Archive | apple RSS feed for this section

an adult tuesday

6 Nov

So, my last post was a little confusing, but completely on purpose. Wait, that doesn’t make a ton of sense in itself. But…oh, never mind. A couple of weeks ago, I signed up to be a volunteer for a new community kitchen that opened in town. They have an amazing collection of cookbooks, give free lessons 4 times a day, 5 days a week, and use all organic produce and ingredients.

Oh, and this guy:

image image source

Seriously.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 070

The Kitchen’s goal for this week is to have 1,000 (or 2% of) people in Huntington cooking, and so a cook-a-thon was thrown! From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., there was a cooking class held every 30 minutes, taught by Jamie, for free. They made a beef and scallion stir-fry with noodles, and it smelled amazing – going outside was torture!

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 076

We had a great turn-out; the firefighters and the media came out, and by 3 p.m., we’d had 250 people cook. Considering 20-30 people were cooking at one time, that’s crazy!

So, did I meet him?

YES!

He’s super-sweet, and at one point, he even called out to me from the stage, and was all, “darling, are you okay? we having fun?”. Oh yeah, we totally bonded. I’m bummed I wasn’t able to get a picture with him, but he was running around like a madman, and I hated the thought of bugging him like the crazy foodie fangirl that I am. I did get the next best thing, though.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 075

Yup, totally posing with his shirt. Love the fact that I looked thrilled beyond belief. For a shirt. I’m such a weirdo!

After coming home and eating dinner, E dragged me away. Don’t I look terrified?

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 097

Just kidding! It was more like a treat…AVENUE Q!

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 098

The show was amazing. The puppets were incredible (and I hate puppets!), the songs were amazing, and it was just darn plain funny. I would definitely recommend it, but not to young children, anyone uptight, or those who have no sense of humor.

Now for the food!

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 063

9:15 a.m. Kashi GoLean and Honey Sunshine, with a teeny banana on its last legs, pecans and nonfat milk

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 067

12:25 p.m. Clif Mountain Mojo Trail Mix bar – sheer heaven!

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 073

12:50 p.m. ‘Bucks’ Grande Passion Tea with 1 Splenda

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 078

4:35 p.m. Worst lunch ever! Benny’s Hickory Chicken sandwich, no bacon and no Swiss and a garden salad with no cheese and ginger dressing on the side. Seriously disappointing – too much bbq sauce, stale bread, off salad dressing, and obviously cheese. Ugh. I ate all the veggies, 1 tsp of dressing, all the chicken (with half the sauce wiped off) and half the bun. Everything else got tossed, although I able to salvage the cheese for E’s next lunch, which was about 1/4 cup’s worth.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 082

Now some girls are all about little blue boxes, but for me, my heart melts for a certain medium red one.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 086

Oh yeah. The fastest way to my heart is chocolate-covered fruit, and to me, Edible Arrangements is king. The best part? Thanks to Facebook, it was free. Definitely had to sample to make sure it was up to par.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 088

5:20 p.m. Granny Smith covered with dark chocolate. I was a good wife, and split it with E.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 090

6:30 p.m. Cedarlane LF chicken burrito. I’ve never had a Cederlane product that I didn’t like, and this was no exception. A little spicy, a lot of chicken. Almost too much chicken, but can there ever be too much? This guy was small but filling, especially with Blue Smoke salsa and shredded mozz on top.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 092

7:00 p.m. And of course, fruit for dessert! Dark chocolate-covered pineapple, split with E.

Blog Nov 4-6, 2009 093

Now there may or may not have been a junior whopper, no mayo, consumed after the show, on the way home at around 11 p.m. Not ideal, but it happened. Just saying.

Who’s your foodie rock star?

Mine are definitely Jamie Oliver, Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Giada deLaurentiis, and Paula Deen. Edited to add Martin Yan, Alton Brown and Michael Smith – how could I have forgotten? Thanks for reminding me, Susan!

saturday

31 May

I’m not sure if it was that we left the blinds open or the feather pillows, but I couldn’t sleep worth a damn on Friday night, and woke up bright and early Saturday morning. With E still fast asleep and breakfast not being available for another 3 hours, I headed down to the hotel gym for an early morning swim. I was shocked at how small the pool was! At most, it was 15×10, with the deep end being 5 ft. I swam a few laps, but after 20 minutes I was totally bored, and without being able to tread or do pull-ups, I headed back up to our room.

