Friday, May 30, 2008

Time to restock the fridge

They came and fixed my fridge yesterday. Apparently it has something to do with the sensor timer thing for the heater whatever. After the repair guy left I did a pretty serious lysol job on the fridge.

So now I have a mostly empty fridge. I have butter, mustard, soda, leftover spaghetti I made a few days ago and kept in the fridge at work and left over pasta salad that my boss brought in.

So what do I need and what do I want to make? Here are some of the things I am thinking about:
Eggs, always need eggs
Dairy - but what kind? That will depend on what I want to make, see other items
Molten cheesy bread

Ina Garten's Herbed baked eggs
Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken
Ina Garten's Pasta, Pesto and Peas (I am thinking about joining the Barefoot Bloggers, I figure I'll try a few recipes, then see)
Corn and Ham cupcakes
Rice Flour Fritters (maybe add something in them, not sure what yet)
Cheese souffle

Hazelnut shortbread cookies (Dave Lieberman's recipe that I have made so many times because it is so good and easy)
Chocolate rolls (though I still have to find Dutch process cocoa or make a sub)
Baklava (not sure what recipe or if I am going to follow one)
Cardamom (or maybe another flavor?) pound cake
Afternoon chocolate cake
Some type of cookies

I will need to make a cake later for Wednesday and I want to make the buttercream again... it was so tasty last time and I have to figure out how to decorate it decent.

I should probably consider trying to use up what's in the freezer... I have puff pastry, a few things of ice cream, some turkey, cod fillets (that really aren't that good... not sure what I'm gonna do with them, maybe fish cakes?), lots of butter

I also have a bunch of rolls that are probably a bit stale by now.

So many choices.... What should I make?


So we found this new restaurant, Cocosala. They call it a chocolate lounge and boutique. It has a bunch of appetizer bites and then a selection of 5 course desserts! We obviously needed to go there. So I made plans to go down for the weekend even though I'd been there not that long ago.

We made a reservation for 8:30 on Saturday. We showed up at 8:20 and were promptly seated. The place was very modern/trendy. Most of the tables were full, at least on the side where we were but there were 2 sides divided by the bar and I couldn't really see the other side.

Since I realized I forgot to check out the bathroom at Kinkead's, this was my first mission when we got to Cocosala. The bathroom was a single bathroom, with a toilet and sink, not stalls. I don't know if there was another one or if it was just one for the restaurant. They maintained the modern feel of the restaurant. They had a glass top on the sink that was a smooth surface down to the drain. I like that. They had standard aluminum toilet seat covers and paper towel dispenser took away from the modern feel. And the door was weird. Fortunately I was just washing my hands because I wasn't really sure if I had locked the door. Also, the door was open when I got back there. I'm not sure I would have identified it as the bathroom if it had not been. I left the door open when I left because that's how it was when I got there and I wasn't really sure what was appropriate etiquette.

So our waitress came to our table. She recommended 2-3 of the Cocobites (the appetizer type things) each and share a 5 course dessert so that's what we decided to do. This is what we got:

Shrimp mac 'n cheese - mini penne, jack and cheddar, garlic, shrimp, jalapenos - It came in a little square bowl with a shrimp wrapped in fried noodles on a skewer. The skewer was crisp and a nice alternative to standard breading. The mac 'n cheese had a real rich creamy sauce, no shortage of cheese there, that had a pretty good kick from the jalapenos

Crispy louisiana crabcake - mango salsa, chipotle chocolate tomato glaze, avocado cilantro emulsion - This thing was delicious. One of the best crab cakes I have ever had. Lots of crab but a nice fine bread crumb on the outside that was perfectly fried. The sauce was sweet and tangy and went perfectly with the crab cake.

Spicy moroccan swordfish slider - fennel salad, aged pecorino, hazelnut coffee dressing. The slider was OK, though a bit too much bun, relative to the filling. The swordfish had a pretty strong flavor, like swordfish usually does, but it was a bit overwhelming.

