Friday, December 30, 2011

Zucchini Bread. Challenge accepted.

Hey guys!

I got a tweet from @hannahjwolf at some ungodly hour (time zones, man, seriously) that I never posted this recipe.

This was originally supposed to hit the site in September, when the zucchini seems to multiply like rabbits. But then I forgot about it.

Seriously, zucchini? Ever heard of birth control?

SO, close your eyes and pretend it's still summer. You know you want to.

Also: I seem to have misplaced the photos I took while baking this. Hello, Google Images.

Zucchini Bread (adapted from The American Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

This zucchini looks like a duck.

Let me tell you a secret, guys. When I say “adapted”, I usually mean “too lazy to go to the store to get the right ingredients”. This particular recipe was made with whatever I could find in the fridge/pantry. What I’m going to do is put the ingredients I actually used and then put what I will probably use next time in parenthesis next to it. That way you can be inspired to make EVEN BETTER zucchini bread.


2 zucchini, normal sized or just 1 if it’s gigantic

1 - 1 ½ cup sugar (Less sugar is better.)

6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

¼ cup vanilla cultured coconut milk “yogurt” (Next time I will use real yogurt, probably something of the greek variety. Coconut milk yogurt is pretty tasty, but it can leave a weird fake-sugary aftertaste even though there’s no fake sugar in it. Totally weird.)

If you like diet soda, you might like coconut milk yogurt.

Vanilla, as much as you want. I trust your judgement.

2 cups all purpose flour (The only reason I didn’t do half whole wheat flour was because we didn’t have any.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

>1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp cardamom

½ tsp salt


Preheat your oven to 375°. Grease two 8” loaf pans.

Shred the zucchini onto a pile of paper towels (I usually go with 3 paper towels) with a large-holed grater. (Giggle because I totally just said “holed”.) Squeeze out as much excess water as you can by wrapping the towels around the now shredded zucchini and, well, squeezing it over a sink or bowl. This step is pretty important if you enjoy your bread to be bread-textured rather than pudding-textured.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla.

In a totally separate large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt. (I should interject here that usually this kind of spice bread calls for allspice, which I totally would have added if I had any. Man, I am the worst food blogger ever.)

Fold the wet ingredients and the zucchini into the flour mix until just combined. I’m going to be honest, I totally mixed instead of folded. Shut up, it turned out fine.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and bake (at 375°) for 30-ish minutes. Check them at twenty. When they’re brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, they’re done.

Let cool in the pan until you only burn your fingers a little when you dump them out on the cooling rack. Let cool a while before you eat it.

This is what it looks like when Emeril makes zucchini bread. Aim for this.


Honestly, I was watching “Sons of Anarchy” while I was baking this. I have a big crush on Ron Perlman.

Do I love Ron Perlman? Or do I love the eight tons of prosthetics he pulls off as hellboy?

BUT RIGHT NOW I am listening to almost my entire punk library because I was feeling old this morning.

Fountain of Youth mini-playlist:

"We’re Only Gonna Die” – Bad Religion

"Beat My Guest” – Adam Ant

“No Voice of Mine” – Strung Out

“Dismantle Me” – The Distillers

“Never Heard of Corduroy” – None More Black

Enough of me. Go hassle Hannah about the KDP New York reunion posts we're all waiting for.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One more..

Non food related but totally worth it post.

Bon Iver is in a work out video!

Keep an eye out for Justin Vernon's flying high five near the  end. This video has officially taken Bon Iver off of my "sit in a hammock, drink PBR and cry" list. Oh, I'll still cry, but it will be from replaying this on my mind grapes.


NPR's 50 best albums of the year

It's finally here!
How many have you heard/bought? The contest is on.

I've only got 11 under my belt. Major fail.
(hint hint Mom- Hanukkah gifts).

50 Favorite Albums

Friday, December 2, 2011

Curry and an NPR sex tape.

I have no idea what Panang means but it's a safe assumption that it's Thai for "really fucking good."

Panang Curry Paste (Adapted from Bon Appetit)
note- you only need 2 Tbsp of this for the curry, so freeze it and use it later. Win Win. 

