Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Spicy Story

About how we are all connected, at least through food =)

Check it out here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Bakers: Take Two

When the recipe of the month was introduced as potato bread my stomach turned. For some reason, the thought of working with live yeast has been a source of unwarranted yet persistent fear. Perhaps that is why the bread machine still lives on our floor and not in our kitchen.

This is my dad. I hope he is okay with his mug floating around on international waters but I really wanted to call attention to his apron for turkey carving. It reads: I'm still a hot babe, it just comes in flashes.

But I digress, yet again! For this is the very reason I joined this group of culinary dare devils...to face my fears come flopped flan or deflated soufflé!

So in honor of national turkey day, and the fact that I was now in my parents glorious kitchen, which as a side note is likely larger than our ENTIRE home, I decided to face my fears head on.

The recipe called for potatoes, active yeast, salt, lots of flour, and water. Easy enough, right? Um, ok. The dough was sticky. Not bubble gum sticky but more of a newly poured cement meets oatmeal. Needless to say, it was an adventure.

However, as luck would have it, this sticky lump of scariness was eventually turned into something rather edible. In fact, you might call it delicious. I know darling hubby sure did!

The outcome? One medium sized rosemary and red onion foccacia...

Rosemary and Red Onion Foccaccia (taking a nod from the bakery window!)

...and a single, perfect loaf of doughy potato-y cheddar cheese bread.

Gooey Potato Cheddar Bread (giving a nod to darling hubby who will eat anything I make with the addition of cheese)

Et voila! This last minute addition to our thanksgiving table was a welcomed one. And ironically enough, one that I would like to make again!

p.s. Potato cheddar cheese bread made for some spectacular turkey sandwiches the next day, highly recommended!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are you spicy enough?

It's about that time of year... The time we reconvene with our couch, our loved ones, and our stove. The summer heat is but a distant memory and we are left with the excitement of the holidays on the horizon.

Eat your heart out parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme...

As a novice blogger and baker, I thought that a neat way to celebrate the holiday with my new friends would be a kind of global sharing of local flavors with an added element of gifting and surprise. I mean, what's better than sharing good food with good friends and a surprise present to boot?

So after many conversations with the lovely Katie from a Thyme for Cooking, we are going to try a new adventure in blogland with the help of YOU, called "Seasoned Eatings."

Turkish viagra and other delights (If only I were kidding)

Cute name, but what the heck does it mean?

1) Your task is to find one spice, that is either local to your area or is representative of your cooking style.
The Spice Market in Istanbul (Summer 2005)

2) Then you package it up and send it off to the blogger you are assigned to (this is how we will maintain the element of surprise). With the package you send to your secret recipient you will add a recipe for the spice you are including.

3) Then, when you receive your package in the mail you get to post a picture of the package and your reaction to the mystery ingredient.

4) The second post (or the first if you are uber-motivated) will be the picture of the recipe you made with your ingredient.

Easy? Kind of. Fun? Heck yeah!

So come on! Join us in our international culinary gift-a-thon. Leave a message in the comments section if you are willing to play!

Now who's in for some seasoned eatings?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When store bought won't do. Or, How to embarass yourself at dinner.

We enjoyed dinner with our friends at Mexicana Mama Centro just the other night and I think I slightly embarrassed hubby when I buried my head in their bowl of special salsa before my food even arrived. Thank goodness, because it just so happens the salsa was truly the star of the meal. Roasted smoky poblano peppers were blended into creamy goodness, honestly a salsa like no other...

Almost Mexicana Mama's Secret Salsa
So what's a girl to do if she can't afford the price tag of a daily dose of this goodness? Why make some herself, of course!

Poblano peppers are roasted with the seasons final heirloom tomatoes and a head of rocambole garlic. Then the whole gang heads to an immersion blender to get further acquainted with the help of some delphino cilantro and hello secret salsa revealed! (Whole recipe coming soon!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Faux fried chicken and pan seared harvest gnocchi, I mean c'mon... does it get any better?

Hubby was away on business for a bit this week, which gave me time to catch up on some much needed girl time and to recreate a culinary favorite from years passed. Ever since Bouchon opened in NYC, I have been obsessed with the menu's local features while maintaining a very international feel.

This gnocchi recipe, adapted from my hero Thomas Keller at Bouchon, was a crowd favorite. The addition of my faux fried chicken sealed the deal for a delicious dinner that was enjoyed by all!

Since there were plenty of leftovers (that's what happens when you cook for 10 and serve 4!) I recreated this dish for hubby's return and added some homemade cream sauce and it was even better the second day around.

The secret for second night success is reheating the gnocchi in a nonstick pan until it starts to get crunchy around the outside again and heating the chicken in the oven at a high enough heat that the crunch remains.

At any rate, it was a successful family favorite that will surely be revisited again soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Color me lucky

After the week we've had (and yes, it's only Tuesday), there is something rewarding about coming home to a dinner that looks like this:
Yes mom, you see? We are eating our veggies! Those beautiful purple cauliflower maintain their color when roasted. They are a bit more mild and softer than their white counterparts and are truly delicious roasted at 350 with some good olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper...

Doesn't this just make the most delicious side dish to some roasted leg of lamb? I'm drooling from memory :)

Out of the oven, these guys maintain their vibrant color and get tossed with a bit more seasoning and some fresh parsley or cilantro and viola! Dinner is served.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Early this morning the world lost a very special woman. If you never had the chance to meet her, you are surely missing one of the worlds most brilliant smiles, one of the warmest hearts and one of the most genuine friends to have graced our earth. And this morning, she lost a long and hard battle with the most evil form of cancer.

From left to right: Mom & Sherry

I'm sure I knew Sherry in utero. She and my mom were best friends, sisters even, from the age of 13. However, one of my first and fondest memories of our Sherry is from one of her visits from Canada where she would arrive laden with Smarties and after drenching us with hugs and kisses would ask us to relive the past few months so she knew every detail of our lives.

She was the only one who could take a splinter out of my finger without me flinching and the only one with whom my mom ever smiled so much.

She was an angel, and the way her and my mom could light up a room when they were together is the single biggest tragedy of our losing Sherry.

Everyone deals with losing someone differently. And although you cannot see the tears in their hearts, it does not mean that they aren't in terrible pain.

The reason for this post is to memorialize Sherry in the only way I know how, with words. I only ask that in her honor we take a step back and value the individual way in which each person mourns to respect what we all must do when we lose such a beloved friend.

To my mom I wish strength and love to guide her through these awful days and take solace in knowing that my wonderful dad is there to support her. I only wish I could send a hug across the country...

I pray that we all remember to cherish what is near and dear while we have it, because at the end of the day our memories are how we keep loved ones alive.

She was entirely too young, with entirely too much life to live, and will be remembered by friends and family as the brilliant light that shines so brightly in our hearts.

Goodbye Sherry. I know that you are in a better place now with no more pain and I know that when I see you again we will dance and smile and talk as if no time had passed at all. I love you!