i made chocolate peanut butter cups at home a la a beautiful mess. they were a bit large, as i only had cupcake liners for big muffin tins, rather than the baby size, but that did not stop anyone from eating too much or cutting them in half.
sadly, i took no photos of this delicious + easy-to-make treat, so here's my dog in a sweater. it's a hand-me-down from houston and might be worn for christmas.
so, this year, i baked christmas cookies for the neighbors (the one who my dog has a HUGE crush on, the one who loans me sugar, the one who rakes my yard, and the one who lets me use his internet) and the mail man (who chloe relentlessly barks at, fulfilling a stereotype).
i left out nutmeg because i didn't have any, but added in all-spice instead.
this is a 3-step cookie which means you should plan ahead. do one step each day and it's not a big deal at all. each part is about 30 minutes.
dusting sugar is stupid expensive, so i rolled the dough in non-pareils and raw cane sugar.
it said it would make 90, but mine made 70 and they aren't huge. this is totally fine, but if you are cooking for a big group, i'd make extra.
i made half the amount of icing and had plenty.
they smush a little (the icing) when you bag them up so if you are giving them as gifts, be careful if you want them to look just so. they would be amazing at a party as they'd make even an ugly dish look delicious.
i abandoned the great latke recipe of my mother's best friend, marsha, for that of adam rapoport. i am really trying to get the most of the bon appetit these days--i've been in a bean-pasta-carborific food rut for quite a while. the latke recipe did not really change that rut, just the way i intake the carbs.
but, i digress.
i followed this recipe to a T, minus the schmaltz, which i might have used if i actually had some. yes, even though i have been a vegetarian for a zillion years at this point.
the entire recipe is at the above link, so i won't repost it, but adam has us put all the grated onions and potatoes into a towel and wring them out. not a terrible idea.
yep, i mixed all the wet things with the fancy anthropologie kitchen gear of last christmas.
i made them in the cast iron, with canola oil, because that's what i had (the oil and the pan), but i don't think it really matters.
this recipe is specfically for crispy latkes, which i actually don't think are my favorite, but they were certainly delicious.
with sour cream AND applesauce. (and a salad so we get some nutrients).
the pup has been sick. like, REALLY sick. i did manage to eat a few meals and make A LOT of beans on the stove, given that i was home (or in the vet hospital) for what seemed like a million days straight. poor girl.
she is on the mend. back to being the pup she was before her spleen infection. (and yes, a spleen is the organ that is supposed to fight infection. good job, spleen.)
are you ready for this? alex and i judged everything in this photograph plus two more rounds for the food preservation section at the north carolina state fair.
it was incredible; we tasted jams, preserves, juices, jellies, and pickles. you only judge strawberry jam against strawberry jam, for example, and each category's size depends on its number of entrants. the bread and butter pickle category had 20-25 jars. it was insane.
but, more importantly, we also were able to nominate mind-blowing items for "best of show." we were quite choosey about this process; we didn't want to send just anything. in the end, we nominated a pineapple jelly (i know. it doesn't sound amazeballs, but it is.) and raspberry-jalapeno preserves, both of which won. yes. we are so influential.
tina sent me a link for dog biscuits some time ago and finally i baked them. truthfully, humans can eat them as well, but i think they are probably pretty bland. however, the recipe is super easy.
not surprisingly, it's from ina garten. i made them smaller (with a flower-shaped cookie cutter) and so there were WAY more than she stated. and, i only made a half recipe! (they are fresh, so i worried they would spoil or mold or just not keep as long as the packaged kind.)
washington, DC is slowly becoming my second home. i don't know my way around, but there's a bike i can ride, coffee around the corner from casey's place, and lots of beer in cans.
it's really flat and even the hills aren't so hard. and we are finding the delicious things to eat: fancy coffees, earl grey tea and cherry scones, huevos rancheros, cauliflower gratin, veggie bbq, i don't remember anymore. but DC is growing on me, even though it seems as no one is over age 27.
i've pretty much given up on buying salsa in the grocery store. it's never all that good and it's kinda pricey for mediocre. casey always thinks there is too much vinegar but i think it lacks spice. never packs a punch, if you will.
when i was still living in harlem, one of the few vendors at the farmers' market sold tomatillos and he told me i could easily make salsa with them. at the time, they seemed so foreign with their sticky wrappers and all, though i knew i liked their flavor. and that farmer was right--it's crazy easy.
here's how you do it.
