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Monday, January 31, 2011

Beer Bread

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i had to bake a sure thing. this is what i baked: beer bread. specifically, Leffe Beer Bread. the bottle was only 11.2oz and the recipe calls for 12oz. i added water for the difference.

it was lumpy.
it smelled boozy.
it baked beautifully.
it tasted heavenly.

recipe courtesy of amy of poor girl gourmet. what? you haven't gotten the cookbook yet? pity you.

currently jamming to this song, that i am so embarrassed to admit to. this song makes me {quiver}. after discussing with SK, we've come to the conclusion it's because of the guitar work and the vibe reminds me of ray lamontagne. that makes me feel better.

Friday, January 28, 2011

snow stuff

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i am not a fan of snow. i realize i am doing that whole year of living positively thing but damn. this snow stuff? not cool.

well played God. well played.

recently read: Looking For Alaska by John Green
imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. you spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. you just use the future to escape the present.

happy weekend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sticky Chicken Thighs

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i'm a leg girl. always have been. i like my drumsticks, i like dark meat. why have chicken boobies when you can have thighs? yes, i do judge if you only consume the boobies. i am just saying. so i bought a container of chicken thighs, 4lbs to be exact, and i had aspirations to make some badass chicken soup but decided to crock pot it up. i've used this particular recipe twice for pork neck with smashing success. obviously it works well for chicken too. i set this up saturday night while i was out whoring it up hanging out with some broads and when i strolled in at 1am, the abode was all sorts of asian home-y.

Sticky Chicken Thighs
(yes, i totally guffawed when i typed that out)
modified from donna hay magazine, c/o serious eats

chicken thighs, in my case 4lbs of it
knob of ginger, in my case galangal
4 garlic cloves,
2 long green chilis, halved
4 star anise
1/2 cup brown sugar (90grams)
1 cup (chinese cooking wine), OR in my case, 1/2 cup of white wine, it may have been left over riesling and 1/2 cup rice vinegar (HEY! you have to make do sometimes!)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tsp chinese 5 spice

mix everything together and pour on chicken thighs. add to crock pot, put on low, go out dancing with girlfriends for a few hours and come home to some tasty middle of the night treats.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Brioche ~ Don't Call It Comeback

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if you recall, last week's bread baking fiasco caused me to take a breather from bread baking. just to be clear, this was supposed to be a BREAK, not a break up. (did you hear that Rachel Green??) this "break" may have just lasted a week, but it was a serious time of Reflection, with hopes of Redemption. this weekend, i chose to make nice by baking brioche.

i jammed to dance music, you know, to pump myself up. and you better believe i had me some Ms. Britney Spears in the mix... she is the queen of comebacks. little girl was a teen princess, cheated on a boybander who cried a river over her, married a back up dancer and STILL managed to make a comeback, complete with a Glee episode of her own. if she could do it with mediocre songs, why couldn't i with flour?

cus i'm not Britney Bitch.

sigh.

it wasn't a complete Failure, but bread baking and i? we're not going steady.

Chocolate Brioche Recipe

i just added a few chocolate chips in the dough balls. it didn't rise as much as i wanted it to, i baked the bitches at 15 minutes and they were uber brown already. the taste was good, yes, but oh. i'm all about the presentation too.

imma go back to sulking now.

well played bread baking. well.played.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grey Minimal Scarf

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as inspired by this pattern, i say inspired because the only things the same are the chain row & the color grey. i did three single crochet stitches for the corners, every two rows i single crocheted in both stitches, while the other rows were in the front loops only. if you don't understand crochet-speak, this paragraph means nothing to you.

this took me about a week to create, while i caught up on my shitty tv programs (except for Parenthood, which is Beast) and went out in a package.

happy weekend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chocolate Challah Ball

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are you ready for another failure? prepare thyself. this is my SECOND attempt at making this stuffed challah ball, only this time filled with chocolate. i tried the 4 braid look, i used whole wheat flour, and i used chocolate ganache (massive mistake, btw).

oh my heart is kinda wounded over this. it was dry. it was grainy. i suppose it tastes alright, if you're big on dry and grainy.

i used the bread bible's challah recipe, pg 516.

i may break up with the braided ball method. hell, i may break up with baking bread for awhile. a heart needs mending. excuse me while i go sulk.

Monday, January 17, 2011

blue valentine

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you'll be proud of me, i spent an entire sunday taking pictures of anything and everything BUT food. instead, i walked around fells point with cousins: brunching, thrifting, pastry-ing, laughing and most importantly, just being. doesn't that just sound so beautiful? it was even better living it.

and to end such a gorgeous day, i spent an evening with girlfriends watching a soul searing movie and catching up over tapas.

am i a lucky girl, or what?

