Saturday, December 17, 2011

What to do when you have a large number of pears about to go bad...

I was enjoying our work holiday party on
Thursday when coworker (hi Tara!)
observed I had not updated LotC in

Ok, if I knew I had readers other than
people related to me (hi Mom!) and people
dating me (hi Erik!) I would have updated
much sooner.

Today we went to the farmer's market and
I got locally grown strawberries. In
December. Can you not get local
strawberries where you live in December?
Sorry to rub it in...

It was an absolutely beautiful day, so after running some errands we went for a run to the Garden District. We hoped to check out Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, but as usual the gate was closed so we could only peek from the outside.

What, is this supposed to be a food blog or something?

Admittedly not the most flattering shot
A few weeks ago I purchased a giant trough of pears at a substantial discout. As much fruit as I eat - and I eat a lot - there came a point when I wanted not more pears, and they were getting to the point of EXTRA ripeness.


Ok, this will take 15 minutes and then you will spend the next 15 minutes eating the entire jar you just made. I am just PREPARING you for a future which finds you still clad in pjs, trying to force your face in a jam jar, with really sticky hands.

Pear Sauce
5 pears
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons butter/margarine
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
One square inch worth of fresh ginger diced or grated finely
A sprinkle of cinnamon 

Core all of your pears and dice them up coarsely. If you are PICKY and want to peel them do so, just know that it will lack some essential RUSTIC qualities.

In a pot over medium heat combine all of the ingredients and stir up until everything is warm and pears are quite MUSHY. Now turn off the heat and let your sauce cool a few minutes. 

In your magic bullet/blender/food processor blend your sauce until smooth. Place in a jam jar and store in the refrigerator. (ed. note - I had no need for storing)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions (by me)

Is it bad luck to eat your hurricane evacuation provisions before hurricane season is technically over?

If your tomatoes just start growing in November are you actually going to get to eat any?

Why have I not thought of making muffins based on my favorite green smoothies before? I will be experimenting with my own version of these soon.

Would you rather have wheels for legs or a go go gadget arm?

Have you ever tried making bibimbap? The first time I had this was in Hawaii. A chemistry professor of mine took a bunch of students out to dinner at a vegetarian Korean restaurant and my mind was blown. Truely a case of the whole being much bigger than the parts. I (very) loosely based mine off of this recipe.
Clockwise starting at the top: Sautéed carrots, purple cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini & mirlton, and quick cucumber & radish pickles. All over rice with an egg in the middle.

What did I have for lunch this week? Whole wheat cous cous with tomatoes and fresh basil. Shelled edamame with a sprinkle of salt. Homemade granola bar. Greek yogurt with frozen mixed berries and a
drizzle of agave.

Do I need a lunchbox? Clearly. I've been thinking about this one, but I fear it won't be large enough. Any suggestions? My one requirement is that it be stainless steal - plastic tuperware starts to freak me out after you use if for awhile - you can never get it quite clean enough.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inside My Lunchbox Part 2

Or how I finally learned to banish Hungor from my work day and just pack a million snacks.

As anyone who has spent much time with me will tell you I have a tiny stomach that pretty much needs to be constantly refilled. Much like a rabbit, I spend my day grazing and nibbling, having 8-10 small snacks. As such I like to pack a few snacks I can nibble after my ride to work and before my ride home. The sweet potato kugel was the main attraction in this lunch. I warmed it up in the microwave and ate it on a bed of kale. The granola bar (homemade!) I had as a quick snack after I got off my bike. The persimmon I ate out of hand before I headed home.

Speaking of the kugel, it was a very fall appropriate recipe and a great meal to make ahead and portion out for the week. I made this recipe, only I omitted the cheese and doubled the amount of sweet potatoes instead of using squash. I made it in an 8 x 8 square pan and have been chipping away at it all week. Bonus: your house will smell great when you cook the onions and garlic.

I'm so happy I live someplace I can bike to work on November 7th in shorts and a tank top.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"I literally made the most pesto ever," said in my best Chris Traeger voice

Last weekend my mission was to use up all my basil before the fall frost ruined it.

For me fresh basil=pesto. I love pesto...and by love I mean looooovveeee. One of the reasons
that I married my husband is because he had the secret pesto recipe from an unnamed pasta restaurant that he worked at in E'burg (I kid, I kid, but I do have the recipe now).

