September 28, 2010

Does everybody know what time it is? It's tea time!

I was reminiscing with S. over the weekend about T.V. shows we watched growing up, and Home Improvement (you know, with Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor) was high on my list of favorites. Tim Allen played a family man who had his own home improvement T.V. show called "Tool Time," and at the start of every program, Pamela Andersen (his assistant) would shout to the audience, "Does everybody know what time it is?" to which the audience would shout back, "It's Tool Time!" The French call this literary device mise en abyme, which means story within a story, but I'm just telling you this to sound cultured and smart, and hopefully to make you forget that I'm rambling on about Home Improvement. Anyway . . .

Something else I did this weekend was go to Housing Works in Brooklyn Heights. For those of you who don't know, Housing Works operates thrift stores around NYC and is, in their own words, "committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness." Even if you didn't know that, you could feel good about shopping at Housing Works because they have great stuff!

My find of the day was a fine bone china tea service (for 4) from England. The Internet tells me that the maker, Royal Grafton, went out of business in 1972. The pattern, "Majestic," is in the style of the 1960's, but a person I exchanged emails with at informs me that the "Majestic" pattern in green was made until the early 1990's under the Royal Grafton name but by a different manufacturer. My set is blue, so I just don't know what to think. At any rate, I love it! S. has graciously offered to give it a home in his china hutch since space is at a premium in my studio apartment.

Now, does anyone have a good recipe for cucumer or watercress sandwiches?


September 25, 2010

It's pumpkin time!

Our family loves pumpkin.  This dessert, from the October issue of FNM, pg. 75, is called Pumpkin-Pie Parfait.  The recipe is below, but look for helpful hints at the end.

13 gingersnaps, chocolate wafers or graham crackers
1 Tb unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 1 Tb confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 1/2 tsp bourbon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups cold heavy cream

1. Put 7 cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush into crumbs.  Brush the bottoms and about 1 inch up teh sides of 6 parfait glasses with butter.  Add a spoonfull of crumbs to each and roll them around the insides of hte glasses; pour out the excess crumbs and reserve for topping.  Refrigerate the prepared glasses.

2. Put 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, the pumpkin, 1 1/2 tsp bourbon and the nutmeg in a food processor. Pulse until smooth, about 1 minute.

3. Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway.  Add to the pumpkin mixture and process until combines.  Transfer to a large bowl.

4. Beat 1 1/2 cups cream in a bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form; fold into the pumpkin mixture until smooth.  Divide among the prepared glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream with a mixer until foamy.  Add the remaining 1 Tb confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp bourbon and beat until the soft peaks form.  Top the parfaits with the whipped cream, reserved cookie crumbs and the remaining 6 cookies.

Helpful Hints

Steps 2 and 3 can probably be done without a food processor. Just stir well in a large bowl.
Cream should always be whipped in a cold bowl with cold beaters.  Freezing for 20 minutes before hand will result in a thicker whipped cream
I do not have bourbon, so it was left out altogether.  Although I did add a pinch of cinnamon to the cream for the top.


September 22, 2010

A Basic Family Dinner

I'm so glad Marie posted pictures of her camp dinner.  I love hot dogs cooked over a fire!  Basic camping meals are really the way to go, although basic can be good for an ordinary weeknight.

Coho Salmon, NOT farm raised, is $8 a pound at Costco.  It kills me to pay this, but Costco is the only local store that sells non-farm raised salmon.  Once the prices comes down a bit I'll stock up, but for now it's a once a week meal.  Sometimes I wish we had a deep freezer in the garage, but I know people who have one and stuff sits in there for years.  ugh!

The salmon was marinated for 20 minutes in Yoda sauce (what we affectionately call Yoshida sauce), the Au Gratin potatoes are from a box, and the broccoli is fresh.  Your basic 30 minute dinner.  btw-Andrew inhaled his first and second helpings.  Ah, true joy!  Watching a 15 year old boy scarf down food, the bottomless pits they are!!


Beans 'n Franks - Camp Food Edition

Need I say more?


