Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rotten Quiche

What you get when you find yourself saying:

“I don’t give a flying fuck how wilted this spinach is or how slimy these mushrooms are I AM NOT throwing out any more vegetables!!!”

See also: Rotten Gazpacho.

(I should mention, for those of you who might be eating my cooking in the future, that both the quiche and the gazpacho were delicious.

And non-poisonous.)

Saturday Foodie Fun: Cheese Making, Day Two.

Well then.

You can’t make cream cheese out of 2% milk.

You can make vaguely cream cheesesque tasting very dry cheese crumbles.
Anyone have a recipe that uses vaguely cream cheesesque tasting very dry cheese crumbles?

(Yes. Ok. Fine. For my first shot at cheesemaking I should have just followed the recipe exactly and used full fat milk. I need to come to some middle ground between “making it myself” and “saving calories.” Perhaps the energy spent making it from scratch would cancel out the extra calories from full fat milk?)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Foodie Fun: Cheese Making!

Every few years I go through a fit where I decide I am not going to eat anything unless it’s (almost completely) made from scratch. In the past this has meant homemade crackers, ice cream, and mayonnaise, amongst other things. The latest incarnation of this fit has played out in three ways:

I have gotten back on the weight loss bandwagon. I refuse to give up eating things I enjoy eating, so the key to this for me is exercise and strict portion control. In the pursuit of portion control I find myself buying/consuming a lot of pre/individually packed things. This leads to more “junk” food than I would care to consume, and huge amounts of packaging going into the trash.

While I have no intention of giving up my omnivorous ways, I seem to have developed an interest in raw foods (and am currently searching for a Vita-Mix high speed blender for less than $400 (!!))

Making cheese! I love cheese and have dabbled in making Paneer in the past (very very easy.) I splurged and bought two cheese making kits from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, the 30 Minute Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit and the Gourmet Home Dairy Kit (for some reason I got it in my head that I should be making my own cream cheese, which I eat on a mini-bagel for breakfast nearly every morning.)

So this morning I went to the Co-op (and I hiked the mile up the hill and back instead of driving!) and bought 1.5 gallons of local, organic 2% milk (in returnable, reusable glass bottles) and set off on making some cheese.

As I don’t have a microwave I used this recipe for the Mozzarella. And as a first go, I think it turned out well. I used 2% in an attempt to be diet conscious, and while I was looking for that soft creamy “fresh” mozzarella, what I got was more like an excellent “hard” grating mozzarella. I need to use a little more salt in the future as it provides all of the flavor for the cheese (and I need to experiment with some Lipase.) I made one large ball, but I think I will shape it into homemade string cheese sticks in the future (one of my favorite (if redundantly packaged) snacks.)

In my stumbling around with the Mozzarella for the first time I lost half of the whey down the drain. But I used this recipe to make a very small quantity of yummy traditional whey only Ricotta.

I’m going to use the other ½ gallon of milk to make some Cream Cheese (tonight, as it needs to set for 12 hours)…

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Musical Interlude

Lest you think my hedonistic lifestyle is limited to culinary indulgences, here are some audio and visual indulgences I have enjoyed recently (or will be enjoying soon):

As previously mentioned, BM and I went to the Modernism show at the Corcoran. As I was trained in the Bauhaus tradition, this show felt like home. Lots of clean lines and open spaces. They were playing Erik Satie and had works by Laszlo Moholy Nage. The show was broken down into geographic regions and it was interesting to see how Modernism played out historically in difference places (and political climates.) And as an added bonus, BM was able to translate the Russian stuff!

Mom and I went to all sorts of interesting places in Chicago including the International Museum of Surgical Science (we had to the place to ourselves, surprise, surprise) and the Lincoln Park Conservatory
We went to see the Blue Man Group (and much to my chagrin, ended up being IN the show…) We had a Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues (Praise Jesus and Pass the Biscuits!) and saw very large art being installed at Millennium Park.

