Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy (as a Freakin' Clam)

I still cannot believe I had not cooked seafood for myself until a week ago. I love it so, yet I always viewed it as an "out to eat" commodity. But now there are so many exciting possibilities!

So to begin, I simmered:

~1 c. pinot grigio
chopped parsley
sprinkle o' dill
1 garlic clove, chopped

The dill is surprisingly necessary and apparent in the final product. The only time I've consciously had it was when Dear Moth baked salmon fillets topped with sour cream & dill; a very comforting childhood memory).

When it was a'bubbling, I added (2 cups?) of chopped mushrooms; crimini and shiitake and oyster. Such a scrumptious bunch, they are.

I let them simmer until the sourdough bread that Bean had plans with (he made french toast and fried eggs -- a combination I will never understand) was done. Then I added the clams; precisely one dozen. How many does one person eat? I am at a loss; when I was a child we would race for the last one without having any inkling of what "one serving" was. So I played it by ear.

A study in clams:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Polish Treatsies!

Our beloved Professor went gallavanting across Europe for two weeks, leaving us alone at work to engineer whatever we felt like. He brought back these strangely packaged triangular chocolate wafers; similar to those cheap & disgusting sugar wafers you can buy, but many times better. They had an intriguing taste and were strangely satisfying; enough so for me to stash a couple in my desk for emergency purposes!

Phyllo Mushroom Tartlets

Tonight I had the urge to go to my favorite Irish pub and not debate about dinner. Due to my prodding boyfriend and my terrible guilt-inducing personality, though, I determined to make mushroom tartlets instead. I have been dealing with a mushroom obsession of late; so this appealed to me more than slightly.


When I perused the refrigerator, I realized that a package of puff pastry dough has been sitting there, unused and neglected, for nearly weeks. I have never been one to love the texture of phyllo, but I decided to substitute that for my basic flour-plus-water-&-spices dough concoction.

It looked far more like paper than I could have imagined. When I opened it I thought perhaps the world was playing a practical joke on me --


This began with some saute-ing of olive oil, onions, and basil. Then I added a lil' red wine and a ton of chopped mushrooms. That brewed for a while while I spread almost a stick of butter on a sheet o' the flabbergasting phyllo dough.

And after digging in --

As a side note, here is what Bean made alongside me for the night; stuffed peppers. He spent a long while brewing up some delectable risotto with Italian cheese, and spinach. Then stuffed it into peppers and baked it simultaneously with mine. It looked good except that I absolutely cannot stand any smell or taste of peppers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mushroom Stew & Dumplings

Today was a day of wintery doldrums. I yearned to make something that would remind me of the stew my dearest Moth would make for re-heating after a day of pulling brush out in the frigid winter air. She always makes it with our home-grown beef; having none of that, I settled into the usual mostly-vegetables routine.

While Bean and I mulled around the kitchen, I steamed a small bundle o' asparagus. When it was done, it was pureed into the most pleasing of green shades! Next to the vast supply of mushrooms it held its own quite well (see picture).

The next step was to saute:

olive oil

and when this was browned (or at some random time) I added a bit of red wine and a massive pile of chopped mushrooms. They came from a 'wild medley' (crimini, oyster, shiitake, etc.), and it excited me very much. I added the asparagus puree, and let this simmer as I mixed up a simple dumpling dough:

3/8 c. flour
oregano, thyme, and garlic
~1/4 c. water

These I dropped (plop!) into the water, and then this all simmered and spat and whined while I cleaned up the kitchen for Ma'am. And then?

A delicious combination of spices! I'm not sure exactly what made this scrumptious to me, but I wish to know for the future. For now it shall remain a mystery.

Sushi from Dani!

Being her usual generous self, Dani had promised to bring in sushi today after her birthday Monday off. Would she deliver? I fervently hoped so, as I had managed to leave both wallet and phone at home.

And she did -- pollock maki rolls with a tiny container of soy sauce to boot. Thank you!!

Although I would take a slab o' raw fish any day...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes

Simon had determined to go to a Magic the Gathering tournament (you heard me) tonight, and consequently I had planned to take my sketchbook and find someplace that served delectable sushi in which to spend the dinner hours.


As was foreseen, Simes wimped out, so we made separate suppers again at home. I was in fact quite excited about this one. We went to the grocery first, where I acquired tomatoes, and a bottle of vermouth in a simply beautiful bottle.


