Friday, July 31, 2009

HOW TO VIDEO w/ SBJ: Cup Lamen

May I introduce the very first video clip on my bloggie, EVER!!

This was just too good to pass up. Brought to you by the very talented very cheese loving SBJ crew, more than ever I would love to see them do another. Steve's sincerity is most appealing & Mas' "easy" method of water pouring is pure genius. So get on your aprons & get cooking with SBJ.

The Christening of the Crock Pot: Lebanese Lamb Stew with labne & za'atar

Behold my new gadget. The crock pot. This is a 6qt size crock pot & personally I feel like if you happen to be feeding a family of 8 and spend much of your day hyperventilating & cleaning up after your kids unsuccessful attempts to water-paint with milk on the floor you will most likely squeal for joy much like I did upon it's arrival.

One nice thing about it is you can take out the inside crockery & put it directly on the table to serve. It also came with it's handy dandy little feature that I like to call "the probe factor"

Observe the probe. It's a little thermometer thingie to check the temperature of what's cooking. And of course in case you didn't know how to "probe"-- on the lid there's this little clarification.....

Japlish is fun but there's nothing like good ol' straightforward english.

In my eagerness to try it out I made a Lebanese lamb stew on probably one of the hottest days of the year so far. Started it out around 11 in the morning & set the timer & temperature. And yes I did insert the probe.

I was happy with the recipe. The ingrediants were simple & though I was a little suspicious about the amount of cinnamon it called for in the long run it seemed to blend in quite well. It was a full flavored stew, served it with plain rice (1/2 brown) but I have to admit in our as yet, non-airconed dining room it was a rather foolish idea & we ended up sweating it out in a self-inflicted sauna, yet somehow no one could stop themselves & we nearly finished the whole thing.

I also threw together a little batch of labne (Lebanese cheese) I didn't have time to make it overnight but let it set for about 6 hours, hense a rather thinner than normal result.

A few spoonfuls of olive oil & a few spoonfuls of za'atar. Which is a stunning lovely mixture of spices and I'm quite serious when I say I could eat it by the spoonful.

Finished product.
The DH sure seemed to love this stuff though he couldn't ever manage to say it right --- so cute!

All in all, I'm really happy about the crockpot but probably won't be using it often (besides perhaps sphagetti sauce) till autumn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Snippet: Frozen Bananananana

Call me immature but I always in the back of my tiny brain I couldn't quite conceive of eating bananas frozen --- as is! Somehow it seemed like some kind of pre-schooler project with a name like "frozen-banana-monkey-doo-surprise-of-science"!

But upon the death of my Bauer blender (God rest his tired motor) I had a slew of frozen zip-locked bananas. So my in a moment of genius (and you know I'm saying that with a massive tablespoon of sarcasm because I'm sure that everyone who has freezers and bananas has probably already discovered this when they were preschoolers) -- I found that the kids would devour twice as many bananas when I'd just cutm' up & throw them in a bowl. But then again they'd have to break out singing an U.Ken/Masa song "I like banana's cuz' they have no bones" (song starts at 1:28)

Of course when DH took the kids out to play & I was alone (nya ha ha) I decided it was time to break out the Sundae Syrup (yes, that chemical laden stuff that's sure to give us brain cancer)

.......And by golly it was fantastic. I AM A BELIVER! And if you can feeeeel the spirit I think you'll be a believer tooooo!

PS. Though I vouch wholy for this snack, I equally vouch for the horrificness of having your kid drop a few of these frozen banana bombs under their chair & then getting to step on one later when it's desinagrated to a pile of mush under a puddle of juicey business.
(just thought I should leave you with that visual to keep you on your toes!!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Random Stuffies!

I have realized something & I hope you'll lend me your inner ear. This blog has become quite the skeletal blog of cooking and not even hopping with many new recipes. Furthermore it contains close to zero snippets of pointless personal information. Is this an area worth cultivating? Probably not, but since I'm feeling beat -- in no particular order & for no particular reason, here are a few things that you probably didn't need to know:

- I watched some of Jamie Oliver for the first time yesterday (Gasp!! Shock). And in a moment of honesty I must say that I don't really care what a man looks like, when I watch a guy do a controlled dance of slicing, mixing, kneading, & flipping & "talking shop" at a kitchen heart has been stolen out from underneath my apron. I fear if a man could cook like that for me I might just keel over & elope presently.

- My 1 year old son's only mathematical word is "9". So my kids have taken to bombarding him with ridiculous questions like: "How old will Erika be in 6 years?", "What's 3 squared?", "How many times does 9 go into 81?", and everyone predictably cheers when he magically comes up with the right answer. And he's pleased to be the perpetual genius. Except for when you ask him his age.

