Wednesday, December 16, 2009

catching up: Kristy’s new scarf

I would love to knit this, but I've got enough projects pending right now! (scarves and baby sweaters abound) Beautiful pattern and yarn. :) catching up: Kristy’s new scarf

Monday, October 19, 2009

Academic Insight

Sooo... I've been MIA for awhile. I didn't mean to be away this long, I do still check my side bar blogs on a (almost) daily basis. But the truth is, I've been back in college. This is not the first time, but it IS the first time for me at a giant SUCK YOU IN AND EAT YOU university. I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I wouldn't have even made this paltry post, but I'm supposed to be studying and have NO motivation. So, in conclusion, I am alive and I'll be back when life is less hectic. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mmmm.. greens

My week has been spent kicking butt at work (or work kicking my butt, whichever), so I haven't had as much time to devote in the kitchen this week as I might have liked. In fact, I bought all of the ingredients to make pickles out of my CSA cucumber overload, and in the fridge they sit. I did make a warm, crisp broccoli salad a few weeks ago and had the decency to take pictures for you.



It's featured on Sprouted Kitchen, and her pictures are better. Aren't you glad I'm back? ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Carrot Risotto and Spicy Cucumber Salad


It can be a challenge for me to cook with what I have in the fridge. I love to search for new recipes to try out, but most send me running to the store, spending more than I need to on last minute ingredients. Sure, dinner usually turns out great. But my food budget isn't quite as healthy after those little daily indulgences.

Summertime is here for us, and that means weekly boxes of veggies and fruit from our local CSA share. The challenge is to eat everything that comes in that jam packed box by the next week. And that is harder than it might seem, especially when you're completely sick of cooking greens and lettuce. There's only so much you can do with swiss chard (tasty new recipe coming soon).

The antidote for this weeks green overdose was this soothing carrot risotto. I paired it with a cool, crunchy (okay, and light green) cucumber salad. Both recipes took a bite out of the produce overload in my fridge.

Carrot Risotto

6 medium carrots, peeled and diced small

2 cups of arborio rice

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 box of organic vegetable stock (4 cups), warmed

2-4 cups of water, warmed

1 cup of whole milk, warmed

1 cup of good quality shredded parmesan cheese

coarse salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of butter

a handful of chopped parsley

Heat the butter and oil in a medium sized stock pot over medium high heat. Once the butter melts add the onions and sauté until the onions begin to soften. Toss in the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the rice and the carrots and stir until the rice is lightly coated with the oil/butter mixture. Pour in two cups of the heated vegetable stock. (I microwave mine in a glass measuring cup and take it out at the last minute to use. No messing with another pot on the stove.) Keep stirring the rice occasionally until the stock is mostly absorbed by the rice. Add another two cups of stock and stir again. After the rice has absorbed most of the stock, taste for salt and adjust seasoning, add pepper to taste. Continue this way with the warmed water until the rice is al dente and the water is mostly absorbed. The rice will be gooey, but not runny. Add the milk and cheese and heat thoroughly. Taste for seasonings and adjust, the cheese and stock will make the dish slightly salty, so go easy on the salt in the first addition and correct it at the end. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Cucumber Salad

2 large English cucumbers, washed and sliced thin

salt

Dressing

3 tablespoons of plain yogurt

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

½ teaspoon of dried mustard

½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill

3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons of sugar, to taste

In a large colander set over the sink, lay the cucumbers in layers, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, press down on the cucumbers in the colander to get them to release a bit more of their water. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Toss the cucumbers in the dressing. Serve. This is even spicer and better the next day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spreading the Local Slow Food Movement


