Read This! Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat

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Chanukah starts on Sunday, and what better to read than this delightful tale by Naomi Howland a good deed rewarded by a magical, latke cooking pan. Sadie is given the pan after giving an old woman the firewood she has gathered. If you know the magic words, the pan will cook latkes until you tell it (through a specific phrase) to stop. I picked this up from a Chanukah display at DCPL, and Frances asks for it every few nights. She loves to chant “Latkes, latkes, good to eat, cook me up a Chanukah treat” at the relevant parts. WARNING: This book will make you crave latkes.

Read This! Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat

Life List #32. Make homemade ice cream.

I have long desired an ice cream maker. I started saving ice cream recipes to a Pinterest board over a year ago for the day when I could make all those yummy treats myself. Then, at the beginning of the month I just decided: THE TIME HAD COME. I tweeted:

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My thought was that I would add it to my Wish List, and maybe someone would get it for me for my birthday. BUT THEN, my fairy godmother (aka my friend Marcella) replied and offered me her ice cream maker, which was just taking up room in her closet. AMAZING.

Last week, I made my first batch of homemade ice cream. I picked peach, because our CSA had yummy ones just begging to be used.

Here’s how it went:

Chop up peaches, mix with sugar, let sit for 2 hours, so they get nice and juicy:

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Always do what Ben & Jerry tell you:

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Mix, mix, mix:

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Transfer to freezer container and freeze solid:

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Consume (bonus point for cute ice cream model):

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It’s super tasty! It was super fun! And now we have tons of peach ice cream in our freezer, because I am actually counting calories at the moment. Wah. Wah. STILL! Two thumbs up for homemade ice cream. Just got the Jeni’s Ice Cream book out of the library and can’t wait to make more!

Life List #32. Make homemade ice cream.

Life List #9. Make mayonnaise from scratch.

As a good Southern girl, I love mayonnaise, and (just like the whole “popcorn on the stove” thing) I’d heard it was simple enough to do, yet was somehow intimidated. Mayonnaise is a thing you buy, right? But Mark Bittman (and my former coworker, Emma) told me I could do it so I put it on my life list as motivation and last night I finally made it.

I gathered my ingredients (that egg is an extra yummy one, from my parents’ chickens):

Ready to make some mayonnaise

Then I just followed Mr. Bittman’s instructions – and about 5 minutes later, with very little work on my part, I had mayonnaise:

And... mayonnaise

It actually worked – which seems somehow magical. I can imagine that making mayonnaise was a huge pain before the days of food processors, but it’s easy enough now. I don’t think it will become my default – the recipe makes a cup and it has to be used pretty quickly, so I’ll probably still rely on the jarred stuff for sandwiches, but for recipes where I need a larger amount, now I can make it myself. Pretty cool.

Life List #9. Make mayonnaise from scratch.

Mighty Life List #31: Make truffles.

truffles
(Naked Truffles)

I really like truffles and I always thought they would be fun to make – and they are. It would be a good food project to do with kids actually because it’s messy and you get to lick chocolate off your hands at the end.

I decided to make truffles as my Christmas “food gift” this year. Jami and I are staying home for Christmas (A Christmas Made for Two!) and so I sent a lot of holiday packages to our relatives around the country and I wanted to include something a little more personal in them, so this year every package got truffles or spiced nuts, or a combo.

almond truffles
(The Finished Product)

I did two batches, one with the traditional cocoa powder coating and one with a coating of toasted chopped almonds. I used this recipe and it couldn’t have been simpler.Truffles have to be made over the course of two days (there is a fair amount of chilling required), but the different steps didn’t take too long. I will certainly make them again.

Mighty Life List #31: Make truffles.

Mighty Life List #6: Eat a lobster roll in Maine.

Look at this lobster roll. It is a thing of beauty!

Shockingly for a girl who married a Mainer, I had never had a lobster roll until this past week. Luckily this sad state of affairs has now been corrected by this lovely and delicious lobster roll from the lobster shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth, ME. It was awesome – and I have to say the bread is what makes it. So good.

P.S. The photo is all Jami. She just got a new camera, and I think the photos she is taking now are truly stunning.

Mighty Life List #6: Eat a lobster roll in Maine.

An Abundance of Cucumbers

Into every gardener’s life, a little veggie excess must fall. This year we are positively swimming in cucumbers. (This isn’t a bad problem to have honestly. I love cucumbers.) If you are swimming in cucumbers too, may I suggest a few recipes that will use them up quickly and tastily?

Lemon Cucumber Tofu Salad from the 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson has never steered me wrong. She uses Lemon Cucumbers, but I don’t grow those, so I used 1 1/2 of the big, long cucumbers from my garden. This salad was awesome – definitely a meal in and of itself.

Greek Antipasto Pitas from Cheap Healthy Good. I didn’t have a red pepper, so I just did another 1/2 cucumber instead. Quite yummy and equally good (if not better) the next day. Bonus points for requiring no heat at all, which is critical this summer.

Horseradish Cucumber Sauce from Epicurious. This uses up one not-too-huge cucumber, and is super tasty on salmon cakes, beet rosti, zucchini corn fritters, or pretty much any fried cake-like food.

And of course, I have been using cucumbers in sandwiches – tuna salad, egg salad, and hummus. I still have plenty more in the fridge. Have any cucumber recipe suggestions? What is your garden swimming in?

An Abundance of Cucumbers

Mighty Life List #41: Eat at Nora

Ever since I’ve moved to DC (or at least ever since I learned of Nora), I’ve wanted to eat there. Nora is sort of like DC’s Chez Panisse – a restaurant focused on local, seasonal, organic food. Luckily my parents also have a penchant for local, seasonal, and organic food, so they decided to host a family dinner there on the Thursday before the wedding. In addition to amazing food (beet salad, risotto with rabbit confit – a dish I recently discovered I liked, and strawberry shortcake!) and really great service, it was a wonderful start to our wedding weekend. Jami and I, our parents, and our brothers and their significant others (my sister wasn’t able to come up until Saturday) all got to meet and eat and get to know each other before the (relatively small, relatively calm) madness began in earnest. What a lovely (pre)wedding present!

Mighty Life List #41: Eat at Nora