Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garlic tea

Romance isn't flowers, chocolates and watching Top Chef together. Real romance is when two people are coughing into each anothers mouths as they kiss goodnight, sweating out fevers at 3am and spooning despite damp sheets. You guessed it, we're sick. It all started last week with the turn of the weather. Sunny spring 75 degree days accompanied by loads of cedar, juniper, elm and ash in the air. We played it cool. Took lots of Zyrtec but it was just getting worse, albeit so far not as bad as last year, well not yet at least. Since I don't have the energy to make homemade chicken soup, we stocked up on quarts from Central Market.. But what I did make is a big steamy pot of garlic tea.

Evidently garlic tea is some old-timey Mexican cure for, well, just about anything. So I decided to give it a try. Most recipes on the internet are identical, but I added the fresh mint.

3 cups boiling water
3 cloves garlic, split in half
1/2 cup local honey
juice of 1 lemon, strained
a spring of mint

Boil water. Turn off heat. Add garlic, honey and lemon juice. Drink up and be sure to chomp on the garlic cloves in between sips. They soften up nicely.

Goes good with
Toast with fig jam, a pillow fort on the couch and hours of bad TV

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flan baby!

I'm calling the Pope. I have an immaculate conception to report. It's a boy! It's a girl! No, it's a flan! I shall call him François. He is the reason for me living in my American Apparel shiny hot pants for the past two weeks. Yes, even wearing them to work, with Leo's oxford shirts. Suffice it to say, I do have my uniform picked out for the day I do have a real human François growing in me, but that is not the point. The point is that I cannot stop eating this flan.

Leo and I got hooked on flan in Paris. And before I go any further, french flan is completely different from the créme caramel flan you get at the Mexican (or Tex-mex) restaurants. French flan is denser, richer and comes in pie slices perfect for eating on-the-go. And they wrap it up in a paper triangle which is so adorable. It also comes with a variety of fruits. We tried apricot, cherry and traditional vanilla. My favorite was cherry, but the one pictured here is plain 'ol vanilla. If you do want to add fruit, I recommend the bags of frozen fruit from whole foods. I tried their 365 brand frozen cherries and they worked out well.

This is my third, yes third, attempt at making french flan. The previous two attempts just didn't come out like the ones we were used to eating. They simply didn't firm up right. This one is surely the closest, although I won't say it's perfect, yet. But I must stress to you that if you are looking for a french flan recipe, use this one. I have scoured the internet, french cookbooks (in English) and blogs. People just aren't making this. Not even Julia Child has a recipe in her books (at least not the ones I've looked at). And no, flan is not clafoutis. Don't convince me that it is. This recipe is adapted from Citron et Vanille. Enjoy!

So here you go, I pass along a gem!

Ingredients for the crust
250 g flour
110 g butter, cubed
1 egg yolk

For the filling
3 eggs
50 g sugar
50 g light brown sugar
50 g flour
1 1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c cream
vanilla extract
1 vanilla pod, cut lengthwise and beans scraped

The crust
Place flour in a container, add yolk and butter, gradually add water and with your hands mix carefully to somehow incorporate all the ingredients but do not over knead the dough. When you have incorporated all the ingredients, form a ball and wrap it in a plastic foil. PLace in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Roll dough and place in a deep dish and about 20 cm diameter. Place parchment paper on the surface of the dough and cook for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 370F. Remove paper and cook for an additional 5 minutes. remove from the oven.
The filling
Mix eggs and sugar until the mixture has doubled its volume. Add flour and vanilla extract. In the meantime, in a pot add milk and cream with vanilla pod. Bring the mixture to a boil and add to the eggs mixture.
Pour filling into the crust. Cook in a 370-375F oven for about 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. The top needs to be golden brown and the cream firm all the way through.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Egg Salad

It's officially (or unofficially?) the time of year to shave the legs, paint the nails and put on a dress. It's looking like we won't get hit with any more arctic blasts, snowmageddons or the likes. A girl can hope.

All this bare-legged prancing around has got me in the mood for a quintessential spring lunch, egg salad. So much so that I ate it two days in a row. Don't tell mom. She always said you can only eat eggs once a week. Is this an urban mom myth? Or should I say suburban mom myth?

Serves 2

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tsp. tarragon chopped (can you tell I'm trying to use up my tarragon?)
dollop of mayo
lemon juice
salt and pepper
whole grain mustard
wheat bread (my favorite is the original Oatnut)

Mix all ingredients, except mustard, in bowl. Toast bread. Spread mustard. Pile salad on toast, cut into triangles and devour. Feel free to lick your fingers and plate clean.

