Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Broiled Grapefruit

I had seen the episode of Good Eats were Alton Brown made Grapefruit Brulee. It's a fairly simple recipe. Cut in half. Sprinkle with sugar. Brulee. Sprinkle with salt. Eat. So naturally I had to mess with it.

Well the reason I didn't follow the recipe is I don't have a torch. I've thought about getting one but haven't yet. One of these days.... but then I'll brulee everything. Creme brulee, bread pudding, pumpkin pie, gratins, steak.... So maybe I shouldn't.

Anyway. Broiling didn't come out exactly as his did. I didn't get a nice crunchy brulee top. Instead the sugar melted down a bit and really seeped into the grapefruit. I thought it was pretty good anyway. And it's really easy. And you can call it healthy. It only has a 1/2 tsp sugar on each half.

Broiled Grapefruit

Cut a grapefruit in half, across the equator.
Cut off a small slice off each of the poles so that the grapefruit sits up on its own.
Place the halves on a baking sheet with the center of the grapefruit up.
Using a paring knife, cut along the edges to loosen the fruit from the peel.
Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of sugar on each half of the grapefruit.
Put it under the broiler until the top starts to brown. The juices will probably start to boil up too.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle a touch of sea salt on top.
Eat immediately.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

I was told that you need flowers to attract bees to pollinate your stuff so that you get fruits/veggies. Naturally, I opted for flowers that I could eat. So I chose sunflowers. I decided to grow Mammoth Russian sunflowers. Then, when they didn't sprout after a few days, I got seeds for a couple others as well.

Well, the sunflowers grew in a couple weeks later and I had a lot of sunflowers. They are actually shading some of my other plants, which is probably not good, but a bunch of them are at least 9 ft tall.

Well, since I chose a flower I could eat, I figured I better figure out how I could eat them. Let me tell you, getting the seeds out of the flower takes FOREVER. One flower (and probably 2 hours of picking seeds out) gave me about a quart of seeds.

Next step, figuring out what to do with the seeds. I had gotten a couple of the smaller flowers a few days before. They sat in a plastic container for a couple days and got moldy. So I figured I needed to dry the seeds. I left them spread out on 2 sheet pans for a few days. Also, it was during the week and I had other stuff to do.

Last weekend I got back to them. I kept them simple. I just wanted a light coating of salt so they would make a good snack. Google led me to a few recipes. Then I didn't follow them. Based very loosely on this post. Most people probably want more salt on them than this. I snack on them randomly. I hear they make a good long car ride snack.

Sunflower seeds

1 large sunflower (1 quart of seeds)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Dry the sunflower seeds.
Rinse the sunflower seeds and drain off the excess water. Let them be damp but let anything that drains away go.
Sprinkle with the salt and toss until the salt is dissolved.
Toast in a single layer of a skillet until they dry and turn light brown. This could also (probably more easily) be done in an oven. 350 probably 20 mins but check regularly until slightly browned.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Garden Update

The garden is doing well. I get about 3 gallons of assorted stuff but mostly tomatoes every 2 days. That's typically because I stop picking because it's a pain. At least at this point most of the lower branches have ripened and been picked so I don't have to stoop over as much.

My family visited recently. I sent them home with close to 50 lbs of produced from the garden. Which pretty much wiped out everything I had. I should have taken some pics but for some reason have not in a while. Oh well.

K has been on my case to post something about this so he can send it to D. *wave hi* Don't you feel special, you are D? If it makes you feel any better K is only K and at one point was K-Ram, like K-Fed except nerdier. You should call him that by the way. Also, I told him to tell you to plant pineapple tomatillos but I bet he didn't. It's probably too late now but next year you should. Those are by far the most popular item from my garden.

Anyway, so these are some of the organic ish home remedy type alternatives to pesticides. I have found them by googling/word of mouth.

Beetles - they were going nuts on the soy beans. I believe this applies for other beans too but who knows. The soy bean plants were doing well and then one day I came out and there were probably thousands of beetles on my half a dozen or so plants. I guess they are japanese beetles. Get a bucket and put a couple inches of water and a squirt of dish soap in it. Swirl it around to get the dish soap dissolved. Alternatively, put the soap in first and fill with a hose so it takes care of it for you. Put the bucket under the plant where you see a bunch of beetles. Knock the plant and the beetles fall into the bucket. The dish soap keeps they from getting out and they drown. Then smash the drowned beetles (I used a large branch I found on the ground) so their guts get all into the water. It was recommended to actually put them in a blender but I'm not getting a blender just for this. I left the bucket in the garden. When the beetles die they release some pheromones or something that repels other beetles. They recommended spraying this solution all over the garden but I just left the bucket there. Since I did that, there have only been a couple beetles out there each day.

