Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

After my bout with a horrible stomach bug, I was really hungry but decided to limit what I ate because I didn't think I was ready to consume spicy fajitas or chicken Caesar salad without serious repercussions.  During that time, all I could think about was food: making food, buying food, eating my favorite foods.  Two things I'm currently obsessed with are cheese plates (maybe an all-cheese picnic this weekend?) and Thai food (huge order of pad thai, stat!).  When I was sick, anything sounded better than my actual meals, which consisted of lots of saltines, bread and seltzer.

Tuesday night for dinner, I kept imagining large stacks of steaming pancakes, diner-style.  Figuring that pancakes were basically sweetened bread, I decided that they would be a fine item for dinner and stopped at the store for buttermilk on my way home from work.  It's hard to believe I've never make homemade pancakes before, especially considering how easy the batter was to make.  I do need more practice when it comes to cooking the flapjacks though.

Not quite there...

A little messy...


When I was halfway through the batter, that's when the pancakes started to taste truly great.  They were past the 'golden' stage and actually were quite dark but tasted fresh and fluffy.  And the recipe made so many that we couldn't even finish the whole batch.

I'm kind of into this breakfast for dinner thing.  Perhaps omlettes and home fries next week?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Field Trip to Brooklyn for Nom-Noms

This is the year I will go to the Brooklyn Flea.  I've been talking about it for a while but after reading this New York article, I'm totally amped for a daytrip to Brooklyn this spring.  I mean, who wouldn't want the opportunity to try food from some of the best resturants, bakeries and vendors in New York all gathered in one place?  And maybe there will even be time for a sidetrip to Four and Twenty Blackbirds for some pie?  If there was a hashtag for this, it would be #bestfooddayever.

Picture of marmalades from Maiden Preserves via New York

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Path Back to Healthiness?

It's been a week or so since I've posted but what a week it's been.  I went to Savannah with Anthony and his mother (a recap to follow soon!) and returned with a stomach flu/food poisoning that sidelined me for days.  I'm a person who never calls in sick to work, who will go to the office even if she is feeling absolutely horrible and knows that her co-workers will stay far away, fearing a contagious disease (this may explain why I have several months of vacation days banked just waiting to be used).  But even I couldn't fight through the vomiting and pounding headaches to make it to work--I stayed home sick two days and slept most of this weekend too.  My stomach is still not feeling well but compared to how I felt just a few days ago, I'm considering this a great improvement. 

So what occupied my mind while I was drifting in and out of consciousness, you may ask?  I was basically making a mental list of all the things I want to do, like finish a short story that I've been working on and finally trying the recipe for homemade gum drops that I found last month.  I need to start reading more fiction and finish my taxes too.  It's going to be a busy spring, I think. 

And with that, I'm back to posting regularly again.  Have a wonderful Monday--I'm glad to be back!

Photo courtesy of weheartit

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shamrock Shakes

Every March, the comment boards on foodie websites are filled with raves about McDonald's seasonal treat, the Shamrock Shake.  For some reason, I was more curious this year than ever before.  I'm not a milkshake person but I figured there had to be something to the hype.  Anthony surprised me with my very own Shamrock Shake so that we could both try it and stop feeling left out. 

The verdict:  they're okay.  On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate it a six. It's very sweet, very green and a little minty.  The texture was so odd that we both were unsure that it would melt like a real milkshake if left out for a little while.  With an inch left, we stopped drinking it and a few hours later, the consistency was still the same.  Obviously, the ingredients are not all natural!  I'm glad we tried it, even thought it was weird to drink a thick, moss green milkshake.  For $2, it was pretty festive, too.  I believe the shakes are on sale until St. Patrick's Day--if you try one, let me know what you think!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Making Butter at Home

I saw this tutorial on how to make fresh butter and couldn't resist trying it myself.  Unless you add other ingredients, pure butter is actually only heavy whipping cream, which I didn't realize.  The process was a little more involved than I thought it would be but that was really my fault.  I did some of the whipping by hand and then used a handmixer instead of a standing mixer like suggested (perhaps I should start thinking about investing in a Kitchenaid?).  The whipping took about 30 minutes and just when I was ready to give up, I saw small pockets of liquid form in the mixture, a signal that I was on the right track. 

