Friday, August 29, 2008

Peach-Blackberry Pie and the Omnivore's Hundred...

If you a loyal and obsessed foodie blogger like I am, you have seen Very Good Taste's Omnivore Hundred popping up all over the place. Well, I must admit I became quite curious so I decided to take the "test." I have tried 48 out 100...and would try them all except two did not quite suit me... check it out...

Here’s what to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or Head Cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted Lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a Fat Cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects

43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu: the whole lethally poisionious thing makes this a little iffy…
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (Is there anything better?)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Dogfish 120 IPA is amazing!)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (What is this? Google is failing me…)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill (um…don’t think I could do it!)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose Harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole Poblano
96. Bagel and Lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Before I left for Chicago, J and I went blackberry picking. Before we knew it, we had over five pounds of berries...not including those we tested along the way. One night with his sister, E, we made a simple peach and blackberry pie. It was a store bought crust. I really like using the Pillsbury crust when I do not have time to make a real one. We decided to start making this pretty late at night...E and I figured out how to make the was yummy...

Peach and Blackberry Pie
(based upon this recipe)
2 pie crusts
3 cups blackberries (1 3/4 lb)
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour

1. Place a baking sheet in lower third of oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Toss together berries, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 15 minutes.
3. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 14-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity). Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out top.
4. Roll out remaining piece of dough into a roughly 16- by 11-inch rectangle. Cut crosswise into 11 (1 1/4-inch-wide) strips with a fluted pastry wheel or a knife.
5. Stir berry mixture, then spoon evenly into shell.
6. Dot with the butter.
7. Arrange strips in a tight lattice pattern on top of filling and trim strips close to edge of pan. Roll up and crimp edge. Sprinkle all over with sugar.
8. Bake on hot baking sheet for 10 minutes.
9. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 30-35 minutes.
10. Allow to cool (or like us, dive right in!)

Click Here for Recipe...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nectarine Quinoa for a Healthy Breakfast...

I should be doing my reading for Contracts but my breakfast was just too yummy to not post right away...

I love Quinoa...ever since I discovered it last year, I've made it a staple of my diet.

Normally, I use this high protein grain in savory dishes for dinner. Well, when Melissa of Baking a Sweet Life announced the event, Let it Grain, I started thinking something sweet may be a nice change. I had some nectarines that were getting dangerously ripe, so I sauteed them with some butter, sprinkled with brown sugar and some nutmeg, and served over the quinoa. It is delicious!

Ginny's Nectarine Quinoa

1 cup cooked quinoa (follow directions on the package, I added a tablespoon of butter to give it some more flavor as it cooked)
2 Nectarines, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup almond slices (optional)

1. In a pan, heat the butter over medium to low heat until melted.
2. Add the nectarines and sautee until warmed through.
3. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and the nutmeg, stir and allow the nectarines to bubble and carmelize for a few minutes.
4. Serve over the quinoa

P.S. An extra idea: To add a bit more protein and a little crunch, mix in almonds! I thought about this while at the store but opted to buy a chocolate bar instead of almonds...I can't always be healthy!

Click Here for Recipe...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My New Home!

And that is the view from my new apartment! I've officially moved to Chicago!

The past couple days, I've been trying to organize and unpack. It is still a disaster. My kitchen was not quite ready for me so all my kitchen stuff is strewn all over the dining room table. This of course makes it very hard to cook. Last night I made a simple Tomato Caprese Salad and then played with my new camera...
This is the view from my bed. Yep! I'm not kidding...I look out onto Lake Michigan. This will make law school better, right?
This is Elmer my roommate. He shares the dining room with his wife, Bernadette. She was not feeling very photogenic this evening. I also have a neighboring spider, named Charlotte. She refused to sit still for a picture!

I took this shot of one of the buildings next door in the late afternoon light. It reminded me of the Dancing House in Prague, a favorite building of mine. I love the way the lines are refracted by the windows.

P.S. I promise, as soon as my kitchen is ready, I will make some absolutely delicious! So stay tuned!

Click Here for Recipe...