At a time when it is becoming increasingly hard for small farmers to make ends meet, it is very important to put your money where your ideals are. Just buying organic produce is no longer good enough as the ‘organic’ label has dollar signs attached to it that industrial agriculture is all too eager to cash in. And cash in on it they have. Industrial Organic is no longer something dangerously looming on the horizon, feared by small organic farmers; it is a full fledged reality. Just remember, a product labeled "organic" does not, in any way, denote sustainability or local. Much organic produce is now shipped from across the country if not farther and is actually being produced by companies that have no interest in sustainability. Our question to them is: where do your interests lie? And how concerned are you about the health and well being of your customers? Industrial Organic, shipping across the country or farther, is NOT how we eat sustainably. This may be how our mothers and fathers fed themselves, but we can not continue like this. WE NEED TO FIX THE FOOD PROBLEM.So what are some steps towards fixing the problem? BUY LOCAL! EAT SEASONALLY! By buying locally you are, at the very least, able to investigate how your purchases are produced. You can go to the fields where your potatoes are grown and demand your farmer to show you just how "organic" they are. Plus, by buying locally, your food travels less between the field and your plate which means that it is of higher quality. Also, fresher local produce requires fewer resources to transport. By buying local produce you are supporting your community which means keeping money circulating in the hands of people just like you rather than huge corporations and too many middle men. And, finally by eating locally you are buying into a more sustainable future and keeping people with real ideals like Josh, Noah, Teresa and Mike in business.
-Courtesy of Driftless Organics

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Calculations



After working math problems for hours and hours and hours, I'm starting to apply formulas to my surroundings. Milk being steamed? There's a formula in there somewhere, where rate and time exudes pressure to make the milk foam and heat at the correct rate to the correct temperature. I'm one step away from becoming the crazy mathematician in Pi, seeing patterns in everyday life to the point of insanity (not really). But I will concede that I have been at Barrique's for way too long. I'm at the point where I'm in the math groove, but I can't stand that I'm wasting my day working math problems. How do I always let it get to this point? I hem and haw and waste my evenings during the week, playing with my child (exactly HOW important could THAT be?), cooking dinner and the like. I guess we could subsist on frozen pizza and ramen, but that would be a touch too college-esque for me. Help?

(If you're stellar at math, drop me a line, we'll work out a payment arrangement...)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Now, I've come to realize that my reader doesn't like it when I rant, so in today's post I won't rant, I won't reference whore's (even meant as a joke) and I'll try to be as clean and prim as possible.



Today's Post:
Blog.



P.S. And I did mean that singularly. If you read my blog, and enjoy, please post comments, otherwise I feel all sad and alone in the universe... even if you don't enjoy, please post comments and I'll be sure to return the niceties.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Whore's Pasta with Bitter Salad and Broken Artichoke Hearts



Just in time for Valentine's Day! Pasta puttanesca (whore's pasta) with bitter salad and broken artichoke hearts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obsession

Via
www.smittenkitchen.com


It has been known to my closest friends for awhile now that I have a bit of an obsession with food. I love to cook, bake, candy make, all of the above twice over. Sometimes I even have dreams about working in a sunny professional kitchen (such as at L'etoile), even though I know the hours are long, the labor is hard and the kitchen isn't usually sunny, for lack of windows or stuffed in a basement corner somewhere.
I'm currently pursuing a degree in Art History, which may be just as fanciful as dreaming of large ovens and whisking three dozen eggs for flan. I'll hem and haw and go back and forth on whether or not one is more viable than the other. With Art History, if I pursue it far enough, I would have a career that would not require me to smell like my job on a daily basis, but I wonder if I would get into it and realize that the business world is not where I want to be.
With working in a kitchen, it will be a physically challenging task on a daily basis, demanding that I get decent training so I don't end up grilling steaks for Ruth's Chris, or frying eggs for the diner. The only option in Madison is MATC. I've worked with chefs who have gone through MATC's training at various restaurants, and to say the least, they've been the least apt of their kind. (Not that it couldn't be attributed to the person himself, and not the training. I guess it all depends on your attitude.)
I've thought a bit about the personal chef avenue, but in the current failing economy, that doesn't seem like the most viable option. Owning a bakery? Owning a cafe? Probably the latter more so than the former. Although both would require the early mornings that I abhor. My body just isn't programmed to get up at 4, six seems like a much more reasonable hour.
What are your thoughts on my rambly dilemma?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Down With Barrettes!




Every time I touch Evelyn's head she immediately runs her hands through her hair to make sure I didn't sneak a barrette in there or something. The hat only stayed on long enough to take a picture.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

and I usually hate lists...




