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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the way...adventures in bread making

I have begun a process of learning to make bread. From easy doughs prepared in the bread machine, to nursing my very own sourdough starter, this is a pretty new process for me. I am very interested to try new things, but also to find something that is simple enough to be realistic for me to make every week. Like a home that always has fresh flowers, I have always wanted a home which always has fresh bread.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pears and Cumin

I was so excited to see the first pears and butternut squash show up at the grocery store recently. I guess I should dread seeing them: signs the summer is coming to an end, and fall will soon be here. I've loved this summer: walking to work on sunny mornings, spending evenings on the roof of my building and never getting cold even as it gets dark, picnicking in parks, and wearing skirts and dresses. Summer is romantic, and freeing. But fall has butternut squash soup.

Peanut Butter Flax Seed Cookies

I noticed a product at Trader Joe's recently which intrigued me: natural peanut butter with flax seeds. I started wondering what peanut butter cookies baked with this product would be like. High in omega 3s, for one thing, and doesn't everyone need more of that? Studies have suggested that Omega 3 may do everything from prevent cancer to improve mood and lessen depression. Who wouldn't want all that? And in the form a crunchy little peanut butter cookie?  Also, these cookies are gluten free, so hey, you can even make them for your gluten intolerant friends you never know what to bake for...unless of course they are also allergic to peanuts.

New blog feature: little known holidays

So I have decided to make the little known holiday posts a new monthly feature, you can read the first one here if you are interested. I have discovered a whole host of strange holidays, many relating to food, some not, which seem worth observing at least once. So once a month I will pick a few days of note, cook something that relates to any food of the month that may be recognized, and find one way to observe another like I did here.

September is (literally) right around the corner, so I look forward to starting on that post soon. Posts related to this feature will have the subject line "this month is...." with the appropriate month filled in, of course. So get ready for a post titled "September is..."

Any suggestions of September's little known holidays you are aware of?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

White Eggplant Rollatini

Today I spent the afternoon at my friend Jamie's house, where we finally (after talking about and planning it for months) cooked together. It seems the two of us often talk about food and cooking, giving advice on what to make for dinner, or sharing our success stories (and failures) in the kitchen. We've tried to bake together before, when her daughter Lilly was younger, strapped into a baby carrier* Jamie was wearing. Baking while toting around a baby: apparently not so easy. We ended up switching from baking to arts and crafts projects on that occasion, which was only slightly easier, at least it didn't involve knives or a hot oven.

* I think it is worth noting here that in trying to find a more clear and succinct way to describe the across the chest style baby backpack I was informed by a visiting friend of one of my roommates that the name for a Native American baby carrier is a papoose. A google search informed me that "papoose" is also a name for this guy. Yeah. I was entertained.

Today, we had a mission. Make something that would use the white eggplant in her fridge, and some of the herbs growing so prolifically in her herb garden, that didn't require a trip to the grocery store for additional ingredients. After chatting for quite awhile about different eggplant recipes, and pouring through a number of cookbooks, we decided to make Eggplant Rollatini.

Happy sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor's porch day!

 note reads: Happy sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor's porch day! Y'all didn't have a porch, so...
Left this on my neighbors doorstep this evening, hope they find a nice way to use their sneaky (local!) zucchini! I was really hoping to leave it somewhere just a little more sneaky...inside their living room maybe, just chilling on the couch? (They've left the door unlocked at least once in the past, it seemed worth hoping) But unfortunately, as I tiptoed up the stairs to their floor, I could already hear the TV on in the living room, it seemed I was out of luck. Guess there's always next year, let's hope whoever moves in up there has a sense of humor, and a taste for zucchini.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August is...

An email advertisement from eatingwell.com has recently alerted me that August is apparently National Olive Month. As it happens I have half a jar of Kalamata olives sitting in my fridge, awaiting their grand purpose (I used the other half in a delicious hearty Mediterranean vegetable pasta sauce I made a while back, I am hoping to wait for more hearty-pasta type weather before posting that one; who wants "hearty" when the humidity is at 75%?) and so I decided- why not observe national olive month like any patriotic American should?

As I thought about national olive month, I started to wonder what other grand and important holidays take place in the month of August that most of us have never heard of. A quick search through the interwebs informs me that August is also National Water Quality Month, Panini Month, Catfish Month, and Immunization Awareness Month. So in short, be sure this month to make the following recipe for an olive panino (yes, apparently the singular for panini, please correct me if I'm wrong), make sure to filter your water, perhaps go catfishing, and of course get up to date with your vaccines!

Some individual holidays that take place in August which may be worth noting include "Kiss and make up day" (August 25) "wiggle your toes day" (August 6th), "bad poetry day" (August 18) and "sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor's porch day" (August 8th). I plan to observe as many of these important holidays as I can, though I may need to bend some rules on "sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor's porch" day, as I live in an apartment building and my neighbors mostly do not have porches. That being said, to all my friends in the neighborhood: don't be surprised when a zucchini appears unexpectedly on August 8th on your porch/stoop/hallway/desk etc... Also, might as well go ahead and start bracing yourself for the bad poetry bound to be created (and perhaps read in public?) by yours truly on the 18th.


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