Friday, July 27, 2007

Panning for Gold

Here are some pictures of the visit to Nevada City, as promised.
This one of the muffins that Rebecca, Dylan and I awoke to find awaiting us at Nora's, along with pots upon pots of coffee. They take their morning cup seriously there, as all should. Nora can give the recipe. Dylan was a pretty big fan.

Over to the right here we have Dylan and Em at the festival (of stories). Dylan, sipping his frozen cappucino, knew I was wielding the camera. Emily did not, and yet somehow managed to make the exact same face, at the same moment, also holding eating implement to mouth. Odd, that.

Here we have the land that molded our fireheaded friend into the marvel that we know and love, the very dirt that she regularly found upon her face, the grass that regularly gives her rashes. We (Nora, Emily, Rebecca, Dylan, I) slept upon it (well, the happy couple had a sort of pre-nuptial air mattress, thus avoiding the plethora of little bugs), and then the less lucky threesome got up and went to the Brier (Higher) Patch for brunch fixings in the morning. We ate with Chris on the back porch, overlooking loveliness.

Speaking of which, I really like this picture of Rebecca. She's not making the tense-neck face, which is nice.

And this picture of Em, taken on the threshold at the departure, after a morning of lying on the lawn, looking like (as Rob aptly pointed out) some ad for std's or safe sex. Those shouldn't be the same. He said it better. Ah well.

Hot. Sauce. And summer squash.

Apparently reluctant to share his burrito with the alls of us, Dylan shove it where--well, this is a family blog. And since I know how he loves zucchini (kind of how Emily W and Jon love parsley) I have a recipe for the three of ys. Well, maybe not so much a recipe as a serving suggestion, but with PICTURES. Housitting is so helpful. Other people have all sorts of useful things, like kitchens and connector cords for cameras and fresh ravioli left behind in the fridge. And with these modern wonders, I bring you "Summer squash and corn ravioli with zucchini, corn, basil pesto and a garnish of grilled onions," otherwise known as lunch.

This secret family recipe that I am about to share with you will surely convince you of my prowess in the kitchen. I caution you to use such culinary skills carefully:
You need: pesto. Make it. Easiest thing in the world, particularly if you have a Cuisinart. Its rather common to have an almost full bunch of basil rotting away, so instead rough chop it, toss it in the food processor with some garlic (a clove or two) that you've roughed up, some pine nuts if you have them, or really any other nut you have around (dry toasted in a pan for a few minutes), a bit of olive oil and some lemon (with a bit of zest is best), and salt and pepper, bien sur. Pulse, then add a bit more olive oil until you have a thick paste. Put in a container, and keep in the fridge for a few days or freeze for basiless, low energy nights in the future.*
Premade ravioli (or you can made it--more to come there, right?)
some veggies--strays, whatever is around, or veggies that you've bought to compliment pasta filling.
bit of garnish, strays again will do--a few slivers of Parmesan, the last few leaves of your dying herbaceous plants, etc.

Take fresh ravioli of any flavor (in this case The Pasta Shop's summer squash with corn). Find duplicate or complimentary incrediants (but dulplicate are the easiest since they will undoubtedly go). I took a zucchini and made thin ribbons of it using a veggie peeler. Then I cut two longways cuts of sweet, fresh corn. Boil water with plenty of salt (don't be stingy). When boiling, toss in a few rav's (I did 5--it was plenty) and continue to boil gently. A minute or so in, toss in veggies. Boil as per package, usually 5-7 minutes. Drain, then return to pot off heat. Toss in pesto to taste, stir around, then put ravioli on a warmed plate (I usually take a bit of the pasta water as I am draining and toss it on there to warm), mounding veggies on top. Garnish with grilled onions if you happen to have them around, a bit of parm, or whatever little green guys strike your fancy.

*As you all know, you can add almost anything else that you have around to pesto. Mine happened to have a few stray sprouted garbanzos that I had around, and a smidge of parsley. I've put in anchovies (lessening the salt), made pesto of completely different herbs (cilantro, all parsley), added walnuts or hazelnuts, or take the same process to make tapenade. A really good tapenade can be whipped up of hazelnuts (if you have hazelnut oil, all the better rather than olive) and green olives.

