Batter Licker

May 31, 2010

creamy corn and mushroom risotto

Filed under: rice,vegan,veggies — Tags: , , , , — Kristen @ 9:53 am

San Francisco and I will soon celebrate the five-year anniversary of what I’m pretty sure will be our life-long love affair. Over the years, we’ve really grown together. I’ve come to share her love for farm-fresh, locally grown produce and CSAs. We’ve shared many eating adventures, eating our way through a large percentage of the Indian restaurants in the city within a mere month, seeking out restaurants like Red’s Java House and Boulevard that couldn’t be more different but are each foodie landmarks in their own right, and making a Saturday morning ritual out of walking to the farmers market to peruse the goods while sipping Blue Bottle cappuccinos and munching on Downtown Bakery apple swirls and seasonal fruit galettes. We’ve become weekend hikers and city explorers, avid museum-goers, sometimes concert attendees, and periodic wine country visitors. But for all the shared enjoyment, we still can’t come together on one issue: the weather.

You see, San Francisco is whimsical, constantly changing her mind, wanting what she wants and needing to have it now. Quite honestly, she’s a little high maintenance when it comes to this particular issue. I, on the other hand, prefer the sun, though I don’t really mind the wind or the rain or even the fog. But the one thing that drives me crazy is her insistence on starting off with a windy, rainy mess of a day, then giving a brief glimpse of sun, and later dashing all hopes of good weather by issuing a complete downpour. And then fluctuating between beautiful sun and windy rain as often as some San Franciscans take coffee breaks.

Last week alternated between caught-in-a-downpour-without-protection and sweating-in-rubber-boots-and-turtlenecks moments, keeping my feet consistently wet and causing my appetite much confusion. After scoping out summery produce at the market and enjoying barbecued summer fare the weekend before, I allowed myself to get too excited about light, chilled, produce-centric meals.

But amidst the largely cold and rainy weather this past week, I found myself yearning to eat something warm and comforting, yet also summery. A serious dilemma, indeed. So thank goodness for corn (more…)

May 25, 2010

chicken and rice à la 53rd and 6th’s halal cart in new york

Filed under: chicken/turkey,rice — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 7:49 pm

This week, my Barbri class began, which means I have ten straight weeks of doing little else except intensely studying California law. That’s right; I’m lawyering up. Unlike the last two years of law school, the California bar exam doesn’t let me pick and choose which subjects I’m interested in or focus on the specific areas I’ll likely practice in. Oh no. That would be too kind. And far too practical for this great state. California makes you learn it all, from the humdrum of wills and trusts to the intricacies of contract law (a subject which, by the way, the instructor claimed was about as fun and exciting as getting a prostate exam; being female, I wouldn’t really know much about that, but I’ll make a semi-educated assumption that the comparison is spot-on). Needless to say, thinking about the next ten studying- and memorization-filled weeks and the Big, Bad Bar Exam lurking in the final days of July has me longing for simpler, fun-packed times. Like last spring, when my law school’s moot court program paid for my trip to New York, where I stayed for five days and ate at the infamous 53rd St. and 6th Ave. Halal Cart … on four separate occasions.

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If you aren’t already aware, for $6, the fine men at the cart will load you up (or you and a friend – seriously, I recommend sharing, especially when it’s a late night post-bar binge) with chicken and rice, topped with a handful of lettuce. Then, you step around to the side of the cart and go to town dressing it up with the white sauce and the red sauce. No labels. Just giant squeeze bottles full of white, and others full of red. The white sauce is magical (more…)

May 17, 2010

fleur de sel caramels

Filed under: candy,dessert — Tags: , — Kristen @ 10:25 pm

Growing up, we didn’t make plates full of questionable-quality cookies for Christmas. We made candy. Toffee, fudge … you name it, and my mom probably taught me how to make it. She taught me the importance of patience, precision, and consistency – all of which are essential to making quality candy and doing many other things, like surviving law school, succeeding in the workplace, and communicating effectively in a relationship. I could go on for days with this metaphor, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I once burned a pot of boiling sugar and butter that would have been toffee, and I haven’t turned my back on the stove (while cooking candy, at least) ever since.

Making candy is also one of the financially cheapest gifts you can make as a starving college student law school student post-J.D. Bar/Bri student, but it requires paying some attention to detail (perfect for future attorneys!) and investing a tad more time (love?) than picking up the first gift that speaks to you at Macy’s. Because candy-making is a bit more involved (though, actually, much faster and cheaper – and impressive!) than your average birthday, graduation party, or holiday baked goods, I can guarantee that it’s worth the effort to make and worth the cost of a candy thermometer, which you can pick up at your local grocery store or on Amazon for $10 or at a more fancy-pants store like Sur La Table for $30.

Also, because most people I’ve talked to about homemade candy seem to squirm with anxiety about the thought of making toffee or caramel at home, I’m presenting this recipe in a photo-narrative style that’s quite a bit more specific than a mid-week throw-together fried rice recipe needs to be. Thanks to my mother, I’ve been making candy ever since I was tall enough to stir a pot on the stove, so trust me when I can say that you can do this. Let’s get started …

First, you need some heavy cream.

And a hunk of butter.

Better put those together in a cute little pot, (more…)

May 14, 2010

fried rice

Filed under: chicken/turkey,eggs,rice,veggies — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:47 pm

It’s been an I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking kind of week. Even after making a special trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy a few simple ingredients for the night’s dinner, I was thisclose to ordering take-out.

And after last Friday’s fabulous 9-course tasting menu birthday dinner at The Ritz (thanks, Jay!), who could blame me for being in a bit of a cooking slump? When am I ever going to have sashimi, quail egg, abalone, veal, lobster, quail, and foie gras again during a single meal? On the other hand, if I ate like that on a more frequent basis, I’d only be able to eat twice a week – that’s how full (and satisfied!) I felt afterward.

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After feeling full all of last weekend, this week has been a week of relatively simple eating. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and easy-to-put-together dinners. I’ve been loading everything with fresh produce, and fried rice – despite its greasy-sounding name – is no exception.

Did you know that fried rice can be delicious comfort food without being overly oiled-up and unfresh? It can also be loaded with your choice of fresh veggies, (more…)

May 11, 2010

grape, feta, and walnut salad with lemon-mint vinaigrette

Filed under: fruit,salad,sauces, marinades, dressings — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 3:08 pm

Sometimes, when it’s hot out, I want a salad. And not just the boring old lettuce-cucumber-tomato-onion salad that I keep on permanent standby. But something a little more interesting, preferably with less chopping involved.

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Yes, you heard me correctly. Sometimes, I don’t feel like chopping things. Like right now. It’s hot out, okay? And I just finished doing 70 push-ups at Bar Method. My arms are toast – even when it comes to holding my favorite chef’s knife. But a teeny little paring knife? That, I can manage, as long as it’s brief.

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This week, I had procured perfectly plump purple grapes (how’s that for alliteration?) that begged me to use them in this better-than-lettuce salad. So I quickly halved two handfuls of grapes, stirred in some feta (always in my refrigerator) for a creamy saltiness that would balance the sweetness of the grapes. Then, I added chopped toasted walnuts (always in my freezer – they stay fresher longer that way) and whisked up a quickie lemon-mint vinaigrette with a touch of agave nectar’s sweetness to tone down the sour lemon juice, and there you have it. A perfect salty-sweet and creamy-crunchy lunch or side dish that you can throw together in advance (to let it marinate) or on the spot (still delicious). (more…)

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