Maine lobster salad - lemon aioli, cucumber, crushed avocado, greens, corn bread, passion chocolate vinaigrette. Flavorwise this was good. The way it was put together was a bit difficult. They had the real thin cucumber slices like pressed on the outside so the only way to eat it was to knock down the cucumber, hope it didn't fall off the plate and load it up.

Overall, the appetizers were very good, though rather sweet.

And for the dessert: xocolayl, Aztec experience

Amuse - churros with cinnamon cream & dulce de leche dip - The churros were really good though I didn't really get dulce de leche in the dip, it kinda just tasted like a cream.

Main dessert - hot chocolate souffle with fiery chocolate center and kahlua soother - The hot chocolate souffle had a real kick to it. It was real pretty and so you broke into the souffle and got a real rich chocolateyness and then this peppery back of the throat afterkick that made you go wow. The kahlua soother was ok, though the souffle was the real focus on this dish.

Intermezzo - papaya & lime margarita sorbet with papaya stick - The sorbet was quite good. Real flavorful and well churned and smooth. I didn't get to try the papaya stick but when I asked how it was the answer I was given was 'no good' by the person who ate it before he realized he finished it.

Cheese course - pepper cheese enchilada with guava sauce - The enchilada was really good. In the enchilada the cheese was real melty and gooey which the guava sauce complimented nicely. There were a couple pieces of the cold cheese on the plate and that didn't work as well with the sauce.

Petit fours - chocolate infused horchata & mexican wedding cookie. The cookie was really delicate and buttery. It had a pecan on top. Apparently horchata is a beverage made of ground sesame seeds, almonds, rice or something else like that. Well I'm guessing ours was sesame because there was a stick in it of white chocolate with sesame seeds on it and there was something sweet I couldn't quite identify. The sesame stick was really good. The drink I wasn't uber memorable so I don't remember.

Service was prompt, though they still have some kinks to work out. The girls all had these red wrap shirts that, by themselves, were very low cut. They each had a Cocosala pin that went in the middle and depending on where they put the pin, lessened or enhanced the cleavage bearing. A few wore a black shirt underneath and they all had short black skirts on. The guys, on the otherhand, were not so snazzy looking. They also had red shirts but they were just basic t-shirts that weren't particularly well cut, at least not on the 1 guy that was there.

They didn't really have a cohesive message when we asked our waitress to explain the place to us. All she told us about were the cocobites and the 5 course items. There was a whole other page of the menu that she never said anything about. Those were the drinks, you could get hot chocolate trio's and some other desserts in case you didn't go for the 5 course I guess.

The chairs were a little weird. They were like modern sofa type things, except there was only 1 arm. The tables were a smooth black solid glass type thing. No table cloth. I actually think this looks better because it's cleaner and less fussy. Black napkins. Lighting was really dark, like barely read the menu dark.

One of the owner's came by our table during our 5 course dessert and initially wanted to talk but then it seems he only wanted to know how we heard of the place. After that he moved on pretty quick. The place is obviously pretty new if the owner is coming in still. And he was having dinner with what looked like his coowner and their dates at about 9:30 or so, towards the end of our meal.

Overall it was a tasty meal, though I think I would have ordered more food if I were to do it again. We left, not starving but not like full. The 5 course dessert was not overwhelming, which was a slight concern before we went though not really for me because I can never have enough dessert. It's like that Visa or whatever commercial where the lady was all excited to have dinner reservations at that fancy place and the food was ... small... so afterwards they went and got more food. We didn't get more food though there may have been a snack when we got home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers: Opera Cake

Well this was my first Daring Bakers challenge. And this was my first opera cake. Definitely an experience. The recipe itself is so long and has so many parts. It took quite a while to put together. A lot longer than most of me more typical weekend baked goods. Though in looking at the recipe, I had almost all the ingredients already. The only things I had to get was more eggs (I only had 8) and raspberries (I bought frozen since they are so much cheaper and I am mashing them anyway)

It came out OK. But definitely could have been better. I've been on a lemon kick lately so I went with lemon, raspberry and vanilla flavorings for this cake. I probably should have ground the almonds finer. In the cake, you can still feel the pieces of almond. Maybe I could have looked for almond meal but I wouldn't even know where to look.

