Monday, June 15, 2009

Seriously delicious zucchini dish

So I get Martha Stewart Living each month (so what!?). This month she had a French chef make a casual meal that included "zucchini rounds with roasted tomatoes" serves 8. I read the recipe, followed parts, eliminated others, added stuff. Here's my adaptation that was fan-fricking-tastic.


2 zucchinis sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
9 cloves of garlic
olive oil
3 Tablespoons of pine nuts
3 sprigs of thyme (off my thyme plant)
3 teaspoons of fresh basil (I use Doret brand frozen basil as an alternative to fresh or dried. It is cheap and in the frozen aisle at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup of water
baking soda
1/3 cup chopped black olives
5 vine ripened tomatoes (about the size of a golf ball)
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
1/3 of pkg of Boursin (herb or pepper)

Okay, my presentation was less regal than the French chef's but so be it.

Here's what I did.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 400.
Chop tomatoes into quarters. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sugar 4 whole (peeled) cloves of garlic. Season with salt and pepper, toss, throw in oven in a small pan for 30 minutes. Note, the next time I will probably run the garlic through the press first.

Step 2:
Meanwhile, stovetop- add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. Add zucchini in one layer. Salt, pepper, add in the 1/4 cup of water and 2 pinches of baking soda. WTF with the soda? Well the Frenchy said that it keeps the zucchini greener. It really did work. Cook the zucchini turning frequently about 15 minutes. Then put those puppies in an awaiting casserole dish sprayed lightly with PAM.

Step 3:
Meanwhile, take 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining 5 cloves (pressed or smashed) of garlic and all the pine nuts and heat for 3 minutes. Add in the olives. Mix, and set aside until the tomato mixture is done cooking. Once tomato mix is finished with it's 30 minutes in the hot box, add in the pine nut mixture to the tomatoes.

Step 4:
Okay it's assembly time now. Frenchy said to make little mounds of the tomato mixture on top of the single layer of rounds patiently waiting in the casserole dish. Yeah, easier said than done. I did attempt to do this but I think generally if you spread the mixture across the top of the zucchs, you will be fine.

Step 5:
This is all me. As Rosie and I surveyed the wondrous side dish, we said, you know what this needs? The answer (as is often the case in our house): Cheese. My first choice would have been Parmesan but we were out, and by happy accident, we had some left over Boursin. FABULOUS addition! We crumbled tiny pieces of the creamy bliss over the vegetables. I would say we used somewhere between 1/5-1/3 of the package. It wasn't a lot, but it was delicious!!!!

Step 6:
The glorious veggies need one more trip to the hot box. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes and serve. Seriously delicious zucchini dish.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wacky Cake Recipe for Cupcakes

Must have ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (USE DARK COCOA-Hershey's makes one that will work)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup cold water

Possible additions that I have used (not all at the same time, pick one)

½ teaspoon of chipotle chili powder (or ancho works really well too)

1 cup cold coffee instead of water

1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon of orange oil

1 tablespoon of Kahlua or Grand Marnier

In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Make three wells in the dry ingredients, one small, one medium sized, and one larger. In smallest hole put vanilla (or other addition from the list). In the middle size hole add the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Bake at 350°F preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. I have taken to using a ¼ cup measuring cup for transferring the mix to the cupcake liners. A scant ¼ cup will give you about 18 cupcakes. Sometimes a few more.

Other important cupcake tips-- when you remove them from the oven, use a baking rack to cool for just a few minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and then let them cool completely on the racks. Easy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Updated Things you need for a wedding an abbreviated list

Okay, I need to make a checklist of things. Those of you who know me, know I am list fanatic. This post contains many instances of deliberate vagueness to leave a few surprises for the big day.


Dress- have pattern(s) and definite picture picked out. Fabric shopping: main dress color, bodice trim fabric, lace, embellishments. Most likely will get some the fabric in California when in San Francisco. Of course I still need undergarments.

Shoes- Done.

Bracelet: Lauren
Earrings: Lauren
Headpiece: Almost Done

Hair style- Done

Make-up- I don't know what the hell either of us are going to do on this front. I am guessing I will do my own and Rosie will wear some lip gloss.

Rosie needs to:
pick out what she is going to wear, how she's going to do her hair, and what accessories she wants. She has a lot more work to do in this area. A lot.

Design processional
Write vows
Decide what Scott is going to say
Get Scott legally credentialed to wed us in MASS
Decide if we are going to have readers, what they are going to read
Get poles for chuppah
Music/musician for ceremony- we have a musician friend, and she agreed to do what we would like, just weighing out costs.
Glass for breaking (MAZEL TOV!)
Decide whether to insert same-sex marriage politics (TINY) into the ceremony
Work with Scott

Guest book (or alternative)
Escort cards and display
Table linens DONE!
Table Numbers (Isn't it silly to just have 5 :)
Centerpieces DONE!
Hanging decorations Progress! Ordered stuff to make most. Will order the rest later.
Photo "booth"- Designed.
Candles (no decisions made)

Food favor containers purchased but need to be decorated and of course will then be awaiting food item
Take home favor is all Karla
Take home favor #2 is all my mom-- designed and in progress.

This is all Rosie. Hired a DJ.

All done for now except for cupcake flavors and making of cupcakes.
We are also responsible for getting the alcohol. We are going beer, wine, and 'signature cocktail.' We have to decide what our signature cocktail should be.

We need glasses for Rosie and me.

Assist with reservations at hotel
Assist with flights for some parties that need assistance
Make welcome packets
Assist with local travel arrangements

Rehearsal Dinner
Location picked out.

Maps Karel is working on.
Address Karel is working on.
Make thank you cards

Thanks to the wonders of my mom, this is almost done. Our bouquets still need to be made, but this is the least of my worries-- my mom is on it! More to come, my crafters, more to come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Boston Banana Cream Cupcakes

Finished cupcakes with caramelized banana on top.

Chocolate ganache awaiting final banana!

Kim working on the assembly line.

Naked cupcakes.