September 16, 2010

Salmon Rosettes

I, like my sister, am from Alaska. It is my RIGHT -nay- my RESPONSIBILITY to love salmon. I eat it baked, grilled, smoked, and raw. Salmon in any form is pretty much my favorite food ever. My uncle P. smokes it until it's flavorful and delicious, my sister-in-law D. makes the best salmon patties I've ever tasted, and my friend B. slaps on a teriyaki glaze and grills it to perfection.

One fun thing you can do with lightly smoked salmon is make rosettes with caper leaves on toast!

Remember: It's very important to buy wild, non-farmed fish. It's good for your health, good for the environment, and good for the fishing industry.


September 14, 2010


I am not the world's greatest speller, so I usually look for tricks to help me remember.  Some people call it word association.  How I remember the two s's in dessert, rather than one s (which is desert, a hot and dry place), is I always want two desserts, so therefore two s's.  Simple, I know, and rather genius :-)

Black Forest Cake.  Okay, I cheated and used a box cake mix, but in my defense the whipped cream is from scratch (and not terribly hard to make with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer).  The cherries were from a can (I can't win them all!).  But it all came together nicely.  Paired with an Old Vine Zin, it was a wonderful dessert.  Although the best part was sharing it with friends!!


September 12, 2010


I went to the farmers' market at Cadman Plaza with S. yesterday afternoon and picked up fresh spinach, sweet corn, peaches, and apples. I love a farmers' market in September: the fresh produce and the crisp air.

I brought a bottle of prosecco, red potatoes, and some fresh rosemary from my apartment. We wanted roasted chicken, but having never actually roasted a chicken ourselves, played it safe by picking up a drumstick and breast already roasted by Gristedes.

Keeping it good in Brooklyn. Peace, people.


September 8, 2010

Epic fail....

You know a recipe is not a keeper when 3 out of the 4 people eating it actually get up from the table for something else to eat.  As the lone standout, I must say it wasn't terrible, but I won't be making it again.

This is supposed to be Swiss Steak.  Browned chuck steak, layered on top of chopped veggies (onions, carrots, celery), with a sauce of 2 T brown sugar, 1 T Worcestershire, 1/4 c. red wine, and 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes with the juice.  Cooked on low in the crock pot all day.  No telling what happened, but the flavors didn't blend well at all. 


A mighty tasty snack

There's a snack I like to eat that may surprise you: Crackers, cheese, jam, and horseradish. Yes, you heard that right. It's something my dad concocted, and it's something I grew up eating. It works very well with saltines, cheddar, raspberry jam, and shredded horseradish, but I made it this weekend with fitz (fake Ritz), pepper jack, charentais melon jelly, and horseradish sauce.

It's the perfect combination of salty, sweet, tangy, and crunchy. I dare you to give it a try. You may just agree that it's a mighty tasty snack.

- Marie

September 4, 2010

Sandwiches Smamwiches

I LOVE sandwiches.  They can be considered the perfect food. Gourmet mustard, peperoncinis, butter lettuce, Tillamook cheese, fresh spinach, red onion, chipotle mayonnaise, and a variety of meats combine to make sumptuous flavors not to be forgotten. We are always on the look out for a new sandwich shop.  One of our favorite sandwiches, the Shasta Smokey, is made in the deli at Bel Air (local grocery).  And even though it is technically not on the menu any longer, the kind ladies behind the counter always fix us the yummy concoction with a smile.

The problem is, after a while the monotony of a sandwich becomes, well, monotonous.  Do I have to have a sandwich for lunch every day?  Sure, they're easy to pack, but day after day???  Without the option of eating elsewhere for lunch the best idea is sometimes the easiest idea.

So, searching for that something special to spice up my lunch, I have discovered flat outs.  A long, thin, oval shaped bread that can be used as a wrap.  With only 90 calories and 9 grams of fiber per bread, this is a good substitute for the tortilla which historically has been used for wraps. This soft, pliable bread is easy to roll and is made in several flavors.  I bought stone ground wheat, simply because I like wheat bread.  And because I'm watching my overall calorie consumption, a half wrap with fruit makes the perfect light lunch.