Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Pinterest Challenge

My car died a few weeks ago. Engine seized right on a danger-fraught strip of highway and that was bye-bye to my freedom and mobility. But I've been making the most of my time stuck at home. Using eating to keep the boredom away, no longer am I content with tuna melts and last night's leftovers. Instead I've turned to Pinterest for inspiration.

I know. How vapid. How cliche. Such unrealized dreams.

I'm a complete and utter pragmatist when it comes to Pinterest. I refuse to bookmark things on the internet if I have no intention of going back to them. There is no point in having a collection of pretty pictures of food if you have no intention of replicating them. So that's what I've been doing. Working through Pinterest to see how these recipes fare under my feeble cooking abilities.

Results have been mixed. On the whole this is probably a result of my lack of skill more than any Pintrocities, the two most notably duds being cupcakes that were too dense and a soup that was a bit bland. On the whole I commend these recipes to you to give a shot.

These are the savory . . .

And for sweets . . .

My Pinterest stands as a memorial to the crazed industry of food blogging, but it's also a wonderful go-to for the answer to the question, "What should I make today?" It functions as a running list of, "Hum, I'd like to try that." A to-do list for food. Part productivity, part social media. Not bad, Pinterest, not half bad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Café frappé

I've been told my whole life that instant coffee was nastyville. And as a skeptic of all things powered and "just add water," I followed this condemnation of instant coffee like a lemming. I don't want processed, I want the real deal. Furthermore, American drip coffee is most of what I've always known. In my naïveté I told myself, isn't that how coffee is supposed to be made? My faith in cafe americano slipped, however, during my month abroad when I had the slightest glance of the shortcomings of American coffee. What other coffee lies have I been believing?

So I went to the annual Greek food festival in Cranston a few weeks ago and as a step of faith partook of a foamy cup of Nescafe. And it was pretty delish. I petitioned for a jar for my birthday (because, why not?) and my sister delivered. Because she's a boss. (Thanks Sarah!) Nescafe is perhaps the most dominate instant coffee brand on the market worldwide, and bonus, the label is entirely in Spanish. 

I put a tablespoon of Nescafe, half a tablespoon of sugar, and a little bit of cocoa powder in the bottom of a travel mug. You're supposed to use water, and add milk after if you take milk in your coffee, but it was nighttime and I went all out. (This is apparently a non-Greek rendition, the way they make it in Denmark.) So I filled the travel mug halfway with milk, shook it up, and there was so much foam. I poured it over ice cubes, rinsed the remaining foam out of the mug with some water. Creamy, foamy, delicious iced coffee, original gangsta Greek-style.

It was particularly interesting because it continued to stay foamy until the last drop. I found this curious about the Greek frappé I had at the festival, too, that no matter how much I sipped or stirred, the foam would replenish itself. A little spooky. But apparently what makes Nescafe integral for making cold, foamy coffee drinks is its lower oil content than most American instant coffee brands. It has something to do with the viscosity and bubble size and other stuff. I'm not fluent enough to read the label.

So it's possible there might be something to this whole instant coffee thing. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Food Blogs

The internet is a trippy place, my friends.

See, I don't get the Food Network, or the Travel Channel, because I don't have cable. I miss out on looking at food I can't actually eat. But thanks to Molly, I've discovered a bunch of grawesome food blogs that satiate my mind without racking up calories.

Partake below.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Does anyone even eat pies anymore?

Today I successfully made pie crust.

Also, a pie. The first of a series, hopefully, because my summer is drawing to a close and while I have mastered cupcakes, scones, cookies, and variety bars, I will not be a true Betty Crocker until I have a few more successful pies under my belt. [Bah-dum-tsst!]

But I think it's the pie crust that is indicative of a legitimate rite of passage.

I am domesticated, yo.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fantastical Thai Introduction

Due to my mom's love for ethnic food, ever since I was a babe I have been subjected to the standard rigamarole of diverse eating. She worked through a missionary cookbook and mastered cheap Asian and Latin American recipes, but the one cuisine that never managed to grace my palate was Thai.

