Thursday, December 16, 2010


have you ever eaten a panettone? the cute little boxed cake was calling our name last week at Whole Foods, and we shelled out $4.00 for a bite-sized cake. Totally worth it, but I wanted more and paying over $20 for a packaged cake isn't really up my alley.
So the next logical thing to do was figure out how to make it! Martha came to my rescue, as usual. Her recipe (well, not technically hers) is here.

There are many steps involved in this recipe commitment, and i was going all for it or bust.
Step #1: acquire candied orange peel. Can't find it? Then make it!
Be willing to have aching hands from careful peeling, but the end result is sweet, slightly chewy orange sugary deliciousness. The panettone recipe used up 75% of my supply, so i plan on using the remaining sugary orange peels in some sort of fancy martini.

Careful Peeling of that pesky white skin

Finished Peel, before giving it a sugar bath

...To be continued

holiday baking, part 1

so the holiday baking has commenced! i baked all morning, and this is project #1, totally complete:

Oat Crackers

1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp sea salt
2 sticks softened butter
3 egg whites
1.25 cups rolled oats

Sift flours, soda, salt and pepper. Put butter and eggs in food processor, whiz until smooth. Add half flour mixture and pulse, remaining flour, then oats. Form into flat disc, wrap, chill for 1 hr.
Preheat 375.
Divide dough into 4. Roll each quarter out thinly and stamp out rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly colored and crisp.

Negative Space

Raw Cutouts

Baked Cutouts

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

November, in pictures

some of my favorite pictures of the month from mauricio's camera phone:

(eating and drawing at the Full Moon Restaurant in huron village

(waiting for m. to buy some booze in davis square)
(aka Lurking in the Bushes with the wolf-dog)

(playing at our favorite neighborhood playground/park)

(i miss fall already)

(gorgeous somerville sky)


my contribution for thanksgiving this year was a butternut and pear bisque and some seeded, whole wheat crackers.

i've been itching to make crackers from scratch for a long time now, and it was as rewarding as i had anticipated! basically just a dough, rolled flat and sliced however you want, covered in seeds and sea salt. they're still fresh, two weeks later. but only a couple are left :)

(bowl of seeds)

(rolled and ready to cut)

(fresh from the oven)

bags for sale

good news!

massart is opening up a funky little store in the spring (featuring merchandise only by students and alumni), and my collection of handbags is going to be sold. since i've been out of business for so long, this week i am taking an inventory catalog in photos. mauricio was so kind to make a set-up for me tonight in our office, so starting tomorrow morning i'll be taking photos of ... maybe a hundred or so? any inventory that doesn't go to the store needs to be SOLD. stay tuned for some pictures and bargain prices...

trying to channel martha stewart

as an earlier post showed, i've already completed my christmas cards. i wasn't feeling particularly in "the christmas mood" last week while making them, but over the weekend we visited my parents and decorated their christmas tree. john denver's muppet album blasted on the sterio, we ate fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon babka, and toasted with a cheery rose(insert accent) cava.

those subtle holiday traditions led us to buying our own mini tree, to fit in a nook under our big window. buying the tree led to stealing a set of my momma's old xmas lights, and figuring out what the heck i was going to use for ornaments!

well, after some sneaking around fresh pond for free, natural inspiration, i came home a couple days ago with a poo-poo bag (a fresh one, bien sur) filled with acorns. i glittered, i glued, i reassembled, then i strung. and ta-da! here you have it:

spain on my mind

tonight we ate a curry with shrimp, cauliflower, potatoes and carrots. oh, and way too much heat. damn that penzy's madras curry powder. or, maybe, my pickled jalepenos. ouch.

it wasn't particularly spanish themed, but once we split the last bottle of stella and drank it out of juice glasses, and opened the bag of sesame breadsticks i bought today at capone's. and apres dinner, we busted open a few of the clementines i got at trader joe's. a spanish middle and ending, at least.

(our kitchen always glows orange in the evening)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

lazy bums, and the week's recap

today is saturday, and we haven't done much besides eat, sleep and walk.
lounging in bed til after 10, eating yummy homemade yogurt parfaits on the couch while watching Mary Poppins. we took a walk around fresh pond with the doggie, and ate again at high rise! man, i live for the sandwich i ordered- fried eggs, spicy mustard, onion and tomato. holy crap!
oh, i did do one productive thing- i made my christmas cards! trying to not shell out $30 for two boxes of gorgeous papersource cards, since, you know, i don't have a job... i got out my three boxes of craft and stationary supplies. the envelopes are leftover from two other stationary projects, the penquin liners were from a present mauricio wrapped for me last christmas, and the sparkly brown paper was leftover from our awesome squirrel placecards from thanksgiving!

this project went along with my cooking theme this week: plan meals around whatever's in the fridge/freezer/cupboard.
meal #1: thai spring rolls. i bought the rice paper wrappers earlier this year, wanting to make these rolls months and months ago. i finally got around to it, after raiding the veggie drawer of the mint, carrots, scallions and spinach. (oh, ok, i went out and bought shrimp. but used a 1/2 lb. on two different cooking projects!!)

also, last weekend mauricio showed his love for me and my cooking habit and bought me a gorgeous new stainless steel wok! our tiny wok's non-stick surface was peeling off and grossing me out.
to christen the wok, i made a "clean out the veggie drawer" stir-fry, with brown rice.
as a reminder, the sauce i used, and always use contains:

(sorry, i don't ever measure these quantities)
-brown sugar
-ketchup (i used homemade)
-rice wine vinegar
-soy sauce
-hot chile paste


Finally, the "clean out the cupboard" project ended with last night's pizza dinner.
I made whole wheat honey dough, and topped our pizza with tomato sauce (using our last 2 cans of ANYTHING from the cabinet), carmelized red onions, monteray jack, the last of the spinach, chorizo, and the last of the sweet potatoes (roasted), and banana peppers that i pickled over the summer. it was gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


can i please remember this recipe for laters?

