Saturday, December 19, 2015

What's on Your Christmas Cookie Tray?

Poor little lonely blog...what HAVE I been cooking? Not enough new, I guess, but it is Christmas, and I am ready to bake (look out world...)

On My list:
Brown Butter Shortbread
Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
Martha Stewart's Chocolate Espresso Shortbreads..

But what else? I am already on the road, so I don't have books with me, although I am tempted by many of Dorrie Greenspan's post on Facebook. All her cookies look awesome
What are you baking?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Visiting Victoria and Vancouver:The Food Version

 What a treat...We got to spend a week in British Columbia. We went from Victoria to Vancouver to Whistler to Williams Lake (over the Duffy Lake Road) back to Vancouver by way of Fraser Canyon. Spectacular scenery everywhere...the BEST time spent with a great friend, Megan (the highlight for me), and, of course, food wherever we went...Here is a photo journey of our food journey...

Super ripe tomatoes with blue cheese and red onions at Marcello's in Vancouver...

 Calzone at Marcello's

One night, Gary was out with work people, I had no plans...and I ate a hot dog. No kidding..
Victoria, BC--if you need cheap eats, lots of options, Dog Gone It...pretty good choice!

I learned what a Caesar is...if I ever do drink one, it will be this one at Jam Cafe in Victoria, garnish with asparagus and a big crispy rasher of bacon...

 I drank many a cup of coffee..I believe this one was consumed at Habit in Victoria, BC.

 Not food, but one day Megan and I watched a storm move in across the land in was beautiful in its own way. I welcomed the cool weather...

Megan and I HAD to split this salted caramel with pecans doughnut. I finished my half. I watched. She did not finish hers. Amateur.

Back at Jam Cafe in Victoria: These biscuits were as bit as my head, filled with an egg and spinach and goat cheese scramble...awesome..

A view of Jam from the inside...Worth the wait in line, btw.

This awesome roasted vegetable salad was enjoyed at 10 Acres in Victoria...

Just before we left Victoria, we enjoyed tea at Fairmont Empress Victoria...

We crossed with Prince of Whales crossing, one way to Victoria by way of Butchart Gardens...what a lovely (if crowded) stop..
Look, it's Me!
The crossing..

Bar Scene...
My bourbon cocktail...

More to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Milanesa...The Secret at Last!

Perfect Milanesa Every Time

So hands down, one of my favorite dishes in Uruguay and Argentina is the milanesa, a steak pounded thin, breaded and fried--simple milanesa is served with a wedge of lemon. Milanesa napolitana is served with tomato sauce and cheese...what's not to love.

I have struggled to get the coating to actually "stick" to the steak--too often, I've had steak in a hollow --a shell, almost--  coating or batter.

I finally have hit on the right way. Actually, the best way.

It's the double breadcrumb dip.

  • Pound thin sirloin steaks to VERY thin. Think 1/4-inch. If you have a butcher have him slice large rounds into thin steaks..
  • Press coating of flavored breadcrumbs into steaks. 
  • Dip into beaten egg wash.
  • Dip into breadcrumbs again, coating well and completely.

Fry in a medium-high heat mix of butter and oil (butter for flavor, oil to keep butter from burning), reducing heat if necessary to keep steak coating from burning.

Serve with lemon or top with tomato sauce and cheese, place back under broiler just long enough for cheese to melt and voila:

Perfect milanesa every time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Eats

Wow. I am not sure how so many weeks have passed without a post.

I have been developing lots of recipes and pursuing some tech writing, too, rewarding my inner geek.

But in the meantime, here are some of the other things I've been up to in photo form...

I cooked some peaches in using a sous vide cooker:

I made empanadas using a hot water pastry recipe of my own devising:

I painted at Jobson's Cove:

I ate at Marcus:

I ate Jill's incredible blueberry tart...and resisted the desire to eat a second piece (before everyone else had their first piece! How very rude of me!):

Got out on the water:

Found a lovely scene to paint at Jill's:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

And then there were two sisters.

