Saturday, March 30, 2013

Very, very satisfying

There's just something about baking.

This cream cheese and sour cherry coffee cake took some time, but isn't that sort of the point?

Oh, and because I like to give a weather report, I'm happy to report that today is warm-ish (55) and very sunny. Good walking weather, which Theo and I have done during various stages of the baking.

Ok, back to the coffee cake. Here it is, all ready to start rising. And yes, that golden glow is thanks to a stick of butter.

After it's risen, it gets rolled out... large-ish and square-ish.

Then topped with the cream cheese and cherries. I used Cherry Republic's Ruby Red Morsels of Joy. The best, of course. 

Then the whole thing is rolled up like a jelly roll and, according to Martha Stewart, "coil[ed] into a snail shape." 

Then, another brief rise, and into the oven... and... ta da!... loveliness. I don't know why it looks burned. It isn't. Just bad photography, I guess. And of course the glaze is still to come. 

Note: that's my new tea kettle in the background. It has a very nice shape. You can't see it well here, but it'll be in the background of other photos, too, I'm sure.

And finally, here's the coffee cake with the glaze.

Pretty darn good.

Very satisfying

Greek salad sandwich. The recipe is, oh, everywhere. You'll find it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Better late than never

Forgot to post these. The Kroger brownies. Like I said: they're the best.

And yes, I have a special pan (in the background) that makes 'em pop right out: perfect squares with cute rounded edges.

Almost too simple

Simple tomato sauce. With mushrooms.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing

... if you arrived here from Lisa Russ Spaar's Next Big Thing post and are looking for my Next Big Thing post, please go here. While you're there, you can read all about WVU's terrific MFA program.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A poem to go with the bread

... by Laura Jensen, the title poem from Shelter. A good example of how a day can contain so much.


I had bread rising in a warm oven.
I dusted what was left of the flour
off of and into my jeans
and went downstairs and opened the door
for mail. I found
a woodpecker dead on the threshold.
A hawthorn berry beside it.

I brought a box of white plastic packing chips
down and petted it on the feathers then
picked it up in my hand,
the feathers warm, the body light
and cold. It fit exactly
into the hollow I made for it.
The hawthorn berry beside it.

I left it on the kitchen table.

I thought of it looking
for shelter, coming only into the porch
to a nest at the corner the door made
where it met the jamb, the whole of it
carved with leaves and varnished
in the summer when the landlord repainted.
Or flying into the shapes of blowing trees
in the door window.

And I thought of three tame trees where I walk
that had brushed my head and filled it with dreams
that fell in the summer
to be cut for firewood.

I found a broken shovel
that sits at the side of the house
and buried it bare in a break in the clouds.
Beside the house, under the hawthorn.
The hawthorn berry beside it.

As I walked back to the stairs
the box fell open, and chips
shaped like esses and ees
flurried out on the wind like flakes of snow.

And I took the bread out of the oven,
baked now. An oatmeal loaf.

It's a wonder I get anything done

Anything besides cooking, I mean.

A busy day.

First: almond butter, which isn't necessarily all that photogenic, but it is delicious. Very simple: almonds, canola, olive oil, honey, salt. Roasted, then processed.

Then, oatmeal bread, KAF recipe. Tried and true.

Note the messy counter. 

Or just crowded. 

Bananas, shallots, avocados, butternut squash, some just washed kale and, just barely in the background, the best brownie mix ever: Kroger brand. 

I'm not kidding. 

Of course homemade brownies are great too... but, honestly, this mix is the best. 

Fudgy, not cakey. 


Meanwhile, I made some tomato soup as the bread baked. 

Here it is simmering....

And here it is after having been put into the blender. 

Very pretty, I think. 

Also, during the meanwhile: some kale chips, just as a snack.

And then the bread was done.

A good day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I like a process

Yesterday afternoon I made mushroom stock.

Here are the pics of that process.

First, the onions, dried mushrooms, leeks....

Next, the very photogenic carrots, parsley and thyme.

All of that, plus some more mushrooms (white and crimini) and a bay leaf or two...

And then nine cups of water.

And some simmering.

After about an hour and another step or two that I didn't photograph (the draining of the veggies...)...

Ta da!—


—some of which I used for today's pork roast and the rest of which I froze for another project, another day.

Pork shoulder roast... after cooking 5+ hours.

This recipe, with its amazing garlic rub, is courtesy of my friend Lisa.

And green beans gremolata—Ina Garten's recipe, more or less.

The meal, with some spaetzle with feta.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Potatoes, for once

I rarely recommend potatoes. Mostly because I just don't make them much. At least not baking potatoes.

But these... are delicious.

Mustard roasted potatoes. Onions too.

I used whole seed mustard from American Spoon Foods. Also highly recommended.

Along with a filet (with the famous schmear) and a simple salad (feta, dates, olive oil & lemon).


This afternoon/evening I also made mushroom stock, but the stock and the post will need to wait until tomorrow. Big plans.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Some things seem almost too effortless to mention.

But I like those things.


Whole wheat gemelli with sautéed asparagus and spinach. Toasted almonds. Feta. Dates, which I like so much.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Is that a word? It should be; I like it. I also like aprons, very much.

Here are two pics from Monday's department reception at my house.

First, beef tenderloin with my now-famous (to me) garlic-parsley-lemon schmear.

Second, the table... with farro (with sautéed asparagus, leeks, and mushrooms; pecans; cranberries; feta) in the foreground, mixed baby greens (with dates, pecans, blue cheese, and my vinaigrette behind that, and then venison meatballs, cheese, bread, etc.

Cheesecake too, but I forgot to photograph that. Alas.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sort of old-fashioned

Or at least my version of old-fashioned. 1970s. Each food in its proper place on the plate. Baked chicken. Oven-browned potatoes. But that spinach salad should probably be corn or carrots or beans.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Every Sunday needs a project

Or, if you're trying to learn meter: EVery SUNday NEEDS a PROject.

That's trochaic tetrameter—assuming that you say "every" the same way the Romantic poets and I do: ev'ry, two syllables.

This Sunday's project: Broa, a Portuguese bread that includes cornmeal. It didn't turn out as tall as I imagined but is still light inside with a sturdy crust. Good with cherry preserves.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today's snow was little more than an idea

Such is March.

Meanwhile... thanks to the Cooking Channel, I saw Michael Symon make this roasted garlic-lemon-parsley schmear and pretty much had to try it right away. 


Pictured here on filet mignon with tomatoes, sautéed asparagus, and spinach and arugula with crumbled blue cheese and cranberries. And, of course, my vinaigrette, which is pretty much like everyone else's: dijon or stone ground mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, shallots if I have them, pepper, extra virgin olive oil. 

Oh, and that glass of wine is St. Supéry's 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon—a favorite. 

Friday, March 1, 2013