Author Archives: Christopher Cook

Fiesta Guacamole!

I was invited over to a friend’s house to have fiesta on Sunday, and it was requested of me to make guacamole. Good thing, too. The avocados at my local Co-Op have just started looking good, and there’s nary a condiment I love more than the guac.

The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via Nahuatl AhuacamOlli, from Ahuacatl (=”avocado”) + mOlli(=”sauce”) (stolen from Wikipedia). This isn’t much different than aguamole, which is a small burrowing animal attracted to water, or a dimensionless quantity. Of water.

Anyhow,

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Make it!
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Gather:
4 ripe avocados. If they’re overripe, that’s probably even better. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to make guac with underripe avocados. You have been warned.
1 small red onion
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 medium lime (or more, to taste)
5 cloves of garlic
1 ½C of your favorite salsa (spice determined by your taste)
S&P
Tequila!!

 

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Choppity-chop up the red onion into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Put both in a semi-large bowl.

 

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Skin and cube the avocados.
My favorite way to skin avocados (which will only work with completely ripe avocados):
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Lightly score the skin on each half into 2-3 sections. Peel away. So easy!!

 

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Add the cubed avocados to the bowl and add S&P – about a ½ Tbsp apiece; cut the lime in half and squeeze all of the juice out over the avocados, and add a large shot of the tequila. If you want to get fancy, add some zested lime rind. For extra iron, mash with a slightly rusty potato masher. If slightly rusty potato masher is unavailable, use a non-rusty potato masher or a large fork.

 

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Mash until avocados reach desired consistency. I suggest mashing until still a little chunky, but with no fear of the dip falling off of the chip.

 

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Chop up a good handful of cilantro (which will chop up to be a rather small amount), and add the salsa to the mixture. If your salsa is very wet, drain some of the water out. We don’t want this to get too sloppy. Fold in the added ingredients carefully (we don’t want the avocados to become more mashed) as if you’re dealing with a fussy baby or juggling knives.

 

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Once it looks well-mixed, have a generous taste, preferably without a chip or any other distractions. Is is spicy enough? Salty enough? Peppery enough? Mine wasn’t spicy enough for me, so I added a liberal amount of Sriracha! Is it cool to add a Thai chili sauce to a traditionally Mexican dish? YES. And don’t question me again. If yours isn’t hot enough, I highly suggest adding sriracha or some kind of chili pepper/sauce.

 

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Mix it up again and taste. Yummy? Good. Now don’t eat all of it – wrap it up and leave in the fridge for at least an hour so all of the flavors have time to party. Once they’ve met, made out, and had some kids, enjoy the guac with some chips, veggies, or just eat it with a spoon. It’s so good for you!

Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

I know, I need to get the recipes up for the Stuffed Lamburger, Fishwich, and Stuffed Chicken Thighs Wrapped in Prosciutto, but what I ate this morning was incredibly fantastic, and since all of the ingredients are in season right now (at least in Oregon), so I wanted to get the recipe up post-haste. The idea for this recipe was thought up when the boyfriend and I were in Canada a few weeks ago and making the most out of having a television in our hostel room by watching Food Network and the Discovery Channel whenever we were stagnant. We picked up an episode of Iron Chef: America in which the “battle food” was breakfast. I remember skipping this episode on the boyfriend’s TiVo way back in the day, because I was morally opposed to “breakfast” being the “secret ingredient” in IC:A. Breakfast? Ridiculous. We ended up watching the whole thing and I took as many notes as possible. There was a point where I was trying to figure out how some certain ingredients were going to work together: marscarpone, garlic, basil, and strawberries. It made me think back to the days when my mom and I would go to the garlic festival in Gilroy, California – I had had a strawberry shortcake with garlic cream that was fantastic. But that was over 15 years ago, and who knows how my tongue was working back in those days.

The ingredients on IC:A ended up going to 2 different dishes, but the idea was already rooted into my psyche, and I couldn’t think of anything better to put together for Sunday breakfast.