Post-“workout” snack” – 1/2 each of a Bartlett pear and a gala apple, plus some Barney Butter. E wanted to eat the pear without cutting it, so I had to wait for him to finishing munching on his half before he’d cut up mine – silly boy!

I got a couple of packets of Barney Butter right before we headed out of town, so this was the perfect time to give it a try!

pros:
-very smooth consistency
-made in a completely peanut-free factory
-kosher
-low in sodium and sugar
-comes in both jars and single-serving packets
-roasted peanut flavor

cons:
-hard to find in brick-and-mortar stores
-unlike MaraNatha which contains only almonds, Barney Butter also contains evaporated cane juice, palm fruit oil and sea salt. While the additives are natural, I don’t know that they’re necessary.
-very similar consistency and mouth feel to peanut butter, which is evidenced by E, Mr. PB himself, liking Barney Butter when he’s never like any other nut butter before. Great if you love PB, not so much when you don’t.

I’d definitely buy the single-serve packets because they’re super-portable and great for traveling, but when it comes to jars, I’m sticking with my MaraNatha – sorry, Barney Butter!

Once we were finally ready, we headed out for breakfast at ZenCha. A little under a mile away from the hotel, we decided to walk it, and I’m glad we did. The Short North is one of our favorite neighborhoods, and it was really great to be able to stroll by on such a beautiful day. As we were walking, I couldn’t but think how less than 6 months ago, there were days when it was a struggle to walk half as far – we’ve come a long way!

Check out the greatest advertisement ever – given more time, we would’ve totally hit it up for kicks!

ZenCha is what tea heaven must be like – with 120 or so varieties from all over the world, and everything from Bubble Tea to French tea lattes, you just can’t go wrong! E picked a sampler of 3 – silver tip white tea, Earl Grey, and a Pu-erh which is an aged and fermented black tea. E loved them all, and got somewhere between 7 and 9 cups of tea out of the mix, which definitely jazzed him up.


I’m a simple gal, and had an iced Cinnamon Mint Chai. Creamy, refreshing and soothing, this was the perfect pick. I really loved that they added the ice cubes to the filter inside the pot, so not only was this constantly cool, but the tea wasn’t watered down a single bit.


With so many great dishes to choose from, we decided to share two, and thankfully we were on the same wavelength!


Our first pick was the Arabian Night, a delicately crisp yet fluffy cardamom-scented waffle. With dates baked right in and topped with sliced almonds, orange supremes, a little creme fraiche and served with an orange-cardamom syrup, these were some serious waffles! Not too sweet and definitely satisfying, these were spot-on.

Check out the cross-shot of waffle goodness!


For our second choice, we went savory with a Vegetable Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake/omelet hybrid filled with veggies like shitake mushrooms and crispy napa cabbage, and topped with Kewpie mayo and a mysterious sauce similar to a hoisin. This was our time to try okonomiyaki, and it will definitely not be our last! I can just imagine how great the chicken and seafood varieties are.

We decided to take our time coming back, and checked out a few of the little shops lining the street. We also took a side trip to one of our favorite spots, North Market, where E convinced me to try some Morbier, a super-stinky cheese he’s been wanting for years. Surprisingly delicious, the Morbier turned out to be much milder than it smells, with a nice nuttiness. I shared in, and ate about 1 1/2 oz. of the cheese with a little more than half of a wholemeal roll.

We headed back to the convention for a few hours, and picked up a small lunch since we weren’t eating dinner for a while. I had another packet of salmon and avocado sushi.

I also had a few of these teeny hash browns, were were really fresh and crisp. Yum!


Later on, I’ll be posting our experience at dinner, and don’t forget to vote for me here. Also, Eating Bird Food is having a sparkling giveaway which you need to check it out, so head on over!

on the road again

30 May

I made a pretty important decision this morning – I’m not tracking my food or exercise intake all weekend. I tend to get a little obsessive, and I’m trying to eat like a normal person, and normal people to obsess over or record every bite and step. Don’t worry – I’m not going to take this as an excuse to shovel down everything in sight! I will pay attention to what I eat, and enjoy every bite, meaning if I don’t enjoy the first taste, there will be no second. We’ll see how this works; if nothing else, it’s an interesting experiment!

We headed down the road pretty late yesterday, and kept waiting and waiting until we were finally both so hungry we couldn’t stand it. We headed over to a Burger King, where I had a pretty mediocre grilled chicken sandwich. Other than it not being the best of condiment choices, I really dislike mayo on most things, so I just got mustard instead.