I squeezed the water out, wrapped the butter in aluminum foil and chilled in the refrigerator.  I didn't add honey but did mix in vanilla so the butter has a tangy but sweet flavor.  I really think this would taste awesome on warm pancakes or french toast.  Overall, it was pretty cool to make my own jar of butter from a mere pint of heavy cream I bought at Stop & Shop, and I'll probably try it again in the future.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Classic Movie #1: It's All a Charade

One of my goals for 2011 is to watch one classic movie a month, preferably one that I've never seen before.  'Classic' to me means 1975 or earlier.  So far, I've watched one, but there's still plenty of time to catch up. Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant was March's choice.  I really enjoyed this movie and not just because Hepburn and Grant are two of my favorites.  The film is clever and suspenseful without being scary or cliched.  The ending is wonderful and having Paris in the background was a real treat.  The scenes in the Metro were really great.  It kind of made me sad (as often happens) that so many newer movies are far from charming. 

A while ago, I read a thick Audrey Hepburn biography, and a couple of years ago, Anthony and I watched a documentary on Cary Grant.  Knowing details about the lives of the starring actors made my viewing of this movie even better.  I recalled that Cary Grant didn't want to take this role as he thought he was too old to be Hepburn's love interest.  He pulled it off graciously, much better than Fred Astaire did opposite Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, in my opinion.  Thanks to Netflix for offering a streaming version of Charade.  Any suggestions for the next movie I watch?  I was thinking The Apartment with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon or An American in Paris with Gene Kelly. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giant Peeps

I was at the supermarket the other night and when I passed the 'Holiday' aisle, I couldn't help but wander down it.  I waited until the last minute for Valentine's Day candy and cards this year and there was little left when I went looking on February 13th.  I don't want the same thing to happen for Easter.  Just as I was picking up a bag of Cadbury chocolate eggs (the candy shell on the outside is my favorite!), this display caught my eye:


Giant plush Peeps! I was really impressed by the variety in size and color, and finally settled on a pink polka dot one for my mother.  When you see giant Peeps, you know Easter must be right around the corner...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Real Chocolate Chip Cookies

I bake frequently, usually trying new recipes that I find online or see in magazines.  This weekend, I was clearing out stuff in our apartment and came across a giant stack of food articles and recipes that I've printed over the last few years.  This New York Times article was so alluring that I couldn't stop myself from making chocolate chip cookies last night.

It seems unbelievable, but I haven't made basic chocolate chip cookie since I moved into this apartment four years ago.  I decided to use the classic Toll House recipe but threw in a few tips that I picked up in this piece. I love that a large portion of the article focuses on the techniques that are used at City Bakery, one of my favorite places.  I took owner Maury Rubin's advice and I made the dough, then put it in the refrigerator for a few hours.  City Bakery lets the dough sit for 36 hours before baking it but I didn't have that much time.  Even after letting it sit for only three hours, the dough was drier and actually tasted better.  The cookies had a richer, buttery flavor and a great texture. 

I used a smaller scoop than I usually do so these cookies are almost bite-size and just a tad tinier than my usual cookies.  Realizing that I don't need a whole batch hanging around at home, I took half to work.  My co-workers seemed to love them.  One of our interns (who bakes fabulous breads and generously shares frequently) even asked which recipe I used since they were more flavorful than regular chocolate chip cookies.  All in all, a worthy experiment.  Next time, I'll think ahead and let the batter sit for at least a day to get maximum flavor, and maybe even add some sea salt to the tops.

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Great Timing for a Savannah Guide

We're headed to Savannah, Georgia, in just a few weeks so I couldn't be happier to see this Weekend Escape Plan travel guide for Savannah in one of my favorite magazines, New York.  Among some of the things that caught my eye:

  • Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room for lunch.  The food looks awesome and it's family-style, which can definitely be fun.
  • shopSCAD, which is a store that sells art, jewelry, books and clothing all made by students at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
  • Rocks on the Roof is a rooftop bar at the Bohemian Hotel along the river.  It would be perfect to sit with a drink and watch the sunset.
I have a long list of stuff we are planning to do so I think it will be three jam-packed days.  If you have any favorite places in Savannah, I'd love for you to send them along!

Photo courtesy of Bohemian Hotel via New York

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Obsession: Egg Waffle Pan

Does anyone have an egg waffle pan?  I saw this griddle-like press on William-Sonoma's website and now, I'm totally obsessed with it.  I've never heard of egg waffles but apparently, they are Hong Kong favorites and you can usually get them from street vendors.  Nordic Ware makes this cast-aluminum pan that goes right on top of the stove burner.  Would I use this enough to justify spending $50 on it? And how well would it work on an electric stove? I'm pretty sure these waffles would be delicious for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.  Would anyone come over for waffle parties?


Photos courtesy of William-Sonoma