1. Coffee makes my stomach burn, but I still drink it daily. I probably have ulcers as a result. I'm an addict, what can I say?
2. I love to go grocery shopping, and am completely intent on the task when I do. If you see me in the store and wave, I probably won't see you unless you physically accost me.
3. Along with #2, I also love to cook.. more than any one person should. Which makes me wonder if I've chosen the wrong career path and should be a chef or baker instead. I don't know how well I would do with the 14 hour days and heavy lifting. Maybe I'd love it?
4. I think it's funny to tape/Velcro/attach things to my child and watch her run in circles, trying to get it off.
5. I hate my husband’s plants. They never flower. They just sit there, constantly green, spindly, and mocking me.
6. I keep a blog that no one but Julie and I read.
7. When I watch Pride and Prejudice, I desperately wish I was Lizzie, in love with Mr. Darcy.
8. I love to knit, and am pretty proud of being almost completed with my first project of mittens.
9. When I'm really concentrating on something, I will tune you completely out. A product of living in a house full of brothers, if I ignored them long enough they would go away. Which, coincidentally, works amazingly well with my husband. :P
10. Sometimes, I will have really intense dreams of fantastical places and people (aka: Mr. Darcy) and I will get really depressed when I wake up and realize it was just a dream.
11. If you ask me what's wrong and I say "nothing", ask again.
12. When I was a kid, I used to make "garden soup" in a five gallon bucket, with the hose, a wooden spoon, and rotting foilage from the garden. I would serve it up in bowls to my grandparents. Trust me, I make much better soup now. It only contains half the original amount of water, leading to a much more concentrated flavor of rotting vegetables with just a hint of petunia.
13. When I was little I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher, the most generic of the kid-friendly careers. There's no way I would ever want to be a nurse. I wouldn't put a catheter in someone if you paid me.
14. I belong to the Willy Street Co-op, but hardly ever shop there. I love natural and organic foods, but my wallet does not.
15. I love 18th and 19th century furniture and clothing. If I could dress like Marie Antoinette and get paid, I would.
16. I also love Antiques Roadshow, especially the episode where they found a fake 19th century chair by smelling it. Apparently baby powder was used in refinishing it, and was still traceable.
17. I have never seen the ocean or been abroad. I travel there frequently through my friends, so it ALMOST feels like I've been there, but not quite.
18. Some days I can't stand my job. It's so repetitive and boring that I get easily distracted by leaves blowing outside, or a squirel running up a tree.. maybe I shouldn't sit by the window.
19. I am a firm believer in the slow food movement and eating at home. Anything that has 75 ingredients and comes in a microwavable pouch, cannot be healthy.
20. Everytime I watch "How Clean Is Your House?" on the BBC, I clean the bathroom.
21. Sometimes I wish I lived in Greece, in a white and blue villa on a cliff, overlooking the sea. Then I think of the poor economy (worse than ours), the poverty, and the smell of riding on a donkey, and I reconsider.
22. I will occasionally quit coffee. I'll go through all the work of weaning myself off to decaf tea for a week, and then one whiff of good ground coffee and I'm back to the bad stuff.
23. I can't stand the idea of eating raw oysters. Slippery and slimy, like swallowing snot, why would you do that to yourself when you DON'T have a cold?
24. I think Evelyn is the most adorable kid in the world, but doesn't every mother?
25. I really miss my friend. You know who you are.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rushing

Hello friends! *snicker*


It's been awhile since I've posted anything substansial to my blog. I've had a lot going on (don't we all). I'm taking classes again this semseter, only two this time, so the load shouldn't be overbearing. Though, I'm already feeling the pinch of my slacking. I have my first test in College Algebra on Sunday, and the homework is due that day as well. I've only completed 2 sections out of 7.. yay me! I seriously need to buckle down. I must say, I am over halfway through Frankenstein (final paper due Monday) and I feel better about that class than I do Algebra. I still get shivers down my spine when I think of math, and not in a good way. I thought I had conquored this issue when I took an 8 week crash course in Intermediate Algebra.. Oh, the calculator was thrown against the wall many many many times during those 8 weeks. To top my non-home life off, I have loads of work to finish. We're going through a busy time right now, and I can't wait for it to be over. But, as my Papa says, I should be happy I have a job, which is true. I am thankful I have a job, and thankful that I have a decent work enviroment. And that's all I'm going to comment on that matter, I won't bore you with a diatribe about local economics.


I had more to write about, like the knitting I started, the tangerine cake I baked recently with whole tangerines (rind and all), but I really should return to work. After all, I would like to KEEP my job.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Postcards From Italy

This melancholoy and bittersweet song matches my mood perfectly.