The recipe called for 2 15xsomething jelly roll pans, and then you cut the cakes so you end up with 3 squares. Well I don't have that size pan and even if I did, it wouldn't fit in my oven. So this is what I decided to do. I have an 8x8 and a 7x9 pan. I baked 3 cakes in each. For assembly I put the 3 cakes of each size together so effectively I ended up with a 3 layer 8x8 and a 3 layer 7x9. It worked. Though I overcooked one layer because on the last set I took 1 pan out and started working on other stuff when I went oh crap, the other one is still in there.

The syrup is just a simple syrup. They say to do it on the stove but that seems like a waste of a pan. I had a 1 cup little prep bowl that I did it in. I just poured boiling water over the sugar and let it dissolve the sugar and stirred in the vanilla paste. I did all the chocolate melting in the microwave even though the original recipe calls for stovetop. Just remember to stir it every 30 seconds or so so that the chocolate doesn't burn.

I've never made a French buttercream before but this was easier than I expected and came out really creamy and smooth. Definitely will try it again next time I need icing for a cake, and try incorporating other flavors. Though next time I won't stick it in the fridge overnight, I'll ice the cake right away. Perhaps by then I'll get a candy thermometer that works too. Though mine seemed to work out OK even though my thermometer didn't work so I pretty much just watched it come to a boil for a few mins and called that close enough.

Is it sad that my shoulders and back are sore from making this cake? My counter is too high and this cake took quite a while so my shoulders hurt from being all hunched up while making it. Oh well. The cost of making sugary goodness I guess.

When I put the glaze on, I thought, wow, this cake is ugly. The 'glaze' ended up way too thick, maybe I should have measured the cream, rather than just pouring some in until the consistency looked OK. I measured everything else but for some reason decided I didn't need to measure at that point. I think because I didn't have a scale so I was just guessing on how much chocolate I had anyway and the amount of cream is just relative to the chocolate.

When I cut it into pieces it looked a bit better but the mousse was too soft for that much chocolate on top so the mousse ended up oozing out of a lot of the pieces when I was cutting into it. Maybe having some gelatin in the mousse would have helped. Or less raspberry. Everyone else's pics that I have seen so far look so much prettier but oh well. I'm not big on pretty anyway.

The whole endeavor took me about 4 hours to do all the prep on day 1 and then another hour or 2 on day 2 when I realized it would have worked better if I had assembled the cake up to putting the mousse on the cake. Ah well. Not my best cake but not too bad. And I still have a little bit of that vanilla simple syrup and a bunch of the lemon buttercream. I will have to find something to use those up on.

A Taste of Light: Opéra Cake

For the joconde
What you’ll need:
•2 8x8 pans
•butter flavored cooking spray
•parchment paper
•a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
•two mixing bowls (you can make do with one but it’s preferable to have two)

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
1⁄2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. (11⁄2 ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
zest of 1 lemon

1.Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
2.Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C).
3.Line pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
5.If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Grind almonds in a food processor with about 1-2 tbsp flour to keep it from clumping while grinding. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on med-high speed.
6.Add the flour and fold in with a rubber spatula just until the flour is just combined.
7.Fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter and lemon zest. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
8.Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.
9.Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan if necessary. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
10.Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

For the syrup

1⁄2 cup (125 grams) boiling water
⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla paste
1.Mix water and sugar until sugar dissolves.
2.Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla paste.

For the buttercream

What you’ll need:
•a small saucepan
•a candy or instant-read thermometer
•a stand mixer or handheld mixer
•a bowl and a whisk attachment
•rubber spatula
2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (60 grams) water
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1 large egg yolk
13⁄4 cups (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, zest and juice

1.Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
2.Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (124◦C) on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat. Or if you don't have a thermometer or you find out while making it that apparently your thermometer doesn't work, bring to a boil and let it boil for a couple minutes.
3.While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
4.When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
5.Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
6.While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
7.With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
8.At this point add in the lemon juice and zest and beat for an additional minute or so.
9.Refrigerate the buttercream. Make sure to let teh buttercream come to room temperature and mix it up a bit before icing the cake.

