Monday, August 18, 2008

rural markings

This isn't particularily related to food at all, but I want to "plug" my boyfriend's new blog: He creates stencil/graffiti art and yesterday he posted his first blog! Check it out and send it to all your blog-addicted friends!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

flowers for you (and roasted zucchini soup)

This morning I woke up early (even though it's a Saturday). The Barr Street Market is on Saturdays and I needed to pick up some fruits and veggies for the next week or so. So I bought these "mini" bouquets at the farmer's markets for a mere $2. What a bargain for some loveliness in my apartment, something I've decided to do as often as I am able to, I just adore flowers. They bring a smile to my face. And I thought they might bring one to yours. So enjoy the beauty. In addition to going to the farmer's market, I was given some rather large zucchini earlier in the week and set aside some time to make a roasted zucchini soup from scratch. A few weeks ago, I had lunch at the Dash-In Cafe and they served a roasted squash soup. It was delish and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to make my own. So thanks to a co-worker's neighbor I was supplied with some garden fresh zucchini. I kid you not each was at least a foot in length. I seeded the zucchini and roasted them on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. While the zucchini roasted away I diced up 5 or 6 garlic cloves, two white onions and a carrot,and caramelized them in olive oil and butter. The ultimate combination for caramelization. The fruitiness of the olive oil and the creaminess of the butter add a delicate and very aromatic flavor to the vegetables. Once the zucchini was done roasting, I added the chunks to the caramelized veggies and added plenty of chicken stock, just enough to cover the vegetables. I brought the soup to a decent simmer before pureeing the mixture in the food processor. And voila, roasted zucchini soup. It's so tasty, and very satisfying. A nice accompaniment to any salad or chunks of warm country bread. Plenty left for lunch or dinner tomorrow.
** Note I provided a picture of the soup before and after pureeing. Oh la la.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a pictureless post.

Well folks, I'm afraid I have failed you, I don't have a picture to post of the burger Paul and I created on Sunday evening. Please accept my deepest apologies, but this will give you a chance to use your creative enlarged imaginations! So sometime over the weekend, Paul and I were talking about Sunday dinner, told him I had some hamburger meat. I was going to make my usual Emeril's Essence burger, but Paul was feeling adventurous and I followed suit. One of the few chain hamburger joints we are fans of is Red Robin, now pick your jaw up and slap your mouth back together. I know, I know, it surely isn't Father's Office but they do a burger justice for a chain restaurant. Plus we can't get over the fact that they make their own ranch dressing which is divine for dipping their steak fries. Anyway, I digress. It was the inspiration of Red Robin's burger with pineapple that we started tossing around the idea of doing a burger with pineapple, bbq sauce and I threw in my two cents with homemade lime mayonnaise. We debated as to whether to add pineapple into the burger or use it as a topping, I won that one. I added crushed pineapple into the meat along with finely chopping red onion, grated garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper. For toppings, we added tomato, romaine lettuce, pepperjack cheese, Sweet Ray's bbq sauce and the homemade lime mayonnaise I whipped up. It was delish! however, we did agree that next time we will use the pinepple as a topping/condiment. I'm afraid even after draining the crush pineapple, it left the meat rather juicy. Overall, it was a success. Our bellies were satisfied and so were our creative culinary minds! Cheers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

the best damn chocolate chip cookie.

I didn't think it was possible to surpass my Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie recipe from the 1950's but alas I must surrender to Jacque Torres' recipe recently featured in the New York Times. It's unfair how richly deserving this recipe is of its championship-title, it's a heavy weight contender at best. After seeing it featured in three blogs I daily visit, I just knew I had to give it an old-fashioned try. While there isn't anything earth shatteringly different about the ingredients used in this recipe, the key lies in allowing the cookie dough to "rest" in the fridge for a period of 24-36 hours before baking. The dough develops its rich flavors and seemingly perfect consistency. Whoever said "good things come to those who wait" wasn't lying. As bruising as it was to my cookie ego, I confess it still the same, this is the best damn chocolate chip cookie I ever made! I will hold onto my cherished recipe from dear ol' Betty and I may test the waters and allow the dough to "rest" before baking those cookies once again, but until then this one is for keeps!

Pasta with Pazazz!

Saturday night, I invited a few girls over from work for some giggles and grub. I really wanted to capture some of the wonderful flavors of the produce at the farmer's markets and I stumbled upon a beautiful recipe from Evan Kleiman for a pasta dish tossed with an arugula pesto and topped with a cherry tomato sauce (pictured above). The garlic bread is courtesy of my grandmother in Oregon and the salad is a simple mixed greens salad with carrots, cucumbers, red onion, dried cranberry and a green-lemon-balsamic viniagrette courest of products from Olivier (which Paul and I picked up while we were in Los Angeles this past April). Accompanied with a lovely slightly sweet champagne and delicate chardonnay, this meal was heavenly, the company too.