Ciao, hola, bon jour, MARHABA! This is my obligatory mid-lull post.
I’ve been busy in the kitchen, but busier with work and working out (I love spring, the weather is PERFECT for running right now. Plus Cynthia and I have been on our bicycles any chance we get.) Therefore, I haven’t had much to share. But over the last two weeks I’ve tried a couple of new, simple things with food items, and have been pleased as punch (just how pleased is punch?) with them. So pleased that I’ve been obsessively cooking/eating them. And so, instead of showing you the horrible and terrifying images of the macarons I ATTEMPTED to make, I’ll just tell you some useful stuff!
1. KALE! Kale is the trendy veggie as of late. It’s the Georgetown cupcake of greens. Meredith once called it the hipster’s arugula. And it is everywhere right now because it’s in season and last week I learned a new way to prepare it. In the past I’ve added it chopped to soups and stews, sometimes raw to a smoothie. There was one time that I attempted to make a kale-artichoke dip (FAIL) with leftover steamed kale. But this time we ate it RAW! I was learning how to make some raw vegan items from a new acquaintance, Dor, and a raw kale salad was on the menu. We dressed it with some agave syrup, safflower oil, and orange juice, and tossed it with orange slices but that isn’t what made me say “WOW!” The wow part came when I learned how to prep kale so that it was less scratchy and slightly sweeter. You remove the stem/de-rib it, and chop it into bite-size pieces. Put all of the bite-size pieces in a bowl and sprinkle a teaspoon or two of salt over top. Take note of how high the kale reaches on the sides of your bowl. WASH YOUR HANDS. Then pick up a handful of kale in both hands and basically squeeze it and “rub” the kale. I know it sounds weird, but if you put some in between your hands and rub your hands together like you’re trying to warm them it will break the kale down a little bit. You’ll notice it goes from a gray-green to a vivid dark green. AND it will reduce in size by one-fourth or one-third. Once it’s reduced an looking more of a spinach-y color, you can dress it and throw in whatever you like! And nom! So good. I showed Cynthia when I got home and we’ve been eating a lot of kale since which is okay because it’s extremely good for you!
2. Pan co’santi or All Saint’s Bread. I know you might not remember all of my raves about certain food items in Italy (stroopwaffles anyone?) but surely you must remember the pan co’santi rave from our time in Siena? Well we had found a recipe months ago but were perplexed by the ingredient list. It matched almost perfectly to the recipe in the very window of the Il Forno Pane shop we bought our very first pan co’santi from. Every recipe we looked at required brewer’s yeast instead of baker’s yeast. And darn if I can’t find brewer’s yeast anywhere, and not for lack of trying. (If anyone knows where I can find it, that would be great!) But Cynthia finally put her foot down and insisted we try it with regular old yeast because we had EVERY OTHER INGREDIENT just sitting in our cabinet waiting! And so we did and it was the best thing ever, AGAIN. We used walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and raisins as the ‘jewels’. YUM YUM YUM. Our recipe was adapted from this recipe. We used a few different ingredients but basically followed the amounts exactly. It made two loaves and since we froze one, I suspect I’ll be able to take some snapshots of it when we eat it at Easter. Or when I make it again for my DC/AE friends when I visit them SOON. Dates undecided but SOON!
3. Cynthia made the most sinful chocolate peanut butter cake. I can’t even talk about it, for if I did, I would walk straight into the kitchen and dig a spoon into the peanut butter jar and then drizzle it with that crappy chocolate syrup. But if you like peanut-butter chocolate anything, try this version from Smitten Kitchen. Because it’s similar to the one C made.
4. It’s SPRING TIME so I expect everyone to start planting their early spring veggies/fruits in their gardens! Please share any special tips!
That’s about it for now. Still volunteering with Slow Food in Central New Jersey so I hope to keep all of you in the area up to date with events and what not. Oh AND I am off on another adventure at the end of April. This time it will be a few days in Germany, a few in Brussels, and TWO WEEKS in Morocco with a certain peace corps volunteer. No WWOOFing this time around, just quality time with best friends. And speaking of best friends, check out Miss Kara’s blog and learn how to make delicious treats including homemade applesauce.