Friday, June 29, 2012

Stay Cool!

Boston will be in the 90s and very humid all weekend. I plan on enjoying the modern technology of air conditioning. And maybe head to the movie theatre, I have really been wanting to see this.

Flowers on the Common

What's in store for you all this weekend? How are you beating the summer heat?

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

4th of July tips from Bill Tull

Conan O'Brien's prop master Bill Tull has yet again come up with some hilarious ideas for the upcoming holiday. Here are his tips for the 4th of July:

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Pasta Salad

This recipe is based on a simple summer dinner my mom would often make, it was always so perfect on a hot day and I requested it frequently. She would also add in a can of tuna, but Greg hates tuna so I've adapted it a bit. I have also added more summer veggies to take advantage of all the lovely fresh produce coming into season right now.

This pasta salad makes a wonderful side dish to a grilled summer meal. It is also excellent served as a main course (I'll sometimes toss in some grilled chicken for protein and to make it more substantial as a meal, but it works just as well vegetarian). An extra delicious side for this meal is my favorite cheesy garlic bread.

Summer Pasta Salad
2 cups medium shells
1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 scallion, finely sliced
2 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 1/4 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
ground pepper to taste
optional: cubed grilled chicken or a can of flaked tuna

Cook shells in boiling water and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together oregano, basil, pepper, oil, and vinegar is a large bowl. Stir in cucumber, onion, tomato, scallion, and corn (and the chicken or tuna if you're adding those).  Add pasta to bowl and toss until well combined

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Greg!

Today I want to wish a very happy birthday to my husband, my best friend, my fellow geek, Greg!

Happy Birthday Greg! I hope it's a truly awesome one. xoxo

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Ice Cream Concept Parlour

It is so incredibly hot in New England! We are at the tail end of a record heat wave and I cannot wait for these temperatures to break. Though these dogs have some good ideas for how to stay cool. 

I have been an air conditioning hermit and only eating cold foods. Needless to say, I don't think I could ever live in the South (despite being of Southern stock with a Tennessean mother).

Wouldn't this be such fun to have in these temperatures? It's a marble slab and wooden paddles that you pour cream and sugar on to and you make it into ice cream, adding whatever flavors you like. It's like a personal Cold Stone Creamery on your kitchen counter (but really starting from the ground up instead of already done scoops of ice cream). It was made by a design student in London.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Call Me Maybe

So in addition to Call Me Maybe being on every radio station a few times a day, or playing in whatever restaurant, store, or Dunkin Donuts I'm in, there have been a couple of really fun videos featuring the song as well, enjoy!

Carly Rae Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots perform Call Me Maybe using Classroom Instruments

Rebecca Minkoff with Hilary Rhoda and the Man Repeller

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Very Vanilla Ice Cream

Home-made ice cream is always a crowd pleaser. Despite it being very easy to do, everyone tends to be impressed by it.

Vanilla ice cream delicious on its own and also is such a wonderful complement to any dessert from pie to cake to fruit. I make mine over a few days, so the vanilla beans spend plenty of time soaking in the cream mixture, infusing it.

Very Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half & half
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
2 vanilla beans, split
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Start by putting a split vanilla bean into the heavy cream carton, close the container and give it a good shake. Keep in the fridge until ready to make ice cream mixture. (I generally do this at least a day in advance).

Mix together half & half and sugar in a small saucepan. Split other vanilla bean and scrape 'caviar' into the mixture. Then add in the vanilla bean pod. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved into the half & half.

Once dissolved, remove from heat and stir in cream (with the vanilla bean that has been steeping in it) and vanilla extract. Refrigerate this mixture until very cold or overnight.

When cream mixture is thoroughly chilled, freeze it according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Have a lovely weekend!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! To all the fathers out there, I hope you have an especially relaxing and wonderful time with family.

Dad and me on my wedding day, when he first saw me in my dress

Recipes for Father's Day on epicurious
12 unique Father's Day ideas from Real Simple
International history and different traditions for Father's Day
Handmade gift ideas from Martha Stewart
10 ways to celebrate Father's Day from The New York Times

How are you spending this weekend?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Molecular Gastronomy Kit

I find molecular gastronomy so oddly fascinating, I love watching specials on the Food Network about chefs who do really out of the ordinary things with food.

There's now a whole brand producing kits for people to experiment with molecular gastronomy at home, such a fun idea!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gnocchi and Simple Tomato Sauce: 2 Ways

Gnocchi is a favorite food of mine, and has many good memories attached to it (including having it for dinner on the night Greg proposed).

I decided to try making it myself, and must say that it turned out wonderfully! Light and fluffy and delicious with a simple sauce. We had enough for two nights of meals, so I did two variations.

Gnocchi (from America's Test Kitchen)
2 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces flour (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon), plus extra for work surface
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for cooking water

Preheat oven to 450.

Prick the potatoes with a paring knife and microwave on high for about 10 minutes until the ends of the potatoes are just softening. Move potatoes to oven rack and bake for another 20 minutes.

Peel the hot potatoes with a paring knife (wear an oven mitt!) and press them through a potato ricer onto a lined baking sheet. Allow potatoes to cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer 16 ounces of the potatoes (there will be some potato left over) into a medium bowl. With a fork, mix in the beaten egg until just combined, then add flour and salt and mix until combined. The mixture will look crumbly, form into a ball with your hands and transfer to floured work surface.

Knead the gnocchi dough for about a minute until smooth. Cut dough into 8 pieces.

Woking with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into ropes that are about 1/2 inch thick, then cut the ropes into small 3/4 inch pieces. You can leave the pieces as they are, or roll them over the back of a fork to get the classic ridged look of gnocchi. Place finished gnocchi on floured or silpat lined baking sheet until you're ready to cook them.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and working in small batches, drop the gnocchi into the water. The gnocchi will float to the surface as they are done cooking. Use a skimmer to move them to a colander, repeat this until all the gnocchi are cooked and drained.

Simple Tomato Sauce (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 28 ounce can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a pot over medium heat. Bring sauce to a simmer and then lower heat to keep sauce simmering for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of the cooking process, start to crush the tomatoes with your spoon and the side of the pot.

Remove onion from sauce (but don't throw the onion away!) and add salt to the sauce as needed.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

Variation 1:
Toss the gnocchi in the tomato sauce. Serve with fresh basil leaves, crushed red pepper flakes and grated parmesan on the side. I mashed the onion from the sauce until it was mostly smooth and we spread that on bread.

Variation 2:
Mash the onion from the sauce until mostly smooth. Stir it back into the tomato sauce. Toss the gnocchi in the tomato sauce and pour into a baking dish greased with olive oil. Top with your favorite cheeses, and bake until lightly brown and bubbly. 

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Etsy love: Embroidery

the merriweather council is a wonderful etsy shop filled with lovely embroidered things. I am especially smitten with the embroidered wall art (framed in an embroidery hoop) and the charming necklaces.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Simple Sherbet

In the summer, I prefer sherbets and sorbets to ice cream. I love the lighter flavors and textures. This sherbet recipe is ridiculously easy and so delicious. I have been making sherbet this way for many years.

Simple Sherbet
3 cups whole milk (you can also do a combination of whole and reduced fat)
1 can of frozen juice concentrate, thawed
sugar to taste (optional)

Mix together milk and juice concentrate, taste and add sugar if you would like it sweeter. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Some of my favorite flavors are:
Any type of lemonade (pink lemonade, raspberry lemonade, plain lemonade...)
Cranberry (I add the juice of 1 lime and some zest to this as well, it's a perfect combo)
Fruit Punch (or most of the ones that are a blend of 3+ flavors)

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

pink lemonade sherbet

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