Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My First (fullyfromscratch) Risotto

I've gone over one of life's biggest humps. I've made my first, fully-from-scratch risotto. And it was good.

This is dangerous territory, though, because risotto is one of those dishes that is never fully conquered; there are so many variations and combinations and permutations! This frustrates and excites my cooking mind at the same time, pitting my left brain against my right, my creativity vs. my tick-that-off-the-list-and-be-done-with-it-ness (a battle I'm familiar with as someone who has always loved math just as much as musical theatre). Anyway, that got a bit reflective. Sorry about that. Here is the evidence of my first risotto battle won.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Comfortably Full

Today Penn came home to me shuffling about the kitchen saying, 'I had a frustrating day. Tonight we're having MY comfort food' (which basically means anything with pasta, homemade sauce and lots of mozzarella and parmesan).

Baked vegan/gluten free pasta with homemade meat sauce.

It was such a frustrating day . . .  I put mozzarella on the salad, too.

We both had seconds.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Delicious Post-Paleo Saturday

Just some favorites revisited as a Saturday treat post Paleo-Lent.

Tuna Melt on Rye
with a bit of rocket on top

Tuna salad (solid white Albacore in water, mayo, fresh lemon juice, S&P and a dash of marjoram if you have it), super-sharp cheddar, toasted rye, rocket. Done.

Killer Cinnamon Buns

Taken from a trusty butter-loving blogger, Smitten Kitchen. These take 1/2 a day to make, but it is WORTH IT. I flavored my glaze with some more cinnamon, a little allspice and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. Holy moly with tea.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eating Paleo (A Colorful Food Heaven)

So, I've been disgustingly overcommitted at work lately and, while I truly enjoy every minute of the work I do, sometimes I read so many words and type so many sentences as an editor that my insides crawl at the thought of writing any more when I'm finally home on my couch. Photos, on the other hand, I can always seem to manage.

As you've gathered from the title of today's blog, I've gone Paleo. Don't worry. Not forever. I won't spend the rest of this blog judging you for eating cheese or putting your eggs on toast. I'm only doing it for Lent as a way to get myself back in the groove of full-on healthy living after an intense year. The following are a few selections from:

Adventures in a Cave (wo)Man's Kitchen 

Chipotle Braised Bone-in Chicken Breast
with a fresh salsa salad and homemade sweet potato crisps

Modified from here. To sum up: I used all olive oil to keep the chicken Paleo and chipotle paste instead of powder. And always about 3x as much lime as any recipe calls for. :)

Pan-fried Pork Sausage in a Fresh Tarragon Jus
with a sweet potato and carrot puree and just-right steamed green beans

 It is riDONKculously hard to find breadcrumb-free sausages in our Waitrose (they were everywhere in Oxford's Covered Market, so I guess I got really spoiled!). But, I did eventually find this lovely brand: Debbie & Andrew's.

This was probably my favorite meal since starting the challenge (I've already recreated it once). So comforting after a long, stressful day!

Sesame Encrusted Lamb Meatballs
with a toasted cashew salad (lime vinaigrette) and dry roasted courgette (olive oil and lime drizzle over everything)

Majorly modified from here. To keep it Paleo, I used food-processed cashews instead of breadcrumbs. Also, I didn't include the currants or Penn would've killed me. Finally, I would suggest using fewer sesame seeds in your crust. They were a bit overpowering in my version.

  (Obviously these are pictures of Penn's plate above, since I can't have yogurt as a Cave Woman. So, he got a spiced yogurt dip and I made a lemon mayo drizzle for mine. Both were delish!)

Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders and Endive Salad with Crispy Chorizo, Toasted Walnuts and Baby Plum Tomatoes
drizzled with a balsamic and lemon reduction and strong olive oil

 Penn got to have sharp cheddar crumbles on his salad, too. He's also to thank for the ingredients in the salad: it was all his idea. 

 LOOK at that glisten-y chorizo! For the pesto, just blend a massive pile of cilantro (stems and all) with loads of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, S&P and whatever fatty nut you have lying around (I'm not talking about your crazy Uncle Joe. I mean pine nuts, cashews, walnuts . . . you get the idea).

