Comfort / Food

Month: October, 2014

wonderful recipe of the week- oct 22

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So, this is a week late, but I found this recipe for Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Soup last week. I made it that evening. I love creamy soups. I love all soups. This is a great soup.

I made a couple of tweaks (no pear, extra potato, no blue cheese garnish, a little less heavy cream.) Like Ella, I also prefer butternut squash soup, but dealing with squash can be kind of a turnoff. This recipe was totally breezy.

A few other delicious-looking recipes from her (beautifully photographed, often creative) site:

Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies (might be nice with oat flour subbed for the barley flour)
Spinach Soba Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Fried Halloumi Toast (I LOVE HALLOUMI, grilled halloumi is my nirvana)

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MarinIMA

“The bartender brought the drinks.  Hemingway took several large swallows and said he gets along fine with animals, sometimes better than with human beings.  In Montana, once, he lived with a bear, and the bear slept with him, got drunk with him, and was a close friend.”

– Lillian Ross, in her 1950 Profile of Ernest Hemingway

quote. image: Hurricane by John Marin, 1944.

Low-Maintenance

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When work is as hectic as it’s been lately, I like to take a low-maintenance approach to everything else in my life. Case in point: my (new, female!) roommate and I spent about 15 seconds brainstorming and 2 minutes throwing a bunch of ingredients together in a mixing bowl last night. The result was a surprisingly coherent, chewy, hearty batch of cookies. Here’s what we jumbled together:

– 2 bananas, mashed (we debated using pumpkin, but my bananas were toeing the line between perfectly old and appallingly squishy.)
– maybe a cup of oats
– some (“some” is the only applicable qualifier here) almond flour
– some oat flour
– some peanut butter
– some flax seeds
– a LOT of chocolate chunks
– a handful of pecans

Basically we aimed to have an equal ration of dry to wet–too much banana, and they’d be too dense; too much flour or too many oats, and they’d slip over into dry, crumbly territory. Not my jam.

I dig this type of baking. It might not be the best for something like pie crust, celebration cakes, or popovers, but for a Wednesday night it worked just fine.

(photo of banana-coconut cookies from A Sweet Spoonful, because I’ve been meaning to try them for a while.)

What

I just…can’t.

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The Pum(pkin)Pec(an)Apple cake, via The Kitchn

Reorganizing

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Our new kitchen is shaped like a very skinny L: warm and cozy when you’re cooking for one, cluttered and humid when you’re cooking for 2, 3, 5, or 10. I’m on a mission to reorganize it. All of my flours are going in anti-moth (yup, gross) containers, and I’m finally going to buy a real spice rack instead of crowding our spices together on the windowsill. (What? You wanted to cook with the window open? Ventilation is so overrated.) Yeah. This is big.

Image via Chez Larsson

Local Milk: Fall

A series of wonderful aerial shots from Local Milk + fall recipes to make. Doesn’t a fall dessert potluck sound like a wonderful idea?

Creme fraiche, pumpkin, and cornmeal coffee cake 

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salted caramel and apple dumplings with dried cherries, hazelnuts, etc etc

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spiced pear, gorgonzola (?!), and walnut pie

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Isn’t her prop styling just the best?

Copper, Silver

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( Vintage copper chocolate pot )

Right after I graduated from college, I got a job on Newbury Street in Boston selling engagement rings.  The store also carried paintings, sculpture, ivory, porcelain, and silver, but the owners put me on ring duty because I never got tired of talking to the customers. This type of patience is crucial when you’re attempting to sell an engagement ring, as it’s fairly common for a ring-buyer to deliberate for a couple of hours before finally making a commitment.

Anyway, I liked learning about cut, carat, color, and clarity, and my time at the shop definitely engendered an appreciation for beautiful antique jewelry. My favorite task, however, was researching the silver that came through. Oftentimes the owners would visit an estate sale and come back carrying boxes full to the brim with antique silver. Each piece would be stamped on the inside with several marks that indicated the maker and the date of production. My job was to hunt down the marks, identify the maker, and decide whether or not the utensils had any value. Most of all, though, I loved looking at and identifying the weird serving pieces– “okay, this looks like an olive spear, but actually the prongs at the end mean it’s actually meant for pickles…”

Have you ever seen a full antique silver serving set?  Sugar spoons, sardine forks, oyster forks, broth spoons, pickle forks, fish forks, cranberry servers, pea spoons, asparagus tongs, jelly servers…

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(olive spoon)

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(tomato server)

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(sugar spoon)

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(cucumber server!)

( Four silver images from here. )

wonderful recipe of the week: October 6th

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There’s an incredibly good bakery in Cambridge (and Brookline, but I frequent the Cambridge location most often) called Tatte. Tatte (rhymes with latté) makes these buttery, crunchy, just-savory-enough-but-still-sweet nut boxes that I can never pass up. (They make excellent host/hostess gifts, by the way.)

I’ve been thinking about attempting to replicate them for a while now. This week, I came across Bake or Break’s recipe for Maple Nut Bars. The recipe is significant for me mainly because of the filling; I have a good shortbread recipe that I think will mimic the crust of Tatte’s nut boxes nicely.

I think these treats would also look very pretty baked into a round tart pan.  A different kind of pecan pie!

PSA

The farmer’s markets in Cambridge aren’t dead yet, guys! And tomatoes are cheaper than ever. Get on it!

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wonderful recipe of the week: sept 29

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How fantastic does this sound? Pure apple cider boiled down to a thick, sweet, apple-y syrup? I can honestly think of about 1000 uses for it but these are the most relevant to my life right now:

a) in the morning, on oatmeal, with sliced pecans and toasted flax seeds

b) in the evening, on ice cream (or cornbread, or banana bread, or…)

c) anytime, on thick slices of toasted whole-wheat bread, alone

d) anytime, on toasted sourdough, with almond butter

I could go on.

Nice one, Pastry Affair.