Entries from May 2010

Camping

May 25, 2010

Camping

I love the idea of spontaneously packing up for a weekend and going camping. The problem is that I’m no expert in camping. I feel like I would pack up and arrive on site without the necessities – like firewood and bug spray. Or a bunch of food with no utensils. But at the same time I don’t want to pack up my whole house for what’s supposed to be a rustic weekend.

So I’m looking to you all for some advice.

What are the necessities when it comes to efficient camping? What kind of food do you pack? Any other general advice or tips?

Quinoa and Créme Fraiche

May 25, 2010

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Do you ever hear a word for the first time ever and then hear it over and over again for the next few weeks? I first heard about the super grain quinoa (prounounced keen-wah) about a year or two ago and now I see it every where. I JUST heard about créme fraiche the other day when an English friend of mine was talking about cracking an egg on pasta and topping it with a dollop of créme fraiche. Then another friend tweeted about eating some créme fraiche on strawberries for dessert. Then I stumbled upon some créme fraiche at the farmer’s market – so I had to get some – and eat it on strawberries, of course. All saying “créme fraiche” over and over again in my head wondering if I’m pronouncing it correctly or if I sound like an ignorant Okie.

Quinoa with Asparagus and a Fried Egg
A quinoa bowl is something I go to when I need some protein and am feeling unimaginative – but it’s filling and really good for you.

1 c. quinoa
1 bunch of asparagus
3 large green onions (or one small regular onion)
1 bulb of fresh (straight from the earth) garlic
4 eggs
Toasted pine nuts
Fresh oregano
Salt and pepper

(Ingredients in green are local)

Wash your quinoa under cold water. In a medium sauce pan bring 1 cup of washed quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes. Toast your pine nuts in a skillet just until browned. Set aside.

After the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes or so, lightly steam your asparagus and chop your garlic and onion. In a large skillet, sautee the garlic and onion in a little olive oil until just translucent. Add your steamed asparagus and cooked quinoa. Scramble it all together. Salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, fry your eggs however you like them. Throw everything in a bowl and top with oregano and pine nuts. Top with your fried egg, salt and pepper a little more and enjoy.

Serves 4 (or in our case 2, with leftovers)

Strawberries with Créme Fraiche and Dark Chocolate Shavings
1.5 c strawberries (tops trimmed off)
1/3 c créme fraiche
1-2 tbs. maple syrup
1/4 c dark chocolate (I prefer 85% cacao) chopped finely

Whisk your créme fraiche and maple syrup together until smooth. Top your strawberries with the créme fraiche mix and dark chocolate shavings. Serves 2.

Morning Buzz

May 24, 2010

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Jeremy and I are both huge fans of coffee (especially on Monday mornings) so when Dressing on the Side sent us these Morning Buzz t-shirts we were more than happy to model them.

On a related note, my favorite specialty coffee drink is an Americano (a couple shots of espresso and hot water) with a little room for cream. What’s yours?

Say goodbye, for now.

May 21, 2010

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Tomorrow morning Liz is packing up her car and moving across the country to Durham, North Carolina.

If you have stories or advice about picking up and moving please share and wish Liz a safe trip.

Kathleen’s Mac and Cheese

May 20, 2010

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This is Liz’s last week here before she starts her new adventure in North Carolina. I decided to cook for her whatever she wanted for our last weekly Wednesday night dinner get together. She requested good ol’ mac and cheese with extra cheese. I was happy to oblige. This mac and cheese is something I used to make before I got into cooking – we’re like old friends that get together a few times a year but it’s as if we haven’t skipped a beat.

I’ve changed up the recipe here and there. Sometimes I throw in some spinach or sometimes I make it with an onion. Last night I made it with an entire bulb of fresh (from the earth) garlic and garlic goat cheese. You can use any type of cheese you like – just make sure you use a lot.

Kathleen’s Mac and Cheese
1 package (16 oz.) whole wheat elbow macaroni (I used a slightly larger pasta here)
12 oz. sharp cheddar
8 oz. garlic goat cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs all purpose unbleached flour
3 c whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 bulb of fresh garlic OR a small onion
*ingredients in green are local

First, get some water boiling for your pasta and preheat your oven to 375f. Mince or finely chop your bulb of garlic (or an onion, alternatively). Then shred all of your cheese. Over medium heat, melt 3 tbs of butter in a wide skillet – when it’s melted wisk in your flour and keep wisking for a minute or two. Add your garlic (or onion) and continue to wisk until the garlic is nice a fragrant (or the onion is translucent) – don’t let the flour butter mixture burn. Add in your 3 cups of milk and whisk in the cayenne powder and salt. Throw your bay leaf in too. Let this simmer (but not boil) for about 7 minutes.

Your pasta should be done at this point. I cook mine to al dente for about 6 minutes. Strain and shock with cold water. Set to the side.

Temper in your egg – I do this by whisking the egg, with a fork, in a small bowl. I whisk in 2 tbs, one at a time, of the warm milk from the stove. This slowly warms up your eggs without cooking it. Then, whisk the egg into your egg mix and let this simmer for another 5 minutes or so, occasionally stirring. This should thicken up quite a bit.

Now here’s the fun part. Mix in 3/4 of your cheese into the milk/egg mixture and stir it in as it gets all melty and gooey. Then dump your pasta back into the large pot you used to boil it in (with no water) and dump your cheesy mix on top. Stir it all together for a minute or two to get the cheese inside the elbows. At this point you could also dump a bag of fresh spinach or baby kale into the mix.

Pour your cheesy macaroni in a buttered pan (about 8×10 or so). Top with the rest of your cheese. Stick in the oven for 45 minutes. Cover with foil for the first 25 minutes and then uncover to get the top nice and browned. Because Liz likes her mac extra crispy on top I did not cover this mac at all.

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