Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a food rant...

A few days back, I was talking to a friend about what "food" has become in this country. I'm very fortunate to have grown up in a home where we learned to embrace whole wheat, have a salad with dinner every night, and where we were encouraged to keep an open mind when it came to food. For me, those three simple things fostered the beginning of my own loving relationship with food, and now, thinking of those same three things, I can see how many others have moved away from them. When I was introduced to food, it was a learning process -- not just a substance on a plate in front of me. Through my parents, I learned the basics of balanced nutrition, and over the last few years, it has become more and more clear to me that eating healthy food makes my body feel good.

It's somewhat shocking to me that my fellow twenty-somethings tend to be headed in two mutually exclusive directions -- there are those who are committed to getting back to our roots as beings, embracing nature, and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who eat three meals a day out of a box, fill their bodies with food preservatives, and throw out the evidence by the barrel-full. So many people my age have no idea how to cook anything -- because they were never impressed upon to learn about how our bodies work with food! I feel like so many have lost (or never gained) an appreciation for what "food" really is. Behind those pre-packaged meals are plants -- whole fruits with pits and seeds, vegetables with peel, grains that grow on stalks, spices, and God forbid -- flavor!!! Yet at this point, part of our generation is so far removed from those whole foods that they are freaked out by the sight of a raw tomato. What is going on here?! It seems to me that we've progressed to the point that some people don't know what to do with whole food ingredients anymore.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Housemade gifts :: #1 Pickled Peppers

So, it's really no secret anymore that I give my brother hot pickled peppers. I don't often have luck growing hot peppers, so I buy them from local growers like River Berry and Pomykala. I slice them up and pickle them with garlic, salt, and a mix of white and apple cider vinegars (and a little boiling water, of course). I've also become accustomed to adding a little "Pickle Crisp" to each jar (which is really just calcium chloride)-- it keeps whatever you're pickling crisp through the boiling or steaming process.
I like to layer the pickles by color to give them more of a holiday look.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

spiced squash custard

This year, as I'm sure many of my fellow turkey-roasters were, I was thinking ahead of time about what on earth I could do with leftovers. For the big dinner, I made a giant pan of roasted mixed root veggies, and planned to make a pureed veggie soup with the extras the next day.

However, I did not plan to have extra filling for my double layer pecan squash pie. I had mixed together about 4 cups of pureed roasted mixed varieties of squash, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, and a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and mace. When I added the mix to two pie crusts, I realized I had too much! So I spooned the extra into a few ramekins and came up with this delicious squash custard.

It's got a smooth texture, it melts in your mouth, and packs a more complex flavor than traditional pumpkin pie. What can you do with your leftovers?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tasty bites on T-Day

It seems like every Thanksgiving now, I spend the whole day cooking, standing on my feet, slaving over the stove or chopping things, and I'm sick of it!!!! This year, I had a new plan... On Wednesday, my mom and I spent a few hours chopping and prepping everything, baking the pies, and even canning a few xmas gifts. All that was left to do on T-day was roast the turkey, make the mashed taters, the braised greens, and throw everything else in the oven. Almost no time spent prepping on the big day!

What was on the menu?

- Willow Hill cheeseplate with Red Hen bread
- Feta and roasted garlic spread & crudites
- Maple and sage roasted turkey
- Potato, celeriac, and roasted garlic puree
- Roasted butternut, delicata, and red kuri squashes
- Apple, cranberry, and mushroom stuffing
- Roasted roots (carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, and celeriac)
- Braised kale and swiss chard
- Turkey gravy
- Nana's biscuits (a family tradition)
- Spoonbread (brought by my great aunt)
- Cranberry and orange relish (also a family tradition, made by my grandma)
- Apple pie, made with Rhode Island Greening apples
- Pecan Squash pie (maybe a new tradition?) -- See recipe here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More than a year of blogging!

I can't believe it... I just did the math and it's been 444 days since I started blogging. Of course, I haven't been blogging every day, but I've written a total of 214 entries (215 if you count this one) -- 104 on this blog, 74 on Semester in Spain!, and 36 on Cañas, Cócteles y Coca-Colas. All in all, I've exhibited hundreds of my own photos (food and Spanish sights), written dozens of restaurant reviews, and collaborated with my Madrid roomie on dozens of bar and club reviews.