Ina Garten's Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts

**serving them warm is a particularly nice touch.

Vegetable oil
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.

Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

rehabbing, not from the good stuff

mauricio had shoulder surgery about three weeks ago. he had dislocated his shoulder years and years ago, and didnt rehab properly back then. so now, 7 years later, his shoulder was popping out several (painful) times each week.
he was brave and finally bit the bullet and got the surgery to improve his quality of life- they went in there and just tightened everything up, made him good as new. rehab starts this coming week, so he's on his way to being able to tie his own shoes again (yesssss!!!). i've been his right arm for weeks now, handling all the cooking, cleaning, jacket zipping, etc.
i can't wait for him to get back to his dishwashing duties!!!


the sunshine comes out earlier and goes to bed sooner. that's no good for peeps who like (and can) sleep til nine and have tea time at 5. darn.

this is z-monster catching some rays while she can.
damn, i'm envious of that winter coat.

lasagna for fun

free time is grand, and we spend it acquiring things (food) for a completely made from scratch 'sagna.

the sauce was made in hollis, nh.
the noodles were pressed flat in davis at dave's fresh pasta.
the ricotta cheese was made on my kitchen stove with some whole and buttermilk.

we scarfed one down for dinner, leftovers for lunchies the next day.
2nd lasagna will be un-frozen from its deep-freeze slumber in about a month's time.

ta da! and yum!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

halloween weekend

hello there.
a lot has been happening lately, let me try to catch up.

Halloween weekend was super fun.
I started off the weekend by surprising mauricio with a super funny, themed dinner. everything was trying to look bloody and gross.
First we had an amazing focaccia, that i made from scratch. it was covered in dark purple grapes, sea salt and fresh rosemary. after it was baked, the grapes kind of exploded an inky color all over the bread.

we drank martinis made with blood red pomegranate juice, blackberry juice and vodka, out of crazy spider-covered glasses gifted by my parents.

dinner was lentils and veggies cooked in a homemade tomato sauce.

i had spent a couple hours making marshmallow zombies, which sadly met their demise on the end of a fork suspended over a candle.

the next day, we finally took a walk around mt. auburn cemetary! mauricio has been talking about doing this for years. sooo beautiful, everyone should go at least once. we walked for about an hour, and didn't even see the half of it.

to round things out, that Sunday we went and saw Florence and the Machine at the House of Blues. such a great show, minus the three hours of waiting and baaad cover bands (2!!). we wore wigs, that's all the halloweeny i could handle.

Monday, November 1, 2010

lentils in tomato sauce

so i don't forget this recipe:

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 Tablespoons chili powder (orig. recipe called for 3!)
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


lately it seems, i'm surrounded by candy. every store has at least 1 whole aisle devoted to halloween candy. i'm a candy-holic, but i haven't given in and have not purchased one bag of halloween themed, tiny sized candy bars.
on olive place, we've been known to eat candy. for about 4 months, we had one jar devoted to huge gum drops, thanks to my momma who worked at a candy store. we spent like $30 at the crazy m&m village in new york city. right now, there are some (organic) lollypops in a jar on the kitchen window sill.
a couple weeks ago, i made my first attempt to make candy, after seeing this post and this recipe.
Then i came up the Design Crush Blog and found a recipe for homemade twix!!!! and knew i had to try to make them.

the results? I haven't bit into one completely finished bar yet, but they look pretty darn good! the cookie is like a shortbread, with whole wheat and almond flours. the caramel came out great, and the chocolate melted well, despite the fact i do not own anything to even remotely appropriate to double boil (i attempted to temper, but my candy thermometer started at 100 degrees! so it was kind of pointless.)

i tried to class things up and make them a little more "gourmet" by sprinkling grey sea salt on top.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

wednesday's dinner

this delightful juice contains:
-freshly picked apples
It was the most electric color, multiple shades of red turning to orange. so delicious, too. i drank it in about 3 minutes.

this delightful plate contains:
-broiled salmon
-parsley sauce (parsley pureed with rice wine vinegar, shallots, oil, s&p)
-roasted potatoes and cauliflower
-fresh shelled peas with tomato sauce

Nanami Togarashi

we're obsessed with all things japanese. once a week, we visit our local resto (formerly Kayuga) Midami. almost every time we go (if the weather is under 60 degrees), I order the nabeyaki udon. the last couple of times, it was served with this strange little vial of spices called Nanami Togarashi. I wanted to take the jar home with me, but since i like that place so much, i made a quick trip to Penzy's to round out my spice collection and just whipped it up in the kitchen this afternoon.

Nanami Togarashi
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp tangerine peel
1 tbsp ground red chile pepper
2 tsp flaked nori
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp white poppy seeds
2 tsp minced garlic

I ground it all up in the mortar and put it in a spice jar.

(i'm proud of the fact that i had everything but the last 2 items)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

fall into it

we're slowly but surely checking things off our seasonal list, with apple picking completed a couple weeks ago. mauricio ate like a dozen straight off the trees, but i'm having to force him to take apples to work lately. looks like we'll be drinking all of them, along with the awesome cranberries i got at last week's local food fest.