Friday, January 28, 2011

Greek Tamari Dressing

Saving this recipe which I got from my mum (in the process of packing, so I can't be sure to ever find this paper again!).

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking: 5 mins
Makes 2 cups

-- 3 Tbs. white sesame seeds
-- 1/4 c. oil
-- 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
-- 2 Tbs. tamari (or soy sauce)
-- 2 Tbs. tahini (or sesame paste)
-- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
-- 1 tsp. ground mustard
-- 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
-- 1/2 tsp. salt
-- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
-- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
-- 1/2 c. water

In a small skillet, dry roast the seeds on medium heat for 5 mins, stirring constantly until seeds brown. Remove and cool 5 mins.

In blender/food processor, combine cooled seeds and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Serve immediately or refridgerate until ready to use. May be stored, covered in fridge for one week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So today was my first day as a music teacher (crazy!). I showed up exactly on time -- I was aiming for early, but I completely forgot that what is normally a 30 min walk winds up being almost 40 when there's snow and muck from a fresh snowstorm. (Why does every block have to end in a 6" deep puddle?) It turns out that my new student was as equally unprepared as I: reeds and book hadn't come in, and I didn't think about supplying them myself, nor do I have a stand, nor did I bring a notepad and pencil to give her her lesson. Oh well -- we'll learn together!

Apparently Mister had a miserable day. Tons of meetings (tons of rescheduling), production failures, and just all-around not-fun-ness. He called me when he was heading out and said "Yeah, I'm just feeling really stressed and overwhelmed." So I said the magic phrase: I'm planning on making pizza. So with that said, pizza is in oven and Mister is en route.

As it has been awhile since I made a pizza, I quickly checked through the archives to see how long I needed to cook it. Has it really been nearly four months since I've made pizza?! I am flabbergasted. I'll have to change that up!

Here's to a relaxing evening at home with Mister!

Not Happy -- At least we move soon

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Notice how both of these items of food are half eaten? Guess who DIDN'T eat them? Mister or myself. When I came home on Sunday, we went to have a snackie -- only to discover that the snackie had previously been snacked. Mister had had a friend crash here -- we checked, he did not snack. This leaves only ONE PERSON who comes into our apartment: the cleaning lady from hell.

She is not returning. She's supposed to have one more date to clean, but this is beyond the pale for Mister. Hells, we spent almost $6 on that salsa alone! And to have had someone else be eating it and put it in our fridge?!

I am not happy -- we haven't even touched the salsa and chips because it's weirded us out. Frankly, I don't understand how she came with such a shiny seal of approval from our LL in the first place. Alright -- I just have to get over this. I'll never see her again.

R -- this post is the reason why I haven't posted much yet. I needed to post this one, and needed to have the time to be able to think about it rationally -- not my strong suit!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pine Nuts

So aside from pesto, this pine nut porridge is a way to use pine nuts!


So after being in NY for a week (skiing, seeing family and more skiing), I came home last night. Mister not only looked fabulous in a new vest, but had the lovely flowers shown above in the car when he picked me up, as a nice surprise. He knows how much I love yellow flowers, and it's too early for daffodils.

The skiing was great, seeing family was mixed (my grandparents are not doing well... :-\), but it's great to be home.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Turnabout Is Fair Play

So remember the time that I said I had no intention of making bread? Well, I lied apparently. The amount of baked goodness on the internets coupled with my chicken soup that I made yesterday lured my bread-baking out of hiding.

So! Pics of soup making.

Making stock from my nommy chicken carcass.

You have to strain out all of the bones and such.

After picking through all of the bones for meat (because SOMEONE ate the meat I reserved for soup...)

Sooooooooooooup glorious sooooooup.

Nommy bread!

So the recipe (bare bones though it is) for the bread is as follows:

I started with this recipe for garlic soda bread and leaped off from there. I used 50/50 WW flour/white flour, and regular skim milk (in lieu of buttermilk). I then threw in grated sharp provolone and parmesan, fresh rosemary, fresh basil, and some herbs des provences for good measure. Mixed it all up in the bowl, didn't really bother kneading, and threw it in a greased round cake pan, and topped it with more grated cheese and course sea salt for good measure. Baked for a little over 20 mins, et voila! Tastiness achieved!

Best part about it? Mister was pleasantly surprised and said it was really tasty (although too much salt on top) -- the last thing I threw together breadwise was a spectacular failure :-\

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Why does it seem like everyone is posting yummy quick breads right now?

