Friday, September 23, 2011

soups, roots and a busted headlight

It's my birthday weekend! I'm going for my second annual Birthday Celebration in New York, and I'm super excited! After fixing a busted headlight, we are finally on our way. I was planning on catching up on season premieres during my long bus ride. But, unfortunately, video streaming sites are blocked. *sigh* So Parks & Rec and Grey's will have to wait...

Instead, I'm surfing the food blogs and cooking sites, dreaming of all of the autumnal-y things I'm going to cook in the coming months. Even though this summer went by in a flash, I am really looking forward to seeing fall foliage, visiting pick-your-own farms, and the feel of my warm and spicy. Here are a few ideas I'm playing with...

roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar

If I were to choose a last meal, it would most likely be grilled cheese and tomato soup. This one from smitten kitchen looks like the perfect kick-off for fall. This year, Sanne has a food processor, which makes soup-making much easier. I'm planning on throwing a little grilled cheese & tomato soup party, and I this recipe will definitely make the line-up. 
This one isn't a recipe, but a beautiful collection of mouth-watering food photography. This photo of a roasted cauliflower in cheese sauce was especially inspiring. I've never been much of a cauliflower fan, but this photo is too pretty for me not to try my hand at.
These guys are so much prettier (and healthier) than their freezer-section relatives. Baked instead of fried, unprocessed cheese, these would be great for a party. And how cute are those little stems?
Okay, I'm about to say something controversial. I think pumpkin is a little over-rated and over-done. It's the "put a bird on it" of the food world. However, I would happily add roasted pumpkin to a goat cheese and lentil salad. That sounds good.

barley stew with leeks mushrooms and greens
I'm starting to notice a pattern here: "I'm not much of a ___ person" It must be that growing up in Florida, I didn't really eat seasonally. At least, not in the way that New Englanders do. Since living in Boston, I've really come to appreciate those hearty stews and soups when our window sills are half-convered with snow. Adding barley or quinoa, and a leafy green takes our soups to that next level, making them a meal and warming us to the bone.

caramelized shallots with walnuts
Even though it was January and we were in California, thinking about fall makes me think about these caramelized shallots that we made with Kelli and Phil last year. I think I'm going to make these again soon.

What are you wanting to cook this fall?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh, Hello Fall.

I am trying to reconcile with Fall's early arrival. I wasn't ready yet. Today, I am still not. I had a full and eventful summer. Some of you may have wondered where I disappeared to... I've taken somewhat of a sabbatical from Fedish this summer because I had so much on my plate (pun intended). As summer kicked off, I was promoted at work. My new position brought a new level of time and energy consumption for me. I was also fortunate enough to have saved, scrimped, and planned thoroughly (and still had to said a few Hail Marys) to get to take the first vacation I've had in quite a while. I was able to go to see a dear friend get married and spend two glorious weeks traveling around Italy. I full intend to share all about that sometime soon.

I have had tons of culinary experiences I have wanted to share this summer. However, I needed to adjust and to fully enjoy every drop of sunshine and fun I could (because we have so precious little of it in New England) and to share later. Mandi has graciously been holding down the Fedish fort and sharing her summer food adventures with you. As I make my peace with fall calling a week early, I am extremely excited for all the fall activities, food, cooking and sharing to commence. I am attempting to dwell fully in autumn for it's brief but amazing offerings and ignore the impending frost of winter racing up behind it.

Hope summer was warm and fun for all of you as well. 

My lunch is evidence I am not ready to let go of summer yet.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Birthday Cake!

Somehow, between my second week of classes, tutoring, reading 5+ fifty page articles, and working 40 hours, I let Roald Dahl's birthday pass me by!

I had to make it up to him somehow, and what better way than with a scrum-diddly-umptious cake?!

One cake that I've always wanted to try is from Matilda...

Principal Trunchbull calls the entire school to an assembly where she accuses Bruce Bogtrotter of eating her chocolate cake.

"It's hard for me to remember a specific cake..." Bruce says.

"This one was mine... and it was the most scrumptious cake in the entire world!"

She then forces him to eat the whole thing, which is about the size of a car tire. With encouragement from his classmates, Bruce is able to "consume the entire confection!"

In celebration of Roald Dahl's birthday (and maybe mine, which is just around the corner...), I decided to have a go at Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake, which can be found in Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes. It's an adorable cookbook that I highly recommend, especially if you have little people helping you in the kitchen.

Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake
from Matilda
serves 1 to 8

for the cake:
8oz good-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1c plus 2T sugar
1/4c all-purpose flour
6 eggs separated, yolks slightly beaten

for the icing:
8oz good-quality semi-sweet chocolate
8oz heavy cream

Start by melting the chocolate in a double broiler, or in a metal bowl over simmering water. Mix in butter.

liquid gold

Pour into a mixing bowl and mix in flour, sugar and egg yolks. Then you'll need to whisk egg whites until stiff. Fold in egg whites, one half at a time.

