Making every bite count

25 October 2007

OK, ok

an explanation:
nope, not creme brulee. But close: easiest custard ever.
Cut off tops of tiny pumpkins, scoop out seeds and reserve tops. Sprinkle insides with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Mix one egg (or an egg white), one cup of vanilla soymilk, one tablespoon of brown sugar and a shake or two of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Pour into pumpkins and bake at 350 degrees until set, about 10 minutes.
Scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the custard when you serve it. And serve with the tops on!
I'll bet you're wondering why I have so many tiny pumpkins chez moi. Easy answer: I took them from a food and clothing drive. I robbed the needy of food, you say? No, not exactly. We gave pumpkins to people who donated and had dozens left over. Everyone else planned to set them out as decoration, but in my world, a jack-o-lantern or a tablescape ( is a waste of a good pumpkin. You're out of your gourd if you think I won't cook up those little pumpkins!
Tonight I'm going to make mini quiches inside pumpkins. If you're lucky (If I remember), I'll post it!

23 October 2007

explanation to come

veggie lasagna

Healthier lasagna: substitute ricotta for sliced soft tofu (left, bottom)
I don't use meat, so I add sliced zucchini, steamed kale, red pepper, onion and mushrooms.
You caught me: I used jarred sauce!
I used only two layers of noodles with all those veggies! Yum!

22 October 2007

Watch me!

Tarte tatin, take deux!

Remember that time I tried to make an authentic tarte tatin in my cast-iron skillet and the whole thing just sort of fell apart? I do. It didn't look very pretty.

When I get bored, I cook. I don't sit still well, so I cook to pass time when I'm at my parents' house. My grandparents were in town, and I knew we were having family dinner. I wanted to make something special, and I'd bought WAY too many apples at Findlay Market the day before.

Thus, tarte tatin, take deux!


four apples

brown sugar


pumpkin pie spice

pie crust (yes, I used a store-bought one)

butter. Not margarine, not olive oil, not soy butter. BUTTER.

Preheat oven to 400. Grease the bottom of a glass pie plate with butter. Place about a tablespoon of butter in small chunks throughout the bottom. Sprinkle about 2 T brown sugar in the pie pan. Meanwhile, peel, core and thinly slice the apples and put them in a bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to keep them from browning. Arrange them in a circular pattern in the bottom. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of sugar, then bake for 10-15 minutes, until apples are soft and sugar is bubbling.

Roll out the pie crust and spread over the apples. Press down against the apples, then trim the excess. Brush with milk if desired, then bake for 10 minutes, until crust is cooked through.

To serve: And here's the big ta-da!

Get a plate ready and carefully place it upside down on top of the tart. Wearing oven mitts, carefully flip the pie pan on top of the plate. The apples should fall beautifully from the pan, revealing a gorgeous caramelized bottom.

Slice and serve with ice cream.

There will be no leftovers. I made two.

Six months, and still so happy!

For our six-month anniversary, Fred and I stayed in and dined on mussels, double-cream Camembert and a baguette, washed down with white wine. Perfection! Here's an estimation of the calories, etc. Leave out the butter for a much healthier meal!
Mussels are SO easy to prepare, and they're so delicious. Make sure you keep them cold (preferably on ice) when you get them home. Then give them a good scrub and remove the barb (the stringy part that might be sticking out). Do this just before you cook them because this will kill the mussel. (Yes, they're still alive.) Discard any cracked or damaged/open shells.
In your largest pasta pot, saute 1/2 white onion, chopped or 2 shallots, chopped in 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a garlic clove, chopped. After two minutes, add a cup of white wine and let it come to a boil. Add the mussels, give them a stir and put on the lid. After abot 30 seconds, give them another stir. Within a minute, the mussels should be open. Drain the juices and put the mussels on a platter. (Throw out any closed mussels; they were dead and not safe to eat.) Strain the pan juices (there could be grit or sand from the mussels) and pour them back into the pot. Add 1 T butter and stir until it melts. Pour the sauce over the mussels and throw a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley over the top. Serve with baguette. Eat with a loved one.

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Inspiration, in the form of soup...

For my dear friend Kristin Demers' last night in Cincinnati, we wanted to try someplace new, special and cheap. Myra's in Clifton fit the bill.
It's in a house across the street from a new development and strip mall in the middle of campus. Myra's is an institution on the UC campus -- it's been there since 1977.
There are myriad vegetarian dishes, plenty of ethnic choices (some of which even I hadn't heard of, like pulao) and tons of soups.
The place is tiny, so Fred and I arrived early and guiltily took over the largest table in the restaurant. After pita and tzatziki and a glass of Chablis, people started drifting in, as did the food. I had the most delicious wheatloaf with mushroom gravy, cheesy mashed potatoes and steamed veggies ... for $6.75.
Everybody ordered at least an appetizer and an entree, plus alcohol, and no one spent more than $15!!!
Myra's menu lists more than a dozen soups, and a board above the doorway lists the ones made fresh that day. Fred and I shared a bowl of the Thai pumpkin, and I also tried the Spinach Coconut....heavenly!
It's a rainy, chilly night, perfect for soup and sandwiches!

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