Sunday, January 30, 2011


Have you ever made egg in a basket or egg in a hole or whatever you call it? (What do you call it?) I decided to try it this morning, since it was all there was to eat for breakfast.  I normally do not like my eggs runny, at all. But this was pretty good.

center of the universe

How do you like your eggs?

Seared Scallops and Broiled Asparagus

Tonight I am taking a page out of Judith Jones' book and cooking a nice meal for myself. Just me. I finally braved the cold and walked to the store to pick out the biggest, juiciest scallops I could find, stocked up on butter, and something green. I even bought a bottle of the cheapest white wine they had. There's a reason it's $5.99, folks. That crap is crap. But I was only cooking with it so who cares?

My favorite way to cook asparagus is broiling it with some oil & vinegar. It's perfect.  I may have told you before, but I use this balsamic vinegar:

If you haven't tried it, it's so worth the splurge. I promise you, you have never tasted anything better. Sometimes I'll just eat it on some pecorino or parmesan-- it's like dessert.  I added a drizzle or three or four of that, some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

For the scallops, I start by patting them dry. I heard somewhere that this allows them to brown easier. Where did I hear that? Julia Child?

So I pat them dry and melt some butter in the saucepan. About 1 1/2 T butter. Then I added some of my crappy white wine, and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice. I let that cook down a bit while I broil the asparagus, about 5 minutes.

Then sear the scallops. About 3-5 minutes on each side should do it. Mine look kind of blackened because my butter might have burned a little. My bad. Once the liquid cooks down, you may want to lower the heat a little to avoid burning. Honestly though, as long as you don't over-cook them, it's really hard to mess up sea scallops.

Everything is done in less than 15 minutes, which is my kind of meal. And it's delicious.

And for dessert, I had these:

Raspberry + Chocolate= best friends forever
Couple of questions for you tonight: Do you eat asparagus with a fork, or with your hands? Have you ever cooked scallops? If so, do you have any tips for us? The other question has been added to the sidebar as a survey. Vote on your favorite food-related movie. Fun, huh? We'll try to come up with a new one every week or so.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I didn't get out of my pajamas today.

That's right. The weather has been too crappy. The week has been too long. I haven't been feeling too well. So, I didn't put on clothes or step outside today. Instead, I watched movies and ate pasta. Sue me. No, don't. 

This took all of 7 minutes to make. That's all I have to say about it.

Someone else didn't put on real clothes today... Our friend Kelli had her baby early this morning! Yay! Congrats Kelli and Phil! Happy Birthday Hannah Rylie! 

isn't she/they beautiful?

I am a proud Pseudo-Aunt! Alyssanne is too! I didn't want to say "we" are proud pseudo-aunts because I didn't want our readers to get confused. We are hetero-life partners, not regular life partners. Anyway, this means another trip out to San Diego is in order. If only I could get a show on the travel channel or something, then I could visit all of my friends whenever I wanted instead of rationing out my vacation days like it's the end of the world.

All in all, it was a great day. Maybe I'll get dressed tomorrow. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Booder and Awl

One thing I have been wanting to do lately is make my own butter. It is really easy and I figured why not? All you need is a cup of heavy cream, a jar with a tightly fitting lid and some elbow grease. It only takes about 20 minutes. It is roughly 1 cup of heavy cream to make a 1/2 cup of butter. The rest that is left over is buttermilk. You put the cream in the jar and start shaking. If you want to make it easier on your arms, let the cream stand at room temperature for a bit before shaking so it isn't so cold. It makes the process faster.

I started shaking and after a little bit, I got whipped cream. Keep shaking and butter started to form. After a bit more shaking, I drained the excess liquid. 

I added some water to the butter and kept shaking. I poured out the excess liquid again.

You want to get the excess liquid out of the butter as much as possible because it will spoil faster and taste sour due to the buttermilk. I took the butter from the jar and pressed out some of the liquid as I did. I put it into Mandi's butter bell she got for Christmas.

Voila, fresh homemade butter. Easy as pie. No, definitely easier. You can also fold in different ingredients into your fresh made butter such as garlic or honey, if you want to make a special butter for an occasion. Mmm, honey butter.

Now, take a moment for this gem:


Monday, January 24, 2011

Sick day

A few things happened this week: I got back from San Diego, the amount of degrees in Boston dropped to -4, and I got sick. Coincidence? No! My body is trying to tell me something. It likes degrees. Around 70 is nice, but definitely no negatives. After about 2 packages of tissues, a box of severe cold medicine (which did nothing) and 1.5 sick days, I am back on my feet-ish.

