Day 59

I haven't had blueberry pancakes in like, forever.  So I made them, and we ate them.  With bacon.  And all was well.  See you tomorrow.


Day 58: Frustration: It's What's for Dinner!

There are days where my frustration level in the kitchen gets so high that I want to go all Office Space on the whole room.  I have these images in my head of how things will turn out, only to be bitch-slapped by the reality of my culinary shortcomings.  Grrrrr....It all started when I decided to make these homemade candy bars from Hedy Goldsmith's delightful cookbook.  Of course, I didn't take the sugar to it's happy amber colored place, so my "caramel" looks like....I don't know.

And this is how they turned out.  I also used dark chocolate, as I had no milk chocolate.  Now I know.  Take the sugar farther.  Still edible, but not right.  Grrrrr......

I also tried a fun little snack, salt & vinegar chickpeas.  I burned them.  Grrrrrrr.....

So, let's move on the pastry!  Yeah!  Great idea!  I decided to make some savory pies with chicken, peach, onion, and chipotle.  My dough was too dry, so this kept happening:
I had to do some serious patchwork.  Grrrrrr....

Anyway, they turned out ok in the end.  We were able to have dinner and dessert, and I have pies for the freezer.  Sigh.  Tomorrow's a new day.  


Day 57

Day 57:  I usually don't fall for gimicky foods, but this pasta is just too darn cute.  I am thinking of making a beer cheese sauce, maybe with Guinness or some other such Irish brew, for St. Patrick's Day (thanks for the St. Patty's Day idea Jackie!).  Could be good...

Day 56

Day 56: I cooked with Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) for the first time yesterday.  I roasted them with some carrots and olive oil, and threw in a little parsley.  My opinion?  Meh.  They didn't do much for me, which is probably why you are stuck with this lackluster photo for yesterday's post.  The bagel, on the other hand, was quite tasty.  Another fine product from the folks at Zingerman's Bakehouse.


Day 55: Raison d'être

I am fully aware that there are a number of people in my circles of life that think my seeming obsession with food is extraordinarily ridiculous.  There are those who don't give food a second thought; it is just something to throw in your giant maw to make your stomach stop talking.  Here's what it all boils down to for me: stewardship and creativity. 
 I want to make sure I am doing my best at cherishing the gifts we've been given.  I want to support groups, individuals, and businesses that are striving to be good stewards.
And, being a creative type, I have chosen food as my medium.  I can't act, or paint, or draw.  I can sing, but I didn't compose the music I perform.  Food is great.  It's consumable.  I can share it with others.  There's a relatively short turn-around on gratification, both gustatorily and artistically, which satisfies my toddler-like attention span.
There you have it.  My reason to creatively be, in amuse-bouche form.


Day 54: Tribute

There will come a point in time, on some day, where I find myself with a few small solitary moments to reflect on how I got there, how I’ve realized the goals I have somehow achieved.  And then I will realize that the only reason I’ve achieved these goals is due to the beautiful people that have helped me get to that goal point.  It will be a small list, maybe one that I can count on just a few fingers.  You, dear Marilou, will always be on that list.
Maybe I’ll be walking the stalls of a market, turning pages in a cookbook, chopping vegetables, or a mound of pastry dough will be staring up at me, reflectively.  And I will pause, and a tear-tinged half-smile will touch my face, and I will remember what an impact you’ve had on me, how influential you have been in getting me to this very spot.
I am truly blessed to have known you, to call you my friend, to hold you as a kindred spirit.  There are so, so few people in my sphere to whom I can go on and on and on about food, and they will jump in and say “Yes! “ and show the same excitement and zeal I feel.  Most will roll their eyes and glaze over.  But not you.  Your enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring.  Always so encouraging, so willing to step in and help, so happy to get involved.  Taking fieldtrips to restaurants and food festivals, commiserating over magazine articles, comparing ideas, tasting, creating, living
Marilou, you are one of the most unassumingly talented people I have ever been honored to know.  I would look at and taste what you had created in amazement.  Such beautiful dishes, so beautifully prepared.  And you would just shrug it off.  Meh, it was no big deal.  But it was. 
We must always hold close to us those cherished people who share our passions.  You and I cooked together, we read the same books, ate meals together with gusto, laughed at very silly things, and shared a small corner of life that revolved around eating, trying new things, and feeding the people we love.   I will miss you so much.  That spot you fill in my heart will always be yours.  Some beautiful day we will again find ourselves together sharing a meal and laughing. 

Jennifer Grubb
22 February 2013


Day 53: A Day in Food and Music

Day 53 started off with a new cookbook.  Well, actually a baking book.  I ordered this book because of recipes like this:
These are homemade Oreos.  These will happen soon.
Then we went to Half-Price books.  I seriously think I need an intervention:
This evening, after drinks with friends, I rushed to the Schuster to sing some Wagner.  Remembering it was National Margarita Day, I decided this should happen:
Not knowing, of course, that my darling husband had already made it happen:
Good-night all.


Day 52

It's hard to visualize spring whilst under a winter weather advisory, but it will get here; it will show up.  I spent the fall and winter hoarding my summer fruits that I froze and preserved in the sweltering days of summer.  Now I find myself with a (smallish) glut of berries and stone fruits languishing in the freezer, and rows of preserves waiting to be opened.  I also find my frozen baked good reserves to be at a dangerously low level.  So, it is time to bake things.  Today I made these little thingies, cookie-ish, donuty, muffin-like treats that I hope will freeze.  They aren't very pretty, but that's my fault.  I will try harder next time.
 I made these in my mini muffin tins,with homemade blueberry jam.

And these were made in larger tins, with peach preserves.  


Day 51 Tennis Pasta

Day 51: Racchette pasta.  Because I have a nine-year-old.


Day 50: Waste Not, Want Not

Day 50: Repurposing leftovers:  We had some really tasty tri-tip for my daughter's birthday on Sunday, courtesy of Blues Creek Meats Shockingly, especially in my family, we actually had some left over, so I decided to use it for tonight's dinner.  Here we have tri-tip sandwiches with caramelized onion, mozzarella cheese, Dijon mustard, and lettuce.  I had some leftover fingerlings too, so I pan fried them in bacon drippings and butter until they were tender and golden brown.  Satisfying.


Day 49

Day 49: Rehearsal night dinners are always pretty unexciting, seeing as we have to eat early (You do NOT want to sing on a full stomach, and no one wants you belching your meal during rehearsal!) and light.  So here we have a quick produce-drawer stir-fry with Rooster Juice, aka Sriracha.  And since I can't just sit with nothing to look at, a little food reading to boot.  Happy Monday, or something.


Day 48

Day 48:  Happy Birthday Hannah!  Sometimes, you just don't have time to make cake.  So you get 2 dozen donuts from Bill's and 9 candles and sing.  No great loss, here, because these donuts are darn tasty.

Day 47

Day 47:  Ah, strawberries, ah spring.  This is about the point in winter where I really start itching for longer days and warmer breezes, for green and blossoms, for a new menu.  I know it will come.  And then I can eat  strawberries.


Day 46: Food Day in C-bus

 Lunch at Skillet: Pulled pork over an apple cheddar pancake with a walnut bourbon sauce.

Fun at the North Market

Can't believe we bought the whole thing!

Sitting at the counter at Jeni's, a preview of ice cream fun to come.


Day 45 Love and Ice Cream

Day 45: We don't get all choked up and lovey-dovey on these so-named "Hallmark holidays", but we do pause for a moment to remove ourselves from the stresses and trials of the day and recognize our love for each other, and for our amazing daughter.  It's been a pretty rough road recently, so it's nice to take a quick, deep breath and remind ourselves how blessed we are to be in a loving relationship, and members of a loving family.

 I baked these little lovelies for Hannah's KCC chorus on Tuesday.  Super fudgey brownies, cut into heart shapes, with a little daub of pink buttercream and a conversation heart.  They were quite the hit.

 True love: A dear, thoughtful husband who is in tune with your insane levels of food pickiness (We all should be food-picky, you know.  We should really care so, so much more about what we put in our bodies, but that is for another post!), and surprises you with some of the BEST ice cream these 50 states have to offer!

 Ta-da!  The Jeni's Valentine's Collection!  A beautiful sight if I've ever seen one.  Banana Cajeta, Guava Cloverton, Roxbury Road, and Double-Toasted Coconut.  

I am not often surprised, but this gift was truly touching, very thoughtful, and much needed.  Happy Valentine's Day to all of you I hold dear!


