I talk about food a lot. And other stuff.

But mostly food.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sammiches for Dinner

I actually made something according to the recipe! I didn't change a thing.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me either.  I had my doubts about the amount of parsley, but it turned out really well.  I also thought about upping the amount of couscous, but again, the proportion was great.  I think next time I'll seed the tomato, as the result was a leaky wrap, and I'd put the remaining parsley mixture in the couscous before cooking the chicken so it has time to soak into the couscous a little.

We had this for dinner one night.  It was really light and fresh and delicious.  As is often the case, this made three portions for us, not four, but because it's so light, I don't even feel bad about eating one and a half portions.  This is going to become one of our staples this summer.  The kids loved it, and it's great for leftover chicken.  Bet it would work great with tofu, too. 
Click here for EatingWell's Mediterranean Wrap recipe.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bomb!

Join me in the delights of unconventionalism, won't you?  I this week made Cherry Jam.

This jam made it on to vanilla ice cream (with and without chocolate syrup), toast, and.... a grilled cheese sandwich.  No, wait.  Several grilled cheese sandwiches.  For lunch and then For Breakfast.  That's right.  I served grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast.  And I was right to do it.

I used the Cherry Jam, Cracker Barrel's New York Extra Sharp Cheddar, Tregula (omg, you have to try Tregula!) and some day-old boule from Patrick's Bakery.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Cherry jam on a grilled cheese sandwich is the most beautiful thing you never heard of.   It was suggested in the recipe from Eating Well for this jam, and it looked so good I had to try it.  Now you should.

The recipe below makes enough for 2 sundaes, some toast with butter and 1 1/2 grilled cheese sandwiches.  And tasting.  Lots and lots of tasting.  It is half of the original recipe, and therefore easily doubled.  It is also really easy to make with kids, as you just stir all ingredients together and stick it in the oven.

Roasted Cherry Jam
Modified from EatingWell's Smokey Roasted Cherry Jam (I don't do smokey)

1 15oz pkg pitted frozen cherries, thawed and cut in half
1/4c orange juice 
1/2 TBS chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 salt

Preheat oven to 450F
Combine all ingredients in a pie plate or baking pan
Roast, stirring occasionally until the cherries are broken down and the liquid has thickened, 35 - 45 minutes (same time for double recipe)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laundry Day

As I spent time sorting what seemed to be Every Piece Of Clothing My Entire Family Owns in the laundry room last night, it occurred to me that I might be doing it wrong.  Or at least different.  As I sorted the adult clothes diligently into whites, lights and darks, I simultaneously sorted the children's clothes into their own basket.  When the kids clothes basket gets too full for one load in my (awesome) washing machine, I don't sort them into lights and darks.  I sort them into His and Hers.  Why is it that I don't feel the need to sort the kids' clothes by color?

Anyone else out there do weird sorting?

Also, let it be known that the kids stuff all gets washed on cold.  I'm not That clueless.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Filling my parents' fridge with food.

My husband travels for work about every 4 - 6 weeks for about 4 - 6 days.  When he does, the kids and I move into my childhood home with my parents, four miles down the street.  I am an only child, and my parents are so happy to have these days to spend with their only grandchildren.  Oh, and with me, of course.  Plus I cook, so that's good.

When we arrive at my parents', we do so with whatever perishables we have in the house.  I also then go grocery shopping.  My parents either shop for ingredients for that evening's recipe after work, or make reservations for dinner.  I need to plan ahead a little more than that.  And so I shop.

This week I jammed their refrigerator with eggs, bacon, asparagus, greens and scallops and made my last two dishes from April's EatingWell.  The results were delicious.

Unfortunately, the Spinach and Frisée Salad with Tangerines & Coriander Crusted Scallops were served without my taking a picture first.

Mine totally looked like that.  And it was as delicious as you would imagine.  Only took 25 minutes to make, too.  AND it's only 5 Weight Watchers Points for the whole thing.  Go make it.  I used previously frozen scallops and oranges.  I also added a little of the herbs from the dressing (dill, chervil and chives in my case) to the greens.  I was really glad I did.  (Who's ever used chervil?  Well do.  It's really lovely.)