Granted, not all of those are bread per se, but the point still stands. Why must people make these delicious soda breads when I do not have a good kitchen?! Yes, yes, I am aware that one can make anything with limited space -- just willpower. But in my head, bread is a complicated, demanding beast that requires all of my attention and counterspace. And cleaning up mid-project is not my forte. :-P

I keep pushing back my thoughts on baking bread -- "I'll bake in the new apartment", "I'll have a starter in the new apartment", "I'll bake weekly bread in the new apartment" -- I'm hanging an awful lot on the new apartment!

With that being said, I still have no intention of baking in this apartment. It's too cramped and confining to feel comfortable doing so. I need lots of space in order to feel free to experiment and/or feel free to actually get flour everywhere... Also, we aren't fully in a cooking routine. We keep starting ones, but then not falling through. Having a full kitchen and full equipment will make that easier, and would then be nice to have a baking day. (It's so easy to PLAN things...)

I Love Oatmeal Sometimes

This is what it looks like when you forget to eat your oatmeal, and try to take it out of the pan the next day.

Gardening Thoughts

So I have placed an order for seeds from FedCo.

2555 - Giant Winter Spinach ( A=1/4oz) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
2986 - Summer Lettuce Mix ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
3034 - Perpetual Spinach or Leaf Beet ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
3040 - Ruby Red Rhubarb Chard ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
3459 - White Russian Kale OG ( A=2g) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50

It should ship out within two weeks.

So there are a couple of things to keep in mind with my new garden. One, is that I still have most of the seeds from last year. Two, is that it's a mostly shade garden. However, there is space in front for potted sun-loving plants.

Feedback from Sharon: Greens are the most shade tolerant vegetables. Rhubarb is somewhat shade tolerant (vegetable/fruit borderline), and there are a few minor perennials that are also shade tolerant (check out Eric Toenesmeier’s _Perennial Vegetables_ for suggestions), but you might also want to go with fruit. Currants, blackberries and raspberries are quite shade tolerant.

I am in hardiness zone: 6-7, expected last frost date 3/30-4/30.

onions == full sun
shallots == full sun
potatoes == full sun
garlic == full sun
carrots == full sun

It looks like most root storage veggies are full sun.

Order garlic in mid-June for fall planting from FedCo bulbs.

The Herbs from Last Year
- Cilantro (1 gram) -- likes sun [lightly crush seed pods, soak in water 24-48 hours, let dry before planting]
- German Chamomile (1 gram) -- prefers full sun, can tolerate some shade
- Sweet Basil (4 grams) -- 3-4 hours in warm climates, 6-8 in cool
- Bouquet Dill (4 grams) -- full sun

The Vegetables from Last Year
- Melissa Savoy Cabbage (1/2 gram) -- start inside 8-10 weeks before last frost date -- needs sun
- Arugula (1/16 oz.)
- Salad Bowl Lettuce (2 grams)
- Tiger Eye Dry Bean (2 oz.)
- Vermont Cranberry Shell/Dry Bean (2 oz.)
- Indy Gold Bush Wax Bean (2 oz.)
- Midnight Black Turtle Dry Bean (2 oz.)
- Lincoln Shell Pea (2 oz.)
- Dwarf Grey Sugar Snow Pea (2 oz.)

The Sun-Loving Plants from Last Year
- Heirloom Tomato Mix (1/5 gram)
- "Be My Baby Gene Pool" Cherry Tomato (1/5 gram)
- Rutgers Tomato (1/5 gram)
- Long Red Narrow Cayenne Pepper (1/2 gram)
- Sugar Baby Watermelon (1/16 oz.)
- Arava Cantaloupe (1 gram)
- Raven Zucchini (1/8 oz.)
- Sugar Snax 54 Carrot (1 gram)
- Saffron Summer Squash (1/8 oz.)
- Baby Pam Pumpkin (1/4 oz.)
- Small Ornamental Gourds Mix (1/8 oz.)

I will plant the tomatoes and peppers, but most of the curcurbits I don't think I'll have the room for. :-( I'll have to see what I can do.

Plans for new apartment thus far:

Ideas for the New Apartment
Plans for 2011
Fridge and Freezer Plans
Pantry Plans
Plants that Grow in Shade
Food Storage Tubs

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!

So most of the East Coast is getting blanketed by a beautiful blizzard. Both of my jobs are closed, Mister is working from home (as is all of his office), and our houseguest had his job interview moved to tomorrow. This leaves us plenty of time to hang out, eat tasty food, and not bother getting dressed. Lazy days like this are always great.

