Sunday, December 9, 2012

A thing that I did; A thing that I'm doing.

So I've been working a lot lately, and haven't been posting much- but I'm excited about an event that I catered (mostly on my own! but with some help from some awesome people)

I can tell the story in some pictures:

Obligatory Crudite shot- served with a Mediterranean feta dip

 Look! it's the whole table!

 Sundried tomato and goat cheese crostini that my friend lisa made- delicious!
The spinach artichoke dip that will shave years off your life, but is so worth it! (four cheeses, much deliciousness)

 Procuitto and melon skewers!
Medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese and topped with honey toasted almonds

So while I'm not catering things on my own, really, (this was for an Iron Crow Theatre Holiday Fundraiser) I am building my own Culinary Instruction Business! I am teaching cooking classes, either for a series- eight classes, or one night events, like "how to roast a chicken" and "appetizers for a party"    so I was advertising with my new cool business cards: 

If you know anyone who wants to learn to cook, send 'em my way!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


So last week my roommate and I went thrifting, and I found a set of ten nestled anchor bowls that were nested. It has made my prep work so much easier! 

All of the chopping

I have been working on making sure I have my Mis-en-place (french for everything in it's place) when I am cooking, and I have to say, It makes for much easier cooking. (The downside is the amount of dishes) But I'm also finding it's easier to clean as I go with them. 

So today's my day off, and I started off by roasting this chicken: 
Hello, chicken, you are tasty.

Then, I started with a riff on the Pioneer Woman's White Chili, Which i think is perfect for the fall weather that we've been having.   Now the stock is simmering on the stove, and my ingredients (above) are patiently waiting to become Chicken Corn Chowder. 

If only my other day off activities were this rewarding and delicious.  However laundry, it is not. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now.

1.  Rainy days, with the day off, making corn chowder (and probably cookies later)
2. My awesome roommate, who rocks on multiple levels, and having some time to spend hanging out with her. She went on a buisness trip last week, and I really missed her!
3. Instagram

4. This song, played over and over and over again.

5. Having some time, and space to do the things I want to do. 
6. My camelback water bottle. You have to bite down to get the water! It's like a sippy cup! Very strange. But awesome.
7. Doing research for upcoming projects.
8. Baking bread. Lots of bread.
10. Living in Hampden, and spending more time hanging out with Jackie because she's so close! You know, even when she demands I cook things for her.

What is making you happy right now?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

#10: Learn How to bake bread.

Ok, I am totally going to say this. I can bake bread, but I have not Mastered bread baking.  But I still think I got this one done (and since I'm scarce on having list items done this year, I'm taking it as a win)

If you have been around any sort of cooking/baking blogs in the past few years, I'm sure you know this recipe.  It's made the rounds- mostly a few years ago, and I think I made it back then, but wasn't 100% impressed.  It's Jim Lahey's no knead bread. 

But I have been having a hankering for bread lately, and the minute it cooled down a little (and I had a couple of days off)  the concept is pretty simple; a small amount of yeast, and a long proofing period develops the bread with some awesome flavors. You mix together flour, yeast, salt, and warm water, stir, and let it sit on your counter for 12 hours.  Then you punch it down a little, form it into a ball, and let it rise for 2 more hours, at which point you bake it in a preheated cast iron pot.  And ta-da! Bread!

This bread is awesome. It's crusty, and chewy on the inside, and if you put a little butter on it- MAN, it is good.   I made the regular recipe, and then for the next one, I chopped up some kalamata olives and put them in.   This is what it looked like:

isn't that sexy?

Then, for breakfast this morning, I took the remaining regular bread, tore it up, put it in a casserole dish with custard base made with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, dotted it with butter, and then shook a little cinnamon sugar on top.  I don't have a picture, because it was devoured so quickly- but it was so good. the insides were eggy and warm, and the top was crisp with the toasted bread pieces, and the cinnamon sugar made the outside crust crackle a little.  Having made it once, I can't stop thinking about it, and what changes/improvements I can make. (next time I'm going to sprinkle the top with maple sugar, I think)

But I'm back in the saddle again, and I can't start to bake more of this bread, especially because it is so easy.  It is totally worth the burns I got mishandling my cast iron pot.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dinner with Jack

I was in a cooking mood, so I picked up some stuff as I was leaving work on Wednesday, and called Jack to see if she wanted me to cook her dinner. To the suprise of exactly no one, she said yes. So I trucked over to Hampden, and made dinner for Jackie and her roommate.  (You know, because I'm the Best Sister Ever). 

