Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

05 January 2013

O, tidings oven comfort and joy

Our oven quit just in time for the holidays, refusing to heat above 95 degrees. I spent December experimenting with crock pot and stovetop baking. Experienced a couple of epic fails, but I did manage to make some tasty tin can yeast loaves; a right appetizing little birthday cake for my sister-in-law, Amy; and what will henceforth and forever be one of our house specials: a terrific and versatile white wheat stovetop bread that can be savory or sweet or stuffed. I'm pretty proud of my first-world survival skills. I did no Christmas baking this year, but on the upside, that did simplify my life.

Still. When a repairman came to my house a couple days ago and fixed the oven, it didn't take me long to warm up to it again (har har). Two mornings in a row now we've had celebratory Swedes for breakfast, another of our favorites. (Scroll down for my recipe.)

Swedes: Make this.

Smother like this.

Experience joy and renewal.

Now you're ready to smile at the world.

Do you think the old lady readers make me look like a librarian?

Also. Here is proof that the age of miracles has not passed. Behold, the stovetop birthday cake (but please ignore the DIY ghetto cake stand):

Looks good enough to eat.

Hold me candle, tiny dancer.


This thick, custardy “pancake” is my favorite breakfast to make for my family or when company comes over. It dresses up easily and becomes an elegant meal. People often ask how complicated it is to make and are always surprised to learn that the process is almost entirely hands-off. The magic happens in the oven. Though I typically tweak it, the recipe I generally use as a guide originated with Kim Carlson from the Culinate Kitchen collection online.

2-3 Tbsps butter (when counting calories it also works to just use cooking spray in the pan)
2 cups flour (I like it best with 100% whole white wheat, or ½ whole wheat and ½ unbleached)
¼ cup sugar (brown is also lovely)
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs
4 cups milk (I typically use rice milk, but any kind will do, and of any fat content)
fresh lemon juice
your choice of toppings: brown sugar, raw sugar agave nectar, pure maple syrup, honey, Nutella, berries or other fruits, jam, etc. (a favorite combination at our house is lemon juice, brown sugar, and blueberries or homemade jam)

Place butter in a 10” ovenproof frying pan, preferably cast iron, or coat it lightly with cooking spray, and place pan into oven. Preheat oven and pan to 375 F. Combine remaining ingredients in a deep mixing bowl and blend well with an electric beater or a whisk. When oven has reached 375 F, remove hot pan and pour in batter. Carefully return pan to the oven (it will be full) and bake for 50 minutes. Check to see whether the center is set. If not, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes. When the pancake is set in the center, remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve warm, and any other toppings you desire. NOTE: Low-fat milk is plenty rich for this recipe.

P.S. Happy birthday, Anneliese! I wish we lived close enough for me to make you a weird cake too. xo

12 September 2011

Fabulous Fresh Ginger-Carrot Soup

Juice some carrots. Juice so many carrots that you get 3 cups of juice.
Now juice a healthy knob of ginger. 
Peel a nice ripe avocado.
Combine the juices and avocado together with:
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
a shake or two of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
a drizzle of flax oil and another of olive oil
Blend till smooth.
(You can also throw in 1/2 cup fresh coconut. I've not tried that yet, so can't vouch for it.)

Thanks to the Reboot site for this idea. My favorite—simple, fresh, delicious.
(Rob also gives it a thumbs-up, but my mum-in-law isn't fond of it. If you've got lots of carrots, then you've got nothing to lose by trying it yourself.)
Bon appetit, doc!

08 November 2010

Rainy day drinks

I have two good recipes to share with you, used them both today. Hopefully you'll only have a need for the first, but just in case....

You're welcome.

Geo's Portable Good Earth Tea
1 0.5-liter thermos (I recommend this dreamy stainless steel Alfi, but you'll want to save up for it)
1 bag of Good Earth Original Caffeine-Free Tea
rice milk

Put on a kettle and boil some water. Leaving the string out, stuff a single tea bag into your thermos, pour in boiling water to within an inch or two of full. Close your thermos up and let the tea bag steep for 5-10 minutes. Open the thermos, remove the tea bag, and fill the rest of the space with rice milk. Now close up your thermos full of niceness and take it with you on an adventure, or enjoy it at home with elevensies.

