my version of cookies and ice cream

The way I like it. I like fruit and herbs in my ice cream and spices in my cookies and NO CANDY!! I’m sorry but what good is great ingredients when all you taste is candy.  I eat ice cream when I want ice cream. I eat cookies when you want cookies. I eat candy when I want candy. Okay full-disclosure: I almost never want candy. Why overrun all those lovely butter and cream flavors with the brash and overpowering flavor of candy while adding all those extra calories? You should enjoying them not just using them to deliver more candy into your mouth. Rant over.

Rob liked the cookies although he tends to be more like normal people and he would prefer some candy. He was not a big fan of the sherbet. He made a face.

sherbetandcookie

2013 rhubarb recipe

rhubarbcurd

I love rhubarb. This was my rhubarb recipe this year. It is a little different and I’m not sure it is my favorite ever but I appreciated the novelty. Robert was not a fan, he scraped off most of the curd and ate just the shortbread, so I basically got to eat them all myself. This was not helping with the fact that none of my clothes fit. ugh.  http://food52.com/recipes/4338-rhubarb-curd-shortbread

This recipe also requires straining the curd through a fine mesh strainer. double ugh. It is important with rhubarb though because I made some rhubarb syrup recently to put in ice tea and I decided not to strain it. This meant iced tea with rhubarb stringys….yum. not.

Are you sure cauliflower didn’t come from India?

I can’t quite pin it down via my internet search but it seems that cauliflower (and broccoli) probably originate from the Italy-Greece-Turkey region of the world. Okay, alright, maybe it did, but when I find a head of cauliflower in my shopping basket it is headed for some Indian inspired spice concoction.  I may even have other plans when I first pick it up, but by the time I get home I’m pulling the turmeric out of the cupboard again.

This time I used Deseree Anne Kazda’s concoction: salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, chili powder. It has just a little nip. Good stuff.

The “biryani” recipe is from food52. It is good but a little heavy on the cinnamon-cloves-cardamom for my taste.

IMG_1552

Moroccan Carrots

This meal was weeks ago, when I was obsessing about carrots, but I just found the picture and I love meals with two vegetables!

And… I am reading the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence And… then on public radio they are interviewing Omar Sharif about the movie version “Lawrence of Arabia”! …Of course Morocco and the Arabian peninsula are quite far away from each other and have quite different culinary traditions but…Mr. Sharif is originally from Egypt which is geographically between the two.. Regardless it all felt serendipitous to me this morning. And even if, obviously, this “train of thought” paragraph is total crap, I remember that the food was delicious.

Notes on the recipe: I have to say that the carrots have a little too much garlic and I suggest cooking them less than the suggested 10 minutes as mine got a little too mushy.  I had homemade harrisa but I didn’t have any preserved lemons so I had to buy them this time.

greasy dijon

Well, I have to say that this was sauce was ridiculously greasy…ewww.  It was way better day 2 when I took it out of the fridge and scraped off the fat layer before I reheated it.  recipe is on Food52

I had selected it on a day when I was making recipes that included both Cognac and cream. You can make savory sauces, such as this was… and sweet desserts and of course drinks.  The possibilities are endless!  I have not tried a drink yet but I was thinking of the Alhambra Royale: hot chocolate, Cognac (preferably flaming), and whipped cream.

xmas presents in action…final 2012

Yes… It has taken me this long to use the present. It is a huge heavy granite mortar and pestle that looks lovely in my kitchen but that I had not found a use for…but it did a very good job of pulverizing the rather coarse lemon verbena leaves into the olive oil that was used for my watermelon salad dressing.  I have a lemon verbena plant which I had been looking for and then of course found it at Gethsemane Garden center here in Chicago. Now I am having fun finding recipes that will highlight it. My favorite was actually grinding up (in my smaller mortar and pestle) lemon verbena leaves with some sugar and then mixing into some store bought french vanilla ice cream.

The salad recipe is from Food52. I would also like to state that this time I successfully toasted the pistachios.

clean your grill in the fall

Clean your grill before it sits all winter. Otherwise you have a lot of work ahead of you the first time you open it up in the spring. I scrapped and scrubbed and got myself and my kitchen sink coated in ashes and grease. Still the grates are just not looking as pretty as they used to… oh well.. But now it is done and I can make all of my meals on the porch instead of heating my apartment up by turning on the oven. Yay!

Something about the first grill is just better. Besides this mole and black bean burger was delicious. It is topped with jicama slaw in very creamy-spicy chipotle dressing. I don’t know that I will eat the slaw by itself but it is really tasty on the burger. The original burger recipe actually called for salsa from a jar and some cayenne but I had defrosted some homemade mole recently so that is what I used instead.

Here is my best try at a recipe. I don’t measure anything so if I stray too far from the original recipe it is probably better that I let you decide how much meat you want and then eyeball the other ingredients yourself.

Burgers

ground chuck (mine was organic, grass-fed)
some black beans (from a can)
mole (mine was homemade but definitely you could buy a jar)
minced garlic

1. Combine the above and form into patties. Set aside.

Slaw

1 chipotle pepper in adobe
1/4 cup lime juice
salt

1. Puree the above in small food processor or blender.

handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (creama)
2 tablespoons mayo

2. Combine the pepper/lime with the above.

1 small jicama (shredded)

3. I squeezed out a lot of liquid from the shredded jicama with my hands and let drain for a few minutes in a strainer to keep my slaw from getting runny.
4. Add drained shredded jicama to creamy-spicy dressing.
5. Grill the burgers (I only lost a few of the black beans) Toast the buns a little on the grill. (Especially if  like me you could only find smoochy white bread buns.) Top the burger with the jicama slaw. Eat!

The green bean salad from Food52 with marjoram was also delicious. Marjoram is really not my favorite herb but the lemons were really good so the dressing was really good. I think people don’t appreciate that there is such a thing as a really good lemon.

Finally I had some fresh pineapple rings and I pulled a couple out and threw them on the grill for dessert. I love traveling but I also love being home and cooking in my own kitchen again when it is over.