Category Archives: cooking

baked goodness

baked goodness (aka baked kale chips)

Usually when I say “baked goodness,” I’m referring to a fresh loaf of bread, cake, pie, cookies, or some other butter-rich baked good.  Today I’m talking about baked kale chips. In an attempt to fortify my body with Vitamin K, calcium, and iron–nutrients that are packed into kale–I made kale chips from a Smitten Kitchen recipe.

I don’t like kale but I will say that this is a tastier vehicle for nutrient delivery than boiled, stir fried, or drenched in vinegar.  (It probably has something to do with the loads of olive oil and salt.)

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vegetarian Friday night

It was a dreamy vegetarian dinner for one: Tuscan beans with fresh sage from Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites, creamed green chard from Smitten Kitchen, and fresh bread from Metropolitan Bakery.

Hans was driving north on I-95 to Conn. and no doubt eating a Big Mac for dinner, so I took advantage of a night alone to make myself a dinner that I would swoon over and Hans would just…eat.

Delicious.

as American as…

There is something about making homemade apple pie. I felt like I was giving Hans and me a gift–the apple pie was my love made visible.

Many people associate these feelings with bread–when you make bread you’re with it for hours, watching it, babying it, taking care of it’s temperature, gluten, and then shaping it, baking it, and tapping the hollow bottom.   I love making bread, but because of the final product, not the process. The process is just the process.  It’s the end result that makes me happy–I know what is in my bread and I can pronounce all the ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast).

Making the apple pie, on the other hand, was such a cozy cooking project. I rubbed the butter into the flour, carefully pulled the pastry dough together, meditated while I peeled, cored and sliced the apples, and  carefully lay the top crust over the apples, pinching the edges. Into the oven and the boat was filled with the smell of fall.

I made the pie with the intention of serving it at a potluck tonight. Good thing I still have a whole bowl of apples to make an apple crumble–there is no way Hans and I can look at that pie all day without having another piece!

I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour for the pie crust and this recipe for the pie. (I like all-butter crusts. vegetable shortening? yuck!)

rotten milk

oh milk, how I love (and hate) you.

I’m not a milk drinker. In fact, I hate drinking milk. (Just ask my parents about their attempts to make me drink milk with dinner every night and the inevitable upturned glass–don’t even try to pour me milk–and the eventual Kristen and milk stare-downs after everyone had left the dinner table and my Dad or brother was washing the dishes.)

But there are few things I cherish more than my morning pot of black tea (PG Tips, please), milk no sugar. I woke up this morning to heavy rain, a dark gray sky and hunger pangs in my stomach. While Hans took a shower I lay in bed dreaming up the perfect rainy day breakfast. Hot oatmeal! With a fresh apple added, maybe some raisins and cinnamon.  I jumped out of bed, at 6:50AM no less, put the kettle on, got the oats out of the cupboard and the milk out of the fridge–only to find that the milk had gone bad.

Can you see the curdles?

Thick, clumpy, curdled. But it didn’t smell bad. Maybe it had turned into buttermilk…in which case I could still make oatmeal. So, I did it.  I tasted the curdled milk. It didn’t smell bad, really!  I honestly thought it might be okay. But it wasn’t. It was horrible.

For breakfast we had weak black tea, soft boiled eggs and bread, sans butter. (We’re out of butter. Besides some strawberry ice cream in the freezer, we’re out of dairy.  For someone who hates milk, I can’t imagine my life without dairy.)

Tomorrow morning will be better.

whole grain baking

My mom has very generously lent me her King Arthur Multi-grain baking cookbook.  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/

This weekend I went on a baking frenzy!

  • whole wheat sourdough waffles
  • limpa (swedish bread): whole wheat flour, rye, caraway, anise, fennel seeds, orange juice, orange zest, sourdough starter
  • rhubarb-apple coffeecake

Saturday night starters: sourdough starter, limpa pre-ferment and sourdough waffle starter

final rise

Limpa - it didn't rise very much in the oven but it tasted pretty authentic

beans aren’t just for vegetarians

I love beans. (Despite the song, you know the one…) But I find that most omnivores only eat beans when they are presented as “baked beans”. Traveling in France, Spain and Italy two years ago, beans were always on the menu. After glancing at a menu for “butter beans with fresh herbs” I was inspired to make a tapas-esque dinner. Andouille sausage from my favorite butcher, “Martin’s”; butter beans, salad, a spanish tortilla and a couple pieces of sourdough bread. The only thing we were missing was good bottle of Rioja. (Although I don’t know if the Rioja would help Hans remember his biology slides during the test tomorrow. Probably a good thing we stuck to water.)