Wednesday, January 28, 2009


i attempted my first souffle today. i'm not optimistic, but its in the oven baking right now and in 30 minutes we will know for sure. i believe my problem area is going to be that i didn't beat the egg whites enough therefore it won't rise properly. i guess its good that i'm able to identify my mom used to make cheese souffle on cold winter days (like today) so i called her for the recipe. it was translated over the phone with quite a few substitutions and corrections for the recipes. i'll try and make it readable (and usable later).

i'm a little embarrassed to show this. i was right it didn't rise....although it did taste just like i remembered just more dense.

cheese souffle

melt 2 tbsp of better over low heat until melted, then add 2 tbsp of flour, a little pepper for tasting, 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard and 2/3 cup of milk. remove it from the heat to add the milk. then put it back on the heat to bring to a boil. after it reaches a boil add 2/3 cups of cheese and 2 egg yolks (save the white you'll need them in a minute). fold those into the boiling mixture. now my mom takes it off the heat and lets it sit while mixing 2 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar in a separate bowl. they need to be very stiff so she recommends a mixer (hand or stand) and not a whisk (this was my fatal error b/c i was thinking of cleaning up later and wasn't able to beat them enough).

after those mixtures are completed fold the white mixture into the cheese mixture into the ungreased (she stressed this several times) bowl/dish that you are using.

although she said she never does this it is recommends sticking the souffle dish inside a larger dish with water in it the bottom of the pan.

bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown on top.

good luck. when this does turn out right it is VERY good.

hmm...would you eat this?

back in the fall beth and i spent some time canning. i discovered the peaches i had stashed in my pantry now look like this:thus my question. the lids are still sealed, so i'm not sure what's up with the discoloration. the lemon juice was supposed to prevent browning. and it's the ones near the top, so maybe the liquid settling did it?

hope everyone is staying safe and warm!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

bella luna

i was feeling extra enchanting saturday night with my new eyeshadow, so i was eager to make an appearance at dinner with my mom and family friends at bella luna. the restaurant won me over immediately with its quirky, fun decor, like the old radio used as a hostess stand and the mismatched plates.

the place was absolutely packed, and they were running behind on reservations. we arrived at 8:15 for our 8:30 reservations and were seated at 8:55. but the staff was pleasant through the whole waiting experience, and it wasn't a big deal.

mainly i am just going to put up my pictures. suffice to say this was a delightfully beguiling two and a half hour eating experience. towards the end of the meal i just wanted to curl up on the cushioned booth and dream, bewitched.
the bellini tini.prosciutto wrapped asparagus.antipasto.spinach with apricots, pinenuts, and figs.

saltimbocca with risotto.tiramisu, of course.
Bella Luna on Urbanspoon

thai namtip. otherwise entitled "super coconut overload stomach ache".

it's really my own fault. i have always had that 'eyes bigger than my stomach' problem. plus, everything on thai namtip's menu sounded awesome, so making an actual decision was difficult.

dilemma one: nice, healthy steamed edamame or crispy, fattening golden bags? golden bags. (which is kind of an oddly unpoetic name for meat filled fried wrappers. it's the word bags. i hate it. conjures up images of late nights and early mornings.)

dilemma two: nice, healthy vegetarian, tofu type dish or choo chee duck? duck. i'm a sucker for duck. especially duck with coconut, pineapple, etc.

dilemma three: should i order that amazing-sounding chicken coconut soup? why the hell not.

dilemma four: dessert? duh.

everything was very, very good, except i do have to say i prefer the golden bags at green papaya. the chicken coconut soup was as amazing as it sounds - mushrooms floating happily, bathed in rich liquid coconut infused with kaffir lime and lemongrass. i think there were some little chicken chunks, too (hence the name). my choo chee duck was level 5 out of 10 and not too spicy. dessert, the fried banana with ice cream, was sprinkled lavishly with coconut and delicious, although too much for one person (or maybe just one person after eating all the aforementioned food).

thai namtip - strip mall dining at it's finest. next time i'll try the recently added sushi, and limit my coconut intake.
Thai Namtip on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

stupid gps

monday night i met some friends up in norwood for dinner. yes, even i can manage to find my way to and from norwood. no thanks to my not-so-trusty gps. more on that later.

i got to betta's italian oven just fine. it's a jolly place with wood-fired pizzas and basic italian kitchen dishes. they are no longer byob, so it was good i forgot the bottle of wine i had set out otherwise it might have been awkward.

we shared a carafe (or two) of a house red. i think it was called will's red. it was an acceptable table wine, although it tasted downright terrible after eating my salad with sweet 'n' sour garlic dressing. the dressing was so acidic it burned my chapped lips and didn't really tickle my taste buds too much.i opted for the four seasons pizza, a pie divided in sections (um, 4) with different toppings on each - kalamata olives (whole! pitted!), basil, tomatoes, and prosciutto. it wasn't exactly what i expected because due to my poor reading comprehension skills, i thought all 4 toppings were on the whole pizza. but whatever. the crispy crust was great. the sauce and cheese were just ok.