Needles to say, there hasn't been a whole lot of cooking going on in this kitchen. Just a lot of opening cans of soup and boiling water for tea.

Tazo Green
rule the what?

Last year when I had a nasty sore throat, I tried what is called Irish Cough Medicine: Tea with honey, lemon and a shot of Jack Daniels. Ever tried it? It cleared me right up. When I was little, my dad would always bring me a coloring book and a ginger ale, and that worked too. Then I had a roommate in college that swore by Emergen-C. But our other roommate told us about a friend of a friend who drank so much of it that she lost her taste buds. That freaked me out so much that I haven't had it since. It might not be true, but I'm not taking any chances-- my taste buds are very important to me.

bedside: a still life.

Do any of you have any home remedies that you swear by? Anything that makes you feel better (even if its just emotionally) when you're feeling sick? What do you think my mug says?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Live from SoCal: Guest blog with Phil and Kelli!

It was our last night in Southern California (and we were crying), so as a last-ditch attempt to convince us to move here, Kelli and Phil went balls-out with a fancy dinner and The Bachelor drinking game. On the menu we had:


Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Fresh Herbs

Caramelized Shallots w/ Walnuts 

Pear Upside-Down Cake


I was in charge of the shallots. Kelli found some recipes online to try. I'm not sure where, but they were so good.

Trim and peel 2lbs shallots.

In a pan, melt 1/4c butter. Add shallots and cook on med-high heat until browned; about 20 minutes. This was a lot quicker than 20 minutes for me, but I think her pans conduct heat really well.

Once the shallots are browned on the outside, add 1c chopped or halved walnuts and 1c port or dessert wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook until shallots are tender; about 5 minutes. Then, turn up the heat. Cook on high until the port is cooked down and you are drooling. Serve warm.

While I did that, Kelli was baking away...
Here's her low down:

I generously buttered a 9" cake pan and lined it with 2 Bosc pears that I peeled, cored, and sliced.

Then caramelize 1 C of sugar with 1/2 C water, simmering until it's a medium amber color.  Do NOT stir, which will make your caramel grainy; just swirl the pan around to help the sugar dissolve.

When it reaches the right color add 1/2 C chopped pecans; the directions say to cook until fragrant, however if you're also caramelizing shallots and wine in the next pan over it's a little difficult to tell.  About 30 seconds should do it.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in 1/3 C bourbon and 1/2 ts salt.  Pour over pears in the pan where it'll hang out while you make the batter.

Cream 3/4 C butter, 1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar and 1/4 C granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 3 eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Then beat in 2 ts vanilla (Mexican if you have it, in which case you may want to add 2 overflowing teaspoons), 1 1/2 ts baking powder, and 1/2 ts baking soda.  Alternately beat in the flour and plain, unflavored yogurt in two batches - so, 1 C flour, 1/2 C yogurt, 1 C flour, and 1/4 C yogurt.  Add 1/2 C chopped pecans, and spread the batter over the caramel in the pan.  The batter will be a little thicker than cake batter usually is.

Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until a tester comes clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan, turn out onto a plate and wait for the ooohs and ahhhs.

Enjoy with a glass of ice cold milk or with a cup of strong coffee for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Now here's Phil with the tenderloin details, interview style...

Mandi: Tell us how you cooked your beef tenderloin.
Phil: Slow roasted on indirect heat on a gas grill.

M: Have you ever cooked it this way? What do you normally do?
P: It's the first time I have ever done anything like this. I normally would not cut into the meat in this way. Normally, I sear the meat to keep the juices on the inside. This contradicts what I normally do but decided to take the risk.

M: What is it with men and grilling?
P: It's probably just what we have done for ages..uhh, bring the meat to the fire. It's a Hunter-Gatherer thing.

M: You were smoking a cigar while you grilled. Is that part of the experience?
P: Cigars are a new hobby but yes, it did enhance the overall experience.

M: I equate it to when girls look at fashion magazines and talk about boys and paint their nails. By itself, it's fun. But put the three together and you have the ultimate girly trifecta.
P: Wait, what? I don't understand the question.

M: The smoking-a-cigar-while-grilling-a-huge-slab-of-red-meat experience.

M: What is different about the food in San Diego?
P: There's more avocado, citrus flavors and spices...overall on the healthier side. It's lighter.

M: In ten words or less, convince me to move there.
P: Beach, weather, sunset, Phil, Kelli, Hannah, now.

Here's a photo journey of the beef tenderloin deliciousness...

Believe us when we say that the photos don't do it justice. Such an amazing meal!

Quite honestly, you had us at Bachelor drinking game.