Category Archives: General Musings

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A farm near us opened last week for strawberry-picking season.  Josh and I, eager to get our berry on, showed up on Wednesday.  “We’ll pick a few pounds,” I thought, “No big deal.”  I mean, we were only there for an hour, the two of us.  No big deal…

Yeah.  It’s all fun and games until you get up the scale at the end of your trip and you have to shell out money for the 25 pounds of strawberries you just plucked from the earth.

So we took this story to its natural conclusion and made jam.  Lots of jam.  25 half pints of jam…plus a couple quarts of strawberry ice cream…and still have half a flat of strawberries left. Continue reading

crepes with sauteed zucchini, asparagus and hot Italian sausage with brie cream sauce

Crepes with sauteed zucchini, asparagus and hot Italian sausage with brie cream sauce

Today is the first Evernote Cookalong...and that means crêpe-a-palooza at our house.  My friend Brian came over and the two of us made a few different batches of crêpes so that we could wrap ourselves in their warm, delicious folds.

First, we made a batch of savory crepes, which we called “green crêpes and ham.”  We used my standard crêpe recipe (below) and filled them with sautéed asparagus (from my in-laws’ family farm!), zucchini, hot Italian pork sausage from the inestimable Biercamp here in town, and then topped it with a cheesy, creamy brie sauce.  (Literally, the sauce was just cream and melted brie cheese.)  They were…out of this world.

We sat and ate those for a while and watched Lilo and Stitch (“This is your badness level.  It’s unusually high for someone your size.”) before heading back to the kitchen for Round 2: Crêpe Boogaloo.  This time we went simple, classic, light.  We made another batch of the crêpe batter, but added a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.  The filling was just fresh sliced strawberries sprinkled with grated lemon zest, powdered sugar and whipped cream.

crepes with fresh strawberries, lemon zest and powdered sugar

crepes with fresh strawberries, lemon zest and powdered sugar

I’ll just say that again for you: warm crêpes with fresh sliced strawberries sprinkled with grated lemon zest, powdered sugar and whipped cream.  Just let that ooze into your bones for a second.  Oh yeah.  Can you feel the love tonight?

The day is not over yet..I may yet make one more batch of crêpes (we’ll see).  I’m thinking I have plenty of good dark chocolate, leftover cream, graham cracker and chocolate marshmallows…s’more crêpes anyone?

Updated:

Ok, I couldn’t help myself.  I had a little bit of batter left and the idea of a s’more crêpe was just so appealing...

 

s'more crepe with marshmallows, dark chocolate and ground almonds

s'more crepe with marshmallows, dark chocolate and ground almonds

You know what the best meal ever is?  Dessert.  But you know what the best meal ever after dessert is?  Brunch.  And do you know why?  Consider the Venn diagram below.  Study it closely.  Learn its truths.

Today was a grand and glorious celebration in the holy and delicious name of a meal time that occurs between 10am and 2pm.  We called it, Brunchapalooza!  Continue reading

mango tiramisuYesterday was a beautiful day.  Clear skies, not warm but pleasant weather overall, got an awesome massive free lunch at Noodles&Co thanks to my friend Chase, and then I went home to my own personal box of sunshine, aka the remaining mangoes I got from Whole Foods.  If you remember, they gave me a free box of them to see what I could come up with.  The last post was mango ice cream and mango-ancho chili ice cream.  Today’s post is still desserty–I can’t help it, mangoes are just so sweet and soft and dessert-y.  Today’s post is a mashup of mangoes and my lingering obsession with Italian food, specifically ricotta cheese, after eating at RPM Italian in Chicago last week.  Today’s post is a variation of tiramisu.  With mango.  Mango. Tiramisu.

As Isha would say, “That’s a thing.” Continue reading

I was in Chicago for a conference last week (hello, good food!) when I got a delightful email from someone at Whole Foods all about mangoes, asking me if I’d like a free case of mangoes to see how many uses I could come up with for them.  Umm, YESYES I WOULD LIKE.  You should never turn down a mango.  Kumquats, sure, but never a mango.

 

 

  • Step One: Procure mangoes.
  • Step Two: Make (very long) list of tasty foods to make.
  • Step Three: Make noms.
  • Step Four: Eat noms.
  • Step Five: Write blog post

 

So that’s pretty much what’s been going on here.  I made the first dish last night–mango ice cream, and mango-ancho chili ice cream.  Why ice cream?  Because:

  • I got an ice cream maker for Christmas and have since gone a little ice-cream-making-mad.
  • It sounded delicious.
  • I had all the ingredients for that but none of the other items on my list and was too lazy to go to the store yesterday.

ice cream ingredients in a blender

It was really easy to make, too, which was a nice bonus.  It also got the most beautiful texture of any ice cream I’ve made thus far, I mean just absolutely gorgeous texture.  Pale yellow color, light and airy and silky.  The flavor was a very light, sweet, fruity flavor, super refreshing.  The kind of thing you really want on a hot day, y’know?  To experiment a bit more, I tried a few different add-ins: coconut, chili powder, ancho chili powder.

