Wednesday, July 23, 2008

let them eat bread

I made a trial bread salad before debuting it at culinary camp. It was the only recipe that I felt was not perfected going into the camp. I served it with Nigella's "lunch dish" that I blather on endlessly about here. I added some shredded cheddar cheese to the top and left the boiled eggs out of the filling since the man that lives with me wanted it that way. The bread salad recipe is from Emerile Lagasse' and I added feta cheese to it since I had some. I like bread salad quite a lot but my husband thinks it is weird, so we don't eat it ofter. The Clipper City Gold Ale was really good, too!

I am on vacation from work next week and I plan to
- paint our master bed room
- refinish a adorable child's rocking chair I got last November for $15
- go to Ikea (it's a 1.5 hour drive!)
- cook a lot
- sew some place mats and napkins
- read
- watch baseball
- get some rest

I will not be blogging while on vacation. :) I will not be looking at a computer screen at all. Not at all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Culinary camp debriefing

So, I have not been posting on my blog for a week since I was teaching culinary camp. I had planned to post each day of the camp with a summary of how it went but it became more important to get ready for the next day. So here is my summary of each day.

The concept for the camp this year was "Around the World in Five Days" and we prepared cuisine from five different countries. Below are the menus for each day and comments on how well received these were by the girls at the camp.

Monday - Mexico
Gazpacho - they really did not like it. Making it was fun, but most of the girls did not eat it
Cheese enchiladas - these were pretty good and most of the girls enjoyed them
Mexican red rice - I basically made this since making the enchiladas took twice as long as I thought
Churros - a big hit! A little

Tuesday - China
Wonton soup - making this was fun for the girls and they enjoyed eating it, also.
Cold peanut sesame noodles - this was both tasty and easy to make. Tyler Florences' recipe
Chinese bbq chicken lettuce wraps - a big hit!
Fortune cookies - these were fun but did not fold correctly. I used a recipe from Gale Gand and I totally trust the recipe. I think perhaps the cookies were too thick. I had the girls write fortunes and I mixed them all up and folded them into the cookies. Basically, they were just folded in half.
Green tea ice cream - my brand new ice cream maker over heated and died about half way through the mixing. I was rather disappointed.

Wednesday - Italy
Italian bread salad - this was neat to make but maybe a little odd to the girls. I think they liked it...
Lasagna Rolls - this was probably my favorite and the girls loved it! Easy to make and really delicious. My recipe called for a Bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan and although Bechamel is French, I was glad to see them all make this sauce without burning it, which is easy to do.
Tiramisu - I was surprised and how much the campers liked this. It was not too sweet but they really enjoyed it.

Thursday - USA
Pizza three ways or as I called it - Pizza coast to coast since we made NY pizza, Chicago style pizza, and California pizza. Pizza of course was a big hit with teenage girls. And with me!
BBQ wings and Buffalo wings - again, making and serving this kind of food with teenagers is all too easy.
Apple pie - yup. A winner!

Friday - France
Crepes filled with warm spinach and mushroom salad - the girls liked the crepes but not the filling so much. They had fun making the crepes.
Croque monsier - a couple of the girls did not want to cook these sandwiches but eat them as cold ham and cheese without the mustard, of course. I did not push the issue since I felt the crepes challenged their taste buds enough.
Chocolate creme puffs - fun to make and I was proud to see the girls "pull off" another staple of French cuisine. They were of course delicious, although it was reported that several were not filled with pastry cream. That will get you an F in culinary school!

The capstone dinner on Saturday was a blast! We had performers from the Operetta workshop do a preview of the show. They sang four songs and did a couple of scenes from The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance. Dinner was pretty good, too!

One Night, Five Cuisines

Cheese quesadillas
Caprese salad
Creme puffs
Apple pie

Okay, so that was culinary camp. It is odd to be back at work this morning and not in the kitchen cooking. I cannot believe how much fun the week really was! :)

Okay, so back to reality here. I will post all of the recipes from the week. Most of the recipes are mine but some are from Tyler Florence and Giada deLaurentis.

Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of great pictures of the food. I did get some good pictures of the girls cooking but I just don't feel right about posting pictures of teenage girls (who are not my daughters) on my blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

a basket of kittens

I am super busy right now with the homemade open house this Sunday and culinary camp starting on Monday and plenty of work stuff to do before then. My life would be much easier if I could retire and just make dolls and kitties all day. Here is a basket full of new kitties. I want to keep them since they are so freakin' cute but alas, I cannot.

Monday, July 7, 2008

here's some raw meat

Seriously, I ate that. After it was cooked. Well, more like seared. I like my rib-eye medium rare. It was really good. I must admit that although I am the least PC girl in the room right now, I know how unPC this looks - red meat, lots of fat and Styrofoam!

