Scallops

Cooking, Food supplies, No recipe, Uncategorized

Had a little too much fun and the farmer’s market and whole foods. Also, this is my first time ever cooking or eating scallops. I was pleasantly surprised.

From my new cookbook, Nopi. Tomato salad with herbed wasabi mascarpone with pine nuts and pickled shallots. Scallops with sorrel sauce, corn salsa, and sumac cream, and lamb sausage. Super yummy and sounds a lot more intense than is. Mostly just a lot of chopping and mixing. Not much actual cooking.

Summertime food grabs

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Crumble, Salad, and Baseball

Baking, Career, Cooking, dc, Dining, No recipe, Thoughts

This was a weird, long, crazy, emotional week. Mainly because my boss at the university retired this week.You know a lot of people aren’t huge fans of their bosses, and in the past I probably would have been in the same boat. I have had several good ones, but I’ve also experienced the worst of the worst. The top of boss that makes hell reign on earth, breathes fire, and eats small children. But this was different. He was the best boss I’ve ever had, and maybe because he never really felt like a boss. More like someone who was there to help me do my job and support me when I needed it. But he also brought a level of humor to the office that could not rivaled.

At the beginning of the week I went on a cookbook binge. That’s right I bought four new books, which is insane when any single one of them would probably take me three months to go through. So buying four makes absolutely no sense, but for some reason I decided I needed all of them. Actually, I managed to convince myself to put back two, so I’m calling that a partial win.

The first recipe I tried, and well the only one I’ve tried so far, is an apricot crumble tart situation out of My Paris Kitchen by David Leibovitz. Of course, the first thing I make is a dessert. Well, if this tart is any indication of how the rest of the recipes will turn out, then I think we might be in business.

So the tart really had three components: the crumble topping, the apricot filling, and the crust. The crust was good. It was a little hard. I’m not sure why that is. The flavor was good, and it softened up a little later on. But it was a little hard. The crumble topping was good and the apricot filling was standard. Granted fillings for these type of things aren’t that difficult or complicated. I actually really liked the fact that the filling only required two tablespoons of sugar. I’m weird in that I don’t like my desserts to be really sweet. Really I like a mild sweet. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure my apricots were too sour. I may need to try this again with better apricots. Overall, I would make this again. To be honest, I’ll probably make it again tomorrow. We’re going to the market, so maybe I can scavenge up some fresh apricots.

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Nicoise Salad. Dinner of champions.

Next up is a Mediterranean salad from that WS cookbook. I’m not super sure what distinguishes this from your standard nicoise salad. I’m sure it’s something, but I just don’t know. Probably because I’ve never made a nicoise before. Also, I left out the anchovies. Slimy, salty little fish. I have a difficult relationship with them.

Also, good standard easy recipe. Though I’m the slowest cook on the planet. No, really. I think it took me an hour to put together this salad, which makes absolutely no sense. There was almost no actual cooking involved with the exception of the green beans and boiling the eggs.

One note… I had a hard time finding nicoise or any other tiny olives. I finally found some at whole foods and they still had pits. That didn’t bother me so much, but I probably should have pitted them before dropping them in the salad. As I later discovered my husband dropping them down the disposal because he refused to eat around the pits. Yea…

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The little devils.

So going back to my boss’ retirement week. He has this thing where his entire diet is dominated by bananas and cookies. And I should mention he eats SO many cookies. I’ve seen him eat four in a sitting. It’s actually quite impressive. So for his retirement week I made oatmeal raisin. I happen to have learned that his was his favorite. However, I absolutely abhor oatmeal raisin cookies. The little raisins masquerading as chocolate chips and fooling you at the last minute, and the fact that I can’t even eat oatmeal without my stomach having a meltdown. The last remaining remnants of my Peace Corps life are the lists of foods I am no longer capable of eating.

The first batch I made from a recipe on AllRecipes. I swear it had almost a billion 5 star reviews. It may have realistically had almost 2,000 reviews and it was at a 4.5 star. Should be good right? For some reason mine were terrible. Not just slightly funny, but not even edible. They browned too much, they spread too much, and worst of all they didn’t even cook all the way through. Should I have used my baking intuition and been like “I should chill the dough before putting it into the oven,” or “this recipe seems light on the baking soda.” Probably. But I didn’t. And it was a disaster.