We also made some pizzas.  I used Pillsbury roll out crust (in the can, like Crescent Rolls) which worked just fine.  I also didn't remember to take the picture until after we were half way done... but here they are:

The first is a Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Pizza.  Except for the crust, I actually followed all the directions and used all the ingredients as shown in the recipe.  Amazing, I know.  
The second was a regular cheese pizza for the kids.  Trader Joe's marinara with some tomato paste to thicken it, and pre-shredded mozzarella.  They ate it for lunch the next day, too.  AND they ate the crust!

I have since come back to my own home and emptied fridge, cleared out the riff-raff, gone through my new June EatingWell and stocked up for this week's newest recipes. My parents went to Corner Table

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stiletto Award

A few weeks ago (on my daughter's birthday, actually), I was given a Stiletto Award by Siri at siriouslydelicious. I know, right? That's some fast recognition for someone who had only been blogging for 14 days at the time the award was given. Today, on day 31, I am writing about it, and giving out my own. I know, I'm a slacker -- but I'm new; gimme a break. Here is what the Stiletto Award is all about. I am grateful and humbled to be given this award, especially by Siri.

I only know Siri through the magic of the internet... and the greater magic of food. Her blog makes me laugh, makes me hungry, makes me inspired, and sometimes makes me wish I knew her when I lived in Santa Monica so we could hang out and drink wine and make food and eat it together while our kids played. She also writes another blog where she writes letters to her son. It is also amazing. You should all go visit siriouslydelicious and bask in her loveliness. Thank you, Siri!!

It is now time for me to give out some awards. Here we go:

My first comment from someone I don't know was from Jennifer, A Self Confessed Foodie. She lives in Minneapolis, loves food, and sometimes invites you to play along with her in her "Your Turn" posts. I think we should probably hang out and eat some food together, seeing as I live in Minneapolis, too.

Baby Barto chronicles Sara's adventure with her son, Turo. I went to high school Sara's husband, and though I have never met her, I love keeping up with this family through her blog's honesty, sweetness and gorgeous pictures. She has a secondary blog, A Toddler Lives Here which encourages submissions of photos of the random stuff you find around the house you share with a toddler. It's brilliant.

Kate, of From the Mixed-up Files of the Siegels fame is a library-working, geek-loving, awesome-kid-having, grave-visiting, celebrity magnet. You'll like her.

Finally, I Like Your Face. This is written by my lovely and talented cousin. She is an art teacher in an elementary school. This blog is all the amazing and hilarious things that her students say and the situations that she so gracefully, lovingly and good-humorously witnesses and guides them through. She is one of my favorite people on the planet. For reals.

Congratulations, ladies. Flaunt your award. I did. It's fun!

This blog is meant to be shared, to be given out, to be bestowed upon any and ALL women who exemplify what the stiletto represents. If you’ve received this award, here’s what you do:

1. Display your Stiletto Badge of Honor on your sidebar!

2. BRAG ABOUT IT! -write a post about your award. Include the link to this page so everyone will understand what it’s all about! http://bit.ly/thestilettoaward

3. SAY THANKS! - include a link to the friend who nominated you for the award.

4. SHARE THE LOVE! -nominate 5-10 blogs that you feel deserve the award. Include links to them in your post -and- leave them a comment to let them know they are nominated.

5. DO WHAT YOU DO! -keep at it. Keep inspiring and encouraging and sharing your life! We love it and we thank you!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday at Piccolo

This man inspires me.  Chef Doug Flicker of Piccolo.  Thanks for another amazing meal last night, and all the fancy treatment.  I got that great Birthday Feeling you get so naturally when you're a kid and turning 6, but rarely access when you're an adult and turning 36. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I will write more about this meal and the awesome things that are happening down the street at Piccolo soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tofu Coconut Milk Curry with Wilted Spinach and Almondy Rice

Some days I'm so glad I have a well stocked pantry.  It was 5:00 and I realized I had nothing to cook for dinner.  I was going to run up to the store, but unfortunately that requires the cooperation of two other people who were playing fairies so nicely together that I hated to ask them to transition yet again at the end of the day.  I could just tell that tantrums would ensue, and decided that it just wasn't worth it.  I have actually have plenty to eat in the house at all times - I should really take a look around.  I came up with this:

It's pan fried tofu with a curry coconut milk sauce over chopped spinach, served with Trader Joe's frozen basmati rice mixed with toasted almonds.  It was really good!  The sauce recipe is from this recipe (which is really awesome and has been one of my staples for over a decade).  It's from the Rush Hour Cookbook which has it's own story for another blog post.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

I watched Throwdown with Bobby Flay the other night at my in-laws' house.  The challenge was Shrimp and Grits.  I got me a hankerin' for some.  I made them the second day we were back home.  Oh, shrimp and grits, how  I love you.  Grits are so comforting, yet you can eat them all year round, and the possibilities of flavor to go on these simple ingredients are endless.  Just look at this book! (Photos and food styling by close family friends Chris and Kathleen Rogers.)

