Thursday, October 28, 2010

quiche and fudge

Thursday night is so comforting. You know that tomorrow is your last day of the "work week" and then it's the weekend!! Tonight Ben happens to be out canoeing with the tulane med school wilderness interest group. They learn how to be doctors, get this...in the wilderness. But tonight i'm pretty sure they're just canoeing around somewhere. So, after a run and yoga practice I am home cooking up some whole grain rice and a thai peanut curry. I'm excited about this curry because besides tofu and all the usual veggies I've added cubed yams. hehe. I'm sure the rice will not live up to Ben's, however, He has a serious rice routine down and I'm an amateur.

Anyway, I thought I'd post some really simple and quick recipes for you. The first is something I make all.the.time: Quiche. The second is the simplest fudge but taken up a notch.

Okay, so on to the quiche. I'm not going to post how to make a pie crust. So, whatever kind of crusty you like to make go ahead and make it.
Now that your crust is ready you add a layer of cheese. You can choose any kind that you like, shred it, and layer it across the bottom of the crust. By putting the cheese at the bottom and not into the rest of the ingredients you create a barrier so that the bottom doesn't get all mushy.
Second step: you layer whatever you want on top of the cheese. I usually do cheddar and then broccoli. Or swiss and then asparagus. Yesterday I did a mix of all the cheese I had at home and then frozen spinach. Spinach is the only veg i'd recommend using frozen- the rest are fine with fresh if you bought it that day or the day before. Another option besides vegetables is meats. Pieces of ham, crumbles of sausage- I've done this too but soy meats (obviously).
Third step: make the custard layer. I've looked around and most people say to mix 3 eggs with 1 cup of milk. I usually do 4 eggs with 1.25 cups of milk. You can also add your herbs and spices to this mixture. Whip up the eggs/mix and then pour it into the already cheesed/etc pie crust. Most vegetables will float in the custard. No biggie. Pop the whole thing in an oven at 375F for 35 minutes. (In my oven I have to rotate it after about 20 minutes so know your oven). Then, after 35 minutes you can take it out and sprinkle more cheese over the top and bake again for 5 more minutes. mmm.

Quiche is such a great recipe because it's super easy, takes 5 minutes to throw together, and once it's baked it can be a meal right then or you can pop it in the fridge and have some when you wake up the next day and are too sleepy to whip up a whole meal!

On to recipe number two: chocolate peanut butter fudge. And, not just any chocolate peanut butter fudge, Super Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. The chocolate fudge is something my mom taught me to make when I was very young.
In a saucepan heat up 12oz of chocolate chip morsels and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Make sure that you're stirring continuously because chocolate burns easily. Once it's smooth add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour the whole thing into a banking pan with foil. Spread it evenly and set aside. Now, again get the saucepan out and heat up 2 cups of peanut butter morsels, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. The chocolate section should be a little set by now so pour the peanut butter section on top of it. Now, just refrigerate!

Simple right?!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

running for a cure



remember when i said i was going to become a runner? 
well, it's week four and i am not giving up. although, i must say, it is not getting any easier. after every run it takes me 20 minutes to be able to take a deep breath and speak. i literally collapse on my front steps and lie there gasping for air- i am sure i look like a fish out of water. 
this week i am at 1.53 miles each time i run and i've been running four times a week (about every other day). today was a day off and i kind of missed the good feeling i get once it's over and i can feel accomplished. 
but, i've gotta take it easy on my ankle. last december, while walking to catch the bus for hiphop japanimation, i rolled my ankle. 11 months later it still throbs when i walk too much or run on it. and without health insurance i definitely cannot afford to hurt it. 
but, i'm keeping up with it- like i said i would. i'm hoping that some day soon it will become a little bit easier. 

this weekend we both did the the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! 
We had to be out of bed at 6:45 am (no small feat for me) to get over to city park and pick up our numbers. There were 12,000 people all mingling waiting for the races to begin. First, we both ran the 1mile. Ben really ran it to keep me company. It was so early in the morning, i kept waking up all night, and then all of a sudden i was in a huge crowd of people running. While normally I do a very very slow mile- like 11 of 12 miles per hour- all these little kids around me were running so i ran the 1.2 miles in 9minutes. Then, Ben decided to do the 5K. He got into the middle of 12,000 people and started jogging. barefoot. trying to get around the old ladies and men who were walking. It was really exciting when he crossed that finish line. and i snapped a photo right before his sweaty self grabbed me. 
After (and during) the race there was music, lots of free food (bananas and yogurt AND jambalaya), and Tulane Med students were checking blood pressure etc. 

