Friday, September 11, 2009

Goodbye Blogger

Greetings Faithful Followers,

The Lady Crows have Flew to a new home, please continue to check out our delicious posts at:

(note: this new website is still a work in progress)

Friday, September 4, 2009

My First Venture w/ STUFFED PEPPERS

Stuffed Peppers are something I enjoy to eat but have never attempted to make. My motivation sprang from a sale on bell peppers at Harvest. Usually a sale on bell peppers only refers to the green, and if you're lucky the red. I was shocked to read the sign and saw that the $1.99 a pound sale also included the yellow and orange, and they didn't even look old and shriveled! In a perfect world, I would always buy yellow and orange peppers, but since I try to food shop on a budget, I rarely treat myself to these goodies.
At the grocery store I felt like a squirrel collecting nuts for the winter when I put 6 fabulous looking colored peppers into my basket. I headed back to my nest to dig out a stuffed pepper recipe i read months ago in Vegetarian Times magazine.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
This is the recipe I followed but of course I made some modifications to accommodate my pantry but they are purely optional
  • I cut the recipe in half to make 6 stuffed pepper halves
  • Substituted Barley for Quinoa (i'm not a quinoa hater its just what I had in the pantry!)
  • Did not have celery, instead used finely diced squash and green bell pepper
  • Used sauteed fresh spinach instead of frozen
  • Tip: Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes w/Adobo seasoning works really great here with the southwestern flavors. If not available use regular fire roasted and add the said amount of cumin

The extra stuffing is wonderful on it's own- I thought of you Riane because the consistency came out to be like a barley risotto!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lovely Lavender

Try this deliciousness in your afternoon tea.

Lavender Simple Syrup

several Tablespoons of dried laveder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water

Add ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to seep for an hour or so.

Tip: When making your morning tea in a teapot or coffee in a coffee pot, keep a pitcher in your fridge to put the excess so you can have delicious iced beverages whenever your heart desires it.

The Kicker

A shaker is ideal for this cocktail,. Buy one. You'll appreciate it. Or, find two plastic glasses in your house that fit into one another

-Muddle, or smash repeatedly, two good sized chunks, mouthfuls, of watermelon at the bottom of the shaker (Mixology 101 : most cocktails are around 6 ounces, the size of a martini glass. A straight martini is usually three ounces of booze with a wash of vermouth in the glass, but the shaking with ice makes those three ounces come out to around 4.5)

-Add two ounces of tequila, the juice of one lime, and a pinch of cayenne. Add a dozen ice cubes and SHAKE THAT SHIT. HARD.

Strain it into a glass. Or leave the ice. Enjoy.

I've thought of doing this with a juicer, but I like the chunkiness of the watermelon, something you can pick out with your fingers when you're done.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Veggie Homefries- A morning Staple

Looking at the recent fresh tomato post- I was inspired by some farm fresh red potatoes (a great alternative from the "pink skinned" ones you buy at the store). The skin has such a deep color you just know its packed full of nutritious iron- i couldn't wait to get them onto the stove and into my mouth.
Homefries are usually my favorite part of breakfast-especially when they're dipped in a golden runny yolk. Here is the recipe I've been using for a couple years now, it varies a little from batch to batch but the simple technique is a keeper.
Veggie Homefries
The ingredients vary depending on how many i am feeding and whats in my fridge but the staples are: unpeeled red or golden potatoes-medium diced, onions-diced, assorted colored peppers-diced, mushrooms-chopped, garlic-minced, red pepper flakes, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, oregano and parsley.
I also prefer to mix sweet potatoes with the regular but don't always have them on hand

  • Put diced potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil, drain once potatoes are al dente (they will continue cooking in the pan, if overcooked it will turn into hash-which is still yummy but not always desired)
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan and add drained potatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute on medium high until they start to get brown
  • Once potatoes start forming an outer crust add onions, after another five minutes add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and oregano
  • When all has reached your desired crispiness, remove from heat and add fresh parsley

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting Saucy

It is (sadly) the end of summer. But before the colder months officially set in there is one of my favorite foodie seasons- tomato season. Tomatoes are gorgeous right now- and the crows have been snacking on big, plump, brightly colored heirlooms sliced onto fresh bread.

