Sunday, September 30, 2007

A dog's life

Is it morning already?

I can has bacon?

We're going somewhere? Can I take my toy?

I thought you said we were going for a walk. Why do I have to get in the car? Quit nudging me!

Oh! A walk in the big park!

You threw it into the prickly bushes. You find it.

Much better!
(Can you see the toy flying through the air? Click the photo to make it larger if you can't.)

Thanks to weekend guest photographer for these great shots!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday afternoon buzz

What's going on? Sophie wonders. Is this some kind of trick?

Nooooo, not the clippers!
Not to worry, my little furry friend. I've found another victim to inflict my buzzing torture on. One who doesn't fidget and try to pull away. One who even thanks me for turning shaggy into sleek.

Watch and learn, Sophie. Watch and learn.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Yes, the mystery object is a waffle maker! (It can also make sandwiches, Manisha; it has a couple of flat plates you can insert for that.) I believe it's from the '40s; another of Nana's kitchen legacies.

I use the "Joy of Cooking" recipe: 1 3/4 cups flour, sifted, then sifted again with two teaspoons baking powder, a half teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Then you mix together three beaten egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups milk and 2-7 tablespoons melted butter. Make a well in the flour and "with a few swift strokes" mix in the wet ingredients until you have a pebbly mixture. (I always feel like I'm overstirring, but the waffles come out fine.) If you want fluffy waffles, you can then beat the egg whites until they're fluffy and fold them in, too, or save them for meringues.

Here's a good post on using extra egg whites from David Lebovitz, author of "The Perfect Scoop."

I also tossed in some fresh raspberries from you-know-where. Add bacon, maple syrup, butter and juice and you have a nice Saturday morning brunch. (Actually, today's Friday, but it's my Saturday.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Somebody loves me

I managed to find everything I need to start baking no-knead bread again, now that cool weather is here. It took a little doing, not the least of which was recovering the prodigal pots.

I'm slowly getting the kitchen organized; it's very disconcerting not to know where things are, but to have a very clear picture in your head of where they used to be.

Coincidentally, I got a nice mention in The Denver Post food section today for my step-by-step instructions. Neat!

If you're looking for those instructions, click here. There's also a link in the column on the right. And thanks for coming by!

This isn't a really fancy food blog like some of the ones mentioned in the paper. It's more of a food/garden/dog/random observations blog. A little something for everyone.

And I'm delighted that Manisha at Indian Food Rocks got a mention, too. Go check out her recipes.

Raspberry frozen yoghurt

Every time I photograph food, I learn something more. With freshly made frozen desserts, it's better to let them harden up in the freezer for a while so the scoops hold their shape and don't melt into a lump. Especially when you try to photograph them in a sunbeam.

But putting the frozen yoghurt into a pretty demitasse and adding garnish makes up for many shortcomings. And it still tastes good! Very intensely raspberry.

The cup and saucer are part of a set I brought back from China. I don't have much occasion to serve espresso (not having a machine), but I've used them for desserts and also for amuse bouche soups, such as roasted red pepper soup with a dollop of crème fraîche and a basil leaf.

Pretty in pink

The raspberry frozen yoghurt is even faster to make than the strawberry because there's no macerating necessary. Just throw everything in the blender and go.
It's surprising how long it takes to work it through a chinois to get the seeds out, though. I'll churn it in the morning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shadow play

Surprise, surprise

What with moving and unpacking and general lifestuff, I haven't had the time or inclination to do much gardening beyond maintenance: mowing and pulling weeds. And even then, I've concentrated mainly on the front yard. I let the back beds do their own thing, knowing that once everything dies back in the fall I'm going to rip much of it out, dismantle the raised beds and reconstruct the garden to my liking.

