Thursday, December 30, 2010

creamy, delicious hummus

as i continue down this fun and exciting path of cooking, next on the list to master:  hummus.  and, again, thanks to a fave blog, i found this super delicious recipe.  the key, according to this blogger, is to add the ingredients in a very specific order.  you blend the tahini and lemon juice in the food processor first.  that creates a smooth and creamy base for the rest of the recipe.  i also added roasted red peppers and some cayenne pepper to give it a kick.  i know i will make this over and over.


make some today!  (get some stacy's pita chips for dippage.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

herbed goat cheese

i saw a blog post recently on serious eats about making goat cheese.  i had never really thought of making cheese, but since it sounded so easy, i thought i'd give it a shot. i got the goat's milk and cheesecloth at whole foods, borrowed a candy thermometer from a friend and headed home to start my little science project.  here's how you do it...

first, you heat the goat's milk

once it hits 180 degrees, remove from heat and add lemon juice and wait for it to curdle

be sure to have the cheesecloth ready for the warm, curdled goat's milk

spoon goat's milk into cheesecloth, tie it up onto a wooden spoon and let it drip for 1.5 hours

remove goat cheese from cheesecloth and add garlic, salt + pepper and your choice of chopped herbs

top your favorite crackers or bread with the creamy herbed goodness. 
i dipped big, warm garlic croutons in it.  ridiculous.

next time i make this, i will probably double the recipe, as it only makes a small amount.
be sure to eat it while it's very fresh. it would be excellent on pizza!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

italian lemon goodness

limoncello is a very tasty italian drink and i'd been hoping for years to make it.  and, now that i've made it...i'm wondering...what took so long?!  it is delicious and so easy.  you just have to be patient [it takes a minimum four weeks.]  here is the recipe.

make yourself some of this wonderful digestif!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

small wonders

i buy fresh eggs every saturday from andy's eggs (fallston, md) at the waverly market.  many of my friends prefer the sunday market under the JFX, but i really like waverly.  it is smaller, i know many of the vendors...and it's year-round, so i can get my weekly milk, eggs, bread, lettuce, etc, even in the dead of winter. 

i get a weekly email from woolsey farm and this week's entry had a message from andy about his recent trip to pick up some pullets (young chickens.)  he suggested their lovely little eggs for the holidays (i saw the words DEVILED EGGS and i was in.)  so, i went this morning and picked up two dozen pullet eggs from him.  they are beautiful.  and delicious.  look how orange-y that yolk is - yum.

go see andy (get there early) and get some for yourself!

visit my etsy shop!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

picture this...

i sold some of my favorite food photos today at a holiday bazaar at friends school.  it was a HUGE success.  people really seemed to love them, which makes me so happy.  i also sold my delicious fig jam...and all 24 jars sold out!  (and someone pre-ordered 10 more jars from my next batch!) 

a good day...

i am matting some more photos and making more fig goodness...let me know if you would like to order either (or both!) for holiday gifts.  you can email me at for more info.

here are the photos available:

here are two last minute additions to the show that were BIG sellers...

i am so glad i finally did this.  happy cook.

Monday, July 5, 2010

my happy place

recently, the city of baltimore came up with yet another bizarre slogan. in the past, we've seen "the city that reads", "the greatest city in america", "get in on it" and now..."find your happy place." well, my happy place is the waverly farmers market. every saturday, i head to east 32nd street with my bags in hand and a set amount of cash to spend. once the bags are full and the money's gone...i'm out. oh, and the farmers market is also part social event, but with bedhead.

for me, the best part of the market is one straw farm. i met farmers joan and drew norman almost 15 years ago when i babysat their nephews out in white hall - and now, those boys are old enough to work at the market and i see them from time to time. it's funny how things come full circle - especially in smalltimore. i participate in one straw farm's CSA = community supported agriculture program. before the growing season starts, you send a check for a share of crops each week (one straw farm's is june through november.) i'm a relatively new cook, so it's fun to learn from joan about foods i had never used before like swiss chard, beets, tomatillos, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, etc. i now roast beets almost every week. who'da thunk it? (ina garten's roasted beets with orange vinaigrette is my go-to recipe lately.)

the other vendors i visit at the waverly market are andy bachman for eggs, chesapeake greenhouse for bibb lettuce, south mountain creamery for milk, neopol and broom's bloom for cheeses, fountain farm for rhubarb, asparagus, corn and other seasonal items, and hollow farms for fresh shelled peas and beans. after i get the essentials and i have a few dollars left, i sometimes buy flowers by the stem from john at locust point flowers or maybe some ginger hemp granola from michele's granola.

each week, i get this great local produce and cook it all up for the week, share with neighbors and friends and take photos of some of my work.

the farmers market allows me to shop like my grandparents did - directly from people they knew in their community. i'm old school, i guess.

p.s. my other happy place is the wine source, but we can talk about that another time...

Friday, July 2, 2010

tapas with a twist

finally got to centro, the new federal hill tapas restaurant where the wonderful bicycle restaurant used to be. i'd heard so many raves from many friends and was really looking forward to it...and secretly hoped not to be disappointed.

since the sweltering heat in baltimore had just broken (holy dirt...finally) we sat outside in the lovely back patio. it was surprisingly free of city noise with buena vista social club playing quietly, simple potted plants placed to soften corners and white lights glowing along the walls.

the baltimore sun describes the food as traditional spanish tapas with a venezuelan spin and the wine list as "tidy" and i agree with that. there is something for every palette and the prices are excellent.

water for the table was served in very simple and attractive chilled glass bottles. then, sangria for my friend (they offered red and white) and viognier for me. one thing i loved was that the wines were served in rustic stemless glasses. perfect.

my friend has dairy and gluten issues and the waiter was really helpful and patient, consulting with the chef about what she could have. he also offered her a very tasty gluten-free beer. we shared some delicious marcona almonds (fried in olive oil and salted) and a shaved fennel, apple salad and arugula salad, which had great flavors and was beautiful, too. next, i had some amazing little sweet corn pancakes with queso blanco and topped with a chili glaze. my friend had (and i stole several bites of) wilted spinach with roasted chick peas, dates and this insane pine nut butter. i could've had a huge plate of that! i also loved the empanadas, which that night were filled with beef and spicy black beans.

the service was excellent and it felt like a nice night out...yet it was not stuffy or fancy - what a great spot. i cannot wait to go back. love centro. go!