Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflecting on the new year

I just read this post over at Creature Comforts (which is a lovely blog by the way). She is musing on a post from AT which I remember reading a while back. It poses the question "what do you actually use". (I'm pretty sure I could live off of a small fork, a small spoon, 2 bowls and a plate + cooking stuff.) I have natural hoarding tendencies (not this kind) and also value clean design...what's a girl to do. I definitely need to take the time and downsize. That's doable; it's a matter of making myself focus for long enough to do it. But...


What about the stuff that's not junk - the mounds of invaluable heirlooms? I'm not sure if they're really invaluable - but they're old, and they were my grandmothers'/mother's/great-whoevers'. Guilt! Shame! I can't throw them away! WHAT am I supposed to do with all of this stuff? Any ideas?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Best soup I've ever had

Ok, so I'm prone to hyperbole, but this is really good soup!

Mississippi is a strange place in those in-between-season times. It no longer hits 90, but it's not, em, cold, yet you wouldn't necessarily know that by the way some people dress. I saw a girl with a coat+faux fur-lined hood yesterday. Really However, I do get that after months of hardly even seeing 75 in the middle of the night, you sort of jump at the chance to even think about tights, scarves (even summer scarves...), boots, cardigans, etc. And to be fair, I guess I do it too - considering I set out to make some kind of lentil soup yesterday. 

I scoured the internet, finding nothing particularly appealing for about an hour for one reason or another. I had totally forgotten about Heidi over at 101cookbooks (fantastic website), until yesterday during my quest when I stumbled upon this little gem. I didn't have any shallots, and to be honest I don't really get shallots. They're something that you "get", aren't they? Like, they're in a different echelon of cooking - a French echelon, I think - and I just haven't used them enough to appreciate them. I don't have a problem with them, but I don't understand their necessity I suppose. Anyway, I didn't have any, but I really liked the looks of the recipe. I also had some carrots, and a red onion, and some garlic, and I hate black olives, and I didn't have almonds. Clearly this soup wasn't going to be what Heidi had in mind. But, that's OK. I'm becoming much more comfortable with my culinary sense these days, so I decided to venture a bit away from the fold...

...and this is what I came up with.

Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup based on Heidi Swanson's Red Lentil Soup Recipe

1/2 medium/large red onion, diced
1/2 medium/large yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
olive oil - as much as you prefer to use to cook the above

6 cups vegetables stock or broth or water with vegetable bouillon cubes 
1 1/3 cup red lentils (picked through and rinsed)*
1/2 cup brown rice (picked through and rinsed)*
salt or Sel Fou**

  • *note* I soaked these. I realize you don't have to soak red lentils, but I figured it would speed up the whole process, especially with the brown rice, and it certainly did.
  • **note** This stuff is amazing. AMAZING. I think it really made the soup - I would recommend making yourself a large jar of it and putting it on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

crumbled feta
julienned or shredded apple (1 sweet, crisp apple should be plenty for the whole recipe)
optional lemon juice solution to soak the apples in to keep them from browning if you will serve this later or if you are particularly concerned about their appearance

  1. Warm oil in pot large enough to make a hearty portion of soup in
  2. add onions and carrots and allow to cook until the onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally 
  3. add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until onions caramelize a little
  4. add vegetable stock, bring to boil
  5. add lentils and rice, simmer until rice is tender - lentils will collapse into a thick mush (yum!)
  6. taste and adjust seasoning, add salt and/or sel fou until it tastes like something!
  7. serve with crumbled feta and a generous serving of apple
Pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interesting idea...

Scott (the toilet paper folks) have come out with this new SmartFlush campaign. For a limited time, if you buy an 8 or 12 pack of Mega Rolls, you get one of these puppies for free. I'm torn on what I think about this. Displacing water in your tank is a great way to save water, but, you don't need anything special to do it. I've been doing it for years with a 1 liter water bottle. Easy. Fill it up, displace 1L of water. Save 1L of water every time you flush. Good for Scott for raising awareness, but it seems a little wasteful to manufacture these things.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Whose got the magic?


