Mmm… Food


Thailand Floating Market
August 29, 2008, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Random Facts, Shopping
Floating Market

Floating Market

My sister just got back from a trip to Thailand and India to vacation and see some of her relatives.  I was excited to open the mail box on Wednesday to find this postcard she had sent me.  It’s of the Floating Markets in Thailand.  Fresh foods for everyone!!!  I didn’t know anything about the Floating Markets, so I did a little research.  There are several Floating Markets in the canals in Bankok and also outside of the city.  The original and most famous being “Damnoen Sadauk“, 80 miles southwest of Bangkok in the Ratchaburi province.  Vendors sell a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as coconut-milk drinks and other foods such as noodle dishes and cooked meats.  The markets open early around 6AM and usually close up by noon.  In the tourist tips sections I visited they all recommended heading out early, before 8AM in order to avoid all the tourist hub-bub.  Which is why, if you pause a moment and look carefully at the picture, I laughed when I studied the postcard.  The 6th row back includes a boat full of tourists passing through the market.  Look again and perched on a small dock at the right hand edge of the photo, is another man taking a photo of the Floating Market.  Part of the authentic look now includes tourists.  Which is now when I start to think about the thrill as a tourist of visiting one of these markets.  Sure the fact that we don’t buy our produce from off of boats here is part of the thrill, but once you get over that, it’s really just a market.  Farmers markets, and new ventures like the Green City Market here in Chicago, are the US version of these floating markets.  Yet many of the tourists who flood the Floating Markets to marvel at all the things for sale have never visited their neighborhood farmers market at home.  Wouldn’t it be great if farmers markets grew in such popularity that foreigners on a visit to Chicago just had to make sure that they were able to include the Green City Market on their list of tourist stops in the city?  So this week I encourage you to stop at your local farmers market, or head down to the Green City Market.  If you live in Chicago, you can click here to find where and when your local market may be.

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Pantry Overhall – a.k.a. We love The Container Store
August 26, 2008, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Random Facts

It didn’t take long for the Kitchen Pantry to get out of control.  We’ve been at the apartment 4 months now, but the Pantry Overhall which we kicked off last nite has been long overdue.  Our cooking extravaganzas have led us to try to concurrently stock our shelves with 7 kinds of pasta (no-boil lasagna, shells, orichette, wheat spaghetti, linguini, organic alphabet letters, and organic wheat rigatoni), 5 kinds of rice (jasmine, arborio, white short grain, pearl, and a mix of leftover types) and 4 kinds of flour (white, white whole wheat, whole wheat, and gram).  These carbs in combo with canned goods (tomatoes, coconut milk, roasted red peppers), nuts (walnut, pine, almonds) chips (blue corn, yellow corn, flaxseed) amidst other miscellaneousitems, and did I mention the spices??  We were splitting our seams.  Going into the pantry could at times be trying.  Gently moving items to look behind to see if you could find the one thing you were looking for.  It was becoming difficult.  And that’s just the food.  Then when you start to amass cooking items (the food processor, blender, stand mixer, waffle maker, panini grill, pasta maker, coffee bean grinder) and baking items (muffin tins, mini-muffin tins, 8″ cake rounds, 9″cake rounds, bread loafs, glass dishes, metal dishes) you feel like the pantry could cave in around you. 

THE CONTAINER STORE TO THE RESCUE!!!

We made what will be the first trip to the container store on Sunday.  Washed all the containers that nite and started in on organizing last nite.  What was supposed to be “too many” containers is in reality too few.  I thought we were being proactive.  But it feels a little like packing, turns out you always have more than you thought.  Glass jars with hermetic seals, Plastic containers with Snap lids, and a number of racks, and some spice containers.  All was supposed to encompass our needs for storage and organization.  We need more.  So we’ve started.   I sadly did not take a before picture to wow you with our newly organized pantry, but anybody with an organizing geek in them will appreciate the new look.   Pictures to come later in the week, once we finish the project.  



Bleeding Heart Bakery
August 25, 2008, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Restaurants

I took my girlfriend on a date to the Bleeding Heart Bakery on Sunday. This bakery was beyond cool. Organic Bakery, with vegan cake options. Pretty amazing considering how much of a staple eggs, milk and butter are for baking. Nosh nosh, April had the White Chocolate Macadamia nut Chocolate Cupcake and Iced Coffee, while I indulged on Goat Cheese and Basil Croissant with Honey Limon iced tea. The decor is vibrant colors, old funky purple wallpaper, and lime green floors. Hot pink cake boxes and old window frames as sneeze guards. A series of original art is hung on the wall with purchase available and the layout of treats was divine. The owner keeps a Flickr account, that have these faboo “Big Gay Cupcakes” they made for Gay Pride this year. Very cool. Bleeding Heart Bakery has also been nominated for a Veggie Award for Best Bakery from Veg News magazine, and they need your vote. So click here to vote for them and show some support!!!