Wanna see?
happy.
scarf on my head was given to runners, after i cross the finish line
about to tackle me
i love him!
Ben won this for being one of the first # runners over the finish line
The other side of this medal says congrats from the Saints. 
Thanks saints. i was pretty proud of us already for waking up, raising some money, and running :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Louisville

Last weekend we were lucky enough to get out of New Orleans for a couple of days and visit Ben's dad, Kingsley, and Sally at their home in Louisville, Kentucky. The last time we were able to get there was three years ago in their old house!!
We got to catch up with stories, try a great Indian restaurant, take a twenty mile bike ride, meet Sally's family and their neighbors, and enjoy the cool air. Ooh and sleep in our big comfy bed, which is so much nicer than our bed here. Then, it was time to leave. Although NOLA really is growing on me, it was hard to go back to our every day lives here.
Here are some photos from our Louisville weekend adventure (I only took a few as being behind the camera was not a priority):



their garden really flourished

giant okra
foliage! 





skatepark
that's one big slugger
catching letters at 21C hotel



train in Houston airport
home.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

"mine"

Taylor Swift is so freakin' cute. And besides that, she's a very talented young girl. I mean it, pay some attention to this little singer/songwriter/guitarist and you'll be impressed.
I saw her on Oprah once and she was so real-seeming. So sweet and humble.

Anyway, I didn't LOVE her newer song "mine" right away. But then I saw the music video. So lovely.

I dare you to watch it and not cry...haven't met someone who can get though it yet!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPBwXKgDTdE&ob=av2n

my favorite part is at the end at a birthday party...you'll see.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Best Pizza in NOLA?

So, i know i need to post something but i'm in a crabby/confused mood thanks to a job offer that i don't want but feel i should probably take to make some money...ergh    >:(


BUT, the real reason for this post is to find out....WHAT IS THE BEST PIZZA IN NEW ORLEANS?
Recently on YELP a talk thread discussed the various pizza offerings and we decided to create a poll. 
So, here it is. On the right side of my blog you'll find a poll where you can choose one place to vote as your favorite pizza in New Orleans. So, go for it.

and then check out yelp.com :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

butternut squash soup


Everyone loves a good soup.
While i am actually cooking up a quick broccoli soup today, i thought i would write about my semi-recipe for butternut squash soup. i say "semi-recipe" because while i never actually follow recipes i do have a some general rules about how to make this and just switch a few things each time- depending on my mood.

So, start with one butternut squash. Stick the knife straight through the middle and then either yell for someone stronger who can force the knife through with his (yah, i use Ben) strength or tap the end of the knife with a hammer/mallet/whatever. Kudos to you if you can get it through yourself!

Scoop out the seeds (save them!).
Cut it into halves again, and again, and then again.

Season with salt and pepper. You can throw on some butter or olive oil.
Bake at 400 about 30min. Just until it's soft enough to scoop out.

Scoop out the flesh into a large pot.
Add 3 cups of broth.
Okay now go crazy and put in there some chopped onion, different spices, whatever.

It will cook down a lot.
Like this...

Now, hopefully you have a handy dandy handmixer thingy. Because you'll need it here.
Stick that mixer in and blend all of the ingredients until the soup is completely smooth.

Now add in about a half cup of heavy cream or milk- whatever you've got.


Last, you might want to grind in some fresh nutmeg. Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Remember those seeds you saved? Rinse 'em off. Dust them with some sea salt and bake until they're warm and crispy. They are better than pumpkin seeds- so much flavor!

our grinder broke- giving out huge chunks of salt!
This really is the simplest recipe and is soo yummy. Feel free to mix it up whatever way you feel like! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

oh my sucre

i have to share something with you

i just have to. right now. get excited, i am.

it is Sucre. sitting at 3025 Magazine Street is a haven of amazing sweets.

First, there's gelato. Really good gelato with the best flavors i've ever found. I'm serious.
Then there's chocolates, all kinds. There's bars- chocolate with pretzels in them call to me.
There's little truffle chocolates. A ton of different kinds of little chocolates.
Sucre has coffee, wine, smoothies, shakes. They turn their gelato into shakes!
It has pastries- decadent pastries. Amazing.
It has french macaroons that are famous.
It has big square vanilla marshmallows.
It has these huge cookie things that I'm dying to try.

All of these things Sucre makes themselves daily.

