Posts filed under ‘Cooking’

Sweet

I like to think of myself as a good cook.  I really love baking and deserts and challenging recipes and all that.  What I’m about to show you will probably intimidate the shit out of you…but read on.

Cake

That would be my Genoise layer cake with lemon curd   filling and French butter cream.  Pretty gorgeous no?

Here, Let me show you a detail shot.

cake detail

Oh yeah, I sure did use a miniature rosebud to decorate it (a la Flying Monkey).

Right about now you are probably quaking in your inferior oven mitts.

Quake not.  It was a disaster.  You see, this cake was intended to be the dessert for a little dinner party friends were throwing. These particular friends live in Germantown…on Lincoln Drive.  If you know Philadelphia, you probably know Lincoln Drive as the fastest, curviest road in the city…and it is.  Let me break this down for you.  Jeep Cherokee + Lincoln Drive + lemon curd = seismic shift.

My charmingly rustic gateau slipped and slid all over the place.  It was not pretty. (There is no photographic evidence of the event…thank god.)

So there I was with one hell of an ugly cake at one hell of a terrific dinner party.  No matter, as long as it tastes good, who cares what it looks like.

I was able to comfort myself with this thought all the way through dinner.  Then I sliced the cake.  It was…stiff? Impenetrable?  Hmmm, what is the right word for a cake having the consistency of hardened foam rubber?

It was embarrassing.  My dear son said as kindly as possible that it tasted like a lemony eraser.

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May 12, 2008 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

The Dog’s Dinner

I’m officially cooking for my dog now. Yep, that’s right. Home made meals from scratch. ORGANIC home made meals from scratch. HA!

Until Saturday, when I can get her new food from the vet, I’m making the dog’s dinner. Last night she had organic free-range chicken breast with Yukon Gold potatoes and La Seur baby peas. She had a little grilled salmon for dessert.

You see, my vet (and good friend) told me about the studies he has learned about the non-gluten food and their effect on seizures and he said that even the animals fed a high gluten diet can affect the dogs if used in their food, thus the whole free-range thing.

My husband is jealous. I haven’t been cooking for HIM at ALL lately. To be fair, that is mainly due to my whole oral surgery ordeal…that, and really…he COULD have made his own dinner. Not that that’s likely…just anatomically possible. Whereas the dog could not.

I promised him that if he ever starts to have seizures I will cook him boiled chicken and potatoes too. I know, I know, I’m a startling good wife.

May 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

The type that has a cooking club

I’m that type.  You know, the sophisticated urban, wine-swilling, dinner party throwing, oh, lets make it a CLUB type.

Last night was the commencement of our cooking club.  The rules are simple: one person hosts, cooks the food and records the main recipes.  The other guests come, eat said food and compliment the chef ad-infinum.  Oh, and they bring wine…lots and lots of wine. (The really nice ones also bring a perfect bouquet of tulips.) Then next month one of the guests becomes the host and the process repeats itself.

Because I’m Miss Bossy Bosserson, I had the first one at my house. I leaned heavily on Trader Joe’s, as always, and the menu consisted of:

3 goat cheeses with blackberries and bitter Italian honey

Cold asparagus soup

Grilled London Broil and Portabellos with fresh Pesto

Roasted tomatoes

Cous-cous pilaf (Thanks Trader Joe’s)

And dessert was my favorite non-cookerson, but still tres fancy: Affogato (ice-cream topped with a shot of espresso.

It was a good night.

Cold Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

Leeks – 2, trimmed

Asparagus – one bunch, woody bits trimmed

Garlic – about 1/2 of a bulb, or, to taste

Olive oil – about ¼ cup

Salt – generously

White pepper – miserly

Chicken Broth – One box, not can, of the best organic free-range low sodium stuff that you can buy.

Half and Half – about ½ of a pint (one cup)

Method:

Slice trimmed leeks

Sauté in olive oil until clear

Add chopped garlic

Add chopped asparagus (with the heads reserved)

Add salt and white pepper

Add broth

Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Let cool

Then, puree in batches in a blender (hold the lid down…trust me on this)

Strain through a fine sieve

Cool completely (about 4-5 hours)

Right before serving, return soup to blender and add the cream.

Blend and serve in your grandmother’s best soup tureen.

Garnish with (raw) chopped reserved asparagus heads.

Pesto

Ingredients:

Basil – a lot, (one package) with the stems generally removed

Garlic – a lot (1/2 of a bulb?)

Pine nuts – a couple of tablespoons – ¼ cup (you can sub walnuts)

Parmesan cheese – about ¼ cup

Olive oil – about ½ cup, maybe more

Lemon or lime juice – a dash (don’t use too much)

Salt – generously

Black pepper – generously

Method:

Combine in a food processor.

Use that day.

It will last for a couple of days in the fridge, but the color will start to turn, and the whole point is the fresh yummieness.