1. take the sticky wrappers of the tomatillos and wash the tomatillos. today, i used six tomatillos and four very small green tomatoes.
2. boil some water and throw in the tomatillos and tomatoes.
3. once they burst through the skin, take them out and put them in a blender. i use one of those mini-choppers and do this twice, but that's because i am lazy and don't want to get out the blender and clean it and all. blend until smoothish.
4. chop up some onion, garlic, and hot peppers. today, i used 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 of a yellow onion, 1 habanero, and 1/2 large jalapeno.
5. throw it all in the blender. add some lime. i squeezed in the juice of 1/2 lime. add some sea salt (i probably used a 1/2 tbsp) and pepper (maybe 3 twists of the grinder? 4?).
6. blend it all. mine is spicy and delicious.
and yeah, i am sporting navy nail polish. it's fall, kids.
after all these years, i did a little redesign. i think it was time. i am not totally certain of it yet, but i am into trying new things.
apparently, you (the reader) can change the way it looks; it's dynamic. i don't really like it in the other formats, so i might change back to something less wobbly. i kinda want to move it away from blogger, but i've just been here SO long, you know? (and how many tumblrs can a girl have? my friend rachel would say A LOT.)
this might be my slowest blogging year since i started 5 years ago. i think it's the other things i am up to--like trying to do academic things, and the gardens project, and the bike blog, and twitter, and instagram, and, well, sometimes i am just a little bored and my meals aren't so pretty and so i just don't want to put anything up.
and cooking for one is not so exciting. but i'll try to be better.
i don't know what to say about the hot chicken. but it was hot. and we ordered a whole hot chicken, a nashvillian specialty: medium hot, which is pretty damn hot. of course we went to prince's for this madness. you order, then you scour the place (the size of my apartment, which no one would call big) for a table covered by a plastic tablecloth, and then you wait. for us, it was an hour, and totally worth it (though this is the likely end of my attempts to consume animals on vacation).
you eat it with white bread and pickles. not half-sours or anything special, just pickles.
so let's imagine how the recipe goes.
1. marinate chicken in oil with lots of cayenne.
2. make a dredge with lots of cayenne.
3. spread cayenne on the chicken?
4. deep-fry the chicken in oil with cayenne.
yeah. that kind of hot. and we did not order the hottest, as we wanted to be able to taste the chicken and just have our lips burn off.
we stopped into the patterson house later in the evening--lovely and beautiful and full of cocktails with spherical ice. i am not certain if this is shira's most favorite bar ever, or meat. it's really a toss-up.
our morning came with a crazy bloody mary bar, where i proceeded to put like 12 different hot sauces into my drink, along with a variety of pickled goodness.
a lubricated morning for certain.
and is any trip to nashville complete without an overpriced yet super trip to the country music hall of fame? no. especially when it includes a poster-size photograph of dolly parton as the statue of liberty.
if we had more time, dollywood would have been on the itinerary. in my future indeed.
is there a song about wisconsin? i don't mean about things within in it, like beer or cheese or badgers, but i mean like "oklahoma" or "texas, our texas."
after a night of deep-dish pizza in chicago, shira and i left for milwaukee, where i was catching a plane to DC (i know, it was a crazy month). wisconsin was another new state for me, not that i have caught up to casey yet. we arrived at the mars cheese castle, which was indeed a castle but not regal.
yes, at 1130am, we consumed a couple of bottles of new glarus and a pile of cheese curds in a parking lot. a perfect conclusion.
