Sunday, August 29, 2010

Like Breakfast For Dinner

Usually when I think about eating breakfast for dinner, I picture long interstate road trips and truck stops that are open all night and advertise "breakfast served all day". Well, why not? I've certainly consumed my share of breakfast combo plates in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere. 

Breakfast-for-dinner can also be a way to stretch the food budget out when the cupboard is dangerously close to being bare. A couple eggs and a little cheese are all you need for the most rudimentary of omelets. It's a simple and filling meal, if a little bit boring. Poke around in the fridge and pantry though and see what else is hanging around that might wake that omelet up. After all, it's like a blank canvas. Create something unique with it.

I started with some chard that needed using up, added some bacon (we had splurged on it a couple weeks ago), a little fresh sage and finished with the last of the shredded mozzarella (an odd choice of cheese perhaps for an omelet, but it's what we had). It all went together fast and tasted fantastic. Definitely one of those "more than the sum of it's parts" type dishes. I just love those. All that was missing was a glass of chilled Rosé and it would've been the perfect late summer dinner on the patio. Without the Rosé... it was still pretty much perfect. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sourdough & Sour Cream: Another Waffle Weekend

Unless you live in some weird alternate universe, the phrase "Honey, do we have to have waffles for breakfast again?" has probably never been uttered.... ever. Certainly not at my house. There simply is no such thing as waffles too often. However... that being said, waffles are the ideal brunch for weekends, Saturday mornings especially. Like they were made for each other. They're easy to make, messy as well, and utterly delicious. Seriously now, how can you top that? Well, around these parts: butter, real maple syrup and fresh fruit (especially berries) is the preferred method. However, I am as always, open to trying other waffle toppings.
"This is going to be fun! We can stay up late swapping manly stories, and in the morning... I'm making waffles!" - Shrek (the movie)
It pays off to think about  Saturday morning breakfasts on Friday night. On occasion. In fact, you kind of have to if you want sourdough (or yeasted) waffles. There's no other way around it, but it's easy and worth it. Mix a couple of things in a bowl and go to bed. How hard is that? The great thing about sourdough waffles is it's the perfect thing for using up the old starter when it's time to feed it. I always hated the thought of wasting that cup of starter each time I fed it... now I don't have to, I just make waffles with it! Unlike sourdough bread, sourdough waffles actually call for "spent" or hungry starter. How cool is that?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feeling The Heat: Sustenance for a Suddenly Sizzling Summer

Sustenance for a sweltering summer.
Almost this entire summer, through last Saturday... 68-79°
Sunday... 85°
Monday...94°
Tuesday...111°

To think that just a few days ago we were still having hot porridge and pots of tea for breakfast (and we were laughing at the absurdity of me wearing Ugg boots in August). Clearly that's all over now. After two months of the mildest (or as some say, "coldest") summer on record, I was actually hoping for a little heat.*  I just didn't think that we'd get ALL of it at one time. Jimminy Crickets!

Even though our appetites are somewhat diminished from the excessive heat, we still do get a little hungry. Deliberately turning on an oven or stove and cooking hot food is the last thing on my mind though (which means it simply isn't going to happen).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Onion Soup For Onion Haters

A WORD PROBLEM: You have married a good man. A man you love and who loves you back. You have committed yourselves to each other before God, and vowed to love and cherish each other for the rest of your days on this earth. This good and loving man hates onions. One day you come across a tasty sounding recipe for Five Onion Soup and think what great thing it would be to make for dinner. You set about making shopping lists and gathering the ingredients you will need. Are you:

a) Trying to lovingly guide him past his unreasonable dislike of a flavorful vegetable by preparing it in new and interesting ways?

b) Scatter-brained and forgetful? Or are those the same thing?

c) Counting on the fact that he won't want any of this delicious soup so you can have it all to yourself?

d) Just plain confused about why you do some of things you do, but feel that anything is better than being predictable, and besides, a blog is cheaper than therapy?

e) All of the above.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Famous Local Beauties

There are three pounds of Gravenstein apples* on my counter. What to do? They're just a little bit special. Gravensteins don't keep well, and they don't travel well either. What good are they then? Well, they taste absolutely lovely. Mostly sweet, a little bit tart with something almost floral hiding in there too. And they can more than hold their own when baked in a pie. When you see Gravensteins, you just buy them. Period.  It'll be another year before you see them again.

So now that I got 'em, what do I do with 'em? How to use them to their best advantage? Perhaps one of these gorgeous apple recipes I've had my eye on...

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    They Go Together Like... [fill in the blank]

    Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate & Coffee
    Peanut butter, banana, chocolate & coffee. Four regular residents in my kitchen. Sometimes they like to be on their own, but they always love getting together when they can and seem to truly enjoy each other's company. They're good friends. They bring out the best in each other by being supportive, encouraging, and complimentary. With so many different and delicious ways to combine them, where does one start?

    Start here... How To Make Homemade Peanut Butter (Joy The Baker) and make your own peanut butter from honey roasted peanuts... that's right, honey roasted peanut butter. Pure genius. How could I not try it? The honey roasted peanuts were cheaper than the plain ones after all, and I'm all about saving money. It is, incidentally, by the way, and in fact, fantastically tasty. Is making peanut butter from scratch cost effective? Not sure. Math was not one of my strongest subjects, especially when trying to compare weights and volumes, but if you can find peanuts that are at a really good price... go for it. At least you'll know what is and (maybe more importantly) what isn't in your peanut butter. O.k.? Now, go work through the following two lists of recipes...

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Chocolate, When Administered Properly, Can Be Therapeutic

    Last night, instead of making dinner, I  just wanted chocolate pudding. Truth be told, I just wanted chocolate-anything, but I had happened across some recipes for chocolate pudding recently and decided that was the direction I needed to be going in.
      
    This is the first time that I've ever made pudding that didn't start out powdered and in a box. And just like making pancakes from scratch for the first time, for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone needs the instant packet. It took less than 15 minutes, start to finish! Just how much time do we need to save anyway? The part that takes the longest is waiting for the pudding to chill in the fridge and even the instant variety can't do too much about that.

    I know that better quality chocolate will produce a better chocolate pudding... that's a given. This is something you can whip up fast though, without a trip to the store. No expensive ingredients, just regular chocolate chips. Was this the best chocolate pudding I've ever had? Oh, heck no. But it didn't have to be, because in no time at all there was chocolate pudding in a bowl in front of me. I also had a spoon. The rest should be pretty obvious.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Almond Butter Guest Post @ Crunchy Betty


    Find the deliciously easy directions for making Homemade Almond Butter in my guest post over at www.crunchybetty.com (and learn how much fun it can be to smear food on your face!)

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Hearts & Flours

    The film Stranger Than Fiction may not rank up there with Casablanca or Dr. Zhivago as one of the most romantic movies ever made, but it boasts one of the sweetest scenes ever. When befuddled IRS auditor Harold Crick brings cute but acerbic baker Ana Pascal some flowers in an attempt to woo her... they aren't flowers, they're flours. Ten different kinds of flour. His gesture spoke in ways that he could never have put into words. It showed creativity, earnestness and depth of feeling. It was tender and it was sweet. And that my friends, is how you melt a girl's heart. In case you were wondering.

    Now, I have dropped the odd hint to the Hubs about how great it would be to get "flours", but to no avail. I think he prefers to be original. So the other day, with waffles on my mind, I asked him stop at the store on the way home so I could pick up some flowers... er, flours that is. Rye flour, barley flour, whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, graham flour... (the pastry flour and graham flour aren't for the waffles, I just kind of got carried away).

    What could be more romantic than flours? Hearts! Today I tried out my new/used Sweet Hearts waffle maker and used my bunch of flours to make some multi-grain waffles. I mixed the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and approached the waffle maker. At first I was disconcerted that there was no heat setting knob or dial to adjust. I looked online for manuals but came up empty. O.k., so sometimes you just have to jump without the net and hope for the best.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    Waffling

    "To waffle" is a verb. It refers to indecision. I wouldn't know anything about that. Yes, I would. Well, no... o.k. maybe a little. Let's just say... It's something I'm working on. 

    "To waffle" could also refer to the act of making waffles. We wouldn't call the person making the waffles, a "waffle maker" (that's what we make the waffles with). So if you waffled, you would be a waffler, right? And just so we're straight on this... being a waffler is not the same as being THE Waffler; as in the wannabe super-hero in the movie Mystery Men. If I were a super-hero, a waffle maker would not be my first choice in weaponry. Of course, wielded unconventionally, a waffle maker (especially an old all-metal one) could put some serious hurt on a bad guy. But super-hero or not, if you needed something solid and heavy with which to defend yourself or your home, chances are your waffle maker is in the back of that awkward corner cupboard in the kitchen, or above the fridge behind three florist vases, seven logo glasses, and a Salad Shooter. Better to be the kind of domestic super-hero who can whip up a steamin' batch of fragrant waffles on any given Saturday morning. Waffles make people happy, and making people happy is the most super of all super-powers.

    Someone who has truly mastered the waffle maker, would of course be known as a Master Waffler. Achieving this skill-level is no small feat. I should know. I am a novice-waffler. Recently bequeathed/burdened with a gift of not one, but two pre-owned waffle makers, I know that the road ahead is crispy and filled with little square divots designed to trip me up as I discover the secrets of enwafflement*.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Tomatoes On My Mind

    Our five tomato plants have taunted us with a total of 7 little ripe tomatoes last month and then nothing since. They were freaks. Delicious freaks. Cruel, that these few ripened so much earlier than the others. I know more are on their way, I can see them, a multitude of green and gold marbles hanging in clusters. The lesson is patience and the trick is to just keep my eye on the prize. That doesn't mean I'm camped-out in the back yard or installing a tomato-cam in the garden; but focussed on what I know in my heart to be true: that in just a few short weeks, we'll be swimming in tomatoes.

    In preparation for that glorious time of year, I've compiled some links to a few tomato-rific treats and tidbits... you know, in case shoving them in our face as fast as we pick them gets too tiring... It could happen.
    * That's a joke... admittedly a bad one, but a joke nonetheless.