2 dried chilies de arbol, stemmed
2 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed
2 fresh lemon grass stalks, only the bottom 4 inches. Peel the tough outer later and slice.
3 Tbsp roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp galangal- fresh is best, but jared is okay too.
6 keffir lime leaves- again, fresh is best, but jarred/frozen works too
1 large shallot- chopped
4 garlic cloves- chopped
2 serrano chilies- fresh or dried, chopped.
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

-Place the dried chilies (including the serrano, if dried) in  bowl of hot water, let sit for 15 mins. Drain.
-Throw everything in a food processor. Process until a paste forms- it takes a while.
-Save 2 Tbsp for the curry, freeze the rest. Handy homemakers tips!-use an ice cube tray for handy cubes!

Panang Vegetable Curry (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large shallots- sliced
2 Tbsp Panang Curry Paste- see above
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 c canned, unsweetened, lite coconut milk
1 1/2 c (at least) vegetable broth
8 keffir lime leaves- fresh, frozen or jared.
2 dried chilies de arbol
1 4-lb Kabocha squash- seeded, peeled and cut unto 8 wedges (or 2 acorn squashes, peeled, seeded and quartered).
1 small head of cauliflower- cored and broken into small florets
1 lb carrots- peeled and diced on a diagonal
2 red bell peppers- cut into small squares
1 potato- chopped
1 zucchini- sliced
1/4 c tamarind concentrate (or 2 Tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 2 Tbsp water)
1/2 c thinly slices basil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 12 oz package firm tofu- drain, press for 15 minutes, marinate and then chop into cubes.
1/4 c chopped peanuts
Brown Rice

- Press the tofu for at least 15 minutes. Create the marinade of your choosing- I did soy sauce, tahini, ginger, garlic and siracha. Let sit for at least 1 hour.
-Heat oil in a heavy wide pot (very important!) over medium heat. Add shallots, curry paste and ginger. Stir until shallots soften. Add 1/3 c coconut milk, stir until browned, 4 mins. Add remaining coconut milk, 1 1/2 c vegetable stock, lime leaves and chilies. Stir to blend.
-Add squash, set on sides so that all pieces fit in a single layer. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until squash is tender, 15-20 mins.
-Remove squash from pot, add throw the remaining vegetables in, return the squash to the pot, on top of the vegetables. Cook until tender, 10-15 mins. Take the squash out again, let rest on a plate.
-Stir in tamarind concentrate, half of the basil, lime juice and tofu. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 2 mins. Add more vege stock if too thick.
-Divide curry among bowls, top each with a wedge of squash.
- If you're feeling fancy (let's face it, you can't say no to fancy pants), sprinkle with basil and peanuts. Serve with rice.

This recipe was a little stressful, there are a lot of moving parts and I didn't have a ton of time to bring this masterpiece together.
In times like this, only one thing can calm me down, the dulcet tones of Ira Glass and This American Life
I can't explain it, listening to Mr. Glass automatically brings my heart rate down. I listen to it on the subway now.
I've been listening since I could comprehend language; hoping, scheming and praying that one day I'll have a story weird enough to be on that program.
Plus this allows me to plug the following awkward giggle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get your hoard on

Fall makes me hoard food. I think subconsciously I'm prepping for hibernation and making sure I have enough for the spring, when I emerge from my den, the epitome of hangry (Mom, this mean hungry and angry). 
But I'm not a bear. 
I don't sleep through childbirth, nom on passing tourists or provide a marketing mascot for Coke. 
Instead I overcook and stock the hell out of my freezer. If the world does end, you'll want to be with me. 
But only if there is power. 
Or else we'll eat everything really fast and then hibernate and live off our fat stores. 
Problem solved. 

Minestrone Soup 

1 white onion- minced
1 zucchini- chopped
1/2 c fresh green beans, chopped 
1/4 c celery- chopped
4 cloves garlic- minced
4 c vegetable broth
1 can red kidney beans- drained
1 can small white beans- drained
2 medium tomatoes- diced
1/2 c carrot- shredded
2 tbsp fresh parsley- chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh basil- chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 c hot water
1/2 c red wine (never optional)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 c fresh baby spinach
2 c small shell pasta (use brown rice or other GF pasta to make this gluten free)

-Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.
-Add vegetable broth to pot, plus tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, wine, and herbs and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
-Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency
If you're going to freeze this, put it in gallon ziplock bags and lay flat in the freezer until it's solid. That way you have more room. 
And everything is better with siracha. 

Monagle (see Fig Newton's post) will hold this over my head for years. He knew about this artist before I did...I was just as surprised as you all are. 
While prepping for the long sleep, I was listening to My Brightest Diamond-  "All Things Will Unwind
Shara Worden is an operatically trained version of Joanna Newsom, really similar to Jeseca Hoop.
It's surprisingly beautiful, upbeat and pop-ish, but with really strong lyrics about being a new mother and the global financial meltdown. 
I dig it. 
You win Monagle. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Short bread cookies

Shortbread Cookies (from Chef Magnus Nilsson)
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
10 1/2 tbsp butter- room temp
1 egg- room temp
1 egg yolk- room temp
3 tbsp raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 400
whisk flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl, add butter, mash it in using your fingers until a meal forms.
Whisk egg and yolk in a bowl, add to flour, mix to blend.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll balls of dough (about 2 tbsp worth) (it's very very crumbly, it'll take a while to form a cohesive ball. Be patient). Place on prepared sheets, make hole with your finger on the top. Fill hole with raspberry jam.
Bake for about 12-14 mins. Cool on a rack.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself," that recipe looks great! But, I really need a picture to seal the deal."
I have to apologize, dear KDP aficionados.
In my excitement over baking these amazing cookies, I forgot to take pictures.
So instead of knowing what they look like, just imagine that when you are eating them, your taste buds feel like this:

This tasty firework display is well accompanied with the sweet tune-age of James Blake, a producer/electronic music maker from London. It's pretty amazing, the texture of the arrangements, layering voices, acapella and synthesized, dubstep, chord shifts and drums. 

I'm just discovering London's electronic scene and though it's a shame it's taken me so long, I am very excited for unearthing gems. If you have any good ones, please let me know. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

I am the God of Granola!

That's right. You heard me. I am
This is also a shout out to the God of Cake- Check it out here

I've been in a big make my own everything kick. I like controlling/being able to pronounce what goes into my food.

Enjoy this tried and tested Granola Recipe. Then bow down to it's master.

3 c oats
1 c chopped nuts- I used almonds and cashews
1 c pumpkin seeds
1 c shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 c honey (or Agave syrup)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 c dried fruit- I used raisins, craisins and crystallized ginger.

Cover sheet with foil/parchment paper
Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and spices in a large bowl.
Heat the honey and oil over the stove until smooth, pour over the oats, toss to coat and spread out over the pan.
Bake at 350 for 40 mins, stirring every 10 mins. Let cool

Ginger gives this a really good kick.
Stirring it is very important, or else it'll burn. And then you'll feel my wrath.

Bjork's new album, Biophilla- It began as a collection of songs written about themes of nature,  science and our relationships to them. But of course, Bjork is a go big or go home type of gal, so she also explored how people explore and collaborate with the music. She designed an Ipad app where users could manipulate and remix her songs. It's not really an album, it's a "digital environment." Having researched it after listening, I think it's an album more about the statement that it's making than the music. But that being said, the album still stands on it's own. It doesn't deserve the multi-tasking, distracted listen I gave it. So I'm going to go turn off all the lights, flip on the lava lamp and give it another, full attention listen. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Chickpea Salad EVER

It's been said many times before, but I just moved and am in the slow process of stocking a kitchen.

On this particular night, I got home late and needed to make a lunch to last the next couple of days.
In this situation, my go to is chick pea salad, it's good, it's easy, it turns into an "everything but the kitchen sink" salad very easily. Basically chick pea salad cures all that ails you.

