Category Archives: Cooking

Poser

Like Homer here…

I was planning on showcasing the fabulous desserts he made for us last week but Mark beat me to the punch.

So I’ll share these shots of Homer at Multnomah Falls eating the ice cream that ruined his self portraits…

And posing all pretty like…

He can be very obedient.

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Cake

The weather Saturday was really sucky and cool so I didn’t get the opportunity to work in the yard as I’d hoped. I really needed the distraction but that wasn’t going to happen so I started catching up on my blogroll and was inspired by a remark Homer made about making cupcakes to calm himself down. One great thing about cooking…it fulfills your needs…and since I needed a pick me up I decided to cook to cheer myself up.

Mark and I had stopped by New Season’s Market earlier in the day to participate in their weekly tasting which happened to be ice cream. Of course we had to bring some home and, well, since you can’t eat vanilla ice cream without chocolate cake (okay…berries would work but we didn’t have berries in the house) I decided to make a cake. After all…we had all the ingredients at hand and I don’t mean a box of cake mix either. Nope! I pulled out our ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking and found a ‘real’ recipe for Devil’s Food Cake. The recipe mentioned that during the war they would use cassava flour as a cake flour substitute.  Being that we’re at war I searched the kitchen and pantry for cassava flour but alas had to settle for cake flour.  Times have changed.

Next I needed to make a nice icing and I knew I wanted it to be chocolatey and gooey but not too rich so instead of a nice cream cheese frosting, I made a beautiful, shiny, butter icing. I know, butter is as full of fat as cream cheese but it only requires 3 tablespoons of butter as opposed to 3 ounces of cream cheese. Lees fat…more flavor! The main ingredients were chocolate, sugar and hot water, how simple is that?

And the finished product….

…no, it’s not gorgeous but it was made to eat and with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream it tasted like happiness!

Thanksgiving

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been totally slacker-assed about my blog lately but damn, work has been crazy and I didn’t feel much like getting on the computer when I got home. If I had, I’d have spat out a bunch of expletives and that’s not good reading, unless you’re talking about the Bush Administration.

On an up note though, I did get to see my blogging inspiration, Emily, last week. Emily and I worked together for a while before she took a job in France where she started a blog to keep her family and friends up to date on her adventures. Emily started a blog for Mark and I as a Christmas gift in aught three but I was a bit of slacker at blogging then too and Mark took the reins. It wasn’t until last year that I decided to start my own blog, but I digress.

Emily moved back to the US a year ago and took a position in San Francisco; I haven’t seen her since her return. Fortunately, she came home for the holiday and I was able to pry her away from all her family commitments for a few hours and a few pints. It was great to hang with her again if only briefly and she looks freakin’ fantastic!! Don’t ya’ think?

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Okay…she could open her eyes but she still looks fabulous and you can’t even see the figure she’s packing. Thanks E, it was great seeing you and we’ll get together in the spring when I head to the homeland for a visit!

After a couple miserable days at work I was thrilled with the turn that Thanksgiving brought. I was up fairly early and parked my ass on the couch to catch the latter part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade on the East Coast feed on the satellite. I know, commercialism at its finest, but hey, it took me back to my youth and as long a trip as that is I really needed it. I was in a dark place. Somewhere between the Koons Rabbit (way cool!) and Shrek balloons I decided I needed to take a shower and get dinner started. Yeah…it was early but our slow roast method requires an early start. About an hour later I put the bird in the oven and had just turned on the football game when I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was one of the neighbors in need of some butter or sage but when I opened the door I was THRILLED to find our wonderful friends Nancy and Carol. Now I hate when folks stop in without warning because I’m usually dressed in sloppy torn t-shirts and sweat pants but this time I couldn’t contain my excitement. These are two of the greatest women I have ever met in my life and we haven’t spent a lot of time together this year due to Nancy’s mother’s recent passing and Carol’s new grandkids. If there was ever a time for someone to just drop in…that was it!

For the next four hours we talked, a lot! We laughed, we watched the birds, we ate, we wallowed in the joy and love this spontaneous visit wrought. Life just doesn’t get any better! Those few short hours were the very essence of Thanksgiving and a great reminder that it’s the simple, pure moments, that make our time here so worthwhile. You can’t plan that…it simply happens. I wish they could have stayed for dinner but they had other plans and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of fate or karma or whatever force was guiding us that day because everything was perfect, absolutely perfect.