The second batch was amazing. And I hate these cookies, so that says something. It was one I found on Tastespotting that had adapted a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. You know that recipe book that my roommate swears by, but I just haven’t seemed to gotten into. Well, baking powder instead of soda and nutmeg instead of cinnamon. I also called an audible and soaked the raisins in rum beforehand and accidentally doubled the nutmeg, because apparently I can’t read.

They were incredible. Until you hit that first raisin. Ick. And I only permitted myself to eat a quarter of a cookie, because oatmeal.

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The office took a field trip to the Nationals game.

Ah.. but one of the big events of the week was our office outing to the Nationals game. One of the boss’s biggest pastimes is baseball. He LOVES the Nats. So it only seemed fitting for us all to go out to a game together in the worst seats in the stadium. We were actually two rows down from the worst seats, but hey they view of the field was still really good.  You could still see everything really clearly. There was no giant post in front of you and the game was just as exciting. I got a hot dog and three beers, because that’s how we roll. We then had an office party the next night for the entire school of medicine. Between the two nights he was so happy. It was really nice to see him really enjoy his last two days as a GWU Dean. It’s a nice reminder that there are still really good, caring, empathetic people out there.

 

 

 

Dinner club three and four

bacon, Cooking, dinner club, No recipe, weeknight dinner

So I’ve been a bit on the lazy side lately. Also, a bit on the busy side, so I forgot to post the last two weeks of dinner club. I will say this though. Nothing super extraordinary happened in dinner club the last two weeks. Well, we did find a good meatball recipe and a questionable hamburger recipe.  

meatball beginnings. mixing it all up.

 So the meatball recipe is from Allrecipes. You can search for it and it’s probably one of the first ones to pop up. It was a good recipe. I slightly overlooked my meatballs and I over did it with the hot sauce, but overall it was good. I also didn’t use Italian seasoning because I was being lazy and didn’t want to go to the store. I just kind of made my own not so good version that was mostly basil. Kim’s turned out super good as well, but she was more cautious with the hot sauce.

my meatballs before baking

So everyone’s meatballs came out excellently. Erin’s were perfect, because Erin is perfect. I’m just putting that out there.

the finished product.

 

 

kim’s meatballs before baking

  

kim’s final product. it looks much prettier than mine. i ran out of cheese.

  

Dinner Club session number four was my pick. It was a Caribbean burger recipe from the Food Network mag. It was burger topped with bell peppers zucchini and carrots simmered in a jerk sauce. The burger was good. I enjoyed it. My husband liked it, but Kim’s husband wasn’t a fan. One thing that annoyed not me and Kim was that you made a giant batch of sauce and then used only a 1/4 cup of it. So you ended up with a bunch of leftover sauce. I wasn’t a fan of this, since I now have to come up with a way to use the rest of the sauce. 

my veggie sticks

  

veggie sticks simmering in sauce

  

my finished burger. yes i made a side of bacon. i’m not sure why. it is also an ugly pic because i started eating it first


Ultimately I don’t think I would make this one again. It was good, but it wasn’t good enough to make it worth it.

   

 Kim’s burger looks so pretty! It’s also bun-less. Which is a good idea. 

Dinner Club Introduction – the magic begins

Cooking, No recipe

So today at SilverSpoon BakeStop, I have an exciting new plan. Well, exciting for me. Every Wednesday me and a couple of friends are going to start a dinner club of sorts. We all make the exact same recipe and compare the results. This is great so we can keep in touch now that we live so far apart, and also so I can see where exactly I went wrong in the making of my recipe.

The recipe for tonight is a Cajun Chicken and Pinto Bean dish from the latest Food Network Magazine in all its glory. The weeknight meal section is always bomb… Sometimes a little bland, but that’s easily remedied with an extra jalapeño. I don’t care if it’s brownies… It needs a jalapeño.