mark got the diavolo sauce and i really liked its spiciness in contrast to my rather bland red sauce.

the calzones looked pretty yummy, big and gooey. although, there was a lack of presentation detracted from its favorite part of the meal was my dessert (dessert is the whole point of the meal, after all). all the desserts were good and generous portions, but mine was exceptional. the amaretto cake was moist and almond-y without the limp handshake feel some alcohol soaked desserts have. the wine was also not so good after eating the cake.
word is, betta's will soon be expanding with a full bar and coffee counter with pastries for those early norwood mornings. not something i am likely to enjoy, as my stupid gps cannot get my ass home. it kept trying to put me on the highway by the frisch's, where there IS NO LONGER AN ENTRANCE. i circumnavigated dark norwood streets with the white witch who lives in my gps intoning "calculating route" with each corner i circled. finally, i decided to just take montgomery until i reached something i recognized and came home through clifton. technology frequently does not improve my quality of life. (ok, i know the gps has to be updated, but it's so frustrating!)

Betta's Italian Oven on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 19, 2009

i may become a breakfast convert

breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day. i eat at least something, cereal or yogurt or fruit, but as far as big bob evans events, i've never really been a fan. i love brunch, but that's because i can get away with ordering lunch food and no one thinks that it's strange.
enter vitor's bistro at its new location (at the former rondo's). a hip, tuscany-colored interior with cool ceilings and floors. nifty orchids on the tables. "let's get physical" playing quite inexplicably in the background (really, who wants to picture olivia newton john in leg warmers while ordering breakfast?).

i haven't been to vitor's for breakfast previously, and when some friends suggested it, brian and i were definitely game. i'd heard so much about their french toast, i couldn't wait to try it. saturday night i was dreaming that they were out of the french toast and i couldn't order it (there's a strange peek into my psyche for you).
the french toast did not disappoint. light, not soggy, coated in crunchy frosted flakes and swimming in creme brulee topping with whipped cream and bananas, it's simply intoxicating. and it's not too sweet, which can be a trap with some breakfast foods. the fruit accompanying it was also good, considering the season. all in all, an A+ meal.

there was a parade of various servers and busboys who stopped by our table, including vitor himself. however, no one ever returned to take our checks, which was confusing because they hadn't told us we needed to pay up front.

i can't comment on any of their other breakfast items as all four of us had the french toast.

Vitor's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


on this cold and snowy night, what stands as a beacon, welcoming weather-beaten travelers? a giant chicken, of course. specifically the giant chicken atop ron's roost.

now, i do not have a picture of said giant chicken because i actually did not go. i refused to remove my fleece blanket, big fuzzy socks, or ass from my couch. this hinders travel. my mom did go, though, and she brought me take out.

i have been to ron's roost a number of times and i can tell you with some certainty they have everything possible on their menu, which is roughly the same thickness as the bible. they have been awarded best fried chicken in the city and have been in operation since 1960.

my takeout was the chicken fingers and fries with a side of barbecue sauce. the fries were simply not good; i suspect the roost has been using the same fryer grease since 1960. the chicken was high quality, nice and white, with a good flavor to the breading. i dipped one in the barbecue sauce and immediately regretted the decision when it touched my tongue. if you do not believe barbecue sauce can taste like a hickory-smoked mix of sweat and gasoline, go to the roost.

i hope everyone is staying warm.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the wonders of squash

beth and i each experimented with a different squash.
1) acorn squash

i simply followed the directions stickered on the squash. cut in half, scoop out middle. bake skin side up in 1" of water at 350 for about 40 minutes. fill with brown sugar and butter, salt and pepper to taste. continue to bake for 10 minutes.
after cooking. i kind of spread the brown sugar and butter out before serving.
it tasted like nuts and was kind of gritty/stringy. i was not impressed. but i'm sure it was the preparation. probably in a dish it would add a nice flavor. i am still unclear if the skin can be eaten or not. it seems like it might be a little tough, more like a rind, but i think i've seen pictures of it in dishes with the skin.
2. spaghetti squash
i found directions on the internet; i had the choice of either a. pricking it with a fork and placing it in the oven to bake (this way takes longer) or b. slice it in half and bake. i was not able to do this so i baked it for a little over an hour.
after the baking

sliced in half -- much easier this time. very sweet smelling at this point.

and scoop out the flesh -- which really does look like spaghetti. it has a pretty bland taste. i think i have a mental hurdle with squash. i remember as a kid "having" to eat it and not really liking it at all. although it was never this kind of squash. i think i have a general bias still. i realize that i should have moved beyond that at this point in my life....


