Pink drinks for summer

A bit over a week ago I found this recipe for strawberry-rhubarb infused vodka and I knew I had to make it. I haven’t had luck with infusions in the past but I did like that this recipe made a small batch. Also rhubarb….I’m a sucker for rhubarb.

I meant to try the drink included with the infusion recipe, or the spiked lemonade. But this afternoon I realized I forgot to pick up the necessary ingredients. So a “simple” vodka & soda was made (really a better test anyway).

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1 1/2 – 2 oz infused vodka
6 oz soda or seltzer water
mint garnish optional

June 14, 2013. Tags: , , . Cooking, Life. 2 comments.

An Abundance of Chard (and words)

A few notes on food The post was getting too long so now it is just about chard.  And hopping onto the chard bandwagon.  In the past few days I've seen mentions of chard on Finny Knits and Domicile  – and these blogs are in my non-food folder of Bloglines. Last week, looking around for suggestions on what to do with that bunch of rainbow chard in the fridge, I was directed to this Swiss Chard Tart recipe from Mario Batali.  I was looking for a more substantial (and just different) recipe than my usual Sauteed Tender Greens from The New Best Recipe (served with the grain of the day, perhaps with a side of bean protein of some type).  It was between this recipe and quiche with chard, and I just wasn't feeling like making a pie crust (so lazy) but then I weighed my bunch of chard and discovered it was about 3/4 lb.  Oops.  So I used the Mario Batali recipe as a guide and did the following:

1 bunch swiss chard (about 3/4 lb)
olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
handful fresh flat leaf parsley
2 eggs
salt
pepper
1/2 cup finely grated fresh parm
1 square "artisan" roll turned into bread crumbs – a couple big handfuls

Preheat the oven to, um, 350F. I gave the swiss chard a nice cool soak in the clean sink, removing any bits of sandy dirt.  Then I lightly shook the water off the leaves (you want a bit of water clinging*) and set them in a colander and started the chopping process.  I removed the stems and set them aside (no way was I throwing away that pretty color) and cut the leaves into short ribbons.  Then I cut the stems into small pieces and set them aside.  I cut my onion into thin slices and crushed my two cloves of garlic.  I minced the fresh parsley.

I grabbed my big 12" saute pan and threw in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  I added the swiss chard stems and the onions and cooked until nice and soft.  Then I added the garlic and sauteed until it was fragrant.  At this point I threw in all of my chard leave ribbons and covered the pan.  After a minute or so (sorry don't remember precisely) I stirred the chard and covered it again.  When the chard looked nice and wilted yet still a bright green I tossed the parsley in, stirred then dumped the pan contents back in the colander to drain and cool. In between the onion/chard cooking I was making bread crumbs and grating parmesan and oiling my 9" pie pan.

I cracked two eggs in a bowl and beat them, adding some salt and pepper as well as a couple tablespoons of the parmesan.  Then I sprinkled a good handful of breadcrumbs (perhaps up to 1/2 cup) in the oiled pie pan.  I also stirred the veggies to help drain and make sure it was cool.  Once I was satisfied the veggies were cool enough to not cook the eggs I dumped them into the eggs, gave it a good mix  cover the veggies in egg and dumped it all in the pie pan.  I smoothed the top, sprinkled with another handful of bread crumbs and then parmesan.  I popped it in the oven for about 30 minutes (until it looked golden and like the eggs were cooked in the middle).

Wow.  Typing this all out it sounds horribly complicated but I swear it wasn't.  Though it did make a few more dirty dishes than I prefer.  Anyways it was quite yummy and not very eggy at all (when I started I wondered how it was different from quiche, but it turns out the eggs just coated the veggies as opposed to the mostly custard with some veggies of quiche).

*While the recipe above instructs you to boil the chard for like 10 minutes, according to TNBR swiss chard is a green that does not require blanching before the final cooking.  They say that the water clinging to the leaves will provide enough moisture for wilting (along with the oil in the pan).

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June 2, 2008. Tags: , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Craving dessert

Friday night I stumbled upon a bread pudding recipe in my Moosewood Cookbook and suddenly felt like I must make bread pudding that night.  I've only had bread pudding once or twice before and never felt it awed by it.  But I started craving it, I actually blame reading about pumpkin bread pudding on Smitten Kitchen the other day – the Moosewood recipe just jarred that memory.  I've also been craving chocolate lately but eating a plain chocolate bar had no appeal.  I didn't really follow either recipe but threw this together and was quite pleased with how it turned out.  I liked the slightly crunchy top the best, but the softer bottom pieces had much better flavor.



1/2 loaf baguette (about 8 oz), or other white bread
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1/2 half and half
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
2 tablespoons gold rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 dark chocolate bars (about 5 oz)*

Put the chunk of butter into a 8 x 8 glass baking dish and place it in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Pull out the pan once the butter has melted (don't let it burn).  Meanwhile, cut the baguette into 1-inch cubes, you should have between 4 and 5 cups of bread.  Add the bread to the pan with butter and toss to coat.  Chop the chocolate bars into coarse chunks and add to the bread in the pan.  Beat the milk, half and half, and eggs together.  Stir in the sugar, ginger, rum, and vanilla.  Pour the custard over the bread and chocolate and bake for about 30 minutes.  All the custard should be absorbed and set.