So I’m about to get started. I’m on the east coast and everyone else is in Texas. So I’m starting early. I get hungry. I think I may also watch Pitch Perfect and have a Facebook Sticker battle with a friend while this is underway. I am an adult, I swear.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Cooking, No recipe

I’ve had Mastering the Art of French Cooking for approximately two and a half years… Maybe closer to three. I have never made anything out of it. I’ve barely even looked inside it. This seems like a cardinal sin. But the book scares me. The recipes are long, they take hours to make, and they all have French names (of course). It is utterly terrifying.

Last week I saw the book sitting on the bookcase next to the book I was actually looking for, and thought maybe I should actually try something out of it this week. I’ll be brave this once. Then, Whole Foods had roast on sale. I don’t really buy meat, so I don’t know what it was. But it was on sale and it seemed good. So hey, looks like I’m making Boeuf Bourguignon tonight.

I started at 5:00. It is now 10:30 and it looks like I have another one hour to go. I am the slowest cook on the planet. My dog and husband have both abandoned me and gone to bed.

Not to mention, I feel like Julia Child is watching me and judging me for every mistake I make. Every step of the way. So I accidentally used twice as much butter to sauté the mushrooms… And then ate half of them before the meat was finished cooking. I don’t own the right casserole dish, so I’m using two different pans. And… I don’t know what a bacon rind is.

Oi. C’est la vie… Maybe?

Rose Cream Bunnies

Baking, No recipe

In celebration of Easter, I decided to whip up two batches of macarons. I had my standby lemon ones (which I must admit are my favorite so far), and something a little different, rose cream macarons.

This is my second time making lemon curd. Or maybe my third. I can’t remember. It is my first time to compare two different lemon curd recipes and realize that it probably works best with only the yolks. Don’t add the whites folks. They cook and then you have lumpy lemon curd. For some reason I don’t remember this happening the first time I made it. Even with the slight issue with the curd, these were amazing. They always taste amazing, and they looked amazing this time as well.

Now for the rose cream. Anything with rose or lavender kind of scares me a bit. I’ve had some really delicious rose desserts before, but on the other end of the spectrum, they sometimes taste like soap. So going through all the effort of making macarons and having them taste like soap, would be a terrible defeat. So right out of the gate these made me nervous.

Rose syrup and rose water. Smell divine but hard to find.

Rose syrup and rose water. Smell divine but hard to find.

The second issue with making rose cream anything is finding the ingredients. Apparently, not every grocery store carries rose water, and even fewer carry rose syrup. To be honest I had never heard of rose syrup before this exercise. I started out at Whole Foods which seemed like a safe bet, and I guess it was relatively. They did have the rose water. They also had orange blossom water which I have noted for future recipes. They did not have rose syrup though. On the advice of a friend, I tried the international supermarket circuit, since rose is a more common ingredient in middle eastern cuisines. This did work and I actually have a little international supermarket down the street. It’s more of just a market than a supermarket though. However, they had many yummy looking desserts and plentiful amounts of tea. They also had rose water and orange blossom water for about half the price of Whole Foods. So if you’re in the market, check one of these places out.

After finding the correct ingredients, the rose cream was actually really easy to make. It was mostly butter. Seriously it tasted like floral butter. That doesn’t sound so good, but it was. And my fears of it tasting like soap were alleviated, because it didn’t. Not even close.

I attempted to pipe bunny macarons. It didn't work out so well. They look like hearts, or butts depending on your perspective.

I attempted to pipe bunny macarons. It didn’t work out so well. They look like hearts, or butts depending on your perspective.

I also attempted to pipe bunnies with the macaron batter. My first attempt at doing something a little fancier than circles. Well, I think I’ll be sticking with the circles for now. Even that sometimes gives me issues. I also managed to dump and entire tray of shells on the floor. I think a little piece of my soul died with those cookies. Note that this is why it is always a good idea to have a bottle of wine on hand before beginning the macaron process.

In the end, they turned out magically. But it’s always an experience.

Completed rose cream and lemon macarons for Easter.

Completed rose cream and lemon macarons for Easter.