Migraine Cure
2 Mexican Cokes
4 ibuprofen
1 assisted trip to bed
0 sounds
0 light
1 really big bowl, just in case
1 hot water bottle, or to taste
2 quilts made by somebody who loves you
1 careful back rub
1 blessing
1 hankie, clean and soft
1 telephone handset, set to Ringer Off

Mix together gently and immobilize for several hours till pain stops.

Tomorrow: a study of The Vacation as Love Letter. Stay tuned (and please stay well).

16 March 2009


Sickness gets monotonous. Even after a rough night of unsleep, I got out of bed determined to will myself well and do something. You know how it is? Who cares that my coughs are turning me inside out, I have a choice, right? I washed my face, brushed my teeth, cracked an optimistic if germy smile at that really strange-looking woman in the mirror, and . . .

I made granola.

Isn't that the first thing you think about doing when you've been down for a few days? Me neither, but Rob and I did need something to eat for breakfast (okay, brunch) (okay, okay, lunch), and for some reason, I thought granola would be a cinch.

And it was till I was about halfway through the stirring part and realized my energy was gone, baby, gone. So much for the rest of the day. But the granola turned out nicely, even so. Need the recipe?

I spent the rest of the day glued to the couch reading, resting, and watching John Cage videos on YouTube. They were a perfect distraction today. When Rob brought me home a box of Kleenex with Lotion, I was almost in heaven. You tend to lower the bar when you're bronchially-challenged.

I got a call from a friend and I actually answered it. I watched a home movie of my New Yorkers ice skating to a Sigur Ros soundtrack. I received a care package containing a letter and a beautiful hummingbird egg cradled in rose petals from my favorite Hawaiian. My sweet mum-in-law showed up and dabbed my wrists with some mysterious and good-smelling healing potions provided by a mutual friend, and then gave me a bowl of cooked onions which elderly Minnie Somebody-or-other swears should be applied to a congested chest. (I ate them.) I had Family Home Evening with Rob, ate grapefruit and the rest of my onion poultice, and watched a Stargate movie. Not a bad day for being down and out. Not bad at all.

But let's get back to John Cage for a moment. Do you like him? Do you get him? I found I gained a new level of appreciation for him today as I read about his life, and watched some online performances and interviews. What really pleased me was his controversial composition 4'33". I especially loved watching the BBC Symphony Orchestra perform it in a tribute concert.

If you've got time, you might enjoy at least one or two of these videos. I'll start with the most likely to float boats, and you can say when as you need to.

23 August 2008

It's all about Nie if you read long enough

A few days ago I did sort of a purge. I spent an entire day eating nothing but vegies. I was feeling the need for some retrenchment after spending a couple days testing out a really great no-bake cookie recipe. I know you thought there wasn't a great recipe for those, but I struck culinary gold with a combo of roasted almond butter and carob. No, really. They are great cookies. I know you hate carob. You will love it now. I'll eventually get around to posting the recipe at Pizza Dreams so you can try them and I can say I told you so.

I'm really supposed to be following a regimen that fights Candida. I did that for a while and was my healthiest and slimmest ever. But then I go and get called again to work with the Young Women (which reintroduced Krispy Kremes to my life), I subscribe to Tartelette, and I let my guard down. You know what happens next—my resistance to all that is blissfully sweet crumbles, cookie-style.

Anyway. Here's what I ate to do a gentle, drop-in-the-bucket, one-day purge:

Corn—it's the breakfast of champions, I'm telling you. Does this ear remind anyone else of Bill the Cat from Bloom County? Really scraggly. I'd say this corn did not quite live up to its potential. Now the ear in the background—that one made the most of its opportunities. Filled the measure of its creation. Yeah, that's the kind of corn I want to be.

These are the kinds of deep thoughts I never get to have when I'm eating cookies.

Now for the rest of breakfast and beyond:

See the steam rising? Summer squash + sweet onions + peppers = YUM.

The evolution of my gorgeous tomato collection (thanks to Gary of the Tiaras and our local farmer's market) into delicious soup with basil and mint (thanks to the Boston Globe).

Sometimes cucumbers knock me out with their gorgeous cool whiteness. I wish you could see just how this one glowed, but the lighting was all wrong and I was too hungry to fix that.

Which brings me to a very important point: vegies burn off fast.

