Friday, June 06, 2003

I can't stop eating the cinnamon-raisin-walnut bread I made yesterday. It's light and airy, with a nice sweetness to it. Makes excellent toast. I didn't have any instant yeast, so I used active dry and activated it in part of the water called for in the recipe. The most delicious part is that I brushed the top with melted butter and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. Yum!

Tomorrow I'm going to Bed Bath and Beyond and will investigate pizza stones or ceramic tiles so I can make hearth breads like French bread and ciabatta. I also have to buy supplies at N.Y. Cake and Baking for my brother's rehearsal-dinner cake. He emailed me to tell me that my cake (yellow cake with lemon-strawberry filling) might be too similar to the wedding cake, so now I am re-thinking my plans. Maybe chocolate cake? I wish I wasn't doing it at all... and I am SO relieved that I didn't volunteer to do the wedding cake.

Chip and I are making ice cream with our new ice cream maker this weekend. We bought this one, but reconditioned. Only $19.99! Chip wants green tea ice cream, his favorite, but after I found relatively inexpensive vanilla beans at the Co-Op, I would be happy with vanilla. I think at BB&B, we'll also get an extra freezer bowl thingie, so we can make two batches, back to back.

Other than that, not much is new. I leave on Thursday and in a way I feel like I'm on top of my workload, but probably I'll be panicking next week. When I get back, I am going to pitch a little appetizer book to the company that I did the olive-oil booklet for. I'm also going to try to come up with some good story ideas for some consumer mags... maybe I'll find some good ideas in Santa Fe?

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

There have been some (well, one) requests for the miso-tofu dip that I made last night. So I thought I'd post it here for whoever is interested.

Miso-Tofu Dip and Vinaigrette
12 ounce package soft tofu

3 T cider vinegar

3 T fresh lemon juice

1 T miso

2 t garlic, minced (one large clove)

2 t ginger, grated

1 t honey

2 t umeboshi paste (optional)

fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped, as needed for garnish

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or with an immersion blender until creamy. Garnish with chopped parsley.

To make this recipe into a vinaigrette, reduce the amount of tofu to 4 ounces (1/2 cup) and after blending all ingredients, add one cup extra-virgin olive oil in a steady stream while whisking or blending the tofu mixture.

My dinner party last night went great!

When my guests arrived, I served them wasabi soy nuts, tamari almonds, and vegetable sticks with miso-tofu dip (basically tofu seasoned with miso, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, honey, rice wine vinegar, and toasted sesame oil).

The main course was tuna that I'd marinated in ponzu sauce, tamari sauce and a little ginger, then crusted with sesame and seared on high heat in canola oil. I accompanied it with bok choi that I blanched and then sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper, and cold sesame noodles. The noodles were AWESOME, though I didn't think there was enough sauce. The sauce is easy to make-- just sesame paste (tahini), toasted sesame oil, a little sugar, vinegar and hot sesame oil. I tossed in and garnished with some diced cucumbers.

And for dessert, ginger creme brulee. HeeJai had given me a little butane blow-torch and I finally found butane for it. I couldn't figure out how to fill it, though, so it just kept running out of butane and the flame would die. But I got it to work long enough to caramelize the sugar on my brulees.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I'm reading The Man Who Ate Everything by Jefferey Steingarten, the food columnist for Vogue (who knew there was a food columnist in that magazine?!). The first chapter is about his obsession with making bread. I don't even come close to how fanatical he got about bread. Speaking of which, I think it's time to make another recipe. My multigrain is almost gone. Perhaps tomorrow I'll try one of Reinhart's other recipes. I'm thinking of cinnamon-raisin bread, perhaps.

Tonight is Girls Night. I decided to go with the sesame tuna steaks, along with sesame noodles and sauteed Bok Choi. For a starter, I'm going to make a miso vinaigrette that we can dip vegetables in, and also get some fun Asian snacks like wasabi soy nuts, etc. And for dessert, I'll make green tea creme brulee (or maybe ginger creme brulee? yum!). HeeJai bought me a little butane torch for my graduation, but I've been unable to find the cartridges for it.

I'm starting to panic a little... I leave next Thursday and have 3 or 4 stories that I need to get done before then. Not to mention all my personal stuff. And I have to take Chip to buy a suit for the wedding!