Sucre makes cakes. They hand sculpt gorgeous cakes- when I get married I want a Sucre cake! On my birthday I want a Sucre cake! On Saturday I want a Sucre cake!

Okay, now, what I've been trying to get to are their cupcakes.


See that? That is Sucre's chocolate and salted caramel cupcake with a chocolate fleur de lis on top and their signature sparkle.

The salted caramel buttercream frosting is inside too! It is soo good.

AND, they ship! You can order them and send them to loved ones!! go to www.shopsucre.com or call them up at (504) 520-8311

do it. right now. don't waste any time and order yourself some sucre goodness. it is so worth it, thank goodness i live about two blocks away!

Here's my review of Sucre on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sucre-new-orleans#hrid:Fejv65uBGFmnxSxV03BFjw

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

festivus

This weekend, like many in New Orleans, there were festivals to keep my spirits up while Ben was busy. This one, however, marked the first one that I have been to where it wasn't too hot to enjoy it, and it wasn't too chilly either. It was just perfect outside for a day of live music, pups, and beer.
Saturday was Nola on Tap- An event put on by the Bulldog (bar/restaurant) and the LSPCA to benefit the LSCPA. Ben was busy until the afternoon but then we got to go together! The festival had free live music by a band that I really like- Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes! They also touted more than 200 brews- and you could get a tasting for $1! Once again, all moneys going to help rescue nola's dogs and cats.



Jim Hart's "singing oak"
$1 for a kiss!

Sunday Ben was busy studying for block two exams and I went for a bike ride thinking I was headed to Audubon park. Instead I stopped when I heard music and smelled yummy smells. Right on my path all of a sudden was a festival! This was the Magazine Street Blues Festival to benefit the police. I got to see another two great band this day too!
great local businesses
basil, tomato, mozzerella crepe
Beaucoup Nola Snoball!! The only one made with fresh juice- not syrup!
fun for kids!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

bend or you'll break

Sometimes the path you start out on is not the one you end up on.  I am sure learning this!

Moving to New Orleans was never something I imagined could happen to us in this life. I was finishing my masters program, going on to the doctoral program, going to live in Brookline or another lovely Boston area for a while. Get a dog. That whole deal. Now I am in the South, jobless, trying to figure out what I'm doing on a day-by-day basis.

There is a yoga quote that goes, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."

I am physically flexible, but not so flexible in any other way. I set my goals, I meet them. I know what I want...okay, not so often but when I finally decide what i want... I always get it. I am a little controlling because I know that the consistency and stability that come with my control gets things done, and productivity makes me happy. When things don't work out the way I want them, however, I get a little "bent out of shape." That's just the way I am.

The other day I set out to make a new cakeball flavor for my friend's birthday. I thought strawberry would be interesting so I mixed up the strawberry cake and strawberry frosting.
mixing in the frosting
This is when I tasted it and should have turned back. But, I thought it wasn't that bad, just different. Fun. And the great pink color was flashy. So I kept on going. Forming the balls.
refrigerating
Getting the red vanilla candy melts to the right temperature and dipping them all in. And, finally, decorating them with white vanilla candy melts. I thought a dark chocolate candy melt outside would be a good flavor match for the strawberry inside so I saved half of the cakeballs to make the chocolate ones the next day.

And voila! They were done! They looked bright and pretty.

I was happy. Until I tasted one. Blech. I think they were like fruity pebbles (my sister used to loooove fruity pebbles). Ben says they're like captain crunch berries. I think both of those fake, sugary, yucky cereals are way better tasting than these.

So, I threw them all in the garbage and was grouchy for a while.

After ten minutes of being frustrated, I took a deep breath and decided to bake a snack.

Which led to me baking my provolone/parmesan/chive popovers, but this time I made them huge. An hour later I had cheesy, oniony, warm, lovely popovers and took a break from all the "doing."

mmm 
I settled down with a few popovers, and then went to yoga. 

Things hadn't exactly gone as I planned. I wanted those cakepops to be done and waiting on the counter to bring out to dinner on Friday night. But, life doesn't always go as you plan- even if I truly believe that it always will. When it doesn't, I'm totally surprised and angry and thrown off-guard. 

It may seem silly, but little things like cakepops not working out bend me out of shape. This time, however, I decided to just let it go and make something else.

So the next day I whipped up cappuccino brownies, put a little white vanilla candy melts on top, and went out to dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday. I even used a box mix (from WholeFoods) because you don't always have to be "perfect."- another lesson I am slowly learning. 




Life is too short to cry over cakepops.