Wednesday, February 29, 2012

crab & corn chowder

Well, hello there. Did you forget who I am? I wouldn't blame you if you did. I took a bit of a hiatus in the past few weeks. I blame parental visits, trips to New York City and final projects due. It's been busy and I've missed cooking and baking! However, some exciting news - while I was away, I was given a Leibster award! This is an awesome award given to the smaller blogs. I'm looking forward to posting more about the award and recognising other bloggers. Thank you so much to Tobias at T and Tea Cake!

Back to my lack of posting, I made up for it today - I made crab & corn chowder, pickled jalapeno cornbread and rhubarb pie. I guess you could say I was on fire? At the very least, I was bitten by the cooking bug (and pressed to do a self-portrait for one of my classes, which, believe it or not, necessitated the baking of pie) and I have a few recipes ready to go for those who are interested in the creative musings of squirrel brains.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

coconut vanilla bean cupcakes

I made these cupcakes days ago but I'm still eating them. I'm not gonna lie, they're kind of stale now. But they're still so good! I'm all alone, my other half has left me to go to a conference in Banff and I have nobody to help me out. Seriously. I've eaten lots of cupcakes. The thing that's saving my waistline is that, without Adam here, and facing an impending due date for a final project, I've been eating nothing but tofu stirfries and apples. And cupcakes. Ugh.

Can I tell you what I love so much about these cupcakes? They're flavoured with reduced coconut milk. That's right. You boil up some coconut milk in a pot for about 45 minutes until it's nice and thick. It's a coconut punch in the face. That's a good thing. If you even think about putting any other coconut flavouring in here, I will rain judgement down upon you so hard. Just trust in good quality coconut milk. Trust in its goodness. It will not fail you. It will provide you with moist, coconutty cupcakes. Substantial in their cakeyness (cakiness?), but also described by one guinea pig as "light." Good - all those sticks of butter fooled you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

fettucine with ricotta, baby arugula and fresh herbs

Do you ever come out of a restaurant thinking, that was alright, but I could make it better? Sometimes I find the idea of something to be so much more appetizing than what arrives at my table when eating out. Case in point, fettucine with ricotta, arugula and fresh herbs.

I can't remember the name of the restaurant I had this at. I can't even remember which fresh herbs were used. The dish was pretty forgettable. It needed salt. It was flavourless. It was just... blah. But when I had read the description on the menu, the idea of pasta tossed with fresh unripened cheese and peppery arugula, it sang to me. What could have gone wrong?

With the ingredients carefully analyzed but long forgotten, I embarked on a new adventure to take this spectacular idea and make it taste spectacular, too. In my basket went baby arugula and fresh basil. Ricotta cheese, heading into its last week before expiration, sat at the ready in my refrigerator, as did two whole bunches of parsley (whoops) and a mountain of fresh thyme. Add to those a few old rinds of cheese just begging to be used, and I had the arsenal required to blow the blah pasta dish I had so many months ago out of the water.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

rice cooker breakfast for one (or, sweet almond rice)

Have I ever complained to you about my incompetence when it comes to making rice? Seriously. I burn it. I turn it into mush. Sometimes crunchy mush - yes, that is possible. If you lined up all the people in the world who suck at making rice, I'd be at the bottom of the pile. The least skilled person in the entire world. When do I receive my medal?

Up until recently, I got Adam to make the rice, unless he wasn't home. He is less incompetent at rice-making than I am, but he's also pretty bad.

But guess what I got for Christmas everybody... a rice cooker!! The kitchen appliance of my dreams! If you think I'm dreaming small, you don't understand how much of our very own brand of horrid rice we eat. We're big rice consumers here. We eat lots of curries and stir-fries. Practice does not make perfect. Lots and lots of crunchy, soupy, mushy, sloppy rice that we attempt to hide with delectable fragrant curries.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

kalamata olive hummus

Guess what! Tonight I'll have my autofocus 50mm lens. I'm so excited. So ridiculously excited! No more fuzzy photos. I'm bad at focusing. I blame my eyesight... but I could just be a sucky focuser.

I've spent today cleaning up the huuuuuge mess I created in the wee hours of last night, shooting my final project for product photography. Homemade lightbox made of an ikea laundry hamper. For real. Did it work? Yes... pretty well, actually! But I think I'm going to take another pass after I get my new lens.

To keep myself entertained while cleaning up a mess of dried chiles, green cardamom and star anise, I've been watching old episodes of Friends. I just finished the episode where Rachel walks out on Ross because she discovered the pro/con list he made when deciding whether or not to break up with Julie for her. If I had a pro/con list for Adam, which I don't, one con would be that Adam doesn't like olives. In fact he hates them passionately. A pro, however, would be that he humours me and will still eat any food I make that has olives in it. Generally, I don't call on his generosity very often, but once and a while I have to have my olive fix.

Today was one of those days... so hummus happened.