here is a set for New Zealand's hippest city, featuring a taste of Wellington's unique, vintage-bohemian chic style. Perfectly suited for a stroll down Cuba Street on a sunny afternoon.  

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View the pieces from this set and see the rest of the Sunday sets here

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Happy Sunday to you, fair reader. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's cooking

Last night I made cream of spinach soup from scratch, thanks to a recipe by my foodie-crush, Mark Bittman, who writes for the NY Times.

I loved the intensity of all the deep, green spinach leaves, but I'd recommend using more broth and less cream in the base.  An addition of some white wine might also be a great idea.

Tonight, I'm shooting for this white lasagna. The word béchamel is so lovely, is it not?



This weekend? Something squash. We have a bunch of little acorn and butternuts on the kitchen table that are dying to be roasted. 

This chili-lime vinaigrette with roasted acorn squash has really caught my eye.  Zesty and cozy.




Images and recipes at the incredible, practical and simply delicious smitten kitchen

Remi Thornton


Clutched


Really loving these classic, simple, leather clutches from Jenny N Designs.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Favorites


What's your favorite fall food?

Got a great, have-to-try-it fall recipe?  Let's hear it.

Craving something, got an idea, but no recipe? I'd like to know that, too.

On my mind: Corkscrew pasta & artisan cheese, roasted Butternut soup, and homemade English muffins.