Saturday, August 22, 2009

Faire un pique-nique

Look at those happy clams

Hooray ice cream!

The spread: beet salad, orecchiette, haddock, with a summery cocktail

Grinding sage a little for the cocktail: gin and tonic with basically everything in it: lemon, sage, blueberries

Cuttin' some beets...and turnips

Well this picnic may or may not have actually been a month ago...but it was tasty and joyous nonetheless! We went out into the pasture above the beach on a lovely sunny day and ate some tasties. I made orecchiette pasta (it means 'little ear' maybe gives bow tie a run for its money?) salad with beet greens and herbs.

Since I have a problem, I also made beet/turnip salad with goat cheese. OOh and a crowning achievement: haddock! My parents we're doing some grillan' so they grilled those lovelies with breadcrumbs and I pan-cooked the rest. Oh an ode to fresh fish of the Gloucester!

It was Kathryn's birthday a little while back, so I made a cake: chocolate with brown sugar butter cream. It paired nicely with homemade strawberry ice cream and mango granita!

I support anything al fresco...on the veranda...with Bradly and Madison...preferably on the Vineyard.


Thursday, August 20, 2009


I don't eat a lot of meat. Mostly because I don't eat out a lot, and I don't want to have to take the time to watch what I'm doing because of contamination issues.

But, sometimes, you just want a steak.

This is the steak I wanted to make: Pan Seared Rib Eye

Alton's easy recipe and trusty perfectionism led my wide-eyed, steak making virgin soul to the butcher counter at Whole Foods, where I was promptly disillusioned. There was no way I was paying $24.00 for a steak to serve two college students, I don't care how amazing it is.

I eventually came home with $7.00 worth of Top Round. Top round, top round, how do I know that name, I thought...

Oh, yes, that's the (in my dad's words) "cheap, tough, and dry" cut of meat he uses to make beef roast.


Solution: Marinate!

Marinated Top Round Steak

1 1/2 pound top round steak

Lots of balsamic vinegar

Olive Oil

Garlic, chopped



Lots of freshly ground Black Pepper

A cast iron skillet

At least 3-4 hours before take out a big GLASS bowl and throw that lean piece of beef in there. Cover it completely with balsamic. Yeah, I'm not kidding. Buy the cheap ass not-really-Balsamic Balsamic for this ... not that you can really find real Balsamic in your local grocer's aisle anyway. The vinegar part will break down the connective tissue and the sweet part (even if it's not authentic) will make the steak taste good. Add chopped garlic, a glug of oil, and lots of salt . Let this marinate in the fridge until dinner time.

THEN! IMPORTANT: an hour before you cook, take the steak out of the fridge and marinade and let it rest on a plate to come to room temp.

So, you're ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 400. Now put so much pepper on that steak you think it may suffocate. Now, put more on. You really can't put too much on. I didn't need to salt this steak because I knew I overkilled the marinade. You may have a different situation.

Heat up your cast iron skillet until it's really hot. Add a bit of oil. Put that sucker pepper side down and then pepper the other side. Don't move it! Three minutes or so later, flip it.

Three minutes have passed again, and your steak is super caramelized and wonderful, but I bet the inside isnt perfectly cooked, so put all of it, including your skillet, in the oven. Unfortunately, you are just going to have to figure out when it's done.

Better to stay on the rare side with this cut. It IS a tough, lean steak. Overcook it and it's bound to not taste too good. Thinly sliced is best, and a tab of butter doesn't hurt either.

I'm glad to say my first steak turned out wonderfully.

It was eaten along-side Lemon-Oregano roasted potatoes and sauteed chard. It looked a lot like that photo above before cooking.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cilantro/ makeshift kulfi ice cream

An extra feature: Roquefort and honey ice cream...cheesy!

Herb'd! Ready to freeze

Post-custard mess

Cilantro en ice bath

Right off the farm!

This is a little embarrassing: it seems all I do is make ice cream. Ah well, my consciences is clear! I really like the idea of making desserts with mild herbs like cilantro, sage, or rosemary. Thus, I made a treat starting with some nutty fresh cilantro, the recipe definitely morphed into something like kulfi, the Indian ice cream with spices and nuts.

I made my custard with 4 egg yolks and 1 cup of whole milk (being careful not to scramble the eggs!) and strained the mixture into a bowl with my heavy cream and super chopped cilantro. I boiled the cilantro for a few seconds and tossed it into an ice bath, then ground it up in a blender.

Things were a little bland so I added a bunch of sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and crushed nuts (brazil, almond). Left it to freeze, stirring ocassionally. Colorful and tasty and refreshing!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kahlua Custard

I had extra chocolate tart dough, and didn't want to leave it in the fridge for too long, so last night I pushed the extra into two ramekins and then thought and thought of what to fill it with. Eventually, I came up with the obvious choice: custard. I found a simple vanilla custard recipe, but decided to peruse the liquor cabinet for a sumptuous addition and settled on Kahlua. After it got all browned and set and smelled like coffee, I topped it with crushed Macadamias for some continuity. Yom.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Raspberry Tart: The Result II

Because my Living Room had better lighting.

Raspberry Tart: The Result

I would serve this at room temperature, and if I had a sprig of mint, it would be on that puppy so fast. Although I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't find fresh currants at Wegman's, this is obviously the clear substitute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Raspberry Tart: The Process

Grated Butter for Crust
Pureed Raspberries and Sugar ready to boil

Chocolate Tart dough made by grating frozen butter and hand kneading. Kept in the fridge for a half an hour or so, and ready to bake.

The baked shell, sides cleaned up with a pizza cutter, filled with the raspberry filling that has been spiked with gelatin!