So I start raiding the fridge, I chop veges, I find some craisens, this is going to be best chickpea salad ever. Everything goes into the bowl and I find some farmers market kale I need to use. Yes! I'm in a good place.
I pull out the cans of chickpeas and start to look for my can opener.
And then I realize that I never bought a can opener....

No problem, I was a girl scout, I can figure this out and nothing, I repeat,  NOTHING is going to stand in the way of "The best chickpea salad ever."
So I dig, I'm looking for a pocket knife, anything that will help me free these tiny beans from their tin cage.
And the only implement I can track down is a cheap wine bottle opener.
In my chickpea crazed haze, I figure, this has a sharp end, easy-peasy.

Not so much.

It took 30 minutes to open one can.
I had blisters on my soft middle-class hands for days.
And I ruined the corkscrew.
I'm this serious about chickpeas. 

It's worth noting- there is a 24 hour CVS within 2 blocks of my apartment.
Chickpea crazy thought that this way would be faster.
Never again.

Basic Chickpea Salad's (tried and true by me)
1 can chickpeas- drained (best bets are Progresso, Bush and Goya)
2 Tbsp fresh basil- chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley- chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese- grated
salt to taste

This is a really good "everything but the kitchen sink" salad. Throw it all in, it'll be fine.
Seriously- kale, green onions, mushrooms, black beans, frozen veges, dried fruit, cheese, green onions, feta, olives, artichoke get the picture.
Curried chickpea salad- omit the cheese, add in shredded carrots, craisens and curry powder.

One more reason why you should make this right now:
Chickpeas are very very tasty vessels for Siracha.

Music to accompany your chickpea/destroying cans/corkscrews experience:
I've listened to Chad VanGaalen newest, Diaper Island (NSFW), a couple of times now and I really can't make up my mind. It's not pretty, it's gritty and honest, which I appreciate, but I have to be in a very specific mood to be able to sit down and listen, i.e. breaking a corkscrew to open a dumb can kind of mood.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

KDP's New York Office!

Setting up a new kitchen is fun, expensive and really hard (if you rely on public transportation and have to schlep everything EVERYWHERE (I'll post my rant about the New York schlep later)).

Welcome to KDP's New York Office! Although there is something missing....

Proficient at Photoshop is listed as one of my special skills. 
That's more like it. 

Tofu, Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

Tofu marinade
Soy Sauce
Ginger- grated
Garlic- grated
Chili Garlic Sauce
Firm Tofu

-Press the tofu (Lay the tofu on paper towels, put towels over the block, put a weighted object on the tofu and let sit for 15 mins. Gets some of the water out so it'll take in more of the marinade).
- Cut the tofu into blocks
- Put all ingredients in a bag/container, add in the tofu. The longer you let it sit, the better.
- When ready, saute the tofu over medium high heat until brown-ish.

Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf
1 1/2 c quinoa
1 c vegetable broth
2 c frozen peas, thawed
5 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, thinly sliced
3/4 c chopped shallots
8 oz fresh shittake mushrooms, thickly sliced
14 oz asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces.

-Boil 2 1/2 c water. Add quinoa and 1 tsp salt. Return to boil, then turn to low heat, cover and let simmer for 15 mins.
- Puree the broth, 1 c peas, garlic and 4 Tbsp mint in a blender to make a paste (if you don't have a blender, do as I do and just mash with a spoon until you get bored and call it good).
One thing I need to schlep: a blender

- Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add leak and shallots. Saute until soft and light brown.
- Add mushrooms and asparagus, saute until mushrooms are tender and asparagus is crisp-tender.
- Mix in puree, tofu and 1c peas. Stir until heated through.
- Add quinoa. Stir to coat.