I have to admit that my blogging has been at a much lower frequency since I returned from Europe, but since I've been back at school, my dining out frequency has been drastically reduced. Of course, location is also a factor, as Burlington has much fewer restaurants than Madrid. However, as we are now entering the holiday season, I fully expect my blogging to increase. A few things you can count on before the new year...

- Thanksgiving menu & photos
- Visits to a few restaurants
* Sakura
* Four Corners of the Earth
* Bueno y Sano
- Biscotti day
- Cookie swap
- Pickling photos
- Maybe one post from abroad =)

All in all, I expect the next 5 weeks to be filled with fun, food, and photos.

Also, check out my guest column in the school paper -- a piece I wrote while abroad. Click here to see it (I'm the first on the list).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

raw apple cake

My grandma made this cake for my birthday last month, and it' s been on my mind ever since. I absolutely love apple season and am always looking for new ways to use up apples. This is perfect. I made a few *tweaks* to the recipe, but other than that, it's the original.

Raw Apple Cake
1 handful sliced almonds **
2 cups grated apple
1 cup grated coconut
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon **
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Sprinkle half of the sliced almonds in the bottom of the pie dish (put the other half aside)
2. Mix remaining ingredients together until well-blended
3. Pour batter into dish
4. Sprinkle top of batter with other half of sliced almonds
5. Bake at 350 for 45 mins

The result? A deliciously moist cake with the perfect level of sweetness.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

iberian colcannon

Let's face it, I'm predictable. As soon as the thermometer drops below 40, I break out the potatoes. There are so many heart-(and soul)- warming dishes that are based off of (or include) potatoes -- creamy chowders, shepherd's pie, New England boiled dinner, and my favorite -- colcannon!

Colcannon is a delicious Irish concoction of mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage or kale, butter, salt & pepper. It can also include leeks, ham or bacon, but mine's always got ham.

I usually make it pretty standard, the way I learned from Tyler Florence -- boiled mashed potatoes, mixed with cream or half&half, butter, boiled cabbage and bits of ham. It usually looks like this.

Just the other day, I thought I might branch out and use some other ingredients I had on hand. I boiled some local purple potatoes (from River Berry Farm) along with some green lacinato kale, then fork-mashed them with half&half, butter, salt & pepper. Then I threw in some shredded imported Spanish Serrano ham. This ham has got a completely different texture than boiled ham -- it's sliced thin and is very waxy to the touch. The result -- a delicious mix of healthfood (kale) and satisfaction (salty ham!!).

I challenge you to make your own version of colcannon -- try different greens or different ways of preparing the ham... Hey, you could even make it with a different kind of meat. Check out a few different recipes here, here, and here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

golden corncakes

Years ago, my mother charmed her way into getting this restaurant recipe for Fishmonger Corncakes. They are delicious -- need I say more?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Night Out :: The Bearded Frog

For my birthday dinner this year, my boy took me to The Bearded Frog in Shelburne, VT. For starters, we ordered the graham cracker crusted calamari, which comes on a bed of greens and drizzled with two delicious sauces: a "lime & chive emulsion" and a dark, mysterious second sauce ($8, and 8 well-spent dollars at that). My boy had the perfectly-cooked pork chop, marinated in buttermilk, the served atop two large cheddar and bacon hashbrowns and topped with "apple & orange marmalade" ($20). I opted for the roasted duck breast, which is served with a mushroom bread pudding (a schmancier way to get good old stuffing on the plate -- the size of the bread pudding was a little too large in my opinion, but nonetheless decadent), haricot vert (skinny green beans) and a cherry purée ($23). Interestingly enough, I had ordered a glass of tempranillo (Spanish red wine -- $10 for the glass) which had a hint of cherries. The wine went perfectly with my food. =) To round out the meal, my boy ordered a slice of the flourless chocolate cake ($7 and accompanied by a delicious strawberry sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream) and I ordered the pumpkin pie tart (also $7, topped with cranberry sorbet and served over a swirl of wine reduction). All in all, the service left a little to be desired (either they were a bit understaffed, or we got the young-adult treatment) and there was more time between courses than we had hoped. However, the deliciousness of the food made up for it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

moroccan-inspired mini lamb-ball soup

Last year for Christmas, my parents gave me Casa Moro, the second cookbook from Moro Restaurant in London, UK. I was flipping through meat recipes, trying to get inspired (I had a package of ground lamb that was begging to be cooked). I came upon a dish of lamb seasoned with (what we Americans typically consider to be) sweet spices. This is what I love most about Middle Eastern and North African dishes -- the combination of the sweet and the savory.

