Sunday, January 27, 2013

NOLA v 3.0

We're back from our third annual trip to New Orleans. Once again, the food memories are numerous. The standouts were Three Muses for dinner and music and Killer Poboys for veg and carnivore (cash only) lunch options. We returned to favorites like Besh Steakhouse, Central Grocery, Cafe Beignet, and tried out other new places including Root, American Sector and the New Orleans Rum Distillery (where we sampled tasty local rum and went on an informative tour). At some point, I'll get around to writing all of those reviews.

Now that we're back, I need to eat a little healthier for awhile. We bought an exercise bike, so I can hopefully refind a workout routine. I am not a dieter, but I can be more mindful, and not eat my go-to fried rice quite as frequently. Winter makes it tricky, since all I want to eat are comfort foods, but with everything in moderation, I think it'll all be okay.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New recipes from this week

Asian-Brined Pork Loin from Food and Wine Magazine. There were good ideas here, but also a few significant shortcomings. One, I have no idea how to carve a pork roast, so now I have a bunch of ragged looking slices of meat, and am gnawing much meat off of bones rather than trying to cut around them. Two, I am the only meat eater in the house, so a five pound hunk of pork is a little daunting when I realize I have to eat the whole thing. Three, I probably should've trimmed down some of the fat, so that the tasty outsides, seasoned up with the brine, were attached to meat rather than to the fat that I didn't eat.

Ultimately, it isn't that bad. The meat is versatile -- I mixed a little in with mac and cheese, I've made banh mi and fried rice, I've frozen a few pounds worth of pork, and I have plans for stir fries for the rest.

Orange Berry Muffins from Dorie Greenspan's Baking cookbook. This was a simple recipe, no giant mixer needed. I didn't have buttermilk, but I substituted some lowfat milk and some greek yogurt, and I used clementines instead of an orange for the juice and zest. This recipe included the novel step of zesting the citrus and rubbing the zest together with the sugar, to make citrus-scented/flavored sugar as part of the base. As usual, there was some magic and poof, muffins. These are probably worth making again, for their simplicity, texture, and ease of recipe.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cookbooks in 2013

I am a little bit obsessed with cookbooks. From straightforward, text-heavy recipe collections from church/family groups, to food writing with recipes mixed in, to lush, illustration-heavy tomes -- I can't get enough. Since moving to NJ last May, I haven't unpacked any of our boxes of books except the cookbooks. We received four new ones for Xmas -- Smitten Kitchen, Bouchon Bakery, Meat Lovers Meatless Celebrations and Dorie Greenspan's Baking. I also have a bunch of other books I've been gifted or otherwise come to acquire recently that I don't tend to use as much as I could. So, this year I'm going to try to make at least one new recipe a week. That seems manageable -- nothing crazy like cooking all of Julia Child's recipes in a year -- just something that will keep me engaged with my new books.

Just out of the oven tonight is Dorie Greenspan's coconut tea cake. It's in a bundt pan, and I am notoriously bad at getting things out of a bundt pan, but it smells really good.