flashback photo friday

For somewhat explicable reasons (namely, a trip back to Guilford), I have been super nostalgic lately. I may have gone through some old photos. (I may have also found a floppy disk of photos. Talk about flashbacks!) So I present to you Mike, one of the only people I have pictures of doing the same thing in such a time span, playing piano almost six years ago and then almost two weeks ago:

(If you would like to see me as a first-year baby, check this out.)


some variety

I have maybe not been the best blogger lately, I realize. I have excuses, though! First a trip down South, then, um, laziness?

It's not even that I didn't have an opportunity to cook, either. We gathered at C.'s apartment for dinner on Friday night, but given the ingredients he already had (and what I was willing to buy), I decided to go with the old standard busy-day cake. And while I love that I have "old standard" anything at this point, it doesn't exactly make for good blogging.

So I thought, well, I need lunch for this week, I can totally whip up something for Tuesday!

...Alas, I was wrong, dear reader. As it turns out, I am not super-industrious in the mornings before work, even when lunch and (self-imposed) deadlines come into play. Tuesday morning I was supposed to bake the bread for my sandwiches and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So into the refrigerator went the dough, and off to work I went.

Making lunch in the morning is not my favorite activity. When possible, I prefer to make it the night before or - horror of horrors - eat not homemade goods. (I know! Shocking! But come on, hummus and pita chips are a tasty meal. And so is Amy's frozen mac and cheese.)

But I figured a late blog post is better than none, so this morning I rushed into the kitchen to make myself a sandwich. Now, I'm not actually a huge sandwich fan - especially eating at sandwich joints, where the vegetarian options are usually TBM or all the veggies. Those are both great options, don't get me wrong, and tomato-basil-mozzarella has a very special place in my heart, but a girl likes some variety.

Enter the farmer's lunch sandwich.

Farmer's Lunch Sandwich, á la Danielle
adapted from The Kitchn

bread (see below)
1 apple - I used a pink lady, because I love them
3 tbsp lemon juice
sharp cheddar
honey mustard

First, prepare the bread. I baked up some focaccia dough, shaping it into a ciabatta. (Or, um, a rectangle, instead of a round.) If you don't feel like baking bread, though, just pick up a baguette or ciabatta at the store.

Slice the bread - I sliced into four quarters, then through the middle to make a sandwich. Spread some mustard on both sides of the bread. Cut the apple into thin slices, then toss them in the lemon juice and place on the bottom slice of bread. Next place some lettuce on top of the apples. And finally, cut some slices of cheese and put those on top of the lettuce. Then the other slice of bread, and you've got a sandwich!

Wrap in wax paper, if you're not eating immediately.


so caught up

My goodness, apparently I got so caught up Friday morning preparing for my trip I forgot to post! And so since I have no recipe for you today, let's share a photo. (It has been like this in DC for approximately ever at this point. Except Friday afternoon, when I had to gallivant all over Georgetown for a wedding present. Sigh.)


going back south

Well, dear readers, I don't have much of a post for you today (but there is something of a recipe, don't worry). This is mostly because I am trapped in a barrage of trip-planning - I'm going back South for the weekend!, among other trips this summer - and that is, well, a little stressful.

So for right now, just have this little guide to avocado quesadillas. (Because apparently two other quesadilla recipes aren't enough. Duh.)

Daniel's Avocado Quesadillas

2 large avocados (or 3 medium ones)
1 medium onion
shredded cheese - we used pepperjack and cheddar
minced garlic - as much as you desire

Prepare the avocados by basically making guacamole. (And let me amend: lime juice is key for tasty guac. It just is.)

Dice the onion, and slightly carmelize them. Throw in the garlic for about a minute and then pull off the heat.

Pour a little oil into a frying pan. Using low heat, warm the tortilla and sprinkle the cheese on top of it. When the cheese has melted a little bit, transfer to a plate. Add some of the onions, and spread the guacamole, before folding.

You will need a knife and fork to eat this. It's a little messy, but also absolutely delicious.


photo friday: the one year celebration continues

So, in the spirit of celebrating a year of this blog, I figured I'd share with you a (scanned! thanks, Jo) polaroid from the trip that comprised the first few posts here. (Though, uh, I really like this this self-portrait, too. Mostly because of that dress. Maybe someday I will stop talking about that dress.)


still unaware

It's been a year, dear readers!

Well, just about, anyway. A year ago tomorrow I made my very first post here. I had just started getting into cooking, still unaware of the hold it would get on me. I had no idea how much I would love kneading dough and pouring batter. I had no idea I would read a book on cooking ratios in a night.

A year ago I never imagined Daniel and I would be cooking fancy meals together, much less that we would go into the supermarket and buy what we needed with our good looks. I mean, that we would go into the supermarket without a plan, and make up a menu as we went.

It started with that pinnacle of spring produce, asparagus, to which we added a variety of colorful bell peppers. Dessert also came together in the produce section; first we thought dessert should just be a simple bowl of fruit. Me being me, of course, I saw little dessert cups and got inspired.

I've been wanting to cook with rhubarb, the darling of food bloggers everywhere, for some time. We had already grabbed some strawberries, so, really, how could I resist the pinkish stalks of rhubarb? I had no plan, just the knowledge that strawberry-rhubarb is a classic combination.

We kept everything a secret from our fellow diners until serving time, so forgive me if, um, I keep some secrets for a little bit. (Though my pictures may give it away.)

My favorite high school teacher, Doc, once told our AP Language class that "every meal is a communion." He was talking about literature, of course, and how everything an author chooses to include in the narrative should have importance - hence every meal being shown having the importance of Communion. The same is true in life, though, or at least has the possibility to be true.

It took a while for me to get from that statement to actually preparing and eating a homemade meal with friends (though college potlucks came close, even with their boxed macaroni and cheese). And let's face it, friends are why I do this. I don't imagine that any more than a few readers are people I don't know. But there are only a few people I'm able to cook and bake for, because of distance, so this is a nice way to share my newfound love of baking with them, too.

Don't get me wrong, our entire meal was not homemade. We bought local, fresh pasta and tweaked some of Newman's Bombolina sauce to go with it. (We made it spicier, obviously.) I did not make the ice cream - though that's on my list of things to challenge myself with. That's not the point. The point is making delicious food and sharing it with friends.

Asparagus with Peppers, Cumin, and Cayenne

There aren't a lot of amounts here, I know, and that's partially because Daniel made this (and isn't online to chat about how much he used) and partially because a lot of this is to taste. For instance, we are really serious about garlic. I think I minced half a head of garlic.

1 bunch asparagus
3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow)
cumin, to taste
cayenne, to taste

Chop all of the asparagus in half, making sure to also cut off the ends. Then chop all of the peppers into comparable slices. Mince garlic - as much as you want!

Start sauteeing the asparagus in butter. After a few minutes, add in the bell peppers. When the vegetables are nearly done, throw in the garlic and season to taste. Keep sauteeing for a few minutes more.

Rhubarb Compote
cribbed from Bon Appetit

You could eat this plain and I'm sure it would be good, but really, you owe it to yourself to pour it over some vanilla ice cream. It's kind of perfect. I've also seen similar dishes with ricotta cheese or yogurt. But really, who can pass up ice cream?

1/2 lb rhubarb
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch slices or chunks. Toss in a saucepan with the sugar. Add butter and vanilla. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then cover and let simmer until rhubarb is tender. (Don't forget to stir occasionally while it simmers.) Transfer to a bowl and chill for about 2 hours.

Serves 4 perfectly, when served over ice cream.