Monday, June 25, 2012

Warm Weather Food

Despite the hot weather, I still eat like it's cold outside. Very little can prevent me from eating a hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning (in my defense, my house actually feels like an iceberg because my mom doesn't like the heat).

But, I do enjoy adding summer fruits into said oatmeal to match the outdoors.

Of course, nothing is better than a big bowl of steel-cut oats. And, when I make them, they spend a long time on the stove, allowing time for ingredients to cook down into ooey gooey goodness.

For example, I often enjoy bananas that have been slow-cooked into the oats. However, I ran into a problem with cooking blueberries this way. Instead of getting the taste of blueberry pie like I expected, the blueberries just got really plump and lost all their flavor.

So, before starting to cook the oats, I cooked down some blueberries with maple syrup and lemon juice and then added the oats and the rest of the ingredients.

Success! Take that hot weather.

Cooking down the blueberries first got all the flavor out, making my oatmeal like the inside of a blueberry pie. And it was blue!

Blueberry Oatmeal

-3/4 cup blueberries
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 tbsp maple syrup
-1/4 c steel-cut oats
-1/2 cup milk of your choice
-pinch of salt
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp ground flaxseed
-for the topping: extra blueberries, pumpkin seeds, drizzle of milk, and a dusting of cinnamon

1. Cook down the blueberries, lemon juice, and maple syrup over medium heat. After about five minutes, once the berries are starting to get mushy, break the berries up with a spoon so that all the juices come out (this will serve as part of your cooking liquid).
2. Add the oats, milk, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
3. Stir in the flaxseed (this will absorb the rest of the liquid) and pour oatmeal into serving bowl.
4. Add toppings.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Bethy!

Monday I completed my list of birthday dinners for this summer. We concluded with my aunt Bethy, whose birthday actually came before both my mom's and my sister's. Oops. I think she liked it just the same.

Like usual, the birthday girl got to choose her menu. Bethy requested pea soup, an asparagus dish, pasta that she could add bacon to, and an assortment of brownies (everything deluxe of course).

Here was the final product:

Green Pea Soup with Cucumber Raita- super yummy, and the raita was a great addition!

Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing- it was so good that I made it two weeks in a row

Sourdough Ciabbatta- a recipe from the King Arthur Flour magazine. I'm on my way with my summer bucket list!

Caprese Pasta- I wanted to do something summer-y, and here's what I came up with- recipe posted at the bottom

And finally, the assortment:

Salted Caramel Brownies- probably my favorite. I'll be making that caramel topping quite often I think...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies- need I say more?

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Blondies- I topped half with shredded coconut and kept half plain

I made all the bars in muffin tins so that making small batches would be easier (and cuter).

Another birthday success!

Caprese Pasta

-6 tomatoes on the vine
-1 container of Bel Gioiso burrata
-1/4 cup basil
-1 lb fettuccine
-zest and juice of one lemon
-reduced balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Set oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut tomatoes into eighths and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 3-4 hours until the tomatoes are soft and juicy.
2. Cut the burrata into bite-size pieces and chiffonade the basil. Add the burrata, basil, and tomatoes to the bowl that you will serve the pasta in.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
4. Drain and add the pasta to the bowl and toss. Add the lemon zest and juice as well as a few tablespoons of reduced balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy warm, room temperature, or cold!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Real Life Yoga Cat

Sam's calendar may have pictures of cats doing yoga, but I have a kitty right here in my house that does yoga just as gracefully.

One of my cats, Toby, has a weird obsession with stretching of any kind. Whether I or my sister is stretching, doing yoga, or doing pilates, we know that we will soon have a visitor.

Without fail, Toby will wander down and begin his own exercise routine (that sometimes includes just sitting next to people doing exercise).

This habit can become somewhat troublesome however. For example, this morning he sat directly behind me as I was starting "rolling like a ball" during pilates. Needless to say, Toby had to make a quick get away before I crushed him.

What a cutie.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday My Sistah!

This week it was my sister's turn to have her birthday dinner (almost two months late).

Her menu request differed greatly from my mommy's.

Here it is:

Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing (seriously incredible-try it)

Salad Nicoise-I actually ended up making two plates because it made so much

Whole Wheat Skillet Cookie (served with ice cream)-I adjusted the recipe, using 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

This was all she requested, but I decided to add a little since I thought two vegetable dishes would not be enough for dinner (turns out there would have been plenty of food sans my addition, but my family is notorious for making a bit too much food).

Since the sourdough pizza dough that I used from my mom's dinner was so good and so easy to make, I figured I'd grill some up again for breadsticks.

And here's a instagram-hipster version of the breadsticks.

And our basil plant seemed to be dying so I made some pesto for mini grilled pizzas with pesto and mozzarella on top. Yum.

