we made our own “fire”-works at home.
my grill chef is very serious about his craft.
burgers, ‘dogs, bacon-wrapped scallops, chicken yakitori, grilled whole tilapia, pork bellies, eggplants, boiled corn, were on the menu.
we had to burn some fallen branches and twigs we’ve been collecting the past year from the winter storms and autumn winds.
and then we had berry cake with streusel topping.
recipe follows; it is from a blueberry cake, from the Boston Globe Food section, 29 June 2011.
to be honest, i am not a fan of blueberries (yeah yeah i know it’s very good for me, but still…) i do love raspberries, and blackberries? i thought i’d throw them in for a color punch.—–> Continue reading
we’ve survived 10 inches of rain in three days (not totally unscathed, as we sustained roof and ceiling damage, but all in all not too bad, in this state where some families were totally devastated, sad to say), and the reward was a glorious day of sunshine this St. Patrick’s day.
my family has always celebrated this day, not because we’re Irish, but because it is our parents’ wedding anniversary day.
i don’t recall my Ma ever cooking Irish food on this particular day, though i know she would have if she could’ve–she’s always been adventurous in the kitchen (frogs, rabbits, all sorts of cuisine…)
today marks my Ma and Dad’s 54th wedding anniversary, and husband requested a “traditional” dinner…as traditional as i could manage anyway.
first though he took me to dimsum lunch. yippee, he had the day off today! an endangered day off it is too, so we enjoyed it as much as we could with a quick trip to Boston’s Chinatown and China Pearl. what do you know, we saw his parents and two of his sisters there too.
yes, it was that kind of a day, when everyone just had to get out and feel warm sun on skin.
it was like a flash of lightning when we got home…i remembered Mrs. O’Callaghan’s recipe for Irish soda bread in the March Bon Appetit, in an article written by Andrew McCarthy–one of the brat pack and whom i remember from the movie “Mannequin.” [cook’s note: i followed the recipe from the magazine and used only 1 tsp. of baking soda, and added a teaspoon of salt as well. i also used a rectangular pan similar to Mrs. O’s.]
it was very easy to make and quite a memorable un-yeasted bread. it was great with the corned beef brisket, sauteed Brussells sprouts (i added rendered salt pork though), mashed potatoes, and the totally non-traditional chicken livers and caramelized onions (recommended for the anemic member of the family, ME!).
i wish i had found a you tube video for this old old James Taylor song, “Sunshine,” as it is just perfect for the feeling we had the morning after the nameless Nor’easter that flooded the Bay State…
sounds of laughter here comes sunshine
smiling faces all around
they possess you bless you sunshine
now you can never let them down
I say sunshine
is that a cloud across your smile or did you dream again last night
it’s best you rest inside a while
as blue doesn’t seem to suit you right
things ain’t what they used to be
pain and rain and misery
illness in the family and sunshine means a lot to me
i say sunshine
but could it be sunshine is drifting with midnight
and lonely when everyone’s gone
blue crystal spirits and gardens in moonlight
leave weak alone and bleak all quiet and grey by dawn
rising too late to chase the cold and failing to change the frost to dew
she’s trading her mood of yellow gold for frost bitten shades of silver blue
friends and lovers past and gone and no one waiting further on
i’m running short of things to be and sunshine means quite a lot to me
i say sunshine… sunshine
–James Taylor, 1968
debated whether to change out of my soaked clothes into a new outfit, or just to slip back into my flannel pajammies and fluffy bathrobe…the flannels won, and i’m just drying out the old outfit.
it was a day just like today, pouring rain with flashes of lightning and grumbling thunder, when i attended what i call a “diabetic convention” (really a community outreach program from our hospital)–it was a Saturday early morning and no it wasn’t the free breakfast and lunch that made me bounce out of bed. it was a grim determination to finally confront the demon diagnosis from three years ago. i wanted to learn more about my disease instead of just always pushing it down into the dark recesses of my mind.