I engaged in my own personal end-of-summer tradition this weekend- getting saucy. Off of tomatoes. Let me explain. I am a total marinara sauce snob- a product of being lucky enough to grow up in a Sicilian family where having jarred sauce in the pantry was the embarrassing equivalent to a dirty bathroom or being out of salt. Simply not done. Every summer my mother would cook an enormous pot of marinara sauce with the tomatoes she grew in her own garden and then freeze individual portions in her large basement freezer. That way there would always be fresh homemade sauce all winter- for pasta, lasagna, eggplant parm- where ever it was called for. And I became spoiled.

So now I follow suite, making my own sauce at the end of every summer. This year I made a total of 7 quarts; from roughly 16 lbs of fresh (although regretfully not homegrown) roma tomatoes. And although my mother's and my grandmother's sauces put mine to total shame, at very least the ten perfectly stacked portions of sauce in my freezer right now assure me that there will be no need for jarred sauce in this apartment this winter.

There is no exact recipe here for this marinara- for things like wine, paste, salt, pepper and basil you have to just taste and add as you cook. But basically for 7 quarts of marinara sauce I used:

16 lbs fresh roma tomatoes, diced with skin on
1 can tomato paste
2 medium yellow onions
1 1/2 heads of garlic.
1 large bunch of garlic
1-2 cups of red wine.

Absolutely, positively, never any sugar. This is law. I don't think I really need to explain.
Total from start to finish this whole operation took me about 1:45- about an hour for prep and to get it started and about 45 minutes to simmer. I tossed some of the fresh sauce with spaghetti and topped with grated parm- served up simple with a side salad. A delicious way to celebrate the close of my favorite season.

Mangia bene!

Seasonal Fruits

Yesterday was Exchange Studios end of summer BBQ. This one is different b/c the meat and beer is c/o our property manager. Yay free food!

He has a crazy smoker grill, and made some of the best pulled pork I've ever had.

For this BBQ, I decided I would test out my new oven* and bake some cookies.

I've gotten Figs twice now in my box. I didn't know what to do with them, so the first batch got moldy by the time I made a game plan. Thankfully, the recipe I created only needed 1 pint.
These are the different kinds of figs. I used Mission Figs.

Fig stuffed Sugar Cookies
based on the traditional Italian Treat Cucidati

4 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 1/4 c cold cubed butter
1/2 plus some 1ce water

1 pint figs diced
water to cover
2 heaping T of honey
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 c ground almonds
1/4 c ground pine nuts
1/2 c rasins

Confectioner's sugar
extra powder to top

Cube the figs and set in a sauce pot with a nice layer of water to cover. Add honey and sugar. Bring to boil and simmer until an almost jelly is formed. This takes a considerable period of time so be prepared. While that is boiling grind the nuts to a powder. Leaving some larger chunks is also nice, but most of the mixture should be gorund fine, but not to a paste.

Make the dough in a traditional pastry sense. Sift dry, add butter, pinch with fingers to pea size, add 1/2 c water, add remaing water to form the final dough. If your fig misture is not ready place the dough in the refrigerator to keep solid and cold.

When the fig saice has reduced to a thick, wonderful jelly, remove from heat and add the nuts and rasins. The mixture should be moderatly moist and moderatly dry. You want it to be moist enough to be yummy, but firm enough to hold up as a filling. So keep this in mind when reducing the fig sauce.

Preheat the oven to 275

Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/8- 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3" strips and place filling down the center of each stip. Fold over the sides and crease with a fork. Cut into 1" squares. Place on a baking sheet with parchment and bake until the bottoms are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Add glaze as they leave the oven. Place on cooling rack. Sprinkle with more sugar. Comsume.

*yes, i got a new oven the day after the crows flew. Still electric, but thankfully new.

Edit: My sister informed me I neglected to say how they came out! They were so good! Ultimate success. I couldn't believe it. I half expected them to be less than palitable, but they were good! Most of them were gone before dinner :)

Chicken Marbella-a real CROWd pleaser

This dish yields a fair amount of servings, and makes for great leftovers, however, it can be easily adapted to better suite a smaller crowd.

Chicken Marbella:

4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

1.  In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper
and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, marinate, refrigerated,

2.  Preheat oven to 350F.

3.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow
baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly.  Sprinkle chicken
pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

4.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan
juices.  Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at
their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

5.  With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers
to a serving platter.  Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and
sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro.  Pass remaining pan
juices in a sauceboat.