Monday, August 11, 2008

IRELAND: PART II and a recipe

The thing I miss most about traveling and moving happens to be the lack of time and often space to cook. When I returned from Ireland, I couldn't wait to get all floury again and I made Challah. With the some leftovers and the "starting to go stale" challah, I made a really good brie and balsamic onion sandwich that I chowed down as I packed. Now for the rest of Ireland...
Off I went to Galway, a fun, university town on the Western Coast. I spent my days roaming around the town, falling asleep by the river and doing a bit of shopping. I had two fabulous meals...One day for lunch, I stumbled into Anton's Cafe, a cute and artsy cafe. Craving avocado, I decided on the Smoked Bacon, Avocado & Beef Tomato with Red Onion Marmalade sandwich. It was very good. A few days later, I had a lovely dinner at Ard Bia. This cute restaurant sits on the river near the Spanish Arch. It is like walking into the dinning room of your favorite artsy, bohemian and eclectic friend. Nothing traditionally matched but all the tables and decoration created a welcoming and comforting atmosphere. I had to wait for a moment as the servers finished writing down the menu on the blackboard, which was then placed in a chair next to me so I could decide what to order. I chose a seared white fish fillet with lentils and a fresh summer salad. It was a wonderful meal. They even had fennel and pomegranate seeds in the salad...yummy!
During one of my days in Galway, I took a day trip around the Connemera...a beautiful part of Ireland with mountains, hills and ponies. We went to this Franciscan Abbey and the Kylemore Abbey (below). The countryside was gorgeous!
After Galway, I went back to Dublin for a few days. I went shopping, got my haircut and saw a great art exhibit at Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. I saw this cake in the window of the cafe, Leon, and like every good foodie...I stopped in for a slice. Although the picture is quite blurry, I think it speaks for itself. Yum!
That kind of sums up the highlights of my trip...The best part of my trip though, which I can not show you in pictures, was the many different people I met. I stayed in hostels and every night I would meet a new crew of people from Germany, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland...and the list goes on. Often, we would go sit at the pub together, meet the locals and listen to the music. These people made my trip very fun and interesting. I have many memories and new friends that I will not forget.

Brie and Balsamic Onion Challah Sandwich

2 slices of Challah
Balsamic Caramelized Onions (Jennifer's recipe)
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of brie
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Peel the Onion and cut in half. Slice the onions into strips.
2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sautéed the onions moving the onions around with a spatula until they soften and brown.
3. Drizzle the onions with the balsamic vinegar and mix with a spatula.
4. Cover the pan and stir occasionally until the onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Move to a dish.
5. In the same pan, toast the bread and melt the brie on both sides. Sprinkle with the Italian Seasonings.
6. Top with the onions and eat.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr.

Click Here for Recipe...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Ah, Doolin! How I miss you...your beautiful rolling green hills, sparkling blue sea and occasional sunshine... I have been back in the states for over a week now and have been running around none stop. I moved out of my current apartment and temporarily into my aunt's house. Next week, I'll be driving my things out to Chicago and into my new apartment. Until then, there is no rest for the weary but rather a long list of odds and ends that need to be taken care in between the craziness, I am going to try to post some...I've even cooked a bit and took some pictures...hopefully, I'll have a few free moments to get them up here...but first a bit about my trip...

When I graduated from college two years ago, I had three non-career related goals...

1. Learn to make a souffle.
2. Learn how to blow glass.
3. Travel to Ireland.

I am happy to announce that I completed all and two will make it into a post one of these days... My trip to Ireland was alot of fun. It was the first time that I had ever traveled alone for that long. Overall, I loved it. I spent my time roaming, reading and relaxing.

After arriving in Dublin, I took a bus over to Doolin, a small town on the Western Coast known for its fabulous music. From there, I took a beautiful but strenuous hike to the Cliffs of Mohr. These photos are from that trek. That night, slightly exhausted, I settled down in the pub with a wonderful Guinness Beef stew served over mashed potatoes with a pint of Guinness. It was an excellent meal and the local music did not disappoint!

After a few days in Doolin, I took the ferry to the Aran Islands. I spent one day biking around Inishmore. There were many old ruins to explore and I saw seals. I did not take too many pictures because the weather was very misty that I did not want to get my camera too wet. I did break it out to capture these roosters...

That about sums up the highlights of the first part of my trip...I don't want to leave you without a recipe. When I returned, J and I made a green chutney inspired by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children as we had previously done with our Lotus Root Curry disaster. The chutney was a success and did not last long. We ate it with some samosas and a chicken curry. The pictures looked awful but it looks like any green pesto or dip. It was fabuous!!!

Green Chutney
(adapted from One Hot Stove)

2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped onion
2 green chillies
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend with a little water to get a thick chutney.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr. Warning: I am just learning how to use flickr.

Click Here for Recipe...