i am really still mournful about it, but i learned so much about carbs, and diet, and how insulin works and how my organs will fail if i don’t attend to my body. i have mostly banished Ms.Information and Ms.Conceptions and Ms.Givings from my awareness; sadly i have turned into a rabid food label reader, a fervent new member of the food police force. i hope that my kids and husband won’t get too resentful and even actually benefit from the vigilance i’m trying hard to maintain. kids, i am also always donating to diabetic research requests (kahit piso piso lang). i am so sorry but it’s hereditary, and i want diabetes gone in your lifetime.
part of our new regimen is the search for delicious multigrain stuff, and these loaves from Nature’s Pride fit the bill exactly. we spread almond and peanut butters and have it for breakfast, and the #2son specifically requested a sandwich with turkey breast slices for his school lunch. that’s phenomenal! he’s more of a subway rolls kind of guy.
success, what? just disregard all that chocolate in my categories.
after one bite of these cheesey pastries, you’ll understand why i persevered to make candied orange peel.
i overheard my daughter asking her dad, on his way out to the grocery, to please buy something new for breakfast, right after our February week off.
i said to myself, absolutely! i felt exactly the same way. i thought of something coffee cake-y, sort of cheese-Danish pastry like, and i made these.
candied peel in the ricotta custard filling, orange zest in the pastry lined cupcakes, with decorative strips of even more pastry–it’s very hard to resist gobbling these tangy little tarts all up in one big bite.
sweet ricotta pastries from Gourmet, January 2009.
serves 12, for dessert after a big Italian meal perhaps?, or 1 hormonal mama, lusting for carbs.
this is the recipe that will surely test your patience.
the moment i saw this on celia K i immediately bookmarked it as a great summer treat for my kids. i wish i could say i used local berries though…the farmers’ market in our town isn’t open till tomorrow, and i just couldn’t wait to make it.
and we couldn’t wait for it to settle down and cool off, the aromas wafting from the oven just were too tempting.
the hardest part of the recipe was converting the weight measures. i had to use my countertop scale.
to keep the berries from sinking down to the bottom, i dredged them lightly in a tiny amount of the flour.
as i prepared the kids’ lunches i also didn’t see that the cake was browning very quickly. instructions call for covering up with the pan with aluminum foil should that happen.
makes you wish for berries all year long…now if only this cake counts as one of the five-a-day fruit-and-vegetable serving requirement…!
(the original recipe is from BBC Good Food. i substituted blackberries for blueberries, and omitted the three tablespoons of lime juice for the cake batter).
poke the cake all over (i used a metal barbecue skewer)…
…before spooning over the “lime syrup drizzle.”
French toast (eggy bread, pain perdu, pain dore) was invented as a way to recycle old bread.
any old stale dried up loaf will do. but for me brioche is IT.
so it is logical and understandable that an obsessive compulsive foodie will bake brioche just specifically to make it stale and old in order to make French toast.
except my last brioche loaf did not make it past its prime, nay! it didn’t last the evening it was baked. i have to make another one pronto. and then hide it. :stirthepot
here’s the recipe for bread machine brioche. …and take my word for it.
French toast must be brioche-d. Brioche must be French toast’d.
the order of placement depends upon your machine.
1 & 1/2 tsps. active dry yeast
2 tbsps. sugar
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup lukewarm whole milk (80F)
3 tbsps. lukewarm water
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
set machine menu to “sweet bread” setting, crust setting should be light.
put everything in the bread pan except for the butter. press start then let machine mix the dough for about 5 minutes then add the butter in portions, letting the machine work before adding the next bit.
for the French toast: eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom to taste. soak brioche and then cook in a shallow pan with melted butter. brown both sides.
i thought a bread machine would be fun to have in the kitchen.
i wanted a Japanese one..but have you seen how much those cost? i couldn’t justify spending too much on a brand new Zojirushi that i might not use much in the end. or that i’d feel pressured to use, to make it worthwhile…so i turned to eBay. i got really lucky and got a barely-used Dak (out of business, but parts are still available). i made our first bread machine loaf the day it arrived…
it was a bit alarming in the beginning, with all the noise it made. but 3 and a half hours later i got the best surprise…
it worked! and it was beautiful, moist-inside-crusty-outside kind of loaf. oddly shaped, but the magical way that it kneaded the dough, “fermented”, baked and cooled it…all you do is measure everything in, in proper order.
