23 February 2011

Jam of the night

Because let's not kid ourselves... this is mostly my personal dumping ground, rather than a food blog. Here's my new favorite song of the week.

Broccoli rice'n'cheese

Here's a quick post because I'm on my phone and suffering from caffeine-induced insomnia.  I've been sick for about 2 months now with some horrible sinus infection that morphed into the flu and then back into a sinus infection.  It's been the definition of not fun.  Apparently this isn't "normal" and after going to three different doctors to try to get antibiotics to treat it, one decided that I should get a blood panel to see if there was something wrong.  It turns out that I have a crazy huge vitamin D deficiency, which is bad for a host of reasons.  I also found out that I'm glucose intolerant.  This means that my body can't properly deal with sugars in blood after I eat something that is carb-heavy.  From what I've gathered, this is a pre-insulin resistant state, which is pre-diabetic.  I guess this means that I'm pre-pre-diabetic, which is kind of scary to think about.

What does this mean for my food blogs?  Well, nothing really.  I need to eat smaller meals more often and when I do eat carbs, I need to make sure that they're always paired with protein.  In an effort to make sure that I do eat properly, I've been trying to incorporate a whole lot more vegetables and fruits into my diet.  And tomorrow, for dinner, we're going to have broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole as a stand in for the carb-heavy mac'n'cheese. Brown rice is a vast improvement over normal macaroni and bulking up the dish with broccoli adds nutrients, fiber, and lets me use up some stuff in my refrigerator.

Broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole

1 c brown rice

2 c stock (or 2 c water + 2 T bouillon), I used chicken

1 T butter

1 T flour

1 c milk

s+p to taste

1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 oz chevre.

3 c broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces, cooked (broccoli stems work well here)

Cook the rice with the chicken stock.  In a small sauce pan, heat butter until melted.  Whisk in flour and stir until it turns tan.  Add in milk and stir again until smooth.  Bring to a simmer and let thicken.  Add in cheeses, lower heat, and stir until the cheese is melted and well combined.  Combine the rice, broccoli, and cheese sauce and eat up.

19 February 2011

Birthday Dinners Are Awesome.

I apparently crave seafood every time my birthday rolls around.  When I was little, I always went to Red Lobster (fancy, I know) and last year we went to Truluck's. This year we made our way to Uchiko.  I've been completely excited about the prospect of going there to eat and it definitely didn't disappoint.  I took some pictures, but it was dark, so mostly they didn't turn out so well.

We started with an amuse bouche of strawberry and beet sprinkled with sea salt.  I kind of hate beets, but this was mostly okay.

candlelight does not good photography make

Again, my apologies for the pictures.

So Uchiko has a permanent menu that has a lot of incredible dishes and then they have a specials menu that is constantly changing.  The difference between Uchiko's specials list and another restaurant's specials menu is that this isn't the chef trying to get rid of some ingredient that's going to go bad shortly.  We ordered the first course from the permanent menu.  It was called ko viche and it consisted of a fresh diver scallop served on top of a tomatillo with kalamata olive powder, black lime, and a corn "chip" served on top.  We used the corn chip to scoop up the entire thing.  It was light and delicious and acidic in a good way.  

The next course was tempura nasu, which basically meant deep fried Japanese eggplant.  It was served sprinkled with a chili powder and served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce.  Let's get one thing straight: I hate eggplant.  Or at least, I thought I hated eggplant.  This was divine.  I actually think that this is the best fried food I've ever had in my life.  It wasn't soggy, but it was crispy and delicious and light and everything that was good and right in the world.  I'm definitely going to try to make this at home.

The next dish we ordered was off their daily menu called "skin and bones".  It was presented as a really interesting salad, with cured salmon, crispy salmon skin, lettuce+seabeans (hence the "salad" bit), salmon roe, all atop meyer lemon curd.  Colby didn't really like it, but I loved it.  Then again, I'm a sucker for anything with salmon skin.  The meyer lemon curd was amazing and the salmon roe presented a nice salty balance to the sweet curd.

Too pretty to not take a picture, but too dark to take a pretty picture.
The next dish they brought out was from the permanent menu called chicken karaage.  It was basically fried chicken, served with a lemon+pepper dipping sauce.  It was awesome.  It came out with a bunch of different pickled items as well.  The chicken was spicy and sweet and well cooked.  This was Colby's favorite dish.

The last dish we shared was the shag roll.  When in Rome, right?  I overheard the waitress tell another customer that this was the one menu item from Uchi that Tyson Cole allowed Uchiko to share.  The shag roll is a tempura battered roll, with salmon and sundried tomatoes.  It was served with squid ink.  The first thing that struck me when I bit into it was how hot it was... temperature wise.  I assumed that tempura meant that the salmon would be battered and fried, but it was the whole roll.  Regardless, it was tasty, though I don't particularly like squid ink.

I also ordered a piece of nigiri.  I got the madai sushi, which consisted of Japanese bream, a fish that I've never had before, shiso leaf, and meyer lemon zest on top of some olive oil.  It was very tasty and I'd love to come back again and try a lot more of their sushi.

And finally... dessert.

I'm not a huge fan of dessert, but all I've heard about was how fantastic the dessert at Uchi is, so I had really high hopes for Uchiko's desserts.  A lot of this is molecular gastronomy inspired and I don't hate that.  I actually think that it makes dessert interesting to eat, instead of something that you scarf down because it's a combination of fat and sugar.