My interest in this type of cuisine was sparked by this post on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. The combination of savory flavors with the fresh sweetness (and pucker) of pomegranate was just sooo intriguing! I can't describe to you how much I love cold salads, especially ones that are laced with so many different textures.

Anyway -- back to my lamb! I started by sautéing onions and garlic in a little olive oil, then adding vegetable stock and bringing the whole pot to a boil. I mixed some milk-soaked bread, diced garlic, chopped parsley and spices (including smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice) into the lamb and then made bite-sized meatballs. Once the broth came to a boil, I tossed in my mini meatballs and some chopped kale. As the pot bubbled away, the spicy flavors from the meatballs infused into the stock, creating a delicate broth.

This soup is light, but packed with flavor!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Microgreens :: Tiny but Trendy

Thinking back on 2008's rainy summer, I continue to be surprised by my lack of localvore consumption. The weather definitely hindered our Vermont farmers this year, as described in the Burlington Free Press' "On the farmstand"
column a few weeks ago.

Although localvore hotspots (aka Healthy Living, City Market, etc.) continue to stock produce from Vermont growers, I can count on one hand the number of times I had mesclun this summer, and don't need any hands at all to count the number of times I had heirloom tomatoes. One thing I did manage to cram into the second half of August were a few handfuls of microgreens.

Microgreens are delicious, smaller-than-bitesized versions of our beloved greens. My favorite microgreens come from Half Pint, and can be used in a variety of ways (dressed simply with a lemon vinaigrette and served over crabcakes, or as the base of a feta salad). More and more restaurants are incorporating microgreens into their menus these days, and let me say, this is a delicious trend.

I find radish and beet microgreens to be especially delicious, but you may be able to find any of the following minis: mizuna, mustard, sorrel, rapini, kohlrabi, daikon, endive, collards, celery, cabbage, cress, arugula, broccoli, basil, flax or clover.

And if the summer season has already passed you by, have no fear. You can grow these delicious bites in your own kitchen! All you need is a plate or dish, a moist felt pad, some seeds, and some light! The Sprout People offer a Micro-Greens Kit as well as a Miniature Garden.

Don't give up on summer flavors just yet!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cosmen & Keiless

If you live in Madrid, it's possible that you have already discovered the most fantastic bakery in the city. But if not, here it is.

Cosmen & Keiless is a bakery and pastry shop situated in the Plaza de las Salesas. There, it's considered taboo to even mention frozen bread (a very common occurance in the city). They carry exclusively naturally leavened (aka sourdough) and freshly baked breads and a lovely selection of other tasty bites. They have a mixture of Spanish and American foods. This reflects perfectly the family of owner Kay Hespen. She (who is American) and her Spanish husband José Suárez are the creators of the delicatessens known as Hespen y Suarez and this store is their latest venture.

They have a delicious selection of breads (including Madrid's classic baguette-style loaf named "pistola" for only 1,20€ and also the "miche" that goes for only 0,42€ per 100 grams). They also have a myriad of sweets -- sweet rolls, cakes, cupcakes, brownies and cookies (which some people call "cookie-bars"). In addition, they sell the best American-style bagels that exist in Madrid.

If you'd like to visit the store, you can arrive from any of the following metro stations -- Chueca, Tribunal, Alonso Martinez, or Colon. Click here to see a map.

If you have yet to find this jewel of Madrid, there is no other option for you... You have to go to the nearest metro station... =)

Info tidbit : When I was studying in Madrid, I did an internship with the company that opened this bakery -- World Wide Food.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cosmen y Keiless

Si vives in Madrid, es posible que ya has dado cuenta de la panadería más fantástica de la ciudad. Pero si no, aquí lo tienes.

Cosmen y Keiless es una panadería y pastelería situada en la Plaza de las Salesas, 8. Allí es un tabú hablar de pan congelado. Tienen exclusivamente pan de levadura madre y un montón de otras delicias. Tienen una mezcla de comida española y comida americana. Esto refleja perfectamente la familia de la propietaria Kay Hespen. Ella (quien es americana, por supuesto) y su marido José Suárez (quien es español) son las creadores de los delis Hespen y Suarez y esta tienda es su nueva ventura.