freshly baked, i slathered on some carabao butter…*sigh*
thank heavens for all the people who share recipes (the machine didn’t have its original cookbooklet)–i hope to try out as many as i can, who knows how long this machine will last?!
here she was at age 4. i don’t make pan de sal anymore since this really good brand has been for sale here (as long as you arrive promptly at 1 pm every Friday–blink and you miss it). but my little daughter truly enjoyed helping make these. she particularly liked rolling them around in the dry bread crumbs.
do you have a favorite pan de sal recipe? i didn’t have much luck the last time i tried it (they transformed into hockey pucks).
i do remember that instant yeast and the dough hook of a heavy duty mixer made it easy. it’s crucial that the liquid be at the proper temperature to make the yeast active yet not entirely kill it.
do you have a favorite pan de sal recipe? i haven’t had much luck the last time i tried it (they transformed into hockey pucks). i’ve bookmarked some from my favorite Pinoyfoodbloggers but i don’t have a bread machine.
i am willing to try highly recommended tried and true recipes.
for the next time i miss the delivery truck!
this new year is supposed to be husband’s lucky year…so we accompanied him to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the nearest of his “playgrounds,” for some playtime. we stayed in a little generic suite hotel, with an ample free breakfast!, and had us some of that bad buffet. bad as in big, grand, sinful, gluttonous! we stood in line for a good half hour, building up an appetite. thankfully there was a little sitting area for the kids to wait it out, and by the time we reached the cashier we were able to give the buffet due justice.
nothing too exciting except for a scuffle on the buffet “veranda”, we followed the line of boys in teal uniforms who separated the women…too bad we didn’t find out what the fight was about. a huge crowd gathered around to watch the drama. i think it’s human nature: crowd curiosity, morbid fascination and neck craning, you just have to look back on a bad scene.
a wall of security boys in teal
sigh, luck wasn’t raining down on us for this foray though…rain was raining down on us when we drove back home.
another cold day= kakanin day! #2son had a bad cold and was very sad to stay home and miss all his playdates on this vacation week (winter break).
had to make a vat of pancit sotanghon (glass noodles) and a huge pan of bibingkang kamoteng kahoy (cassava bibingka) for husband’s work party (“multiethnic” day or some such holiday made up by his co-workers) so i finagled a little portion for the kiddies, and then made a pan of what i really wanted to eat…bibingkang malagkit (glutinous rice cake) with coconut custard topping.
i think it was the memory of eating something cooked in a roasted fragrant banana leaf that triggered all this bibingka making.
i tried to cheer him up by having him assemble a large deep dish pizza with his favorite topping–pepperoni. i think that it coaxed a big smile out of him.
then what do you know, a snowstorm blew into town and dumped 8 new inches of the fresh and fluffy kind…time to make a snowman?
how about a fry-up for breakfast, the morning after?
#1son is home for the weekend! and hungry for Chinese food and rice. so we got some of our favorite take-out dishes from our neighborhood joint and this morning i decided to bake some scones (also had to use up the jar of clotted (Devon) cream–our once-a-year indulgence.
from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cook Book, everyone just loves this scrumptious buttery scone . served with my favorite raspberry jam, Bonne Maman!, i eat it with such an overwhelming feeling. guilty as sin.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsps. sugar
3 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tbsps. unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup whole milk (approximately)
1 beaten egg
1 egg + 1 tbsp. milk for egg wash (save extra for scrambled eggs)
preheat oven to 425F.
sift or whisk together well flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
mix the egg and milk together then sprinkle into the flour-butter mixture, folding with a spatula, until dough is soft and easy to handle.
knead about 15 times, roll out to 1/2 inch thickness then cut into rounds. glaze with egg and milk wash.
place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes.
to serve: split into halves then spread cream and jam. pop into mouth and slurp some milk tea or cafe au lait. jog 5 miles.