Thursday, December 30, 2010


Arancini balls with Fontina cheese (Trader Joe's), swisschard with Parmesan cheese, and a glass of blueberry wine from my dearest Nana makes for a tasty bit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mediterranean Pizza

I had a lovely, lovely, Christmas. This is the tail end of a weekend of singing, family, scrumptious treats galore, too much egg-nog-and-rum, and a hovering spirit of goodwill.


(On the pizza: swisschard, kalamata olives, feta cheese, kimchi)

Also I accidentally stole all of Ma'ams precious stinky-fish salad (and a fried fish ball) for tomorrow's lunch, and learned too late she meant to gift it away. Truly I felt bad, but my mouth tomorrow will likely get over it...


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Martinis and Eggs

I love a good olive-laden gin martini, and order them nearly every time we eat out. Tonight, though, I bought some extra-dry vermouth, which means I can make my own. A dangerous thought, to be sure! But tonight I made a mini one; perhaps 1/3 the volume of a bar serving. It was oh-so cute.

And after unsuccessfully attempting to coerce Bean's elderly Father to take us to dinner, we whipped up a delightfully refreshing meal of rice, broccoli and asparagus, topped with an over-easy egg expertly cooked by Bean. I added mushrooms and kimchi. Mmmm.

Why was this so delicious?!

Simon was perhaps too excited about the building possibilities:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bean Makes Pasta (I Remain Aloof)


People claim they're not worth the effort to eat! But Ma'aam brought one home, and it didn't seem like too much trouble (truly).

So tart!

Michael's Market

A place I frequent on workdays when I have forgotten to pack lunch. They have adorable soup packaging, some tasty sandwiches, and beautiful chocolate cake...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cooking for Bean, for real

With the anticipation that last night's dinner-independence brought on, I decided to try my luck with a complete take-over of pizza preparations. The dough, which I have little experience with, was:

1/2 package rapid-rise yeastdissolved in
3/4 c. water

Bean started this when he got home from work (before me), which is the only addition he made to the meal.

When this had activated, I added:

3/4 c. bread flour
3/4 c. white flour
sprinkle cornmeal
sprinkle salt
sprinkle sugar
~ 2 tsp garlic spice mix
2 spanish olives, chopped
a bunch of olive oil

My measurements are lackadaisical, as always (I do apologize). We watched Fawlty Towers and then I added to the top more olives, a tiny mushroom, some basil leaves, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and lastly some freshly-grated Parmesan.

It was so beautiful before it went in; perfectly square and dotted with color.

But my inadequacies with the pizza peel caused the whole thing to tip onto the stone, causing a meltage breakdown in the oven. That's how the finished product ended up more like this:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cooking for Bean

Ma'am has been gone for a week, and the refrigerator has been slowly emptying itself out as Nick, Bean, Morgue and I avail itself of its contents. Today, Bean had to pick up Ma'am at the airport. His request that I make dinner for us both, to consume when they returned, pleased me to no end; for once I'd be able to cook for him, instead of the other way around. Whenever we make pizza, it's him that mixes up the dough, and most other meals are an experiment by myself. So!

I threw olive oil in a pan, and added:

fresh basil
chopped garlic

and let it heat up while I cut up the last worthy meal item left since Ma'am departed: a single breast of chicken.

And it was at this point that they got home from the airport. TOO EARLY! As disappointed as I was in not blowing away the recipients, it was nice to have Ma'am (and Bean) back, so we could spend the rest of the meal preparation in chatty co-existence.

Broccoli was added for Bean; cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (my undying love) for me.

At least he seemed to enjoy it ever-so-slightly...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Throughout the day, the urge to bake (especially for others) had cropped up to an unhealthy degree. At around 6 PM I began...and halfway through, lost steam entirely. I normally relish pootling about by my lonesome in the kitchen, but today was the end of an exhausting weekend, and it felt like midnight before it had even arrived at dinner time (needless to say, dinner was cookies).

In a bowl, mix:

close to 4 cups flour
~ 2 tsp baking soda
~ 1 tsp salt

In separate bowl, cream:

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
3 eggs
some vanilla extract
some chocolate extract

Add the flour mix to this. Then add, chopped:

2 full Lindt 90% dark chocolate bars

At the request of many recipes, I let the eggs come to room temperature beforehand, but the difference this might have made was impossible to determine, as so many other liberties were taken with measurements.

