kelliem: bread (bread)
( Feb. 1st, 2009 09:30 pm)
A few weeks back I saw a display of Dalmatia Fig Spread with Orange at one of the stores I frequent. I bought some, just out of curiosity, and it sat on my counter while I tried to decide what to do with it. I was pretty sure it would be great with cheese (especially brie, or chevre) and crackers but I wanted something a little more interesting. Then when I went to the hospital yesterday to visit my mom (still improving!), we stopped by thei hospital coffee kiosk and I noticed some muffins they were selling which appeared to have figs in them (turns out I was wrong, it was some sort of vegan muffin and what I thought were fig seeds were something else entirely) which got me thinking about making fig muffins. So I went home and went through all my muffin recipes and some I found online, did a little tweaking, and came up with a recipe which turned out to be really delicious. The orange flavor was surprisingly strong, but the figs gave the muffins a rich, earthy sweetness, while the oatmeal and pecans added great texture. I didn't even let them cool the recommended 10 minutes before I was chowing down on one alongside a cup of nice, strong pu-erh tea.

Fig & Orange Muffins

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp each, dried orange peel and ground coriander seed
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 8 oz. jar Dalmatia fig spread with orange
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400F

Mix dry ingredients together, including nuts.

Warm the milk slightly, just enough to keep the butter from solidifying but not enough to cook the eggs, then mix milk, melted butter, brown sugar, preserves, and eggs.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just to mix. Batter will be lumpy. Let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon into lined muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Makes 12 large muffins.

If you don't have access to the fig and orange spread, I think you could use 4 oz. of fig preserves and 4 oz. of orange marmalade and get a similar result.
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kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Nov. 26th, 2008 11:27 pm)
Well, for another 17 minutes anyway. This is the first time in years we're having the Family Do at our house, so I've spent the last 24 hours cleaning house. We even got the housemate to get rid of about half the boxes she had stacked in her living room and excavate her couch! You can see the cushions for the first time in about three years, I think. Maybe longer. No, I am not joking. It looks great! Well, for OUR house, anyway. Our poor cats are traumatized. Sora wouldn't even come downstairs. He's terrified of the vacuum cleaner and we ran it several times today. Riku hates it when anything changes, and since we put away a lot of things he keeps walking around the house craning his neck trying to figure out why everything looks WRONG!

Also did a bit of pre-cooking today-- made a jalapeno cranberry sauce loosely based on one they made on Iron Chef America: Battle Thanksgiving a few nights ago. It's actually quite delicious, and you don't really taste the jalapenos, they just give it a slight warmth on the tongue. Also taught the kidunit how to make pumpkin pie. My usual recipe uses cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, but we were out of allspice so we used a little cardamon and cloves instead and if the little bit we accidentally got on the side of the crust protector and tasted is anything to go by, it worked really well. Also made a pan of roasted harvest vegetables-- cut up rutabagas, parsnips, golden beets, purple carrots, sweet potatoes, leeks, brussels sprouts and red boiling onions, tossed with olive oil, sea salt, thyme and rosemary. The house smelled wonderful while they were cooking and the bite I snuck after I took it out of the oven was really delicious. The kidunit tasted it and even he said it was good, which shocked me because he usually dislikes nearly everything in it.

Tomorrow all I'll hve to do is cook the turkey (using the pancetta herb butter recipe from last year), make the dressing and the gravy. Mom's bringing the traditional green bean casserole, the housemate is supplying the mashed potatoes, and my brother is bringing pretty much everything else.
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kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Nov. 13th, 2008 10:45 pm)
Found an excellent new-to-us Thai place in town, they make the best drunken noodles I've ever had, and their spring rolls were so amazingly fresh they practically exploded flavor in my mouth when I took a bite. And their dipping sauce didn't taste like watered down peanut butter, either. To top it off, their mango sticky rice was fabulous. Must learn how to make it their way. Mmmmmm. It's also reasonably priced. The location's a bit eh... it's in a stripmall across from 29th Street, but the food's definitely worth it. (If you're local and want to try it, it's Chy Thai.)