- I can't seem to remember the last time I bought Mascara. I know it's awful but I have a SIL who keeps me supplied with a healthy dose and she seems to always have more (I would too with lashes like hers). Unfortunately with the turning of a new leaf (aka "there's no reason to look like a tired ol' mom just cuz' you are one") I realized I was getting stys like crazy in the course of a month and finally ended up with a small chalazion on my eyelid. Ewww....Panic attack. Hoping it'll just go away & not leave me looking like the Elephant Lady. And YEEEEAH, you don't have to tell me what I am now VERY aware of --- Apparently someone wasn't exactly listening when they talked about not using other ppl's mascara or old mascara. This AM I just threw away all 6 of mine. My fav being the Lancome Hypnose & Estee Lauder MagnaScopic. It's time to do a little shopping.

- My Sistah is coming next month just to spice things up tells me she's not eating sugar, white flour or dairy products. Dang!! Do you hear that...................that is the sound of my very small brain trying to figure out what on earth I should cook for dinner when she comes.

- If you are still reading this post I feel I should also add that if there is anything I love about cooking, it's being shown something new in the kitchen, told I'm doing something wrong, given a new idea or recipe.
Basically, I love the feeling of being a "beginner". I love it when someone says, "What, you haven't ever made ____?" or "Is that how you do it?......Interesting (translation: bizarre)!" Call this coincidence but the most feedback I get seem to be from the lovely Aussie ladies (or residing in Aussie ladies) who dish out ideas suggestions & snickers at the wrong way I do thing. Nothing more attractive....keep it comin'.

Well that's it folksies. Crank that noisy fan up to full blast & kick back & hopefully I'll have some good foodie talk next time around.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer snippits: Pesto/Mayo

Hey Ya'll! Are you feelin' the heat like I'm feeling the heat? Seems like summer suddenly ran up behind us & dumped a bucket of warm jello on us.

If there's anything that surmises the way I feel about summer meals there are two words: COLD/FAST

If you can't get in & out of the kitchen in under an hour you may as well forget it. Words like, "gentle simmer", "deep fry" and God forbid, "stir for 1 hr on high heat" are phrases that shall be banished from this blog for the next 2 months.

And being the busy soul that I am I'm gonna have to settle for keeping this blog alive with short snippets & ideas for easy, fast, occasional "cheat", but most of all COLD summer food items. (Note I say "food ITEMS" because I'm feeling so lazy that I may not even get around to posting an actual complete recipe)

Today's quicky: Pesto & Mayo

What's in it you say?

Let's think--- ah yes.....Pesto & Mayo.

I would put about 2 tbsp pesto to 1/2 a c. of mayo but to each his own. And frankly, I never measure anyway, so I just made that up on the fly!

There's no sandwich that couldn't stand a little of this (except perhap PB & J) no, veggies that wouldn't be proud to have it as a dip. A cold pototo salad would definetly be dressed up, and what a riot you'd have serving a dollop on crackers with cheese. (Like, literal your living room, (esp if there was a McNair) scratch the cheese, just serve the crackers & pesto. Passable as a dip for grilled or bbq'd fish or chicken. And if you really want a good cheat throw in a little vinegar & water to thin it out & call it salad dressing. Voila! Pat yourself on the sweaty back, you're a culinary genius!

I've covered Pesto previously & extolled it's virtues in with a rather suspicious devotion that may not refect well on my (eh-hum) priorities in life. Aaanyway, I've descovered the perfection (out of necessity) of pesto made with a morter & pestle. I even made a whole jar full for the lovely Ken & Tacha. I do hope it was enjoyed. As the story goes, "Long time smashing basil leaves and splatting self with green oil --- Part of gift!"

Well, that's all folkies. Enjoy your cool summer night!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The New House....come on by...bring your own oven!

In case you were wondering (which I'm sure you weren't) what our new place looks like here's a little look. If you're too busy to come on by this way just go ahead & send us a nice housewarming gift like....oh, say.......a lawn mower......air cons & maybe an tandoori oven. (Yeah, didn't think I heard that you've got one, did you?!!)

These pics are as random as they come, so breeze through & then go along your way, oh faithful follower!!

The vines on the porch are blooming. (Dunno the names of these) but they sure are purrty.

Some are doing school....some are on an early vaca!

Our cute little porch & the 1/2 of the yard that is still in "God's Hands"!

Yikes, how'd this one get in here?

I suppose this depicts the consistency of children, they will get in trouble no matter where they live. Miss #2 snapped a pic of poor Mr#6 when she followed the screams, evidently he got himself stuck in a box in DH's office somehow or another.

