Monday, September 26, 2011


       So, I am sure that you are all staying up at a night wondering how I am doing on my goals! I feel like some significant progress has been made on all of them and for now, things seem to be going in the right direction. I haven’t butchered a whole chicken yet but I have been studying up all about it. I made cassoulet a few weeks ago though and instead of the convenient boneless skinless chicken thighs I usually buy (which run
around $8-$10 a package, I bought a package of drumsticks for $2.50 (organic from Trader Joe’s). Butchering drumsticks is a bit gross but I ended up with more than enough meat and froze the bones for stock later. 
The mural is coming along at a much slower pace than I had originally anticipated, who knew cutting out pixels with an exacto knife would be so hard! It, luckily, has gotten past the point where I start to doubt my sanity and is starting to have potential for awesome. 

This last pic is a close up of how I'm laying the guide out on the wall and tracing around it. The pixelation is ridiculous, it will be great, but right now it's crazy!


Granola Power!

Granola! I started making it myself after a stint of low sugar dieting (once I realized that most granolas have almost as much fat and sugar as a candy bar). My first attempt was a total failure, I tried to bake it and what didn't end up burnt ended up raw. Since then I have simplified everything by doing it in small batches on the stove. Then I can stir it as much as it needs. I make it fairly often and have found that it,unlike canned goods,is useful as a travel gift because it isn't liquid so it's ok to carry on an airplane. 
The first step is to melt a few tablespoons of butter, or just pour in a few tablespoons of oil. It basically works with any fat. Once the butter is melted or the oil is hot pour in a few tablespoons or so of your sweetener of choice, I use honey and/or agave, and stir them together. 

Then, stir in a few cups of oats (I use 3 or 4) and after a few minutes stir in some chopped nuts, I always use sliced almonds and sometimes sesame seeds. I season it with a few teaspoons cinnamon and a bit less ginger, also a good pinch of salt. 

Once the oats seem toasted and it looks like granola, turn the heat off and add in your favorite dried fruit. Store in container of choice, You might choose to refrigerate if you used butter at the beginning. I haven't ever had the problem of it lasting long enough to worry about it!

 I know some people don't do well with this vague of instruction,all of these ingredients are acceptable raw so I encourage everyone to taste as you go to figure out what works. I'm sure most granola recipes could be easily adapted for the stove also. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Greetings from mini retirement


Like I said in the beginning, these things tend to get a little flaky. Hence the large lapse in posts. From where I stand now, I no longer have any adorable excuses not to document my projects.

Any one who knows me personally knows that life has been filled with big changes for me recently. Lets just list what has stayed the same, it’s much easier- Partner, House, Pets and Friends, all of which are wonderful. It seems like everything else has changed (for the good, mostly). While I now have a fairly inconsistent and much smaller income, I have been blessed with so much time, much more than I have ever had. Time to create and cultivate new skills (and later, a bit of traveling!). So with this time, I have set a few goals for myself-

  • Learn how to Butcher a chicken- It is so convenient to buy the package of chicken breasts! It is also much more expensive and fairly wasteful. Part of the goal is to feel more connected to what I am eating by cutting out the processing, and make kick ass carcass broth!
  • Take a lot of walks- Good for me and might make my dick of a dog a bit better behaved in the process.
  • Cook more dried beans- they are so cheap and so much more delicious!
  • Paint my first mural- I will post pictures of the progress of this soon, I am at the very beginning, it is a super exciting process though.
  • Make more clothes - I have no money for new clothes and lots of ideas that have been floating around for awhile.
  • Use this beauty as much as possible! I dreamed of this pot for a very long time and finally found a great deal and rewarded myself!

I promise to share as progress is made on all of these things.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank god its Pi(e) day

Apparently the blog slacking has gone so far that I am now doing a post about Pie day (1/23) on Pi day (3/14). Good thing I have a solid memory for food. I invited my friend Wylie over for lots of pie and to try out a new pie crust recipe. The menu was - a beautiful salad that Wylie brought over, Margherita pizza, Potato pizza and Mango strawberry pie.

We started with the Pie crust. After reading this article, I wanted to try this method as I haven't had much luck with the food processor and pastry blending takes seems so ineffective. I mostly followed this recipe though. It was amazing! I had just purchased a pastry cutter and it was so much easier to use and created such better results than the pastry blender. As they went into the fridge you could still see big chunks of butter but it was still appropriately distributed.

For the pie filling, I remembered freezing a batch of strawberries with a bit of sugar last summer after a canning blog I read swore it was better than plain freezing. I also happened to have a slightly under ripe mango that seemed like a good fit for a contrast in texture and flavor. I am now totally sold on this method of freezing, it wouldn't have turned out any better if I had used fresh ones in the middle of summer. The mango was a beautiful addition too.

It was also a great chance to see what this pie bird thing was all about, I saw an Alton Brown
episode where he used one and recently found one at my local kitchen store. Basically, its adorable
and it funnels the steam so you don't have to make any slits on your beautiful crust.