Wilco has a new album: I haven't listened yet.
Clap Your Hands has a new album: I haven't listened.
Bjork has a new album: I haven't listened.
I'm rocking out to this:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pickled Fiddleheads

Bo! Drunkard! It's fall and I'm already yearning for early spring and picking fiddleheads before they grow into big, beautiful ferns *sigh* at least we can make big plans for when that time comes. The first week of May was when the fiddleheads were just right for picking and pickling. I spent a couple of lunch breaks and a few hours after work that week picking bags full of the pretty little green friends as this was my first year knowing what to do with fiddleheads and I had no idea what was involved in prepping them! Turns out it's a major PIA to clean the brown skin-like stuff off of them and I spent as much time cleaning them as I did picking them (seriously, con a friend into helping with that part) but I have no problem guaranteeing that all of the effort is
totally worth it.

Lookit how stinking pretty fiddleheads are!
I spent a lot of time trying to find a simple recipe for pickling and canning my haul and surprisingly to me found a great recipe on the State of Alaska WIC website which goes something like this (with a few changes added by me):

  • Fiddleheads, Raw- about a gallon bag full
  • Garlic, Raw -8ish cloves
  • Shallots, 2 or 3 (I had some laying around and wanted to pickle them)
  • Dill Weed, about a cup fresh from my garden
  • Variety of Fresh Herbs, I used Rosemary, Basil and Thyme
  • Red Pepper 1/4 cup (I don't like spicy things)
  • Water 2 Quarts
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 6 Cups
  • Pickling Salt 1/2 Cup
Pick and clean about one gallon of fiddleheads (best with about 3 inches stem and before they curl out). Place in cold water until ready to blanche them.
Sterilize jars and lids.
Blanche fiddleheads for 5 minutes in boiling water (safety first!). Place them in a colander to drain.

Peel and cut into quarters about 8 cloves of garlic. Set aside in small bowl. Have dill weed and crushed red peppers ready with the garlic and shallots.
In large pan, pour 8 cups water, 6 cups apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup pickling salt. This mixture has to be boiling when poured over fiddleheads.
Take sterile jars out of water and sit on thick towel. Place equal amounts of garlic in each jar. Place approximately 3 stems of dill weed, your variety of fresh herbs and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper in each jar with garlic. Stuff drained fiddlestick on top of garlic, dill and peppers. I try to pack mine tight by pushing the fiddleheads down into the jars, otherwise they tend to be bulky and take up a lot of space.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over fiddleheads leaving a small space at top of jar. Quickly cover with sterile lid and ring and finger-tighten immediately. Boil the jars with lids on for 10 minutes. Remove sealed jars and place on a thick towel or wood cutting board to cool overnight.

After jars cool, check that they have sealed properly. Label and let sit in pantry for a month or two. They are best if served chilled on delicious gouda or atop a tasty bloody mary.

Tunes: While picking I listen to my silly blonde dog run around sniffing marmot poop and while canning I think I was just listening to some NPR.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Cup cakes, cup pies and now cup tarts...Muffin tins are taking over the world. 

Roasted Tomato, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tarts (I invented this shit)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 c sliced mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Phyllo dough- thawed
Butter- melted
Goat Brie- cut into 1 in pieces
Goat Cheese- grated

- Preheat oven to 425.
- Mix the tomatoes, mushrooms. garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper into a oven proof dish. Roast for 30 mins, until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled, but have retained their shape.
- Prep the phyllo cups.
    - Take 1 sheet of phyllo (please see Hannah's Tips for Working with Phyllo), fold hamburger style 2      times, so you end up with a rectangle of 4 sheets. Cut the sheets on the folds, so the 4 are seperate.
    - brush Butter on the square and layer in the muffin tin.
    - Repeat this so that each muffin tin has between 4 and 6 layers of phyllo, creating a cup.
Phyllo prep stations

- Place 1 piece of the brie in the bottom of each tart, spoon some of the tomato mix over, then sprinkle with the grated cheese.

- Bake for 20 mins at 350, until the cheese is melted and the phyllo is golden brown.
- VERY IMPORTANT- Let the cup-tarts rest in the muffin tins for at least 10 minutes. They need to cool quite a bit before you can pull them out and.....
- Stuff your face.


