Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Herby Update

My little herbs are sprouting! So far everyone's in the mood to party except for parsley who looks like he's either dead (and buried, gravestone included) or just really really goth. I was worried about dill too for a while, but as you can see he's a got a little tuft starting there. Just a little while longer till I can move them to the sunshine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"A Cake-y Weekend" or "My Favorite Tea is Theraflu"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Cha-cha-cha Chia!"

So remember in my new years post where I listed all the things I was going to do? Well it's January, snowy and generally unpleasant and my list up until now, has pretty much just stayed a list.

One thing I decided to make good on (since it's pretty much an indoor thing at this point) is starting my herb garden. I know it's the middle of winter but somewhere around my apartment I discovered that I still had a little Chia Herb Garden still in the box, that I requested as a Christmas present 4 years ago ( god knows why).

#53 Peanut Brittle

When I was six or seven years old my grandma (on my dad's side) came all the way from Utah to visit and she brought a friend. The friend she brought with her ( a woman whose proper name is completely botched in my 7 year old memories) was completely obsessed with making peanut brittle. They stayed with us an entire week and I don't remember a single time out of those seven nights where she wasn't either standing over a stove stirring, or sitting cross legged in the floor eating, peanut brittle and I loved it. It was a complete novelty to me, I'd never even heard of peanut brittle, and I certainly had no idea you could make candy at home! Who knew?! The only thing I was sure of what that it was sinfully delicious. All that lovely golden corn syrup, and a salty crunch! Mmm mmm!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"A Hot Pink Birthday"

candles on the cake, and a little traditional decoration
Saturday was my birthday, I turned 23! I took the day off work, got a brand new hair cut, tried my hand at bar tending (more on that later) ate crab Rangoon (my favorite) and baked wonderful magnificent strawberry cake!

new hair cut!

I know it seems lame in theory to bake your own birthday cake but this cake is so easy it didn't seem like work anyway.  At first glance this seems gross I know but, I grew up eating this cake. My grandmother has been making it for as long as I can remember for just about every occasion (it's the very same I raved about on new years) and I just love it to death. I'll even be scandalous and tell you that even though I'm mildly allergic to strawberries this is (in all my 23 years) my favorite cake ever. It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago I even knew the recipe was written down someplace so I could make it ( a true rarity among southern cooks) and just like I'm sure you did, the moment I read down the list and found Jello mentioned as an ingredient I was shocked, confused and a little icked out. I mean, Jello? In a cake? Really?

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Potato Soup" or "How I Was Eaten By Polar Bears (and survived!)"

As I promised my very weepy dutch oven last week, I have returned with another soup.8 feet of snow was dumped  on Nashville today *cough*more like 4 inches*cough* which is way too much for us wimpy southerners and everybody's freaking out. I however don't mind too much because 1) I'm off work today anyway, 2) everywhere I need to go is withing walking distance, and 3) right before we got "snowed in" I begged my mother to give me her potato soup recipe which is basically the best thing ever to come in a bowl and a magnificent compliment to a snowy day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Baby's First Wine Dish" or "How to Make Your Boyfriend Order Pizza"

I'm not a big drinker, I'm kind of an old fashioned lady that way. It didn't hold that much of a sparkle for me in my teen years ( I think I spent my free time buying records and dreaming of marrying Jack White) and once I got old enough to buy it for myself I've had to either choose beer (which, eh) or trudge down to the seedy-ish liquor store to get anything else because of Tennessee liquor laws ( which you know, kind of "eh" too).

This brings me to my recent dilemma when I discovered a recipe in for  Italian Beef Stew in Cooking Light (hey it's January!) that I thought seemed perfect to christen my beautiful new lime green dutch oven only to find that the recipe called for wine, (noooooooo!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Linguine with Walnut Sage Pesto" or "Know Your Onion!"

I tried to make this recipe last week, I'd finally gotten around to reading the January issue of Fitness and found a recipe for Walnut Sage Pesto that I decided I had to try. Fitness while a health magazine, still has a pretty good grasp on foods that taste good which I will forever appreciate. Somewhere down the line there seems to always be a divide between eating for pleasure and eating for health (I don't know why it has to be that way) and Fitness seems to hopscotch over it and give you both. At any rate, after skimming the pages, I went to the store and apparently all I remembered was the "walnut pesto" part and ended up back at home with a bunch of basil and hardly anything else that was actually in the recipe.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Breakfast Today- Black Cherry Pancakes

Black Cherry Pancakes- Messy, messy, messy, but good.