But home fries! Now they stick around for a few minutes. I love mixing up different varieties together—this batch was yellow, red, and yam. Though I didn't count this as anti-vegie, I confess I did make some kick-butt cayenne fry sauce a la Guru's. But just a little.

And when I went to bed I was thinking about the Nie-worthy oatmeal I'd get to eat in a few hours.

Part of my deal with vegie day was that if I stuck it out the whole 24 hours, I would treat myself to a new lipstick. I'd have rather had an almond croissant from Eliane's, but I figured that would have quickly defeated the purpose of vegie day. Lipstick seemed fair—still somewhat attached to my digestive system.

But I didn't have time till today to shop for cosmetics. And I really didn't have time to visit Aveda or some shmancy beauty counter, so I settled for Walgreen's. The new one. Because I have loved drug stores all my life, almost as much as I have loved office supply stores.

One thing you should know about me is that I have been hunting for the perfect red lipstick forEVER. I can never find it. I can find everybody else's perfect red, but not the one that really does it with my weird skin color. Today I even found a special batch of about a dozen red lipsticks, each named for a different actress. All wrong. Do you know how many shades of red exist? I don't believe there's any other color in the visible spectrum that presents so many gorgeous, but in this case, impossible possibilities.

But I keep trying.

And today, I found it at Walgreen's. Luckily, it was L'oreal, because that means I can actually stand the smell of it. (I've become something of a makeup snob, which is probably ironic since I wear so little of it.) I looked at every single red in the place, and there it was: #339, Red Rhapsody. An appropriate name.

I've been thinking, like all the rest of you, almost constantly about Nie and Mr. Nielson and their families since last weekend's accident. Today was very much Nie Day in my mind because of this evening's big, loving balloon launch and gathering. To find my one perfect red lipstick on Nie Day (one of many to come, I'm certain) and then to wear it while whispering my wishes for her and Christian in the park as I released a fistful of green and orange balloons—well, that really made me smile.

And so, like I said, it's all about Nie if you read long enough.

But wait, there's a little bit more.

What's even better than seeing Cirque du Soleil's Delirium for free instead of having to pay forty bucks for the both of us, plus sitting in our favorite seats, plus sharing the theater with next to nobody?

Ripe Brandywine tomatoes from the farmers' market (and even better still with bitter Asian greens and quinoa polenta with pecorino cheese).

Coming home from errands to find Rob giving the dog a bath.

Getting to see lovely friends (really wish I'd taken photos of them all).

Visiting later in the evening with the wonderful Wileys. (Please click that link—they are ever so pretty.)

AND. Best of all, watching a lively, colorful milky way of love spread itself across a beautiful blue sky and climb up to the sun, to honor and bless Stephanie and Christian.

I don't care that Cirque du Soleil featured a guy floating for an hour and a half from a fantastical balloon (although that detail sure worked with the theme of the day). They got nothin' on our park performance. It was simple and real and full of light and I'd see it again and again, if I only could. Thank you so much to the Clarks and all the rest of the family for letting us share that time with you. It meant so much. Thank for sharing this whole experience with us. I send you all my love and continued prayers, a whole skyful of them.

See? I told you it would all eventually be about Nie.

05 June 2007


Pita Pizza, Starring Zucchini
Serves 2

olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
1 small zucchini
generous handful chopped fresh parsley
2 whole wheat pitas, uncut
feta cheese (block)
sea salt
mozzarella cheese, grated
more olive oil

In a cast-iron skillet, warm just enough olive oil to cover the bottom, and sauté the onions and garlic until all becomes very fragrant. Add in the zucchini and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are nearly as browned as you like them. Throw in the parsley and when it is wilted remove the vegetables from the heat.

Preheat the oven's broiler. Place pita rounds onto a baking sheet. With a knife, shave thin bits of feta from the block and cover each pita round. Divide the vegetables in half and arrange on pita rounds. Sprinkle each pizza with sea salt to taste, and cover with grated mozarella. Place baking sheet under broiler and watch pizzas carefully so they don't burn. When the cheese is melted and toasty, remove them from the oven, drizzle each pizza with olive oil, and serve warm.

07 September 2004


"You're always so busy! You better slow down! You do too much. [Businesslike] You got a house to keep up, you got your business, you got a husband, [chucklingly] you got them three babies to take care of, you got a garden to work in, you got them flower beds in the front, you got jobs in the church.... [heavily] You know you do too much. [prophetically] You better slow down! [hotly] I want you to slow down and get some rest, and stop doing so much. You hear?"