Day 44

Day 44: For Marilou


Day 43: Jock-a-mo fee na-né

My grand-ma and your grand-ma were
Sittin' by the fire
My grand-ma told your grand-ma :
" I'm gonna set your flag on fire "

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now ! Hey now !
Iko, iko unday
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Look at my king all dressed in red
Iko, iko unday
I betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now ! Hey now !
Iko, iko unday
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Mardi Gras fried rice:

See that girl all dressed in green 
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Iko, iko unday
She's not a girl, she's a lovin' machine
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now ! Hey now !
Iko, iko unday
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

King Cake!

Mardi gras's coming and it won't belong
Iko, iko unday
Till everybody's singing my little song
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now ! Hey now !
Iko, iko unday
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né
Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now ! Hey now !
Iko, iko unday
Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né
Jock-a-mo fee na-né


Day 42

Day 42: From the frenetically creative mind of David Chang, one of my favorite food publications.  It's like Christmas every 3 months!


Day 41

Day 41: Simple dinner.  Roasted fingerlings with aged cheddar, bacon, barbecue sauce, chives, and pickled jalapenos.  


Day 40

Day 40: Dinner at Olive
 Quail Scotch Eggs
 Tuna burger with feta and sweet potato fries
Chicken carbonara with greens

Opinion:  Good and comfortable.  Pleasing flavors.  Friendly.  Menu needs more variety.  Flavors could be a little more developed.  Will definitely go back and try other dishes. 


Day 39

Day 39: Anatomy of a school morning.  I get bored with routine so easily, but some rituals just need to happen.  Every day.  Mornings and I have never had a great relationship, and so I try and do what I can to make my grumpy a.m. self function productively.  So I start with coffee.  Good coffee. With a splash of Hartzler's amazing milk to help my stomach ease into the day.  The importance goes beyond the finished product, the familiar, almost subconscious routine helps me ease my big toe into the pool that is morning, so to speak.


Day 38

Day 38: Supper.  I start to get a little OCD when I have little bits of lots of things in my fridge.  Not wanting to be wasteful, I made this salad instead.  Cauliflower and broccoli with bacon, onions, mozzarella cheese, toasted pecans, dried tart cherries, and a pickled mustard seed dressing.  Now that I've cleaned off some shelf space, I can see that the fridge needs cleaned.  Again.  Sigh.


Day 37: Comfort

Day 37: Comfort.  Comfort is a giant bowl of rice noodles in a perfect, fiery broth.  It requires one's full attention, spoon in one hand, chopsticks in the other.  There is no room for other thoughts when tackling a dish with both hands.  A blessed temporary escape from the lump of heartache that has settled in my chest.

Comfort is the sweet, friendly Vietnamese woman who serves you like a member of her family, engaging in genuine conversation and treating your daughter like one of her own children.  Her kindness almost invites the tears that are so close to the surface...


Days 34, 35, 36

I haven't been much in the mood for posting these past two days, and I know I won't for the next several either.  Nonetheless, even as my heart is heavy with loss, I know life must continue.  My posting these photos feels trite, almost silly right now, but the world of food is one that I have been so fortunate to live in with such a dear friend who soon leaves us.  So in her honor, I will keep cooking.  Because she would tell me to.  

Superbowl Food

 Peanut butter and bacon cookies.  Savory, salty, and sweet.  Great with beer.

 Collard green slaw with rainbow carrots and red cabbage.  The roughage of the meal.

Crappy picture, but these are stuffed biscuit balls.  I was going to make arepas, but my masa was expired.  Like 2011 expired.  So I stuffed smoked Gouda and bacon into biscuit dough and sprinkled them with Maldon sea salt.  

 And yes!  It happened!  The challenge was presented, the gauntlet thrown down!  Can you combine pancakes, mustard, hot dogs, and corn salsa into not only an edible, but a cohesive, dish?  I will tell you, it can be done!  The components: pancake deep fried in duck fat, hot dog, butterflied and pan seared, pickled mustard seeds, maple and chipotle mayo, and salsa made of corn, mango, papaya, cilantro, and green onion.  Boo to the yah.  


Day 33

Day 33: New Product!  Found this new line of candy at Target today.  They make versions of famous candies with less gross stuff.  No GMO's no corn syrup, no artificial ingredients, etc.  This is their version of  Snickers, and they're actually pretty good.  Still junk food, just slightly less junky.

Day 32

Day 32:  I made cake.  I don't even really like to make cake.  It wasn't chocolatey enough, so I drowned it in a chocolate glaze.  It seemed downright immoral to toss all those little puddles of choco-richness that form when glazing, so I saved them from the trash and we ate them too.  Yum.