mango ice cream

The pure mango ice cream was my favorite.  The mango-coconut combination was Josh’s.  The chili powder was ok, but the ancho chili powder was pretty good, giving the ice cream an interesting, unexpected savory flavor.  Other mix-ins and toppings could include fresh mint or cilantro, strawberries, cashews, pecans, caramelized banana, candied bacon…really, anything.

mango ancho ice cream

Mango Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 cups very cold heavy cream
  • an ice cream maker of your choosing

Instructions

  1. Put the mangoes, lemon juice, brown sugar, honey, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the heavy cream and mix thoroughly.
  2. Freeze according to the instructors for your ice cream maker. Near the end of the freezing time, add in any of the mix-ins you'd like.
  3. For the ancho chili mango ice cream, I'd slowly add in ancho chili powder a tsp at a time until you get a flavor that's pleasing to you.
http://haveforkwilleat.com/2012/04/the-mango-tango-pt-1/

 

P.S. Put your leftover mango peels in a pot with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar and boil…voilà! Mango simple syrup.  Strain and bottle. 

 

I’m ashamed to say that I think that is only the second headline reference to Spaceballs on this blog.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ll do better.

Anyway, how are you?  How’ve you been, Internet?  Oh, really?  Interesting.  I’d love to hear all about that.  We should get together and you should tell me about it over a nice glass of raspberry soda.  Continue reading

I’m a simple person.  I don’t want much in life.  A warm home, a happy family, an elephant, and a few good, simple meals.  This dish basically evolved out of me wanting a tasty, light dinner but also not having gone grocery shopping in a week and not having any meat or anything thawed.

I had a few odds and ends in the fridge, including a tub of cremini mushrooms that I’d originally bought to make this garlic butter roasted mushroom recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Instead of making the recipe as is, I decided to use it as inspiration for this pasta dish.  I want all of you health enthusiasts to note that there is no butter in this dish at all.  So there.

Oh, but there are two tablespoons of duck fat. Yeah. Continue reading

I don’t know that I’ve ever made pizza crust from scratch before, mostly because I suffer from a relatively serious case of selective laziness.  Make my own caramel and nougat for homemade snickers bars?  Sure!  Make pizza dough?  Ha.  Why?  Whole Foods sells theirs in neat little packages.

I don’t claim to make sense.  Continue reading

Wait, make that “Tortellini-Are-Little-Puffs-of-Heaven and Italian Sausage Stew.”  Kind of a long name, though.  I’ll work on it.

It’s been a very soup-y fall for me, for a couple of reasons.  1)Fall just seems to need soup.  I don’t know what it is but for some reason, fall is a soup season.  2)Soup recipes make a lot and it’s great for pouring leftovers into a jar and taking it work a couple days for lunch.  3)I rarely made soup before last year because I was convinced I was a failure at it.  I’m not nearly as nervous now.  Clearly if I can do, any idiot can.  But I repeat myself.

Continue reading

You know what I like about these bars?  Everything.  They were easy to make, very fast, tasty, they made the house smell delicious and they are a perfect fall treat for noshing on with a good sized mug of hot cocoa and whipped cream.

They came about because I was sitting home alone, bored, getting over a cold and therefore in sore need of some comfort food.  I didn’t want the usual sort of snack–cookies, brownies, etc.  Or more honestly, I didn’t have enough chocolate on hand for the usual snack.  Instead, I sifted through the 300 or so recipes in my Evernote cookbook tagged with “dessert” and found a recipe for pecan pie bars.

I didn’t have pecans…but I did have a Costco-sized bag of almonds.  Plus I knew that with a bit of extra cinnamon thrown in, the bars would basically be like eating candied almonds atop a shortbread crust.  And yep, that’s pretty much what they are.  Delightfully, they’re not too sweet at all–so they won’t push you into sugar shock if you eat one or two with a good helping of my homemade cocoa. Continue reading

Make Me a Sammich: Chicken with Leek Confit

“Make me a sandwich.”
“Poof!  You’re a sandwich.

You want jokes?  I got ‘em.  You want funny jokes?  Try back next week.

Josh and I have been trying this radical new thing: “making our own lunches and taking them to work.”  Innovative right?