Watched the new Top Chef. There are two chefs from Boulder in it this season, Hosea (bald/Amish beard) who did pretty well in the first ep, and Melissa (blonde, bad haircut) who didn't fare as well but is still in the running. It'll be fun to watch and see how the locals fare. There's also a guy named Jeff from Miami who's a dead ringer for Jesse Spencer (Chase from House). The resemblance is amazing, more so on the show than in the still photo. I can already tell I am not going to be liking either of the two European guys. There's ego, and then there's ego.
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kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Sep. 15th, 2008 09:37 pm)
Earlier today I posted about the pesto I made... my first attempt. It turned out very well and someone asked for a pic and someone else asked for the recipe so here they are. :)

Citrus & purple basil pesto over tortellini and grilled chicken with roasted red peppers
recipe behind the cut )
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kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Aug. 23rd, 2008 01:44 pm)
I feel like Robert Irvine right now (er... well, apart from the whole faking his resume thing...). Tonight is my brother and SIL's anniversary and we decided to have a family dinner for/with them. My mom wants to have it at her house (which I approve of because my house is a pit and not likely to improve any time soon given my housemate's inability to ever throw away a box that anything she got off the Internet came in) coupled with my own packrattiness and the kidunit's indifferent cleaning ability. However, though my mom is hosting, she didn't want to cook so I volunteered to do so.  And of course being an idiot I decided that instead of making something I can fix at home and transport like, oh, baked chicken, or a pot roast or meatloaf, I was going to make a double-batch of Pad Kee Mow (Drunken Noodles) since at the last family get together I found out they'd never had that.

This, I now realize, is kinda dumb for two reasons.  1) what if they don't LIKE it?  Not a great anniversary dinner.  2) as I was getting my mise en place together, cutting up chicken and vegetables, assembling the sauce ingredients, I realized there's really no way I can make it at home and take it over to Mom's and have it be anywhere near as good as it should be. I really need to make it there.  So either I have to pack up my own pans, etc. and truck them over there, or just hope I can deal with whatever kitchenware she has on hand.  She doesn't cook much these days so I'm not entirely sure what I'll find.  But taking my own seems... weird. 

::headdesk::

Tell me why I thought this was a good idea?
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kelliem: Alton Brown (alton)
( Aug. 11th, 2008 01:25 pm)
I wonder if Alton Brown has seen this article? An excerpt:

For a long time, we were pretty dumb. Humans did little but make "the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years," he said. Then, only about 150,000 years ago, a different type of spurt happened — our big brains suddenly got smart. We started innovating. We tried different materials, such as bone, and invented many new tools, including needles for beadwork. Responding to, presumably, our first abstract thoughts, we started creating art and maybe even religion.

To understand what caused the cognitive spurt, Khaitovich and colleagues examined chemical brain processes known to have changed in the past 200,000 years. Comparing apes and humans, they found the most robust differences were for processes involved in energy metabolism. The finding suggests that increased access to calories spurred our cognitive advances, said Khaitovich, carefully adding that definitive claims of causation are premature. The research is detailed in the August 2008 issue of Genome Biology.

The extra calories may not have come from more food, but rather from the emergence of pre-historic "Iron Chefs;" the first hearths also arose about 200,000 years ago.


Cool! Who knew cooking makes you smarter? ;D
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kelliem: Alton Brown (alton)
( Jul. 31st, 2008 10:16 am)
Fantastic article on Alton Brown at, of all places, Chemical and Engineering News.

A snippet: Brown considers cooking the ultimate applied science because everything relates to chemistry, biology, or physics. “Cooking is a switchboard to everything. There is nothing about human existence that doesn’t tap into food or that doesn’t pass through food. I’ve gone into biology classes where we dissected a chicken instead of a fetal pig. Why? Because you’ll see it again. Knowing how to cut up a chicken actually matters. When will you see a fetal pig again?”

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] 0metotchtli for the link!
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Apr. 23rd, 2008 10:21 am)
I've discovered a simple and very yummy new spring vegetable dish. Take six brussels sprouts and six spears of fresh asparagus. Quarter the sprouts and cut the asparagus into 1" pieces (make sure to cut off the woody bottom parts). Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the vegetables, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and sautee until the asparagus is bright green and the sprouts have begun to brown in spots. (This serves one person.) I had it with a salmon filet crusted in panko bread crumbs, black sesame seeds and wasabi powder, all the above served over some Japonica rice and it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Monday was kind of chilly and I wanted something warm & hearty, plus Kham had been asking to try lentils after seeing the Alton Brown show featuring them, so I tried a new dish. I sent the leftovers with Kham to a get-together and apparently it went over like gangbusters and I've been asked for the recipe, so I thought it would be easiest to post it here so they can grab it.

Vegetable Lentils with Sausage recipe behind the cut )

Finally, a couple of Springy shots from my indefatigable cell-phone camera:


(Yes, this is the same building I posted a picture of last week with snow on the ground. Springtime in the Rockies, take two.)


