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Friday, April 30, 2010

Radish Sweet Onion & Cheese Tart

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when i made the fruit tarts, making use of the pâte sucrée recipe, in the winter i fretted over the pastry dough. it was no different this week when i tried to make pâte brisée. in fact, again, it shrank like a fearful penis in freezing cold water. the mini version came out a little better. i need to invest in pie weights.

my submission for Beets/Squash.



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i was inspired by Catalan blogger La Cuina Vermella's Cheese Tartlets with Radish Petals. (let's not compare pix, mmkay? thx.) despite nuria's translation, the recipe was still rather vague. i referred to the cookbook her mom gave me and that helped a little, and then i improvised with the cheese. i used just plain cream cheese and mixed in some thyme.

the first pie crust, like i said, shrank. thankfully, i had a frozen pie crust handy to make use of the cheese, radish and onions i had sauteed in some butter until really caramelized. Nuria liked it, she had two slices. i liked it better the next day, cold.

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radishes aren't something i've ever consumed, at least not these. they're rather blande and hard, texture-wise almost like water chestnuts which i hate. the cream cheese saved the day, on a day that required much saving in the kitchen.

The simple steps that are so easy to eff up are:
pre-baked pâte brisée or frozen pie crust
layer of softened herbed cream cheese
layer of caramelized onions
last layer of thinly sliced radishes, make it pretty to mask how awful the crust is.

bake in 350F oven for about 15 minutes if it's the pâte brisée or until frozen pie crust is done, about 20-25 minutes.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orzo & Mushroom Salad ... and more

As inspired by antimeria's posts on introversion and being alone.

i spent my saturday, under a dreary sky, in georgetown with my cousins. we ate, gossiped, shopped and after a few hours, ended up wandering aimlessly in a bookstore. before long i was left to my own devices; tired and with their own plans they moseyed on their way out. i didn't mind. while i enjoyed my time with them, i was glad for a respite. anyone who knows me, and they know me best, knows that i like being alone, being quiet, not having to speak, or entertain or ... be present. i always used to say i was anti-social, my friends tease me sometimes about it but upon reflection, i thinks it's something else. i think it's shyness, at least somtimes, and it can be crippling. i am incapable of small talk. when asked what i've been up to, i usually flounder, shrug and then do the obligatory reverse and ask what they've been up to. sometimes, nay, most of the time i don't care what the answer is... just as long as *i* don't have to answer.

as a child in social settings i could usually be found in the corner, hiding behind a book, or in the shadows observing people. now, i get to pick & choose my socializing, tho even then, i tend to do the barest of minimum, usually the first to arrive at an event and once people start coming, i'm the first to leave. it takes me years to become friends with someone. my social circle consists of people i met years ago but took me many outtings with them to open up. and it may be a shock to them that I consider myself introverted and shy, because with them i'm not; i usually have a lot to say and blessedly, i have a steady and wide network of friends, but they forget the early days of our friendship... when i would move in & out of their way, to find a corner to just sit alone.

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on sunday i spent a lovely afternoon with some friends at their house, bbqing, playing with their precious son; talking about Glee over herbed lemon chicken. kim made a gorgeous orzo salad, so full of flavor, packed with mushrooms and cabbage. these friends, i've known for almost 10 years and even with them, i took moments away to snap pictures, to be silent and just be.

i just finished watching the movie Once, it is mindblowing, poetic and fierce, soft and stark. and really inspiring.

So,
If you want something
And you call, call
Then I'll come running
To fight
And I'll be at your door
When there's nothing worth running for

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday in Georgetown

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a day in georgetown with cousins, in the rain.
a day full of shopping, laughing, and judging people watching.
a day well spent.
a day worth repeating.

listening to Sugarland, April Showers

Friday, April 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Swirled Banana Bread

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for a recent new hire meet/greet i offered to bring in baked goods to welcome the addition. i brought in my pantry-emptying granola and i made 2 loaves of Peanut Butter Swirled Banana Bread. the recipe is adapted from Recipe Girl, except she used Nutella Chocolate spread. her version makes for a more dramatic look, the dark chocolate swirl mixed in with the lighter banana batter.

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Peanut Butter Swirled Banana Bread
adapted from Recipe Girl

(keep in mind, i made two loaves. the following recipe is for 1 loaf)
2 cups AP flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup smooth, creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350degrees F. Grease loaf pan.

in a bowl, combine dry ingredients.

in a another bowl, beat sugar and butter until blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Throw in smashed banana, cream and vanilla; beat until blended. lastly, add in the dry ingredients.

heat up the peanut butter in the microwave, till soft. i did it for about 20 seconds. mix the softened peanut butter with about a cup of the batter and stir till blended. pour in the batter and peanut butter alternatively in the pan. swirl the batters together with a knife.

bake for about an hour, i checked around 45 minutes to make sure it wasn't too done. cool in pan for about 30 minutes and then take out, allowing to cool completely on wire rack.

verdict: the bread was moist, not too peanut butter-y or banana-y. i served it as a breakfast treat but it's lovely as a 3pm snack with a cup of tea.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BBQ Pork Loin

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i made this a few weeks ago: thit xa xiu. i'm used to seeing it tinted magenta-red, diced up in wonton soup or sliced thinly for banh mi thit. i sliced it rather thick and just nibbled on it for a few days, hot or cold... with rice and on its own. the only modification was i threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat. i used wandering chopstick's recipe.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Road Trip Weekend

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it was one of those weekends, where two people with different agendas went away together, on a roadtrip. one wanted to get away, to run away and the other was running towards an adolescent dream, an idol.

it was just one of those weekends.

the swell season, maybe i was born to hold you in these arms

i first heard this song on my projectplaylist and then again recently on the show parenthood. have you heard of this group, or seen this show? do yourself a favor, become acquainted with both.