Back in DC I saw the Asylum Street Spankers (bawdy bluegrass) at Iota and Son Volt at the 930 Club.

I have plans to see the movie Waitress, I was graciously gifted tickets to see the National Philharmonic play Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the Strathmore, am going to see the comic Steven Wright (Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?) with AD, and have Smithsonian tickets to hear the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

I want to see Peter & Wendy at the Arena Stage, The Polyphonic Spree at 930, Bodies..The Exhibition, and Rasputina in Baltimore. Wanna come?

It’s a wonder I have time to eat at all…

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My. God. Time. Flies.

Ok. I’m gonna scan over my calendar from the past few months and jump back in the pool here:

At the end of February there was a Happy Hour at Dino with NJ et al. Cheesy polenta with pork belly. Be still my heart (literally and figuratively.) In search of ever more food we headed over to Palena afterward for dinner. I had the burger. This was the first time I ever ordered a hamburger in a restaurant. Really. I didn’t eat red meat for a really long time and was never that interested in hamburgers when I did. But it was supposed to be the best burger in DC, so what the hell. And now? Now I am ruined and will never be able to eat another hamburger unless I am at Palena. It was eyes-roll-back-into-your-head good. Oh, and the fry plate on the side, with batter dipped slices of meyer lemon? Falls into the category of “things you thought you’d never eat and now crave.”

JH and I had brunch at Colorado Kitchen. I have been wanting to try Colorado Kitchen for a long time as I need a good brunch place and it’s in the middle of nowhere, but not too far from Takoma Park. But I also have been leery of Colorado Kitchen because they have a bit of a “reputation” of having a bit of an “attitude.” But we followed the rules and showed up 10 minutes before they opened and got seated without a wait. And we started with the doughnuts. Homemade doughnuts. Warm homemade doughnuts. A chocolate glazed, a powdered sugared, and a honey and nut (!!) I would happily follow any and all rules to get more of those doughnuts. JH had the eggs benedict and I had the orange french toast and we shared a side of grits. Everything was delicious and I really need to go back for dinner.

In March there was a DR book club meeting at the Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown (I like the Quattro Formaggio)(Good pizza. Awful book.) ANOTHER dinner at Dino with NJ (they changed the mushroom pasta. I am not a happy camper) and a quick dinner at Moby Dick (yummy cheap kabobs) with a different JH. There was an unremarkable brunch at the Corcoran with BM, but the Modernism show was fabulous. The different JH and I also had an excellent (and large) dinner at Ray’s The Classics (If you want meat, go here. Yes, the service is weird. Remember I told you that as the service will be weird. But the food is good) as well as dinner at Black’s Bar and Kitchen (remember what I said about being ruined by Palena’s burger? Yeah.) I took my dad to Oriental East for his first Dim Sum when he was in town for the Smithsonian Kite Festival, both of which he seemed to enjoy. BM and I had sushi from Whole Foods whilst sitting on the Mall at 9pm. The sushi was simply awful, but the Mall is lovely at that time of night.

In April my mom and I went on an eating trip to Chicago. I will work up a post on Chicago, as it deserves its own post.

RL and I had surprisingly WONDERFUL thin crust smoky pizza at Comet Ping Pong, the original JH&E and I had Dim Sum (again) at Oriental East (again) and I had brunch with LP at Bourbon I need to keep this place in mind, if for no other reason than they will serve you $5 worth of tater tots in a metal bowl, just like you got in the cafeteria in elementary school.

And we are nearly up to speed! May brings Happy Hour with BM at the Leftbank (cheap and sushi are not usually two words you want to see together, but it was good.) AZ from Food and Friends had a few of us over for a lovely homemade dinner with delicious Mushroom Barley Soup, White Spinach Lasagna and homemade(!) Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (my favorite.) I got to see JI’s new house and we had an “edible” dinner at Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro And I finally finally got to the Bar at CityZen with PH where the food and drinks were almost as satisfying as the conversation, but just barely.

So. Um. What have you eaten lately?