The first thing I did was set some artichokes to steam (or more accurately, to boil)

While we were waiting for them to finish, I made some avocado toasts: 

Toasted bread, a little butter, avocado smushed on, salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon. 

And some Caprese toasts: 

Toasted bread, balsamic vinegar, kumatos, basil, mozzerella, and a little salt. 

By then, the artichokes were done, and I served them with lemon butter and a mock- Sauce gribiche (if you follow the link, it's the smoother one) to dip the petals in.  We ate outside, and relaxed- it was a really nice spring night.  I'm looking forward to more dinners in Hampden when I move there next month!

And dessert was mascarpone lemon dip for strawberries and Toasted Coconut Thins: 

mmmmmm, lemony goodness....

One of my favorite things to do is cook for other people, even when it is as simple as this

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

Sometimes your friends are right, and you need to update your blog, because it's been forever.

And while I haven't done one of these in a long time, because life has been crazy, and stressful, it is still important to recognize things that make me happy.

1. My parents will be in Baltimore for dinner on Friday!   I was sick when my mom wanted to come down to visit a few weeks ago, and I felt terrible about not being able to hang out, so I'm glad that they are stopping on their way home from Savannah. (Sidenote: am totally jealous they went to Savannah)

2. Irish Bangers are in at Trader Joe's! I'm not gonna lie.... I've been debating buying a case. That's how good they are.

3 Kate and James are going to be hitting Baltimore for a little bit in April! (woo!)

4  I just realized I never posted about this!  I crossed another item off my 30/30th list!
That's my dftba tattoo! (it stands for Don't Forget To Be Awesome)

5  Iron Crow is putting on a staged reading of 8 the play by Dustin Lance Black (the same guy who wrote Milk, and it's been getting really great press and it's almost sold out!

6 Planning the Chincoteague vacation. It is going to be EPIC this year- Rib cookoff, Wing cookoff, and for those of you who are fans of the TV show Cougar Town, there will be a lot of Penny Can.  (and giant, oversized wine glasses)

7 Have gotten into recipe planning again, I have a couple of ideas, but now that the weather is so warm, all i want to make is cool-weather things. I need to carve some time out to cook!

8 My friend Julie was in a pretty bad accident (the kind where she needs how to learn to walk again) it was really scary, but it seems like she's on the mend.

9  Today is Pi Day! You should eat some pie.

10 Corny Jokes! I now have an app for that on my ipad. My favorites of late:

What do you call a donkey with earplugs?  ..... anything you want, he can't hear you!
What is ten letters and starts with gas?  .... an automobile

.... heh.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nana on my mind.

It may seem strange to remember my Nana most when it comes to Superbowl.  She wasn't a football fan, I don't think she'd ever watched a game her whole life. But my parents have a big party every year,  and every year she would come, ringing the doorbell at a house that everyone just walks in and says hello.  She would bring her wings, and I think about her in her kitchen, cooking them up, for an event that she didn't care about, for her family, that she did, very much.

Of course I have lots of memories of her- twenty seven years of Christmases, birthdays, family get togethers, sleepovers at her house, twenty seven years of love, and kindness, and beauty. But this is one that sticks to me, I can almost see her, sitting at my parents' dining room table, cup of tea in hand, the game blaring in the other room, catching up with my cousins, who she hadn't seen since Christmas.

When I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I can still feel like it was to hug her, bending a little, because she was shorter than I was (imagine that!) warm, and soft, and comforting. She was a great hugger.

Memories of her are hitting me hard lately. but that's what grief is, right? Rolling waves that ebb and flow, sometimes threatening to overwhelm you, but you hold your breath, let them crash over you, and when they recede, it's a little easier to take than the last time one hit you.

I think about the things she's missed since she is gone, and it makes my heart ache.

It's been almost three years.  I still miss her so much.

This entry was spurred by this article, which I just read, and brought up a lot of stuff for me.  If you've ever given a eulogy for someone, or think you may one day, you should read it.