Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oh my god, I actually made dinner. (And my husband has a gig tonight, so he missed it all!) And also it was good, and healthy. (Mostly.)

I made Kickpleat's red beans and rice, which were quick and AWESOME! Something actually smelled like sausage when I was stirring in the beans etc. (I think it must have been the salsa - I used a homemade chipotle salsa, and maybe the chipotle smoky smell had a sausage vibe going on?) GOOD. (And only 9 points per serving, if you're weight watchering! (1 cup each of beans mixture and rice.)

And then I made coconut-mango rice pudding. And I'm eating it right now. And it's effing good.

I used a cup of the brown rice from dinner and sauteed it in coconut cream (which is DELICIOUS - I could have eaten the can with a spoon!) for a while and then added a chopped fresh mango.

Good. Try it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Maybe this is old news to all of you all who read the Omnivore's Dilemma (I haven't yet) but Michael Pollan has an interesting article up on the perils of "nutritionism" on the NYT website.

Go! Read! Tell me what you think!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rabbit Hill Inn Oatmeal-Molasses Bread from Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, by Crescent Dragonwagon

2 cups boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
2 tbs butter
1 tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tsp salt
4-5 cups bread flour

Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and butter; let stand for 30 minutes. Proof the yeast in the warm water towards the end of this time. When foamy, add yeast, molasses, and salt to oatmeal mixture and stir. Beat in enough flour to make a workable dough (it will be a little sticky.) Knead until smooth (8 minutes or so.) Oil a bowl, turn to coat; let rise to double (about 1 1/2 hours.) Punch down, divide, and shape into 2 loaves. Put into greased loaf pans and let rise again, about 40 minutes this time. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 30 minutes.

Delicious toasted for breakfast or for sandwiches. A little sweet but nutty and hearty from the oatmeal, and it's a complex kind of sweetness from the molasses.

I made the MOST DELICIOUS cinnamon-raisin bread in the bread machine the other day. (I know, I know, y'all purists want to get into your dough up to the elbows - and I enjoy that at times too. But I'm BUSY, and hate boughten bread, and plus the King Arthur people use them in their test kitchens to make their dough as the bread machine is the home equivalent of a real proofing box and that's how I do it too, so hush.)

Anyway, here's the recipe; the basis of it is a Beth Hensperger recipe from the Bread Bible that I completely copied, and she has lots of variations after it, but strangely, no cinnamon-raisin variation. So I made one up. And It Was Good.

Makes: 1 loaf
Dough for 1-pound loaf makes 6 round and 8 long rolls
Dough for 1 1/2-pound loaf makes 8 round and 10 long rolls
1 1/2 -pound loaf
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons gluten
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1-pound loaf
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons gluten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

3 tbs butter, softened
3/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in about 1/4 cup dark rum
1 tbs cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar

1. Place the ingredients in the bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions (I also added about 3 tbs sugar to the dough ingredients.) Choose the dough cycle. After it is finished proofing, take it out and knock it down, then roll it out flat. Spread the filling mixture (obviously, drain the raisins first) over the bread and roll it up; stuff into a loaf pan seam side down and allow to rise again (it won't take long.) Bake at 350 for about 35 or 40 minutes - don't overbake.

This was totally delicious - next time, though, I believe I'll knead some of the cinnamon and raisins into the dough itself, as well as having the swirl that runs through the bread.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I actually cooked something worth posting.

It's kind of a crazy intense but good pasta sauce (and I can report that it's even better the next day - more balanced.) I read Deb's post about bolognese with italian sausage and couldn't stop thinking about it - yet we're on Weight Watchers! So I tried to do something in the spirit of that sauce. (It's 7 pts per serving, and this recipe makes 4 VERY generous servings.)

Brown 8 oz lean ground turkey in about 1 tbs olive oil with about 2 1/2 tbs of fennel seeds and the oil from some anchovies, along with 2-3 of the little fishy guys. Boil 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of red wine and soak about 1-2 oz of dried shiitake mushrooms in the hot wine. When they're all soft and delish, put them in the food processor with: 6 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, 1/2 lemon (rind and all) and whatever tomato products you have available to you. I used 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato sauce, cause that's what I had, but I bet if you had some of those Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes your outcome would be good. Process till smooth-ish and add to pan with turkey, fennel seeds, and anchovies. Simmer for about 20 minutes, at least, if not more.

