Well, here we are, 2013. Our holidays were pretty low key- a trip back to the Twin Cities for some family time and rang in the new year with an epic brunch with friends. Now we’re easing our way into a new year, our only resolution being to start traditions for our new family. Why? Well, because our family of two will be a family of three in July. Which kinda explains the lack of posting for the last three months – lets just say the first three months were spent sleeping and existing largely on a diet of carbs and orange juice. Now that my body has adjusted I’ve found myself back in the kitchen and once again experimenting with new recipes. Continue Reading →
Now that the wedding is over I have a bit more time on my hands so I’ve been setting up a few new culinary challenges for myself. First up is sourdough, specifically sourdough starters. When I was in culinary school I spent a lot of time caring for my little family of starters, there was a sturdy biga, a rye with a heavy flavor and a sourdough with a good bit of zip to it. When I left school I also left behind my starters, I was a pastry chef so there was no need for me to maintain my starters if I wasn’t going to make breads regularly. I never really looked back, that is until lately when I’ve found myself wanting to tackle some heritage bread recipes that call for a stable sourdough starter. So a few weeks ago I began my starter using the method from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible. After three weeks of feeding Chuck ~ yes I do believe you should name your starters, they develop their own character so they might as well get their own name ~he was finally healthy enough to start testing out his flavor and I remembered that making crumpets is a really good way to get a taste of a new starter and figure out what tweeks need to be made.
For those of you unfamiliar with crumpets they are a soft english bread that is a cross between an english muffin and a pancake and depending on what kind of accouterments you have on hand it can be sweet or savory. But without anything on it you can really taste how sour, yeasty, nutty etc your sourdough tastes and depending on your preference you can start to alter your feeding method to get your desired flavor. If you are making crumpet for this purpose do note that it will take approximately a week for any changes to your feedings to really effect your starter. If you’re just looking to make a bunch of crumpets then go right on ahead and enjoy! Continue Reading →
This one is going to be a quicky, mostly because I’ve been cooking like a crazy person over the last few weeks and the recipes are starting to pile up which is only contributing to the crazy person status. So I figured I’d get this recipe out there since a friend of mine, who is lucky enough to have a plum tree in her backyard, was looking for the recipe. This one is I’ve thrown together whenever I have stone fruit that needs to be used up (it works beautifully with apricots and peaches) so if you ever find yourself in the same spot then give it a go.
One of the best wedding gifts we received was a four week membership to a local CSA. I really love the idea of a CSA not only because it is a fantastic way to eat local and support the local community but because the randomness of what you get is a great excuse to get creative in the kitchen. Last weekend’s CSA bag included sweet potatoes, onions, some beautiful garlic, mustard greens, apples, kale and a whole lotta jalapeños. A strange collection of foods to be sure but when combined with my desire not to go to the grocery store on Tuesday after work there was enough inspiration to pull together a pretty damn good dinner.
Yep, while I was busy not blogging I was back home marrying my best friend. The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect, my mister and I exchanged the vows that we slowly pieced together over the week leading up to the big day while surrounded (both literally and in spirit) by the friends and family that make up the community we so cherish. The amazing group of people who traveled from all over the world to join us in the back woods of Wisconsin for a weekend of whiffle ball, brats, late night swims, brats, cornhole, brats, dancing, brats, beirut, brats and relaxing represented the many groups of people Ry and I have been blessed to have gathered along the way – both as individuals and as a pair. They are the people who have been with us through thick and thin; the ones who stood by us through our awkward teen age phases, cheered us up after break ups, challenged us to epic game nights, joined us for “family dinners”, supported us during my Ernesto experience, waited on line with us to get in to the shows we absolutely couldn’t miss and have given us great advice and even greater memories. Our wedding weekend was as much a celebration of the official union of this community as it was the official union of us – and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
This is a recipe that has been sitting in my drafts for a while now. I just needed to get the right picture of the dish before I could post it – which requires time and that is something I find myself in scarce supply of lately. There are only two weeks left until Ry and I head back to the midwest for our wedding and there are lots of things that need to be done in that time. Ah, the glories of a DIY wedding. I really can’t complain though because we have the most incredible family and friends who are all contributing to make the three days of wedding celebration come together.
Eggs are one of those ingredients I find myself falling more and more in love with every time I crack one open – and that is saying a lot considering I have spent hours cracking eggs for various pastry items. Recently I’ve been trying to improve my egg preparation skills by tackling some egg-centric classics. While I’m still trying to get restaurant quality poachers just right I have managed to create a carbonara recipe that I will someday put on a restaurant menu.
Now, the concept behind carbonara is one that I discovered by almost backing my way into it. When I was honing my soft boil technique and got tired of simply eating the delicious yolky on toast I began tossing a few with udon noodles and some salt. THis has now become a quick -and oft prepared- meal in our house. So, when I discovered that yolks were a central part of classic carbonara the experimenting began.
It’s been nearly two months since I packed up my bags, left my wonderful community and home in Philly and moved up to New York and I can finally report we are settled in to our new place. We’ve actually been in our little Brooklyn apartment for a month – taking our time to figure out what stays, what goes and where everything goes – it was only my mom’s pending visit that really lit a fire under our asses to get everything finished. So we put all the clothing away, shelved all the books and hauled away all the donation stuff last weekend and I am really pleased with the home we’ve managed to put together.
“Nothing happens until something moves.”
The last two weeks have been quite a haul – I’ve started my new job (which I like far FAR more than I could have ever anticipated), hosted the final feast with our incredible Philly Phamily, packed up all of my stuff, deep cleaned our apartment and gone through all the fun steps required to set up a new home in a new city. It has left me with very little time to myself, let alone to write or cook. As badly as I want to blast some music and get baking I’m taking the advice from pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to during my more frazzled moments over the last month and a half and accepting that I just can’t do everything all of the time.
Right now I just have to make it to the weekend when I will greet the moving truck at our lovely new Brooklyn home and Ry and I will begin to unpack for the new adventures that lie ahead of us. Until then I’m going to keep my head down, focus on work and maybe take some notes on the noms and tunes I want to dig into once this limbo phase has passed.
In the mean time enjoy this fantastic list of the Top 20 Irish Indie Bands Nialler9 put together for eMusic or find me on Spotify. I’ve put together some totally bizarre but solid playlists during my daily commute to work.
I really should get used to my life being a total roller coaster but nearly 30 years in and it still throws me off a bit when some new big change happens. So for the last 3 weeks I’ve been adjusting to the idea that in a week I’ll be a New Yorker. Yep, with a slightly sad heart and a whole lotta excitement I’m closing the Philly chapter of my adventure, packing up our home and heading to New York. It’s a big leap into a new position and life but one I am more than ready for – in no small part due to the super fantastic group of friends and family who await us there. Continue Reading →