Today started with the phone call telling me not to come into work. It continued with coffee and squash pie.

Squash pie happened because one of my winter storage squashes started dying, and I roasted it, pureed it and mixed it with delicious spices*. However, Mister has been teaching our houseguest how to cook, so every night has spread throughout our very small kitchen with dinner supplies. This makes me lazy and not wanting to roll out pie crust -- so squash pie of deliciousness is in a store-bought graham cracker crust. Fail, but delicious anyways. :-P

Last night's dinner was a delicious Boeuf Bourguignon made by Mister and his friend. The night before was alfredo. I am a fan of delicious food that I don't have to make!

That being said, I'm roasting a chicken for dinner tonight. We'll probably have the chicken with potatoes, carrots and applesauce. I'm going to try to recreate my amazing chicken from last month. Yay for tasty chicken!

* = Squash filling is very easy: approx. 2 c. pureed squash, 2 eggs, and either 8 oz. milk/cream and sugar, or can of sweetened condensed milk. The spices I used were: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and garam masala.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Needed to be Posted

Mister: It's okay baby. I trust you in the kitchen.
(*incredulous look)
Mister: Yes, you can quote me on that.

Ideas for the New Apartment

So Laura over at Pug in the Kitchen has some really great ideas that I'd like to use in the new apartment.

Item one is this pancake mix. It's the healthiest pancake mix I've ever seen, and I've asked her how it converts to waffles (since they're one of my true loves), and will report the result.

Pancake Mix:
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
3 1/2 cups ground whole oats
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Sift if you'd like. Store in an airtight container in the freezer indefinitely or on the counter/in your cabinet for up to 3 weeks. When you are ready to prepare the pancakes, all you have to do is take 1 cup of the mix, 1 cup of water/milk/buttermilk and 1 whole egg. Beat them together and cook them on an ungreased griddle until golden brown on both sides.

Options: exchange the egg for mashed banana, and add spices for tasty banana pancakes!

Item two: in her post on menu planning, she mentions that she keeps a menu board in her kitchen by using an old picture frame with a plain background inside. She then writes on the glass in white-board marker what the menu for the week is. It looks so cute in her kitchen, and would be a good idea to help Mister and I keep on board with menus and budgets.

It seems like I'm putting so much on hold until we move, but honestly, I don't want to get into any big-time planning because we'll no sooner be in the swing of things, than we'll have to pack up and get out of the swing. :-P

Plans for new apartment thus far:

Plans for 2011
Fridge and Freezer Plans
Pantry Plans
Plants that Grow in Shade
Food Storage Tubs

Plans and Minutiae

First order of business: shake this bad cold that I picked up last week. Did it happen before my two days off so that I could recover? Nope! Happened in the evening of my last day off, so that I could be nice and sick (and incomprehensible due to laryngitis) while at either of my two sales jobs. "(*cough hack) (*in a croak) Would you like to (*cough hack) try some lotion?"

Yeah. Loads of fun.

Items to get accomplished: clean the house. It was beautiful until we had a week of houseguests. And the LL gets really fidgity when thinking about the desolation our apartment MUST be in, and would like to know when it will be clean for the R.E. agent to show it. If the LL had actually TALKED to us about this, instead of slipping a note, I would have given the standard answer for showing a lived-in apartment: 24 hours notice before ALL showings. Period. No exceptions. It will always be clean, it will always be ready, and we will always be out of the way.

EDIT: Left a note for LL stating exactly that. Only without the "if you'd actually talked to us" bit. :-P And slightly less bitchy.

I really don't think I have any other specific plans to get accomplished other than what will fall under the umbrella of "cleaning the house". Kitchen, living room, and put laundry away.

Although, as an aside, it WAS really nice to see that my family had the same reaction to my LL's ridiculous rules and regulations: they wanted to flout them. And since they were normally noise restrictions, flout them LOUDLY. :-P

Holiday Follow-up

So, as a follow-up to Christmas, I asked for very few things -- and surprise, surprise, got them!

The only thing I actually asked for: a spoon rest (already dirty 'cause I made hot chocolate).

My sis got me the cutest little tea strainer.

He floats in your drink! He'll match my duckie tea kettle (looooooong story about all the ducks... :-P).

And my mum got me a beautiful carved wood tea strainer. I'm happy with all of the tea strainers, as I only had the one, and if more than one person wanted tea, we'd have to use bagged tea or share a strainer. :-\

We also got a couple of books relating to cooking (from Mister's and my families), lots of cookies, and other sundry items such as a calendar. All in all, a good Christmas!