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Just as a side note for 2 of the ingredients: I ended up using a cheese that was on sale and delicious at Whole Foods – Snofrisk. Since Snofrisk is made from goat cheese and cow’s cream, it has a tang that wouldn’t be matched with just mascarpone itself. It will probably taste fantastic with mascarpone, but I suggest trying snofrisk if it’s available (double-plus on sale) in your area. For the bread, I used 3/4″ slices from a leftover loaf of Piccolo Como from Grand Central Bakery, which is a chain in the great NW USA. This would work well with a soft/chewy-crumb, chewy crust bread like baguette or a slightly sour bread. Okay, onto the food:

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Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

Feeds 2-3 hungry Americans

6-3/4″ Slices of Bread{Whisk together}
4 Eggs
3ts Salt
2ts dried Thyme
2ts dried Paprika
1ts rubbed Sage
Dash of freshly-ground pepper

{Thouroughly mix together the following and set aside:}
125g Snofrisk, marscarpone, or similar cheese
2 Tbs Minced fresh garlic
S&P to taste

{Toppings:}
1/2 pint Strawberries, sliced
6 large Basil leaves cut in chiffonade, more whole for decoration

Dip bread in the egg mixture – allow them plenty of time to soak up the liquid on both sides. Cook in either a pan on the stove set to a “low-medium heat” or on a griddle set to 325 degrees. Lightly spray/coat the cooking implement with olive oil. Allow the bread to cook on the first side for about 7 minutes – it should be golden brown before flipping. The second side usually takes 4-5 minutes.

Top the Pain Perdu evenly with the garlic-cheese mixture and layer with strawberry slices with basil on top. Serve with bacon, smoked salmon or whatever meat is at your mercy, and fresh juice (or iced coffee – yum!).

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Next time I’m going to try the cheese mixture with bacon mixed in, which would lend a fantastic smoky/sweet flavor to the savoriness of cheese and garlic (depending what kind of bacon one is using, of course ^_^ ). Like I said before, all of the ingredients are currently in season here in Portland – I can’t go a mile without seeing some market with massive amounts of strawberries. Just remember – quality ingredients help make quality food.

Celebrate New Years Eve in Style With These Cocktails

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For the third year in a row, Nick and I will be spending our New Years Eve with friends eating tacos and drinking cocktails. It’s become something of a tradition, fondly known as Cocktails and Carnitas, and I can hardly wait.

It’s a given that the food is good. But we also believe in drinking very, very good cocktails. Cocktail. Rather than conjuring up images of sugary vodka-laced concoctions, the word cocktail evokes for us a dangerous, seductive blend of liquor, liqueurs, bitters, citrus juices, and plenty of ice. It is something balanced, remarkable, and pleasurable. A cocktail should not be an embarrasing thing you order in a club. It should be a work of culinary art.

With that in mind, here are two cocktails we debuted last year which were wildly popular at the 2010 New Years party. In fact, I made one for someone and apparently this person shared a sip with half the people in the room, because shortly thereafter I was stuck behind the bar for close to an hour mixing up the same cocktail over and over to everyone who wanted their own.drink2

That cocktail was the Red Hook, which features a liqueur made from maraschino cherries; Luxardo makes the best one. The other cocktail was the Aviation, which also uses maraschino liqueur, but is based around gin rather than whiskey. The Red Hook is dark, seductive, brown, and just a little bitter; the Aviation is bright, gin-y, and tart with lemon juice. Between the two, you’ve got manly men and dainty ladies and everyone in between pretty much covered.

You’re welcome. And Happy New Year.

Recipes after the jump…

Red Hook

The Red Hook, named after the neighborhood in Brooklyn where Nick and I spent a lot of time while living in New York, is kind of a variation on the Manhattan. It has been widely recognized as one of the most important and influential cocktails of the last decade. Punt e Mes is a more bitter version of sweet vermouth; if you can’t find it, an excellent substitute is half sweet vermouth and half Campari—star of the Negroni, which we’re written about before.

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Punt e Mes or other sweet vermouth combined with Campari
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Pour ingredients into a shaker with a generous handful of ice. Stir briskly until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Aviation

The Aviation is a more famous cocktail, similar in formula to drinks like the Margarita —in this case gin instead of tequila, maraschino liqueur instead of triple sec, and lemon juice instead of lime. Some versions have something called Crème de Violette; we excluded it for simplicity. It’s still a damn good cocktail.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice

Pour ingredients into a shaker with a generous handful of ice. Shake well until your fingertips ache. Strain into a martini glass and serve.

Mahi-Mahi with Shallot-Ginger Compote

Dinner tonight

Well, that was an epic fail. See how I set myself up to do something I’m not sure I can do and see where it gets me. So let’s start over again. I made a really tasty fish dish tonight (alliteration!) that I took no photos of, but I can sure write it down. For the porn part of the food blog, take a look at these photos, and maybe I’ll grace the site with recipes for them soon as well.

