Monday, June 30, 2008

Making up lost time

JR and I are clearly making up for all grill time we lost while living in NY. This is a pretty standard meal for us these day (as in pretty much every night!) We grill up some meat (chicken, steak, burgers, sausages etc) and some vegetables (corn, peppers, onions, asparagus etc) and then I make up a salad. It's amazing, and I love it. I will never live without a grill again.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Best New Job EVER!

What could be better than a new job where the kitchen is stocked better than your kitchen at home? I could not believe my eyes the first day at my new job. The kitchen literally has EVERYTHING I COULD EVER WANT TO EAT!

You might think "well sure, if you want to eat junk food all day," but that is totally not the case. It has so many options, I find something new every day. It's also not just the kitchen in our office, every floor of the WHOLE building has kitchens that are free for all.

So far in my first week, I have found,

- Fat Free Fig Newtons, 100 calorie packs of Oreos and Chip Ahoy
- Fresh fruit - bananas, peaches, plums, apples, pears
- baby carrots
- 4 types of cereal in our kitchen and at least 10 in the kitchen upstairs
- 3 kinds of single serving cheese (string cheese, the kind in wax, and Cracker Barrel)
- 4 kinds of yogurt including Greek Yogurt, fat free yogurt, and the kind that comes with granola on the top
- Klondike Bars, ice cream Milky Ways, frozen fruit bars
- Easy Mac & Cheese
- 5 kinds of granola bars
- M&Ms and Skittles
- Stacey's Pita Chips, baked Lays, Pretzels, Cheetos, Pirates Booty, Pringles, Ritz with Cheese AND Peanut Butter
- Milano Cookies
- 3 kinds of fruit snacks
- Bagels and cream cheese
- Any kind of soda you want, and 3 kinds of flavored seltzer
- Juice boxes, including Paul Newman's Lemonade

And that is having only explored our kitchen thoroughly. As I continue to explore others and find more I will update the list.

Farmers Markets

There is little that makes me happier, on a weekend morning in the summer, than getting up early and heading to the Farmer's Market. I love the energy and vibe at a good market. It's so healthy and green.

I have been lucky to live near a couple great Farmer's Markets since I lived in Germany in college. The markets in Germany should be famous. In Freiburg, where I studied, the large market in the cathedral plaza went on every day and in each neighborhood there were markets that went on during the weekends.

It's possible my love of a good market started when I was in Freiburg. I could walk around that market for hours enjoying the piles of fresh fruit and vegetables, amazing baked breads, cheese and sausages, pottery, jewelery, dried fruit and nuts. You name it, they had it.

When we moved out to Brooklyn, JR's sister had told us about the market at Grand Army Plaza. I loved living a block away from it and early on Saturday's I would slip out and buy as much food as I could carry (and sometimes more.) This time of year was the best. I could get fresh fish that had been caught less than 24 hours before, ripe cherries, piles of snap peas, and peaches and strawberries that were out of this world.

Yesterday, I headed up to the Union Square Farmer's Market with JB and AB. It was my first time checking it out, and I came away thrilled. It is much smaller than both the Frieburg and the Grand Army Plaza markets, but the quality and variety of foods is amazing and the vibe was great.

There were 3 significant fruit and vegetable stands, a honey and tea stand, a bread stand and a chocolate stand. I was able to get some beautiful beets that I roasted for a salad last night, juicy, delicious cherries, some wonderful American cucumbers, shelling peas and these amazing green garlic spirals (I can't remember what they were called for the life of me!) It was great to be there and I ma thrilled to continue to be lucky enough to be near a beautiful Farmer's Market.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I am so far behind, and I have so much to write about, but first the excuses about why I am so late.
1) I started my new job this week and it's keeping me super busy, I love it!
2) I have a number of great things to blog about, and no photos! I keep pushing off on writing about them hoping some photos will show up.
3) I am completely behind on my Reader and if I write another blog, that just adds one more thing for me to read!!!

So the only way to deal with this, is to do a quick hits list. Here are some things I want to tell you all about, but haven't gotten to recently.

- The darn fruit flies will NOT GO AWAY! I have no idea what's going on. I have a fruit bowl, which I generally keep on the counter, but this seems to be the cradle of their birth. However, if I keep all the fruit in the fridge, it never ripens. I tried covering it with Saran Wrap, and then the suckers were just born inside and kept on thriving. Do I need to turn to those awful fly strips?

- I have made, not 1, but 2 AMAZING potato salads recently. Since JR doesn't appreciate them, you will have to. They both come from Food & Wine magazine and have been spectacular. The first was a tzatziki potato salad which replaced the mayo with Greek yogurt and used tons of fresh herbs. The second (which I am still eating with dinner each night) has my homemade BBQ sauce and BACON in it. Could anything be better than that?