I think I mentioned that Lenny was out of town most of last week. I wasn't really sure what he wanted to for the 4th so, I didn't make any plans including food. So, we went to the grocery store on the 4th and he announced he wanted steak, corn on the cob, salad, and bread. Okay, I can do that. We had these lovely, giant rib-eyes with bone in with the requested corn on the cob and Caesar salad. Oh, and bread.

I make my own Caesar salad dressing and croûtons. I love Caesar salad. It's not Italian, just thought you might like to know that. It does go well with Italian food. Here it is with the cheese, lettuce and croûtons before being tossed with the dressing.

Here it is dressed. Yummy, yummy in my tummy.

Caesar salad dressing that is much better than anything in a jar

1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons each of Parmesan cheese and lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 anchovy fillets
cracked black pepper
1 clove of garlic, crushed
kosher salt to taste

Mix all in the blender until well blended and smooth and creamy. The rest of the salad is just romaine, Parmesan, croûtons, and salt and pepper. It's good.

Besides eating steak, salad, bread, and corn on the cob, we spent some time all together with the beagles and watched the Tigers lose and then the Boston pops on TV. It rained rather heavily around here, so I am glad we did not attempt to go out for fireworks.

By the way, the finches are eating me out of house and home! Who knew lovely little yellow birds could be such little piggies!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

the birds and the bees...

I saw a number of American gold finches around the farm when the weather first started to warm up and then they were completely scarce. I think it was just too hot. I put out a finch feeder on a friend's advice and it is true - if you feed them, they will come. I saw 5 at one time on the feeder last night. Such lovely little birds, such bright yellow and a pretty song to sing, too. They are a little "twitchy" but I cannot really blame them there since they are prey to all sorts of things. I cannot get a picture of them as the smallest movement sends them flying and if I do it from inside, I will have to remove a window screen which I am not going to do. The drawing above is from a field guide for birds. Well, the field guide is for humans and is about birds. As for the finch feeder, I bought the cheapest one I could find since I really didn't want to waste money on the thing if the finches weren't going to like it. The only draw back is that the feeder does not attract other wild birds since they cannot eat out of it. These are the types of moments my life lacked in Detroit, you know? Feeding birds and that being really a peaceful-bringing experience. I am so happy to have found out about myself on a farm in the middle of nowhere.

Speaking of being twitchy, I took the beagles out this morning for their morning bathroom break. There was a bee or yellow fly or something that was buzzing terribly loudly! It must have been a fly since it was buzzing my head very closely. Anyway, the thing must have buzzed Huck and I never knew that he was afraid of bugs but he really had a very human reaction to the experience! Even when we went into the enclosed porch, he still seemed creeped out about the bug, looking back nervously over his shoulder. Too funny and very cute, actually.

The man who lives with me is coming home later tonight, which is really great. I have missed him this week, although I noticed this morning that the tub is really still very clean for a Thursday. Since he has been on an urban immersion mission trip where the participants get to simulate the experience of homelessness, I am sure he will dirty that tub up in no time!

Okay, happy 4th of July to everyone! Now go and celebrate your county's independence by blowing up a small part of it! (I think that is from the Simpsons.)

look out girls! with naming update

There's a new boy in town! I must say, he is looking pretty good in his little sailor suit and hat.

I finished this little guy last night. I am mostly in love with the pleats in his pants and the collar on his shirt. I will confess that I got myself quit turned around when it came to the collar. It is easy when sewing to get yourself mixed up on wrong side, right side, inside and outside, especially working with shirt facings on a shirt to fit a 15 inch doll. I normally do not like to pin fabrics when I sew dolls since one pin is usually as long as the material itself but I had to pin this collar and facings just so I could SEE it all go into place when I turned it right side out. It was an Aha moment comparable to the one I had once it a store over a choke chain and how it works. That moment was so profound that the man doing the demonstration for me patted my arm and said, "it's okay, honey." Sheesh, I must have looked stupid.

My husband is out of town again and has been since Sunday. I know a couple of beagles who will be very glad to see him. Very glad indeed. I will be glad to see him, also but I probably won't jump around, howl, and lick him. Probably I won't do those things.

Update: My coworker named this little guy for me - we picked the name Sonnyboy. Funny story, he is to be a companion to the girl rag doll I made named Molly. My coworkers Googled "Molly and" and found this website for Molly and Sonnyboy. They play Rhythm and Blues Grass. Yup, that's right Rhythm and Blues Grass. What a hoot that website is! So now I have my very own Molly and Sonnyboy. I plan to keep those two and the other rag dolls I am making are gifts and what not.