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(more after the link-jump)

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Ah, and onto fish:

Mahi-Mahi with Shallot-Ginger compote

Feeds 2 “normally” hungry Americans

2 Shallots, minced (approx 3Tbs)
1″ Ginger, minced (approx 2Tbs)
2 cloves Young Garlic (approx 2Tbs, or 1Tbs normal garlic)
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs Mango-Pepper Chutney
6-8oz Mahi-Mahi
Prep your broiler (mine takes something like 30 minutes to get up to temperature) and set the top rack to the low-middle spot. Place the first 4 ingredients into a small saucier and sauté until the garlic is a light brown. Add the chutney (I use a local brand – likely any jelly/chutney that’s slightly sweet and spicy would be good) and stir until everything’s coated and turn off the heat.

Prep a pan for the Mahi-Mahi, dust the fish with salt and pepper, and coat with half of the compotey-mixture. Place under the broiler for approximately 11 minutes or until done, depending on thickness of the fish. Plate with the rest of the compote under the fish.

I served this with some steamed white rice and lovely heated pickled beets with crumbled bleu cheese atop. Fan-diddly-tastic. Maybe I’ll take photos next time instead of just wolfing it down.

Cream-Cheese Pie

Ah cheesecake. Rich, smooth, tasty, decadent. I literally had to search through 5 cookbooks for a decent cheesecake recipe before I realized that what I needed was something old school. A cookbook published before someone thought of ruining a cheesecake with oreos, candy bars, or jellybeans. Before cheesecake wasn’t good enough unless it contained a hard-to-pronounce Peruvian herb or a berry found in only 5% of the berry-growing free world. A cheesecake-flavored cheesecake.

I found the perfect recipe in Helen Corbitt Cooks for Company. This cookbook originally found its way to my cupboard most likely through my mother. She gave me a stack of old cookbooks when I moved out on my own, and I have kept all of them in my various kitchen cabinets since, though they have rarely been used. The book features Mrs. Corbitt herself, dressed in a drapery-esque dress that clashes wonderfully with the too-busy wallpaper in the background. The table in front of her is laden with down-home food in silverplated chafing dishes and glass bowls, ready for the 30+ people she is planning to entertain that night.

Published in 1974, it is 5 years older than I, making it 32 years old this year. If you are ever searching for something along the lines of “Danish buffet supper” or “Orange rice”, look no further – both of these and a few hundred more simplistic (for our time) recipes are contained within. Helen even inputs her own quips about ingredients, the way she hates calling certain dishes “Creamed *”, and how to use the bottom of a cup in 50 different ways. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print. If you’re interested, however, a simple search on Froogle might lead you to a cheap copy on ABE Books or elsewhere. Now, onto the cheesecake:

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(Halfway eaten, of course – couldn’t get a photo quickly enough)

For the crust, crumb 1lb. graham crackers (get the good kind – nothing sucks like a bad cheesecake crust). Mix the graham cracker crumbs with 1/4lb. melted butter, 1tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2C sugar. I did this all in the Cuisinart, and didn’t take any photos. Once it’s all crumbly, dump the whole lot into a pan with removable sides – I used a 9″ springform pan – and press into the bottom and up the sides as high as you can get it to go without collapsing.

 

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The filling calls for 1.5 lbs of cream cheese (usually 3 packages). Put all of the cream cheese into a mixer (G-d help you if you don’t have one), and mix it all together until it’s soft and pliable. It’s probably best to have the cream cheese warm up to room temp before doing this. Did I? Nope. And that just means you have to scrape the sides and bottom down more when you’re mixing anything with it.

 

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While your cheese is being beaten, wisk together 4 eggs, 1C of sugar, and 1tsp vanilla (if you’re using fake vanilla, up it to 2tsp).

 

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Add the egg/sugar/vanilla mixture to the cheese and beat it up. I used my mixer on high speed for this. Make sure to stop every once in a while to scrape down the sides, bottom, and beater.

 

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When everything has been completely integrated, it should look like this. If it has little bitty pieces of cheese still floating about, that’s fine – they’ll get cooked just the same.

 

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Pur the cheese mixture into the prepared pan and carefully even the top with a spreader or whatever you have lying about. I drop the pan a couple of times on the counter to get the cheese to settle and to let any air bubbles escape. If some of the crumb mixture falls on the top of the cake, don’t worry – we’ll be covering it up anyhow.

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Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is mostly firm. Every cheesecake I’ve ever made has looked under-cooked in the middle. So, if it jiggles a bit, don’t worry about it. However, if it’s sloshy everywhere, it may be that your oven isn’t turned on.
Take the cake out and allow to cool for 10 minutes (keep that collar on the cake pan). Mix together 2tbs sugar, 1C sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, spread it on top of the cake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Take it back out of the oven, allow to cool completely, cover, and refrigerate overnight-24 hours. When you’re ready to serve it, spread with some more sour cream (or not), release the cake from the cake pan collar, and garnish with some fresh berries, mint, and sugared flowers (or not). I tossed some blueberries still in the carton on the table when I was serving it. Make sure to have a sharp knife and a glass of warm water nearby in which to clean the blade per slice – this is a clingy cheesecake.

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Eat it up and don’t be surprised if a friend (or many friends) comes over to your house to eat the rest of it the next day.

Lamburger and Fishwich Double-Feature!

So I’m putting these both into one entry not only because I am lazy, but because the most cookingest part of both of these is the meat, and you can really add whatever and eat these in any way. The lamburger is a standard recipe I use for most any kind of ground meat (with at least 16% fat), and it is fantastic with most any stuffing, especially bleu cheese. The fishwich is another standard recipe that I use for not only large fish patties but homemade fish fingers/fish sticks, and can be applied to any good thick piece of fish with ease. I’ll add my recipe for mayonnaise, which is the base for the aioli on the lamburger (while the aioli is the base of the “tartar sauce” I use on the fishwiches) in another post (sorry! it’s a ton more writing! ^_^ ).

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Stuffed Lamburger FTW

Plenty for 4 burger patties

1lb ground Lamb
3Tbs minced Shallots
1 clove Garlic, minced
Freshly ground nutmeg (just a touch)
Pepper
{Filling:}
6oz. crumbled Bleu Cheese
(optional, to taste, and exchangeable)Hand-mix the lamb with top ingredients, then set aside for 10 minutes before forming burgers. If using a stuffing, form 4 equal balls from the meat, push a divot in the middle of the ball, forming (as best as you can) a hollow sphere. Fill the opening with the stuffing mixture, form a patty shape around it (try to make it as flattish as possible), and set aside to rest for 10 more minutes.

If grilling over an open flame or charcoal, make sure the grill is hot before cooking these suckers. Same if you’re frying these or otherwise cooking indoors – you want a caramelized exterior. The burger should be done to medium, with just enough heat in the middle to get the cheese soft (though likely not really melty). I did mine on a stove-top grill, heated to high-medium (damned electric stoves). Salt both sides of the patty right before cooking.

Our Stuffed Lamburgers were served with house-made aioli and Dijon mustard on ciabatta rolls with a slice of thick-cut bacon and lettuce, and washed down with Laurelwood Organic Green Elephant IPA.

Fishwich Patties

Recipe for 2 patties or fish-fingers for 2 people

2 6oz thick-cut fillets of Cod or similar fish
{Marinade the fish for a half-hour in:}
1/2C Ponzu (soy-free) or Lime juice with a dash of sugar
{For the crispy coating:}
1/2C Flour
1Tbs Salt
2ts crushed Red Pepper
1 Egg
1C Panko

Set up the 3-coating bowls or trays in a row and mix the flour, salt, and pepper in the first, whisk the egg with a dash of water in the second, and the panko in the third. These are best when pan-fried, but they would work well under the broiler or in a very hot oven if the panko are lightly sprayed with oil before cooking.

Rinse the fish and pat mostly dry before dredging in the flour, then the egg (make sure to remove any excess egg!), and then into the panko. When pan-frying, cook on each side until dark golden brown (usually 6-8 minutes per side, if the oil is at the proper temperature).

We served our Fishwich patties on toasted homemade whole-wheat rolls slathered with house-made dill-tartar sauce, and layered with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, served with a slice of lemon.

Best Ever Chicken Salad

In this house, we like chicken salad. Did I say like? Nay, we adore our chicken salad. It’s right up there with Awesome Fish Tacos and Roast Chicken in the major rotation of standard meals. In fact, the aforementioned roasted chicken regularly makes its second (and third) appearance at the dining room table as this mixture. We put it atop mixed greens, between slices of bread, on crackers, and stuffed into fresh pita. It just goes with everything.

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If you don’t have roast chicken leftovers, you can use chicken breast (best brined and steamed), but you may need to add more mayo because of the dryness that ensues.

Best Ever Chicken Salad

Good for 4-6 sandwiches

3C shredded then chopped chicken
1/2C mayonnaise*
2 ts lemon juice*
2Tb curry powder
2 ts garam masala
1/4C chopped hazelnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4C red onion chopped small
1 ts celery salt
1/2 C plump raisins
3Tb Dijon mustard

Mix all together, cover, and let sit for at least 2 hours, but it’s best left overnight.

* I use either Kewpie mayonnaise or homemade mayo in chicken salad, because both taste better than “normal” mayonnaise, with a more eggy, lemony flavor. If you use either one of these, go light on the lemon juice. We don’t want the salad to be lemony, we just want the acid to cut through a little bit of the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.

This is also fantastic with other misc. veggies and nuts thrown in. I’ve done it with toasted almonds and green onions for a bit more spice, or with less curry powder and the addition of pine nuts, feta, and olives. This is especially fantastic in homemade pitas (so incredibly easy and tasty). Shown in the photo, it is served on homemade whole-wheat olive oil bread with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella with cracked black pepper.

Strawberry Turnovers with Lemon-Honey Sauce

Coming up with a pareve dessert can be taxing, to say the least. Since I was making a chicken curry for the guests on mother’s day, I needed a sweet that was dairy-less, but didn’t want to go with the Maneschewitz brownie mix left over from Passover and fruit. I remembered I had some puff pastry squares purchased a while ago with grand plans of a savory pot-pie-type of creation that never came to fruition (and all the better that it didn’t, really). Coupled with some fresh strawberries, jam, and a tossed-together lemon-honey sauce, these turnovers turned out awesomely. The other great thing about then is that while they may be carbalicious, they’re relatively low in calories (in comparison to many other desserts that are caloricful).

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Hop!

What you’ll need for the turnovers:
1 Pint ripe strawberries
2 Tbsp good-quality strawberry preserves (or jam – I like Bonne Mamman)
1 Package Indo-European (or similar) puff pastry squares (I like Indo-European because they’re pareve)
½ C sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 Egg
Water

For the sauce:
1½ C Good-quality honey
2 large lemons’ juice

What to do:

Wash, de-stem, and coarsely chop 10 strawberries. Put these in a bowl and add the jam – mix it together well.

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In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the vanilla extract well. It should be slightly sticky, but mostly dry. Stir the mixture occasionally to help it dry out a bit while going through the rest of the steps.

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Cover a large baking sheet in parchment paper, then carefully separate 5 squares of the dough from the rest of the block. Wrap the rest in plastic wrap and put back into the freezer until you’re ready for the next batch. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have room enough for 2 full sheets of pastries in your oven, you can do this all at once (I somehow ended up with only 1 rack in my oven). The rest of the steps must be done pretty quickly, so make sure you have your setup all good to go (like the photo below). Beat the egg with some water in a small cup for the glaze. Have a small cup of plain water ready to use to seal the pockets.
straw5 For each turnover, wet the top and right edges of the pastry square with water, then place a tablespoon of the strawberry filling in the middle of the pastry. Make sure to get mostly fruit in the tablespoon – let some of the juice spill out while scooping so the pastry won’t leak (good luck on this). Seal the edges very very well.
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Lightly brush the tops of the packets with the egg mixture and liberally sprinkle or spread the vanilla’d sugar atop the eggwash.

straw8Toss those puppies into an oven preheated to 370°F. If you don’t know the exact temperature of your oven at this point (via an oven thermometer, etc), keep a close watch on the packets. The first batch I made when the oven was definitely too hot. I had to turn mine down to 350°F for the second batch, and those turned out lovely. If the seams split and a bit of the strawberry mixture seeps out, just make sure it doesn’t burn too badly, or get under the turnovers themselves. Start checking every couple of minutes around the 20 minute mark. The turnovers should be a dark golden brown on top and puffed up nicely. Mine came out of the oven around 23 minutes perfectly.

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Cool the turnovers on a cooling rack. In the meantime, put the honey and the lemon juice into a small nonstick pan (such as a butter warmer) and place on the stove on medium heat with a lid on. It should come to a fast simmer rather quickly. Don’t worry about stirring it… Once it reaches a hearty simmer, take the pan off of the heat and let cool a bit. If the turnovers are to be served later in the day, they will keep well in a tupperware-type container. Before serving, warm the turnovers in the oven on low. Spoon the lemon-honey sauce onto a plate and place the warm turnover on top. Garnish with a fresh strawberry. If this to be served with a dairy meal (or you don’t keep kosher), add some fresh whipped cream or creme fraiche to the side of the turnover.

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These are wow-amazing. The honey-lemon sauce adds a bit more sweetness to the turnover, which itself (despite the sugar inside and out) isn’t overly sweet. The lemon and strawberry flavors work incredibly well together – I would almost just dip fresh strawberries into the lemon-honey sauce itself.

Have you tried this out?? If so, comment below!

Sourdough Bread

sour-dough-1So I made some sourdough bread. I created my starter sometime in August, when it was actually warm, and have miraculously not killed it yet, even after being on vacation for 16 days and forgetting about it completely for at least 2 weeks in fridge. I have 2 starters now, one at 100% hydration, and one at 50% hydration. Watch me be all baking-geeky now. I used Susan’s recipe for her favorite Norwich Sourdough. I took the suggestion of the recipe the original time to let the second fermentation after the shaping take place in the fridge, which yielded a very sour bread with a splendidly crunchy crust, just the way it should be. I’m tempted to shape these into small boules next time to fill with some fondue or clam chowder. I actually made some more of the same just yesterday, half of which I took out too early. No biggie, though, as it’s cut and getting stale now, and will soon be cut up even smaller and dried even more,then will be made into the dressing we’ll be eating with our Thanksgiving dinner. The batch I made this weekend was mucked up by me (I didn’t allow the dough to rise for 1.5H before putting them into the fridge, which I totally blame on the other 2 batches of dough I was focusing on), so I allowed the dough to ferment for about 2.5 hours outside of the fridge before chucking them in the oven. This batch isn’t as sour as the first, and I had weird issues with the tension of the shape, but otherwise the crumb and crust are good.

sour-dough-2I’m getting much more into baking and just this last weekend made some 100% whole wheat bread (doorstop, but tasty anyhow), Pane al Cioccolato, and the aforementioned sourdough. I think my stash of baker’s yeast is dead, if not nearly so, as I didn’t get hardly any rise out of the biga for the WW bread, nor did the dough itself get very large. I’ve been not using a whole lot of it, since I’ve been using a lot more natural yeast, so I think I’ll try it again sometime with a whole wheat starter instead of the instant yeast, and we’ll see how that works.

The Pane al Cioccolato was an attempt to recreate the Chocolate Panini bread made by the Pearl Bakery, which I am in love with, but would much rather have on my terms. The proportions given by Jude are really close to the panini, so I’ll be working with it more to create a more appropriate bread – something a bit airier, but with less vanilla and more of the nutty chocolate flavor. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

And that’s all for now. I haven’t been taking photos of anything, since my iPhone already has had flour, egg, and other miscellany spilled on it, and it would be much more expensive to replace my Canon. I’ll likely have the boyfriend take photos of the Thanksgiving turkey and the like – I’m still debating on whether to slow-roast (tested and certified, this is a guaranteed Perfectly Juicy and Tasty Bird) or to deep-fry (which I’ve only done with a chicken and wasn’t all that impressed). Until this weekend…

Quick’n’Easy Dinner: Caprese Salad

This is what I had for dinner the other night. Ben was out of town, and I was eating late, so I didn’t actually want to cook anything. The mother-in-law had given me the fixings for some Caprese salad a couple of days prior, so I thought it was the perfect time to toss it all up and eat something lovely. Here is a generic Caprese salad: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes (oh the tomatoes at Costco! So lovely!), fresh basil, S&P, olive oil, and vinegar.

caprese-saladI, however, wanted to spice it up a bit. I had some oregano leftover from a main dish made for the first seder, so I threw some of that in, too. Then I looked at all of my leftover fuji apples (originally for charoses), chopped one up, and tossed that in. Now, normally Caprese salad is made with balsamic vinegar, but I accidentally locked mine up in the chametz cupboard, not to open until tonight, so I used some red wine vinegar. All the rest was the same. And I cannot describe to you how bloody good this was. The sweetness of the apple balanced the tartness of the vinegar perfectly. The addition of fresh oregano was genius, adding a more earthy flavor to the rest of the standards. I will definitely be bringing this at whatever BBQs/Parties to which I am invited this summer.

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