so, she left. well, i rode with her across the country to her new place of employment: chicago. there are a lot of places from here to there: north carolina, virginia, west virginia, kentucky, indiana, and illinois. we made a little vacation out of it, stopping in louisville. it was at an incredible bar called meat in a neighborhood called butchertown where we drank bourbon cocktails and decided that we should write travel books on cities in the south.
but, alas, we only stayed for the night, leaving for glorious (not really) state of indiana. i had never been and was able to add the thirty-seventh state to my list. we stopped through indianapolis, eating bagels on a corner not far from the state fairgrounds but across the street from a record shop.
we also saw the biggest wind farm i have ever seen in my life. and the iphones just could not capture the vastness of the place.
more importantly, we came upon the albanese candy company: home of the world's best gummi bears. so, of course, we pulled over our dodge grand caravan (which was awesome, for the record) and drove 3 miles down a surprisingly-busy road to the kingdom that this is candy company. we left with about $3 worth of candy, all gummies: 12 flavors. indeed, world's best. at least for gummies.
nashville, tennessee: a lovely place that requires two posts. shira, alex, and i spent what seemed like an entire day at no. 308. we went for a happy hour cocktail and stayed for hours.
yes, it was full of taxidermy. ridiculous, non-nonsensical taxidermy. but also delicious cocktails with housemade syrups and shots that involved pineapple slices and gifted salads and other snacks. we eventually ran off at 10 or 11pm or so, only so we could head to another place for some bluegrass/country/picking of sorts.
these girls. i love these girls. and we all love dolly parton, but that's for another post.
casey and shira and i were on a mini-quest to eat up the goodness that are the tacos in durham. (what is in the water over there? everything is just better, you know?) visits to nantaco and la vaquita were in order. spicy awesome tacos consumed. for the vegetarians, nanataco has more options, including a surprising fried green tomato taco (and all the salsa options above)! but seriously, la vacquita, you have my heart.
but this might be the best breakfast i have had in years. this was last week sometime.
the egg was perfectly fried (in butter), the tomatoes were just beyond amazing (i don't know what farm grew them, but an award is warranted), and the crackers were full of seedy amazement (sunflower, sesame, poppy, maybe flax). also, cucumbers and hummus and it was just all the loveliest.
there's a jar of plum syrup on my counter. and a chocolate babka. it's beyond exciting.
this week, i am the lucky winner from berenbaum's. each week, they send out a little tweet telling the world what is on the menu for saturday and suggest that we "like" the post. then, they choose a random person to go home with some deliciously awesome or awesomely delicious baked goods, and this week, i was chosen. i took my bike on the bus and then rode to the durham market for shopping and prize-getting and coffee-drinking. (don't tell the carrboro market, but i am pretty sure durham is my favorite.) and once i told ari (berenbaum) how i got to the market without a car, he gave me a samosa as well.
vogue covers ice pops (not popsicles, because that's a brand). with recipes. delicious-sounding ones. so it's fashionable to eat them now. (we knew this--i told blake to open a popsicle truck like 3 years ago already and that kid tried to claim that he does not LOVE A POPSICLE.)
my inability to find photographs of pops means it might be time to make a batch.
things i have been doing that do not involve this blog: studying for my core exams, photographing casey's dog, riding my new bike, studying for my core exams, eating junk food, drinking coffee, studying for my core exams, trying to not melt from the heat or the rain.
it's hard to drink anything but gin or beer or prosecco in the summer. but we've got a ton of bottles in the bourbon/whiskey/scotch family. and some rum. preparing for our caribbean-themed belmont-stakes-watching party, we consumed a handful of cuba libres. that is, rum + coke + tons of lime. much unlike the ever-popular rum + coke of high school, this one is drinkable and doesn't taste too sweet or leave a sugary feel on your teeth.
however, the drink of summer 2012 is probably bourbon + limonata. i threw a couple of these together (with the oversized ice) the other night for me and casey and they were really delicious. and for all occasions, not just summer.