Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pay it Forward

Lewis over at Table Bread is participating in the recent "Pay it Forward" blog event in which the first three people who leave a comment in his "Pay it Forward" post receive a gift from the poster sometime within the next year (364 days to make it happen!). Those people who will receive a gift will, in turn, post to Pay it Forward and gift three other people with something yummy.

Everyone's putting a spin as to the gift--Lewis is doing bread, and those who gifted before him have done other homemade goodies--cookies, crocheted items, etc. I'm offering ... well, I don't know. I can bake, I can sort of crochet a simple scarf or cap, I can format zines and have made my own little cookbooklets ... let me know what strikes your fancy! And don't forget to pay it forward! Read more!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Public Market, December 22, 8, and 1

The past six weeks have been so busy that I've fallen behind in everything I've wanted to post about--most notably, my Public Market posts. To this day, there's still so much produce I have yet to try, and there's something new almost every week, along with some old favorites. Here's a catchup!

December 22

602 Chocolates tart

First, they'll sink to the bottom.
Rainbow Valley whole wheat gnocchi

After a few minutes, they'll float to the top.
Rainbow Valley whole wheat gnocchi

Quickly scoop them out.
Rainbow Valley whole wheat gnocchi

And plate. Rainbow Valley's whole wheat cheese gnocchi with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parm. So yummy, and better for low-carbers, since it's made with whole wheat instead of potatoes. It has a good bite without being chewy, and it was wonderfully filling.
Rainbow Valley whole wheat gnocchi

602 Chocolates tart

Mmmm ... the best way to handle dark dark chocolate is pair it with ... something sweet!
602 Chocolates tart

And furthermore: crispy tart shell, soft, gentle caramel, rich dark chocolate.
602 Chocolates tart

Bread Basket ginger bear
bread basket gingerbread man

Turnips, One Windmill Farm

Fennel, One Windmill Farm

Brussels sprouts, One Windmill Farm
brussels sprouts

Oranges from Dr. Hummus and acorn squash, oranges, turnips, and fennel from One Windmill Farm
acorn squash, oranges, turnips, fennel

Oranges, Dr. Hummus

Turnips, Maya's Farm

December 8

Breakfast, scene 1: Pork tamale, Nina's Place.
Nina's Place tamale

Breakfast, scene 2: Posole
Nina's Place posole

Kohlrabi, One Windmill Farm

Broccoli, One Windmill Farm

The goods: Biscotti from 602 Chocolates, iced sugar cookies from Bread Basket Bakery, spaghetti and butternut squash, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, and kohlrabi from One Windmill Farm
farmers market, 12/8/07

December 1, during which I rushed to the market before heading to the airport to pick up Hun
Organic eggs, including green ones, Maya's Farm
organic eggs: I like the green ones

Goat milk cheese with chives, Maya's Farm
Maya's Farm goat cheese

Fresh basil, spinach, and dill, One Windmill Farm (I was so rushed, I threw everything in my fridge)
basil and fresh dill, farmers market, 12/1/07

Eggplant, English cucumber, cabbage, and broccoli, One Windmill Farm
farmers market, 12/1/07 Read more!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daring Bakers, December: Yule Log


Daring Bakers, let our powers combine! Our heroic group of bakers has come together again for our monthly baking challenge! For December, Yvonne and Lisa, the co-creators of the Daring Bakers, hosted the yule log challenge! Or trial, as it were ...

The three trials of the yule log

I made this for my SAS December party. In this case, SAS stood for Soups and Sweets. I had a later night than I'd planned, so I didn't start making my soups and sweets until just after midnight. I had to get it all together for lunch, after all! I hit the soups first, and those were cake ... um ... then I hit the cake. The actual cake. I started with the buttercream ... which started out soupy ... picture this: It's about 2:30 a.m., and you're thinking, "If everything goes my way, I can get a couple of hours of sleep before my friends show up for lunch!"

Trial 1: Plain Genoise

Genoise. No problem! And for the weeks leading up to the actual project, I kept telling myself that if the genoise came out too dry, as it sometimes does, I'd soak it with a simple syrup. It works like a charm ... when you actually remember to do it! It's just after 3 a.m.; I barely remember my name. By the time I was ready to roll it at around 5 a.m., I'm so bad off, I can't even remember to involuntarily blink ... that's bad. The result: a cracked roll. Shouldn't be a problem, though ...

yule log

Trial 2: Coffee Buttercream

I love cooked buttercreams and make them often. This one, however, didn't want to work with me.