Things I learned during the pesto process:
Pesto stains everything it touches.
Basil reacts with oxygen somehow(O-chemers any comments?) and turns your skin black.
The old trick about rubbing your hands with a stainless steel spoon to get rid of garlic smell actually works.
Meat tenderizers make for excellent garlic smashers.

The first step to making a giant bowl of pesto is to gather all your ingredients. Aside from basil, I ran out of pretty much everything and had to start making substitutions.

You will need:
lots of basil
lots of garlic cloves
lots of olive oil (ran out of regular EVOO so I used a garlic infus
ed olive oil to make up the difference)
lots of Parmesan cheese
a cup or so of walnuts
2 1/2 cups of sunflower seeds (roasted but unsalted) (the recipe called for pine nuts...which are delish but too rich for my blood)

First, peel the basil leaves from the stems. I totally underestimated how long this would take, so I enlisted my sous chef. I had to promise him a batch of whatever kids of cookies he wanted, but it was worth it.

I put all the leaves into the sink filled with water in order to wash them and pick out the less desirable leaves. Then I drained the water out and patted dry the leaves. At that moment I
realized that a salad spinner may have been a good kitchen tool to have.

Then I just started mixing everything together. The restaurant recipe called for a "bag" of nuts and a "container" of cheese, etc. Since I didn't know what the quantity of said "bag" was, I just started tasting and guessing.

First I tried using the blender. Alas, a magic bullet my blender is not and nothing mixed together except for the EVOO and basil. So into my mini chopper everything went and although it worked, the chopper is so small that it took many batches to finish. After each batch I poured the mixture into a large bowl and then mixed everything together with a spoon again at the end to make sure that the inconsistencies in my proportions were minimized.

Lastly, I put a "dinner party" amount in a plastic bag and then portioned individual pesto disks and froze everything. Now I can just pull out a disk and have pesto all through the winter (30 portions total). WIN! Even though it made the a giant mess, the most dishes ever and my breath smelled like garlic for a week (I was eating spoonfuls of the leftovers) I had tons of fun making this.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stealing Innovation or How I Learned My Oven is an Evil Little Devil Out to Ruin My Bread

I haven't been doing too much food innovating lately,  but I have been trying out a bunch of new recipes, some with more success than others.

A few weeks ago at the Farmer's Market I encountered a cushaw pumpkin for the first time. The woman at the farm stand told me they were similar in taste to pumpkin once cooked, only sweeter. It is traditional in Louisiana to use them in place of pumpkin and sweet potatoes. After purchasing a giant one ($2) I took it home with the intention of making a pie with it. Somewhere along the way I found myself drifting towards bread recipes, and then next thing I knew I was making this Good Housekeeping pumpkin bread recipe, substituting baked and mashed cushaw for the pumpkin.
Couldn't resist a bite before the photo
The bread turned out well and I recommend the recipe, even if you are just using plain old pumpkin. The yogurt was a really nice addition - I think it kept the bread extremely moist.

My next new discovery was a recipe I found browsing around the food section of the New York Times. If you haven't ever given their recipes a look I highly suggest it. In particular the Recipes for Health section is a goldmine of great ideas. The Indian Style Roast Beets were well received by both Erik and me - we left out the cilantro (gross) and pomegranate seeds. I'm very interested in learning to cook Indian food that is a tad more complicated than my standard "indian vegetable curry/dal" fare but I am often intimidated by overly complicated recipes. This dish was totally feasible. Now on to making homemade paneer?