A male Cassin's Finch at the feeder in the back yard. Photo taken through two layers of very dirty kitchen window, so it's not the best, but I didn't want to scare him off by opening the back door for a better shot.
kelliem: pumpkin (pumpkin)
( Oct. 26th, 2007 07:56 am)
Sometimes in the morning I'm running late and haven't had time to fix coffee and toast so I stop at a local bagel place and grab a bagel and coffee. This morning, for whatever reason, they weren't open at 7:10 when I swung by (I suspect someone overslept, oops!) so I had to go elsewhere. Well, there's this Panera Bread bakery cafe on my way and I... stop. And I discovered that they make these things they call 'baked egg souffles' which are kinda like individual-sized puff-pastry cups filled with scrambled eggs and cheese. I got the spinach, cheddar cheese and bacon one and it was truly amazingly yummy. I need to learn how to make these myself. Mmmmmm.

In other news, I adore fall, it's my favorite time of year. (This is not actually news to most of you!) And it's an absolutely gorgeous fall morning, which the full moon made even more interesting. I'm putting a few mediocre cell-phone pix up behind the tag. )
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Oct. 11th, 2007 01:06 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] aukestrel mentioned this recipe in her LJ the other day so I decided to share it. I created it in response to an "Old Bay Seasoning" recipe contest back in... oh, I think it was 1990 or so. Anyway, the recipe didn't win a prize but it was a runner-up and it did make it into the contest cookbook. It's an easy recipe, but not quick. ;)

Kellie’s Old Bay Pork Green Chili

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs pork loin, trimmed and cubed
1 lb. ground pork
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
2 28 oz. can whole Italian tomatoes
2 28 oz cans tomatillos*, drained
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies (or 1/2 cup of fresh roasted chilies, cut up)
3 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsp. chili powder
Optional:
1 4oz. can diced jalapeños (or 2 fresh jalapeños, chopped) if you like it extra spicy.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, add the pork, onions, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat until the pork is browned. Drain excess fat. Crush the tomatoes and tomatillos in your hands, add to the pork along with remaining ingredients, including the liquid from the tomatoes. Do not add salt, there is plenty of salt in the Old Bay. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours until meat is fork-tender. Serve over burritos or with flour tortillas as a stew.

*For those of you unfamiliar with southwestern cooking, a tomatillo is a small green tomato-like fruit. You could use fresh tomatillos in this sauce if you have them available, but you'd need to husk, wash, and roughly chop them since you can't 'squeeze-smush' them like the canned kind.
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I made the BEST stuff for dessert last night. It was so good I ended up eating the leftovers for breakfast.

Tropical Rice Pudding

2 C cooked short-grain rice (I used Kokuro rice from our local Asian grocery)
1 mango, diced
1 peach, diced
1 C sliced strawberries
1 C. coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
a pinch or so each ground cinnamon, ground coriander and ground cardamom (to taste)

Stir the maple syrup into the coconut milk, then mix all ingredients together. Taste. Add a little more maple syrup if you want it sweeter. Eat. :-)

(And yes, [livejournal.com profile] theamusedone of course it has coriander in it! ;-D)

Had a wonderful lunch yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] brywulf and [livejournal.com profile] annezo at Sushi Zanmai. We shared veggie tempura and their fantastic seaweed salad, and I had ebi, tako, unagi, and cucumber roll. Then [livejournal.com profile] brywulf couldn't finish her Philly Roll (smoked salmon and cream cheese) so I got to have some of that too. We groused about the fact that none of use are feeling fannishly connected right now and got all nostalgic for our old mailing lists.

In other news, I've been sort of half-assedly keeping track of the latest LJ kerfuffle, and mostly I'm just waiting to see how things shake out. I guess if I had to offer an opinion it would be that 1) LJ/6A is abysmally bad at communication and they should really wait to implement new policies until they have all the ramifications figured out first (also, they should muzzle their staff until they have a single official answer to a question!), and 2) Fandom will face the exact same issues currently inducing all the problems at LJ/6A no matter where it goes, once the perpetually panty-twisted in the world figure out where fandom went and follow them there to cause trouble.