This is such a sweet video montage of pregnancy photos from pacing the panic room, but what I totally love is the song. Check it!

Magic- A Belly Grows from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Black-Eyed Peas and Aloo Sabji

Best Indian dish EVER.

I'm so pleased with myself about this, you have no idea. I've been making a lot of Indian food lately, especially since I discovered that cooking dried beans wasn't the hardest thing in the world (I was convinced that it was - especially after an unfortunate black bean cooking episode back in the vegetarian days). This is the best dish I've made so far! I got the recipe over at hungry desi. I won't reinvent the wheel here; Nithya does a superb job of explaining it. The only thing I did different was sub in some lentils to make up for the black-eyed peas that I didn't have enough of, use the red chilis that I had instead of green and add some fenugreek leaves (methi) at the end. Everything else was the same. I will say it was a little too spicy for me, but I added a bit too much cayenne (red chili powder) and I'm not actually sure how hot my peppers were (though Liz at the Farmer's Market told me they were pretty mild/medium). No worries, I piled on some yogurt and cilantro and barreled through it with no problem. Rice would've helped - but please do note the delightful cultural clash of a tortilla at the top there.

If you think you can't make Indian food...you're wrong - you can. Give this dish a try; you'll be happy you did!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Faux quoi?

Faux bois my dears. I have a cute little table that I scored at GoodWill (I do <3 GoodWill) for $13. It's sort of industrial-looking, with a metal/chromey pedestal and an MDF top. I've been debating what to do with that top and I think I've found the answer over at apartmenttherapy

...white paint + faux bois. I'm hoping contact paper will stick to said white paint...I don't see why not though, right?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

English muffins

On the griddle
So, I love having Adelaide around, really I do, but sometimes I feel bad that she's just sitting in the fridge, not giving bouncy, fermented life to something. That's when I go in search of sourdough recipes that aren't for just a loaf of bread. Recipes like this, and this, and this! Especially that last one. I just finished cooking my second batch of English muffins. They are really delicious and fun to make.

I've adapted my recipe from the one on thefreshloaf, and by adapted I mean I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose.

Sourdough English Muffins
Makes about 14
  • 1/2 C starter  
  • 1 C milk
  • 2-3/4 C mixture of whole wheat and white whole wheat flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • Cornmeal, for dusting

Stir the starter, 2 cups of flour and the milk together. Cover with a lid or a plate or some plastic wrap and leave out (not in the fridge!) for 8 hours/overnight. I usually opt for overnight. 
The next day (or 8 hours later) add the rest of the flour if you think you need it. I only added sort of a handful and then used a pretty good bit when kneading. Add the sugar, salt and baking soda and stir until well combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. It's going to be pretty sticky. Roll out to 3/4" and cut with a biscuit cutter (Um, did you mean pint glass? Yes? Ok good.) into rounds. Reroll the scrap pile until you've used it all up. The last one may be sort of a mutant; that's ok though. Place the muffins, at least 1/3 inch apart on something (parchment, silpat, cutting board, whatever) with enough cornmeal to really keep them from sticking. Your beautiful circles will turn into ugly ovals when you try to pick them up and they stick to the surface.  Leave them alone for 45 min - 1 hour.
That Guinness glass...not a unitasker!
Rub a griddle with oil using a paper towel (don't burn yourself, please) and heat it to about medium. Cook the muffins for around a total of 10-14 minutes, flipping them every few minutes. I find this works best so you know that you're not burning them and, well, I like to keep an eye on them. 
I love my grandmother's cast iron skillet that fits over two eyes!
Split them open with a fork - for optimum nook/cranny experience, using a knife sort of smooshes them - and enjoy!
Eating three is not really recommended...but I won't tell if you don't!
*For more photos, check out my Picasa page!