August 28, 2010

Angel Hair Salad

Summer's finest and simplest.
Chopped tomatoes, chiffonade
of basil, a drizzle of extra virgin
olive oil, and a whhhhisper of
1. Boil pasta according to package.
2. While the pasta is cooking,
roughly chop the tomatoes and
chiffonade* some basil leaves.

3. Chop one clove of garlic in half 
and rub your serving bowl with it.  
4. Throw tomatoes, basil, salt and 
pepper into your bowl and drizzle 
with some good extra virgin olive oil. 
5. When the pasta is finished, strain
and toss to combine with the tomato

Optional: Add some shaved parmesan or pecorino romano over the top.

*Chiffonade is a fancy French term for cutting leafy greens/herbs into thin ribbons. You can do this by stacking the basil leaves then rolling them like a cigar. Run your knife through the rolled basil creating long thin strips of delicious confetti!

August 25, 2010

Fifth Time's a Charm

You know those nights where you just want a snack and keep checking your refrigerator over and over again only to find the same random group of food items each time? That was me last night. After the fifth crack of cool air (partially because I wanted to curl up in a ball and just hang out in the fridge to escape this uncharacteristic heatwave taking over San Francisco) I solved the equation.

I had tortillas, celery, a bunch of mint, a bag of mixed Italian cheeses, and a whole slew of condiments staring back at me. I though to myself, "Well the only option would be a quesadilla, but those Italian cheeses would be bland and weird-tasting with my expired bottle of Taco Bell mild sauce."* Sadly, I've run out of real salsa and thought this was my last resort until I reached into the bottomless pit that is my condiments shelf (I have an entire collection, see below). I pulled out a small jar of barely used cherry jam I had made late last year. So it goes, I made this random but delicious combination of salty and sweet. It hit the spot with a dollop of sour cream. I could see this being even more awesome with some goat cheese smeared in there or if you're being fancy, layering the cheese with some caramelized onions.

*Sure, I use quotations because really, I was having a conversation in my head. No, I'm not crazy.**
**Okay, maybe a little since I have a full size bottle of expired Taco Bell mild sauce still sitting in my fridge.

I need to get to a real grocery store stat.
Oh and Happy Birthday Mom!!!

August 20, 2010

Blueberry Crumble

My favorite produce season is here! Berries have taken over my corner market along with stone fruits and figs of all colors. As a kid I would beg my mom to stop at the strawberry stands along side Carmel Valley Road on the way to the beach. A few times it worked, and I'd go home and eat the entire 3 boxes overloaded with strawberries. Once, I even broke out in a huge red rash and was told I'd OD'ed on strawberries and consumed too much vitamin C. Thinking back, it seems ridiculous but to 11 year old Julie, it was worth it. Carlsbad strawberries still hold true as my favorite summer produce right alongside blueberries. I love blueberries on their own and for the variety of things you can do with them. 
Just this summer I've made heaps (using new Kiwi slang here) of baked goods using blueberries: muffins, almond financiers, and crumbles such as these ones. Crumbles are the simplest of desserts and once you read over my easy recipe, you'll never need to look one up again.

Blueberry Crumble
For Blueberry Filling:
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbs. brown sugar (add more if your blueberries are particularly tart)
1 Tbs. regular sugar (again, add more if your blueberries are particularly tart)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. flour

Directions: Gently mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until blueberries are evenly coated. 

For Topping:
2 Tbs. Granola (I used this because I had it on hand..makes for a delicious crunchy topping! You can use rolled oats instead
1 1/2 tablespoons of cold butter cut into small chunks
1 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. regular sugar

Directions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix/cut in butter pieces. I use my fingers to break the butter into smaller pieces. See photo for details on how large the pieces should be(a little smaller than pea-sized). Once finished, put blueberries into a baking dish (I made two individual sized portions) and sprinkle on topping mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until the blueberries are bubbling and topping is golden brown. 

Tip: Feel free to change up the amount of sugar or add any spices you wish (cinnamon would be great with these). You can also use this recipe for any other kind of crumble. ie. apple, peach, nectarine, blackberry. 

Spoon FTW!

August 14, 2010

Not So Home-made

I've got a weakness for deep fried jelly filled dough...I might need therapy. Our 24 hour doughnut shop even sells jelly filled doughnut holes. Clearly, this was some evil genius' idea since 90% of the females I know would buy anything for the simple fact that it's miniature let alone deep fried and covered in sugar.
Vietnamese Bun with Chicken and Imperial Roll
I've also been eating phở (pronounced fuh) for every other meal and when I start to get sick of it I'll order this. But of course, the MSG laden broth keeps me coming back. 'I've never had pho,' you say? What terrible rock have you been living under? You're missing out on one of the best combinations in the world--chewy rice noodles in a savory (usually beef) broth flavored with everything from cardamom to star anise. It comes out piping hot with a plate of fixins' like bean sprouts, thai basil, cilantro, serrano peppers, and lime. Customize to your liking and slurp away.*

*It also works wonderfully to soothe whatever ails you...even curing hangovers the common cold.

August 10, 2010

Appetite for Quirky Porcelain

 Mustache Mugs
How many more brunch parties would I have if I owned these stacking mugs of hilarity? Answer: 42. 
Owl Tea Bag Holders
Whoooo wouldn't want these?
Just imagine your guests' surprise when they find those beady eyes looking back at them when they finish their salad.

Feel free to shower me with porcelain gifts anytime you choose. ;)


 Hey blog world, I got a super awesome camera this weekend in preparation for my upcoming travels! I will from now on be using my new Canon Rebel XS. It'll be a great beginners dslr camera for sure and I'm suuper stoked about it if you couldn't already tell. I'm still learning to use the manual settings but it's easier than I thought it would be.
 Toulouse, my furry orange artist.
Here's my dinner from last night. Baked pasta with panko, cheese, and herb topping.

PS. Once I have all of my travel itinerary set I'll be sure to post it here for some travel advice!