With my attempt at Chatapi - fail :(
Erik's parents were here for a weekend and we ate at some lovely restaurants with them. Dick & Jenny's and Brigsten's were particularly good. When they left Erik's mom gave him directions on how to make a delicious meal and he very successfully prepared an awesome dinner for me.
Notice our fancy paper towel napkins
Next up: Harvest Apple Challah bread from a King Arthur recipe. Now I suspect this would have been good if it weren't for my errors.
Looks good but sadly overcooked 
First I broke one of my own whole wheat baking rules. I was too ambitious with my substituting. Of the 4 cups of flour the recipe called for I used whole wheat flour for 3. My next mistake was really due to my unfortunate oven circumstances. My oven is pretty old and there seems to be no actual relation between what the temperature is set at and what temperature it choses to cook at. I thought I had figured out that it cooks about 50 degrees warmer than the dial is set for, but after ruining this bread I am pretty sure it just does whatever the heck it wants. I am in serious need of an oven thermometer.
Tonight we are carving pumpkins and I am excited to roast the seeds. Next week I will show you all (not quite ready for y'alls yet) how to make your own granola bars with them! Anyone have pumpkin carving ideas? Also, when did "halloween lights" become a thing - was it when I was living in the saddest place in Boston aka Dorchester?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I have moved from Summer Laura to Fall Laura. Summer Laura eats a lot of fruit and veggies from the farmer's market, spends 85% of daylight hours outdoors, and wearing her favorite summer outfit; yoga capri pants (you know you tried to steal them El) and a v-neck T-shirt. In contrast, Fall Laura is currently eating an IKEA chocolate bar (specifically called a Choklad Not, if you wanted to know), goes to work (school) in the morning when it is still dark, and wears some sort of Northface product at least 95% of the time.

Bring on the carbs it is time to hibernate.
Before I crawl into my electric blanket and count the days down to summer vacation, I thought I would share one of my favorite end of the garden recipes, which also can be made with canned goods if the frost has already hit your house. I made this with fresh tomatoes/corn/garlic/onion from the aforementioned farmer's market and peppers from my garden.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
1 T. veggie oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno or something more to your spicyness preference, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups pureed tomatoes, with some chunks left in for good measure
1 cup veggie broth (love the Penzey's)
3 cobs of corn cut from the cob
1 T. cumin
S&P to taste
Tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc. for toppings.

First, chop everything up. I pureed my tomatoes in a blender and chopped in my mini chopper the onion/garlic/bell pepper/jalapeno. Whatever size chop you want is okay, it is a soup not science. Saute the chopped veggies in the veggie oil in a heavy pot. After everything is starting to smell good, add the tomatoes puree and cook down for 5 minutes on medium high. Next, add the veggie broth, corn, cumin and S&P. At this time I added a can of black beans to add some more protein. Let it cook for a while until it is at the consistency that you want it...not watery but not a stew...then top and eat.
Now here is my admission of guilt, the recipe that I use calls for making your own tortillas and then adding them in the pot of soup to cook. I have tried this twice and it is really yummy, but sooooo not worth the effort. Trust me, just buy the $3 bag of chips and stick some in there, if you let them soak in the soup it will taste the same, I promise.

Obviously, this recipe is doable with canned goods as well and turns out really fresh tasting on a chilly winter day.

P.S. Just to let you know I did eat 1/2 of my Choklad Not.
P.P.S. I like the song "Hibernation" by His Orchestra...listening to it right now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inside My Lunchbox Part 1

Oh hello there. Good to see you again. You look good.
Me? Oh I have been enjoying a nice old fashioned sinus cold. Reaaal snotty. Oh yeah. That doesn't mean I don't need to eat lunch.
This post is dedicated to a new reader out there - you know who you are.

Veggie Spring Rolls
Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
Veggies cut into 3-4 cm pieces (bell pepper, cucumber, carrots)
Peanut Sauce (recipe below)

I recommend making this lunch the night before.
The rice paper wrappers are surprisingly easy to work with. You can get these at any asian market, and most supermarkets. You buy them dried and a single package should last you for a long time.
To make the spring rolls boil a pot of water and pour some into a shallow dish or large plate with high sides. Dip an individual rice paper wrapper in the hot water for a few seconds. It will go from being stiff to completely soft and sticky.
Now place this wet wrapper on a plate or cutting board. Add any combination of chopped veggies, tofu, lettuce, noodles, etc - I find a nice piece of basil or mint is delicious.
Love the colors
The thing to remember is to try not to stuff it too full. This is not a burrito. If you are using tofu or noodles stack this next and top it all with a leaf of lettuce. Smear the side of the wrapper with peanut sauce and fold it all up. You can use any technique you like for wrapping them - the rice paper is super sticky and will pretty much keep any spring roll together. Put in a tupperware and place in refrigerator overnight.
Bring to work and impress all of your awesome coworkers with your delicious and healthy lunch.

Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Generous squeeze of sriracha or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon miso

In a small saucepan heat all ingredients over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I’m real sorry.