Until recently.

And I have emerged a huge fan.

My exposure in this area has been threefold:

Washington, DC.
Mushrooms, noodles, bean sauce. Numbered "41" for the stupid Americans who couldn't pronounce was the dish actually was. I tried. I couldn't. But our waiter was Romanian, and I don't think he could either. It was Thai Town Restaurant, a tiny little sidewalk joint near the Adams Morgan Metro stop. We ate outside on the portico, just my mom and my dad and me. And, oh rare moment, we ate in silence, because our mouths were full.

New York, New York.
Pad Prik King, a curry without coconut milk.

When Ignite was in NYC a few weeks ago, the YWAM staff took us out to a nice sit-down dinner at the East Village's Spice Thai restaurant. The great thing about going out to eat with a group is getting to sample what everyone else ordered. My favorites were the massaman curry and the drunk man noodles, but not much could top what I ordered for myself. It was so spicy! Like something I had never tasted before, everything in one perfect dish.

Boston, Massachusetts.
Mango chicken curry.

It's possible that some things just taste better eaten at a picnic under the stars, but either way, Boston's Spice & Rice restaurant made plenty of money off the people who flocked to watch the fireworks on the Cambridge side of the Charles River where they set up their kiosk. It took great self-control to save a small portion for Sarah. I practically inhaled the savory, sweet, and spicy goodness.

Perhaps you say, my experience has been too limited? Perhaps you say, Thai is just a glorified fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisines. Perhaps you say, it just has too many peanuts! That might be true. But I am sold on Thai food.

People with peanut allergies, please stay far away from Thai food. It just would make me feel better.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Carrots are naturally sweet, they don't need sweetener, fools.

At long last, working in the kitchen is fun.

A goal of mine for this summer, in terms of self-improvement, is to gain some proficiency in the kitchen outside of eating and doing dishes. At least, this was a passive goal of mine, until my mom heard about it and decided I would be making dinner.

So anyway.

Meatloaf kind of has a bad rap. It's what I think of when asked to picture disgusting diner food, it has this mysterious brown gravy that oozes out of it, and even conceptually it lacks class. It's just a brick of ground up meat. Yum? Either it's too dry and crumbles, or it's too wet and crumbles. It's just bad news. Despite all this, I made meatloaf for dinner. Also, carrots.

It was actually quite delicious. Probably because it had apples and cheese in it, oh yes. Also, mixing with one's fingers is fun. Just throwing that out there.

As I learn more about cooking through trial and error, I've garnered a few questions. Like, oh dear kings and principalities, could someone please explain why the world feels the need to put sweetener on their carrots?! It's like those midwestern moms who put marshmallows on their sweet potatoes. I mean, seriously? I don't want dessert during my meal. Localize your sugar usage!

In abrupt conclusion, I'm a huge fan of Eatocracy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I can't keep Bruschetta and Prosciutto straight.

(I recognize that that's only meaningful if you know how those are pronounced.)
Oh. My. Gosh. My family had the most amazing lunch/dinner today. Here's a look:
On the way home from church (another new one for the first time, it was cute) we stopped at Panera bread and picked up some small loaf stuff. When we got home, I grilled them (high heat, spray the bread with olive oil, don't grill too long) and my dad made toppings. Then, we ate bruschetta.
Maybe you can't see it in the picture, but the toppings were by far the best part. Instead of making one type of bruschetta and serving it as an hors de vour, we had a plate full of every type and we could mix and match as we pleased. There was tomato chutney, roasted peppers, avocado, basil, ricotta cheese, prosciutto, lemon (for the ricotta) and... if you're wondering what those roll-up things are in the picture, tomato and basil wrapped up in mozzarella cheese.
The really nice thing about this is that it's actually pretty simple: bread, and whatever you feel like putting on the bread. Nothing is massively complex, and the assembly-line-meets-buffet style of eating provides the same conversational atmosphere as fondu typically does.

Later this week: Grilled pizza