Goes good with
Radishes, carrots and a bouquet of flowers your husband got you for no reason at all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lamb & Rice

I'm not really one to get in the kitchen and invent something without consulting a recipe or two or 10. But in this case I did get creative and it really turned out well. I had the leftover leg of lamb in the fridge and wanted to make something that made the most of every morsel of the delicious baby lamb. After all he did give his life for our bacchus-style night of debauchery, otherwise known as dinner club. The flavors I infused into this dish are Lebanese-inspired and really complimented the herbs I roasted the lamb with. So here's what I did:

1/2 -1 lb lamb, bite size chunks
1 15 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup water
handful of manischewitz fine egg noodles
handful of pine nuts toasted
clarified butter
1/2 tsp. allspice
1-2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
dash of saigon cinnamon

Directions for rice
Rince rice until water is clear. In a medium saucepan, melt clarified butter and sauteé egg noodles. Add wet rice and stir for a minute or two. Add 1 1/2 cups water and dash of salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is done. As a side note: the type of rice you use will determine how you prepare it (amount of water, cook time, etc).

Directions for lamb sauce
In another medium pot, sauteé chopped onion in clarified butter until translucent (I even like burning a few of them). Add fire roasted tomatoes and lamb, all of the spices and a little bit of water (get the consistency to your liking). Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pour the sauce with lamb over rice and top with toasted pine nuts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony s/s lookbook

If you couldn't get enough of Rodarte in Black Swan, check out these vibrant looks for Opening Ceremony.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Red velvet cupcake, palmier cookie and an eclair

Foie gras paté

White fish with basil, lemon & capers
An array of french cheeses, with baguette and fig jam
Lamb Provençal

Cooking club night is my favorite night of the month. Good food, good wine and good friends. It's happiness overload. I hosted last night's cooking club and the theme was French food. Since I got back from Paris, I'd been dying to try some new recipes and see if it were actually possible to sit at the dinner table for 4 hours. And it turns out it is!

Unfortunately I didn't capture each and every course, the wine made me a little a.d.d. But the idea for the meal would be a traditional french sequence of six courses: hors d'oeurves, fish course, main course, salad, cheese and dessert. Well, things didn't turn out as planned because I didn't realize the lamb was going to take 1 1/2 hours to roast. So we ate a little out of order but it all turned out exquisitely. Each person was assigned one course, and Miya and I did the main: lamb provençal with roasted tomatoes and a side of roasted beets with tarragon. I intended to do another side of fingerling potatoes but the leg of lamb fill the pan and there wasn't enough room, and frankly not enough room in our tummies.

Here is the recipe for the lamb, I made a couple of amendments, but nothing major. And here is the recipe for the roasted beets:

8 beets
1 cup water
ground sea salt & pepper
1 tbs. champagne vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Place the beets in a 10 by 8 inch baking dish, add the water, and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the beets for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until they are tender throughout (poke the beets with a knife or toothpick to test them). Remove the foil, allow the beets to cool, and peel them over the sink. Their skins will rub off very easily. Slice the beets thin or into wedges and season them with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the beets with the vinegar, olive oil, and tarragon and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yay for kale

Here is a fantastic way to get your greens. And it's easy enough to make before work, throw in a bottle and chug at your desk (just ignore your co-workers and their crinkled "ick" faces). Everything is eyeballed, so I'll provide the round-a-bout portions. Serves 2.

2 cups kale, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup spinach
1/2 apple, chopped (I used pink lady. I'll probably use a whole apple next time, but had a lonely halfsie in the fridge)
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 cup soy milk
a heaping tablespoon of almond butter

Blend and enjoy. I've been researching other green smoothies. Many use frozen berries which sounds delicious. Once I finish my case of pink ladies I plan to try new combinations. A friend of mine uses coconut water instead of soy milk, so there's that tid bit for you.

Marlene Marino for UO

I'm really loving the vibrant and graphic quality of the new Urban Outfitters catalog, photographed by Marlene Marino in Tel Aviv. See more of her work here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A super bowl sunday indeed

For me the Super Bowl isn't about the football, or the commercials, or even the tight butts in the brightly colored pants. It's about the food. Since Leo was at the game, my brother and I made a feast for two.