Homemade pesto is one of my favorite things to eat. And, it is incredibly easy to make. You do not need a recipe. Basically, you need a green of some kind (I used a mix of basil, parsley, and mint), a nut (I used almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts), garlic (usually a clove or two is enough), finely grated cheese (I used pecorino romano), and olive oil to form the paste/sauce (whichever consistency you're going for). I also like to add lemon juice and lemon zest. Plus salt and pepper to taste of course. Also, if you don't have enough green to add, you can throw something in like sun-dried tomatoes as an addition. So good.

Trust me, everyone will go nuts for whatever you throw into the food processor.

Melissa enjoyed her dinner :) and my aunt Bethy just put in her request for her birthday dinner next Monday. Time to start planning.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Joy the Baker Podcast Homework 2: Summer Bucket List

In the latest Joy the Baker Podcast, another piece of homework was assigned to the listeners. This one will be a little more involved than the summer gear task.

Joy and Tracy asked everyone to make a summer bucket list, so Sam and I came up with our own agendas for these next couple of months.

Sam's Bucket List:

1. Watch The Comeback
2. Get a tan
3. Keep up with Dance Moms, Bunheads, and So You Think You Can Dance
4. Ride a rollercoaster
5. Put on clothes everyday (as opposed to staying in my pajamas)
6. Unpack the stuff from my dorm (which, as of right now, remains in the dining room)
7. Get Cat Deeley to retweet me
8. Find an internship for the fall (this Bucket List just got terrifying)
9. Figure out a way to make our future apartment look shabby-chic (like an apartment ModCloth might feature on their website)
10. Visit Meredith (!!)

Meri's Bucket List:

1. Ride Ponies
2. Find a way to remove the potato grime from the crevices of my hands (I don't think my appendages will ever recover from the amount of potatoes I cut/peel/grate/mash on a daily basis)
3. Watch Aaron Sorkin's new show, The Newsroom (so pumped)
4. Catch up on Mad Men (I'm at the beginning of season 3)
5. Find a reason to wear something other than chef's pants and a plain t-shirt covered in buttercream, potato skins, and chicken broth
6. Cook dinner for my family at least once a week, preferably twice (I think they were expecting me to cook everyday before I got a job... oops)
7. Make this, this, and lots of cornbread
8. Get on a plane to visit Simmie of Simmiecakes in Florida and go to Harry Potter World at Universal (yeah, the chances of this are pretty slim)
9. Try to find a way to use my sourdough starter once every week (I've been doing pretty well with this!)
10. Make Sam come visit me :)

We'll keep you updated on how we're doing. It will be very exciting.

-Meri and Sam

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Mama Medoway

This birthday present is coming way late. Like, over a month late.

But you know what? That's how we do it in this family. Why? Because we like for celebrations to last as long as humanly possible. We can stretch a holiday/birthday/anniversary/etc. like no other.

So, despite it being way past my mom's birthday, I still owed her part of her birthday gift: a special dinner with a menu chosen completely by her.

She decided on:

Avocado Vichyssoise

I garnished with parsley instead of cilantro because my mom might have actually blown a fuse if she tasted said herb.

Artichoke Spinach Pizza with White Beans

This was one intense pizza. It had a white bean cream sauce topped with sauteed leeks and spinach, artichoke hearts, white beans, parmesan, mozzarella, and italian herbs.

I chose to do a sourdough crust because I needed to use Oscar, my sourdough starter. Woah. He made a delicious crust. And, I had extra dough so I grilled it for bread sticks (not pictured--eaten too fast--okay, I actually just forgot) and little flat breads with goat cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

Actually, I lied. My mom didn't choose the whole menu. I found this cake recipe a long time ago and knew immediately that I must make it for my mother at some point. It screams Darcia.

And don't skimp on the poppy seeds. It will seem like you are using way too much, but you're not. Just have faith. And bring a toothpick.

Oh, and I made a salad. Not for dessert. But a salad is always a good addition to dinner.

And she loved all of it! Now I just have to make my sister and my aunt's birthday dinner...


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Gear

My sister and I listen to the Joy the Baker Podcast. It's pretty awesome. Actually, it's incredibly awesome.

I bring this up because this post is dedicated to homework from the podcast. In the past few episodes, Joy and Tracy (the creators of the podcast) have assigned homework to the listeners. This week, they wanted to see what everyone's "summer gear" is.

Well, let me tell you, Sam and I have never looked better. This summer, we are going all out.

For Sam, pajamas and sunglasses. So damn classy.

For me, a plain t-shirt, chef's pants, clogs, and the flour that my boss sprinkled over my head (trust me, it's there--she wanted me to look like a baker).

Or, I could pretend that this is my summer wear. But we know that's not true. When I'm not at work, my outfit mirror's Sam's pretty well (minus the sunglasses--I like to sit in the dark).


Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1st! Yay!

I'm actually posting this on June 2 because I just got back from work, but we can pretend.

Yes, it is the first of the month so Sam and I both got to discover what lay beneath the month of May on our fabulous calendars.

The yoga cats are adorable as usual (and more flexible than I, as always).

As for me, Sam created a brilliant combination--a picture of one of my favorite musicians and the line to go with it: "I don't think it's creepy that you named a stuffed animal after me."

It's a long story.

Anyways, happy June!