Pour into cake pan, lined with buttered wax paper. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Roald Dahl says that it will appear to be undercooked in the middle, but not to worry because it will set as it cools. I left it in a little longer just to be safe, and it was perfect. I did have a little extra, so I made a cute little mini cake too.

While your cake(s) cools, make the icing. Heat the rest of the chocolate on the stove in a double broiler and mix in heavy cream.

Carefully transfer cake onto a plate and spread icing with a spatula.

baby cake 

I mean no disrespect Mr. Dahl. Your cake is scrumptious, but to quote Bruce, "my mom's is better." If you had a piece of my mom's chocolate cake, you would understand.

There are tons of fun recipes in this book, and in his other book, More Revolting Recipes. I'd like to try Lickable Wallpaper, Nishnobblers, and Tummyticklers with my little cousins. Also, Mr. Twit's Beard Food makes me laugh a lot.

Happy Birthday Roald Dahl!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I solemnly swear

I am by no means a picky eater. I pride myself on that. In fact, picky eating is a pet peeve of mine (no offense). But there is one food that I purposely have never, ever tried. Beef Jerky. The smell, the look of it, even the name completely grosses me out. It reminds me of those pig's ears that my mom used to get for our dogs. Ick.

What's one food that you never have and never intend to taste?


Saturday, September 10, 2011

its business, its business time

At the continued urging of my friend Eileen, I finally sat down and knocked out some business cards today. I had to design my own. As an recovering graphic designer, I couldn't in good conscience order a box of ready-made free cards. I'd have to do it myself. I don't have Adobe CS, so I had to make do with the editing tools on the printing company's website. This was annoying, but not a huge problem, since I wanted to food photography to take center stage. Anyway, here's what I came up with, tell me what you think! 
*I realize the alignment is all screwy, they will definitely be fine-tuned later on, right now I'm focused on the design/layout.)

1. This is definitely what the back will be. In case you haven't guessed, this is one of my favorite photos.

2. One of the earlier drafts of the front of the card. This was actually a mistake, and I hate it; but I'm not hating the direction its going...

3. I like grids.

Add caption

4. This is the front runner so far, for me anyway.

What do you think? Also, we'll need some sort of tagline. Something that says what we are. I'm not too crazy about "Food bloggers", but I do need to get that point across somehow. Help!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

wine party!

I came across this picture on pinterest today and got a little excited...

teleport me into this party please, science!

So I followed the link and it brought me to a fabulous site, describing how to throw a perfect wine pairings party... complete with table decor.

I don't know why I've never heard of it, but chalkboard contact paper... what a great idea, right?! I did a quick internet search and found a few. This one got pretty good reviews.

I will be referring to Tablespoon in the future, and I will definitely be throwing a wine pairing party. Maybe I can get my own personal Somolier to help me...


muchos años feliz!

Saturday night I went to my other mom's birthday party-- in Dorchester. My supervisor at work, Maria, my Boston Mami had a HUGE surprise birthday party. When I say huge, I mean that she doesn't know how many cousins she has. There are too many to count. When I commented on the crowd, Maria's sister (one of 14) said, "Oh, this isn't even half of the family... a lot of people couldn't make it."

but this monster cake fed all of them

I love that they were able to get this many people (100+) to the house without ruining the surprise. I love that the party started at about 1pm, and they were still cooking, dancing and playing games at 9pm when I left. And I love that I've found another "family" so far from home.

¡Feliz cumpleaños Maria! ¡Te Amo!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Restaurant [Night]

This is the second half of my dinner at Area Four in Kendall Square during the recent power outage. Neville and I have these cute little 9oz beers. I had the Pretty Things and Neville had... something else.

This is the Olive-oil Chocolate Cake with Creme Fraiche, Salted Caramel Sauce and Cookie Crumble. If Avocado is my go-to sandwich filling, then chocolate is the avocado of dessert. I didn't even have to read the rest of the menu...

And THIS one is the Local Nectarine and Plum Crisp for two.

Kasia's tea came in a pretty little kettle with an hourglass for steeping her tea to perfection.

Our dessert was delectable, and our dinner was just as good. More on that when I get those pictures. :) As the saying goes... "Make life sweeter, eat dessert first."

Again, I apologize for the lack of posts this week. I still haven't restocked my fridge after Irene ruined all our food.

Next week I start class. I have a feeling that the blog is going to have to change a little bit to fit my lifestyle. As always, I appreciate your feedback! Even more so over the next couple weeks of change.