i retract all my previous positive comments about the country fresh market in the plaza between glenway and werk (by the old drug emporium). my mom and i went there today after a long absence. the absence was because the new owners fired a family friend after 15 yrs of employment, and it was a mini-boycott. we discovered today these new owners have also completely destroyed all the quirky things i loved about the store. instead of unique pastas and sauces, imported cookies, and a million kinds of hot sauce, the shelves now house ragu and poptarts. BOO! i'm sure they did it as a financial decision, but wow, what a disappointment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

food & wine february

as part of my new year's resolutions, i plan on reading my food & wine every month, extracting the recipes/articles i want to save, and donating the rest to jessie, who is a high school teacher and collects magazines for student projects. i also have about 2 years of back issues to go through more seriously than a lazy flip while watching tv.

interesting tidbits this month:
"poor food" - in these economically strained times, we should celebrate using modest resources with "intelligence and creativity" - think mock oyster. a great thought, complemented by an article describing a dinner party featuring french chef michel bras (inventor of the chocolate molten cake), whose star creation for the evening elevated the humble onion. nevermind the dinner was served using linen napkins silkscreened with the menu and guest list (really, could we be more extravagant?).

recipes i can't wait to try:
six layer coconut cake with passion fruit filling (sounds ethereal)
yogurt-marinated lamb kebabs with lemon butter (too much meat on a stick is not possible)
goat cheese cheesecake with honeyed cranberries (i already bought the goat cheese, much to brian's chagrin)

Monday, January 5, 2009

what better way

to spend an evening than watching the UC game and making homemade bread.......uc wasn't offering us much entertainment. we had to occupy ourselves somehow.

here we mix the yeast (2 packets) with warm water (2 1/2 cups at 105-115 degrees)

add 1 tablespoon of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of salt to yeast mixtures. mix it. we used a mixer so it quite easy. place it in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled for approximately 1 hour. there's crosley in the photo, eternally crumb rummaging.

punch dough (krissy's favorite part) down after it has risen and divide it into 2 parts. hell yeah! i can take out my aggression! it's so satisfying.

roll it out with rolling pin. then take the corner of the rolled out dough and roll up into a log. place the 2 loaves on a greased baking sheet that is sprinked with cornmeal. cover and let rise until doubled for approximately another hour.

once its rises again make 4 diagonal cuts on each loaf of bread. bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with egg and water beaten together. bake for another 5 minutes after brushing with egg/water mixture.

baking bread isn't half bad if you have an activity while the dough rises. we do not recommend watching uc lose miserably.

the decision

we decided. we went to mecklenburg gardens for new years eve. here is the featured drink, champagne and chambord and maybe something else. i drank, like, 5 of these. the dd's na warsteiner is in the background.

below is the sausage plate (the terminator and bratwurst) that terminator was a kick in the pants. wow was it spicy.
the chicken schnitzel with hunter sauce, sides of cabbage and apples and spaetzle. i had actually ordered the weiner and beth the chicken, but they gave us the wrong ones and we didn't realize it until we were almost finished eating. so i guess really there's not that much of a difference between the two. (ps. doesn't my bracelet look fabulous?)

the goettawurst with a side of kraut
and the weiner schnitzel, cabbage and apple slaw, and spaetzle. nothing on this plate is good for you, but it sure is delicious.

cream puff!

wait! who in the hell ordered jager bombs? oh yeah. that was me.
happy new year!

how to marry a millionaire...and still enjoy a great hamburger

"a gentleman you meet among the cold cuts is simply not as attractive as one at the meat department at bergdorf's."
such are the rules set by lauren bacall's character schatze page in how to marry a millionaire (1953). bacall, marilyn monroe, and betty grable play three models who set up a class act in a manhattan apartment to snag rich husbands. schatze discusses the proposition with pola (monroe) and loco (grable) over hotdogs and champagne.

all three girls are having a rough time of it, selling off furniture from the (rented) apartment to finance evenings at stork and twenty-one, until all that remains are card tables and folding chairs. their fridge contains a only a corsage and a package of hot dogs. to their rescue comes jd hanley, having been picked up by loco in the meat department at bergdorf's. he invites the three to a reception at the oil institute. from there, events percolate which lead pola and loco to meet eligible, creamy young men who are unfortunately poor. schatze persists, though, and spurns the advances of tom brookman, a "gas pump jockey" by schatze's estimations and completely unworthy. he doesn't even wear a necktie. however, as she's about to marry the millionaire jd, she realizes she really loves tom. the three ladies adjourn with their respective steadies to the local "greasy spoon", where tom pulls out a wad of $1000 bills and reveals (surprise!) he is actually worth $200 million. happily ever after ensues.
the film's defining food moment is when schatze is with tom at hamburger heaven. she is lathering her hamburger with everything from ketchup to coleslaw and has already ordered seconds. tom shrewdly appraises her, "you're strictly a hamburger with onions dame and won't admit're not the kind of girl you pretend to be at all".

can someone be rich AND love coleslaw? all indications point to yes, after all.