Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jalapeño Chevre Cornbread and Vegetarian Chili

Back home and getting ready for the week--we decided to do chili and cornbread for lunch. I still had the last little chunk of goat cheese hanging around, so I threw it into the cornbread muffins, along with some chopped up jalapeños.

Nice and creamy--though the flavor is a bit strong. Neither of us mind it, but I'm thinking next time I'd probably try something less strong--perhaps a dollop of plain cream cheese.
Vegetarian chili--I make it about the way one would make regular chili, except that's tvp instead of hamburger. Don't knock it until you try it! Inexpensive and with something already so flavorful, it really doesn't stand out. Even Tavo, the guy who won't touch tofu with a 10 foot pole, actually said in the grocery store, "Naw, I don't need hamburger chili--I'll just eat the vegetarian stuff. It's pretty good!"

I'm back in Atlanta, now--glad I was able to get here despite the weather! It snowed like crazy in Baltimore yesterday. I went for a quick jog anyways, just to see the harbor and everything. Brr! I needed to jog in order to keep from freezing :) Very cool city--I need to come back when its at least 50 degrees warmer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza, baguette, dahl and travel

Although I haven't been posting about it, we definitely have been cooking. Here's what I'm trying tonight...Cast Iron Skillet Pizza. I read about it here and here. Smart idea!! I decided to pre-heat the skillet in my oven, turned as high as it could go (500 degrees) for a good half hour. My issues with homemade pizza before is that the oven doesn't get hot enough for a good, crisp crust. Though this still won't be as hot as I desire, I'm not ready to trick out my oven, like Varasano, to achieve those results :)

btw--for those of you in Atlanta, Varasano's is an excellent pizza joint. Between his place and Antico, we're turning into a regular pizza town.

So, here are the results--raw dough with goat cheese, unsalted tomatoes, oregano and parmesan on my "peel" with corn grits underneath. (hey, the grits work pretty well...)
Baked! Crispy and hot in about 6 minutes--5 on bottom of oven, 1 under the broiler.
Char? Everyone shows these "char" shots but I ended up just dumping all the pizza toppings while trying to take this shot.
This is my second favorite $6 Chianti from Trader Joe's. (trust me, I've tried them all)

I didn't follow instructions directly, for a few reasons. It was suggested to heat the pan on the burner for 30 or so minutes, put the dough in, then put it under the broiler on High. Well...I have a glass top electric stove. I can just see myself banging that heavy cast iron pot down on super high heat and cracking the range. Crazy? Maybe. Plus, my broiler maxes out at 500, same as my oven. So, I figured that heating the pan on the non-breakable rack at 500 was sufficient.

Is this pizza any better than my normal cookie sheet? Yes--a bit crispier. Is it restaurant quality? Nope. But, it's better than Dominoes ;) I'd also like to try a Chicago deep dish style pizza in the cast iron--I'm betting that would work quite well. Lower heat and longer cooking time, of course.

We also have been eating dahl and I had waaaaaay too much of a delicious baguette.

Cheating and Probably Quite Inauthentic Dahl:
1.5 c. red lentils
6 c. water
1-2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 t. curry paste
2 vegetable boullion cubes
2 garlic cloves, crushed (or minced if you don't plan on pulling them out)
frozen peas

Place all, except bouillon cubes and peas, in pot. Bring to boil, add bouillon, reduce and simmer. After 30 minutes, add 1 cup or so of peas. Heat through and you're set!

Baguette--okay, I was surprised at how light and fluffy this was. Then I realized why--I was out of wheat flour. I always, always, always make white/wheat mix in pizza, bread, EVERYTHING. So, this was fluffy because it was all delicious White Lily Bread flour. Here's the recipe:

3/4 c. water
2 c. white bread flour
1 T. dry milk (I always use powdered creamer and never have had a problem)
1 1/2 honey
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 t. fast rise yeast

I baked half of that at 375 for around 15-20 minutes. Spritz the floor of your oven for a crispier crust. I've read about cooking at high heat, then lowering--but I was busy so I didn't mess around with the varying heat.

All right, guys--I'm headed to Baltimore for work this week. So excited!! I'm ready for a little vacation from work. Have a good week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

food and celebration

You know, I have not been a very diligent blogger as of late, and I'm not quite sure why. Today, though, as I post the similar foods that we make and eat most every week, I think about how lucky we are to have this and all the other comforts of home. We are thankful. To have each other, to our friends, to our parents, to our grandparents, to our country, to our leaders, past and present. The list goes on...

Thank you.

Roasted potatoes, onions, spinach and peppers (400 degrees for 40 or so minutes) with herbs and eggs over easy
...eggs over medium and freshly grated parmesan.
Sunday loaf of bread--this is the normal honey wheat
Tofu about to expire, so went ahead and baked two blocks of it. Slice, pat dry..
...lay on greased cookie sheet, drizzle a bit of soy if you are too lazy to prepare marinade ;)

425 degrees for approximately 40 minutes
Let cool, layer in tupperware with a bit of barbeque sauce for sandwiches.

(on fresh baked honey wheat, with a bit of goat cheese spread on the bottom and spring mix on top)
Prep granola for two weeks--2 cups rolled oats, almonds and pine nuts, honey, oil, a bit of ginger and cinnamon. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, turning half way.
...add sesame seeds (pre-roasted) and dried fruit (cranberries, here) mix and let cool.

Clementines will round out breakfasts and lunches.

We're ready for the week! Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day--please consider volunteering tomorrow. Below, from

"On January, 18, 2010, people of all ages and backgrounds will come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality and social justice. He taught that through nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome. Dr. King’s teachings can continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most pressing needs---poverty, economic insecurity, job loss and education.

Volunteer with Americans across the nation on the 2010 King Day of Service and make a real difference in your community."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snow has melted and other good news

Tavo is in San Francisco, CA for his job this week, and I've just been jogging around the local high school and outside. I signed up for the ING Half Marathon here in Atlanta--hopefully I'll be better prepared for it this year. Last year was fun, but I definitely didn't run my best.

Here are some pictures of the snow that froze our pipes and hung around Atlanta for almost a WEEK!

Not too much, eh? I tell you, it ground the city to a halt. No metro schools were open last friday. (At my school, staff had to report, so no snow days for me!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

frozen pipes

Let's hope for a thaw in Atlanta today.

Good thing Tavo is handy with solder

**ad lib Pipes are fixed!! Tavo cut and coupled in a new piece of pipe...and it works! Hooray :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! It's cold down here, so I don't even want to think about how cold it is in your neck of the woods!! (Buffalo and Marjie--I bet you guys have a TON of snow)

Here are some Christmas pictures from the Alabama / Florida border--not too much food, but plenty of fun :)
The Lini family on Christmas morning

We stayed looks fake, doesn't it? That is a real picture--my mom took it. Unfortunately, the ferris wheel wasn't open the whole time we were there--bummer!
Tavo popping the cork on some Christmas dinner bubbly...

We took a day trip to Fort Morgan. As you can see, it was a hot, sunny day...or not ;)
Mom was the only one smart enough to bring gloves.
Dad and Tavo took shelter from the wind.
My sister and I waved good-bye! Let's leave this freezing fort!!
and warm up with...a frozen drink! When in the Bushwacker capital, it is necessary to have at least one.
Tavo stuck with the less exotic Bud Light. And a peanut.
I love bars that encourage graffiti!! Luckily, both my sister and I just happened to have sharpies in our purses...
Thanks Dad and Mom!! What a great trip!

all together now