Thankfully, I’d made my favorite fruit salad earlier in the day, so E and I munched on that for a little while – it definitely made up for the earlier sandwich! Apple, pear, walnuts and cinnamon mixed together with a small container of vanilla Oikos – super simple and delicious!

Side note: Oikos has got to be my favorite yogurt of all time. It’s thick. tangy, high in protein, fat free and low in carbs, and is a great substitute for sour cream or mayo. Love it!

An hour or so later, we got pretty munchy, and broke into the Krinkle Sticks. OMG, these were amazing, and were like a thicker Pringle! Light, crisp and totally yummy, they’re also gluten-free, cholesterol free, dairy free and vegetarian, which means pretty much everyone can enjoy them. E and I were totally fighting over the bag, and it fulfilled both of our snacking needs. It really is Snacident Prevention!


After all that driving it felt really nice to have a room.


Especially one with a view!

We got a corner room on one of the top floors, and the views of downtown are amazing, especially at night. Too bad the internet’s ridiculously expensive! As soon as we checked in, we headed down to the convention, picked up our passes, and headed to the food court to get some dinner. Sushi and Thai? Yes please!

I had an order of salmon and avocado sushi, which was really fresh and tasty.

E and I also shared a plate of veggie Pad Thai – really flavorful, but didn’t taste the same without lime juice, crushed peanuts and tofu.


Tattoo conventions are some of my favorite places on Earth – great people, amazing artists and a heck of a lot of fun. We spent a fair amount of our time at Innerstate, a new live painting exhibition. 40 of the world’s best tattoo artists paint live for 5 days straight from morning to midnight, with convention attendees streaming in and out and a DJ spinning tunes. I honestly could’ve stood there and watched for hours, and we’ll probably be back today and tomorrow. This painting by Muriel Zao had me entranced:

Finished off the night with a trip to the bar, which is always the most popular part of the convention! Started off with some bar mix and a Pearl Harbor Punch – Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, pineapple juice, sweet and sour , a grenadine float and a cherry. Fruity and tangy, this went down like nothing at all! At 92 proof, one was enough for this lightweight!

We needed sustenance to even out all the booze, so E and I split an order of veggie nachos, which were the cheesiest nachos I’ve ever had! I ate a little less than half.


We’re heading to a tea house today for brunch, but expect a recap tonight! If you know of anywhere totally awesome in Columbus, OH that we should check out, leave a comment or e-mail me at livelaughgrow AT gmail DOT COM.

my night ‘Dining Alone’

10 Oct

With E gone for a good part of last weekend, I was cooking for myself alone. I was looking to make something that I couldn’t make for E, so meat was obviously the big thing. However, I didn’t want to choose something that would be intensive to prepare, or that would have expensive or hard to find ingredients.

A couple of weeks ago, Dining Alone featured a dish that combined pork, sauerkraut, apples and potatoes. With Fall upon us, it seemed like the perfect dish to warm me up on a cold night. Plus, sauerkraut makes everything better!


I did adapt the recipe to suit what I had on hand – the original calls for smoked pork chops, but I used regular ones. Next time, I would use the smoked, because I can definitely see where that would add a super flavor. I also used caraway-free sauerkraut, fresh potatoes that I pre-boiled instead of the canned, and Dijon mustard instead of the whole grain.

I adore mustard, so I’ll definitely add more the next time. I don’t think I’d cook the potatoes with everything else next time, simply because I prefer roasted potatoes with a hearty dish like this. Also, if you don’t love sauerkraut, I would make a smalled portion of the mixture, and serve it on the side.

I served this with some steamed carrots seasoned with lemon pepper and Mural of Flavor.


Pork with Sauerkraut, Apples and Potatoes
adapted for a recipe featured on Dining Alone

  • 3 fresh pork chops, thick cut and boneless
  • 20 oz. sauerkraut, fresh (if you’re unable to find fresh, use bottled)
  • 4 small potatoes, boiled and sliced ( I used a combination of redskin and Idaho)
  • 2 small apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange the potato slices in a baking dish.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chopped apples, the drained sauerkraut and the mustard.
  4. Stir everything together, and pour on top of the potato slices.
  5. Top with the pork, and pour the apple juice on top .
  6. Bake, covered, for 1 hour, or until everything is heated through and the pork is cooked.


