Friday, September 3, 2010

When Life Gives You Apples...

...make an Apple Tart.

My dear friend Linda handed me a 13 gallon bag filled with these little guys. She called them Pippins, tart green apples much like a Granny Smith. Linda and her husband had picked them a bit early due to the fact that the birdies were starting to get their little beaks on them!

I like to make something to snack on after the public cuppings I have at the roaster on Fridays, and I thought, "Well, now I have some apples, what to do..." I went to my old stand-by "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" good old Julia her! I found a tart recipe that I felt I could pull off with what I had on hand. I made a few alterations: recipe called for apricot preserves and I had apple jelly, vanilla extract was used rather than Calvados (apple brandy), and Alton Brown has sold me on Grains of Paradise rather than cinnamon in apple related baked goods.

Let's just didn't sit around long and there is nothing left. I do believe my mother really wants me to make another one!

Tiny Kitchen Gets an Upgrade...

'nuf said...I do believe!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homeless Feasting, Part Two

This one was amazing! I went grocery shopping today and procured leeks, fennel and beautiful portabellas. What to do, what to do? A citrus-based sauce sounded perfect, but how exactly? I made a lemon butter sauce, much like a beurre blanc but the acid is lemon juice rather than vinegar. It complimented the leeks and fennel quite nicely. For a little added color I threw in some yams. now I have two wonderful vegetarian versions of the Hobo Dinner! Whoohoo!!
I almost like this one better than the first.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homeless Feasting

I am preparing for a dinner party I am having this Sunday. Testing recipes in a way. This will be an unusual dinner in that a bonfire will be involved and we will be eating "Hobo Dinners." I grew up eating Hobo Dinners when we went camping, and they are a particular favorite of my 85 year old grandfather. Not familiar with the term? You may still be familiar with the product, a foil wrapped meal that you cook on the embers of a campfire, or in our case a bonfire.
Our family's Hobo Dinners have evolved over the years. When I was in fourth grade we learned to use cabbage leaves as a first layer of defense against burning the food within. The charred cabbage is quite yummy and it adds moisture to the finished meal. My dad has gone gourmet with the dinners, adding sauces and unusual ingredients. He replaces the standard ground beef with salmon or cuts of pork. Now I want to introduce a new challenge: I have vegetarian friends, family and even I try to eat vegetarian during the week. So I want to create a wonderful vegetarian version of the Hobo Dinner, and why not? How many hobos actually had meat? Okay, I mean real meat! No squirrel or rat. I am aware that they didn't have tofu either!

I am writing this as my first attempt at this experiment cooks on the grill. I confess that I am quite proud of myself and what I believe will be a brilliantly delicious meal. Now...I really don't know yet...but I can feel it! It has to be good! Right?
My genius comes from the beurre blanc sauce I have composed, with help from Julia Child. I have altered the recipe a bit: instead of white wine vinegar I used balsamic, and rather than shallots I used sweet onion, and then I added garlic. Again...seriously what could go wrong? Especially with 'lots and lots of butter!'

The main meal meal is made up of zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, yams, crimini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and tofu. It's the tofu I'm a little worried about. I'm very new to tofu and what its capable of.

(time passes, 20 minutes on one side and 10 on the other)
When I opened the foil pouch it looked like the butter had burned, but just around the edges. The Dinner was AMAZING!! The tofu was great, the veggies oh so yummy! My only regret? That I put all of the sauce in the dinner and didn't reserve some for later. Oh well, after all Sunday is in the future, and I have a few more days left for experimenting.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Been Awhile...

Hello All! Sorry for the hiatus...not a lot of cooking going on right now. Though I am looking forward to all the wonderful food that summer brings! I made a fresh corn and avocado salad this weekend, but I had left my camera at work. I promise to get a pic of it next time. Here is a little of what I have been up to:

Spanish Lentils with Mushrooms...very yummy,
and I had just purchased the smoked paprika at Savory Spice Shop!!

Cinnamon Rolls ala Alton Brown...they were topped with cream cheese frosting.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easter Dinner for Two

I love Easter! Actually I love the Spring Equinox but I can get Easter off, so that is when I celebrate. I love the spring-time food, I love that it is warming up outside, I love how fertile the earth is, and I love the egg-hunts!! Last year I hosted an Easter party that was huge. My father and I planned the entire menu and did all of the cooking. I planned an adult egg-hunt with prizes. We had 28 people over for the festivities. It was so much fun!

(Thank you Jamie Oliver!)

This year, I decided to keep it quite. Mom and Dad weren't going to be home, and my friends are having children and starting their own traditions. So I made a lamb roast for two along with potatoes, a green salad, and a strawberry tart. It was quite a challenge getting everything done with just a toaster oven, but it all went quite smoothly.
I did miss the crowd and the egg-hunt...may have to do the big shin-dig again next year!

The welcome challenge of a vegan.

I can't really remember how it came about. Perhaps it is just a natural progression, but we began having treats at the roaster's Public Cuppings. I have made sea salt caramels and others have brought cakes and cookies.

Then Levi started to come by on a regular basis. Levi is vegan. I love a cooking challenge! I began by making an apple pie. He hadn't had one since he was in 7th grade, so it was a must! That was pretty easy since all I had to replace was the butter in the crust (used Earth Balance.) Then I found a vegan chocolate cake recipe. So easy and so good! I have made it a couple of times with absolutely no high-altitude issues. Amazing.

Then came the Ginger Snaps. I had purchased a can of Ginger People's ginger chips when I was trying to come up with my signature drink for competition. The can was still sitting around and I took a look and there was a cookie recipe on the label. All I would have to replace was the butter and an egg. I had already seen an egg replacement idea involving flax seeds and water that looked really simple, so I thought I would give it a go.

They were awesome! Slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The flavor of the flax egg complimented the molasses and ginger. So good! My accountant came up that day and after trying a cookie he said "Now if I could something like this in a coffeehouse!"

I will be making these again!