6.  To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in
cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter.  If chicken
has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room
temperature before serving.  Spoon some of the reserved juice over
 (16 pieces, 10 or more portions)
  * The overnight marination is essential to the moistness of the
finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several
days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic
    It's good hot or at room temperature.  When prepared with small
drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d'oeuvre.
   Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish, we give
quantities to serve 10 to 12, but, as mentioned before, the recipe can successfully be
divided to make a smaller amount if you wish.

Leftover Salad


Normally I'm not really into leftover salads- too mushy for me. Here's a great trick we used to turn a day old salad into crispy flavorful goodness:

If salad is not already dressed- do so with desired vinaigrette
Peel endive leaves off and scoop portions of the salad mixture into each leaf

We used this method to finish up a delicious avocado, orange and poppy seed salad with red wine and shallot vinaigrette. The fresh endive leaves added that much desired crunch that a day old salad is lacking- and it looks a tad fancy for serving as hors d'oeurves

Two Soups (and a beverage!)

One vegetarian, the other not so much.

Quick and Chunky Noodle Soup

Soups with broths scare me off because of the time constraints. HOWEVER, I figured out a way to make a tasty chicken noodle soup in less than an hour and a half, though it of course tastes better the next day.

1 whole chicken
bunch of celery
4 carrots
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 medium turnips (or parsnips! or both!)
cilantro! forget that nerdy parsley.
package of egg noodles
and salt and pepper, our good friends

Chop up the chicken as best you can, about five or six pieces, leave the fat on, and boil it for about a half hour, till it gets to falling apart. While that is going on, chop all your veggies up. When the chicken is done, drain most of the water, but save about three cups of the oily goodness. Add three cups of fresh water to the pot, salt the shit out of it, and then add your veggies all at once. While you have them cooking, pick apart your chicken and throw the meat in before the veggies are done. When things have about five minutes (you can tell by the turnips) add the egg noodles and cilantro. And when the noodles are done, that's it! Pepper to taste.

Even-Quicker, Extra Smoove Roast Tomato Soup
courtesy of my man crow.

cup of fresh basil (from our garden! yeah!)
salt salt salt pepper pepper pepper
olive oil
and half
*makes about four portions

Slice thin enough tomatoes to fill three cookie sheets, that have been doused in olive oil. Lay 'em out and thin slice a clove of garlic per sheet, setting those slices on top of the lucky tomatoes. Broil the sheets one at a time for about five-six minutes, until some of the tomatoes start to burn. Drop them in the food processor/blender, making sure to drain the leftover olive oil in. Then the basil, blending, and add the cream as you see fit.

My next recipe is going to be for the watermelon, tequila, lime and cayenne pepper cocktail I've been perfecting. Summer is ending, so it's time I solidify the recipe to my tribute drink. Or maybe now that you know the ingredients, you can mess around with them yourselves!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writers Block EXTREME

I know I should be reflecting and writing about the recent CAW visit to California, but I just can't. I am way far more excited about the soup that I just made, than reflecting upon things we all did.

Although, I will, I promise. Eventually.

While Billy is away enjoying the sights and sounds of Yosemite with his childhood christian brethren, I am at home attempting to not freak out about the mess left behind; and the toilet seat that was up- a clear indication of man-boy rampage prior to their departure this morning.

How do I relax? I brief clean up, and immediate cooking adventure and a characteristic analyzation of my day.

Today was the Castro Farmers Market- a savior on a day where fumes were emitting from my ears for approximately 8 hours straight. After consuming a delicious lunch of Hummus and Tabbouleh* with sesame pita, around 4 o'clock I felt it was time to go for a walk.

I enjoy eating my lunch at my desk, and then going for a stroll later in the day, in lieu of a full blown lunch out. On this day, I decided that I did not crave cookies (although that was tooootally what I needed on Monday, from Hot Cookie)

I craved strawberries. Sweet Delicious strawberries.

Now it is not strawberry season, so I question the integrity of these apparent fresh market berries, but god damn you these were stupendous! They saved my day.

But I digress. Savior of Soup. Simple, delicious, my mind is a-flutter as to what to do with the savory leftovers.

