Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daring Bakers :: cheesecake of April

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I am on a diet. Do not have enough energy to write.

Cheesecake is good. Too bad I could not eat it. Family loved it.

Key lime cheesecake with mango rum puree. (Doubled the crust - just how I love it, when I'm eating)

Off to drink more seltzer...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

simple sides :: tomato pilaf

Tomato rice is not exactly an unique side dish; I realize this. However my take on it tonight made an excellent compliment to a breaded tilapia, so I thought I would share it with you.

I keep a bag of vermicelli broken into very small bits, and use it when I occasionally make rice pilaf - a homemade, and way better, version of the San Fransisco treat.

Tomato rice pilaf
serves 6
  1. In 1 tb of melted butter and 1 tb of olive oil, saute 1/2 cup broken vermicelli (or capellini) bits.
  2. Add two shallots finely diced. (You could leave this out if you were looking for steps to skip.) Saute until transparent.
  3. When pasta has darkened and is golden brown, add 1 1/2 cup rice. Saute until rice begins to brown lightly. Don't walk away while doing this.
  4. Add 1/3 cup tomato paste. Stir until coated.
  5. Add one clove of finely grated garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
  6. Pour 3 cups of liquid over pasta and rice. You could use water (season it well) or stock or a combination of both.
  7. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Keep an eye on this. Contrary to popular belief it's okay to open the lid of rice briefly. Boil it for 15 minutes and then taste the rice. At this point you might need to add a bit more liquid, depending on the size of the grain of rice.

If you are in the mood for something a little spicier, add a few dashes of hot sauce or chopped jalapeno.

Monday, April 20, 2009

sights of Chicago's green city farmer's market

Although we were in Chicago for a family getaway, my kind husband allowed me an hour here or there to myself. My favorite solitary hour was at Chicago's Green City Farmer's Market where I walked around this relatively small inside space packed with merchants and buyers. This year was the first contiguous of the Green City FM, and last Saturday happened to be the final indoor week. I was looking forward to the lighting conditions of the outdoors, but I made do with what I had.

With a three hour drive from home, I should have had more self control, but I broke down and purchased quite a bundle of goodies, including; a spring green/sprout mix, palmiers and the best shortbread I've ever had in my whole life from Floriole, honey and Lithuanian Bacon buns (who knew?) from Bron's Bee Co , bread cheese from Brunkow Cheese Co. & cider and dried apples from Seedling Fruit. Let's just say that if I lived in the windy city, I'd be there every week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

why i hate to eat on the road

I'm dreading every long ride now. I know I need to just start packing food, but with four little ones it's sometimes near impossible to pack suitcases and American Girl dolls and books and toothbrushes and Nintendo DS's and diapers, and then on top of it all pack a lunch for six. I need to do it, but I just haven't gotten in the habit. At any rate, everyone was hungry, so we pulled into a Wendy's.

When asked by my husband what I wanted, I replied, Cripy chicken sandwich (which although it is fast food is at least real chicken breast) and large unsweetened iced tea.

Here's what was in the wrapper - chicken sponge.

I detest chicken sponge, but we were already back on the highway and it was 2pm and I hadn't eaten all day. I had a small reserve of snacks left for the kids, but I could bring myself to steal from my toddler. In my husband's defense he offered to turn around and rectify the situation, but it was too late. I had already lost my appetite.

Why must they tease and call it chicken? It is most certainly not chicken.

Excuse me while I gag.

This is habit-changing.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Vegetarians beware

Last week I went to a bacon tasting. That's right, a Zingerman's brunch featuring bacon, with a bacon tasting in between the entree and the dessert (we're talking chocolate and bacon gravy here, people). Peppered by a talk by Ari about bacon and about his adventures in food writing. It was a really great morning, as these tastings always are.

Here's my favorite part of the whole thing. A tune topping the Billboard charts in 1956, Bacon Fat by Andre Williams. Love it. Reading bacon, smelling bacon, eating bacon, and listening bacon. Come on.