My rebuttal to Gram:
(1) I don't do too much. Really, it seems like I never get anything done.
(2) I don't have any babies. I have an indoor dog, an outdoor cat, and a backyard bantam. I don't recall giving birth to any of these creatures.
(3) I do have a husband, a very nice one, and he's taken over the late-summer gardening duties.
(4) I grow lavender and sedum in the front yard, or rather, they grow themselves. You couldn't hope to find two more tenacious and tolerant plants. Go ahead, try them in your own neglected spaces and you'll see what I mean.
(5) As for church, I do a little visiting and a little teaching here and there, and I try to organize a yearly history of our congregation. I wouldn't call that burdensome.
(6) Okay, maybe if I could actually do everything I would like to, I would be doing too much, but as I've already said, I feel like an underachiever.
(7) Every time I close my eyes, even just for a nap, I fall immediately into dreams—vivid, kinetic stuff. I've often been known to wake up exhausted after my forays into Slumberland. I think I might get more actual rest when I'm awake and moving.

Hey, wait. This is my blog. Shouldn't the very first words of the very first post be my own, not my grandmother's? Hmm. Well, maybe it isn't so strange to want to let her have her say to start with; I'm very aware these days that she urgently needs to have a voice. Besides, she was here on the planet before I was, and her efforts, I'm sure, have helped mold me into the loving, striving, yet richly dysfunctional adult I am today.

I'm sure I will talk more of my grandmother later. I will talk of both my grandmothers before my words run out. I've got a lot of words.

I've also got a lot of recipes. I made something tasty for dinner (or supper, in Gramspeak) this evening: a revised version of Tomatican from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. (Check out the Moosewood cookbooks if you have any tastebuds at all.)
Geo's Improvised Tomatican 
Sauté together, until onion softens:
1 gigantic onion, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 healthy blat of extra-virgin olive oil 
Add and continue to sauté till beans are thawed and steaming (adding a little water, if needed):
2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
1 lb. bag frozen baby lima beans 
Add, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes (or till vegies are as tender as you wish):
several handfuls of fresh, coarsely chopped tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
Serve this over quinoa (1 cup grain + 2 cups water brought to a boil, covered, then simmered for 15 minutes or till water is all cooked away) and top with grated cheddar cheese. If your tomatoes are yellow like mine were, this is an especially summery, cheerful dish. Yum.
On a less sunshiney note, our car died on me today. The timing was amazing, though, so I couldn't let myself complain; Gram and I had spent a long morning hunting and gathering at Wal-Mart (her choice, not mine), and it wasn't till after I'd safely deposited her home and helped her put her groceries away that the old Trooper stopped trooping. I had literally made it no farther than out of her parking lot and into the street when it went kaput. I managed to slowly coax it into the parking lot in front of Shirley's Bakery, and on an empty stomach but with a deep determination to shun sugar, I braved the allurements of bear claw and butterhorn and used Shirley's phone to call home. Rob and Bryce showed up before too long and we got the Trooper home again. I'm so grateful this didn't happen while I was out with Gram. I don't know which would have puddled first: the grandmother or her Pict-Sweet frozen corn. The other thing I'm grateful for is the use of Joh and Andy's car while they're out of the country for nine weeks (gosh, starting today, how about that?). It might send Rob and I both clear over the edge to be carless at this point. I don't know what we're going to do about our deteriorating transportation situation, but... well, I can't think about that right now.

I finally came up with a new design for our web page this evening. I've been banging my head against this project for so long, and at last a very simple inspiration has come, one that I think will evolve nicely. What a relief. I believe many things will be able to go forward again once I get us past the outdated web page obstacle.

This blog is already getting quite long, and I'm just on day one. I've done online journalling before, but this is my first time blogging. Will I be truncated if I'm too loquacious?

Oh, yes—a "twittertail" is somebody who is all-over-the-place busy. You know the kind: can't keep still, makes you tired and nervous just watching. It's generally a mixed term: 80% exasperation and 20% affection. My grandmother has called me this before, in an attempt to work some bootless discipline on me, but it's never done any good. Anyway, I'm not a twittertail. It is one of my favorite words, however.

Would you like to learn how to draw your very own twitter bird?

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep!