Thursday, June 26, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I went to the farmer's market today. There is one in Hyattsville where I work that is open on Thursday afternoons.
I signed up for the newsletter. Because the cheerful guy telling me to sign up told me, "if you got our newsletter, you'd know that today we'd have PEACHES!" I told him I don't like peaches, but I signed up anyway. Then he said it, "we have berries." Berries...
I stopped by the vegetable stand first. I needed food for dinner. I bought green beans and redskin potatoes. Then I saw the berries. A little too expensive, but way too delicious looking to resist. I took a half pint of berries.
Then, on my way out, I stopped and bought a mini-bag of fresh donuts. If you've never seen a donut maker, they're awesome. The donut maker squeezed out four donuts into boiling oil and then they travel through and get flipped and then drain and then they fall. It's awesome. And they were delicious.
When I got home, I washed the berries. Then I ate about half of them before my better nature got to me and I decided to save some for Mark, and also to use them to top the cheesecake.
But one of the simple pleasures in life is standing barefoot in the kitchen, eating a perfect raspberry, fuzzy and totally ripe.
Often we think of food as fuel, or as the enemy. We sometimes stop thinking of it as what it is - simply delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is delicious. It is also the worst chain letter ever. You are supposed to give a ziploc bag of starter to somebody else. I'm not sure how to make starter. Once you get the starter, you will eventually create four cups of starter - three to give away. The problem is if you don't have three friends, or when you show up at a friend's house with a bag of goo and they look at you. So if you are in that situation, keep reading.
So once you get the starter from somebody, you follow the steps below.
Day 1 -6/9 - Do nothing
Day 2 - 6/10- Mush the bag
Day 3 - 6/11- Mush the bag
Day 4 - 6/12 - Mush the bag
Day 5 - 6/13 - Mush the bag
Day 6 - 6/14 - Add 1 cup each flour, sugar, milk. Mush the bag
Day 7 - 6/15 - Mush the bag
Day 8 - 6/16 - Mush the bag
Day 9 - 6/17 - Mush the bag
Day 10 - 6/18 - Follow directions below

Pour the entire contents into a non-metallic bowl.
Add 1.5 cups each flour, sugar, milk.
Measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each into 4 one-gallon ziplock bags

For the remaining batter:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 eggs
1 cup oil
.5 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamom
.5 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 5.1oz box of instant vanilla pudding

Grease a pan. Mix .5cup sugar and 1.5 tsp cinnamon. Dust pan with half the mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and dust with remaining mixture.
Bake 1 hour, cool 10 minutes.

What to do with the extra batter:
If you have four ziploc bags of batter, follow the steps again. If you know you won't give them away, put two cups in each bag and only use two bags.
Then - use the two sets of starter and follow the remaining directions, without adding the 1.5 cups of flour, sugar, and milk.

I also tried substituting the oil with applesauce and used sugar/fat free pudding. It came out tasting more like applesauce cake, and might be great with a little nutmeg and allspice.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I tried the Light Zucchini Cream for Pasta the other night. Pretty good, except I added some cream cheese to make it creamier. I ate it with whole-wheat pasta, and green beans on the side. Delicious.

Meal planning

Mark and I are striving to do two things: Lead a more sustainable/environmental existence and meal-plan. Fortunately, the two work out well together. We have a farmer's market here in Columbia that is open on Sundays. It is in a parking lot of a grocery store. We pick up fresh produce, and then get whatever else we need from the grocery store. Everything (usually) goes in reusable blue giant bags.
Today we got zucchinis, fresh basil, asparagus, tomatoes, and yellow squash. I also got some cucumbers because I like them.
I'm starting to find recipes for this week - here is tomorrow's, courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

Broiled Zucchini and Potatoes with Parmesean Crust
4 small new potatoes (red or white, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 small zucchini, cut in 1/2 lengthwise (about 1-inch wide by 5 inches long)
Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool. When cool, cut the potatoes in half.

Place a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary and let cook until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, season the cut sides of the zucchini and potatoes with salt and pepper. Carefully place the zucchini and potatoes cut side down in the melted butter. Let them cook until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the browned zucchini and potatoes on the baking sheet cut side up. Sprinkle the tops with the Parmesan. Place in the broiler until the cheese is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve.

I'll let you know how it is!