April 7, 2008 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

Trowback dinner

I’m feeling retro, and thus, craving the cuisine of my childhood, namely: Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Scoff if you must, but tonight, the hubster and I will be feasting on this mayonnaise-based classic.

Ingredients:

Egg noodles (half of a bag)

Broccoli (about one head or a small bag of florets)

Tuna-drained (one can in water, the best your wallet can spare.)

Cream of crap soup (one can)

Mayonnaise (about 1/3 cup)

Water (about 1/2-1 cup)

Celery Salt (a lot)

Cayenne Pepper (some)

Breadcrumbs

Method:

Butter the bottom of your casserole dish.

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Add broccoli to pasta water to blanch.

Put the cooked noodles in the casserole dish.

Layer on the broccoli.

Add the tuna all broken up across the top.

Pour on the sauce: (combine the COC soup, mayo, water, and spices)

Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve with a smile.

March 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

Beefy

Yesterday was one of those highly productive days. I was up early. Took the pupitia to the dogpark. Cleaned the house. I had a meeting with my editor in the morning. Wrote all afternoon. Went grocery shopping and…

Made beef stew.

Ingredients:

Garlic (like, half a bulb)

Onion

Celery

Carrots (oops, I forgot them this time)

Lean stewing beef already cut-up (Trader Joe’s)

Package of cherry, or grape tomatoes

Can of tomato sauce

Molasses (about a 1/4 cup)

Worcestershire sauce (a good squeeze, like a tablespoon)

Tapioca (maybe a 1/4 cup)

Salt

Black Pepper

Water or broth (2 cans)

Method:

Chop the veggies pretty finely and toss into the bottom of your crockpot. (not the tomatoes, dummy.)

Add remaining ingredients.

Stir

Cook for about 4-5 hours on high.

Serve with polenta (follow package instructions, but cook it a little longer and use a little more water than they say…it should be crusty.)

The hubster is a very happy man when he is served beef stew. I have him right where I want him

Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!!

March 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm 1 comment

Mean, mean, mean, mean, mean.

I started-in early this morning on dear old son. Cullen is my step-son, and even though I love him like my own, the reality is that we don’t spend that much time together one-on-one. But, for the next three days, he’s MINE!!!! (cue evil laughter.)

Cullen is on Spring Break and he decided to spend it in Philadelphia with us. SWEET!

I dragged the poor child out of bed at 8:50 this morning and to make it worse, I made him take a shower! I know, wicked step-mother to the core.

I have big plans for the day. After spending an hour or so at my favorite new cafe Good Karma, we are going to the Masonic Temple for a tour. After a side trip to pick up some appropriate trousers for the sir, we’ll have some lunch at the Racquet Club.

Later, we’ll be cooking a corned beef “Adh mór ort”.

No recipe there, just buy the nicest corned beef you can find and drop it in a crock-pot for 4 hours with a cup of water. I got mine at Costco. In a break with tradition I’m serving it with roasted brussels sprouts.

Ingredients:

Brussels sprouts

Lemon (juice of 1)

Garlic (a lot)

Olive oil (about 1/4 cupish)

Kosher salt (a lot)

White pepper (a little)

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Quarter sprouts and mix with other ingredients.

You can do this up to a day ahead (Postpone step one if you do so…heh heh heh.)

Spread seasoned and olied sprouts on a 1/2 sheet baking pan.

Roast about 15-20 minutes (sprouts should be just starting to brown, but be careful, they tend to cook from the bottom up.)

Serve on our best white platter and enjoy watching your kids/husband actually eating said brussels sprouts.

HA!

March 17, 2008 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

A Grand Success!

There is nothing quite like the full-body exhaustion that follows a good dinner party.

Last night’s dinner was a grand success! The grilled squid salad rocked. Cullen did a banging job on stirring the risotto. The piece d’ resistance was the cake. I tell you, nothing goes over better than a good old-fashioned layer cake for dessert. One guest had three, yes, THREE slices.

(I’ll be making a similar cake for Easter. I’m going to modify the recipe slightly by brushing the cakes with rosewater before frosting, and by making my own powdered sugar for the frosting. I’ll use a golden sugar without any cornstarch.)

We had a terrific time talking and drinking and debating for hours. I even made an after-dinner snack: roasted curied carrots. OMG! I don’t know if it was just the booze or what, but they were inhaled!

Ingredients:

Carrots (a bag of the baby ones)

Olive oil (enough to coat, maybe 1/4 cup)
Ginger (shake)

Hot curry powder (shake)

White Pepper (shake)

Kosher salt (tons)

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Combine carrots and olive oil in a bowl.

Add spices.

Pour onto 1/2 sheet pan in one layer.

Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Top with Kosher salt.

Serve finger style, but watch out!!! They stay hot for a while.

Thank me later.

March 16, 2008 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

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