Colby ordered the fried milk, which was served with ice milk, chocolate mousse, chocolate wafers, and a chocolate sauce.  The fried milk is the golden brown and delicious cube in the picture.  When you sink the fork into it, the milk oozes out.  It was the best part of the dessert.  I tried all the parts, but I'm not into chocolate, so anything with chocolate seemed unbearably bitter to me.

I got the sweet corn sorbet, which was served with sweetened corn "chips", polenta, a corn puree, polenta "soil" and lemon droplets.  The corn puree was very sweet, but was well balanced by the lemon. The sorbet was AMAZING.  Taking a bit of everything was pretty much how God intended dessert to be.  I can't wait until I go back to Uchiko because there's just so much more I want to try on their menu.
this picture gets to be bigger because it's the most delicious.

14 February 2011

It's my birthday and I'll post if I want to.

So first of all, Happy Valentine's Day!  And if you hate valentine's day, then Happy Cupcake Distribution Day!  I swear, it's a thing... I just made up, but if you're in the astronomy department today, then you can participate. :)

My parents told me that I was super excited to turn five.  I thought that it was going to make me SOO grown up, but now twenty years later (holy crap), I wish I was closer to five than twenty-five.  The past four years have been incredibly eventful.

21. Colby and I started dating.
22. We graduated college, moved halfway across the country, and got married.
23. We bought a new car and then our first house.
24. We got a puppy and I got my masters degree.

I'm not so sure what twenty-five is going to hold for me and for us, but I hope it includes publishing my first refereed journal paper and an actual vacation.  So far, twenty-five has meant making cupcakes with Colby, making sure the dog didn't tear the house apart and determining photometric temperatures for my standard stars.

Oh, and I finally got all the loot. ;)  Colby's almost finished with the sous vide set up, and it looks like all he needs to do is test it.  I'm going to be pouring over my two new cookbooks to look for recipes that I can modify to include sous vide cooking, but that will be for later because tonight we're going to go to Uchiko for my birthday dinner.

11 February 2011

Frittata alla putanesca

SO.  Colby listened to me.  He's pretty much the best gift giver ever when he listens.  The best part about getting multiple gifts that I already know about is that I get a "new" gift every day.  The other day, I got to crack open Bitchin' Kitchen and it's hilarious and filled with some pretty awesome looking recipes.  Nadia G's recipes sound incredibly straight  forward and reading through it made me crave frittata and pasta alla putanesca. The only logical thing was to combine the two.

Frittata alla putanesca (or, you know, fritatta the way a whore would make it)
1/2 lb angel hair pasta, boiled in salted water
1/4 c pesto
8 eggs
6 or so anchovy filets packed in oil, smushed into a paste
1 T+1 t anchovy oil
 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
1 c cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 T capers (if packed in salt, rinse them)12 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

Magic mushrooms optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a vessel (like a pie plate or an oven safe pan) with 1 t anchovy oil.  Toss cooked pasta with 1 T anchovy oil and pesto.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until sort of foamy.  Whisk in the anchovy paste.  Fold in cheese, tomatoes, garlic, capers, and olives.  Toss in the pasta and fold to coat all the noodles and evenly-ish distribute the goodies.   Pour everything into the pie plate and bake for ~35ish minutes or until the frittata no longer wobbles in the middle.
Fresh from the oven noms
p.s. check out my recap of our first week of community supported home cooking and Randi's post about cooking really delicious, healthy and cost effective meals!

07 February 2011

Favorite Superbowl Commercial:

By and far, this commercial was my favorite:

On the exact opposite end was the Groupon commercial mocking Tibet's struggles.  See Angry Asian Man's take.  In the middle, I wasn't so impressed.

What was your favorite commercial?

03 February 2011

This is what almost burning down your house looks like

In my defense, I can't smell anything.  I have a cold again.  I've been sick for the past two months and this is how this whole house burning business started.  It began in Boston, where I got a simple cold, which then turned into a full blown sinus infection in Michigan.  Back to Austin, where the cedar is in crazy full bloom in addition to having a housefull of people who were just on airplanes and we were all sick again.  Fastforward about a week and I found myself in Seattle, filled with astronomers who care way more about SCIENCE than their health (and I guess that includes me), and then I got the flu.  I was getting a lot better until everyone in the astronomy department in Austin got sick and now I'm going to the doctor.

Which is why I was home.  Colby asked me to make him this boxed couscous crap for lunch.  The directions read: "Boil 1.5 c of water with 2 t of butter and the seasoning packet".  Our stove takes forever to boil water, so I turned the burner on high, put the pot+lid on the stove and walked away.  I used a pot that I got in undergrad when I moved into my first apartment.  Boxed couscous doesn't deserve good cookware. ;)  Also, all the good stuff was dirty.  What you should know about this crappy pot is that it's blue enamelware, super old, and chipping.  I guess you can't expect quality from $10 K-Mart specials.  (JK. I'm sort of surprised it lasted this long.)

I went back to the home office and started doing more science.  (Man, science *always* gets in my way.)  I totally forgot about the crazy hot stove with the crappy old pot until Colby came home for lunch and asked what the burning smell was.  I couldn't smell anything, but I could see the smoke wafting through the kitchen and living room area.  Oops.  Colby tried to get the pot off the stove, but it was stuck.  The enamel on the outside had MELTED onto the burner and now my stove looks like this:
mm mm blue goo