Mosquitos -
1. it was recommended to plant garlic sporadically throughout the garden or around the perimeter or something.
2. another option is to make a garlic solution. I heard garlic, ginger, onion, cheyenne pepper with some wator in a blender. Then spray this all over the garden. I haven't done this but one of my garden neighbors did.
3. listerine. get a spray bottle and spray the whole place. i actually did this one. haven't gotten a bite since but i still douse myself pretty liberally with bug spray before going out.
4. grow mint. or catnip. or citronella. only trouble is they may take over your entire garden. and you need to have it spread around, like the garlic in #1 which helps with the whole taking over the world thing.

Slugs - they say this is for slugs. they also say it helps release calcium to make your garden grow nice and tall. like milk for kids or something. crush up some egg shells and sprinkle them all over. the sharp edges are supposed to keep the slugs out. don't know if this really makes a difference but I had some eggs so I crushed up the shells and put them out there when my plants were still pretty small. Didn't seem to hurt anything.

OK that's not that impressive of a list but that's all I got.

Also, if your gardening shoes are fairly open and your feet are exposed, when you are harvesting stuff with a knife, make sure not to drop it on your foot. It hurts. And leaves a mark. And is hard to deal with when you have packed your garden really really tight and you are standing in the middle of it. You end up hopping on 1 foot trying not to let that foot move because you don't want to step on your plants but you end up grabbing the cages so that you don't fall down and crush about 5 of them. It's awkward.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

OK this probably seems like a strange question but has anyone never been stung by a bee? I have not. Well, had not. I had started this post a few days ago. I got stung by a bee today. Somehow it got in the garage with me. I felt something on my arm so I went to brush it when it got me again. It stung me 3 times before I beat it. Apparently I had maimed it at first because it was laying on the ground still buzzing and moving a little but not able to get away. I didn't know where it was but I could hear it buzzing and I didn't feel like getting stung again. Then I found it. And I killed it.

Apparently this is unusual. I stay away from the bees. Why would you go near them? Seems to make perfect sense to me. But so far everyone I have asked has been stung at some point in their lives. Someone please tell me they have not been stung and this is not strange.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program. Well, your regularly scheduled program should've come out a few days ago so it's late but whatever.

I actually did make these. And I even started off following the recipe! Key word being started. Errr key words being 'started off'. OK this is clearly not going to be one of my more well thought out posts. Bear with me here. Or don't if you are already confused/bored.

I forgot to put the flavorings in the mousse and then I just never quite got around to making the mascarpone cream. I made the meringues fairly small and put a big scoop of the mousse on top. I still had quite a bit of the mousse left even though I was very liberal with it.

I brought them in to work. We were celebrating H's birthday. It wasn't actually H's birthday. We decided that any time we needed to do a food thing we would say it's H's birthday.

Anyway, that's my really incoherent post. I never bothered taking pics of these. I still have a couple in the fridge so I guess I still could but I won't.

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

First off, I would just like to point out how wrong it is to have the AC running full bore and the oven on when it's 95 degrees out. For some reason that was the day I chose to do it. Of course it's been 90+ every day for the last week and will be as far as the 10 day forecast showed. There is a cold front coming through where it might get down to 92 in a few days. The joys of summer in the South.

Anyway. This recipe was chosen by Gwenn. I have been meaning to make her peanut butter pie but haven't quite gotten around to it yet. Maybe next week.

I made mine in a bundt pan so I put the crumbs on the bottom. My coffee cake, that is. Because who would make a peanut butter pie in a bundt pan? Oh wait, I probably would if I couldn't find a pie pan or something. Of course, I think I have 3 pie pans so the chances of me not being able to find one should be pretty slim. But then again, this is my house where an empty pan or bowl is the perfect place when you need somewhere to put something. Anything.

I added wonderberries from the garden into the middle layer with the crumbs. A wonderberry, aka sunberry, is extremely prolific. When ripe, it has a dull black/blue color. Uncooked, the flavor is fairly mild. However, when cooked with sugar, it tastes a lot like a blueberry. Or so I'm trying to convince myself. I picked about a quart of them in the last couple days and there will be lots more. Didn't think about what I was gonna do with them when I decided to plant them.

