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.

our weekends are typically pretty slow. we like to wake up late, walk and get some breakfast with the dog at singaBella's, put in some time at the farmer's market in union, and think of somewhere to walk around for the afternoon.
this particular weekend that mauricio captured on film, we spent the entire day outside enjoying the weather. the three of us ventured to the north end and sat outside, having cappuccinos and sharing (yes, the three of us) a nice slice of ricotta pie.

slow tuesday

today z and i ventured out into the republic of cambridge for a three hour walk, happy the sky was blue and sunny with a slight chill in the air. my amazing peet's caramel latte kept my hands warm, and we kept trying to find new sunny spots to lay down and soak up some vitamin d. our favorite place was the JFK park behind the charles hotel, where z could alternate between chewing her bully stick and chasing unsuspecting squirrels.


even babies love the iPad.
she was mesmerized by the moving water in the koi pond app :)

(click photo for a larger version)

orange cooking and weekend recap

it was a jam-packed weekend. to start things off, we participated in one of the most fun weddings i've been to this year:

to round off our "preparing for the winter" project, mauricio knitted together some of the best garlic we've found at the farmers' markets. it's now stored in our porch closet, and we're hoping it lasts until next year:

we LOVE mango chutney and always buy it at this great indian place in central square. i've made it before, but not for a long time. we found some great ripe mangos at the co-op, so i chopped and cooked in the gorgeous fire orange enamel pot:

last but not least, continuing with the orange food theme, i cooked up an amazing butternut squash bisque. it only has onions, squash, 1 pear, 1 carrot, homemade broth, and a tiny bit of cream. it tastes so sweet and creamy, and we'll be enjoying it for dinner this evening with some nice crusty hi-rise bread.
I've never cooked butternut before, but this rounds out my last two weeks of cooking squashes: spaghetti, pumpkin, delicata. i only have acorn left.

Butternut Squash/Pear Bisque

-2 tbsp butter
-1 medium onion, diced
-1 medium butternut, peeled seeded and cut into 1" chunks
-1 large pear, peeled cored and cut into chunks
-1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
-1 quart homemade veggie broth
-1 bay leaf
-1 tbsp honey
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
-s&P to taste
-1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk

-In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, pear and carrot and saute for a few minutes longer. Raise the heat to high and add the broth, bay leaf, honey and thyme. Season slightly with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 15 minutes.

-Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool slightly. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot, to a smooth puree. Stir in the cream. Taste and adjust s&p. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

good things come in threes, too

it doesn't take much these days, since my mornings are filled with talk shows (Ellen and Nate!!), my afternoons are filled with dog walks (when it's NOT pouring cats and dogs), internet searches, meal planning.

we try to keep the house pretty clean over on Olive Place, but these three new things are either always on the office desk, next to the shiny new iMac, or on the huge wooden coffee table in front of the couch:

#1. my staedtler pens. how i love them so. although they will never replace the le pen dans ma coeur, they come in a lovely variety of colors and **super bonus** a handy case that sits upright like an easel.

#2. the new recycled paper academic planner from papersource.
while i don't really consider myself an academic, mainly because the thought of going back to school full-time gives me hives (it's a combo of the hefty price tag and the thought of doing homework on the weekends), i am enrolled in a super awesome computer class thru the Brookline Adult Education program. It's eight weeks of learning inDesign, an application that's absolutely necessary if i ever get around to having a graphic design job.
the planner is the perfect size, i love the brown paper, and most of all, it uses a bizillion different fonts! i'm a font geek.

#3. well, after squeezing the life out of my powerbook, whose date of birth was circa 2005? it was time to upgrade. while mauricio just purchased the new iMac a couple months ago, it was time for the next quarterly donation of money to the apple company. sadly, the powerbook is worth zero dinero- basically, the postage to recycle it is worth more than the parts. so, we said our goodbye and then our Hellos to its cousin, the iPad. we've both been oogling it via commercials and short trips to the apple store, so last week i finally gave in and bought it. it's pretty amazing, so portable, and the battery lasts forever. i've DL'ed some cool apps, my favs being the app and the 99 cent Air Hockey app.

things my dog eats

1. for breakfast: delicata squash

2. full of bacteria, gave her a cough and sent her to the vet: Puke

3. when it's hot out: ice cream cones

4. when it's even hotter out: popsicles

5. she drinks a lot, too. i think she's part fish

6. look at that face! how could you not give her a steak for dinner?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


the list of homemade items continues...
I've had way too much time on my hands during the month of September, so one day i filled my shopping bag up with tiny pickling cukes at the Charles Hotel farmers market, purchased the most perfect Weck jar, and made a super huge batch of dill pickles.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

yogurt fanatics

we eat a lot of yogurt over here on Olive Place. we don't buy much at the grocery store lately because of all the farmer's markets, but noticed the yogurt portion of the bill was pretty close to 20 bones. after some careful internet researching, consulting all of my canning/freezing books, i came up with the perfect recipe.

making yogurt is super easy, it just requires appropriate pots and containers, and lots of patience.

here's the jist of things:
1. you heat milk filled jars up to 185 degrees in a pot filled with water.
2. you remove the jars, stir in store bought yogurt as a starter. reserve the hot water, and cool the jars to 100 degrees.
3. you put the jars in a cooler filled with the reserved hot water and incubate overnight.
4. you open cooler, refrigerate yogurt, and consume over a two week time.

**jars waiting to be filled**