Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 24

T-towels. I could be onto something here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 23

Totally freaked about something I just heard.
Totally inspired
by Alabama Chanin.
Trying to sublimate the first with the second.
Almost succeeding.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Almond-Citrus Tuiles

This was my first attempt at baking tuiles. They were wonderful, until I put them in a plastic container with some linzer cookies, and they lost their crispness. But they were super-easy, so I'll try them again. Here's the recipe:

Almond-Citrus Tuiles
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbs all-purpose flour

1. Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (175°C). Generously spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.

2. Put 1/3 cup of the almonds and the confectioners' sugar in a food processor; process until the almonds are very finely ground. Stir together the superfine sugar, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended. Stir in the almond mixture, the remaining almonds, and the lime zest. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine.

3. Drop 5 mounds of the batter on each baking sheet, using 2 level teaspoonfuls for each mound, spacing them about 4" (10cm) apart. Using a fork dipped in cold water, spread each mound to make a 2-1/4" (6cm) round, being sure to evenly distribute the almonds. Bake until the edges are browned but the centers are still pale, 6-7 minutes.

4. Push a thin metal spatula under a cookie to life it, then drape the cookie over a rolling pin, gently pressing so it curves. Repeat with the remaining cookies. If the cookies harden before you can shape them, return them to the oven for about 30 seconds. Cool, wash, dry and spray the baking sheets before making the remaining 8 cookies.

From Best-Ever Desserts by Weight Watchers.

February 22

I very rarely go to the mall. Maybe once a year, if I have to go to the Apple store or something. Yesterday I decided I really DID need a very thin metal spatula, and the supermarkets just weren't yielding one despite me optimistically looking for months, so it was time to bite the bullet and go to Williams Sonoma at the mall. Grumbling to myself about it, I parked, traipsed in, and .... discovered that the shop was now a martial arts studio. No Williams Sonoma. I guess that's what happens if you don't go to the mall very often. Things change and you don't know about it.

Stymied and a bit pissed off, I suddenly remembered something. Lurking in my wallet were a couple of Barnes and Noble gift cards. Another thing I very rarely do is buy myself things. But maybe I could turn this trip around.

Regina Spektor is an artist I've recently discovered thanks to Pandora. And the book ... well ... it looks gorgeous. At $35, I would never have bought it without a gift card. So, no spatula, but two presents for myself anyway. I came home pretty pleased after all.

Background fabric is "Orchard" by Pippijoe, a Christmas gift from my lovely sister.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 21

Before I met Josh, I lived with a beautiful, hyper, talkative night owl named Gina.One day she called Salvation Army and arranged for them to pick up some furniture we were giving away. When the truck arrived, she noticed this statue in the back.
She suspected I would like it, so asked the driver if she could have it. He was a bit hesitant, because he was not meant to give stuff away. It was all meant to go back to the store, where it would be priced and sold.

But Gina was (and still is) beautiful and persuasive, so he gave it to her. And she left it on my art table, with no explanation. And it was there when I came home.

And every day it reminds me of her wonderfulness, and the lovely nine months in which we shared that house with the wood floors and fireplace and toilets that didn't work properly. Those were good days.

Thank you, Gina.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 18

Now that she's opened it, I can share the gift I made my sister for her birthday. We Aussies have a national penchant for souvenir teatowels, and Nettie and I are particularly fond of charming ones. So at around the time of the presidential inauguration, I began searching online for an Obama teatowel to send to Nettie. I failed to unearth anything that wasn't godawful, so I made my own. I cut a freezer paper stencil and used fabric paint on a large flour sack kitchen towel. Both the giver and the recipient are pretty happy with it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16

What to do with a tween girl on a stormy holiday? Besides cooking and two long walks in the rain, collage of course!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 15

Tonight's lemonade in the works.

Tonight's coziness, with three guests to share the pizza. Having a soprano and a venerable music director in the house meant an evening of song. Wonderful.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

February 8

Another wonderful Sunday dinner. I'm really feeling happy about these gatherings; they're turning out to be just what I had in mind, relaxed and convivial. You can see some photographic evidence of our enjoyment here.

The images below were taken while making Old-Fashioned Ginger Cookies for dessert. This is molasses. Beautiful, no?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

February 3

Planning a desert road trip with sister and dad. Busting with excitement.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Later that day ...

Sweet Potato "Felafels"

In a food processor, puree the 2 cups of sweet potato/chickpea mixture that you set aside when making Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad (below). With wet hands, form into 4 patties. Mix about 1.5 tablespoons each of breadcrumbs and sesame seeds together on a plate, and coat each patty with the mixture. Bake on an oiled baking sheet at 400°F until heated through; flip halfway so they brown on both sides. Serve with a yogurt/chili powder dressing and mixed greens.

From Weight Watchers' Now and Later

February 1

Last night's dinner. Yum.
From Weight Watchers' Now and Later:
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled gresh ginger
1 garlic clove, mined
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup crumbled low fat goat cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until fork tender, 25 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
2. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; whisk until blended.
3. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, and cilantro to the dressing; toss to coat. Transfer 2 cups of the potato mixture to a container and let cool. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days for later use in Sweet Potato Felafel Sandwiches (recipe to follow). Place the arugula on a platter, top with the remaining 4 cups of the potato mixture and sprinkle with the cheese.

From Sunset Publications' Cozy Comfort Food:
Brussels sprouts with parmesan and pine nuts.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3/4 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add garlic and brussels sprouts, and cook until brown and softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
2. Add broth and cook until sprouts are tender but not soggy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small dish and sprinkle with parmesan.

Even people who think they don't like brussels sprouts love this!