Making ganache...

Ganache made....

Once the gelee is cooled, pour the ganache on top.

Currently setting in the fridge is a raspberry gelee/chocolate ganache tart: a spin-off of my much coveted Red Currant tart by Palachinka. The only condition: I'm using a removable-bottomed cheesecake pan instead of a traditional tart tin, but so far this has proved to only be a minor disability. The final result will reveal itself tomorrow...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ode to a beet

Beet porn!

Simple sautee with beets, zucchini, green onions, and beet greens.

Wee beets! From Gloucester charming road-stand

Contrary to some kid complex, that same one that abhors spinach and other leafy healthy things, beets are the best thing ever. Contrary to popular belief, bears do NOT beat beets.

1. They are a beautiful magenta, joyfully staining your hands and everything else they touch
2. They are sweet and earthy and perfect in texture
3. They have greens good as chard

Some wonderful ways to prepare beets:

I definitely would cook them, either boil or wrap in aluminum foil and bake around 400 for 25 minutes, or until soft (for both methods). Then, peel off the skin and make a nice warm beet salad with goat cheese, nuts, and grapefruit or chill and make a lovely cold salad, or sautee with more fresh vegetables, the greens, and vinegar, or just be impatient and make your hands and face purple with delight!

The moral: go buy some beets and be well!

Some incentive:

"Remember all those legendary Russian centenarians? Beets, frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer."

Read more about how awesome they are.


Friday, August 7, 2009

One Week Home

I am always really really excited to go home. For many reasons. First of all, I love the house I grew up in, especially in the summer time. There is a hammock and a frog pond and flowers and vegetables and a big front yard. And there's the kitchen. We have a really nice kitchen that my dad basically re-did himself. I won't pretend that a big reason why I'm excited to go home is not so I can use that kitchen.

Here is my list of to-makes while I'm home. I'm putting it down so hopefully I will hold myself to them, although I don't think it will be that difficult to motivate me to craft goodies with the nice equipment and money allotment my parents can provide.

1. Red Currant and Chocolate Tart
2. Soft Pretzels
3. Bulgogi
4. Fish Tacos
5. Grilled Pizza

And hopefully I can get my hands on my parents' nice camera :)


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Aye comrades, it is true, that our cameras suck mostly but still we make things! Well now that it's August...there STILL no excuse for not canning. There's a lot of quite delicious fruits and veggies.

Take cucumbers for example. They taste good...when pickled! It's quite easy: boil water, white vinegar, and salt. Pour into jars with dill weed, garlic, peppercorns, and cucumbers. Process with enough boiling time so you don't get botulism later. DONE. Come October or November you can whip these babies out of hiding.


More Inspiration

I think it's always good to keep looking out for what the pros are doing. In this case, the food-blogger pros may be just like us, but with better cameras. All it takes to successfully food blog is the promise that you'll actually MAKE something and the hope that whatever you make can be photographed properly. Now I won't speak for Suzanne officially, but I think she'd agree that our photographic capabilities and resources are minimal. Because of this, I must vicariously live through some other's photographic renderings of food experimentation. And I think all of you who view PERPETUAL HUNGER! deserve a little eye candy every once in awhile, at least until we get all fancy cameras n' stuff.
Here are the corresponding websites to the pictures:
Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pizza

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chocolate "Sherbet"

(No, not mine. But it looked a lot like that, really!!!!)

Dairy's been kicking my ass lately, so I thought I'd do a little experimentation based quite loosely on David Lebovitz' Chocolate Sherbet recipe. Sherbet, as opposed to Sorbet, contains milk. In this case, Soy Milk.

So I took 2 Cups of Soy Milk, 3/4 Cup of Cocoa Powder, one chopped banana, a bunch of tablespoons of thick apple butter, and a healthy couple of twirls around the pot of honey into a sauce pan. I brought it all to a boil and whisked it together. Somehow it came together nicely, and after boiling, I pureed it in my blender and set it to cool. Is it possible that this dessert could be good for you AND actually work?

Somehow, it cooled into a just slightly sweet chocolate pudding?!?!? How this happened, I do not know. It is in the freezer now, and all we can do is wait and see....

UPDATE: SUCCESS. Using Mr. Lebovitz's making-ice-cream-without-a-maker tutorial, I successfully crafted a perfectly smooth decadent fudgy non-dairy (low-fat if you dig that too!)dessert! (Sorry for lack of photographs). I think the apple butter/banana additions assisted this achievement. How the custard came out so thick and pudding like will forever befuddle me, but it worked.


One Stop Dinner: Murray's Cheese

Title not entirely true... we bought produce elsewhere.

And although you'd think that since Murray's ( is quite famed/tourist destination, the prices would be off the wall, the opposite is true.

FRESH Pasta: Enough for three people or two really fucking hungry people. $3.00.

Fresh Ricotta: A very generous container full of the best ricotta I've had. $3.00.

A Chunk of Prosucitto: That's right. A Chunk. No, not slices. $3.50.

All grand quality.

Grab a zucchini and a lemon or two from the market and you're pretty set to go assuming you have olive oil and garlic. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes in salted water. Meanwhile, heat up some oil and cook pretty shaved zucchini slices and garlic. Throw in the chunks of proscuitto that you've rendered from the big chunk at the end. Take this all off the heat, throw it in a bowl and squeeze in some lemon juice. When the pasta's ready add it to the bowl and toss. Spoon in globs of fresh ricotta.

This is nice because the shaved zucchini twirls up in your fork with the pasta :) I still have leftover ricotta and prosciutto, too, and had leftover pasta this morning.