Red on Red on Red Lentil Soup

1 small onion diced
1 large carrot grated
5-6 gypsy or lipstick peppers
1 excessively large ripe heirloom tomato, diced
about 1 cup frozen corn- although fresh would suffice

1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups water

larger bits of ground fennel seed
1 T crushed black pepper
pinches of salt
sprinkles of onion powder
1 pinch cumin
some garlic powder
a little mustard powder
some nutmeg


Coat the bottom of a heavy pan with olive oil. Add carrot and onion, cook for a long while. meanwhile, dice the peppers all nice and tiny-like. Add these. At this time add some salt and lots of black pepper. Cook for an f-ing long while, add tomatos and cook until they give off their water. Add various spices now. Add lentils. Add water. Cover and cook for a long while, until lentils are cooked until you can't tell they were once tiny little things, and the soup is of a consistency that makes you happy. Turn off the heat, add the corn, mix. Eat with bread, or rice, or alone!

*a great lunch btw

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Pink Crow

Hello! The crows are indeed back from Cali- rested full of culinary adventures to share. As previously shared by Miz. Holly we were all about the d.i.y. on this trip, although it is doubtful we would have been so successful without the amazing resources offered up by Lady Riane's wonderful Ma and Pa.

This cocktail I'm about to share is one of my favorites- and I should give a shout out to an unnamed restaurant in Boston's fenway where I worked for awhile my senior year of college. They invented the drink and I put my spin on it, but no matter who it is served by and where it is drank, it is truly delicious. Drinkers be warned- don't let the tastiness fool you- this bevy packs a punch.

The Pink Crow
1 1/2 oz ounces of vodka*
1 1/2 oz of grapefruit juice
splash of lime juice
splash of cranberry juice
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Top off your cocktail with a healthy dash of champagne or other sparkling white wine (we used an inexpensive prosecco). Garnish with lime or a citrus (grapefruit or lemon) twist.

* If you are interested, I highly recommend a citrus flavored vodka such as Absolute Ruby Red (preferred) or StoliO. However, we used regular old Gray Goose and it was tasty tasty tasty. Just remember, if it comes in a plastic bottle, fly away.

Ramos House- Brunch Paradise

The Lady Crows are back from our California Vacation and are ready to share our food tales. In true crow fashion we cooked most of our meals and snacks, but the few places we did dine at were exquisite- this brunch cafe was definitely at the top of my list. Located in San Juan Capistrano, Ramos House Cafe epitomized all that is rustic- from the outdoor washroom, to the mason jar water glasses, this place conveyed a casual atmosphere with gourmet food.

All weekend Brunch meals are fixed price which includes your breakfast beverage, an appetizer and a main course. All of the meal descriptions sounded incredible, but if patrons still had trouble deciding each table had a cookbook at the center that listed all of the dishes with pictures and recipes- what a great idea! We indulged in bloody marys, mimosas, hush puppies, apple beignets, huckleberry coffee cake, duck hash, and red flannel hash. Pictured below is the epic bloody mary which came with a crab claw, pickled string beans and a deep fried quail egg. After that is a duck hash w/ wild mushroom egg scramble and herb sauce, and lastly was my dish- red flannel hash w/ deep fried poached eggs and goat cheese hollandaise sauce YUM.

I couldn't get my head around the concept of a deep fried poached egg where the yolk was cooked to a perfect golden color with a crispy outer crust so we had to ask the waitress. They informed us that the eggs were poached in water, chilled, dipped in batter, then flash fried- what a brilliant idea. It's definitely going to be hard to go back to the regular ones but this was a great vacation treat. Special thanks to the Welch family for treating us to such a memorable meal!

The Host

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Case of the Mondays

Yesterday I had a case of the Mondays, mainly due to the fact that I had beautiful weather and a long weekend. Searching various food blogs I came across the perfect way to cure my Monday blues: FRIED FOOD. A great way to avoid the guilt of eating fried foods is to eat fried veggies rather than meat. "It’s fried but atleast it’s a vegetable”

My rendition of the above recipe did not come out as fancy as the Besotted Gourmet's but still did the trick. My long work day deterred me from going to the grocery store to pick up parm and flour (how does one run out of flour?). To componsate, I made sure I kept the little guys in the pan extra long to get that sought after crust and didn't hold back on the seasoning of sea salt right at the end. I made a side of sweet and red mashed taters and washed it down with a delicious Rogue Dead Guy Ale that magically appeared in my fridge- just in time to cure my Monday Blues.