One of my New Year's  traditions is purging my apartment of things that have been hanging around a while. Today that meant rummaging around the fridge, tossing anything green and fuzzy and dreaming up reasons to keep the stuff in my freezer that I swear I'm gonna use one day.

Things found today:
  • a pint of heavy cream with a mildly respectable expiration date, 
  • and a bag of frozen black cherries from the great parfait obsessed summer of 2010
 I decided to make pancakes mostly because it was the first thing I thought of. I'd never put cherries in pancakes really so I thought I'd take my chances and see if I could whip up a disaster, which it turns out I didn't.
I tried my hand at documenting the process but things got fairly sloppy and cherry-ish so I'll spare you, I was also working off my memory of an ancient Betty Crocker recipe so my attention wasn't really on the pictures. The only thing I would advise is not eating these for breakfast, it's hard enough not to fall into a sugar coma after eating all that syrup but to add black cherries aka ambien to the mix you're totally asking for a desktop faceplant if you eat these before heading to work.They are I think perfect for "breakfast diner" if you're ever in the mood for it.

  • 1egg
  • 1/4 cup cream*
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk*
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2Tbsp sugar
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1Cup All Purpose Flour

For filling
  • 1Cup frozen black cherries thawed (I just warmed them up in the microwave for a minute or so)
  • 3tbsp sugar
  • 2tbsp melted butter

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg, cream, milk, vanilla, sugar and oil, then slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Let sit for a minute to let the baking powder do it's bubble thing.

In a separate bowl add thawed cherries,3tbsp sugar and melted butter and toss to coat.

Warm your griddle to medium high heat and pour batter onto the griddle in 1/4 cup portions. When it starts to bubble up a little, top with cherry filling. Once the pancakes start to look dry around the edges and the bubbles start to pop, flip those suckers over and cook the other side until they're nice and golden brown.

Serve hot, top with syrup and  (if you're feeling froggy) chocolate chips.

* = If you're wondering why I used 1% milk and heavy cream, it's because it's what I had and because I think pancakes generally taste better with fattier milk so cream + 1% was my way of beefing up the flavor.. sans beef, cause that sounds a little... un-tasty.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Blog post of 2011

Me: "mmmm braaains" and cousin Meg who was pretending I wasn't falling asleep and knocking her over
I'm pretty much still in recovery after a 48 hour stretch with no sleep and an ill conceived New Years road trip, where I decided it would be a brilliant idea to work all night, travel all day and get home just in time to head right back to work again. But I did manage to see my family although I was pretty much a zombie ( they looked lovely from what I remember) and I sampled a plateful of black eyed peas and collard greens (and the best strawberry cake ever! more on that later) so according to southern tradition even though I was hallucinating and delirious I still managed to cement a positive standing for my financial future which I hope means that Jan 1,2012 I'll be completely rested, eating black eyed peas on a cruise ship made of gold headed to the moon (you know, for the wensleydale).

Since my blog is still pretty much an infant I don't really have enough posts for a 2010 retrospective, at this point all I can really tell you are some of the things I hope for in the next year. Much like baby new year I'm still waking up and forming my list but here's what I have so far;

  • To work on  my on the road photo blogging skills. I seem to be okay with my cheapo deluxe camera and the natural lighting of my apartment but my restaurant and road trip photos definitely have room for improvement. I want to be all 'we went to "tidwinkle's" and had this delicious dish *insert lovely picture here*' and you drool with jealousy, instead of ' uh, I ate this dish that I swear was delicious, even though it looks in this picture like I through it in the floor and stepped on it in a fit of rage because it in fact was disgusting'
  • To learn about and celebrate more holidays and random traditions that are new to me. 2011 is totally my party year. One of the greatest things about the internet (and google translator) is the window into other cultures. I love learning about them and eating strange new food. It's like tasting an Atlas. Got any suggestions? Let me know in the comments or: withasideofdesiree[at]gmail[dot]com.
  • To visit at least five more Nashville Originals . Enjoy more of that small business local flava
  • And to start an herb garden so I don't have to skip recipes or get use my feminine wiles on the produce man because my local market is always low on basil, and other sneaky pearl wearing people get there before me
What are your new years resolutions?