- The other day, I made the most amazing BBQ Chicken Pizza. It was out of this world! I took one of the thin crust Boboli pizza shells and gave it a good spreading of the homemade BBQ sauce(did I mention I made another 3 cup batch and we finished it in a week?) Then I sliced a grilled chicken breast nice and thin, and laid it over the BBQ sauce. I sauteed up some red and green peppers and a nice purple onion and put those on top, with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. I popped it in the oven for 15 minutes, until it was crunchy on the bottom, and PRESTO! Amazing homemade BBQ chicken pizza.,

Friday, June 20, 2008


A couple of years ago, someone gave my mom the AS SEEN ON TV!!! Smart Spin 49-Piece Food Storage System. I thought this seemed a little silly, until she started using it, then I wanted one!

The beauty of the system is that they have 3 size containers all of which use the SAME LIDS. There is no more shuffling through a drawer filled with mismatching tupperware tops and bottoms trying to find the small circle lid to match the container you just filled with your lunch. This system has a great spinning storage unit that holds everything and takes up half the space.

The containers are also the perfect sizes. One is a snack size, one is an individual meal, and the largest is perfect for two meals. I freeze soup in two person servings and JR and I can have it all year round. Right now my freezer is filled with little individual snack servings of BBQ sauce (I made another double batch this week!)

The only problem with these beautiful little containers is that they also make sharing food really simple, and then people don't return them! I think I am going to have to splurge and go buy their expansion pack to make up for all my lost tupperware!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fruit Flies INVADING!

I totally owe a post on our fantastic house warming party last weekend, but it's been a bit of a hectic week and a half. I just got home from trip to NY where I officially resigned from the company where I have been very happy for 3 years. I am moving on to a great opportunity so the whole trip was a bit bitter sweet.

I got a rude awakening when I got home and realized that alas the world had moved on without me. The fresh cilantro that I had in a glass of water on the counter since the end of last week has accumulated a thriving community of fruit flies in my absence.

As soon as I walked in, I smelled the rotting sickly sweetness that comes with fresh herbs or flowers left in water too long, but JR hadn't noticed it for 2 days. I pulled the glass of green gooey muck from the counter, and a swarm of fruit flies took off into the apartment. I tried to kill as many as possible, and the walls now display a nice smattering of dead bugs, but I couldn't come close to getting them all. So I had to call in the re-enforcements.

I did a quick search on "fruit flies" in good-ol' Google, and found this site, which had a couple of recommendations. I tried the funnel trap.

* Make a cone out of the sheet of paper (like a funnel). Tape the outside of the cone so that it stays in place.
* Check that the cone fits snugly into a glass or cup.
* Cut off the tip of the cone so that you now have a funnel.
* Pour a small amount of cider vinegar into the glass or cup. (Rum mixed with orange juice also works very well - additionally, a half teaspoon of baker's yeast in water can also suffice)
* Insert the funnel into the glass or cup, but don't let the bottom of the funnel touch the liquid. Tape the funnel in two or three places from the outside so that there is no gap between the glass and the cone.
* Place your newly created trap on a flat surface. The flies will be attracted by the smell of the fruity vinegar and fly into the cone. The flies will slip down the cone and will either land in the vinegar and drown or will be trapped and not able to get back out. If you leave the trap overnight, the trapped fruit flies will eventually fall into the vinegar and drown.

Within 10 minutes those suckers were swarming and headed to their doom. You'll notice this picture has LOTS of little black dots, all fruit files that have previously been enjoying their stay.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

World BEST Homemade BBQ Sauce!

I have always been a firm believer that fresh and homemade is always better that store bought. Even so, as I have been cooking more and more over the last couple of years, I am still continually amazed at how this holds true for some of the simplest things. Some quick examples:

Garlic – Fresh diced garlic is 100% better than garlic powder or jarred garlic in oil
Ginger – Don’t bother having ginger in a jar, just go for it fresh and grated and it's got great flavor
Teriyaki Sauce – I’ll share this at some point, I made it homemade once, and threw out all the bottles of it from my fridge
Basil – I am sure you know this already, it’s like Taste 101
Fresh Ground Pepper – probably the simplest

I have decided this summer, to continue this theory on the condiments that everyone eats by the gallon while they grill. So on Friday, I made up some homepage BBQ sauce for our housewarming party. Everyone I have told about this has asked what’s in it, and the only quick answer is “some of every bottle in your pantry.” Even so, the recipe is quick and easy and makes the whole apartment smell amazing. It has also WOWs everyone who tries it and is so amazing that JR and I have grilled hamburgers and hotdogs every night since, just so we can eat more.

The recipe comes from SmittenKitchen and before her from Ina Garten. Make it tonight and buy lots of meat so you are prepared to keep eating it all week.

Homemade BBQ Sauce
Makes 3 cups

3/4 cups chopped yellow onion
1 T. minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tomato paste (10 ounces)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 T. chili powder
1/2 T. ground cumin
1/2 T. crushed red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan on low heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Eat immediately.