Sweet and Red Mashed Taters
4 medium sized red potatoes- cut in to quarters w/ skin on
1 Large sweet potato- peeled and but into quarters
Butter- amount depends on the chef
1/4 cup veggie stock or milk
Chopped fresh parsley & chives
Salt & Pepper
- I think you know the drill: boil the potatoes then mash together with remaining ingredients.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Barley: Part Deux

this delicious barley "risotto" is best served at room temperature. the texture of the barley is so AWESOME!! i'm really becoming a big fan of this oh so beloved grain of an oh so beloved sister crow~

Barley Risotto
1 onion chopped coarsely
2 or so cloves of garlic
1 cup pearled barley
10 oz frozen chopped spinach (or mixture w/fresh)
3+ cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 chopped roma tomatoes
1 can chick peas, drained
fresh parm

saute onion and garlic until translucent. add barley, saute to coat. add chicken broth and bay leaf and simmer 30-45 minutes covered. once barley is soft (you may have to add more broth and continue to simmer until you get here) and to your liking, add the tomatoes, pea, and spinach. cook about 5 more minutes, or until spinach is thawed/wilted and warmed through.
remove from heat, add grated parm and salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lite Summer Dinner at McBride

When the nights stay warm and muggy I can't help but hum that Billy Idol song "Hot in the City"

Who wants to bomb themselves on hearty meats and carbs when you have sweat dripping down your brow- not me! Our menu last night was lite and delicious:

Rice & Bean Stuffed Zucchini accompanied by a Summer Salad

Stuffed Zucchini
This is a play off a recipe found at Vegetarian Times. We opted for grilling instead of oven baking to fit the summer mood.
Cook 1/2 cup of rice; seasoned with bay leaf, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper
Saute red and green peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic
Once veggies are tender add diced tomato, 1/2 can of beans and fresh herbs of your choice
Combine with the rice

Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the grill cut side up
After 10-15 minutes check to see if zucchini is fork tender
Empty excess moisture from the cavity and add rice and bean mixture
Sprinkle w/ Monteray Jack cheese and cook with the grill closed for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted

We cut the finished zucchini into two inch pieces to make it more casual finger food and served them with the left over rice mixture and a delicious Summer Salad that had mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and red onions lightly dressed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Super Yummz Mo!
Also had some Tanq and Teas to wash it all down

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Homemade Body Scrub

Paul's little sister, and a good friend of mine, Lizzie, is always coming up w/new (and delish) home remedies for hair and body. Her newest love interest is body scrubs, and this "recipe" is one that surely every crow will be able to make w/3 simple ingredients: fresh coffee grounds, brown sugar in the raw and body wash!

Bodum french press coffee grounds give you nice course pieces of bean, but whatever your coffee maker leaves behind will work just fine. Mix in the raw brown sugar in about equal parts w/the coffee grounds and squeeze in some body wash just to give a little lubricant and there you have it! Lizzie also shared that the caffeine in the grounds act as a firming agent, keepin these crows' skin nice and taught!

muffins in mtl!

bonjour from montreal! la belle province!!

when it comes to cooking, i am definitely a baker, so naturally, all my overripe (and underripe for that matter) bananas go into banana bread! whenever i spy a browning banana i throw it into the freezer for later use. i find, however, that when i re-visit these frozen fruits, they've often times turned completely brown and to a frozen mush in the freezer...don't be afraid! thaw those puppies out and squeeeeeeeeeeze them into you mixing bowl, they're already mashed!! i have found, however, that bananas of the frozen type never seem to pack as much flavor and i generally add extra.

for this recipe, i only had 2 bananas and none in the freezer, what's a girl to do!? i modified my goto banana bread recipe, reducing ingredients and adding roasted almonds and coconut to produce 10 muffins! breads and muffins are great modifiers in that you can add and subtract fruits and nuts to your liking.

coconut almond banana muffins:
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbs softened butter
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup nuts
1/4 cup coconut

preheat oven to 350F
sift dry ingredients.
mix wet ingredients.
add dry to wet, then add coconut and almonds.
scoop into muffin cups and top w/a little bit of coconut
bake in preheated oven 20 min and voila!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crows unite, fly to brooklyn, eat honey.