I’m so so sorry. But you are about to spend the next 24 hours stuffing your face with cookies. They are that good. I’m not sure of the original source of the recipe, but I suspect it may be an Alton Brown creation that I modified.
Just a note about what to expect with these cookies. If you are interested in a crisp cookie, a biscotti like cookie, something that snaps – do not make these. These are so chewy and soft they will bend in your hand as you cram cookie after cookie down your gapping  gullet. The recipe below features raisin, but I expect that one could substitute chocolate chips, dried cherries, nuts, etc.
Note the coincidental heavenly light.
Super Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
3/4 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3 T honey
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T vanilla
1 egg
1 1/3 cup oats
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup raisin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking sheet. Cream butter, sugar, honey, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat in egg. Add oats and raisins and stir until well combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake 10-14 min, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow cookies to cool on pan and then transfer to cooling racks. Stuff dozens of them in your face.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ah fall...

The leaves started to fall this weekend. We had 3 weeks of summer this year and it didn't start until after school began. So my classroom was a billion degrees for the first three weeks of school (AC was broken, of course) and then today it was freezing, I had to wear my Northface, that is how you really know it is fall (obviously as the temperature dips, the AC magically gets fixed).

By the way, if you couldn't tell, Atticus loves the fall.

End of the garden time always means lots and lots of zucchini. Of course, I did not have any because my garden stunk. However, they are very very cheap at the farmer's market so I didn't feel too guilty about buying and not growing. I really wanted to make a quick bread that didn't have too much sugar and I could put some healthy ingredients in for a quick b-fast.

Here is what I came up with...(I made some adaptations to a regular zucchini recipe):

1 egg
1/2 vegetable oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. grated zucchini (2 medium zucchinis)
1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 and 1/2 t. apple pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)
1/2 c. flaked unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. walnuts (I used more because I love walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. In a mixing bowl combine the egg, oil, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and soda, salt, apple pie spice, coconut and walnuts. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until just moistened.
Pour into the pan. Bake for 1 hour (check at 45 minutes with a toothpick). Let cool and eat.
I apologize for not taking a "done" picture, I forgot and then I ate the entire loaf (not in one sitting). But trust me, it was golden and delicious.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scales, Ales, and Sneaky Pesto

Last Friday Erik and I attended a fundraiser at the Audubon Aquarium. Yes, now that we live in New Orleans we are the type that attends fundraisers. Next thing you know we will be lunching and summering and verbing all sorts of other nouns.
Scales and Ales attracted us because one: all you can eat and drink, and two: the opportunity to see penguins. Also it raised money for sea turtles and marine mammals, which seems like a good thing.
It was very dark and crowed at the event, so I don't have a lot of great pictures. But we ate donuts (from blue dot!), gorgonzola cheesecake, beignets, tomato crostini, kettle corn, cupcakes, hot dogs (Erik), and had many glasses of wine and beer.
I pet a snake, but we didn't get a shot of that. Me petting a giant fake clam will have to stand in.
Please excuse my Michelle Bachmann eyes.
A childhood dream come true for me.

This fellow was an all white alligator.
The sponsors of the Gulf of Mexico tank...
On to the sneaky pesto!
We had pizza night last week and of course I used my never-fail quick pizza crust recipe. But the sauce, oh the sauce is where the innovation came in. 
Just about my favorite color.
Broccoli Pesto 
Inspired by a recipe from an old copy of Sunset Magazine

2 cups frozen broccoli florets 
1/3 cup walnuts
1 big handful of fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 t. salt

Turn oven on to 400 degrees. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 4 minutes. Watch these carefully! Meanwhile defrost the broccoli and drain excess water. In a food processor (or magic bullet) pulse to combine broccoli, nuts, basil, garlic, and oil until relatively smooth. Add cheese and salt and blend until well mixed. There, you have sneaky broccoli pesto!

This stuff was addictive. I might make a double batch next time and have it over pasto or quinoa. We topped our pesto pizza with mushrooms, olives, and fresh mozzarella and baked it at 450 for 12 minutes.  Delicious! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Donuts and Meat Sticks

Since moving to New Orleans Erik and I have developed a Saturday morning tradition of heading to the Crescent City Farmer's Market. Last week we decided to make a small detour before stocking up on the healthy treats like okra, peppers, and tomatoes.