Music stuff:
Black Prarie's Feast of the Hunter's Moon from April 2010.
I'm sure you've all deduced how I feel about The Decemberists and Bluegrass (the answer is pretty f-ing positive), so adding those two together is the best things I've heard in a long time.
Plus, when I play the "this is the soundtrack to the film about my life" game with these tracks, I'm in a Western.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's (still) Greek to me.

I've been wanting to try my hand at stuffed grape leaves for a while. It turned out to be pretty epic. 
Reason 1-The grape leaves had to come from Seattle. One cannot find them anywhere in Juneau. I looked/called everyone and was about to buy already stuffed grape leaves, unroll them and restuff them, but my parents were going down to Seattle and spared me this headache. 
Reason 2- I was pretty hungover when this happened, so grape leaves will always taste like sour tequila burps. I'm also not a huge fan of the oily/briny taste. 
Reason 3- I'm sure they would have cooked more evenly if my family wasn't opening various pot lids and letting heat escape throughout the ENTIRE process. The hangover didn't help this rage either. 

Grape Leaves with Bulgar and Mint (a Michael Symon (Iron Chef!) recipe)

1 1/2 c whole grain bulgar ( Like Bob's Red Mill)
2 1/2 c green onions, chopped
2 c plum tomatoes, chopped
3/4 c fresh dill, chopped
3/4 c fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
40 brined grape leaves, drained (2 7-8 oz jars)
1/4 c olive oil

- Mix the bulgar, green onions, tomatoes, dill, mint, 1/2 c olive oil, lemon juice and cumin in a bowl. Let soak for at least 30 mins,
- Line the bottom of a large pot with 2 layers of grape leaves, covering the bottom completely.
- Open a grape leaf, lay flat with the veined side down (if it's broken or too small you can patch with another one), place 1 Tbsp of the filling in the middle of the leaf.
- Fold stem end over the filling, fold in the sides and roll the leaf up tightly. Place on a flat surface.
- Repeat until the filling is gone.

Step 1

Step 2- Burrito it. 
Step 3- Nom. 

- place the filled grape leaves on the bottom of the grape leaf lined pot, snuggle and layer them together. Pour enough water (about 6 cups) to cover them, also add 1/4 c lemon juice and 1/4 c olive oil.
- place a tart pan (I jerry-rigged a aluminum one to fit) over the leaves and weigh down, using a heavier pie pan, pie weights, marbles etc..
- Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and reduce heat to very low. Cook until the bulgar is soft, about 45 mins.
- Remove from heat and let cool in liquid until room temp. Carefully remove, place invitingly on a platter, like so. 

Greek Salad
Red onion
Kalamata olives

Dressing- olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, pepper.

Currently rocking:
Owen Pallet's Heartland.
It shouldn't be a surprise, but I will do terrible terrible things for a man with a violin and a loop pedal.

In other music land news, guess who has 2 thumbs, speaks limited French and is going to see the Tuneyards in concert next week?

                                                                   THIS MOI

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rhubarb Tarts

Remember how I admitted that I can't grow anything?
I lied.
There is one plant that does not die under my loving, ever-present care and that is rhubarb.

While this miracle may be because I don't actually touch the plants and they just do their own thing, I still regard it as a miracle and thank whatever power at large that inspired this feat.

Right before I chop the miracle plants down to reap their benefits.

Rhubarb Tart (From Bon Appetit)
1/4 c cranberry juice cocktail
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam
40 1/4 inch slices of fresh rhubarb
12 sheets Phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
Finely grated orange peel
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

- Stir the cranberry juice, 1 tbsp sugar and jam in a heavy large skillet, heat until the sugar and jam has dissolved. Remove from heat
- Arrange the rhubarb in a single layer in the skillet, cook over medium low heat, 1 min per side of rhubarb. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 400,
- Put 3 sheets of phyllo (see Hannah's Tips for Phyllo below), on the work surface, brush butter and sprinkle sugar over the sheet. Fold in half and then again, hamburger style both times, to create a rectangle. Cut off the gross edges and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other phyllo sheets to create 4 tarts.
- Overlap the rhubarb slices (10 per tart) on the phyllo, leaving a crust.
- Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of jam to the syrup in the skillet, heat until the jam is dissolved and brush over the tarts.
- Bake the tarts for 15-18 mins, until the crust is brown. The syrup will burn a little if it gets on the baking sheet. Let cool on a rack before serving.