Halfway through I had to whisk to the store, under Paige's direction. Mulled wine caused mulled confusion in the making of the batter, and we were out of butter. In the end, they turned out okay -- nothing special as cookies go.

The goal, though, was to make ice cream sandwiches. Earlier today Bean and I had bought a quart of maple walnut from our beloved Jake's in Nashua. The hot cookie + cold ice cream caused some meltage, but stowing them back in the freezer remedied this problem in no time at all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cherry Tomatoes

I only posted this because tomatoes, being my favorite fruit, give way to cherries; a tiny, bite-sized portion of the wondrous fruit that begs to be included in work lunches and other dishes. We've been eating out too much, so tonight we cooked for six people instead of two.

We began, unknowingly, with:

olive oil
chopped scallions
chopped onions
fresh basil :D
salt & pepper?

Bean assembled these while I cleaned the kitchen.

And then we separated into two pans, since Bean abhors mushroom and I cannot stand peppers. I added:


and somehow, the most beautiful vegetable of all; cherry tomatoes. I was surprised to find they were still sweet at this time of year...

Cook or a minimal amount of time (I often neglect the poor dish) and consume!

Beet Noodles

We had to go to pottery a mere few minutes after I returned 'home' from work, so I made a package of udon noodles from the Asian market.

I added beet chunks to the boiling water (resulting in this unappealing pink-ination), but did not have time to finish before we had to whisk out the door.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Summer (?) Squash

For today, full of Thanksgiving wonders, I'd planned a way to use up my butternut squash. Unless, of course, Simon suggested our favorite open-year-round ice cream shop....but he did not. So! The crust ingredients were something like:

1/3 butternut squash (steamed)
1/2 c. flour'
sprinkle salt
sprinkle sugar
sprinkle curry powder
sprinkle yeast

As you can tell, none of this was very precise. I had seen a recipe for squash + flour + egg, and decided to adapt it. This had squash and water and flour and spices and a little oil, and nothing else. I let it sit for the yeast's sake, but none too patiently.

And bustling about me, in my lack-of-planning time-frame, was Simon with his soup:

and Morgan with his cereal:

and when I was done, I realized I'd neglected my glorious concoction in the oven! It was quite good:


A rambling farmhouse, meticulously kept up by two old, dear people. Their traditional mindset made (in the past) them disallow their children from sharing a room with their beaus, even when the pair was engaged and living together. Imagine the surprise then, when it was announced Simon and I were allowed to share the separated apartment all to ourselves?? This news was the perfect ending to a warm and welcoming day....because no matter how open and greeting a boyfriend's family is, there is nothing so wonderful as being able to snuggle in for the night with the Bean, though we had spent the whole day engulfed in our own selves.

What I regretted most about skipping my family Thanksgiving was helping Moth in the kitchen, in the morning while the relatives arrived. When I awoke, therefore (apparently last, as no one let me forget), I wanted to cook things. They put me on squash duty, and me and the other women (and Pap, the dear old Man) set to cutting up vegetables and sipping eggnog & cognac. I was content! The boys played video games and ran about annoying us until 1:30 PM, when dinner was on the table.

Their Thanksgiving dinner was a refreshing change from my dearest family's. No strange casseroles involving ingredients which should never be mixed; theirs consisted of turkey, potatoes, approximately five wonderfully boiled vegetables...and none of the tastes were obscured by others. All were left alone, or left to shine in the presence of a few choice spices, and the entire thing was so glorious I could have kept indulging for days and days.

And then, when our day of gluttony was done, I came to the realization that this family celebrated three days of gluttony. And I embarced it with open arms!

Here are some cupcakes that eight-year-old Sam made as servant of the fort of which I was Queen. I spent the day making up orders for her to follow. I HAD NO CHOICE!

This vacation was everything I could have hoped to have; three days of reading, doing crosswords, drawing, eating, running around outside, and being surrounded by wondrous people.

And when we got home, Bean and I made pizza-from-scratch and mulled cider! A beautiful ending to a beautiful week...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bee's Surprise

My dear, dear sister Bee. She turned 21 this weekend, and due to the planning of her lovely roommate Kandy, all four sisters (and many friends) were gathered together for one night of joyous dancing, drinking and revelry. The theme was green; my cake-making hands were eager. The results, though at first hopelessly ugly, turned into at least a somewhat enticing mess.