I didn't double the crumbs like a lot of people recommended. I figured 2 sticks of butter was enough. I suspect the texture of the crumbs would have been better if they had been on top in the oven but it would have been weird to have them on the bottom of the finished cake.

I just realized apparently I didn't make the glaze. Oh well. Pretty good even without the glaze.

The cake is very soft and fluffy. You know how some coffee cakes are more bready, a la B&W Bakery in Hackensack, NJ? Well this one is not. It's very springy and delicate.

I thought I did take pics although if I did, they are probably on my camera. My camera is downstairs. I am upstairs. So you see me dilemma.

This is one of my most incoherent blog posts. I blame the heat. Which means they aren't going to get any better for a while. Sorry, suckers. Your fault for reading :) I guess I should post this sometime before the end of the month.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Scalloped Tomatoes

The garden is doing quite well. I just started getting tomatoes. I have a feeling this is going to get insane in a few weeks. So this recipe is perfect to use up a bunch of these.

I didn't have (well, technically, I didn't see it until after I had already made this) any bread so I decided to use tater tots instead. Random, I know. I had some sort of craving at some point for tater tots so I bought a bag. They then proceeded to sit in the freezer until now.

The tater tots kinda fell apart once I put the tomatoes in. It was not the prettiest dish. It came out OK although I can't say I really loved it.

Flavorwise, it was very tomatoey. Yes I consider that a word.

Here's the recipe. I didn't take a pic because it was pretty unattractive. Dog food probably looks better. Oh well. The coffee cake is prettier. Maybe I'll post that pic.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This is what happens when you don't check your plants very carefully. I checked my plants tonight in the dark after getting out from work late. I started nosing around the plants when I noticed a shadow under one of the zucchini plants. Well, this is what I found. Not sure how long it had been growing there but this monster was about ready to take over the world. Fortunately I found him and cut him off. I'm gonna need a whole bunch of zucchini recipes really soon. Feel free to share if you have any.

I took a bunch of other pics of the garden but none of them are motivating me to add them to this post right now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yet Another Garden Update

Are you sick of these yet?

This is my plot from a distance. Definitely easy to pick mine out. It's the one with the giant sunflowers.

The sunflowers are now probably 7-8 ft tall. Too tall for me to guess at their height accurately. The first couple full fledged flowers have just popped up.

This is corn. Woohoo it's actually growing. Some of them have more than one ear of corn on them too. For some reason mine are a lot shorter than everyone else's. Mine are 2-3 ft tall whereas some other people who planted theirs a month after I had planted mine are 4-5 ft tall. But I have corn ears and they don't. So ha. Just have to figure out when to harvest. I don't think it's yet. Hopefully I'll figure that out before they are ready.

Here's the start of the tomatoes. These were supposed to be Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes. They never sprouted after 3 tries. I threw some slightly rotten cherry tomatoes that I got from the grocery store into the soil and sprouts came up. Thats' what's growing here instead. This one seems a lot more viney than the other ones.
Next: Lollipop Tomatoes. These should turn bright yellow when they are ripe.
Green grape tomatoes. Not entirely sure how you know when these puppies are ripe. I think my rule will be whenever I start picking the other ones I will pick these as well. That or I'll pick one every day and taste.
I know, I really should have learned to turn the flash off by now.
Cherry tomatoes. Someone explain to me why these puppies are over 2" in diameter. And why I keep referring to my plants as puppies.
Mini Orange Tomatoes
Dr Carolyn. These should turn yellow too. Apparently I was in the mood for yellow tomatoes when I ordered seeds.
Look they're yellow! oh wait, that's my crappy photography skills.
Wonderberries. These are growing like a massive bush. With about a billion little fruits. I just looked up what a wonderberry is. I had bought the seeds because they had a cool name. They turn a deep bluish purple. Mildly sweet and sour flavor, something like a blueberry, or so they say. I'll let you know.
Pineapple Tomatilloes. I was hoping these would be more prolific. There are a bunch of them, but no where near as many as say the wonderberries. And I know these are good. Still TBD on the wonderberries. Might just have a million little fruits that I don't actually like. That would be sad.