And when all else fails, Paleo breakfasts RULE.

Over-Easy Eggs with a Sweet Potato, Paprika Sausage and Baby Asparagus 'Hash'
don't forget the crispy bacon and pan-seared tomato halves

 Just chop up the hash ingredients and fry up in a lightly oiled, hot pan.

My name at work now is 'Gourmet Cave Man'.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Salad Inspiration

I am over-the-top picky about blueberries. You would be too if your first ever experience with them was a wild bush growing in the woods of your backyard, the fruit of which was always the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and never bigger than half a centimeter across. New Englanders are blueberry-spoiled.

BUT, I'm able to live in the world of normal blueberries now, having perfected the art of the 'squeeze-and-select' method. My husband is very kind to allow me to eat all the super-firm ones, while he takes my rejects. Waitrose has had some really nice smallish organic ones in stock lately, so we've had a lot of salads with blueberries on them lately. I want to share my favorite combination with you.

Blueberry and Shaved Parmigiano Salad

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Update on the Revisit to Squash Pizza

Remember my Butternut Squash Phyllo Pizza adventure?

Well, we revisited it last night, but I put it on naan this time. And added baby zucchini (courgette for you UK folk).

Then, with the leftover naan dough . . . we made . . . dessert naan! Sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, a drizzle of honey on the warm bread. With tea.

Then we watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes and I had really weird dreams.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pho Real.

Lots of cultures have their versions of the 'Clean Out the Fridge' meal. Americans do casseroles; Brits do pies; lots of places do soups. The ingredients vary across cultures according to what their 'staples' are, which are those things that are always in the fridge and always ready to be used when all the special stuff runs out. My staples have been leaning towards the East lately, and I constantly go for Fried Rice when I've run out of meat and all I've got is a couple half portions of veg, an egg and piles of onion/garlic/ginger (the trio never leaves my kitchen).

But lately, I've been into soups as a method of fridge cleaning. One of my new favorites to make at home is Pho, which is a lovely change from fried rice and uses very similar ingredients (while simultaneously helping me clean out my ever-growing stock-pile of, well, STOCK).

It's sooooo easy and soooooo satisfying. Piping-hot broth does wonders for the psyche.

You, too, can make Vietnamese Pho.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update on the Anniversary Spoils

The Maltby Street Market Spoils were dinner:

And dessert.

These are like Russian Tea Cakes or Pecan Puffs, but with Bergamot Oranges as the main flavor. And a nice punch of sea salt. Mmmmmmmm (it's the only recipe that I could find, really, using these funny, perfumey oranges!)

A Very Hipster Anniversary

Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day!
Happy Anniversary to us!
(did I miss anything?)

Hope your holidays were grand. Here's just a little taste of ours...

My husband's hands kneading the dough for his family's famous Cinnamon Bread.

A post-Christmas standing rib roast cooked to medium-rare perfection by my father-in-law.

We also had a Thanksgiving Retake (my family's full Thanksgiving meal remade by my Dad – et al –for all the daughters who weren't able to be at the original feast). We're spoiled. And I forgot to take out my camera. Just imagine the gravy...

Now, we're back in London and celebrating 4 years of marriage! With wedded-bliss as our excuse, we finally got our butts down to the Maltby Street Market and Borough Market today and my stomach and pantry are very happy. I like the way hipsters live (and eat):

Monmouth Coffee (aka Hipster Heaven)

Maltby Street Market . . . The Shoes

. . . The Sinks

. . . The Citrus

. . . The Radiators (?!)

. . . and Kernel Brewery! (Delicious for breakfast, I would say.)

Borough Market . . .

. . . Bread and Husband. Mmmmmmmm

. . . Cracklin' Pork Belly and Applesauce Baguette!! (by Roast)

 (I'm still reveling in the glory of this sandwich. Great textures and tastes!)

. . . The View.

Pretty Starbucks :)

Our Spoils . . . The Beer.

. . . The Bleu.

. . . The Bread.

. . . The Beauty.