Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baked Brie Night

Easy to make, incredibly versatile, and deliciously filling-- I can't believe I've never tried baked brie before!
I used chopped dates and walnuts, simmered with brown sugar and barleywine. I've seen recipes with other fruits as well as savory ingredients. I used five sheets of phyllo dough and had some leakage-- possibly due to the brie I chose being too soft, although someone at Wally's recommended it, so that's on them.

The end result was a melange of textures and flavors- crunchy phyllo, creamy cheese; the sweetness of the date mixture balanced by the mild taste of the cheese, served on sourdough toasts and pita chips. The leftovers were surprisingly good cold! It was then possible to cut it into neat little slices and eat it that way.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Homemade Noodles

Having recently swiped my mom's never-used hand cranked pasta machine, I made my first fresh noodles today. So much easier than you think--

1. Lay out parchment paper or use clean wooden surface; flour lightly
2. Make a mound of 2 cups of flour, with a crater in the middle
3. Break 3 eggs into the flour crater
4. Using a fork, break the yolks and mix the eggs together before starting to incorporate flour; then slowly start adding in the flour
5. When you can no longer use the fork, use your hands to incorporate the rest of the flour and start kneading the dough; I did this for about 6-7 minutes.

6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or foil and let it stand 15-20 minutes.
7. Use the pasta machine to roll out dough, starting from the widest setting(1) and working your way up to the thinnest(10 or wherever you choose to stop; I felt my pasta was thin enough at 6). You'll want to break the dough into smaller pieces and/or cut the dough after rolling so it's manageable.
8. Use the linguini or spaghetti side of the machine to cut the pasta; or use a pizza cutter, ravioli cutter, or other method for the pasta shape you prefer. I chose linguini.
9. Lay out cut noodles on floured parchment paper, sprinkle with a small amount of flour(through a sieve if available)
10. I cooked them immediately and they were al dente in 4-5 minutes.

I served this pasta with a TJ's marinara sauce simmered with onions and garlic, sauteed mushrooms, as well as an arugula and tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette and red wine.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Through bursts of craftiness..

I've finished knitting a scarf! Very simple pattern that grew out of my practice swatch. I've started another one.. just in time for spring. Great.

Next project: gardening. Just waiting for some money to buy a few supplies. I've already experimented with growing a small amount of lentil sprouts in a jar- super simple!

Little exciting culinary news recently. Tonight was a tasty terrific Trader Joe's dinner-- roasted red pepper and tomato soup, oyster crackers, and cheese/garlic/mushroom souffle. And Two Buck Chuck. Little to no effort on our part.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Salad of the Day

Wild arugula and mixed baby lettuces with Fuji apples, toasted walnuts, lentil sprouts, and white wine raspberry vinaigrette. Optional sauteed mushrooms.
Forgot to take a picture before eating it!

Culinary discovery of the day: gulab jamun. I don't know why I've bypassed them on my previous 2374573665 trips to Indian restaurants.. but I finally grabbed some as I was getting food at the new Samosa House East. A little expensive, but amazing, tender, and syrupy. They really were off the hook.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I recently decided, for however long it will last, to write/'blog' more. And I thought, what to blog about?

What do I love more than anything?

What do I spend hours upon hours researching, reading about, planning, shopping for, growing, making, and enjoying?

What have I been around my whole life, and have no intention of giving up?

Food, of course!

For my first topic: the glorious homage to California and local foods that was tonight's dinner. Pretty much all the ingredients were purchased at the Culver City farmers' market:
  • Sand dabs($5/pound!)-- considering that Long Beach brings in the most sand dabs, there's a high chance that these were really local. We fried and battered them in panko breadcrumbs.
  • Artichokes-- iconic California vegetable!
  • Napa chardonnay-- specifically, Smoking Loon
  • mashed potatoes-- local Yukon Gold potatoes, California butter and cream

Delicious, wholesome-ish, local, organic, and cheap for a seafood dinner. We served the artichokes steamed with some melted butter, and the sand dabs breaded with panko breadcrumbs and pan-fried, with lemon wedges and buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. I never said this was a diet meal..

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 so far..

First book of 2010: The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
First craft project that I'm doing because it was gifted to me: knitting
First ambitious project: container gardening- at least herbs, sprouts, and small fruits. I received Fresh Food From Small Spaces for Xmas and am really excited to start growing some new plants to join my one lonely basil on the balcony.
First new farmers' market: South La Cienega on Thursdays
First new play I've seen: An Oak Tree at the Odyssey.