It's a jungle out there:
So imagine my surprise when I went out this morning to pick raspberries to make more frozen yoghurt and waded back into that jungle to find this:

They have to be volunteers; I know they weren't there when I moved in or I would have tried to keep them a little less choked. But clearly they are thriving:
So now I have a little harvest of toms, and a big harvest of raspberries:
I realized too late that I'd neglected to put the ice-cream maker's liner back in the freezer after I washed it, so no dessert until tomorrow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Steady as she goes

My Gorillapod arrived! I checked around and found it for $22 including tax, with free shipping, from Best Buy. It has a little foot so you can slide it on and off easily, and the bendy legs let you position it however you want. And it's small and light enough that I can carry it in my purse. Great for long or timed exposures. This should help with restaurant photos a lot.

Signs we like to see

One of these things is not like the others

Click on the picture to see it larger and guess which item I'm talking about.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Poutine from The Belgian Fry Co.

This stand showed up last weekend at the farmers market, but I was hot and had my hands full, so I didn't stop. This week, with a cool breeze blowing and a limited shopping list, I was more inclined to give it a try. Especially when I saw the sign for poutine. I'd heard about this Canadian treat, but never had a chance to eat it before.
First you cook up some gravy with fresh cheese curds.
Then you serve up some fresh, well-salted twice-cooked fries.
Then pour the gooey cheesy gravy over. Heart attack on a plate!

Normally the fries (which are stellar on their own, too) are served in a paper cone, but that seemed like a recipe for disaster with Sophie in tow, so I opted for a dish instead.

These are so very very good, and probably very very bad for you.

I compensated a little with a stop at the Hmong farmers' booth. They always have some interesting greens to play with. I got some yu choy to serve sautéed with pasta. And some bread to go with my fennel soup for dinner tonight. I was kicking myself for not making no-knead bread this weekend, but I'll get a loaf in this week.

P.S. Turns out there's a website devoted entirely to Belgian fries, complete with recipes and shop locations. Love the Internet!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fennel white bean soup

So I got some fennel last week to make fennel apple salad, and decided to get some more after Googling around for recipes. I found this version from Grant at Well Fed. I meant to make it earlier this week, but came a little unglued when I couldn't find my Le Creuset pots. With the pots (and me) recovered, I set about cooking.
My ingredients deviated a little with the addition of some swiss chard that I'd optimistically purchased for another dish. In my head it seemed like it would taste good here, too.
Bacon also sounded like a good idea. Bacon's always a good idea, right? Of course, once I chopped everything up, I realized there was no way I was going to fit all of that and 8 cups of liquid in the Le Creuset safely, so I decided the larger stockpot could go in the oven after all.

I used vegetable broth instead of water for the liquid. In hindsight, water probably would have been just fine. The stock added more richness, almost to overkill.

I foolishly started cooking rather late. After two hours, the beans were still too chewy, and I was falling asleep, so I threw the whole shebang in the fridge and called it a night.

Today I finished cooking the soup and put the chopped-up chard in for the last half-hour, then started on the caramelized fennel finish/garnish. I was tempted to skip this out of laziness, but Grant stresses that this step really makes the dish.
It's also messy. The spatter screen needed backup.
Once the fennel is browned on all sides, you add a quarter-cup of white wine. Someone gave me this juice-box wine, thus saving me from opening a big bottle. Saving me from myself, really (*hic*).

It says 3 servings. Yeah, maybe for Thumbelina.

Do you like my measuring cup? Don't worry; I don't use it for dog food. It's just a good size for measuring small amounts.
Wow, that caramelized fennel came out all tangy and interesting. I was tempted to devour it all on the spot. But most of it went into the soup pot. I reserved some slices for garnish, along with fennel fronds.
Soup's on!

This is a mighty tasty dish, and the caramelized fennel does indeed "make" it. Next time I will soak the beans overnight first to reduce cooking time and will use water instead of stock. You get plenty of richness from the vegetables already in there.

I'm thinking it could indeed benefit from some browned chicken sausage, too. I have plenty of soup to throw in the freezer, so when I serve it next, I'll just cook up some sausage and add it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another day in doggy paradise

Lannie can fly!
She found a friend to run with, too.
Sophie found a ball, and once we managed to get it away from Leo and distract him with a stick, she got to do a little swimming, too.


I'm ready for a nap, too.