This chili is a true labor of love. So leave plenty of time, and have lots of patience. The house is going to smell so wonderful that you're going to want to dip into the pot throughout the day. But it will be worth the wait.

Since I followed this recipe nearly to a tee, I'll simply provide the link. It's another gem from food52. Here are a couple of tips/suggestions. 1) If you live in Dallas, the bulk section at Central Market is a great alternative to buying bottles of spices you may only use once or twice. This recipe calls for quite a few spices, and instead of spending $9 for a bottle of Mexican oregano, you can get the exact amount you need for a nickel. 2) Ask the butcher to trim the short ribs. I spent approximately 30 minutes trimming the meat and it wasn't fun. And finally 3) The night before do the following: roast the red pepper (I opted to roast my own since I didn't have a jar of them, and soak the beans.

Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Alexander Calder @ the Nasher

Nineteen White Discs, sheet metal and wire, 1961

For all you modern art lovers, the breathtaking Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form Balance Joy exhibit is only open for another month at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Now that the snow has melted and the sun is shining, it's time to get outside again (until it snows again this week, and we hopefully get another snow day or two :)

Here is a great interview with Jeremy Strick, the director of the Nasher, by Jerome Weeks from KERA, who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple weeks ago.

P.S. admission is free first Saturdays. Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Smoky minestrone with tortellini & basil pesto

Today is our fourth and final snow day of the week. Otherwise known as the end of my week as a stay-at-home wife. I thought I would treat the husband to a big bowl of love when he got home. And I was also really excited to try out the new dutch oven. We got really lucky and found a Cuisinart 7-quart dutch oven (which normally retails for $200) for $63 at TJ Maxx. And now it is mine. Alllll mine.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food blogs food52. Here is their recipe. I've made a few amendments.

Prep time: 1 hour (shorter or longer depending on your knife skills) // Cook time: 45 minutes

  • Ingredients for soup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
5 finglering potatoes (skin on), chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz. can chick peas
1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, with juice
Sea salt
2 cups kale, chopped fine
1 9-oz, pkg cheese tortellini (Central Market)
Aged balsamic
Grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients for pesto
1 cup loosely packed basil (I used opal basil, that's why it's purple in the photo)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbs. grated parmesan
1 tbs. olive oil

Directions for soup
  1. Chop all ingredients first, and set aside. Group the ingredients in bowls based on what needs to be added at the same time.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, strirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened.
  4. Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two.
  5. Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go. Add a few generous pinches of salt (be judicious if your stock is salted already). Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.
  6. Add the kale and the tortellini, and continue to cook over a simmer until both are tender and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve garnished with a spoonful of the pesto, a few drops of the aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Directions for pesto
  1. Chop, chop, and chop the basil or parsley some more by hand until it's very fine...when you do this, you'll reduce it down to about 1/4 cup.
  2. As you chop the basil, start to incorporate the other ingredients and chop them fine, too, until you have a lovely, finely chopped pesto.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Use as a garnish for the minestrone.
Goes good with: Crusty french bread, a glass of cabernet and someone to snuggle with

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spiced apple & berry oatmeal

Your beloved (albeit anti-commital) blogger is back. And I think I can promise I'll be back for good. But let's not make it official or anything. First off let's notice that I'm not using my iPhone to document food! This is part of the Oh My Golly 2.0 upgrade. Perhaps fewer posts, but better photos. So here we go.

Today is my third, yes THIRD, snow day of the week. Dallas has been blessed/blanketed with a beautiful sheet of ice causing persistently hazardous driving conditions. And by the third day I'm tired of bumming around and seeing how many different concoctions I can make with a baguette. The roof of my mouth is suffering. More on that later.

Today I bring you my favorite oatmeal that has evolved over time and can be made super quickly and thrown into a plastic bowl and brought to work. It's inspired by my oatmeal cherry cookies that I posted a while back. A looooong while back.

1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. water or milk
1/2 green apple chopped
1 tsp. brown sugar
dash of salt
dash of saigon cinnamon
dash of ground cardemon
milk (optional)
toasted nut of your choice
dried cherries

Bring one cup water or milk to boil with a dash of salt. Add oatmeal and apples. Simmer for a couple minutes and set aside. Add the rest of the ingredients and voila. In the picture above I used a pink lady apple and toasted walnuts since that is what I had on-hand.

Goes good with:
Darjeeling tea with milk

Side note. I'm in the middle of watching a fantastic documentary called The Art of the Steal. Thanks for the rec, Sergio. Here's the trailer: