Archive for January, 2010

Salad

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

I probably haven’t made a new year’s resolution since the 7th grade when it was some really uncreative homework assignment in English class, but for the purposes of this blog, I resolve to eat more salads for lunch. Lately, I’ve eaten a lot of crap; with it being the beginning of a new semester and rush at one of my jobs I keep eating out a lot or heating up microwavable soup. I go on a salad kick every once and a while, but I always fall off the wagon. Salad is healthy and in theory very practical, there is no set recipe for salad, and you don’t have to heat it up, and there are usually no refined flour products in a salad. In reality though, salads have to potential to be a real pain. For example, a good salad in the winter time can be expensive; as actual greens are scarce (There shall be no iceberg in my life). And even if you segregate the moisture laden item, such as tomatoes or dressing, until right before eating, a salad is just never as good the next day. Things are always a little limp.  But, I am determined to overcome these obstacles and have a salad in my lunch once a week! Here is salad number one: mixed greens, arugula, pecans, dried cranberries, Walloon, (a hard goat cheese) granny smith apple, and a balsamic mustard vinaigrette. I kept the chopped up apple in a bag with the dressing until right before eating to avoid oxidation. The vinaigrette is 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar, a bloop of mustard, a blap of honey, and a dash of salt and pepper, all whisked together.

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Apple and Rosemary brown butter muffins

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

I carry around this little moleskin notebook that my friend Nicole gave for my birthday. On one side it says “Recipes Imagined,” and on the other side there is a blue sticker that says “I saw a whale!” I can write down any old recipe idea and then test it, work on it, before I put it in the official book. The book I will guard tooth and nail into senility and then leave to someone when I die. You may remember “White Zucchini Pizza.” It came from Recipes Imagined. So does this muffin recipe. I got five wee little local apples from the Root Cellar; if you are using average-sized apples then you only need two or three. Cut them in half, core them, and bake in a glass pan at 350 for about an hour, until they are fully cooked, perhaps even slightly mushy. Let cool. If you have a blender puree the apples, skin and all. Pour into a mixing bowl. If you don’t have a blender, like I didn’t that particular night, then remove the skins and smush the apple flesh with a fork until relatively smooth. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour (for delicious and colon-appreciating muffins, use whole wheat flour), 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Now we get to the brown butter. Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. After the butter is melted, skim the foamy off the top with a spoon. If you don’t get it all off it’s not a big deal. Add ½-1 teaspoon dried rosemary. Fresh rosemary would be lovely, but there isn’t much of that here in Missouri at the end of January. Let the butter cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get brown. Combine the butter with the apple smoosh, an egg, a cup of milk, and 1-teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. Bake in a greased muffin tin at 350 for 20-25 minutes. To test if they are done, stick a toothpick in the middle of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done.

Crème Brulé

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

So I was in La Jolla, CA with my family a couple weeks ago trying to find a place to eat. Driving and driving, trying to get out of the rich and ritzy part of La Jolla to where the regular people are, to no avail. I was in a pretty foul mood, but I couldn’t blame it all on the rich fancy people who don’t eat. Something bad happened right before I left home eating away at my ability to have a positive attitude. I mean, La Jolla was beautiful, the inn we stayed in was sweet and quiet, and right next to the beach. We went to sleep to the whooshing sound of the surf. But it’s hard to appreciate even the most serene place when there is a big stinky stink waiting for you back home. Eventually my sisters found this place called Bernini’s Bistro. I hardly ever order dessert at restaurants, mostly because I am cheap. But as I flipped through the menu the one thing that really stuck out was “Creme Brule: made from scratch!” The movie Amèlie came to mind. One of her favorite things is cracking open the crème brulé with her spoon. Amèlie, in my opinion, is essentially a movie about somebody who is lonely and can’t figure out how to get unlonely. Loneliness was exactly my problem. I ordered light arugula salad; I wanted to make sure I had room. The waitress brought the crème brule in a little oval shaped ramekin with a scalloped edge. I jabbed at it with my spoon and plopped some of the smooth yellow custard into my mouth. For some reason I excepted it to be warm, but it was about room temperature and lemony. The crunchy burn sugar crust was bitter and stuck to my teeth, the contrast with the custard was fun. There I was expected some sort of gooey comfort food, and what I got was something much lighter and more dynamic. Huh.

Sambousas

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 by aliaalafaireet

These delicious little nummies are sort of the arab version if samosas. Some of you may recall a recipe for lentils for bad days, make those lentils. Buy a package of egg roll wrappers. They will be square cut them in half into rectangles. Put a little water into a bowl. Then follow the step by step pictures to form the sambousa. Heat a couple of inchs of oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Let it heat up for a while, you can test the heat by breaking off a tiny peice of egg roll wrapper and drop in the oil, if it sinks, then sizzles, and floats to the top then the oil is ready. Cook three to four sambousa at a time depending on the size of your sauce pan. Let the sambousas cook four about 12 seconds on one side and then flip them over and cook for 10 seconds on the other side. Drain on a plate with paper towls. As you cook them, they will start to fry faster so turn the heat down grandually so they don’t start to burn.

I make cucumber sauce for dipping. Grate half a cucumber and squeeze off some of the juice. Add minced garlic, a little but of salt, and plain yogurt.