Monday, August 27, 2007

CSA week 14

In the CSA this week:

whole chicken (destined to become roast chicken in fig-balsamic glaze later this week)
a dozen eggs (have already taken part in a chocolate cake - see below)
cheddar+port spread
tomatoes (gone! Made caprese salad with whole wheat penne last night)
white peaches (partially gone! See granola, below)
hot peppers (not sure what to do with these)
a bunch of herbs (will probably end up with the chicken)

I have a granola recipe from my aunt that I have optimized and make often, this time with the white peaches. It has endless potential, but I think I'll write a post later in the week about that, so more later...

I'm a little obsessed with strained Greek yogurt at the moment, it has such a nice consistency and goes so well with the granola and a little honey. I buy Fage brand and even the 0% is good.

We had a pretty busy weekend; I was in the lab a lot and we got some errands/cleaning out of the way. But I did find time to make the Azo family chocolate cake (I originally found it here). It has a ridiculous amount of butter and chocolate and tasted ridiculously good. If you're on a diet and tend to crave chocolate - run for the hills!

We also went to see The Bourne Ultimatum on Friday night. It made my stomach hurt a little but I still really liked it.


Monday, August 20, 2007

CSA week #13 / Ricotta gnocci part deux

Part of the weekly CSA

Tomatoes, squash, apples, red leaf lettuce, green beans, goat's milk gouda cheese, yogurt and sausage.

We ate very well this weekend:

Whole wheat bread

Thai coconut soup with mushrooms and chicken. From January 2007 Cook's Ilustrated

Ricotta gnocci - homemade ricotta and breadcrumbs, basil from our plant, tomatoes from our CSA. This was an easy dough to work with and they turned out really well. And nothing beats a quick sauce with fresh tomatoes.

Thai coffee

A couple of local things I'm excited about:

The Set Table - In East Falls. We sat outside and listened to the church choir next door. Great coffee and a cute out-of-the-way location.

The Marketplace at East Falls - please please let this actually happen. From what I've read it looks like they've had some trouble getting off the ground.

Bargain Thrift - I stopped in here on Saturday morning, I didn't buy anything but it definitely has potential.

Happy Monday everyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ricotta gnocci part I

There is a ricotta gnocci recipe in the new Cook's Illustrated that I'd like to try, so I thought I'd use my cheesemaking kit to make fresh ricotta.

The process differed from the mozzarella protocol in that I just added citric acid and salt (no rennet) and heated it up to 195 degrees F.

Curdage started to happen around 120 degrees:

At 195 degrees I removed the curds/whey from the heat and let the steaming mess sit for 10 minutes:

After the ten minutes I ladled everything into a cheese cloth-lined colander, tied it from the kitchen faucet, and let it drain for an hour. R. thought it looked like a "giant white scrotum" so I'm guessing nobody really wants to see any photos of this step.

While waiting I took a pizza break: carmelized purple onion + corn + cheddar on a whole wheat crust:

It's looking rather radioactive here but trust me, it was good!

And here's the finished product:

I was surprised at how much it made - enough to fill a 32 oz. yogurt container, and plenty for the gnocci. Stay tuned....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

CSA week 12

Pretty good haul from the CSA this weekend: Yogurt, fresh ricotta, heirloom tomatoes, dill, peppers, a purple onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, nectarines, raspberries and fresh bread. We also got organic ground beef as well.

Yesterday I made bruscetta using the bread, tomatoes and ricotta and ate it all outside. I really don't think I've ever tasted tomatoes like these before - juicy but firm and intensely flavorful. Perfect for an easy summer lunch.

I'm not sure what to do with the meat; we don't eat much beef around here. Last week I made a veggie pie topped with dill biscuits, so I'm thinking I might make the same thing and add the meat. I'm also going to make a cucumber salad at some point this week.

My BIL was in town for the weekend, so we caught the Phillies game on Friday night and spent a blissful day in Ocean City on Saturday.

And now I'm off for a jog - I have to work off Mack and Manco Pizza + Kohr Bros custard!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Breaking news

So have all of you heard about Boots no.7 Restore and Renew Beauty Serum ? Boots is a drugstore chain in Britain and this serum (marketed as Protect and Perfect in the UK) has been selling out like crazy because people seem to think it actually reverses the effects of aging. After a bit of reformulation and a name change it's now available in the US at CVS and Target.
I first read about it on Not Martha and started digging a little deeper and found a blurb on the Today Show. Apparently this stuff is the fountain of youth! And it isn't all that expensive ($21.99). I was at Target soon after and realized that they carry the Boots line although this particular product was sold out. Suddenly I had to have this stuff. I looked at Target in Johnstown - sold out, of course. I finally went online and ordered myself a tube - it was on backorder and took about 2 weeks to arrive.
Like any good scientist I will be conducting extensive research into this matter and will let you know how things progress....


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cute, huh?

Thanks again to The Sheaffers for a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I made it through my presentation on Tuesday... I can't tell you how glad I am that it's over. I know it's a good thing to get your research out there for people to critique, but getting up in front of everyone is really stressful. I think public speaking in general can be a strength of mine but man do I know how to worry! Thank god my husband knows how to deal with my stress-fests and cranky pre-talk jitters.

This weekend we're going to visit The Sheaffers in Pittsburgh. Mainly because we miss them and want to hang out with Ella, but also because R. and I are thinking about moving to PGH after I'm done with school (whenever that is...). We'll also get to see Niks parents and Maggie+Abigail. The plan is to check out a few neighborhoods: Regent Square, Mt. Lebanon, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside. I'll take photos if possible!