For the white chocolate ganache/mousse

What you’ll need:
•a mixer or handheld mixer
7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
1/4 raspberries, mashed and strained

1.Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in the microwave. Stir occasionally while heating to make sure it doesn't burn
2.Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool completely.
3.In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
4.Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse. Fold in the raspberry pulp.
5.Refrigerate it overnight.

For the glaze

14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup heavy cream (35% cream)
1.Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
2.Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
3.Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Assembling the Opéra Cake
Note: The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.
Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.
Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.
Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Need to eat eggs!

So my fridge died this weekend while I was gone. I went to get a drink this morning and everything was warm. Th

I have chucked most of the stuff now. The stench was horrible. There was all sorts of growth in my produce drawer. That's putting it nicely. I had a fridge pretty much completely full and now I have a small cooler that fit everything. That's kinda sad.

The milk was scary. It was an unopened carton and it was bulging. Really bulging. Like I was afraid to pick it up because I was afraid it was gonna pop and spew chunky milk all over the place bulging.

I have kept the eggs, they are OK for a few days at room temperature. But I need to make them soon.

So what do I make with a dozen + eggs? Keep in mind all my milk, yogurt, cheese and lots of other stuff just got chucked so I am somewhat limited on other ingredients.

I am thinking about hard boiling them and then eating them for the next couple days but that's pretty boring.

I could scramble some and make like breakfast burrito's and put them in the freezer (the freezer still works, thank god). I have bacon in the freezer and onions so that could actually work. That or put them in a container and make them into sandwiches at work (I have rolls in the office)

I could make egg salad. The only problem with that is I'd have to make mayonaise, and then I'd have to take it to work until my fridge is working again and I have onions but no celery to add to it. Alternatively, I could open a new thing of salad dressing, add chopped egg and onion and call that egg salad.

What else can I do?????? Help!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kinkead's and a sad weekend

I know, I'm slow. But I got around to writing it at least.

The weekend before last I went down to DC. There were a couple goals:

First, go to a restaurant supply store. K-Ram said he'd seen one and was all proud of himself for finding something I like. So on Saturday we head over there. We fought our way into the parking lot and into a spot despite some very badly parked cars. We walk up to the door to be greeted by a sign that says only restaurant owners with proof were allowed. After all that we went back to the car and left. It was sad. Strike one.

Second, get a bottle of decent olive oil that isn't rediculously expensive. I was not thrilled with my choices at Walmart. I wanted a bottle I could use up in 6-12 months that was tinted and not rediculously expensive. So we went to Costco. Their olive oil is supposed to be decent. So we get there and I go in search of olive oil. They only had gallon size bottles. That's not gonna be used up in 6-12 months. And the bottles weren't tinted. Strike two.

Next was dutch process cocoa. I have a few recipes I've been wanting to try that need dutch process cocoa. The one I was looking to make was chocolate rolls. We looked at Costco though I didn't really expect it to be there. We went to Whole Foods and I expected it to be there. We went down every aisle repeatedly because I felt strongly that it should be there. Eventually I accepted that it was not. I was pretty devastated at this point so we went to Harris Teeter, to make a final try. No luck there either. Strike three.

Strike three. I think that's when something bad happens in baseball right? Isn't the game over or something? Anyway, I lost. My coworkers would be devastated to hear that thought.

I did some searching and apparently Dutch Process cocoa powder is seasonal. Not sure what season but I guess I'll keep watching until whatever season it is comes along. I also found another restaurant supply store that is open to the public. It's right next to the place we were at. Haha. Well at least it gives me something to look forward to this weekend. And I bought an appropriately sized bottle of olive oil from Aldi's. It was only $4 and I've been pretty happy with the quality of everything else I've gotten there so far so hopefully this will work out well. That was a major impulse purchase day. That will have to be another post maybe.