El Burrito De La Madre Del Dios

I developed this recipe at my father's house when I was around 14 or so. It's hard to say what inspired it exactly. What I do know is that I somehow acted as the executor of God's culinary will on earth. It has undergone various alterations through the years, but the fundamentals remain the same. Where brand names are specified, no substitutions will suffice, and I will not be held responsible for deviations from the recipe. I've been working on this baby for over ten years, and I'm not going to let some snot-nosed sophisticates come in here and start tinkering with the ingredients. Oh you want to add a little sprig of cilantro on top? Or maybe you'd like to substitute some organic Peruvian mango salsa for the Pace original huh??!! You know what? Forget it. I'm not going to post this recipe after all. Fuck you guys.

Pictures people, PICTURES. I refuse to use a term such as "food p-rn," so, like the Jews to He who may be named but not fully spelled, I will leave out the "o," but oh, you should please include imagery.

IMPORTANT: I believe the deal with previously published recipes (although don't we "adapt" all of them--yes, yes we do) you can put the measurements but you have to write your own instructions. Kind of like research papers, really, though you didn't hear it from me (Josh, Dylan, avert your eyes). So please do "adapt" as we our living in litigious days.

Also note E. Harnden and I did a little revamp, and I added some links to other cites in case you are at a loss. "Hogwash" is Josh Howe's sister's blog for those who don't know, and many of us have eaten well from it (sweet potatoes, crazy brownies, all sorts of wonder). Please peruse.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cowboys and....cookies?

So, I must admit I got this recipe off of the "internet" from this website called "". If you haven't been there, you guys should check it out. Its pretty fantastic if you're into this whole cooking thing. (I hope you can detect the sarcasm, or else I just look like a jackass. anyway).

Cookies are my MO, and chocolate chip in particular. These are called Colorado Cowboy Cookies; I assume because they are supposed to be of colossal size. But, when I made them, they flattened out to about 1 cm thick and about 5 inches wide-I think they're supposed to be closer to 1/2 in. They were still delicious, as both I and Lisa can attest as we sit here painfully satiated. Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions on how to keep them thicker as they bake, please come forth with ideas. I also think these would be delicious with coconut...

This recipe makes about 20 ENORMOUS cookies:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips--I think dark chocolate chucks of good baking chocolate would be even better
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover dough and chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before continuing.)

Arrange 2 racks in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Form dough into balls, using 1/4 cup dough for each. Place on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten with hand to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and firm in center, about 4 minutes longer. Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tents and Repentences

Here I sat, enthused in ways I usually would not admit to about posting my (some somewhat retroactively taken) picture of this weekend. In my belated style, I missed the best photo ops of both companions and cuisine, but got some clutch shots near the end there of Emily (sad face at our leaving), Rebecca (beautifully pensive), and the chard (rainbow, lush, lovely) that we picked in Embo's garden right before we hit the road. Then I arrived home and, after searching high and low, can find no trace of the cord that connects camera to computer. I fear that I might have put it in "deep storage" (the drawers on the side of the bed aligned with the wall) where I have relegated all the things that might be important and sentimental but have no place in everyday life. My version of "spring cleaning." This, my friends, may be problematic. However, never one to quit so easily (at least not when there are more pressing things that I should probably actually be doing on the horizon) I will search further, and reserve the goodies of the weekend (including but not limited to naked men, good beer, wholesome fun and Charlene Mounce's hand-ground brew) for a time when I can show and tell. Natalie gets points for first real posting, and I hope all the rest of you feel the need to "plus two" (or four, or six, depending on what you some up with) on the ever-running tally by following in kind. Till then...

Another souper-delish recipe for your arsenal...

i made this the other night. it was really easy and tasty. i think that we should open a soup shop....

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can)
5 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley. EAT!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sitting here sipping on freeze dried miso and wishing I had dealt with my mini fridge long ago (I'll spare everyone the details) I thought no time like the present to begin compiling all of our recipes, and the accompanying tales. Go forth.