Sunday, October 25, 2009

Announcing a new series (you can contribute)

Starting next week and continuing until Christmas I will be using this blog to raise money for the UN World Food Programme. Each week I'll feature a traditional local dish from one country currently facing a food crisis. If you like what you read, you can donate to the World Food Programme by clicking on the red cup on the left of the screen.

I'm so excited to expand my culinary horizons and hopefully raise some money for a good cause!

So what, if any, actual food have I been cooking lately? Lots of pasta, pizza and squash; perfect examples of which are two recently enjoyed squash pizzas:

Butternut squash pizza (left) from Self magazine by way of Epicurious).

And, Acorn squash and Gorgonzola pizza (Giada by way of smitten kitchen). Incredible flavour combination, but as sk pointed out, probably not technically a pizza.

Remember: there are only six more days left in national pizza month — make it worthwhile.




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Programming note

I didn't post this week because last Sunday's attempted pumpkin cupcakes were utterly inedible. And it wasn't even an entertaining fail. (Because I will post about those.)

But, I have an exciting series coming up next week, so please come back on Sunday when I'll let you know what it's all about.

In the meantime, check out this post on Christopher Kimball's blog, where he challenges us "online foodies" to a wiki vs. test kitchen cookoff.  Here's one food blog's response

I can't wait to see how this turns out. I'm betting it'll get ugly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last week's leftovers: Week of 10/4/09 (the week we lost Gourmet)

There was really only one big story in the culinary world this week — the demise of Gourmet. Word came Monday that the 68-year-old magazine had been shuttered.

Unlike most food magazines today that focus mainly on recipes and food preparation, Gourmet regularly showcased original and inspiring food writing (see "Consider the lobster").

It was one-of-kind and will be missed.

Ice cream and the case for weddings

Brides-to-be: this does not take the place of an open bar. (That's still essential; recession or no.)

Shawn and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary this week. At the time the decision to marry him was not in question (never was), but I struggled quite a bit with the idea of having a wedding.

In 2006 the recession was nowhere in sight and the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) was at its most powerful. Add to the mix the then-hit show Bridezillas, and it's not hard to see how any reasonable woman might want to skip all the hoopla in favour of city hall.

But I survived the planning process with the help Martha Stewart's original do-it-yourself projects and the humour blog Godawful Wedding Crap. (So lucky to have gotten married around the same time as Riona.) And, here I am three years out, still very happy with our decision to have a wedding.

To those now making the decision for themselves, I say do it (no matter how simple), and, if at all possible, rent a Gelato cart — the return on investment is huge.

On that note, I wanted to share the following ice cream recipe that I tried last week. This will be the last of the season (promise). From the late, great Gourmet:



1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup 2% milk
3 large eggs

an ice cream maker


Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10" heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.

Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionaly.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.

Chill custard in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 hr or overnight.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

This summer I also tried another Gourmet ice cream — Sour cream ice cream. I substitiutted 2 tsp vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and it tasted fantastic — like frozen cheesecake, but lighter.




Monday, October 5, 2009

This is what is considered an urgent email in our household

SENT: Mon 05/10/2009 1:48PM 

This message was sent with high importance.

From: Shawn 
To: Kristen
Subject: It's Happened Again!!

This time close to home!

(Though I must admit, a second giant egg so soon after the last is kinda noteworthy.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last week's leftovers: Week of 9/27/09

The strange (and slightly disturbing) clip above was forwarded to me by Shawn on Monday. He proceeded to ask me all week if it was "going to on the blog."

I made one of my favourite scallop recipes from Martha Stewart.

We celebrated National Coffee Day; because, for me, if there were no coffee, there would be no day.

Martha has returned with her decidedly un-Martha Halloween offerings (right).

And, finally Rocco still can't  get a break.

With a massive food crisis in SEA dominating the news, this week's food highlights seem especially trivial, but I hope we can still have fun talking about random stuff (this is a food blog after all).




How you can provide desperately needed food to flood victims

Click here  to donate funds to supply emergency food aid to people in South East Asia affected by weeks of heavy rains and tropical storms.

To date over one million people have been displaced.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yay! Another food blog as obsessed with pizza as I am...

I stumbled on this unique new addition to my pizza repertoire over at smitten kitchen. One alteration I plan to try is adding a thin layer of roasted tomato sauce over the goat cheese (but under the zucchini). I think it would temper the tartness a little.

As if finding one new pizza wasn't enough, I uncovered a cachet of fun new combination there as well. (See sk's pizza index here).

Can't wait to try the acorn squash and gorgonzola one!