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love was in the air.

April 5, 2015

at a lovely wedding i attended recently in stern grove.

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stuffed.

March 24, 2015
tags:

life is so full.  and for the most part, in great ways. yet i have that definite desire for spaciousness – a second cup of tea, a lazy conversation & longer stretches of silence.  i try to use sunday afternoons to prepare for the week so that weekday mornings don’t feel rushed (i become less of a morning person when i have to go work) & i don’t feel d-o-n-e at days’ end.  stuffed peppers are a great cook-them-now-eat-them-later dish as they get even better after a day.  i am not a fan of green bell peppers so, as always, use what you like – that includes using something else, like zucchini, if you don’t like peppers.

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stuffed peppers (serves 6 – 8)
6 large peppers – i like yellow, red & orange
2 T olive oil
1 large onion
3 lbs. ground beef (no more than 85% lean)
1/4 C rice, uncooked
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
red chili flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

1/3 C pignoles
1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated
fistful of chopped parsley

6 C tomato sauce of your choice, preferably homemade

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

cut around the stem of the peppers so there is a hole in the tops & empty the seeds.  place in a baking dish into which they fit snugly.

add the olive oil and onions to a large skillet & saute until soft.  add beef & brown.  add rice and stir well.  add herbs, chilis, salt & pepper.  there should be some liquid from the meat in the pan – if not, add a bit of water, about 1/4 cup, and cover for 15 minutes.  add pignoles, parmesan & parsley.

spoon mixture into peppers & pour sauce into baking dish around peppers.  bake until peppers are soft, about 1 hour.

sweet pie of mine.

December 7, 2014

it has been a free-fall since halloween.

when faced with leftover deliciousness & especially in the form of salted caramel pie, instead of parsing it out over the course of several days, i reason – i am going to eat the rest of the pie anyway so i may as well eat it all today -.  this pie is deceptively simple and over-the-over-the-top good. the original recipe calls for a graham cracker crust but i tend towards more-is-mo’-better & prefer a shortbread crust – use whichever you prefer.

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salted caramel pie (serves 8.  depending on the day)
adapted from food & wine magazine

shortbread crust:
1 1/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cold & cut into pieces
1 egg yolk

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

butter the bottom of a pie dish & dust with flour, tapping out the excess.  set aside.

whisk flour, sugar & salt in bowl of a stand mixer.  add butter; process until mixture resembles course crumbs.  add egg yolk.  process just until dough comes together in a ball.  if dough is too soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes & up to 2 hours.  pat dough evenly over bottom & up sides of the prepared dish or roll it out between sheets of wax paper & flip it into the dish.  thoroughly prick the bottom with a fork & bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

filling:
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
fleur de sel
2 C heavy cream
2 T confectioners’ sugar

pour every last bit of the condensed milk into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish & sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of fleur de sel. cover the dish with foil & place it in a roasting pan.  add enough hot water to the pan to reach one-third of the way up the side of the dish.  bake & stir 2 or 3 times, until the condensed milk becomes golden & thick, about 2 hours; add more water to the roasting pan as necessary.  you are making dulce de leche!  don’t worry if it looks lumpy – as it cools down it will become smooth.

scrape the caramel filling into the pie crust, smoothing the top.  refrigerate until the filling is chilled – about 4 hours.

using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until firm.  pile the whipped cream on top of the pie & sprinkle with fleur de sel. cut into wedges and serve.

sundance.

August 4, 2014

dear sun,

i miss you on these foggy mornings.
please hurry back.

xome

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SONY DSCjacket, nanapatproject on etsy / skirt, gift from a friend / boots, nine west

pucker up.

May 30, 2014

we are spoiled here by the abundance of fruit trees that grow seemingly in everyone’s backyard – cherries, avocados, apples, pears, figs, meyer lemons, conventional lemons & so it goes. the other day we were at a bbq & the lemon tree in the backyard was…  something special.  the lemons were huge.  and by huge i mean conversation-stopping & then oh-my-god-did-you-see-the-size-of-those-lemons-huge (see scientific comparison documentation photo below).  the kids played football with one.  our endlessly creative waldorf teacher friend made a puppet with another. and i made a triple recipe of lemon curd with mine.  this is a tangy curd – you may want to increase the sugar – but i love its lemony-ness.  over the weekend we had it on pancakes that the boy made (recipe coming soon!).  it would also be great on toast with butter or as a filling for a fruit tart with fruits from, if you’re lucky, your & your neighbor’s backyard.

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lemon curd (makes about 3 cups)

5 large eggs
2/3 C sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
1 C fresh lemon juice (6 – 8 lemons)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces

whisk the eggs, sugar and zest together in a medium stainless-steel saucepan.  add the lemon juice & butter.  continue to whisk while cooking over a medium flame until the butter has melted & the mixture is thick.  reduce heat to low & simmer for a few minutes.*  serve warm or cover surface of curd with wax paper and cool completely.

*i like the texture of the zest; however, if you prefer a smooth consistency, force curd through a fine sieve set into another bowl.

the egg is for scale.  and for the lemon curd.

the egg is for scale. and for the lemon curd.

 

getting handsy.

May 18, 2014

apropos of my recent cooking-with-corn-in-april post, seen here, today i bought a big bag of fat, in-season cherries.  so good straight from the bag, sweet cherries disappear with a quickness in my boy’s small brown hands.  but i recently came across a couple of recipes that maintain the texture & juicy cherry-ness of these stone fruits while switching things up a bit.  plus, in my world, pie is always in season.

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cherry hand pies (makes 6)
adapted from food & wine magazine
1 1/2 C cherries, pitted & chopped
1/4 sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 T cornstarch
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed cut into 6 rectangles
1 egg, lightly beaten
sanding sugar, if desired

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

in a bowl, combine first five ingredients.  mound by spoonfuls onto one end of each rectangle.  fold over & seal the edges decoratively with the tines of a fork & brush the tops with the beaten egg. sprinkle the tops with sanding sugar & place each hand pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  bake for 30 minutes or until puffed & golden brown.

 

shout out.

May 7, 2014

big thanks to stri over at WEAR YOUR VOICE, for featuring me in their ootd (outfit of the day – click through for the full story!) section & giving a shout out to whaticookedwhatiwore.

WEAR YOUR VOICE, exploring oakland’s neo-urban revival, is a super cool on-line magazine.  WEAR YOUR VOICE  brings forth oakland’s unique history of activism, art, music & fashion through photographs, photo essays & video &  how they manifest on our streets of oakland today through interviews with diverse citizens & artists.  they also highlight local shops & artisans.

…all about creativity reigning supreme & celebrating oakland – what’s not to love?  here is to WEAR(ING) YOUR VOICE!

Karena_Montag_OOTD_Oakland_street_style_fashion_close_looking_down

 

 

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