I was determined to dye eggs this year but the idea of buying those kits at the grocery store wasn't really inspiring. Not to mention now that I have a child, I worry worry worry about ingredients and chemicals and how they affect my family (although I grew up using those kits and I turned out fine, right?).
I used FarmMade's link and followed their recipe to dye these eggs. The three with stripes were tied with butcher string. The blue egg was dyed using red wine. The yellow one used curry powder. The orangish ones used chili powder. I found out that kale does NOT produce any color, and brown eggs just do not take on the color as vibrantly as the white eggs.
I made this announcement to some of my coworkers recently yet
none of them seemed as excited as I wanted them to, so I'll announce it here
too: I conquered pizza dough! The back story of this is
pretty simple: we tend to order in pizza on the weekend, and I decided that one
of my goals should be to make my own pizza dough. Cue the movie reel of me making pizza after
pizza (ok, maybe just two or three), all of them soggy in the middle or burnt
to a crisp on top just to get the middle set.
I'm obviously a quitter, because after those few failures, I gave up
entirely until right after the New Year.
Armed with a gifted new pizza cast iron pan and a fancy pizza cutter, I got to
work. The first recipe I tried did not
give me the crispy thin crust I was after, but in that recipe's defense I did
not spread it thin enough (resulting in thick, bready dough that required
over-baking and resulted in browned cheese on top...meh). I immediately abandoned that recipe and went
back to google square one.
is what I found. And it
worked! Worked like a charm. The key, I think, is getting the stone hot and letting it stay that way for almost an hour. I've started making a fresh batch on
Sunday morning, then freezing half of it for the next week. At the risk of sounding terrible domestic, there
is nothing that makes me feel like super mom and super wife like pulling freshly
made pizza dough out of the freezer and having a home-made pizza by
For sauce, I use Mark Bittman's basic tomato sauce recipe - similar
although the one I use starts with browning smashed garlic cloves and then
simmering with canned tomatoes. A quick
spin with the immersion blender and I've got smooth, homemade pizza sauce. You could also add bay leaves, or chopped
basil. What I love about making the
sauce and the pizza (aside from the fact that my husband loves - no, LOVES - pizza)
is that I can use up what I have on hand.
Last night it was green peppers/red onion/pepperoni. A few weeks ago it was olives/sweet
onion. My next goal is to make a cream
pizza sauce, like this,
and maybe add some poblanos as toppings.
Any other pizza ideas?
I've baked and made many things since June or my last post. There was a peach pie for Fourth of July. There may have been some cookies somewhere in there. I hosted a baby shower in mid-November that had a comfort food theme so I did chili, roasted apple soup, ginger apple sparklers, rolls, and gluten free cheesecake for the mamma to be, not to mention lots of appetizers (the baked salami with mustard dip was a hit!). And most recently, I made pear bread topped with chocolate ganache for our Thanksgiving breakfast and old-fashioned ginger snaps for Thanksgiving snacking. Because you need to snack during Thanksgiving, right?
A few Saturdays ago I ended up making a really great dinner and I wanted to come here and tell you about it. It was one of those combinations that I sort of made up, and it turned out so well that I figured I should at least chronicle it here, if for nothing else so that I can reference it again when I can't think of an impressive yet easy dinner recipe.
I started with Molly Wizenberg's book (previously) and started thumbing through while little A ate his breakfast (boy, that kid can eat). I found this meatball recipe and since it used some of my favorite ingredients - pine nuts, golden raisins, cilantro - plus I had most of it already, I figured it was fate. The lemon yogurt dipping sauce also sounded wonderful, but I felt like I needed something spicy to pair with the cool dip and the warm, filling meatballs. My husband gave me Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican for my birthday and one of the first recipes I bookmarked was one for pickled chilies and vegetables and figured now was a great time to bring out that recipe (here is a similar one).