Anyway, there was a better part of the weekend. We had made reservations at Kinkead's. At 8:50 we showed up for our 9:00 reservation. Our table wasn't ready so we sat at the bar for like 20 minutes until it was. It's a pretty nice place, kinda sophisticated and a lot quieter than a lot of the other more trendy places. Apparently huge but the space was broken up a lot so it's hard to say. We chose most of our meal from the chef's specialties section.

We started with a crabcake that was quite good. Very Maryland, lotsa crab, not much filler. They also had a really good mustard sauce with it. Mmmm mustard sauce. It wasn't uber breaded so it came apart really quickly.

I got a cod dish that had a crab thing on it, with cornbread and whipped sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were a lot like the sweet potato souffle we attempted to make a while back. Theirs of course was prettier. The cornbread had little bits of ham in it that gave it a bit of smoky salty goodness. The cod and crab part had a really creamy sauce that was a bit much. Clearly I am getting old because I never used to think any sauce or dish was ever too sweet or too rich.

K-Ram had a salmon thing that had some mixed vegetable thing that when the waiter described it, it sounded like a puree but turned out not to be, which is probably a good thing. Puree'd crab meat just seems a little strange.

Last was dessert. I got the lemon trio and K-Ram got the creme brulee trio. My lemon trio had a lemon granita with a lemon cream underneath it, a tart with lemon curd in it and one other thing that I forget now. They took it off the menu so I can't check, which is rather upsetting. Well they were all quite good and satisfied my lemon craving. Though none of them had that really lemony mouth puckering bite that I kinda wanted.

This was what was in the creme brulee trio: Semi Sweet Chocolate, Pistachio and Vanilla Bean with Fleur de Sel Chocolate Cookie and Cinnamon Shortbread. The chocolate was really good, really rich and chocolatey though the top didn't quite have that crunch that a creme brulee should have. Something went wrong with the vanilla bean one. The custard was just off. Not sure why. The pistachio was alright, but really the best one was the chocolate.

Service was good. I forgot to check out the bathroom!!! I'm kinda upset about that but I guess it's too late now. Maybe I'll go back sometime just so I can check out the bathroom. Well I guess I'll get a meal too, while I'm there.

So that was my weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Because I haven't posted in a while....

It's been a while since I posted anything here. Not quite sure where this is going but I figured I need a post. It's not completely my fault. I can't post my Daring Baker's post yet.... and that's a long one.

I don't have any pics but here are some of the concoctions that I've made recently. I haven't actually finished the burgers yet, I have to get the turkey but the rest of the stuff is sitting in my fridge. When you open the door, you get a huge whiff of garlic. Which is making me wonder about eating the berries I have in the fridge.

Lemon Strawberry cake

Yellow cake box mix and whatever it says on the box (oil, water, eggs, don't remember how much of each)
lemon juice
lemon buttercream (recipe will be posted at a later date)
strawberry jelly

Make the cake mix per the directions. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to the mix. Divide evenly between 2 9" cake pans. Bake per the directions on the box.
Allow the cakes to cool on baking racks.
Split the cakes so you have 4 layers.
Brush the cut sides of the cakes with lemon juice and let it sit and soak in.
Heat the strawberry jelly with a bit of lemon juice to soften. Mix together until smooth.
Put down the bottom layer of cake
Put a ring of buttercream around the edges then cover the center with 1/3 of the jelly mixture. Put a thin layer of buttercream on the next layer. Put that layer, buttercream side down, on top of the 1st layer.
Repeat 2 more times so all 4 layers are on.
Put a real thin layer of buttercream (the crumb coat) over the top and sides of the cake. It's OK if you get some crumbs in at this point. Put the cake in the fridge for 30 mins to allow the crumb coat to firm up.
Put the rest of the buttercream on the cake and make it pretty. Or as pretty as you can, which in my case means get the rest of the buttercream on the cake, spread it out so it isn't a big glob and call it done.
Put it in the fridge to let if firm up for at least 30 mins.
Eat some more.

