Monday, May 14, 2007

Ooh-da-la-lee!

Stick a fork in me….’cause I am done! I have officially finished (and survived) my first year of graduate school. Happy Dance! Now, you ask, do I get a break? No. Now the research that I have put off in the frenzy of classes needs to be addressed. And soon I will be chained to my fishies…..but I have at least another month before that. Phew! I also really should do something about the multiple stacks of papers on my desk…..like cataloging them in Endnote. The good news is that I don’t have to worry about doing homework in the evenings. Oh, and the subject line.....my new favorite word. I familiarized myself with it when I watched the Disney version of Robin Hood with Sr. Loco last night. Good times, good times. (No please don't ask about Sr. Loco's taste in movies.)

I have neglected my blog lately and I seriously need to play catch-up. So this post is going to be a hodgepodge of everything. First things first…….food. I have made some good eats these past two weeks. I attempted my first pizza on my pizza stone. The first was a disaster……like the blasted thing wouldn’t move off my peal, and I ended up having a big doughy, cheesey pile on my stone. Imagine the state of my stone after that incident. However, due to my paranoia, the second turned out excellent. For a really good pizza crust check out the one in Julia Child’s Way to Cook.

Item 2: vegetarian chili with avocado salsa. Not only was it fairly tasty, but it is full of what my sister and I like to call “end of the month” ingredients: beans, barely, canned tomatoes. What we can afford to eat at the end of the month when we are waiting for the next paycheck. The salsa definitely makes this dish—it really needs the added kick.

Item 3: Irish oatmeal bread. I am always hesitant to try new breads. I have a tried and true wheat bread recipe that I love. However, sometimes I can’t help myself. So, Sunday I tried this recipe. I also let it rest 45 minutes after adding wet and dry ingredients. I read this suggestion on the cooking light bulletin board. I guess this helps the dough absorb and distribute the liquid which is important in whole grain recipes. I think because of this, I didn’t need to put in all the extra flour that they have you reserve. I also did three rises instead of the traditional two. I also read that this gives a better flavor. The result was very good. I didn’t let it rise enough after I shaped it…..so my loves were a bit on the small size. However instead of being super dense like I feared, they were actually quite light and tender. Overall, I would make this again, but make sure I let the dough rise to the size I want the final loaf to be.

Item 4: 5 Grain Rolled Cereal Daybreak Cookies. O.k. Normally, I don’t like my cookies to hint of healthiness. But sometimes, you want an oatmeal cookie. These are quite remarkable…in a sweet, nutty way. In fact, I am munching on some as I write this post. I will include the recipe at the end. Actually......on looking at the recipe.....I think I forgot to add the flour. Oh well, they still taste good!

Item 5: Sesame noodles with broccoli. This was first time using whole wheat pasta. Actually, I lie…..it was multi-grain pasta. In any case…..I was pleasantly surprised. If it wasn’t so much more expensive, I probably would use multi-grain pasta all the time. This dish wasn’t life changing….but just a good meal to have in one’s repertoire. Of course, I am smitten with anything involving broccoli. Next time, I would increase both the garlic and the chili paste. I needed a bit more of a kick.

Yeah, so a lot of cooking…..and this was just the new stuff.

Sr. Loco asked me yesterday if I could give him my muffin recipe.

“Muffin recipe?” I asked, “which one?”
“You have more than one?”

Sigh…..yes. I have more than one muffin recipe. I have about fifty muffin recipes….and I am always looking for more.

“Can you give me one that is easy to make”
“They are all easy to make”
“Not for me”
“Well if you would follow the recipe….”

That is his problem. He makes stuff up. All fine and well….but normally you have to have some sort of baseline knowledge for food to turn out well using the no recipe approach. He does not. The result—nastiness. He is planning on having a cookout memorial weekend. The menu: grilled steak, grilled white perch, and some side dishes like fries ala Sr. Loco. As I looked at the invite, I was amused at the complete temptlessness of it all.

And last, but not least…….although I was studying for finals, I managed read a book: Poison Study” by Maria V. Snyder. Probably not the smartest thing I did, starting a new book while trying to study…...because I could not put it down. It grabs you from the get go. I credit my sister, M, for discovering this treasure. It is a fantasy novel, but accessible fantasy….ala Robin McKinnley’s “Blue Sword”. The dusk jacket reads: about to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. I look forward to the sequel “Magic Study” which is currently ready for pick-up from my local library.

5 Grain Rolled Cereal Daybreak Cookies

1/2 cup butter -- melted
1 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups five-grain cereal
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan halves -- chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.Blend melted butter and sugar with a whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and egg to butter mixture and mix well. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cereal. Stir flour mixture into egg and butter mixture until just combined. Add remaining ingredients, mix until combined. Drop 1 1/2 inch balls (about 2 tbsp per ball) onto parchment lined cookie sheets.Bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown on edges but still soft in the middle. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

2 comments:

yola said...

1. Congratulations on your first year! Whoo-hoo!

2. Disney's Robin Hood was one of my favorite movies as a second grader...I fell in love with Robin's British accent. You have to admit, he's got a suave voice. I used to pretend I was the (literally) foxy Maid Marion. Yes, that's how early I started being geeky.

3. Your kitchen creations sound sensational! I envy your bread baking abilities.

Enjoy your break!

Lady Susan said...

I was thinking as I was watching it that Robin Hood sounded very much like Peter Lawford.

I actually had this story on record when I was young and would listen to it over and over again. This was before the days of VCRs. How ancient does that make me?

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