Ready to feed an come on by! Near table is for school, far table is for dining. Kitchen to the far left

This is the part of the kitchen I'm most pleased with.....if I had it my way a kitchen should be covered from ceiling to floor with hooks & shelves so it would look like the "bag lady" came to stay in your kitchen forever & ever.

Drowning the herbs with care!

Finally a big enough bedroom to turn into a proper railroad.

And so ends my measly photos!

PS. Still waitin' for your foodie suggestions, so......come on now!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Corn Fritters

If you're a regular here you'll know already that breakfast is my favorite meal to expend energy on. And on this blessed day of days I happened to score some great blueberries for ultra-reasonable. Berry season is upon us, glory be!!

But today's real showstopper goes to these dudes.....

Behold the Corn Fritters!

Now now, I know what you're going to say & before you start pelting me with streaming toilet paper rolls -- my 13 followers -- bear in mind the state of confusion that I am presently experiencing.

(Tune up the cello & violins) Everything that I've known & loved about cooking has been yanked out from underneath me. My oven is gone. My blender of 4 years has broken. Even my handy wooden spoon has split down the middle & had to be thrown out. I've found that I'm neither a kitchen genius nor am I skilled at using a frying pan or grill. I'm finding myself seriously wandering around my kitchen a little lost for ideas. I'm a mess & YES, I'm resorting to deep frying, and first thing in the morning no less. But before you lash out I want you to try to whip up some of these babies.

The recipe is from my ever favorite, albeit slightly overly indulgent in the good things dept, Pioneer Woman. If nothing else her food photography is fantastic.

And you'll find the recipe here.

You can prepare the batter the night before & then slap it together in the morning. And to be frank & dreadfully honest, I think I ate 1/2 of these babies before the kids ever came down for breakfast.
PS. Any great food ideas are more than welcome. Do your part to save me from myself & my vat of deep frying oil.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Wedding to Remember

I had a grand ol' time at a wedding this week. One of those once in a blue moon things since the last wedding I was at was my own about 7 years ago. I had a great time though it took a long time to sort out those mixed feelings of guilt & slight awkwardness of not having anyone to hold. So if you happened to see the disheveled lady rocking her purse to sleep or chasing kids around saying, "Lemmie hold you!"....yeah, that was me.

I was genuinely impressed with the thought, planning & detail that Ken & Tacha put into their wedding considering they are a LOK family. Case in point: At the first dance I mentioned to someone that if they broke out in a choreographed song & dance I'd be forever impressed. And sure enough they did. And THAT was entertainment. Good job you two!

So here are a few pics. I was determined to not just take pics but see it from my 'real eyes'.

Did my sister's make up in a hot room full of hot ladies.

These adorable cousins were dolling each other up too. Awww......

The bride/groom & family. Their two youngest put the room in an uproar when the walked up the aisle so perfectly holding have to understand people, the littlest one is like...1 foot tall.

Good musicAnd good food.

My latest sister-in-law also happens to be a professional quality caterer. I had the pleasure of having her work her skills at our last Christmas dinner. I tried to help out in the kitchen a bit & was kinda worried I was gonna put my unwanted "rustic" spin (AKA: flying food & 'healthy' plops of whipped cream) on the food unless I slowed down & got that same zen calmness she had.

I don't know if she chose the menu but whomever did, did an excellent job. It was considerate of the time of year, the food was light, simple, mess free, & full of variety & color.

I love to learn new things from other cooks & I am positively impressed by Yosh's style, efficiancy & calmness throughout the ordeal. At no point was their too little food, and the plates just seemed to keep coming with not repeats but new items. Food was served in small enough portions, & plated beautifully. Good stuff.

I mean seriously, now? Pregnant? Limited time & budget? Directing cooking for more than 100? With only a few extra hands? She might kill me for saying this but if you're gonna get married & need a know who I'M recommending. Nuff said!

Gosh & that cake was adorable too. As far as I understand Tasha designed it & Marie Claire put it together. Talk about brave. To be honest if someone asked me to do a wedding cake I'd probably do like St. Peter & deny I ever knew how to decorate.

And though the cake itself was a bit heavy I got some to take home (Tx Josh) & had me a rockin' black Italian coffee with a slice of Disaronno soaked wedding cake. (It's little wonder I drank 3 cups of coffee yesterday, eh-hum)
My party crashin' nephew Dilly-boy. (who quite literally got crashed into & ended up being doused with soda from head to toe) The boy will grow to be a warrior, or a contemporary dancer.
And 3 of the 5 sistahz!

That's it on the pics...but ovenless/blenderless recipes comin' your way soon.