In the last four years, I lost the two below, and as I sit here today, I am marking five weeks since I very suddenly lost my other brother, Rick, the eldest of the four of us. He was well one day, and then he was not. Tonight, We will enjoy a simple but nice meal. We will raise a glass to the wonderful memories we share. We will be sad and we will be happy. We will cherish those who are with us and those who are far. We will be sure the gods have gotten it wrong somehow, but we will know this is the reality, however unfair. Most of all, we will miss these people. 

Baking Bread In Memory: David and Tea and Rick

What I wrote a year ago today:

I've lost these two in the past three years. Miss them both. Three years ago today, David died. So I  bake on May 20. Today, I might be on overload, making bread AND pizza. But it makes me happy and makes think of David. The spiral form (in the photo below) is one he used...the essay is one I wrote and read at his memorial service in September, 2011.

Before you go on and read below, do this--it is taken from something I wrote on May 31, 2011:

So today, please go open a bottle of wine you may have been saving for a special day. Pitch the sliced bread and either bake a loaf or go get REAL bread, good bread. Drizzle out a bit of really good olive oil, and savor it all with family and friends. Because today? Today is a special day.

Remembering David

My little brother David died very suddenly this past May. He was 47.

David was a real intellectual. He had big ideas and frankly, I am sure I didn't always even understand what he was talking about, and we often butted heads over ideas and issues. But we did share one passion: cooking. Any heated debates were quickly forgotten at the dinner table when we--quite literally--broke bread. We would thoughtfully taste, chew and discuss the merits of the loaf at hand, no matter what we'd been arguing about during the day. 

David was a bread baker better than any of us, his recipes spreadsheets (formulas, really, weighing in humidity, type of wheat, etc.) that I didn't really understand. In fact, we found his spread sheets on bread and those are pages I will treasure always. Even if I can't bake from them.
Early in the year, in February, I got an email from David asking for savory chocolate recipes. He was on his way to a Slow Food dinner in Redlands, California, where he lived, and the theme was chocolate. He was determined to do something different. 

I had just written a short online piece about where to find great chocolate recipes and one website had stuck with me, a site with a lot of savory dishes. After we traded a few ideas talking about possibilities, he tweaked a recipe, making corn cakes topped with his own version of Mexican mole-style chicken and some cheese. 

His report back captures David's personality for those of us who knew him and still makes us chuckle, especially reading of his scorn for American cheese "food":
Topped a tablespoon of cornbread batter with a bigger spoon of the chicken mix.  Topped that with a modest amount of mozzarella cheese since I had some handy already shredded -- bad move; should have used the local Monterey jack I bought for the purpose, which is very tasty, or had I thought of it, better still would be supermarket-humble Havarti (which is a great American cheese, IMO, if inexpensive and widely least it's cheese compared to prevalent and therefore so-called American "pasteurized-process cheese food").  15 minutes in the oven and they were done.

He signed off "mangia, mangia."

Three months after those emails, I found myself in his house, my first time in Redlands, but he wasn't there. His death was heartbreakingly sudden and being there was unspeakably sad and difficult.

We spent a week at his house, cleaning it out, preparing details of the memorial we would hold, sometimes finding laughter in our memories, admiring his garden full of wildflowers, touching pots and pans he touched, always aching for his presence.

One day I peered into the freezer and found a batch of little corn cakes, wrapped in foil and plastic, perhaps a little freezer burned. I knew exactly what they were. I pulled them out, heated them up and had a couple for lunch one day, remembering the process, remembering David, and happy to taste, one last time, one of his creations.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Goetz's Caramel taste o Nostalgia..

so, I remember getting th se creamy-centered caramels for Halloween DECADES is something about this combo I live because of the textural shift of caramel and melty is the same now as it was then. I love the for 120 years.

I don't always find them when I am candy shopping, so I am pretty pleased to be enjoying quite a sampling from Goetze's in celebration of that 120th year anniversary. I like a little dose of nostalgia now and then...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Comfort Food: pierogi pizza

I am in Pittsburgh. Home of Fabulous. Home of Steelers. Home of Comfort Food.

I have reason to be seeking comfort food. I have decided the king of all comfort food is pierogi pizza. Behold...