Butternut Squash. Between, Dr Carolyn and Wonderberries. There are also 2 pepper plants in the back somewhere but I suspect the butternut squash is gonna take those over. Harvesting is gonna be interesting.

And peppers. I have 2 of these growing so far. 2 peppers. On at least 4 plants. Sigh. Hopefully the others will grow something too.
Basil. Which I meant to harvest some for a caprese salad with the heirloom tomatoes I got from the farmers market. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow. Hopefully I'll remember before the tomatoes go bad.
Zucchini. Once again. Me and flash just don't get along. I harvested a couple that were about 6" on saturday. Sauteed with some onions and mushrooms on a pizza with gruyere. Yum.
Cucumbers. No fruit growing yet but there are some flowers. Not sure what I will do with them if they are very prolific. Any suggestions?
Watermelon. Right now just leaves and vines and weeds. Hopefully the first 2 will win and make me some watermelon. And if you are wondering about the newspaper in the corner, well, everyone else was doing it. And it seemed to help with the weeds in their gardens. I might have been a bit late putting it down though and I didn't really have all that much paper so I only did a small section.
Cantelope. Yes, I know, the weeds around them are much bigger. But at least they have true leaves growing now. If you squint hard enough you might even be able to see them.

I forgot to take pics of the dill but that is doing very well. The lettuce bed and the rest of the herbs... not so much.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Piece Montee

Well I followed the recipe for the profiteroles, pretty much exactly. Are you impressed? No, I'm not dying. Profiteroles are fairly simple and straight forward. There wasn't all that much for me to mess with.

You notice how some are swirly like they were piped and some are more like blobs? There IS a reason why pastry chefs use piping bags. The edge seals on the bags were not so well done. About halfway through it burst. By it burst, I mean the entire side seal split open. The rest of them were shaped by me frantically trying to keep the batter from ending up on the floor. They're not bad looking when you take that into consideration, eh?

Sorry, I'm not building a sculpture. I can't even pipe the profiteroles, a sculpture was not going to happen. I cut them in half and filled them with vanilla pastry cream and macerated strawberries and then glazed the top with chocolate. And they were good.

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

Barefoot Bloggers: Grilled Herb Shrimp

Another loosely followed recipe. Chosen by Penny.

A fairly simple recipe. Marinate the shrimp in some herbs, garlic and lemon juice. Cook it up.

I didn't actually used the specified herbs. I used random unidentified herbs from my garden. The only herbs that are doing really well in the garden so far is this random herb mix that I got. I don't actually know what most of the herbs are in it but most of them seem to look like lettuces and some parsley. I recognized that one.

I had mine over an herb salad. This actually would have been good with that risotto from earlier in the month. If I had thought ahead I would have had them together. Oh well.

I cooked them in a skillet rather than a grill pan. I hate cleaning a grill pan. It takes forever to get down into all the little grooves of a grill pan and I never seem to get it clean so I almost always opt for a skillet or griddle over the grill pan. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one. Maybe I need to cook a bunch of bacon on it to get a nice season on it. Maybe I'll just stick with the skillet.

PS I uploaded my pic of the spring risotto. Are you proud of me?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Garden Update

Yes, you will get these way more often than is sane. It's aliiiiiive. You can feel free to skip to the next post if you are bored. I'll have both the Daring Bakers AND Barefoot bloggers posts later this month.

OK let's start with the pineapple tomatilloes. I only had them once and they really do taste like pineapple. Only thing is these puppies are tiny. Full size ones are maybe a quarter inch in diameter so these guys are really tiny. I didn't even notice them for a while.
These are wonderberries. I don't know much about them but they have a cool name. These are probably half the size of the pineapple tomatilloes. Just for scale.
Blueberry bush
Watermelon. Other people have flowers on theirs. I'm not cool enough for that.
Butternut Squash. Look the first one has started to form!
OK now let's go to some of the herbs. First up, dill. This is the most prolific of the herbs. Besides the unidentified herb mix.
Back to veggies. Peppers. Not sure what kind.
More peppers just sprouting. I am hoping these ones will come in a bit later so not everything comes in at once.
Beets and carrots.
Corn and soybeans
Tomatoes. I think these are cherry tomatoes.
Here are more tomatoes. I am not sure which ones are which. I think they are lollipop and green grape tomatoes. These ones popped up out of nowhere. I was taking pics and I figured I'd take a more careful look at all my plants and went whoa there's a whole bunch in here.