Serve over pasta. I wanted orechiette to hold the saucy goodness, but husband cooked spaghetti (?) so that's what we had. It was REALLY citrusy the first day (intense!) but mellowed to a very classic bolognese taste today - and the fennel seeds are really coming through. I would almost think that there is italian sausage in there!

I took today off (mostly - I taught from 8 to 9:30 but have been free ever since, and not studied a lick!) I had a luxurious nap with the baby (2 1/2 hours!) and feel like a new woman. We went to the store and I prepped up a bunch of stuff for the rest of the week: oatmeal bread, cinnamon-raisin swirl bread (mmm - I soaked the raisins in dark rum. I wonder how many points THAT will have? It's rising right now.) I baked sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower with olive oil, mustard, and capers (needs some work but will be super-yum!) and made collard greens (a long process, as I'm from the south.) We also bought stew beef (buy one get one free at Harris Teeter!) and I'm going to make a bourgignon tomorrow (all I have tomorrow is one meeting, to which the tot may come, but I do have to get back to reading/studying tomorrow. I don't want to be all down to the wire like I was last week - but it sure was nice to be able to spend unlimited time with Mr. Smallpants and not feel pressured like there was something else I should be doing.)

Maybe...MAYBE I'm figuring out the timing on my life a little bit? (I even cleaned the bathroom this morning, though the rest of the floor is afloat in dust-doggies [dog hair dust bunnies, for those of you who have never been around Akitas] and the kitchen still needs mopped. But...it's a start!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Oh well.

Baby can't go (something to do with ABC laws on the ship) so I can't go. My husband, however, can go with a friend. I HATE that! I sort of want him to have fun without me, but I also kind of don't want him to have fun without me at all!

I'm such a big baby.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I won something!!

Dudes! I totally won a cruise! And not the rip-off kind where you end up having to pay a bunch of money - a REAL PRIZE THAT'S TOTALLY FOR FREE!

It's a 6 day 5 night cruise all included (including pina coladas!) in March from Ft. Lauderdale to Mexico!

Here's the trouble: the babe is breastfed, and as of right now the rules are that the prize winner (me!) and guest (husband) have to be 21. Well, we totally are - but they don't think Monkey can tag along for free as he didn't win. So...I have to talk to the Director of Marketing at Harris Teeter (my grocery store! I didn't even enter on purpose - I just bought groceries and got entered automatically!) and see what we can do - but the guy at the prize question line said that I'm not the first one to ask about that....so I'm crossing my fingers.

We never had a honeymoon, and this would be SO TOTALLY RAD.

Now must study more! Monkey is asleep (yay for sleep!)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My God.

How does anyone get through grad school with a baby? He's even a good sleeper, but there are just not enough hours in the day unless I want to starve to death while living in a filthy hovel and never go outside again or do ANYTHING that isn't related to baby or work.

Course, two problems are that 1) he's kind of a shitty napper (45 minute max for several naps daily) and I don't work as well in small bursts - it takes me a few minutes to get going, and it's also hard to tear myself away. I'm more of a chunk girl. And 2) I'm NOT a late night person, so his predilection for going to bed at 6:30 (yay!) only helps so much, as I'm up at 5:30 on the days I teach and 6:30 or 7:00 on the days I don't (b/c he is.) And - trust me on this - I can't possibly get up any earlier. He's still up 3-4 times during the night, though they are mercifully brief feedings and he goes right back to the business of snoozing as soon as he's drained one.

So....if anyone WERE to read this thing, and have some advice, they would be welcome to post it. And isn't it national delurking week? So - advise me, passersby!

He's cuter than CS Peirce, by a long shot.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Uggs? Still? .... Seriously?