And, lo and behold, it was a success! My only complaint with the meatballs (I used turkey) is that they tended to fall apart slightly when I cooked them, so I ended up having a pan full of mostly intact meatballs with some having fallen apart and weaped their contents all over the place. No matter, really - they made for really great sticky cooked bits that we ate with a spoon along with the whole meatballs. Everything played well together - the yogurt sauce helped cool off the spicy marinated peppers and was a nice smooth sauce to balance the wonderfully chunky meatballs.
tuuuurtle! totally unrelated to this post, but really cute, no?
I'm not one to be excited about vegan dishes, usually. We have several vegan restaurants in Memphis
and I haven't tried any of them. My
husband and I both eat anything, so usually a (to me) more realistic option for
us is somewhere that, you know, serves dairy and meat.
However. I also
really love vegetables and could
probably become vegetarian if the need arose.
I usually order meals that aren't very meat-centric, and we eat meat-free
salads all week long (which helps us balance out our typical gluttonous
weekends of eating out and my baking habits).
So, when I saw Appetite
for Reductionin my suggested reads on my Amazon homepage, I was
somewhat dubious but intrigued because, wow, if you take one look at the
reviews it's pretty hard not to see that this is a promising book. I bought it last year sometime, and of course
am just now getting around to using it.
But poor me! I could
have been enjoying these recipes for an entire year. Dang, people, these are good recipes. Not only are they full of flavor, you have
barely anything to feel guilty about - approximately 200 to 400 calories per
serving and you're done. Seriously, go
try some of her recipes here. And then buy her book.
And if you try just one recipe, try her Chickpea Piccata recipe. I made it over the weekend and brought it to
work for my lunches. I added some
chicken (not vegan, remember?), and ate it over arugula. Oh. My. Goodness. Seriously.
Somehow the flavors combine and give you rainbows in your mouth. I read a lot of food blogs and become irritated
when people get excited about a recipe online ("Try this! OMG!") because then I have to wait hours
until I can get home and try it myself, but at the risk of being annoying, I'll
say it again - make this recipe NOW. So
good, so fast, so easy. You could serve
it over potatoes (or her Caulipots which I still have yet to try), or just eat
it with arugula like I did.
Seriously. Go now. Then when you eat this for lunch (like I did today), you'll have extra calories that you can use up on the lemon meringue pie you baked over the weekend and will eat a slice of (like I will tonight).
A few Saturdays ago I really wanted something crispy and
crunchy, and something with shrimp. I
thought long and hard about this, and wrote a recipe in my head that involved
breading shrimp with panko and then baking it.
As much as I would like to think that I'm the first one to think of it,
a quick google search proved me wrong.
There are no more real, original ideas, right?
I settled on this
recipe, and modified it back to reality by using a whole egg and 2%
milk. I knew going into it that the
seasoning looked a little on the bland side, and yikes, I was right. Next time I'll amp up the flavorings for
sure. If we had eaten this shrimp on its
own, the lack of flavor would have been more of an issue, but I served it with
homemade remoulade, which more than made up for the flavor deficiency in the
shrimp. I typically use the remoulade
recipe from this
book (gosh how I love this book.
Have I told you that before? I
bought this at an antique mall - at the much missed Bojo's
in Memphis - after our honeymoon to New Orleans and I looove it. Love!
His little stories alone about his mom and grandmother are worth the
price of the book, but the recipes are great as well).
Also: Mother's Day. Let me just say...my husband did so
well. As did the weather! I told him I didn't want any gifts - just
time with the two of them. So that's
exactly what we did. We kicked off the
weekend with brunch at Cafe
Eclectic, and then we drove out to Shelby Farms to pick
strawberries. I told my husband that I
want this to be just one of the many traditions that we start with A. My grandmother took me to pick strawberries
when I was young and I always remember that fondly. After the berry picking (and A's first
taste!), we had milkshakes at Wiles-Smith, and
then we went home and I got to make jam while little A played in the kitchen
with me. That night, we grilled pork
steaks and corn on the cob and enjoyed our deck and the nice weather. On Sunday, my husband made me buttermilk
waffle, bacon, and coffee. Do you see a
theme with this Mother's Day?