Falafel Burgers

1 T coriander
2 T cumin
1/2 T black peppercorns
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cucumber, finely shredded
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 lb ground beef

Toast the coriander, cumin, peppercorns, sesame seeds, garlic until aromatic. Process in a food processor. Add chickpeas and process some more.
Combine everything together in a bowl.
Form burgers, there should be enough for 8 large burgers.
Cook in a skillet or on a griddle. Not on a george foreman or a grill.

This was supposed to be turkey burgers but I was lazy and by the time I got to the store they were out of ground turkey. All there was was ground beef so that's what got used. I originally only intended to do 1 lb of meat but they only had the 2 lb and bigger packs left so that's what I ended up with. The spices and whatnot would probably be overwhelming if I had only used 1 lb of meat. I actually used 5 cloves of garlic and that was way too much. 2 should be better. These came out pretty crumbly. I kind of lost patience with the food processor so the spices weren't really ground very well and the chickpeas didn't get completely pulverized into paste. I chalk it up to that.

I'm having mine with a yogurt sauce and tomatoes.

Yogurt sauce

1 container greek yogurt
2 cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or processed in a food processor

Shred the cucumbers. You can use a box grater. Don't use a mandoline. It doesn't work well. You can't grab a cucumber well with the guard because the only way to do it is hold it perpendicular to the cutting plane and the guard is just not made for that. If you don't use the guard bad things happen. Alternatively you could use the mandoline and wear cutproof gloves. You'd want to use a fine julienne cutting attachment and hold the cucumber perpendicular so you don't end up with long strips. You can guess how I figured this one out. Those blades are sharp. Anyway...
Put the cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for a few minutes. Press out the extra moisture from the cucumbers. Let it sit some more and press again.
Mix the drained cucumbers, garlic and yogurt in a bowl. Let it sit in the fridge overnight or longer to let the flavors meld.

This is pretty garlicky, you may want to cut it back to 1 clove. The garlic is pretty strong since it's uncooked and all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Office treats

The last week or 2 there have been lots of goodies around the office. Granted, we always have a lot of goodies around, me bringing in probably about half of them. But lately other people have been bringing in a lot of stuff too. Today I had my... item for my Daring Bakers challenge, to be revealed in a few weeks, Cheryl had bagels, Debbie had donuts... and that's just today. It seems like we have stuff every day now. So the question is, why? I don't think I am bringing in more than usual, I usually do 1-2 baked goods per week and I am still on target for that. Debbie has been bringing in brownies more and more lately.

But what is sparking this? My theory is with the changes going on, it's like after someone dies you visit with the relatives and bring them food and stuff. I think we are looking to bring some fun or joy or something back to the office. It has become really depressing lately and I don't see how it will get any better in the near future.

Of course I am pretty much sticking with my making some sort of baked goods on the weekend and bringing it in Monday or Tuesday and pawning it off on people at work so I can try another recipe. I have been getting a bit more... creative.... lately. They tend to like to stick with basics and staples. So alternatively, maybe I am just inspiring people to want to bake more and stuff.

Maybe that is the best way to think of it. I am inspiring. hehehehehehehe I am amusing myself already.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I haven't spent much time trying to figure out how to make things pretty on here or how anything works beyond type in random stuff, give it a label or 2 and hit post. Well this was kinda upsetting because I wrote my first Daring Bakers post and figured I'd have to leave it as a draft and then on the reveal day hopefully I'll remember to post. Well I wrote the post and put in the labels. I hit enter to add another label, like I do I forget where, when the page started loading and I went oh crap I must have published by accident. Well everything worked out because it ended up scheduled rather than published. So now my post for Daring Bakers is done and ready to go and I guess I figured out one thing on my blog. Yay. If I cared maybe I'd look at doing other stuff but that's it for now.