The buttercream started out pretty runny, no matter how much I mixed it. And stared and prayed and threatened with a wooden spoon.
yule log

I figured I'd chill it to thicken it up--fine in theory, but in reality, it separated as the butter got too cold!
yule log

I threw the bowl back over its water bath to heat the butter back up, then put it back into the mixer, and it came together perfectly. Hooray! This wrapped up at about 5 a.m.
yule log

Trial 3: Meringue Mushrooms

Although I love marzipan, I wanted to make meringue mushrooms because I knew they'd be quicker for me than shaping meringue. Plus, I bought a billion eggs for this project, and I wanted to use them up. Project Yule Log threw me a bone, and this was almost as easy as eating the thing.

The mushrooms were easy and fun to put together. On the third hour of yule log, my true love gave to me--hooray ... on ... a tray?
yule log

If only these mushrooms really grew in the woods ... of course, then I wouldn've have the pleasure of making them!
yule log

They're so dang cute, I just wanna eat em up.
yule log

The Final Trial: Assembly

No problem. Lop off each end at an angle, and attach them to look like branches. Frost them into place, and you're good to go. And the cracks? No sweat--just pack them with buttercream! It tastes good, and no one will be any wiser.

yule log

Of course, there is the other problem of dry genoise ... parts of it crack when you roll it ... and the ends ... well, they just don't want to stay rolled. This trial has turned into a log rolling event. Frosting isn't going to hold it together, either. It's 5:30 a.m.--do you know where your skewers are? No? That's because you don't have any. But the thing's gonna unravel! Don't complain--stick a fork in it!
yule log

And look around the kitchen while you keep glancing furtively at your balancing act. This trial is now a circus.
yule log

The trouble with log rolling is you're going to have a crack where the log is unraveling itself. I name the crack the San Andreas fault. This trial is now a natural disaster.
yule log


That's how I fixed it. I was going to use nuts in the plating, anyway--luckily, brazil nuts make fabulous wedges. Hello, sunshine--it's about 6. And now that I'm sure it's going to keep together, it's time to get that crostata made! (Photos to appear in a later post.)

Anyway, pack some nuts around it, then some pirouettes and mushrooms, rip up some apple fruit rollups for moss (because that whole green coconut thing never looked quite right to me), and snag some Boston Baked Beans (candy-coated peanuts) for ... moss berries ... holly ... some sort of berry that makes sense at 10 a.m. when you've been up for 27 hours straight. Call it good. Call it yummy. Call it done. Woooooot!

yule log

yule log

yule log

yule log

yule log

Yule. It's what's for breakfast. ;D
yule log

The recipe is here. Read more!

Last call for Menu for Hope raffle ticket buyers!

I’ve seen a lot of amazing fund-raising efforts in my life, but this one takes the cake. Four years ago, a fellow food blogger, Pim, got the notion to get other food bloggers to donate foodie prizes to an online raffle. The amount of money this fund-raiser has raised for organizations that help stop and prevent hunger has grown in leaps and bounds. Last year Pim raised just over $60,000. The sale for raffle tickets ends tonight, but just in the past 12 hours, 25% more people have bid, and the total just reached over $72,000. That’s just amazing! Prizes are anything from dinner cooked by and eaten with top-notch chefs and tours of artisan studios, to a box of homemade cookies or some jars of homemade jam. One of the more interesting prizes is two-centuries-old bottle of absinthe! Tickets are $10--go buy one! Or however many you can afford! Read more!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More of Mom from Thanksgiving

I grew up here. Lucky me. =)

Mom's cookbooks--I brought The Colossal Cookie Cookbook home with me
mom's cookbooks


*cue the theme from "Jaws"*
octopi soup

Mom's cooking oil
mom's oil of choice

Well-seasoned wok
wok this way

Mom's plastic (not credit cards)--I have this same bad habit--pack-ratting away plastic untensils and clean napkins
mom's collection

Tripe in one of Mom's signature melamine bowls

Mom slices pork to add to tripe--such a delicous dish, sort of like a Filipino menudo. We've always had that cutting board, too--it's so old, it's bowed out of shape. While she was slicing the pork, she noticed her knife was dull, so she deftly pulled out a whetting stone and brought it keen again. Mom's so wonderful.
mom cooks tripe Read more!