I'm not sure where we first read about Blue Dot Donuts, but both of us became a bit obsessed with the idea of trying them. I'm not even that huge of a donut fan - I usually prefer a croissant or pastry - but the reviews and promise of 50 donut varieties convinced me that we NEEDED Blue Dot Donuts.

So on Saturday we stopped by to stuff our faces with sugary friend dough before going to buy local vegetables. Blue Dot Donuts is pretty cute on the outside, with a nice welcoming sign. (The Name Blue Dot comes from the fact that it is owned by 3 NOLA cops).

The menu is so extensive we had a hard time choosing which ones to try. I wanted a red velvet donut but sadly they were sold out. We settled on 5 to try. (Yes, we ate 5 donuts between 2 people in a single sitting, WHAT OF IT?)
I had the Dulce de Leche and the chocolate glazed with coconut. The donuts themselves were quite good. You could tell they were freshly baked, light, very fluffy. The toppings didn't do it for me however. They were both too sweet (I know, it's a freaking donut), and tasted too much like canned frosting. I was disappointed with myself for not going with my instincts and trying the basic glazed. Next time!

Erik loved his maple glazed with bacon. I think he ate it in 3 bites. I don't even remember him eating the blueberry cake but it got gobbled up at some point - probably when I was sneaking some bites of the peanut butter and jelly.

They also sell donut ice cream sandwiches (why have I not thought of this?!?) which I for sure want to try next time.

Post donuts and market we stopped by the New Orleans Seafood Festival so Erik could get some meat on a stick. I think it was some type of shrimp? I will leave you with the following pictorial representation of how that went.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The garden miracle...

Look at all the amazing produce that my garden presented me! Yet not. As my students say,"Oh Mrs. Longoria, quit clowning me."
I have to admit that only about 1/3 of the tomatoes are mine and pretty much nothing else came from my garden. The rest is from the lovely little German grandmother who lives next door to us. What did I do wrong? Which gardening god did I tick off? What can I do to appease the universe's karma?
It is finally hot enough for tomatoes to start taking off, but wait, it is Sept. which means in 2 weeks the frost date will arrive andgrowing season will be over.
I digress...
In good news, my back to school whoopie pies are delicious. I made a bunch, wrapped them individually and keep them in my freezer to put in my lunch each day (and, of course, I shared with other fellow teachers). I used an official whoopie pie pan, which looks sort of like a shallow muffin pan. However, I have been told by many people that you can scoop out the batter like cookie dough and drop it on a sheet pan for a more free-form pie. The middle (or the whoop of the pie as Daniel likes to call it) is good 'ole fashion marshmallow fluff straight from Beantown.
Here is what I used for my "back to school red velvet whoopie pies":
3 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. crisco
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. regular sugar
3 t. vanilla extract
10 drops red food coloring (more or less if you prefer)
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease whatever sort of cookie sheet or pan you are using.
Mix together: flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat together in a separate bowl: butter, crisco and both types of sugar. Mix on low until just combined then increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy (4-5 minutes). Next, add one egg at a time while beating the batter. Add food coloring and vanilla. Next, add half of the flour mix and 1/2 c. buttermilk to the batter, after it has incorporated into the batter, and the rest of the flour mix and buttermilk.
Use a cookie scoop and put about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup of the whoopie pie pan (or see above if you do not have this pan). Bake for 10 minutes. Here is my warning as I over baked about 1/4 of my pies :( Check at 8 minutes and do a toothpick test. As oven is on longer, the latter batches will cook faster. Burnt whoopies=a sad baker.
Fill with marshmallow fluff, jam, or cream cheese.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain, wind, and chard...oh my!

I survived my first tropical storm this weekend. In all honestly it was pretty much a bust. Heavy rain and wind but not much else. The glorious consequence of Tropical Storm Lee is the lovely weather it left in its wake. Today's high was 80 degrees. 80 degrees. Without a doubt the best day I have experienced in New Orleans. I even went for a run in the afternoon. It felt like a nice spring day back in Boston.

