Forget your perfect offering

Posted: July 20th, 2009 | Author: adi | Filed under: Uncategorized | 6 Comments »
Imperfection can still be delicious

Imperfection can still be delicious

Nothing is perfect. I want it to be, sometimes I feel it HAS to be, but nothing I’ve made, ever, is truly perfect.

I owed my mom and sister a pie. They called me last week asking if I would make a blueberry pie but I was over my friend’s house and even baking can’t lure me away from hot tubbin’ with the bestie. I promised a rain check and today, I made good.

I started off with the same crust recipe we’ve been using for years. Lacking a decent pastry cutter I used the two knives method* and cut 3/4 cup butter into 2 cups of flour in a chilled mixing bowl, and added enough ice-cold water (using a fork to fluff, not stir) to create a dough, then wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for an hour. At the end of the hour I threw together five cups of blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar, two tablespoons of cornstarch and two of flour, and then rolled out the dough. I filled the bottom crust, dotted with chunks of butter, and rolled out the top crust and sliced to make a lattice.

Knives Akimbo!

Knives Akimbo!

Napping

Napping

Such potential

Such potential

An egg wash later I baked the pie at 400 for about forty minutes, until the bottom looked golden and the top, well….

Here’s where the “nothing is perfect” comes in. I had neglected two things–to drain some of the liquid off the berries because they were frozen, not fresh, and to see if we had aluminum foil. The liquid is self-explanatory–my pie is a *bit* wet, and as for the aluminum foil, well. Usually I wrap the edges of a pie in foil because they cook more quickly than the rest of the pie, but ALAS we’re out. The recipe, also, was flawed. The filling has too strong a flour taste. Next time I will be trying tapioca instead of flour.

But overall, it’s tasty. The familial consensus is tasty. The nibbles I made from the leftover crust–brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar–are delicious, flaky, and golden. I’m just sad that all the potential this pie had–wild blueberries, the never-fail crust–turned into something less than perfect. And yes, everything is less than perfect.

But the next pie, well. Tomorrow I’m stocking up on aluminum foil.

*Mostly I stab the butter a lot to amuse myself and then get to work scissoring the butter knives until the butter is similar to coarse meal.


Making Do

Posted: July 13th, 2009 | Author: adi | Filed under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
Fried to perfection

Fried to perfection

At the boy’s house, cooking is an adventure. It’s like camping–you have a finite supply of tools and raw materials and you just make do or STARVE. Or, you know, order in, but where’s the fun in THAT? The good part of cooking here, however, is that a) he’s a vegetarian, too and b) his landlords have a rather extensive garden. Today the housekeeper caught me coming in from reading under a tree and offered me zucchini. YES PLEASE. If it’s fresh, I’ll pretty much take it. I’ve never been a huge fan of zucchini, but after tonight I may have to change my mind. A wander through his cookbooks led me to a recipe for eggplant patties and I figured, they’re related, right? Thus, dinner was born.

The recipe is basically two eggs, about two cups of bread crumbs (a cup and a half in the mixture and half a cup to coat), one small diced onion, a teaspoon of baking powder, and some seasoning. You boil the zucchini, mash it up in the other ingredients, form patties, roll them in crumbs, and fry it in some oil. They suggest a quarter cup but I cut that down after the first batch. I also used basil-infused olive oil to fry them where they suggested canola or somesuch nonsense. I mostly did this because I am easily swayed by anything which contains basil. Mmmmm….

To pair up with my hot and crispy noms, I boiled some pasta and Matt made a salad.

After dinner I fried up the rest of the batter to make sammiches with tomorrow (seriously, I love leftovers) and then I got the hankering to bake. Yeah, at an apartment without and oven. I don’t know how he does it. I have a gift card to Kohl’s so I even checked to see how much toaster ovens were. In the end inspiration struck in the form of a bunch of bananas–BANANAS FOSTER REQUIRES NO OVEN! So after much cajoling and badgering, he took me to the store and I picked up some vanilla ice cream, brown sugar, vanilla, cream, and a whisk. YEAH. I had to buy a WHISK. It’s like living in the dark ages, I swear. Except I bet -they- had whisks.

Back at his I set to work on the bananas–some butter and brown sugar in a pan, a banana sliced lengthwise, let it cook, VOILA–and then sought a bowl for my fresh whipped cream. Instead, I ended up with this:

making do

The horror!

Yeah. TUPPERWARE. Not even just Tupperware–RECTANGULAR tupperware.

I also forgot to take a photo of the Matt’s dish, which I made pretty, until after he’d eaten half of it, so use your imaginations, here:

Bananas Adi

Bananas Adi

Of course, now I’m STUFFED, but also raring to make dinner tomorrow, too. Hopefully I’m up to the challenge.


Of thee I sing

Posted: July 3rd, 2009 | Author: adi | Filed under: Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
Leftovers, oh YES.

Leftovers, oh YES.

The Fourth of July is a holiday. You know this already. Not that it matters to today’s noms, but it’s also my sister and brother-in-law’s anniversary. (Happy Anniversary M & E!) Before this, but somewhat after its other significance was established, yours truly made the best decision of her life and became who she is today–a vegetarian. This year, the Fourth is my twelfth ani-vege-versary, and though there have been slips and stumbles along the way, I have not consciously eaten meat in that time. Next year will be my halfway point, after which I will be a vegetarian longer than I wasn’t one. I may not look forward to much about turning twenty-six (man does that seem old) but for someone who can’t seem to stick to anything, it’s a victory.

In honor of this hallowed and momentous occasion, I am sharing a new recipe which I have adapted to be vegetarian. A friend of mine recently gave me a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala and, being the generous soul that I am, I’m passing it on. Because DAMN. Easy and oh-so-delish. The original can be found here, and mine is a simple enough adaptation–I substitute Quorn “Naked Cutlets” (how awesome is that name) for the chicken, chop them up, skipping the yogurt-and-broil step and inserting them early to warm them up. I call it “Chickem Tikka Masala”. Yep. Anyway I’m sure you COULD yogurt-and-broil them, but I made this at the oven-free domicile (sadly, yes, such a thing exists) of my boy, so my naan was also cooked stove-top and there was no cookie, cake, flan, dutch baby, tart, torte, pie, or otherwise oven-baked deliciousness to follow. Dammit.

My garam masala at my house, and his house lacking, we re-created the mixture on the original recipe. After eating, however, I made said boy his own toned-down version of the garam masala with less cayenne, as he was suffering slightly eating the dish. If you like things hot, it’s a keeper, but for those in the audience with a more sensitive palette, I suggest being careful with the cayenne.

Overall the dish was a hit, and the leftovers, too hot for boy, fed my mother and I for lunch. It makes a good-sized pot, plenty for four people, especially if there’s rice and naan involved, or for two people who love cold Indian the next day. Definitely worthy of a celebration, or just a quiet night in with some bad TV.