Working with Phyllo (tested and retested by Hannah)- It is a headache.
1. Make sure it is thawed- a couple of days in the fridge and 2 hours at room temp before you work with it.
2. Dampen a kitchen towel, lay it on the work surface, unroll the phyllo (all of the sheets, even if you're only using a couple), lay it on the towel (make sure that the plastic that it comes in touches the towel.
3. Put plastic wrap over the exposed phyllo, cover with a damp towel.
4. Make sure that the phyllo's exposure is limited, it dries out really quickly.
5. When you get pissed at it, remember that a. it's a dough and really not out to ruin your life, and b. no one really cares what the final product looks like, as long as the blood, sweat and tears that went into it isn't visible.
The phyllo in it's damp towel snuggle

Sage Francis- Personal Journals.
And you all thought you had my music tastes pegged.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moving Day!

Dear loyal readers (Hi Mom),

Some of you may know this, but I have accepted and am moving for an internship in New York City.
It's a one way ticket.
Though the  Juneau umbilical cord is stretching, it hasn't snapped.

So, the question that lingers on every one's mind is...
What does this major change mean for Kitchen Dance Party?

The answer:
Not a whole lot.

We live in "The Age of the Internet, " and as we KDP bloggers and guest bloggers begin to spread out in the world, KDP has unknowingly become an experiment in one of the many forms of communication that are available to our eager fingertips and how we can make this over and (sometimes) un-meaningful communication worth something.

Sorry if this becomes sentimental in the coming weeks as we try to figure out how to go on without directly cooking with one another, but know that you are watching a major shift in KDP and it's contributors.
There will still be recognizable elements. I'll still nag the shit out of everyone else to post, scones will be judged and drunken cornbread will be made, never fear.

Upcoming at KDP- it's going to be a little patchy on my end. I have some back log posts to take care of, but it'll be a little while before I can start cooking in NY.

Be very excited for the New York cooking though, because I am bringing this out of storage

It's been a while, dear Cuisinart, hope your processing abilities are up to speed.

So keep reading, Dear Readers (even you Mom). I promise that change is good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Banana Bread, Chocolate Pudding Trifle

Banana Bread (adapted from the Moosewood Favorites)

1 c all purpose flour
Sign's like this are required when cooking at my house.
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c rolled oats
1 egg white
1 egg
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 c mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1/2 c plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 c dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 c raisins

-Preheat oven to 400, spray loaf pan with Pam.
-Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
-Food process or blender the oats until they reach cornmeal-like status. Add to the dry ingredients.
-Whip the egg white for 3 mins, until foamy and increased volume but not stiff peaks.
-Stir in the egg, oil, banana, yogurt, chocolate, walnuts and raisins.
-Fold the wet ingredients in with the dry ones. DON'T overmix.
-Put the batter in the loaf pan and bake for about 40 mins, do the toothpick thing to check.  Cool in the tin for 5 mins and on a wire rack.

Chocolate Pudding! (Also from the Moosewood)

3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

- Combine the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and milk in a sauce pan. Whisk until smooth.
- Cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the pudding comes to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let the pudding simmer, whisking constantly for 3-4 mins.
- Stir in the vanilla, pour into a bowl and let chill for at least 2 hours.

Low-Fat* Banana Trifle 

Sliced bananas
Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Chocolate Pudding
Banana Bread- sliced into 1/2 inch slices

- In a clear pan/jar layer the ingredients in this order: Bread, pudding, banana, yogurt, bread.. and so on. 
- Make sure to end with a pudding or yogurt layer, make it look pretty with banana slices/whip cream/melted chocolate/cinnamon mix. 

* It would be lower in fat if you cut the good shit out...or if you ate celery instead. "Low-Fat" is a made up term to make us feel good about ourselves and I fully embrace it. 