My "garden" didn't much like the torrential downpours and lack of sun, but I think everything will survive. Last week I even had my first mini harvest. I planted the chard seeds too closely so I pulled some out in order to thin them a little.
Like I said, the harvest was very mini
As soon as I pulled them out my mind filled with ideas about what to do with my bounty. Make an amuse-bouche salad? Use them to garnish my tacos? Feed the world's smallest rabbit? Friends, when you have half an ounce of baby chard on hand the possibilities are endless. I elected to stay true to my roots (heh) and use them for a green smoothie!
Baby chard, beets, frozen bananas, frozen cherries, yogurt 
I have been exploring our new neighborhood and last week I tried out the local bakery. La Boulangerie is really cute from the outside and I was wowed by the delicious smells emanating from the interior. However the rest of the visit was a disappointment. My experience with the the staff seems typical of the complaints on yelp. Rude people who ignored me for 5 minutes so they could yak to one another (I was the only person in the store at the time.) I picked out an olive loaf and an almond croissant (my favorite pastry treat.) Sometimes you get olive bread and there are 3 tiny pieces in the whole loaf so I was pleased to see several whole large olives throughout the loaf.
Overall the loaf was just ok. A little too rustic for my tastes but not terrible. It made me miss being in Milwaukee and the lovely soft chewy olive bread at Breadsmith's.

The almond croissant was another story. I was MAD I wasted a pastry eating session on that abomination. It was like they took a regular croissant and dunked it it simple syrup. Then they threw a bunch of almonds and powdered sugar on top. Grr.
This will haunt me
But enough with the whining! I will leave you all with a simple recipe (an idea really) that I have been gobbling up lately.

Sweet Potato, Kale, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Burritos

1. Cook a sweet potato (oven or microwave, boy's choice)
2. Steam some kale in veggie broth for 5 - 7 minutes (I used miso paste instead of broth)
3. Rinse and drain a can of black beans.
4. Mash up the black beans and sweet potato. This will warm the beans at the same time.
5. Add bean/sweet potato mixture to tortillas and top with drained kale and goat cheese.
6. Nom nom nom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Lessons

Ah summer, it slips away so fast...and yet I am not sure what I did exactly. Unlike Leanne, I didn't travel to Europe and eat Spanish hams (in my dreams), but you can see from Elle's post that we had some good eating adventures in WA across to MT.
In a week when we start school again, students will exchange family vacation horror stories, video game high scores, summer job complaints, and of course, all the
summer romances. In the spirit of this ritual, I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned in the last three months.

1. Modern rules...Mikes drools.
We had a cannoli eat off in the Boston North End on our northeast adventure. We went for the two acclaimed heavyweights: Modern Bakery and Mike's Pastry. Modern won by many points...but don't take my word for it (shout out to LeVar Burton) create your own categories (we chose: presentation, filling, shell, and general taste) and recruit a man who will keep tally for you. We purchased Daniel a black and white cookie, a la' Seinfeld, to keep him happy.

2. Fluff is hard to transport.
We were DETERMINED to bring back fluff from the Northeast, as the Whoopie Pie is the state dessert of Maine. After much searching, Daniel's mom and I found a grocery store stocked with the stuff. We purchases two huge (plastic) containers. One was packed in a suitcase, and one in a carry on. We should have figured that the FAA would confiscate the one in the carry on, which they did. I figured that they went back to the break room and ate fluffernutters for dinner. The one in the suitcase exploded into a giant sticky marshmallow mess. We were very sad. However, the next week Ellen came to WA and packed a jar of fluff for me, it exploded...BUT Ellen remebered to put it in a plastic bag and around 90% was salvaged. Long story short, order fluff from amazon, it is a lot easier.
3. No Heat=No Tomatoes
My garden is horrible this year. It has been a very cool summer, which I appreciate in terms of my air conditioning bill, but so far...I spy a bowl full of tomatoes and no peppers or cantaloupe to speak of. My cukes are a foot high, but there is no way that they are going produce enough to can pickles. Boo.

4. Don't accidentally swallow a plum pit at the farmers market.
'Nuff said.

5. My favorite summer recipe:
D&M Clausen (Iced)
2 shots espresso (we use D&M Hi-Octane)
1-ish cup of H2O
2-ish shots of fat free Half and Half
2 Tablespoons of Carmel syrup (found next to the Hersey's chocolate syrup)
Stir together. Fill the rest of your glass with ice. Drink and feel happy to be drinking such a Delicious nectar. Needless to say that old Zorro has been busy this summer.

As we are heading off into fall, does anyone have any fun and new ideas for my school lunch? I am very very very bored of eating greek yogurt every day.