And then last weekend (yes, I'm still typing, I'm really
sorry), there was a request put in for some homemade ice cream, so I made
french vanilla ice cream using this
recipe from my KitchenAid ice cream maker recipe booklet. I know, way to branch out, right? But I've made it before and it's so. so.
good. Does anyone else sort of gasp when
they start pouring the custard into the mixer, like it won't all fit in
there? It always miraculously does,
though. And each time I make ice cream I
think about the other recipes that I want to try, like this. I'm also on the lookout for a pistachio ice
cream (or gelato? custard?) recipe. Any
ideas out there?
is how I feel about coffee. I wish every
moment was a morning moment so I can just slowly sip good coffee and pick at a
warm pastry. Right?
Ok, one last link. I
brisket on Saturday night for some good friends (who are
expecting! Any day now, and our little
boy will have a playmate!), and it turned out beautifully. I didn't have any peach preserves on hand,
but I did have canned peaches. I tried
to make them better by simmering them in butter and brown sugar for an
hour. It was a good stand in for the
I promised a report on those pink cookies that I made last
week last month. I'm afraid to say
that I was a bit disappointed in them. I
think the cherry flavoring (the one thing that had intrigued me about that
recipe!) really threw everything off...the flavor was subtle but I still felt
like I was tasting icing mixed with cherry cough syrup. I sent the majority of them to school with my
husband (the students loved them of course, but what kids don't love cookies?),
and the rest I have frozen: iced and ready to go, for the drop-in guest, since
I doubt we'll eat them soon. Not the
worst cookies I've ever made, but...I don't think I'll be revisiting that
recipe. Sorry, Molly!
In other cooking news, I've really been interested in
cooking more meat on the stovetop (as I've said before, I usually leave the
meat to my grill-loving husband), so for the past few weekends, we've been
indulging in some warm, fatty meals.
It's usually a combination of stewed/braised meat + grain/carb. My recipes of choice have been:
Pork Vindaloo (Spicy Pork with Cinnamon), from
How to Cook Everything (here
is the original recipe, but I really like this
adaptation - she added squash and raisins!) + rice
The spicy pork recipe is an absolute winner, which makes me
glad that I ignored my inner cheapskate and shelled out the $10 for the
cardamom spice. A warning, though: the
color of the final dish is a dismal, almost unappealing dark grey. That's why I really liked the idea of adding
squash (or onions?) to the mix for next time to add some color.
We did have one warm weekend somewhere near the end of
February so I made Creamy Cabbage and Potatoes (here),
and served it with Cheese Stuffed Grilled Flank Steak (you like how I
capitalized that like it's an actual recipe?).
Whenever we put out sausage and cheese plates for dinner guests (or just
ourselves, we love apps!), we'll sprinkle some Rendezvous
seasoning on the sausage, so we thought why not adapt that for the steak? We sprinkled the meat with the seasoning and
then stuffed the steak with sharp cheddar.
Paired with the cabbage and potato dish, it was such a good combo! We patted ourselves on the back for that one.
On the sweet side, I
made Spicy Date Bars from my absolute favorite
one). I've probably posted about it
before, but every recipe I try out of it is a pure winner. It seems like so many of the recipes in the book involve dates, prunes, or
raisins, so if those aren't your thing then you may not like it.
I also made these Orange
Chocolate Chip Ricotta muffins over the weekend. The base batter was fantastic, and the orange
flavor + chocolate was very good. I
think next time I'd use a combination of bittersweet or semi-sweet chips - milk
chocolate was just too sweet, but I was trying to use up what's in my pantry
(don't you love doing that?). I also
think another good combo would be to substitute walnuts for the chocolate
chips. I cut back on the sugar a bit and
left off the glaze, and we didn't miss either. P.S. Why is it still so cold??