I made EatingWell's recipe and served it with steamed broccoli, which were especially delicious dipped in cheesy grits!  

This is a SUPER easy, quick recipe with only a few ingredients, but the great flavors that come out are impressive enough for company. The kids loved the grits and ate the leftover chicken I served with their portion of grits and broccoli.  We can give them a few years to like shrimp, I guess.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let him eat cake.

Oh, my blog, how I've missed you.  I was on vacation for a week in Columbus, Ohio for Easter.  I gotta figure out how to update from my iPhone.

The day before we left was my husband's birthday.  I made him a cake.  Well, I made him six cupcakes and a half a layer cake.  I knew we were going to have to eat most of what I made, and give the rest to my parents as payment for taking us to the airport, so... there it is.

Bill loves coconut.  He especially loves Almond Joys.  Was I going to crush up a bunch of Almond Joys and throw them in a box cake for his birthday?  No, sir.  I made him an Awesome Almond Joy Cake from scratch.  

I looked at a lot of recipes online and in my cookbooks, but none of them seemed coconut-y enough for me.  I also noticed that because of my extremely efficient clearing out of the refrigerator before going on a trip ninja stylings, I had exactly three eggs.  I was going to have to make half a recipe.  (Two and a half eggs is always fun to add to anything!)

The closest recipe to what I wanted came from Ina Garten, so I adapted her Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cake recipe and created a coconutty-almondy-chocolate-chunkity masterpiece.  Here's my version of the recipe. (I made half of the recipe shown below.)

Roots And Zest Coconut Almond Chocolate Chunk Cake


3 sticks unsalted butter, softened + more for greasing pan (or use spray like lazy me)
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/2 cups white flour + more for dusting pan
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup coconut milk
4 oz sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (the big guys - not chips)


Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter or spray two 9" round cake pans and dust them with flour.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition, and scraping down the sides. Add the vanilla, almond and coconut extracts and mix well [Ina's note here was, "The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned."  It did.  And I wasn't, thanks to her.]

In another bowl mix together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Alternately add these dry ingredients and the coconut milk to the batter in three rounds.  Fold in the shredded coconut and chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter into the two pans and smooth the top.

Ina says to bake it for 45 - 55 minutes at 350F.  I think that sounds like a long time.  When I did half this recipe, here's what happened next:

For my cupcakes, I used the six silicone cups that came with this cook cookbook for kids.  I also made one 9" round.  The cupcakes took 15 minutes.  The one 9" round took 22 minutes.

I used Mark Bittman's Butter Cream Frosting recipe from page 727 of How To Cook Everything. I substituted 1 tsp coconut extract for half of the vanilla in his recipe.  I also made the whole recipe for my half cake + 6 cupcakes.  Because I'm like that.

Butter Cream Frosting


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
6 TBS cream or milk, plus more if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract (again, I used 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp coconut extract for mine)


Cream the butter with an electric mixer.
Gradually work in the sugar, alternating with the cream and beating after each addition.
Stir in the extracts.
If the frosting is too think to spread, add a little more cream, a teaspoon at at time,  If it is too thin (unlikely, but possible), refrigerate.  It will thicken as the butter hardens.

Layering and Decorating


whole almonds (I toasted mine a little in a dry pan on medium heat for a few minutes)
chocolate chunks
about 6 oz sweetened shredded coconut


When layering the cake, whether it be a 9" round on top of another 9" round, or half of a single round on top of the other half like I did, let the cake cool completely before frosting it.  Smooth frosting on the bottom layer, sprinkle with some of the chocolate chunks, then lay the second layer on.  Smooth the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the layered cake.
Press shredded coconut all over the top and sides of the icing.
Decorate with whole almonds and the rest of the chocolate chunks as makes you happy.  Let your kids decorate the cupcakes to make them happy.

This cake was really, really awesome.  

Happy Birthday, Bill!