Here’s a short video about the place that “thedittybops” put together. 🙂



Am I already becoming my mother??
August 23, 2008, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Cooking

 

I improvised breakfast this morning, something I usually don’t do. I’m usually strictly a recipe girl. Follow the recipe, don’t make any substitutions, if you’re missing an ingredient, choose a different recipe. But instead I made an egg scramble, some “4 Mexican Cheese” blend muffins and some banana slices. The scramble used

 

Egg Scramble with Mushroom, Shallot, Tomato and Basil

4 medium Cremini mushrooms, cubed
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small tomato, deseeded, cubed
2 Tb fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt
pepper
Olive Oil
1TB Butter

Place 1 Tb Olive Oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook ~1 minute. Add mushrooms, cook until reduced in size. Turn off skillet and set aside

Beat 4 Eggs and 1/4 Cup milk together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Melt 1 Tb Butter in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until bottom layer is starting to solidify. Sprinkle Mushroom/Shallot mixture over the top of the eggs. Cut into egg mixture with the side of a spatula and flip portion of eggs over to continue cooking the remaining egg. Flip additional times as necessary to complete cooking ~5 minutes. Turn off heat. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the eggs and cover the skillet to let cheese melt.

Place egg mixture onto plates and sprinkle with tomatos and basil.

Serve.

Now here’s the part where I thought I was becoming my mother. Before I had plated the eggs, I had already sliced the banana into pieces and put it onto the plate and had 2 cheese muffins ready. So after I had added the eggs, and before I added the basil, I had to pause as everything on the plate was a shade of Yellow!! Oh my god, I’ve become my mother!! She was always good at serving color themed meals unintentionally. Say, fish with a baked potato and a side of cauliflower, the “White meal”. So when I saw everything yellow in front of me, it freaked me out a little bit. I mean I know it’s going to happen. I am going to become her, but I was hoping it would still be a while. My saving grace, was I had already planned to add the tomato and basil. Which, did a lot to change the look of the plate. The food got great reviews, and since I used Splenda to make the muffins, they can be consumed, guilt free. 🙂

 

 

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I’m thinking of maybe trying out the stand mixer today. Brownies?? Homemade brownies?? It’s fun to do it without a box mix. I dont’ think I’ve ever made brownies from scratch. Have to wait and see if it materializes.



Indian Food Mania
August 17, 2008, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Cooking

My efforts to be better for the world, pay off in more ways than one.  My carpooling on Monday thru Thursday made for longer hours at work and as a result I was able to leave early on Friday and come home to prepare Indian Food Mania. I have dreams that someday this blog will be followed the way I follow www.manjulaskitchen.com If you know not of what I speak, you must click back on the link and visit the site.  Manjula is a woman in her late 50’s early 60’s who cooks Vegetarian Food.  What’s so interesting about this you say??  Her homemade youtube video’s have me mesmerized.  She shows you all the ingredients she is having you use.  Gives you translations for names of food items and shows you all the prepartion steps.  I’m hooked.  I check daily to see what kind of new recipes she has posted!!!  So this Friday I embarked on making her Malai Kofta, and improvising with what arrived in our CSA this week, Chard Paratha (a variation on her Spinach Paratha recipe) with Hari Chutney, Bhindi Masala, and Mango Lassi’s.  While her video’s are only 9 minutes in length, this feast took nearly 3.5 hours to prepare, but worth every minute.  It was greeted with exclamations of deliciousness.  Always the ego booster 🙂  Do I love to cook just to gather compliments??  No, I’ve become a foodie.  It’s true I used to live off of mac and cheese and rice-a-roni, but those days are no longer.  Check out the food stuffs I now call Friday nite supper.

Malai Kofta waiting to be plated.

Malai Kofta waiting to be plated.

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Full Plate Indian Food

Full Plate Indian Food



Julia Child was a spy??
August 14, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Books, Random Facts

So they’re saying Julia Child was a spy during her employment with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In the way that when you learn about something, more info just keeps appearing about said knowledge, I just finished reading “The United States of Arugula: How We Became A Gourmet Nation” by David Kamp. In that book I learned that Julia Child worked for the OSS and lived in France where she met her husband and found her passion for cooking. Who knew that she was also trading secrets for the government? Here she is making an omelet.



Dutch Process or No?
August 13, 2008, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Random Facts

So. Dessert ideas for this weekend brought me to looking at a Chocolate Recipe book borrowed from friends J & R. It also brings me to Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder. Huh?!?! Have you ever heard of such a thing? What’s so special? (I did have a dream a couple nites ago that I had ventured into the art of making Artisan Cheese, now that’s special, but that’s a whole other story) So here’s the basic facts. Cocoa powder is made by pressing Chocolate Liquor and removing 3/4 of it’s butter fat. If you then want to talk Dutch Processed they treat the powder further with an alkali to remove the “acidic ingredients” For a chemist I know this sounds way too simple. Like all I’m thinking is, what kind of process is this? Why do you need to get rid of the acids? Why are they so bad? Humans love acids?! Hello, fresh fruit!!! The gist of what I’ve read so far, is that if you use Dutch Process, you best have Baking Powder in that recipe, since it doesnt’ react with Baking Soda. Huh?! Now I need to find out the difference between Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Journey on.