Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinner with friends and stuff


First off is "stuff". My garden is being stunted by so much rain. The tomatoes are growing but the rest of the stuff is suffering. Maybe growing a garden isn't meant to be this year.

The broccoli is flowering before it has even become edible broccoli. What is up with that?


Ok, so onto dinner. Our friends Kerry and Terry were coming over for dinner (Yes, their names rhyme get over it and lets move on). We started off by trying to make sourdough bread again. Came out better this time but a bit doughy and still not rising as much as it could.


I was disheartened to read in the Cheese Board's bread book that it took them 2 years to get it right. I went on to read about proofing chambers and humidity. So, next time we will try to proof the dough in a plastic bag that is big enough to cover the baking sheet and we will see what happens.

Terry did exclaim "THIS is the best bread I have had since I have moved to New England" (he moved from the bay area too) so I know we are on the right track.


Since dinner was going to be a bit on the heavy side I decided to make simple chard as a vegetable. Just cooked it up with some olive oil and garlic and finished with a bit of lemon juice. That was enough.

swiss chard

We also made Risotto Al Gorgonzola. I got this recipe out of an old Gourmet issue that is the collector's edition: 65 years 65 recipes 65 photos. It is the best issue of the magazine that I have ever seen. Thanks to my friend Val who gave it to me I am working my way through the entire issue. This dish was a killer.

Gorgonzola risotto

Then there was the lamb. The recipe we used is from the book "pure and simple cooking" by Diana Henry. It is a great cookbook. The lamb was made from a recipe called "roast leg of lamb with anchovy cream". It came out perfect. The blend of lamb, butter and anchovies along with cream and vermouth were excellent. Easy recipe as well.

anchovy and garlic lamb

I also made dessert which I am a loser at making. Simply put I don't like dessert. So, I suck at making them. I made another recipe out of the same issue of Gourmet (Val, this makes the 3rd recipe I have made out of this issue. Only 62 more to go). It was from 1979 and it was a Frozen Lemon Meringue Cake.

If I had cooking friends that lived here they might have been able to warn me that I shouldn't make meringue on a VERY humid day. But the dessert was a huge hit and even more so the next day when I took what was left over to my neighbors Cathy and Jeff for their BBQ. I promised Jeff I would make him another one. Ew, I hate dessert.


Then the next morning because I didn't feel like dealing with anything we went for Dim Sum. We have found a great place in Woburn called China Pearl Not the best I have ever had but pretty darn good.


Sorry the pictures are blurry. I was secretly taking pictures with my cell phone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Out of New England and food


First off I just wanted to share that I got the injera made. It wasn't perfect but it was pretty good. At least the little ones next door loved it and that was the purpose of making it. I still have to give it another try to perfect the recipe. Kim brought over Shiro (Shiro is a mixture of fried onions, berbere, and Shiro powder. Shiro powder is dried, ground chickpeas) and we made that to eat with the injera (Ethiopian bread).

Then there was Texas...
"Mr Food" and I went to Texas to go to MF's granny's 88th birthday party. I knew that the treadmill would be working overtime when I got back to Massachusetts, and this is why:


Can you say "Chicken gizzards, fried corn balls, fried okra, gravy and biscuits"? Ok, it is a dirty dirty secret that I love friend chicken gizzards. Get over it. I didn't eat the other crap in that box. Come on, give me this one break. How often do you get fried gizzards and livers in California or Massachusetts. It is the best part of Texas because no one knows me there (other than Mr. Food who loves them too) and I get to indulge in this one nasty thing.

Then there was the party. The food was gooooood!

Texas brisket

The perfect smoked brisket (or one of them) and all the sides


We had a great time hanging out with family and did I mention that I am now addicted to "Sweet Tea".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More lamb and the starter is ready to start!


So I was really bored. What else is new? I decided to make my own berbere to compare it to the berbere that Kim (our neighbor) brought back from Ethiopia (along with my favorite little kids in the whole world). I have 3 Ethiopian cookbooks and I got this recipe out of one of them. The cookbook is called "A Taste of Africa" by Dorinda Hafner. Looks like the cookbook was bought off the 1/2 price shelf and came to this marriage with Mr Food. My berbere came out a lot different than the berbere that came from Ethiopia. Not sure which one I like better. I will have to cook some dish with each of them to determine the "winner".


I also made some sourdough starter. I used the recipe from "The Cheeseboard" in Berkeley, California. I knew it wouldn't be the same as when we were in San Francisco but I wanted to see what would happen. I used half of the starter and converted it (by adding Teff) to injera (Ethiopian flatbread) starter.


Sourdough was a success (although it got too done on the bottom). It was some of the best sourdough I have had since I have come to New England so I have to perfect it. I will keep you posted on the Injera which I am making today.


Last but definitely not least is lamb-o-rama. We decided to make something out of the lamb stew meat that we had. We found a recipe that sounded good out of "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen" by Paula Wolfert. The recipe was Slow-Baked Lamb with Fennel, Pecorino, and Potatoes. It came out great but I must say that the recipe could have used some proof reading. Not that we couldn't figure it out, but if you are going to do a book it could be accurate (ok, I used to work in the publications department at RAND and I am picky). was good!



Simple ingredients. Parsley came from the garden and besides the basil is the first thing I have been able to use from the garden.


I liked it but I think we will move on to find another recipe for the rest of the stew meat that we have. We are off to Texas for a few days on Thursday but the Lamb Fest will continue when we return.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ok, I am finally doing this...

I have been threatening to start this blog. It is a long story which I will make short. We moved to New England from California. We were in the Bay Area which is where I really fell in love with food. Don't get me wrong, Los Angeles (where I grew up) was pretty damn good, but nothing like the Bay Area. This is where I learned to forge for food and to meet other people who did the same. It is where we swapped what we grew and I learned to be "slow" and well Berkeley Bowl and Tokyo Fish and and... don't even get me started about the restaurants or my beloved wine country. I will start to cry.

Look, New England is great. There is so much about it that I adore. I love being so close to other states that it is no big deal to drive to Vermont and follow the "Cheese Trail". There is lots of lobster. LOTS of lobster. My problem is that to cook ethnic foods of all kinds one must drive for hours to find the elusive piece. Galangal? I finally found it after months of looking. So, here it is. We ("Mr Food" and I) DO take the time to drive hours to find what we are looking for. We live in Marlborough Massachusetts which is about 45 minutes from Boston. We have gotten good at finding "stuff".

My current excitement comes from Leyden Glen Farm. Owned by Kristin Nicholas and Mark Duprey. Thanks to them I now have a whole lamb in my freezer.


The first of which we ate this past weekend. We started with Lamburgers and homemade lamburger buns from Michel Richard's "Happy in the Kitchen"


Homemade Lamburger Buns

I can assure you that I am anxious for this weekends menu. I believe we will have lamb. This lamb is unbelievable.