This weekend Herself and I had the rare opportunity to perch together for a few days in Brooklynand catch up with each other and some old pals. We spent all day Saturday grazing across the borough in search sublime satisfaction/ a perfect greasy mess to cure a hangover. Some truly awesome snacking occurred, including:

-An enormous taco-esque creation that was too messy to eat in public but I did anyway
-Asian-inspired hot dogs with red cabbage slaw on top
-A mango speared on a stick and sprinkled with chili power
-Expensive, but delicious pizza, eaten under the Brooklyn bridge and washed down by summer ale.

While on the journey we encountered this small farmer's market that has some super fresh looking produce and locally made yummies.

Observe below:
This local organic cheddar made my mouth water. Herself and I took a moment to fantasize about biting into a huge block of cheese; probably not as awesome as it sounds, but still, I really wanted the cheese. Sour cherries!

Free samples! Of marinated tofu! ehhh... oh well.

And lastly, I know this is a terrible picture, but I had never seen an artichoke in full bloom before and I thought it was beautiful. (Also, side note, artichokes are my favorite food. Maybe they should be my favorite food and flower?)

Porch Monkey

I got these biddies the first week in May, I have waited patiently and now I finally have some delicious porch veggies. The tomatoes are not massive, but are still tasty. Currently waiting for my peppers to turn red (those guys are wayyy to expensive in the grocery store).

Caww out to all crows and followers please share any successful porch/roof/yard crops!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maine Lobstah

I got a call from my pops this weekend: "Hey Holl, Lobstah's only $3.99 a pound!"

Its moments like this when I realize how much I love being in Maine during the Summer. Where else could you buy a fresh lobster for cheaper than a pound of sliced deli ham?

My personal favorite way to eat lobster is boiled then dipped in fresh butter with a squeeze of lemon juice. Using these butter warmers really makes a difference; you end up using less of it because its not getting cool and coagulated and there's just something about piping hot butter that makes all the difference in taste. In terms of the actual lobster I prefer the younger chicks-their shells are so soft you can crack them with your hand. Sure there's less meat than the honking hard shells but it packs way more flavor and sweetness.

I was skimming the Portland Press Herald this morning and found a great Lobster roll and stew recipe for when you want to jazz it up:

To make the best rolls or stew, let the lobster shine through

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Experiments with Agave Nectar and Sweet Breads

It's summertime, and that means in the Bay Area, produce boxes are HEAVY on the fruits. I get so much fruit, I can't eat it all, and I'm about 3 weeks backed up on plums, nectarines, and peaches. These two breads, are my attempt to use up some of the fruits I have that are about to turn.

Recently, I was exploring a new neighborhood of Oakland and came across a silly hippy natural foods store called The Food Mill, that reminded me of the ass-backwards "health foods" stores that exist in the Northeast, and have existed there since before the dawn of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. You know the type, fresh peanut butter, more aisles of suppliments than food, and the origional pay-by-the pound grains, psices, and teas. I like the first and the latter, but the suppliment ailes both scare and piss me off. And for some reason the people that work/own these stores tend to have a bit of the creepy jesus stare in them, but I digress.


I especially love pay by the pound olive oil and honey. This time around I bought some pay-by-the-pound Agave Nectar. I have never had it before, but in my attempt to move away from refined sugars as sweetners, I figured I should give it a try. At room temperature it is way less viscous than honey, and therefore, baking was quite easy with it. It scooped right into my measuing cup with ease.

The following two breads are in the oven, so I don't know if the proportions are correct or not. I'll be sure to update when I taste...I'm hoping for a t least a 1 out of 2 here..

Orange Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 eggs, beaten

2 mashed overripe bananas
1 h applesauce
zest 1 orange

Mix everything in the usual baking manner- wets with wets, dry with dry. Bake in a buttered and floured pan- shape and size of your choosing (I did 4 X 9) at 350 until the skewar comes out clean.

Plum Cardamom Bread

1 c. fresh plum cubed

1/2 c applesauce
1 yogurt cup
1/2 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup white sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp. fresh salt

1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 t cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix everything in the usual baking manner- wets with wets, dry with dry. Bake in a buttered and floured pan- shape and size of your choosing (I did 4 X 9) at 350 until the skewer comes out clean. If you feel like it make a sweet decoration of plums on the top of the bread- I recommend this as the top crust wasn't as hearty as I had hoped for.