1. Saute spinach and parsley in olive oil.
2. Scoop into a hollowed-out tomato (unripe!) or two.
3. Crack an egg on top.
4. Top with feta cheese!

Bake in the oven (400 degrees) for about 1/2 hour. Mine was still a bit shaky when it came out, but I did not want to upset the balance of disgustingly-burnt yolk to runny whites.

Here's a view of the half-eaten blob. It was better than I expected it to be; a very simple and satisfying combination of tastes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whitefish (?)

Some day this week I came to the realization that as much as I love seafood, I have never prepared it for myself. Tonight, then, I set out to do just that.

It's funny how disproportionate individual joys can be -- after a long day at work, we went separate ways, and met at home after:

1. Bean looked at motorcycles (scooters? not such a macho term, we need...), and I came home to a house full of no people.

And so, the first item: an olive martini.

2. I stopped at Saigon Market in Nashua, which sells Asian and Mexican food. It's a strange combination, but it's filled with nice people. I got one whitefish about 10" long, and thin like an eel; I had no idea what to do with it.

Bean arrived home earlier than expected, so to the grocery we went! Asparagus and tomatoes lent some assuredness to an otherwise uncertain dish.

The fish, though. What to do? I sliced it halfway up its belly, perhaps cutting the spine right in two. And here I got rid of all the unappealing and organ-like bits. I don't get disgusted by much -- whatever looked edible remained on te plate. And then that thing steamed until it had achieved a satisfying opacity!

It didn't have much flavor, though. Next time I'll add something.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mother's Birthday

Valentine's Day means Moth's birthday. If it were required of me to express truly how much love and adoration we feel for this glorious woman, I would say it were an impossible task; I know the rest of my family would be quick to agree.

And so it was that Fath, Bee and Beak got together the night before our celebration to concoct this ice cream cakepie. I imagine their time in the kitchen was a joyous one, stumbling about in a fit of inebriated giggles. It was as simple as:

prepared oreo crust
orange sherbet ice cream
mocha chip ice cream

and stuck in the freezer for the night, as the household snuggled deep in their blanketed beds.

Dollops of whipped cream were added just before serving -- the only contribution I made . From the tales, I was surprised at how well it turned out. But ice cream is hard to mess up I suppose. It was tasty; it was easy-peasy.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Ever since we went to Giorgio's Martini Bar last, Bean has been infatuated with the memory of their arancini appetizer. I had never tried anything like this; they are cheesy rice balls coated in bread crumbs and fried, a dish originating in Sicily (and thus being very appropriate for a Greek restaurant such as Bean is wont to adore).

Tonight, we decided to try making them ourselves.

First, saute:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

When it's browned, add:

1 cup rice
1 1/2 cups water

We used sushi rice in the hopes that it would all stick together in the end. Better safe than sorry, for there is, you see, a hard-to-overcome fear of deep-frying that runs throughout the household. I am inclined to agree. But! We decided to try it this once.

After some scrounging, we added fresh parsley and saffron; a festive affair! And the smells were delicious.

When all of the water is absorbed, mix in:

1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 beaten egg

Form into balls, and into each stuff a bit of delicious Italian cheese that you had previously bought and subsequently forgot about. Then roll each ball in (respectively):

A pile of flour
A pile of egg and milk
A pile of bread crumbs

Here they are about to jump in a pot of boiling oil:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lunch for Dinner

It's dinner time. What to do?

Sandwiches are a food that it never occurs to me to make, but when I do, I remember how interesting and delicious they can be!

oatmeal bread
spicy capicola meat
grated mozzarella
spicy brown mustard
oyster mushrooms
sliced cucumber

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bella Vitano Merlot Cheese

New cheese at the market; something from Italy. Soaked in merlot? We could not help but buy a wedge. This with crackers curbed the pre-dinner rumbles. And now, with martini in hand --

A mushroom craving, which has not left me for weeks now, led me to this dinner:


Add to, sizzling in a pan:
olive oil
red wine vinegar

And then pile atop the cap; top with the glorious, ever-so-strong cheese. And bake!

And here is Bean examining his Rochefort #10 beer, which he had to buy in Massachusetts (of all places) because it's not carried by the beloved New Hampshire liquor department. It's apparently a deceiving 11% alcohol; we will see if this is noticeable after an hour or so of video games...