Friday, May 30, 2003

Today when I woke up I noticed that my stomach muscles hurt like I'd been doing sit-ups. I tried to remember if I'd done any strenuous excercise yesterday, and came to the conclusion that my stomach muscles hurt from kneading bread yesterday! It was Soooo worth it, though. I've had a few pieces of my multigrain loaf already and it is just heaven-- crunchy on the outside, moist and creamy on the inside, with a nutty chewiness and the crust has a delicious crispness to it. This will be a recipe I make again and again.

I'm trying to cut down on sugar: only one sweet thing a day. I even bought some sugar-free jam yesterday--St. Dalfour's Triple Citrus. It's a bit bland, actually, but has a nice texture.

I'm having Randee, Elizabeth and Kelley over for dinner next Thursday for "Girls Night." I have to decide what to make. Right now I'm thinking some sort of asian dish, so that I can make this great Sesame Noodle recipe that I found in the Martha Stewart Cookbook. Maybe sesame-crusted tuna steaks? If only I had a grill.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I'm making my third bread recipe right now, a multigrain loaf from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It calls for a "pre-soak" of cornmeal, rolled oats and wheat germ that you make the night before. I doubled the recipe, since it only makes one loaf, and I messed up the liquid measures. I caught it as I was kneading and adjusted the recipe, so I hope it turns out. It's rising right now. I can see the plastic container from my desk and can see how much it's risen. That never ceases to amaze me. I'm using instant "fast-acting" yeast, which Reinhart is a big proponent of. It's nice because you can mix the yeast right into the flour and don't have to activate it in warm water.

I've also been giving some thought to what sort of cake to make for my brother's rehearsal dinner next month. I think I've settled on a yellow butter cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (I'm a big fan of books that have the word "bible" in them). I want to make a strawberry/lemon curd for the filling and ice it with buttercream. Then I'll decorate it with marzipan strawberries and leaves.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

It's been two weeks since my externship ended, and I feel like I'm still recovering. I can't seem to get back into the swing of things, writing-wise, but it also could be that I don't know what to do with all this free time. I should get a head start on some of my writing; I leave for Santa Fe in a little more than 2 weeks, and I don't want to have a lot of work to do while I'm there.

Since I sort of miss the cooking-learning thing, I've decided to spend the summer learning how to bake bread. I bought two excellent books, the best of which is The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I also got The Bread Bible, which is not quite as scientific. My first two attempts, White Mountain Bread and Buttermilk Honey Bread were both from the latter book. The White Bread was excellent, and really fun to make. The Buttermilk Bread I let rise overnight in the refrigerator, then I took out and let sit for another three hours before baking. It didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, so the texture is a bit dense. I think I am going to attempt one of the recipes from the Bread Baker's Apprentice either this afternoon (if I can get motivated to go buy some flour) or tomorrow. I want to make either cinnamon bread or wheat bread.

As for work, my articles-in-progress include a piece on breakfast trends for Fancy Food (Someone sent me some jam samples, which were greatly enjoyed with my fresh-baked bread) and a miniskirt article for WWD. Also need to start doing research and phone calls for some assignments I have on sweeteners, blankets, decorative pillows and high-end storage options.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Let it snow!

Actually, you can stop any time now! We got something like 2 feet of snow since Sunday night. It's the biggest snowfall I remember since the big storm of '78 back when I was like 7 or something. The snowdrifts seemed so much bigger back then-- I remember hollowing them out and crawling inside of them. But let me tell you something, New York can't handle its snow as well as Chicago can. It's a good thing yesterday was a holiday.

I am in the midst of final project hell for school: Develop a complete, cohesive menu of 5 each appetizers, entrees and desserts. Good thing I have a boyfriend who likes to eat. On Friday, I made him dinner:

Buttermilk Asparagus Soup

Loin of Rabbit Stuffed with Roasted Garlic and Rosemary on a Bed of Polenta with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Chocolate Fondue

Everything turned out pretty good, except that we didn't eat til around 10. And I cut myself doing the dishes the next day.

Then on Sunday night I got together with some classmates to work on some more recipes. I did a sauteed flank steak with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Demi-Glace sauce, plus oven-roasted potatoes with olive oil and rosemary. Simple, but yummy. Now I just need to come up with 12 more!