Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The End

I'm sorry to say that I am unable to keep up with a food blog as often as I would like to. To cook, snap pictures and post on a regular basis has just become too difficult in my busy life. I'm lucky for the little time I get to spend in the kitchen at all lately.

I am moving things over to a new blog, one that allows for me to be a little more carefree in the way that I post, and one that incorporates all of the other things I love besides food. Please, come visit me there, and say 'Hi'!

I will be leaving this blog up for the recipes to still be available.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

An easy morning

A house for bunbun's "girls". bunbun says radish seedlings look like butterflies. A new picture for her bedroom wall. Our nearby grocery store has these amazing pre-made stuffed portobello caps. Quick soft tacos for an easy lunch for me.

Ordered some of these adorable paper balloons to brighten up bunbun's room. (Click image for link)



Monday, April 12, 2010

Won't turn your tongue blue

Won't turn your tongue any color for that matter.

I know its a little early to be worrying about school lunch snacks and the like - bun bun is only 2. But I saw this post and couldn't resist making a batch of natural fruit roll-ups. They're ridiculously easy to prepare - you just have to find of a big chunk of time to do other things while they dry out in the oven.

This was an impulse recipe, so I went with what I already had, but I have a million flavor combinations brewing in my head for later. The one Green Kitchen Stories suggested - kiwi, mango, and mint leaves - is first on my list, for sure. This time around I threw together a small bag of frozen mangoes, a handful of fresh raspberries, and a single serving size cup of unsweetened granny smith applesauce.

I heated the mixture on low and stirred until the mangoes were thawed and getting slightly smushy, and then I ran the whole mix through the food processor. I chose not to sieve the mix, as we don't mind seeds in our snackies. Then, on a baking sheet lined with a silpat, I spread the purée thinly and evenly, smoothing out any thicker parts. The lowest temperature my oven goes is 175°F, which worked out just fine with the oven door propped open. It took a little over 5 hours for my roll-ups to dehydrate completely. I cut the sheet into strips with scissors, rolled up, and nom nom nommed. To my surprise they taste just like the real thing, only a little seedier! Bun bun loves them too.

A few tips:

You can do this with whatever fruit choices you like - just aim for a consistency that is pourable, but thick enough that it doesn't run out to the edges of the pan when you try to spread it. Mixing thicker fruits, like bananas, with juice or softer fruits, like papaya or berries, is a good way to go.

Keep the color in mind when you're dreaming up flavor ideas. As good as strawberry kiwi might taste, I don't know how attractive a brown fruit roll would be! ^_^

Spreading evenly before baking is very important - if the thinner parts become too dry while you wait for the wetter parts to cook they will become brittle, and then burn. Watch it closely towards the end.

Leaving the oven door open helps to let the moisture out and speed things along, but you're still looking at a 5-8 hour baking time, depending on how thick your mix was. It's worth it though - you really don't need to babysit it much, and you can keep the finished product in an airtight container for a week or two, maybe more... mine just won't last that long with hungry tummies around!

Happy snacking!



Sunday, April 11, 2010


As in dandelion. The bane of beautiful lawns everywhere.

I'm sure you have heard that dandelion leaves are edible. Maybe you've heard the words "dandelion wine" thrown around somewhere. You might have even seen today's recipe, as it has been mentioned several times on this wonderful blog. But maybe, like me, you weren't aware that every part of the plant is edible, and that our little commonplace roadside weed in fact packs a burst of vitamins and medicinal properties. Besides that, when we're talking about foraging around our neighborhoods for free pick-your-own snackies, no plant is easier to find and identify as safe. Even the false dandelions are completely edible. Just be sure to choose spots that are free of herbicides and far enough away from roads to not be absorbing oil runoff. More complete instructions on picking dandies can be found here.

This recipe is another off my to-do list, and I'm glad I got to it in time. Those ubiquitous yellow puffs have been staring at me every time I drive around for weeks now, but I just haven't had the chance to get up early enough for the flowers to still be closed. Apparently you have to sneak up on the little guys. Luckily I was able to recruit my skeptical but happy-to-help sister to get her hands all yellow with me at the crack of dawn today, and I finally got this recipe tested.

The bread is less sweet than I would have imagined. It is moist and chewy, with an almost buttery taste from the petals, and it has a really nice flavor overall. Just perfect with a cup of soup on the side. The sunshine-y color of it doesn't hurt it's appeal either! We will definitely be baking this again, especially as my toddler gets bigger and finds as much silly joy as I do in baking with common flowers.

Dandy Bread

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dandelion petals, any greenery discarded
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tbsp honey
1 egg
scant 1 1/2 cups milk

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, including petals, and mix. Make sure to separate clumps of petals. In separate bowl mix together wet ingredients. Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir. Batter should be fairly wet and lumpy. Pour into buttered loaf pan. Bake at 400°F. Bread will take 25-40 or more minutes. At 25 minutes, check doneness of bread with a toothpick. If still too moist inside, lower oven temperature and continue to bake, checking every five minutes. It should be a nice golden brown on the outside when done.

This sunny bread would go beautifully with a sunny soup, like say, this one.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Garden check

Things have been busy around here these last few weeks, and admittedly, I have not been cooking and blogging nearly as much as I had hoped to. In fact, today is the first time I've really had to cook in a while and I'm making a repeat of a recipe I posted 2 months ago - crunchy roasted chickpeas!

What has been taking up my time, however, is worthwhile to my endeavors in the kitchen. I'm maximizing the space on my patio yet again this year for cooking purposes alone. The big, important items that will star throughout the summer - the baby greens, the cherry tomatoes, the heaping pots of fragrant herbs - those will wait until later this spring when the possibility of a freak frost is gone. But I do have a few things started that have me hovering over the soil thermometer and fork aerating the dirt around delicate seedlings. Let me give you a little peek at what I've got going on.

I have 2 out of 4 radish plantings started. Cherry Belle and French Breakfast were my choices for the first two plantings, and I had staggered them but the later planting has caught up.

My green onions have kept me waiting for 30 days (!) to see the first shoots pop up, but finally this week there are little white sprouts peeking out of the dirt.

Despite the fact that a certain annoying kitty has been leaf munching, my Quinault strawberries are growing quite steadily under their cozy blanket of pine mulch.

Last but not least, this little-lavender-plant-that-could managed to survive all fall and winter without a single drop of water from me, and he was rewarded with a bigger pot and a skosh of fertilizer. After the transplant there are oh, about a million little leaf bunches budding out, so I'm expecting to have to move him yet again by the end of the summer.

So there you have it folks, my garden update. Check back later for possible gratuitous true-leaf shots, and perhaps even a bit of baking!



Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Trying something new, again. I'm a little behind on this year's to do list, thanks to a February full of failures which you will hear about later, should I ever have a success with the one particular recipe that has been making me pull my hair out. After all of that mess and frustration it was time for something easier, something with a more unhealthy and therefore gratifying result.

I have had a recipe for fried plantains in my big binder of food related clippings since I was in high school when my Dad first started encouraging me to try new recipes I had never had before. 10 years later and I think it was about time I finally gave that one a go!

If you have, like me, never tried plantains before, you may be surprised on your first tasting. They are in the same family as bananas, however they are bigger, and firm and starchy. In fact they don't taste anything like bananas at all - they get slightly sweeter as they ripen, but when buying them green for tostones the flavor is more like that of a potato, though without any trace of earthiness. While frying I did notice a slight banana-chip-like scent, but it was mild. For trying this unfamiliar fruit I think tostones were the perfect choice for me. Each toston is a crispy fried little chip intended to scoop up things I already know I love, like homemade guacamole and spicy salsa verdé.

They were gobbled up quickly, as anything that has been fried in this house is. They were a little bit firmer than I expected, and I found that the ones that got a little more than golden brown were not so tasty, but overall I was pleased with the results. Preparation was easy, but time consuming, and I would have to say that after spending an hour and a half in the kitchen for something that was devoured within minutes, we won't be making these again without a special occasion to do so.

This recipe comes from this book, with slight modifications.


3 green plantains
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (optional)
2 tbsp. salt
Canola, or other high smoke point oil for frying

Peel plantains and cut into slices approximately 1/2 inch thick. Add garlic and salt to water in a large bowl. Soak slices for 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain plantain slices well and fry in a deep fryer or in a large skillet heated filled approximately 1/2 full with oil heated to 350°F for about 7 minutes, turning if necessary (I have no idea how hot 350°F is, so I used medium heat).

Remove from fryer and drain on absorbent paper (Be careful not to use thin paper towels as you will be picking shreds of it out of your tostones forever). Fold paper over and pound the plantain slices flat with the base of a drinking glass, or use a Tostonera press.

Dip in salted water again and remove immediately. Drain thoroughly on paper towels.

Return to oil heated to 375°F until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on absorbent paper to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

My guacamole was simple this time - 4 ripe avocados, mashed to a chunky textures with tons of lime juice and a decent sized scoop of super hot store-bought pico de gallo.