I’m sending this over to Joelen for her Oktoberfest Round-Up – hope she enjoys it as much as I did!

Iron Cupcake:Earth – Quite the Challenge

22 Sep

When I first learned about Iron Cupcake:Earth, I was really excited; I love to experiment in the kitchen, learn new techniques, and watching Iron Chef, so it seemed like the perfect competition for me. Ever since this month’s secret ingredient, basil, was announced, my mind’s been swarmed with ideas – citrus, melon, tomato and many others, working themselves out in combinations from the safe to the surreal. I knew I wanted to take part, and E was willing to be my guinea pig, so I signed up.

In the end, I chose a cupcake that wasn’t complicated or pretentious, but simple, flavourful, and delicate. Since most of my kitchenware is still in storage, the only tools I had at my disposal were a balloon whisk and a mixing bowl. Yup, I created this using pure muscle! The biggest challenge, strangely enough, came not from the cupcakes themselves, but from pure luck. From the canister holding 5 litres of flour breaking in half while full, to the smoke alarm going off as the result of hot dishwater, it’s been quite the trip. There were at least three incidents that caused me to almost pull out my hair and quit, but I’m glad I didn’t – these babies were worth it.

For the Basil round of Iron Cupcake:Earth, I’ve made a cupcake that I like to call the Interlude, as to me, it pairs together the best that both Summer and Fall have to offer, so it’s perfect at a time like this. The cake pairs apple and mango that have been marinated in Balsamic vinegar and roasted in the oven with some fresh Italian basil, and the icing is a thick glaze featuring lemon and more basil. I had my doubts, but these were amazing! They had an almost bread pudding texture, due to my lack of completely creaming the butter and upping the fruit content, and they were delicious both with and without the icing, hot or cold.The basil shone through without overpowering the other flavours, and everything meshed really well.

My test-tasters were E and his friend Travis; Travis, who hates both fruit and anything green, was up first. I didn’t want to turn him off, so I didn’t tell him any of the ingredients, and he didn’t get icing on his. His first reaction? “This is really good – what’s in this?” When I told him, he was surprised that not only did they taste great, but that he liked them – he said he’d definitely eat more of them. E loved them, and had them iced, both warm and straight from the fridge. He gave them a 9 1/2 out of 10, and judging by how quickly they’re disappearing, they’re a winner in his eyes, too. I’m definitely going to be making these again, and I wouldn’t change a thing – this was definitely a memorable experience, and I can’t wait for the next challenge!

As much fun as this was, it’s still a competition, which means some incredibly awesome prizes are up for grabs, such as:

A current publication from the publication library of Taste of Home magazine

Head Chefs by Fiesta Products

A metal signet ring from Metal Sugar

“Hello Cupcake,” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

The Cupcake Courier

A Jessie Steele Apron

Voting begins on Sunday, September 28th and ends on Thursday, October 1st at Noon at No One Puts Cupcake in the Corner – You can also click on the badge in the right sidebar to vote. Don’t worry, I’ll write up another entry reminding you to vote, and hopefully, it’ll be for me!

Now onto the cupcakes!

This recipe has three parts: the roasted fruit, the cake itself and the glazed icing, and is the amalgamating adaptation of one of Chockylit’s cupcakes and A Good Appetite’s icing. This makes 12 cupcakes, and is a definite must-try!

For the Balsamic Roasted Fruit:

  • 1 apple, sliced in half and cored
  • 1 mango, sliced in half, pit and peel removed
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the fruit in a container, and drizzle vinegar on top.
  3. Cover with lid, shake for 10 seconds, and let marinate for 20 minutes.
  4. Once marinated, drain fruit, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, turning fruit over once during cooking.
  5. Cool for an hour, remove the skin from the apple, and cut the fruit in chunks.
  6. Set aside.

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup roasted fruit
  • 4 large basil leaves
  1. In an electric mixer (I used a whisk), beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg beat until combined.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to the mixer along with the milk and beat to combine.
  5. Chop the basil leaves.
  6. Fold the roasted fruit and the basil into the batter.
  7. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, and then rotate the pan.
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

For the Glazed Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • milk
  1. Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, basil and 1 teaspoon of milk.
  2. Add more milk as needed by 1/2 teaspoon amounts until you achieve your desired icing consistency.
  3. After icing, allow cupcakes to sit until set, about an hour.