Author Archives: Lauren

Produce Power!

I miss my farm share.

I really do.  It seems odd, I know, but it’s honestly one of the greatest things ever, for several reasons.

  1. I like supporting and getting food from local and organic farms.
  2. I like being kind of surprised and challenged with the ingredients that come in the box each week.  I mean, if I’m buying my own produce, I tend to stick with things that I know and am comfortable with.  Frankly, veggie wise, I’m a little boring.  I occasionally try new things but not very often.  The farm share has introduced me to things I’d never eaten before (like garlic scapes and leeks) or didn’t eat often, and also to find new ways to use ingredients I get a lot, like potatoes and swiss chard.
  3. I hate going to the grocery store.  Well, I love and hate it.  I love grocery shopping.  I like looking at food, thinking about ways I could cook it and coming up with meals and let’s face it—if you’ve ever been to a bustling farmer’s market or even in the produce section of a shiny new Whole Foods store, man, they make that look like art.   I love it.  But I hate it.  Because I hate crowds and I hate trying to add up prices and I hate getting up early enough to get a decent spot at Eastern or Kerrytown Market.  I’m lazy.  I just want to spend 5 minutes on the way home running into Morgan and York and getting my farm share box.  That’s it.

And then winter came.  And ruined my life.  (Dramatically flings arm over face.) Continue reading

creating a kitchen: adventures in moving

Well, it’s done.  We closed on our first home and moved in.  Seriously, in just two days.  Closed on the house on Friday, moved in on Saturday, kitchen up and running on Sunday.  That’s how I roll.

Anyway, I learned three very important things during this whole process:

1.  I have a lot of kitchen stuff.  A lot.  You might think some of it was unnecessary.  It’s not.

2.  A clean, neat kitchen is a happy kitchen.  In fact, getting the kitchen neat and clean sort of set the happy tone for unpacking the rest of the house.

3.  Eating out three times a day every day for any length of time sucks.  I mean, really, seriously on a Hoover-esque level sucks.

4.  Hardwood floors are rough on the feet.  Wear slippers.

That’s four things.  I promised three.  Consider that last one an extra tip on me.

While I did love my apartment dearly—fantastic cathedral ceilings, roomy, just a block away from Whole Foods and a great little Chinese restaurant—I am deeply smitten with our new house, I won’t lie.  I also greatly enjoy the opportunity to start out with a fresh, clean blank slate of a kitchen—especially a bigger kitchen where I can really spread out as far as my little gourmet heart desires. Continue reading

01.02.2010. How awesome is that? Oh, and other thoughts about change, food and this blog.

Oh. My. Bacon.  It’s a whole new year.  It’s a new decade.  How awesome and weird and terrifying is that?  And all over the intarwebs, I keep coming across articles and tweets and posts celebrating the fact that you (yes, you), never again have to utter the extra syllables required to say “two thousand and _ [enter number here]” but can instead shorten that puppy down to “twenty ten” or “twenty eleven” or “twenty you get the idea,” even though, really, isn’t that so last century? But whatever.

Me, I myself am less concerned with how many syllables are required to pronounce the current year and more concerned with a grave and serious question that I’m certain perplexes even the gods themselves: should I make brownies or cake?  I’m really leaning towards brownies here.  Partially because I’m feeling fudgy and partially because cake really requires there to be frosting and I just don’t feel up to frosting right now.  I have a hit-or-miss relationship with frosting.  It always comes out okay but never great and I think that’s partially a result of my blasé attitude towards frosting all together.  I really prefer ganache or simple whipped cream and somehow, frosting seems to pick up on that and it gets a little offended and then I just can’t do anything with it.

Of course, that’s not all I’m concerned about, whether to make brownies or cake (and by the way, it would have been a chocolate cake because I still believe that real desserts contain cocoa).  I’m also concerned about making crepes that don’t stick, roasting chickpeas (will I really eat them like a snack?  Or just say,” aww aren’t those cute” and store them in jars as a purely decorative element in my kitchen?), using up the four puff pastry sheets I’ve managed to build up in my freezer, global warming, this year’s (that’s 2010, btw) strawberry crop, which photos I want to blow up and frame as art in our new home—oh, and we’re buying a house, did I mention that one?  And will hopefully be closing in…oh two weeks.  Hopefully.

And on top of all of that, there’s the simple question of: what to do about this blog?

Now don’t be alarmed.  Step away from the fire extinguisher.  No sudden moves.  No hasty decisions.  Do not panic.  I am not ending my blog.  I actually want to focus on it more.  So what I’m wondering about is the direction in which I want to go–what else do I want to say?  What do you want from me?  Why are we here?  Why do people insist on putting nuts in brownies?  It’s all very confusing.  But I will sort it out—except for, perhaps, that last one.

In addition to content, I’ll be updating the design too, particularly since I’ll be moving to a self-hosted version of WordPress and will have more freedom.  So all the time design ideas dance like sugarplums in my head.  Doing the Charleston, specifically.  Those crazy sugarplums.

I may be a bit quiet for the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try to post things here and there, so that you know I’m still conscious, thinking of you and most importantly, eating.  And after the next life change is done (seriously, after what it takes to buy a house, I am honestly going to live in this one until I die, and then I’m going to haunt it.  Mostly the kitchen), the blog changes will commence.

It’s a new year and we’re moving forward.  Mostly because it’s hard to get your computer’s calendar to run backwards.  Unless you’re Superman and you fly in reverse around the earth, forcing everything to move back in time.  Which I would totally do.  Except it would, of course, tear a giant hole in the space-time continuum, throw the world off its axis, destroy the universe as we know it and, most relevantly, keep me from getting my brownie.

I’m hungry.

s'more brownies

My name is Muffin. English Muffin.

I decided to do an experiment today, sort of as a way to ease my way into breadmaking with teeny tiny baby steps.  First, I ate a piece of bread.  Two actually.  On either side of a piece of cheese.  Grilled.  I mean, after all, if I’m maybe someday going to bake bread on my own, then I need to get adequately acquainted with it.  So I ate bread.  And then I made English muffins.  They’re not really bread.  I mean, they’re muffins.  It’s in the name.  But they’re bread-like and seemed like a reasonable amount of effort, so I figured, eh why not?

What I didn’t know, but maybe should guessed, is that English muffins are actually pan-fried first before being baked.  That’s how you get that nice dark color and crisp top and bottom.  Yeah.  The more you know (and knowing is half the battle!).

You, too, can follow along at home now by going to Pete Bakes and checking out the English Muffin Recipe that I used.

His come out way better looking than mine, but with time, they will soon be beautiful.  Like a bready, yeasty duckling who turns into a bready, yeasty swan with peanut butter on top. Continue reading

Silent and Savory: Roasted Squash-Stuffed Poblano Peppers (in Pictures)

Cut up one small onion, one medium summer squash and two cloves of garlic.  Mix together with a cup of sharp shredded cheddar, a tsp of salt, a half tsp of black pepper and a tablespoon of ancho chile powder.

Cut the tops off two large poblanos, clean out the seeds and insides and then stuff as much of the squash mix as possible.  Pour a bit of tomato or enchilada sauce on the bottom of a small pan, place peppers on top.  Pour any leftover squash mix over the peppers followed by more tomato sauce until peppers are fully covered.

Cover with tinfoil and bake at 425 for 40 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with more cheese let bake another 5 or until cheese is melted and gooey.

Enjoy!  Serves two.

Pomegranate-braised ancho-chocolate beef: it's what's for dinner. And maybe dessert. No, just dinner. Maybe dessert.

I got a notice that POM Wonderful was having a recipe contest and I thought, “Self, we’ve never entered a recipe contest before. We should give it a shot.”  Self said, “We’ll never win.”  And I replied, “Way to be defeatist, Self.  The point is that it’s an excuse to be creative.”  Self: “Since when do we need an excuse?”  Me: “Since you started screwing with my chi.”  Self: “Oh okay.”  So we shook on it.  Mentally.

So now that Self and I were in agreement (which happens much less often than you might imagine), I started thinking about various winter meals we could make with pomegranate.  I considered roasting a chicken basted with a pomegranate compound butter.  Iactually did that one, too.  It wasn’t bad.  But it didn’t make me go, “Mmmmmmmmmmmm” with my head tilted back and my mouth wide open slouched in a chair like Homer Simpson.  I also thought about stuffing a pork tenderloin with spinach and goat cheese and cooking it in a pomegranate glaze.  Haven’t done that yet…but probably will, because thinking about it now has me drooling a little bit, I’ll admit it. Continue reading

The UnBaked

I know what you’re thinking: oh geez.  Here we go again.  Yet another post where she tells us about how she hates to bake but then bakes (delicious, delectable, decadent) desserts anyway.  I just can’t take it anymore.  I just can’t handle this gastronomical rollercoaster!

Well, never fear.  Because this time it’s different.  I promise.  I’ve changed.  I’m a new person.  And I’ve done that for you.  I promise that I will be everything a baking-hating person should be.  In fact, not only do I hate baking but I, in fact, did not bake last night.

Oh sure, I mean, there’s an image of a deliciously rich dessert attached to this post.  But I didn’t bake it.  Honest.  Would I lie to you?  I told you, I’m a whole new person.  No baking and I mean it.  These bars are actually unbaked.  For all you Twilight fans, that means this dish is like the Edward of the dessert world.  But healthier looking. Continue reading

Veggie Carbonara: it's mostly healthy. And tasty. I swear.

The first time I had a pasta carbonara was at a cooking class at Hollanders in Kerrytown.  I’ve long been interested in the whole “bacon and egg pasta” idea, but only in philosophy, because after all…I don’t eat breakfast.  I know, I know, just one more of my weird culinary idiosyncrasies.  Still, I wanted to try making carbonara on my own, particularly seeing how easy it was to do.  I wanted something a bit lighter and healthier tonight though (something about eating crushed lentil soup from Pita Kabob Grill makes me crave healthy things…at least until someone offers me something chocolate).  So I opted to throw together a healthier vegetarian version of the dish. Continue reading

My Favorite Frijoles

I have been inspired.  By a delicious, delectable, delightful dish from Edible Aria: frijoles rojas.  Now, this wasn’t by a long shot the first time I’d seen this dish but the pictures looked soooo good I could not resist.  I know what you’re thinking: Lauren, dear, you are so magnificent.  How do you ever find all of these tempting treasures?  Oh, I shrug with a nonchalant sweep of the hand, I just stumble upon them.  I love Stumble.  I find so many fantastic things there.  The internet is my vast, giant cookbook and Stumble is my faithful page-turner.  Or something like that.

Anyway, what were we talking about?  Oh, right.  Beans.

So I needed something to make for dinner.  We had some tortilla chips leftover from Saturday…or Sunday…or one of those.  It’s all kind of blurred together now.  Anyway, I also had cheese, tomatoes, rice and some Spanish chorizo in the freezer, leftover from a trip to Eastern Market.  I’d found the frijoles recipe a few days earlier and figured…that’ll work.  Continue reading

Friday Foodie Finds, Nov 6: The Make Your Own Edition


With Vegan Highlights :-)

Make Your Own…

Random Fun Stuff:

  • Jello Architecture…I’ll admit, I’m not one for jello, but this is pretty awesome
  • What People Eat Around the World..I keep running into this again and again and it never ceases to fascinate and amaze me.  If you haven’t seen it before, definitely take a look.
  • Search for “bento” on Flickr….it’s pretty amazing

Night of the Day of the Dawn of the 28 Days of Zombieland Cupcakes

According to a super-scientific quiz on Facebook, I am well prepared for the inevitable (Inewitable!) zombie apocalypse and will survive for at least a month, probably more.  And you know why that is?  Because I watch my zombie movies.  I will even admit to seeing Zombieland twice in the theaters.  What can I say?  I have a thing for watching Woody Harrelson kill zombies.  Between that and my numerous viewings of Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead and many others, I know the rules of surviving a zombie horde: don’t get attached, don’t get eaten, don’t go in the basement or upstairs, to defeat the zombie you have to remove the head or destroy the brain and of course, rule number one: cardio.

Thankfully, all you’ll need to defeat these zombie cupcakes with is a hearty appetite.  And maybe a pitchfork.  Or a regular fork.  These cupcakes were originally done by the Sweetest Kitchen and after I saw them, I figured—hey!  That’s a cute cupcake trick that I can actually do!  My friend Lindsay can decorate awesome cupcakes.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m a pretty good cook and an okay baker but decorating?  Not so much.  I lack the artistic talent to do anything beyond rudimentary.  So I was very excited to find these cupcakes because not only do I have an obvious, alarming and awesome affinity for zombies, but these are a tasty, fun and festive way to celebrate Halloween. Continue reading

Meal For One: Black and Green Pasta

This what I had for lunch today.  The squid ink pasta came from my mom.  It’s an egg pasta that’s been dyed a deep black color with squid ink, which also gives it a salty, kind of oily taste as well.  The great thing is that it cooks in 3 minutes.  For Halloween, I will probably make a “spooky” pasta with a nice bright orange pumpkin sauce, but today I just wanted a very simple, very light lunch, so this is what I made.  Note: this makes a light pasta dish for one; to make it more hearty, add in any of the following: 1 c. chopped broccoli, 3/4 c. shelled edamame, 4 ounces of cooked shredded chicken and/or 1 small zucchini chopped.

However, as it is, this is a very simple 5 ingredient recipe, not including the salt and pepper. Continue reading

Friday Foodie Finds: Oct 23

Sandwich art

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Turtle Bread from Closet Cooking

Vanessa Dualib’s Food Art

Zombie Halloween Cupcakes!! OMG!!  Completely awesome.  From the Sweetest Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from the Smitten Kitchen (did I just hear you joygasm?)

Banana bread roll? I’m intrigued.  From Pinch My Salt.

How Stuff Works: 10 Quirky Facts about Mass Produced Food

Oven fried onion rings-Not Without Salt

The Food Timeline

The finger test for checking for doneness, from Simply Recipes

Neehee. Heehee.

Last night, Josh and a couple friends of ours ventured out into the streets of Canton to experiment with something new and fantastic to us: Indian street food.  In Canton? Yeah, I know, right?  Now, Indian food is not new to us…I looooove Indian food.  And I’m blessed that there’s a few good Indian places in town to eat at, but those are the usual sit-down restaurants.  This place, Neehee’s, on the corner of Ford and Canton Center roads, specialized in vegetarian street dishes.  I know some of you might be saying, “Vegetarian?  No thanks.”  But seriously, with flavor and sustenance like this, you won’t even miss the meat.  Instead, your stomach will be thanking you with all sorts of contended feelings and sounds.

So anyway, we walked into Neehee’s.  It’s a small, brightly colored place in a strip mall next to a Bombay grocery store.  Pretty busy and not a lot of space to sit, so we opted to order out.  All along the walls are pictures and descriptions of the types of food they sell and their origins.  The smell was fantastic. Continue reading

Can you judge a digital cookbook by its cover?

(Note: This is a long post.  However, there’s two recipes attached.  Good ones.  Promise.)

I know, I know.  It’s been so long.  It’s been like a whole 5 days since my last post.  I missed you too.  It’s just been one of those weeks where I haven’t had a chance to make anything new, or anything worth blogging about (sacrilege, I know).  But never fear; the magic of the chicken meatball shall return to the land soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to write a post I’ve been meaning to write for weeks now.  I got new inspiration after finding this in my Facebook feed:

Welcome to Food Month

And so begins Evernote’s Food Month, our exploration of all the many ways gastronomy and Evernote intersect. Throughout October, we will bring you user stories, videos, tips, community projects, giveaways, and tons of other great stuff all around the topic of food and Evernote. Continue reading

Onion and bacon tart, in pictures:

Make a little bed out of puff pastry.  Bake until…well, puffy, about 15 minutes at 350F.

Sauté one giant onion, sliced, a few cloves of garlic, sliced, and a few sprigs of thyme, not sliced, in some olive oil and butter, cooking slowly for about a half hour until thoroughly caramelized, like this:

Roast bacon in the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes.  Drain and lay over puff pastry crust.

Layer caramelized onions over bacon

Garnish with goat cheese.

Cut and serve with soup

Ta da.

Poms Away, Vol. 2: the Cheesecake Chronicles

So I continued my Adventures in Pomegranates tonight, using up more of the juice shipment I got from Pom Wonderful.

As you might recall, the last time we saw our intrepid heroine (uh, me), she had just conquered pomegranate molasses and used said molasses in creating homemade pomegranate barbecue sauce.  Now join us for the next installment of this thrilling storyline as our heroine strives to harness the power of the pomegranate for good, or for awesome.

Speaking of awesome, cheesecake.  Cheesecake.  Yeah.

I wanted to create a dessert with the pomegranate juice and while the idea of converting my current strawberry tiramisu recipe into a pomegranate one was bandied about, I instead decided to make a pomegranate glaze.  And the perfect conveyance for that glaze?  Cheesecake.  Delicious, delicious citrus cheesecake.

Now, granted, it didn’t come out quite the way I intended much at all, the cake part anyway, but that was mostly due to my own tiredness and inattention.  Having made the cheesecake before though, I can indeed vouch that the flavors are fantastic.   The citrus and vanilla really come through, and that pairs well with the sweetness of the pomegranate.  A bit of unsweetened whipped cream could pull it all together nicely. Continue reading

Poms Away

I got a delicious shipment in the mail this past week: a case of Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, from the Pom people themselves.  My challenge?  Use the eight little bottles of liquid pomegranate to come up with something interesting and delicious.

I found this fascinating, as did my friends, many of whom love pomegranate.  Myself, I’d never really experimented with it.  I once purchased a pomegranate to try out, messily cutting it open and excavating the seeds (arils), which I found delicious but then never bought another one.  Still, the fruit somewhat intrigued me, as do most fruits from south Asia.  Plus, they just look so funky.  I’m a sucker for those swanky design spreads where hip decorators have created oh-so-chic-but-simple accents with giant hurricane vases full of fresh pomegranates.  Sure I could never do that because my dog would probably think, “Wow!  Balls!” but that’s not the point.

What is the point?

Barbecue.  Barbecue is always the point.

At least, it was one of the first things that came to mind when I thought, “Gee, what can I do with 64 ounces of pomegranate juice?  Barbecue!”  That particular eureka was followed up with “Cheesecake!” which was a suggestion from a friend during dinner out the other night.  Then another idea: add it to your granola bar recipe.  Mix it with Greek yogurt and marinate chicken.  And oh…imagine the drinks.

Well, the cheesecake, granola bar and chicken kabob recipes will be coming later.  Today we’ll just stick with simple additions you can add to many meals. Continue reading