Ok, not to be overly egotistical about this pie (I was accused of such a thing), but it was literally the best pie I have ever eaten! The buttery crust was thick and so flaky you could hear it being sliced. The filling was the perfect blend of not too sweet, gooey, fruity yum-ness. IT WAS PERFECT. So perfect that what I didn't send home with Wylie got devoured in a matter of days by me alone(it's what I get for falling in love with a man who is more into cake).

Filling recipe-
  • 1 Mango, slightly under ripe and sliced or cubed
  • 4 cups Strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Mix together and let sit to Macerate 20 minutes or so

Monday, January 17, 2011


I lived far too long without ever experiencing the awesome power of Cassoulet. Our wonderful neighbors offered to cook it for us sometime last year and I had to look it up the night before when they asked if we liked it- hmmm ,stew/casserole with white beans and meat, sounds delicious.

It was so delicious, rich and hearty; it tasted like something that had been simmering all day but this version was put together in just 30 min or so. This version is lighter and faster than its richer meatier counterpart but lovely just the same. This is based the original recipe that we had but tweaked just a bit seasoning wise. It is the only dish that I cook regularly that uses wine (mostly I don't like the flavor of wine sauces) all of the alcohol cooks out if the directions are followed and it doesn't taste the same when replaced with chicken broth. Being the non drinker I am and living with a non wine drinker, I usually get a better quality canned wine or whatever is on sale.

Stove top Cassoulet Recipe

2 15 ounce cans white beans- rinsed

1 T olive oil

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs-fat trimmed, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 large onion

6 cloves garlic-roughly chopped

2 T fresh rosemary- chopped

1 t Herb de Provence

1 t fresh ground pepper

1/2 c dry white wine

1 c chicken broth

1/2 lb sausage (chicken keilbasa works great)-sliced into 1/2 in pieces

2 T fresh parsley- chopped

Put 1/2 cup of beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork, add remaining beans and set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add chicken in a single layer and cook until browned (2-3 min. per side). Transfer to a plate

Add onion and garlic to pan and cook until onion is softened (about 5 min.) Add seasoning and cook until fragrant (30 sec.) Add wine and increase to high, stirring to scrape up bits until wine is decreased by half (1-2 min). Add broth, sausage, beans and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 5 min.) Top with parsley and serve with buttered bread.

For spicy sauce enthusiasts, I highly recommend a bit of Sriracha over the top....So good!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

To please the Vegans

Ok, This is the post wherein I will write about the awesome pizza that I made last weekend but can't show you because I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful, finished product. You will just have to trust that it was as amazing as I say.

First the dough, remember? I decided to make something special for a vegan friend so no delicious buttery tomato sauce this time, i don't think margarine would be quite the same. I vaguely remember a seasonal fall pizza I had long ago that involved butternut squash and a balsamic reduction so I decided to try my hand at it. I am also a huge fan of potato pizza so i made a vegan version of it too.

I caramelized some onions, very simple but very time consuming. Lots of oil, lots of onions lots of stirring, time and tears. Roasted a small butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of "pasta seasoning". Very easy- just throw it in at 400 and toss every 20 min. until done.

After the onions were done I deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup of Balsamic vinegar and reduced it by half. It turned out so good but the aroma in my house was very intense for long afterwards.

For the potato pizza I thinly sliced potatoes (the # 1 use for my mandolin slicer) for dairy eaters I use a base of Creme Fraiche and top it with a good white cheese (gruyere, swiss, gouda etc. )this time I used a smoked Gruyere blend from Trader Joes. For Vegans an olive oil base.
But all topped with caramelized onion and salt and pepper.
For the Butternut squash pizza- an olive oil base, salt, pepper, squash, caramelized onions (cheese for the normies) and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction right as it came out.

So, sorry you couldn't be there and that I forgot to photograph it but you can ask this girl, it was awesome.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Don't Stop Till You Get Anoff

It all started with Ravioli. Part of my Christmas vacation was spent with my fabulous friend Wylie making delicious butternut squash and ricotta spinach ravioli's for a friend in the middle of a big, and sure to be incredible Art installation ( The excellent Mandy Greer). Wylie came up with a great idea - to get together once in awhile and cook food for incredible people who are incredibly busy. Such a fantastic idea! I will let you know how it goes, it's my turn to pick someone next!

Ok, Stroganoff. When we ran out of ravioli filling I made some regular pasta from the egg dough. I can be a bit picky about what egg pasta is good for. Mostly I think it suits hearty stews and things well, not so much regular pasta sauce.

I decided to try my hand at Beef Stroganoff. I haven't ever really made it, but have fond memories of it as a kid. I chose a cooking light recipe but really can't bring myself to buy low fat dairy products so didn't quite follow it. I used the slow cooker, because its easy, but didn't get it started until a bit late.

The man and I decided on Brussels sprouts and carrots to accompany (because that is what we had) and mostly followed this recipe.

Despite, the beef ending up a bit underdone because of my trying to rebel against the cooking time. The verdict is- Delicious!