Every time I start to lose faith in humanity, something like the Muppets Green Album comes out. It's really good as inducing childhood nostalgia.
In fact, I'm going to go play in a treehouse.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hunter Gatherer Roots (i.e. KDP is really obsessed with blue berries)

Every August one can find me out picking blueberries.
I'm obsessed.
No matter where I go, I carry a vessel to collect them. Movie theatre, bars, it doesn't matter because there is always a chance there might be some decent berries.
Global market crisis? Who cares, because the best berries can be found _____.
I have spent an entire day driving around Juneau surveying the best spots, determining how much more time they need, how the shaded vs. sun-ed berries compare, how picked over they've been etc...

The funny thing is that I don't actually like blue berries, but there is something very satisfying about using ones own collected/grown food in the kitchen. I would garden, if my black thumb didn't kill all plants that I look at.

The Best Blueberry Pie Ever (from America's Test Kitchen)

Note- this is going to be very specific. Pie making is a science.

Vodka Double Crust Pie Dough- for a 9in crust.
Note- why the vodka? I've made a lot of pie crusts in my day and vodka makes it flaky and improves the texture, but leaves no flavor. It'll be easier to work with, but it makes the dough wetter than the standard, so use more flour when you roll it out. Plus, you're cooking with vodka. Win win.

2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in pieces and chilled
1/2 c vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1/4 c cold Vodka
1/4 c cold water

- Pulse 1 1/2 c of the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined, 2 pulses.
- Add the butter and shortening and process until a dough just starts to form, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and redistribute the dough around the blade. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is even and looks broken up, like corn meal, between 4-6 pulses. Empty the mix into a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle the water and vodka over the mixture, use a fork to toss it together, just until the dough sticks together and is tacky. Break into 2 even balls and flatten each into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

1 recipe of vodka double pie crust
6 c fresh blueberries, de-wormed.
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated (apples have a lot of natural pectin, to help set the filling without using too much tapioca).
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp instant tapioca- ground into a fine powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 1/4 in pieces
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
Sprinkle of sugar

- Remove one of the crust disc's from the fridge and let stand at room temp for 15 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 12 in circle. Move the dough to the 9 in pie plate, ease it into the plate and leave any overhang. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 mins.
- Remove the 2nd disc and let stand at room temp for 15 mins. Roll it out on a floured surface to an 11 in circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a small biscuit cutter (or anything small and circular), cut 6 rounds from the dough, in a circle with 1 in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 mins.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place in oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put 3 cups of berries in a saucepan and mash over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until half the berries have broken down and the mixture has thickened, about 8 mins. Let cool.
- Wring/dry out the grated apple and place in a large bowl. Add in the cooked berries, 3 cups of uncooked berries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, tapioca and salt. Mix. Pour into the pie pan and scatter the top of the filling with the butter.
- Cover the filling with the other dough sheet, pinch the edges together. Trim the layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2 in. Fold the dough under itself and flute the edges to seal.
- Brush the top and edges of the dough with the egg mix and sprinkle with sugar. If the dough is very soft, throw it in the oven for 10 mins.
- Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake for 30 mins. Reduce oven temp to 350 and bake for another 30-40 mins, until the juices bubble and the crust is golden brown. Let cool.
- Wear your purple dyed mouth with pride.

Now you could do a lattice top with this crust, but I'm lazy and I failed 7th grade home ec because I couldn't decorate a cake (I also broke the egg baby and made lovely shorts for twins conjoined at the knees). I'm more into what goes in the food then how it looks, sue me.

I'm in berry overload. I also made these:

Sorry, you won't see the recipe for these muffins here.
They are the best damn blue berry muffins ever and I've made the executive decision to keep the recipe secret. My own mother doesn't know it.
If you're really jones-ing for one, check out Mag's post from a little earlier. They're not as good, but you'll survive.

The gatherer-hunter lifestyle is best when accompanied by the swelling horns of Beirut's new album, available on NPR First Listen for a little while longer. It's really good when you're playing the "this is the soundtrack to the movie about my life" game.