Tienen allí una selección muy buena de panes (incluyendo el clásico - pistola madrileña a solamente 1,20€ y también el "miche" que venden a solamente 0,42€ por cada 100 gr). Tienen también una selección de dulces -- bollos, bizcochos, "cupcakes", "brownies" y "cookies" (que unas personas llaman "cookie-bars"). También venden los "bagels" mejores de Madrid.

Si quieres visitar a la tienda, puedes llegar del metro Chueca, Tribunal, Alonso Martinez, o Colon. Haz clic aquí para ver un mapa.

Si ya no has encontrado esta joya de la ciudad, no tienes otra opción. Tienes que ir a la estación de metro más cerca... =)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

Ok, I know I'm behind on the times with this post, but to be honest, I haven't been keeping up with my Google Reader. =/

Andrew of
Very Good Taste, a food & drink blog based in England, has come up with a list of 100 things that he thinks "every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life".

Here's what to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The KIP Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht – this one, I feel compelled to apologize that I haven’t tasted
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses – a cheese from Burgundy
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese – I’m not yet sure how I feel about this one
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepperask Anthony why….
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda – hot dip similar to fondue – Sounds good!
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi – I’ve had mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – I don’t see this one happening
37. Clotted cream tea – tea taken with scones, clotted cream, and jam – sounds delicious!
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects – probably not
43. Phaal – curry hotter than Vindaloo – bring it on!
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu – I’m a little freaked out about this one, seeing as how, if not cooked correctly, this fish can poison you with its natural neurotoxin content!
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin – not sure how I feel about eating the gonads of a sea creature
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi – stonefruit similar to apricots and plums – I’m in!
53. Abalone – giant sea snail – why not?
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – I’m more of a Big ‘n Tasty girl – It has a real lettuce leaf, not that shredded stuff
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini – I’m in if it’s made with Tanqueray
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine – delicious Canadian treat made of fries, gravy and cheese
60. Carob chips – did not enjoy this one…
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads – thymus glands? No thanks…
63. Kaolin – clay?
64. Currywurst – German sausage with curry sauce – Sounds awesome
65. Durian – Southeast Asian fruit – Can’t wait to try this one!
66. Frogs’ legs – I’ve heard they taste like chicken…
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis – this involves organ meats, so I’m not sure…
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – Not sure about eating this one…
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe – probably not
74. Gjetost, or brunost – Brown cheese! When have I ever said “no” to a cheese?
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu – seriously alcoholic beverage – I bet Nat would drink this with me.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong – smokey black tea
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum – hot and sour Thai soup – this is next on my list!
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant – maybe when I’m no longer a college student
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse – I just like horses too much for this one…
90. Criollo chocolate – I may have had this, but if not, it’s gotta be done.
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa – I’ve had regular.
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

The totals:

Tried: 47 Haven’t Tried: 44 Won’t Try: 8 Perplexed By: 1

The verdict: I need to get on this list…

Saturday, September 6, 2008

one pot meals

After a long day, and driving home in the rain, I'm always in the mood for an easy and flavorful hot dish. This time, I sautéed together diced chorizo, ham (the Spaniards have rubbed off on me a bit here) and onions, added iron-rich swiss chard, habas (broad beans), chicken stock, and couscous. The result? A satisfying one pot meal that warms you from the inside, out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

almond linzers

I know I'm not alone when I say that there are at least half a dozen partially-used jars of jam/jelly/preserves in my fridge at any given time. Somehow, although I love jam, there are always a few tucked out-of-view, so I end up with multiple jars of the same flavor! In an attempt to minimize the amount of space being taken up by jam jars, I made some buttery and nutty almond linzer cookies. These tasty Austrian cookies are baked, half whole and half with a hole, then sandwiched together with sweet jams, jellies or preserves. Next on the list for jam-using-up: a linzer torte or linzer bars.

Friday, August 29, 2008

tapas party

For my madre's birthday, we had a tapas party at our house.

