Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comfort Foods/Brisket

I can’t get over how orange this blog is right now, browsing through these posts I realized that it seems like I have only been eating root vegetables and squash. Factor in the orange background and I am getting worried that I am victim to some bizarre color hypnosis. Maybe it’s too orange, but I can’t help it, orange foods just taste so good. Also, orange is such a happy color that each time my blog pops up all it just adds a flash of brightness to my day. When I was contemplating all this orange business I realized that recently Stefi told me I looked tan even though I have been a prisoner of the halogen lighting in the library. Suddenly it hit me, is it actually possible that the myth of beta-carotene giving skin an orange glow is actually true? If so, you can expect to be seeing a LOT more orange food around here.

Although I made this brisket with parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes before the 'orange revelation', if it turns out that orange food is keeping me looking sunny I think I will be making this again sooner than I expected.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving/Pear Cranberry Cake

Giving thanks is a funny thing, because it so often feels cliché and insincere, it’s so easy to know what I am grateful for, but it is so much harder to express it. Right at this very moment, as I sit at the airport waiting to board the plane that will bring me to my family, I am grateful that US Immigration and Border Control didn’t notice the stash of goodies I have stowed in my carry-on. Seriously, that’s all I can think about, how lucky I am that after several hours of work, the pumpkin cake, the spiced nuts and the cranberry-pear brown butter cake that I made last night are still safe and sound.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I feel like I should be waxing poetic about how lucky I feel that I have a loving family, wonderful friends, that I am healthy and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I am immensely thankful for that, but I don't need a national holiday to remind me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Priorities/Spicy Candied Nuts

If I had a choice, this blog would always be my main priority. Unfortunately, I am fortunate enough to be a university student and since my life's calendar is based on semesters, end of November and early December mean crunch time. Luckily I still find a few pauses in my crunch time and in those moments, I have promised myself to be in my kitchen and blogging. This blog gives me a reason to do what I love, so there is no way I would ever be willing to give that up.

When I first started telling people about this blog, I had already been working on it for awhile, but I kept it to myself for so long because I was scared that once I told everyone I would start to dread any commitment to it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daring Cooks/Sushi

At 10 am today, when I was reading over this month's Daring Cooks challenge, I realized that the reveal date was today and not tomorrow like I had thought. A quick trip to the supermarket and a bunch of dirty dishes later, I am very proud to say, mission accomplished. I never thought that I would actually get through this challenge in time, but somehow I made it and I had a great time doing it.

The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

Friday, November 13, 2009

About Me/Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Some days there is no time for words, which is why there are pictures....

I miss adventures like these....

And I miss views like these.....

This is my best friend Wifey.

That's a sea urchin, in my favorite place in the world, Pantelleria.

This is my little brother Milo, he's my favorite little brother.

Even when there is little time for words, there is always time for sweet potatoes seasoned with cumin and chili flakes....

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
makes 4 side servings

3 large sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp. chili flakes (more or less depending on how hot you like them)
Sprinkle of sea salt
1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2" wide sticks along it's length. Toss with oil, cumin and chili flakes.
3) Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle with salt, the allow to rest for about 10 minutes before eating.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Second Chances/Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

So it's that time of year again, the time of year when the weeks suddenly start flying by, the thoughts of papers and exams are constantly whirling around my head and before I know it, I haven't cooked anything in almost a week because I have actually forgotten what day it is. I usually like forgetting what day it is, because it is so often a sign of being on vacation, of relaxation and fun. Then there is the other type of forgetting what day it is which means that I start counting days based on how far away I am from a due date, and find myself having tunnel vision up until that day. It is at times like these that I accidentally make 6 pumpkin cranberry loaves and believe it to be the funniest and most exciting thing that has happened in weeks (sadly, it probably is).

Let's back track. Yesterday, I finally had the time to procrastinate, which, from the looks of my agenda, won't really be happening in the next few weeks and so, I decided to bake.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smiling/Baked Chicken Meatballs

Last night, at 7:30 pm I was at the supermarket hoping that I wouldn't have a botched dinner. At 9 pm after my first bite of these meatballs I was smiling like a goon, theses meatballs were anything but botched. Wholehearted, goonish smiles are one of my favorite things; seriously, if there is one thing I love more than good food, it’s smiles. They say that if you smile for long enough, no matter how low you are feeling, eventually the physical action of smiling will translate into smiley thoughts and eventually into a smiley state of being. So if it's food (that I made) that makes me smile so wide, it's kind of the best of win-win scenarios. Not only am I pleased with my work, but I also get a dinner out of it.
I am starting to worry that I am tooting my own horn a little too much these days, I keep raving about all this food I make and patting myself on the back.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween/Lentil and Parsnip Salad

This was the first year in as long as I can remember that I had a blast dressing up for Halloween . In the past I have felt awkward and shy about it, always worrying that my costume was 'stupid' or that people were going to think badly of me, but this year I went all out. Surprisingly, I don't regret brushing out my curls and dousing them with baby powder for my 'Grandmother Clock' costume, even though several people pulled my hair to find out if I was wearing a wig or not. And, if I may say so myself I made a pretty cute Aunt Jemima. As it turns out, dressing up is a lot of fun. I could get used to the whole dressing up thing, but I still find it totally bizarre that at the actual Halloween parties, everyone behaves exactly the same as they would on any other night out, except they’re in costume. Let me tell you, seeing Batman dancing with a Teletubby is a weird sight no matter how festive you're feeling.

The funny thing is, I didn't even celebrate on the actually day of Halloween. Needless to say, after two nights of pre-Halloween parties and costumes, by the 31st, all I wanted was a good break. Actually, what I really needed was a good break with good food and good conversation.