You see, I work on a college campus that happens to be nicely situated amongst the city’s downtown area.  I am surrounded by restaurants of all kinds–Indian buffets, sandwich places, Mediterranean joints, sushi places, pizza delivery, milkshake delivery and the best soup-shack this side of Heaven.  It is, needless to say, very difficult for me to ignore all of that and eat a lunch I packed.  If I packed.  Hey, sometimes I’m too lazy busy to remember little details like that.  But the down side of this genuine first-world problem of having lots of restaurants nearby is that it’s expensive to eat out all the time for lunch and frankly, eventually it gets boring. Continue reading

[highlight]”I used to think the brain was the most important organ in the body.  Then I realized who was telling me this.” –Emo Phillips [/highlight]

apple caramel over ice cream

The brain is clearly the most superior of all the organs, and I’m not just saying that because it told me to.  Well I kind of am.  Ok, I totally am, but with other good–nay, delicious–justifications.  After all, my brain is what told me to buy a couple gallons of cider at the Dexter Mill a couple weeks ago and my brain is what told me to use that cider to make apple syrup, which was delicious, and my brain decided that if apple syrup is good then apple caramel sauce must be just as delicious and obviously, if the brain thinks it’s true, then it must be. Continue reading

cheesy chicken soupSunday was a busy day.  I got out of bed–and that was an effort, let me tell you–and made breakfast, prepared bread dough, did the week’s grocery shopping, found out my Twitter account was hacked (again, apologies to all involved), roasted chicken, made stock, made soup and still managed to watch Squid Invasion on Netflix streaming and thoroughly freak myself out.

But the important thing here is the soup.  It’s my cheesy, chunky comfort stew.  I originally made it for Paul and Josh last week for dinner.  Paul and I had a very good trade going: if I made dinner, he would bring cinnamon pie for dessert.  (I freaking love cinnamon pie and Paul makes it brilliantly.)  And since I knew I was going to want to have a really large piece of pie for dessert, I figured I would make something for dinner that was simple (cause I was tired), quick (cause I was short on time), vegetarian (because Paul is not of the meat-eating persuasion) and filling without being super heavy (cause pie).  Oh and delicious, of course, because that’s how I roll. Continue reading

The New Apple Dumpling Gang

One of the perks of living in Michigan is fall.  I know, I know: I said in the plum tart post that I hate fall because it’s basically “pre-winter.”  It is.  It is pre-winter.  However, like any good femme fatale, there are certain things about it that you can’t help but be seduced by even knowing that it will end with gunshots and tears icy roads and snow-shoveling.  Like super crisp blue skies, shimmery gold and red leaves, corn mazes and most of all, Michigan apples.  Because where there are Michigan apples, there’s cider and donuts.  And wherever there is cider and donuts, you’ll find me, nomming out. Continue reading

New season, new look, new levels of awesome

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

I know you think I’ve abandoned you.  But you’re wrong.  Don’t you know me better than that?  Didn’t I tell you I was never gonna give you up?  That I was never gonna let you down?  That I was never gonna run around and—

Sorry.  What?  Anyway, no, I’ve been here, behind the scenes, tweaking things.  Just when you thought you’d reached the depths of this site’s awesomeness, guess what! There’s an awesome underground garage.

So come on in, take a look.  Let’s get reacquainted, shall we?

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]
  • Looking for a particular recipe?  Try the Recipe List page and search by tag, category or date.
  • Need some new reading material or food sources?  All my favorites are on the Lovely Links page.
  • Need to brush up on your cooking skills?  My Learn to Cook page is not-new-but-improved and now includes my favorite How-To video playlists!
  • For my local loves, there’s a whole page devoted to everything delicious about Ypsi and the surrounding area, including local bloggers, organizations and purveyors of tasty delights.[/box]

Plus there will be more videos, more image galleries, more info and more candy bars (I look at the search history for this site…I know what you all are really looking for :)).

Grab your forks.

 

Well it’s happened again.  The slow but inevitable progression of time has once again thrown us into the cruel and ignoble gladiator ring known as Fall, or as I like to call it, “The Pre-Winter.”  I know, I know.  Some of you like fall.  The cooler, sweatshirt-y weather, the apple cider and donuts, the corn mazes and the tricks-and-or-treats.  It’s glorious, Josh says.  Ha.  I know the truth.  It’s the beginning of the end…

…of my summer vacation from blogging.  Did you miss me?  We’ll just pretend you did.  I missed you too.  In fact, I’ve brought you this gift.  This beautiful, delicious gift:

Do you like it? Continue reading

It’s almost officially summer. Which in Michigan means that any given time, it is either thunderstorming or it’s 85 degrees.  For me, late spring is an important time.  The students leave and campus is nice and quiet.  The markets open.  The farm shares begin.  The hot dog stands come out.  The garden gets planted.  My electricity bill goes way down…for a while.  But it also means one very, very important thing: baby vegetables.

I love baby vegetables.  They’re tender and sweet and delicate and tiny…and we all know that making food smaller automatically makes it both cuter and delicious-er.  My absolute favorite is the elusive baby turnip, which is starting to reach nearly mythical status in my household because I can never find them.  I’ve seen them at the market exactly twice in about six years and never in a regular grocery store.  They are so delicious, sautéed with butter and chicken stock and then sprinkled with salt and pepper, almost like very delicate Brussels sprouts.  If you find any, buy them immediately!  Also, send them my way. Continue reading