Here's what was on the menu:
(from furthest dishes to closest)
  • roasted vegetables with caramelized Vermont Butter & Cheese Company's chevre
  • thinly sliced chorizo wrapped in puff pastry
  • zesty chunky tomato-based gazpacho
  • bites of tortilla (Spanish potato omelette)
  • mushroom caps stuffed with Willow Hill Farm's Blue Moon blue cheese
  • patatas bravas (bites of potato with spicy tomato dipping sauce)
  • dishes of chorizo and olives
  • roasted citrus & garlic shrimp with romesco sauce (roasted red pepper sauce)
  • romaine & radicchio salad with thinly-sliced bosc pears, Green Mountain Blue Cheese's Boucher Blue, and a light lemon vinaigrette

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

pita panini

No bread? No problem.

Throw it in a pita and make a panini!

I made this tasty pita panini with pesto, smoked turkey, and provolone cheese. Yum!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

walnut sauce, my newest obsession

In May, at Pinocchio in Nerja, Spain, I enjoyed a delicious dish of artichoke ravioli with a creamy walnut sauce. Even now, I'm thinking about that meal!

The other day, I cooked up some tortellini, tossed it with parmesan cheese, and poured my homemade walnut sauce over it -- toasted walnut chunks, a little heavy cream, chopped fresh parsley, salt & pepper, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Delicious. =)

Friday, August 8, 2008

cold rain, hot food

With all the rain we're getting hit with, I've been more in the mood for winter-type comfort food. So, I've been breaking out the casserole dishes, serving up mac & cheese, chili and hot soups. Pictured here is one of my favorite comfort foods - my take on Ireland's colcannon. It's got creamy mashed potatoes, boiled green cabbage bits, and ham. Serve it up with a pat of butter, and you're on your way to feeling warm.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

i've got the blues...


We are in pick-your-own-blueberry season! The bushes at Willow Hill Farm are laden with berries, and although we have been hammered by rain for the last two months, the berries are in great shape!

There are so many berries on the bushes that you don't have to move around too much to pick a flat or two.

Willow Hill Farm's blueberries are NOFA (USDA) certified organic and there are 9 varieties of blues in the field. The bushes are located between two pastures, so you can pick to the sounds of ewes, lambs, and the many birds that frequent the area (keep your eyes peeled for the baltimore orioles!).

Berries are $4/lb for pick-your-own, but if you don't have time for picking or we get rained out (since it seems to be a pattern this year), there are two other ways to get some of our lovely berries:

1) You could drive up to our little store in the cheese plant (look for the sign on the road that says "cheese") and there are usually prepicked blueberry pints in the fridge, along with a delicious selection of Willow Hill Farm artisanal cheeses. The store is also a viewing room that overlooks the "make room" in the cheese plant.

2) Pick up a prepicked pint of berries at the Burlington Farmers' Market. The market is open from 8:30-2:00, but when it comes to berries, coming earlier is better!

As always, we recommend calling first (802-893-2963) to check hours for the day, since they depend on weather conditions and staffing. And, no need for the GPS! There are directions on the machine. =)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

new eats :: Drunken Noodle Thai

Last night, my boy and I were in the mood for some Asian flavors, so we hit up the newest place in the area for some take-out -- Drunken Noodle. Located at 9 Park St in Essex Junction, VT, the Drunken Noodle serves up tasty Thai cuisine. The ambience is much classier than its location's predecessor, and the waitstaff is very helpful. You can eat-in or take-out.

They offer a selection of appetizers, salads, soups, stir-fried entrees
(choose your protein and your sauce), duck entrees, curries, and noodle dishes. They also have lunch specials and desserts.

We highly recommend the crab angels (fried crab wontons served with a delicate sweet & sour sauce), the som tum salad (made with green papaya and carrots), the stir-fried chicken entree with spicy garlic sauce (tip: add rice to your order for an extra $1. you'll want it!), or the pad woon sem (cellophane noodles with egg, bean sprouts, tomato, cabbage, onion, and carrots).