You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn’t hurt at all. You always stain the sweetest rose and crush it until the petals fall. You always break the kindest heart with a hasty word you can’t recall. So if I broke your heart last night, it’s because I love ya’ most of all. ~Blue Valentine

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shrimp Pad Thai

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there are certain asian foods that i believe shouldn't be recreated at home unless you're Mom (not A mom, but you know... your mom) or you're a professional. foods like dim sum chicken feet, bun bo hue, or pad thai. i don't care how many people say those dishes are easy to recreate, it's still not the same, or better.

let me go ahead and be honest with you. i wasn't all that happy with this pad thai. there is no way i could compete with my memories of street Pad Thai in bangkok. and i really had no inclination to try. but my friend Angel in spain really likes this dish and has requested it repeatedly. so i set out to learn how to make it and this is the very, very extremely poverty stricken version of Shrimp Pad Thai.

more confessions:
please refer back to SheSimmers on how to prep tamarind pulp. i used Chez Pim's Pad Thai for Beginners as a guideline. despite prepping in advance, i still forgot a few things, like the peanuts, lime and cilantro garnish. i was not fast, and damnit, i was stingy with the oil; i'm not starting off this new year sipping veggie oil in my food. as a result, there was some crazy ass burning and smoke in the abode. that was alarming. the shrimp? burnt on one side. you don't see that in the pix. but this was my first attempt.

yes. i will do this again, without much expectation that it'll be as good as bangkok's street vendors. and that's ok. mediocrity is underrated.

just kidding.

currently hearting the hell out of Alpha Rev, New Morning. (thx rwj)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sunny Spread

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when i first saw this pattern on ravelry, it was love at first sight. i am not a fan of granny squares and having to sew the pieces is just annoying. but this blanket? it's so pretty. initially i was going to just go 6X6 but went the full 8X8. this project took me 8 months. Nuria did the sewing for me and i gifted it to her mom when we were in barçelona. this is a Life List bulletpoint too, an adult sized blanket. done.

materials:
2.5 1lb skeins of Lion Brand yarn in Antique White, Super soft 4ply knitting worsted weight
J hook

recently read: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

"Kiss a lover, dance a measure, find your name and buried treasure. Face your life, it's pain, it's pleasure, leave no path untaken."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Samlaw Machou Kroeung ~ Spicy Beef & Aubergine Soup

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imma confess something to you: i'm a terrible asian cook. what i mean by that is that i don't mess around with most asian ingredients like galangal, whatever animal blood, the various million varieties of curry pastes, fermented random stuff etc. yeah i enjoy me some asian foods but my pantry is well stocked with western ingredients. i stand in Hmart's condiment aisle and i have mini anxiety attacks. don't judge me.

and so i have made a goal this year to try my hand at a few asian techniques and ingredients. you guys get to watch me make an ass of myself. aren't you lucky?

first up, tamarind paste. i'm familiar with the taste but i never ever ever touched the stuff. until this weekend. refer to leela's method of preparing tamarind pulp.

this particular khmer soup has a spicy sour taste to it that is so pleasant. i have a huge pot of it on my stove & this is what i'll be tucking into for the week. nuria doesn't like leftovers. more for me.

Samlaw Machou Kroeung ~ Spicy Beef & Aubergine Soup
adapted from the complete vietnamese cookbook by Ghillie Basan
the cookbook does list measurements but i didn't really follow it, and as it turns out, i didn't follow the ingredient list very well either.

veggie oil
5 TBL kroeung, or in my case, Kaeng Kua Curry paste (it started with a K & well, i was overwhelmed!)
thai chillies
5 TBL tamarind extract
1-2 TBL fish sauce
2 TBL palm sugar
12 thai aubergines/eggplants, halved
1 bunch of watercress, trimmed & chopped
1 handful fresh curry leaves
salt/pepper to taste

Stock:
1 kg beef shank or brisket (i used brisket)
2 large onions, quartered
2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
3.5 oz fresh gingger root, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 tsp peppercorns
2 TBL soy sauce
3-4 TBL fish sauce
3 Litres water

make stock with all the ingredients except for the soy and fish sauces. cover, bring to boil. reduce heat & simmer, covered, for about 2-3 hours. (this was done the night before)

take lid off and stir in remaining two ingredients, simmer, uncovered for an hour, until stock has reduced to about 2litres. skim off fat, strain stock & put aside. lift meat onto plate, tear into thin strips & put aside.

geat oil in a wok. stir in the paste along with the chillies. stir as it sizzles, until it begins to darken. add the tamarind extract, fish sauce, sugar and reserved stock. stir to mix well & bring to a boil.

reduce heat and add the reserved beef, aubergines and watercress. continue to cook for about 20 minutes, until the eggplants are tender.

meanwhile, in a frying pan, dry fry the curry leaves until they begin to crackle. set aside.

season soup to taste (i found i didn't need to). stir in half the curry leaves and ladle the soup into individual bowls. garnish the remaining leaves on top & serve.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

barçelona

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i am jetlagged lazy & sick. but this Life List bullet point has been done with great fanfare, all in part to nuria & her friends & family. if a picture can speak a 1000 words, then this flickr set will pretty much ALL CAPS tell you what an incredible fat ass i am as there are a shocking amount of food shots. sorry about that.