Oh, and GIP! New icon-- a photo of the delicious and beautiful waffle served to my kidunit at breakfast the other day at the Southside Walnut Cafe.
kelliem: plates of food (plates)
( Jun. 6th, 2007 09:56 pm)
I am so lucky to live in an area that has really excellent food resources. This afternoon on my way home from work I stopped by the Boulder Farmer's Market. It's been a bit blustery (aka overcast and under a high wind warning) today and I was figuring that there wouldn't be many people there but there were quite a few folks braving the breeze. Lots of variety in people, sixty-or-so grandmotherly types, handsome young guys in south-American sweaters with shorts and sandals, moms with kids, typical BUPs (Boulder Urban Professionals) with their bandanaed dogs, Gothy teenagers, you name it. Just after I got there a whole herd of young chefs-in-training arrived from the Culinary School of the Rockies, eagerly scouting out fresh local ingredients for tomorrow's menus. They were all wearing their chef's jackets with their names embroidered on them. So cute. :)

There were only about half as many vendors as they have on Saturdays, but I still found some great stuff. I was craving fresh spinach, which I found. Along with green garlic, baby leeks, fresh sugar-snap peas, and a gorgeous heirloom tomato. I also picked up a fresh-baked baguette from the Udi's bakery stall, a bag of fresh hand-made roasted red pepper gnocchi, and a wedge of Haystack Mountain Buttercup, a mixed-milk (cow and goat) butter-colored and fantastic-flavored semi-hard cheese from our local goat dairy. I was seriously tempted by all the different varieties of mushrooms at the Hazel Dell stall but since the kidunit won't eat 'shrooms I figured I'd skip them for sometime when I'm eating alone.

I took all my treasure home and sauteed a couple of chicken tenders with finely chopped green garlic and baby leeks with rosemary in olive oil. Then I cooked about half of the gnocchi, drained it, and tossed it with about half a cup of the Buttercup cheese, the olive oil and green garlic (leftover from cooking the chicken breasts), and about 3/4ths of a cup of Macon-Villages Chardonnay. While the cheese and wine were saucifying on the gnocchi, I sauteed the spinach with more green garlic in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and served the chicken on the spinach with the gnocchi on the side. It turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself. And the highly-picky kidunit even liked the gnocchi which I have to admit, amazed me.

I ended up not using the peas or the tomato. I'll probably do something with them tomorrow night. :)
kelliem: bistro table (bistro)
( Jun. 23rd, 2006 10:16 am)
[livejournal.com profile] theamusedone is in the state to visit relatives and last night he stopped by and we went to dinner, along with [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf and my kidunit. It was so much fun! We chatted about everything under the sun, and ate fantastic food and drank excellent wine and just generally had a blast. And the place was crowded and noisy so we could say all kinds of naughty things an no one noticed. :) [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf wanted to go to Brasserie 1010 because we'd gone there before and she really liked it. [livejournal.com profile] theamusedone had bouillabaisse which looked fantastic-- there was about half a crab in it, shell and all, and mussels and shrimp and scallops and all kinds of goodness. Kidunit had a croque monsieur (ham & gruyere), I had steak frites, and [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf had one of the specials, braised rabbit crepes. Of course we had to have dessert, [livejournal.com profile] theamusedone got the hazelnut creme brulee (which was yummy but not as yummy as the creme brulee [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf's restaurant used to serve) kidunit and I shared some eggy and slighty-underdone beignets (the only disappointing item all night!) with lemon cream sauce, and [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf had the moccachino pot de creme which was outstanding.

We had two different wines, a Pinot Blanc from Alsace, and a Vouvray from the Loire. [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf and I got a little tipsy so we had to go for a walk before we could drive home. It was a hoppin' night downtown, tons of people, and a perfect cool summer evening. [livejournal.com profile] brynwulf had to leave for home but [livejournal.com profile] theamusedone and I sat around in my living room for an hour or so and just chatted. Even though we had never met in person before, it was like we were old friends. We have a lot of tastes in common as far as reading, music, and TV. Finally he had to go, he had a 2 hour drive ahead of him, but he emailed this morning to let us know he got up to Vail okay despite the late hour.

Then last night I had the weirdest dream. I realized that even though I am on vacation, I had to go to the office for a few minutes to get something I'd forgotten, and when I got there my front-desk minion was feeling sick, so I told her she should call my other minion and ask him to work the desk so she could go home, but she wouldn't. Then I went into my office to get whatever it was I'd forgotten, and got cornered by an administrator who needed some info NOW. Reluctantly I fired up my computer and found it for her, then I went to pick up my phone and call home to let kid-unit know I was running a little late, but I couldn't call home because there was no 6 on the number pad. So I went to the front desk to use THAT phone, and it didn't have a 6 on it either. I went to every phone in the office trying to find one with a 6 and never found one. It was like I was in an alternate universe where 6 didn't exist. Very, very weird. [livejournal.com profile] bethbethbeth thinks that it must be about sex, but I think that's way too obvious (six/sex). :)
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