Monday, August 31, 2009
Kids start their sugar rush early with candy canes for breakfast. Visitors start coming by with last minute gifts and cookie trays loaded with goodies. If the lechon is at your house, the anxiety begins will it be ready? Did you add enough salt? Maybe you should have pealed a few more bulbs of garlic? If the lechon-making is at someone else's house, its time to visit, maybe take the roasters some cafe cubano or pastelitos? You sit down and play a round of dominos with Abuelo and sneak a peak at the pig under the banana leaves to see how it is coming.
Before long, you shower, head to church, try to concentrate on what the priest is saying instead of your empty stomach, and FINALLY make it to the Noche Buena celebration. Gifts, family, and food in short sleeves and sandals!
I know its only August but on a balmy day like to day, I can't help dreaming...
This is a picture of a pear tree in my neighborhood. It lives in front of an apartment building not too far from mine and it is covered in fruit. I don't know why, but I find fruit trees fascinating. I've also heard that they offer the best bang for your buck as far as backyard gardening is concerned.
I grew up around mango trees and avocado trees and I love those too, but there is something about seeing a fruit you only know from the grocery store shelves out in the wild, even if that wilderness is just suburbia.
For an extreme take on neighborhood and city dining, check out this website on foraging (i.e. finding your food in an urban jungle). People actually do this!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This weekend I had the chance to see Julie and Julia in the theater with a great group of girls, who coincidentally also blog about food.
We had a lovely time and completed our experience with a French dinner at Bastille in Alexandria. Yummy!
I came away from the movie with a few pearls of wisdom and here they are:
1. In life, its so important to have a mate (if you have one) that shares your values, nourishes your dreams, and will stand by you in your darkest hours. Stanley Tucci and Merryl Streep do a great job of portraying Paul and Julia Child's loving, passionate,and supportive relationship.
2. Sometimes not getting something you desire can open up opportunities you never imagined, but that ultimately make you the person you were meant to be. Throughout the movie, you realize how badly Julia wanted to have a child. It obviously pained her not to hold her own baby, but she rarely let herself wallow in dreams of what could have been. If Julia had been able to have a child, she might never have been able to give birth to Mastering the Art of French Cooking and that would have been a great loss to us all.
3. Live life to the fullest. This sounds cliche, and it is, but so often we need to be reminded that the petty details and annoyances in life are small compared to the beauty and fullness it has to offer. Not all of us can have the privilege of living in Paris, but we can find joy in our everyday situation and make things a bit more delicious for those who live with us.
Julie and Julia, a lovely story about a girl who sets out to conquer a cookbook and learns how to live life as well. This story is excellent for anyone who has ever found themselves at a crossroads in life, uncertain what to do next and worried about making a leap into what seems irrational or absurd. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly reccomend it. Take some tissues and go out to dinner after!
P.S. DC restuarant week starts today! Happy Eating!
Friday, August 14, 2009
I picked it up on a whim and at the urging of a more culinarily adventurous friend than I on a recent shopping trip. Unfortunately, this post is prompted by the fact that I found it decomposing in the back of my fridge yesterday. It kind of reminds me of a sea cucumber or a spine-less cactus. What do you think?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Pizza Dough Recipe (Gourmet Magazine, July 2009, p.86)
2 (1/4 oz.) packages of active dry yeast
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided plus additional for dusting
2 cups of warm water (105-115 degrees) divided
2 tsp salt
Wisk together yeast, 2 tbsp flour, and 1/2 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. (If this mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Stir together salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining 1 1/2 cups warm water and stir until smooth, then stir in 1 cup more flour. If dough sticks to your fingers, stir in just enough flour (3/4 cup), a little at a time, to make dough just come away from side of bowl. (This dough may be wetter than other pizza doughs you have made.)
Knead doung on a lightly floured surface with floured hands, lightly reflouring work surface and your hands when the dough becomes too sticky, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Divide dough in half and form into two balls, then generously dust balls all over with flour and put each in a medium bowl. Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Cook's Note: Dough can rise slowly in the refrigerator for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before using.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It was so good that we special ordered it to go on the last day that we were in Playa Hermosa.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thanks A, B, and J for a great weekend!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon of worcester sauce (the cookbook calls this English sauce)
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
Equipment: 1 large stockpot, food processor.
Sofrito (onions, peppers, garlic)
Pimentos and parsley
*I say bootleg because I'm pretty sure that the copy I have is a direct rip on hers, minus the name of the author. After being the Cuban Julia Child for years, she pledged allegiance to the revolution, thereby meriting erasure from her own book. Ah, the tangled web of Cuban exile politics! But don't quote me on this as it's just a theory. If anyone has more info, please let me know.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Here is a before picture:
And an after! All the juices from the filling ran down and into the zucchini giving it a really sweet and mellow taste that perfectly balanced the the savoriness of the sausage and mushrooms. He pretty much eye-balled the whole recipe, but if we can remember how we made it I'll be sure to give you the recipe!