Service is quick, and prices are reasonable:

Appetizers - $4-6
Salads - $5-7
Soups - $3-4
Stir-fried Entrees - $9-11
Duck Entrees - $12
Curries - $9-11
Noodles $9-11

Monday, August 4, 2008

leftovers : Shalimar of India

I've not met an Indian dish yet that I didn't like. I'm completely obsessed with Shalimar of India's food, especially their brunch buffet. It's a great way to experience a diverse smattering of Indian food without emptying your wallet. Pictured here are my leftovers from my last dinner at Shalimar -- palak aloo (spinach and potatoes cooked with cream, tomatoes, and spices) over pullao (basmati rice), served with 3 sauces (tamarind sauce, mint chutney and onion chutney). At a loss for paneer (homemade cheese), I panfried a slice of haloumi.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

versatility of granola

When I'm in the mood to bake, I don't always like to do the same old - same old. I get bored with doing the same flavor combinations over and over, and I love throwing some surprises into the mix.

The other day, I was in the cookie mood, and was thinking of doing some almond- and coconut-loaded sugar cookies. However, I could not find my sliced almonds and did not really feel like toasting coconut. So I grabbed some of the almond and coconut granola I made and tossed it in. It occurred to me that since I like oatmeal cookies so much, I couldn't go wrong. And, man, were they tasty! I recommend throwing some of your favorite granola into the mix next time you're in the need of a cookie-change.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


99% of the time, I am in a hurry when I am supposed to be eating breakfast. Even if there is breakfasty food in the house (eggs, etc.), I don't always have time to prepare something. I was thinking of that age-old addage, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

...So I made some homemade granola! One of my favorite breakfasts is a simple mix of Euro-style yogurt (try Willow Hill Farm's Sheep Yogurt), a little maple syrup, nutty granola, and fresh seasonal fruit. It's tasty and doesn't take a long time to prepare, or to eat. =)

For my granola, I combined rolled oats, sliced almonds, and dried coconut. I tossed it all together with some cinnamon, a little honey, some canola oil, and a pinch of salt (to offset all that sweetness).

estoy pensando...

Estoy pensando en el hecho q, aunq hablo español (pero no es perfecto), casi nunca he escrito aquí en español. Me encanta la lengua, la comida y la cultura de España y he vivido allí, como es evidente en mi blog. Desde este momento, os prometo q voy a escribir aquí en español también -- de vez en cuando. =)

Friday, August 1, 2008

smokin' time

In all honesty, this is a flashback-type post. A while back, I was tooling around with my borrowed (now owned) stovetop smoker. All in all, I smoked some skewered shrimp, some potatoes (all over mesquite chips), and later made a wrap sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and a lightly-smoked slab of haloumi. My favorite so far is still the haloumi wrap. Soooo good!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

chopped salad

I started with a bowl of romaine, topped it with chopped cukes and tomatoes, leftover seasoned avocado bits, sweet mini shrimp, and finished it off with a spoonful of salsa and a drizzle of ranch. Refreshing and a great way to get some veggies in your world!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ground chicken tacos

If you're in the mood for Mex, and you're sick of red meat, try using ground chicken -- or yard cluck, like my uncle says. It's quick, and it soaks up whatever flavors you add to it. For these tacos, I used my signature chili-lime seasoning, then topped the tacos with caramelized onions (for my boy), shredded cheese, and seasoned avocado slices (for me) -- salsa and hot sauce optional. Try it out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ode to Leo

When I was studying in Madrid, my compañera de casa and I had a wonderful maid. She was a great cook, a sweet woman, and I--no, we-- are definitely missing her food. Our two favorite dishes are espaguettis con tomate (spaghetti with tomato sauce) and pollo asado con limón (roasted chicken with lemon). Let me say, the lady can cook, and her sauces are to-die-for. Trust me, you'd eat one of your own limbs if she dressed it up with sauce. Amazing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

dinner party dessert

Some friends of mine threw a party two nights ago, and I was in charge of putting together the desserts. I used to sell these little blueberry tartlets at a farmers' market, but I hadn't made them recently, so I kind of revamped the recipe.

I put together a dough of ground almonds (done in my food processor), sugar, butter, a pinch of salt, and some ice water. After toasting them up, I filled them with a light cream (housemade sheep ricotta, sheep yogurt, whipped cream, and powdered sugar -- all folded together and spiked with a little amaretto). I topped each tartlet with a gigantic Willow Hill Farm blueberry.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

the egg roll incident

(I was thinking about the String Cheese Incident...)

While working at Paulino's in Madrid, I learned how to make pastelitos de langostinos y gambas en su jugo-- delicious morsels of prawns and shrimp, sauteed together then rolled into thin pastry with a bed of sauteed vegetables.
I simply cannot get them out of my head...