Bee is the type of girl you always want to surprise, and this is the second such party we've thrown for her over the years. In one bowl, I mixed:

1 c. sugar
Almost 1 c. flour
3/8 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. boiling water

And baked it for about 1/2 hour.

Bean contributed a frosting heart to the quickly accumulating counter mess.

In an attempt to rectify all of my past cake-making experiences, I greasedand floured the pan....but half of the thing remained in there when I tried for the release. The precarious confection, held together by frosting (confectioner's sugar + milk + an extremely strong dose of food coloring), looked as if someone that crawled out of a nuclear swamp. Luckily the ever-ready supply of house chocolate allowed for a topping of powdered sugar, dark chocolate bits, and a Stracciatella truffle.

And its slightly strange taste was made up for by a weekend of sisterly reunion, and faces forever emanating joy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Pretty Good Soup!

Whilst whiling away the hours at work, a plan formed in my mind to cut up our uncarved Halloween pumpkins and make some sort of soup. However, this plan went awry when I realized big pumpkins aren't pleased when cooked. But since I was all excited about this idea, I got some butternut squash and made do. I diced it up and let it boil for a while before adding the rest of the ingreeds.

One interesting aspect of cooking with sharing in mind is the assembly beforehand. If I didn't plan to take pictures of all the beauteous vegetables, I would simply chop them up as they occurred to me, and not worry about the recipe as a whole. As it is, here's what went in, plus:

Thai curry sauce (Trader Joe's; found in pantry)
Thai spice blend
Chicken bouillon

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The company Halloween Potluck, complete with a costume contest, is happening tomorrow. I signed up for appetizers and am extremely pleased with how these turned out. They are, obviously enough, tiny pizzas! With olives! And real tomato slices!

What's not to love?!

There is nothing spooky about them, but having to survive the barrage of chili-dogs should be scary enough....

A Study in Burnt Asparagus

A plan to make stuffed baked potatoes had taken root, and led to this mysterious gathering of vegetables, spices, and cheese. It had baked potato, lobster bouillon, an adorable whole tomato, and mozzarella. The asparagus were left to fend for themselves in the blustering winds of the oven desert.

This dinner was something to love; too-much-time spent meandering about the kitchen with small-talk, kisses, and a new discovery: the glory of a whole roasted tomato. I like the pictures.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Still Snuffly.

Another soup concoction to cure the bitter-taste of a slight cold.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Another day of the sniffles. Bean wanted a dinner unsuited to my fancy. While perusing the grocery aisles we saw lobster bouillon. Hello? Suddenly I was excited about dinner again! I bought also one lil' potato, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Start with three vegetables who seem to be brethren; but like brothers, they are very different upon close inspection. Potato, tomato, radish!

I had every intention of using the tomato in the concoction, but despite its being my absolute favorite vegetable, it retired sullenly to the recesses of the counter.

It is fair to say I didn't know quite what I had in mind. I stuck two cups of water and some lobster bouillon into a pot, and let it boil. I added the potatoes, to let them soften, and then moseyed about packing a lunch for tomorrow. Bean and I are starting a night-time pottery class!!

One period of unestimated time (and one White Russian) later, I added some chopped broccoli and a few mushrooms, and the radish...and subsequently forgot about these for a while.

When dinner was again remembered, I noted that the broth was very clear, as water tends to be. Consulting dear Mam's Fanny Farmer's cookbook, I combined a series of methods to thicken the concoction. First, I drained most of the broth out of the soup, and then replaced it back on the low-burning burner. To it, I added:

1/3 c. whole milk
~2 tbsp cornstarch
~1/4 c. flour

and after stirring for a while, and letting it slowly reheat, a wonderful thing occurred; the soup was now a chowder! Fully creamy, beautifully thick, and piping hot.

So I plopped it in a bowl and whisked it upstairs to begin consummation.

And sweet dreams, says Mushroom Man...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Anchovy Pizza

A pizza that was not mushroom for once! Bean was wary of having an anchovy even touch his part of the pizza, so he cut off a hunk of the dough and we did our own thang. Mine had a lil' can of anchovies, some broccoli, and a chopped radish, with mozzarella cheese and a bit o' sauce.

Man, this thing tasted like a salt lick! But still good. But still not as good as mushroom! But then again, what could hope to win that prize...