Friday, April 16, 2010

Homemade Balsamic Vinegar Pasta

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recently i inherited a pasta maker from a food group i'm a part of in baltimore. it's not your typical maker that attaches to your kitchen aid mixer. it actually mixes the dough for you. so the night i brought it home i made pasta but i was so ... unsure about the whole putting flour in and having this machine mix it for me that i made the pasta on my own. the maker is still in its box. i'm working myself up to taking it out... eventually.

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inspired by kitchen-22's homemade pasta, i used her method but the kitchenette's balsamic pasta recipe, with very minor changes. the only liquid used was the balsamic vinegar, exclusively. i think i may ended up with about 12 Tbl of it. i wanted a deep red color, what Chef Simon ended up with during his Iron Chef battle. imma have to hunt down a better balsamic vinegar brand.

verdict: well. i boiled the noodles in salted water and just tossed it in some olive oil & garlic & chopped onions. very simple. i couldn't taste the vinegar but nuria could. i'll give it a try again, make ravioli or something.

currently listening to: Sugarland, Fall into me

have you ever heard Jennifer Nettles' voice? she is amazing. i mean, you feel what she's crooning, whether it's excitement, happiness, or sadness.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lemon Herbed Potatoes

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i'm going on a week long cruise next month with jason. i am excited about being on vacation for longer than a long weekend. the last real vacation i had was over 2 years ago when i trekked it to china and then hopped over to japan to meet bio-mom. so i'm apprehensive about the motion sickness but also this trip is prompting me to trim down. as a result, i've been like a rabbit lately, nibbling on fruits and veggies. it helps that i haven't been too inclined with elaborate cooking.

this potato dish was first spotted over at anthimeria, except hers is even simpler and served with sour cream. i'm a lactard, no sour cream for me. last week i watched an episode of Giada at Home and she made Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon. i put the two recipes together to suit my needs.

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Lemon Herbed Potatoes

potatoes, smallish, fingerling, whatever
olive oil
lemon
rosemary and thyme, chopped
1 glove of garlic minced
juice of 1 lemon
salt/pepper to taste

boil potatoes until relatively soft. drain and allow to dry somewhat. smash them and lay out, single layer, on cookie sheet. to make dressing, add last 6 ingredients together. drizzle dressing over the potatoes and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden and done to your preference.

i served this alongside a salad.

just finished reading: Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger

Valentina said, "Goodbye... Kitten..." I love you. I'm sorry... She began to cry. Robert and Julia looked at each other, uncertain, each trying to allow the other to comfort her. Julia made a gesture with her hands: Go for it. Robert stepped towards Valentina, gathered her to him; she was sobbing now. Julia turned away. She walked to the house and up the fire escape. As she opened the door she looked down and saw Valentina clinging to Robert. Robert was watching Julia. He looks uncomfortable. Like somebody gave him a present he didn't want but has to pretend he likes. Julia went into the flat and left them to it. pg. 297

Monday, April 12, 2010

Messy Rice with Edamame

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i'm not a vegetarian, i just play one sometimes. i think i like the concept of it but having the privilege of eating meat taken away from me, i'm a hardcore carnivore. having said that, i would say that about 80% of my diet consists of veggies and rice. and this dish, well. it's a typical one for me now. thanks to @bakertiffany for sharing the recipe. my version has edamame pods in it. in another version, i added diced shiitake mushrooms. and yet in another version, i threw in diced red peppers and tomatoes.

and based on the contents of my fridge right now, the next version just might be stuffed in red peppers.

currently obssessed: Eddie Vedder, Rise

Season premiere of Deadliest Catch starts Tuesday. i'm excited.



Friday, April 9, 2010

kinda like spring break

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it's been a hot spring week. a week full of self-bought flowers, eating lunch outside... homemade pasta. it's also been a week where i ignored my camera, with the exception of the pix required for my project365. the last picture was actually taken with my phone.

it was just nice to take a break.

"It's hardest to love the ordinary things, she said, but you get lots of opportunities to practice." ~ The StoryPeople

have a loverly weekend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Baked Corn on a Cob

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today's post is a non-recipe, so simple, so flippin easy it doesn't really warrant a post. however, it's my blog and i can do whatever i want. but i will do something slightly different, i will include a story. i haven't done that in awhile.

when i was a kid i didn't fully understand the concept of the world being round. i mean, i heard the saying the world isn't flat and all that and i repeated it like i got it but the concept was foreign to me. what's that got to do with corn? keep up. one time i was knawing on a massive corn on a cob, i mean i was a little kid with a big kid's appetite. grandpa would steam up the corn and slather on the butter and let me go to town. so, i'm minding my own business at the table, going row by row methodically. and in my little kid head i was telling myself that i would get to the "other side" once i finished "this side." imagine my dismay and utter desolation to realize THERE WAS NO OTHER SIDE.

and that is how i learned, the hard way, that the world is not flat.

Baked Corn

corn (duh)
Blue Ridge Blend Saera's Seasoning Salt
butter

preheat oven to 350F.
think of the corn like it's a potato. grab some foil, slather the corn with some butter and season with the salt. wrap with foil.
bake for about 20-30 minutes.

be careful when unwrapping. knaw. and remember THERE IS NO OTHER SIDE.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Crunchy Celery Salad

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this recipe is along the same thread as the Hot & Sour Cucumber Salad by Kylie Whong. except celery was used.

this dish is so easy, so crisp, it's the perfect snack or side to a hearty entree. best to consume day of preparation. the last time i made this i threw in some button mushrooms and chopped up some romaine lettuce. the main star is of course the celery. whodathunk that something as mundane as celery would have such star power in a dish?