So, on a whim, I embarked on an egg roll journey and used the knowledge and technique I learned at Paulino's to create some delicious pastelitos with more of an Asian flair.

I sautéed onions, julienned carrots and some savoy cabbage, just simply with a little bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. Then I sauteed peeled, deveined shrimp with olive oil, pepper, and a little bit of Jin Ji's Happy Hot Sauce. I put it all together in some egg roll wrappers, and shallow-fried them in olive oil.

Don't worry -- the oil wasn't dirty -- the bits on the outsides are from the residual Happy Hot Sauce in the pan.

I served them up with a carrot and savoy cabbage slaw -- dressed with soy sauce, lime juice, peanut oil, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds. Yum!

Friday, July 25, 2008

my newest queso-venture...

So it's official -- I've got a wheel of cheese aging away in a cave! For those of you who know me, you know I've worked with a cheesemaker for years, but until recently, I never thought of bringing the "make" process into my own kitchen. I did some research online first, and decided I'd like to make a washed-curd cheese. I first thought I'd head the gouda route, but it's a brined cheese, and for a first at-home attempt, I thought I'd rather go with a salt-in-the-vat recipe. So I went more toward a colby-style wheel, made it with mixed milk (sheep & cow), and now it's hanging out in a cheese cave. I've got no idea how it will come out, but if the quality of it's cavemates is somehow absorbed through osmosis, it will be awesome. But like I said, I've got no idea right now. Ask me in 6 months. =)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

grillin' time!

Recently my Madrid roommate came to visit me in VT (check out Madrid bar & club blog here). While we have been bogged down with rain for most of the summer, it let up just long enough to grill up some delicious food. I did my greek-style grilled chicken, a bucket of grilled veggies, and served it up with some of my confetti pasta salad with Doe's Leap goat feta. Yummmmmy! Or as my boy would say, "That's tasty".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

burcu's savory cornmeal cake

On the mission to find a recipe for cornmeal cakes, I came across a blog -- Almost Turkish Recipes. I just took their savory cornmeal cake out of the oven, and man! It is tasty! Feta and olives add saltiness to the cake, parsley adds a little green, and red pepper flakes add some heat. Check out the post here.

cold salads

Since it is so dadjim hot out there, I've been totally hooked on cold foods -- cold soups, cold sandwiches, and cold salads. I've been working with different combinations, but what I've done so far is only the tip of the iceberg...

Start with your favorite pasta or grain (cooked), add bite-sized bits of your favorite cheeses, meats, and/or veggies. You could also add herbs, dried or fresh fruits, or nuts. Dress it all up (
use bottled or make your own -- and don't forget salt & pepper!), and you're good to go!

A few combinations I do

"confetti" pasta (bulk bin in my health food store) + sundried tomatoes in olive oil + roasted red peppers + balsamic vinegar & olive oil

barley + crunchy red pepper bites or strips + caramelized onions + shredded chicken + lemon juice + olive oil

orzo + chickpeas + feta + garlic + dill + olive oil + lemon juice

tri-colored rotini + sundried tomatoes + slices of greek-style grilled chicken + chopped parsley + lemon juice + olive oil

my latest

fusilli pasta + feta + puréed green peas + parsley + pine nuts + lemon juice + olive oil
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flashback:: Paulino de Quevedo

In Madrid, Paulino's new restaurant (c/ Jordán, 7) serves up entirely different food than its counterpart on calle Alonso Cano. This upscale dining experience is definitely something special. His new space has an unfinished, but lived-in feeling, and his glassed-in wine cellar showcases his incredible winelist.

When I visited with my parents, we couldn't seem to order anything that wasn't melt-in-your-mouth delicious -- it may be impossible in this establishment. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and beautifully plated.

As for entradas, try the roasted artichoke pastry with caramelized foie gras (*photo 1*). For main dishes, try the lubina (seabass *photo 2*), the tuna (*photo 3*), or the milhojas de buey (a delicious play on the classic pastry "milhojas" or thousand layers -- made with many layers of tender beef and topped with parsnip chips *photo 4*). For dessert, the leche frita cannot be passed up. It's a traditional Spanish dessert infused with citrus and spices.
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