The turkey turned out to be the best I’ve cooked in the past few years but the potatoes had too much garlic (yes, the possibility surprised even me), the gravy was a bit salty and we even forgot to make dinner rolls (the horror!), so we weren’t caught in some “perfect” event in the space-time continuum that afternoon. But we were close…awfully close!

Summer’s Bounty

Friday night’s little skateboard exercise really wasn’t all that bad. Aside from rendering me a bit gimpy on Saturday I was still able to take the boys to the river.

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Then make a stop at the local grower for some apricots followed by a visit to a nearby orchard to pick peaches.

Sunday was overcast and ugly so we turned this…

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…into this…

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…with a simple wave of our wands. There must have been some magic involved because we ended up with 48 jars, about a dozen more than expected.

Between batches of jam I noticed his pretty lady out in the yard with a her fawn.

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I couldn’t get a shot of the fawn but Mark said s/he still had spots.

Monday evening while Mark was at the neighbors swimming I pulled out the box of peaches and threw together a pie. I’ve never actually made a peach pie before and it didn’t seem to be browning properly and the dough looked like it was melting. I was pretty annoyed knowing the dough would be tough and chewy but when I finally pulled this beauty from the oven…

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…it was pure flaky goodness, even if it didn’t look pretty. (I need to work on my edges)

Yep, it was a great weekend, and with warm weather and no rain, there’s no better way to spend the weekend than putzing around enjoying the treats summer has to offer.

You Call These Cookies?

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I was running through the supermarket this past weekend to pick up some milk for a cheesemaking experiment with the neighbor. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a package of Nestle Tollhouse Cookies with caramel topping. Being a caramel junkie I popped the package into my basket for a late night treat.

Last night, after a long day at work, I remembered the cookies and decided I deserved a treat.  In no time at all I can have warm, gooey, caramelly cookies.  Mmmm.  I separated the pre-cut squares, placed them on the cookie sheet and 10 minutes later I had….shit! These are the worst fucking cookies I’ve ever tasted. Even after dousing them with the caramel topping they still taste like garbage. I should have known better than to buy pre-fab cookies. Never, never, ever again!

Blog Food

Today I was thrilled to receive two more soup recipes from my blog buddy over at thanksforlooking. One is an Italian Wedding Soup and the other a Cabbage Soup with chili powder which really has me intrigued. Of course, having made a large pot of Lelo’s Sopas de Albondigas yesterday, I’ll have to wait a few days before tackling these two.

Lately, Mark and the neighbors have all been making a no-knead bread that is amazing and made me long for my homemade ciabatta.  So yesterday morning I started a biga which has to ferment for 24 hours prior to mixing the actual dough. That meant this morning I was in the kitchen shortly after crawling out of bed and five hours later I had two wonderful loaves of bread, one with kalamata olives. Mmmmm.

Since I was in cooking mode, I decided it was the perfect time to tackle the Spicy Pepper Cookies that Scott posted over at Purple Twinkie.  Scott is posting a cookie a week during the holiday season and these just sounded too interesting not to try. They didn’t turn out quite like the picture he posted but they are unbelievably light and oh so tasty! Now we have this basket of cookies on the counter and we can’t walk past it without eating one.  I don’t think they’ll make it to work tomorrow.

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So the weekend turned out to be all about food from fellow bloggers and it’s all good.  Thanks ya’ll!

Sopas

Yes I already titled a post “Soup” but this time I did it in another language so get over it. After all…its my blog and I can post what I want to.

After my soup post last week a few blog buddies offered to send some soup recipes my way. On Thursday the lovely Lelo of Lelo in NoPo sent me her mom’s recipe for Sopas de Albondigas. Not being a big soup person unless I’m sick I don’t have many good recipes so this was a welcome offer.

This afternoon I gathered my strength and swept into the kitchen to tackle this tempting recipe. After sweating the onions and garlic then adding the carrots, celery and homemade broth, we had the beginnings of a soup.

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Then came the turkey meatballs.

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Finally, the garbanzos and stewed tomatoes (from our garden this summer), and the magic happened.

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I quickly filled a bowl…(sorry Scott, I didn’t wipe the rim before I took the pic)

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And I should be well by tomorrow! I’m telling you I could feel myself getting better with every bite. This was so easy and so very scrumptious I can hardly wait til breakfast. Thanks Lelo…and thanks to your mom too!