*I'm sure grated fresh ginger would be even better but at 11 pm that seemed like too much work; I used 3 dark chocolate hershey's bars (1.45 oz each) because that is what I had on hand, in hindsight I think 2 1/2 bars would have been perfect.

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October 22, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Weekend Breakfast

I love breakfast.  I rarely eat breakfast but I love it.  I do enjoy making weekend breakfasts, dishes that are more time consuming and fattening than real life normally accommodates.

We had french toast with a stewed fruit topping (compote doesn't seem accurate) last Sunday.

I wasn't feeling like having maple syrup on my french toast and so I decided to try and recreate a fruit stewed syrup like thing I read about somewhere.  I couldn't find the recipe so I just made it up.  I put 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries and 3 tablespoons of white grape juice to simmer on the stove.  Once the fruit defrosted I started mashing it.  Unfortunately I used too much juice and it was not getting syrupy.  Then I realized that we had lots of pears and apples available.  I picked up a very ripe pear, peeled it and cut it into a fine dice then added that to the blueberries.  I was hoping that the pears would have pectin and that would thicken things up.  They didn't thicken the juices at all, but the additional fruit added bulk and that helped as well.  I let this mixture simmer while I made the french toast.

I made my basic french toast: one egg per person, a splash of milk (somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup) per egg, a drop of vanilla extract and a good sprinkle of cinnamon beaten together.  I always use a pie plate for the custard, it is deep enough that spills don't happen, wide enough that bread fits easily but not so wide that the custard is too thin to soak the bread.  I give bread a brief soak on each side then put it in a pan with a bit of melted butter, flipping once, maybe twice if necessary.  I think the amount of custard I made coated 5 or 6 pieces of bread.

Anway, the stewed fruit or compote or whatever you call it was delicious.  The approximately 2 1/2 cups of fruit was just the right amount for the two of us (we are generous with our fruit topping) and the juice that would not thicken was still very yummy soaked into the french toast with bits of fruit on top.  I'm not sure if I want to go back to maple syrup on my french toast at all.

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October 8, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

Lemon Muffins

My aunt made a really yummy granola-like muffins for me while I was staying at her house.  The recipe came from a Cooking Light article on various baked goods.  I flipped through the magazine while there and found this recipe for Lemon-Scented Olive Oil Muffins and I thought of this yummy olive oil I recently feel in love with from TJs (about 6 or 7 dollars a bottle, dark glass bottle, used to indicate olive origin).

Frankly I didn't notice the olive oil in the muffin, but they were nice and moist (2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 cup of sour cream they should be) without the glaze, even yummier with the glaze.  And they weren't overly sweet like some lemon baked goods.  All in all I do recommend seeing if your local public library has the January/February 2006 issue of Cooking Light to take a look (unless of course your public library has a habit of chucking magazines more than 12 months old).

Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream*
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind (it is about 1-2 lemons worth)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons milk*
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 large egg white
muffin tin paper liners*

Preheat the oven to 350F, prep 9 muffins tins with liners.  Mix the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together the wet ingredients (sour cream though egg white) in a small bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir until just moistened.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or a #24 scoop, which is 3 tablespoons according to its package) fill the muffin tins (the recipe claimed it would make 10 muffins, using the scoop I barley made 9).  Bake for 25 minutes (the muffins should barely be golden and will spring back when touched).  Let them cool then top with 1 teaspoon of glaze per muffin.

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Whisk everything together in a small bowl until smooth.  These quantities are what the original recipe called for but I'd recommend cutting the recipe in half or thirds (but I'd leave the lemon zest as is because can you have too much lemon zest) since I had a lot of glaze leftover.

*notes:  the original recipe called for fat-free dairy products, I used what I had on hand.  It also called for cooking spray but I used paper liners.  And speaking of paper liners, I picked up some unbleached paper muffin tin liners and my muffins don't actually stick to them as they did the pastel colored liners I used to buy.

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July 6, 2007. Tags: , , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Lunch

A lovely revision of last night's dinner: Rosemary bread from TJ's (obtained yesterday's bike riding-errand adventure of 8 miles!), homemade rosemary-white bean spread, thinly sliced cucumbers, a few thin slices of red bell pepper, lettuce and champagne mustard (the last two are from yesterday's Farmer's Market adventure) plus a handful of honey roasted peanuts (also from TJ's). 

I took a couple bites before I realized that it was a rather pretty sandwich and would be a good chance to showcase one of my birthday plates.  Shown above is the "salad plate" although we generally use the similarly shaped wide and shallow bowl for salads, there is also a matching dinner plate and cute non-hulking but big mugs.  I finally have matching dishes.  I also got a serving set (platter, vegetable bowl, sugar, creamer and s&c saucer) in the same shape with fun polka dots and stripes in bright pastels.  I am still ridiculously happy to have pretty matching dishes, and while I love fun patterns, the food generally looks much prettier against that lovely white.

Oh yes, the rosemary-white bean spread.  It was mentioned repeatedly on a message board I participate in.  I never noticed a recipe but someone probably mentioned it at some point.  Just in case I did a quick epicurious search and then did what I planned to do all along (though I might try the version with cumin and coriander sometime soon).  Just to warn you this is a rather garlicy rosemary white bean spread so you might consider less garlic if you are planning on taking this to work.

Food processor + one can white cannellini beans + one garlic clove smooshed + a few tablespoons of olive oil + the leaves from one sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped + a pinch of kosher salt=rosemary white bean spread.

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July 2, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. 1 comment.