So, it's been hot in NC for a while (like 70 degrees, thanks global warming!) but today it turned January-ish for the first time in forever. And I saw, no lie, TEN GIRLS wearing Uggs.

Uggs were not attractive even WHEN they were stylish, which they most assuredly no longer are. What the fuck?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm trying to pack in as much kitchen love as possible before I start back to the mundanity of classes, teaching, and constant reading. So I cooked a lot today.

I'm also on a Soup Kick - I've decided to have at least one Tupperware full of soup in the fridge at all times for quick lunches. We finished the curry-apple-cauliflower yesterday, so...I made soup.

I (very slightly) modified a lentil and sausage soup that I found on Farmgirl's site to look like this:
From Food photos

Here's what I did:

Red Lentil and Italian Sausage Soup

4 links sweet or hot Italian sausage (I used sweet) in chunks
Healthy glug of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 cup red lentils, rinsed (aren't they gorgeous?)
4 cups water
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
1 tbs paprika
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Brown the sausage chunks in a touch of oil in a skillet. Set sausage aside; brown carrots, onion, garlic in some of the sausage grease. Add the lentils and stir around, then add the water and tomatoes. Simmer for 1/2 hour; add spices and simmer again for 1/2 hour. Immersion blend most of it till chunky and add the sausage.

This soup was a gorgeous color because of the red lentils, and was so hearty and delicious. I ate 1 1/2 bowls. It was especially good with the buttermilk bread you see behind it - the bread is slightly sweet.

IF you have a Mac, go download Yum! recipe software RIGHT NOW! It's freeware/donationware and it's SO GOOD. I have about 3500 recipes in there now (so, so handy for cutting and pasting from teh internets - I've culled tons of things from all the fabulous food blogs out there and from epicurious with NO TYPING - just cut and paste, and when I go to use/print out the recipe, I edit it and clean up formatting, etc.)

You can search for ingredients, recipe titles, whatever within the collections you set up, and can categorize recipes based on categories you invent. It's really fabulous, and the developer is SO responsive, nice, and helpful.

I can't recommend it highly enough! You can also get it here, at the developer's website.

Go try it today - I'm going to go donate right now. It's THAT good. (I hadn't realized there had been so many updates - I was at version 0.5, and he was up to 1.2 - I just found that out and DLed the new one, hence the sudden excitement over a program I've been using for like 2 years.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolution (that's a pun, you'll get it when you read the post.)

Our New Year's Resolution (the ONLY one, b/c I fucking hate the whole concept) is to buy a new digital camera so that I can take (well, so my husband can take) appealing, mouth-watering, non-blurry and pixilated pictures of Teh Food. (And Teh Baby, of course.)

Get it now? Resolution? Like...digital camera resolution megapixels?

Yeah, it was lame. Shut up. I'm sleep deprived.

First laugh!

He laughed out loud this morning on the changing table (luckily the baby monitor was on so daddy heard it too) - and then again when we were back in bed playing this morning. But he won't do it on command (like when the camera's on, for example.)

He's been sort of half giggling/chuckling for about 2 weeks, building up to it - but the real thing is amazing to hear.

We're going to have Cook's Illustrated French Toast from Lindsey's Luscious for brekkie this morning. (It had never even occurred to me to put flour in the batter - what a great idea!) And I have about half a loaf of homemade challah to use for the base, and some homemade anapestic turkey sausage in the freezer, too.

Shit, we're going to have to join Weight Watchers after this holiday season and baby-making year. Breastfeeding is NOT the magic liposuction tool they tell you it is.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Now, if you're reading, COMMENT for the love of God - how can you resist that face? That shirt? That too-big hat??

From Archie

Well, that looked like nothing. I'll try something else.


Although post titles aren't supported, apparently. Now how about a picture of my Sweet Babboo??

Let's see if that looks like a picture of the World's Cutest Baby, or like a jumble of HTML crap.

I hate searching for blog clients. If this works I will never ever do it again.

Why can't I post a picture? I click the little icon of a picture, browse to where the photo is located on my hard drive, and choose it - and then they say that my request can't be completed.

What the fuck?