08

May

The Cheese Bored

With nothing better to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I decided it would be a good idea to record some ideas I had either made or dreamt, using fromage blanc from a farm in Orland (available at the Milk Pail). Fromage frais/blanc is similar to farmer’s cheese, neufchatel and quark. It also makes a good substitute for cream cheese or ricotta, depending on the prerogative of the maker’s preferences on texture. It is incredibly reasonable in price and lends a nice tangy full flavor, whipped into thick spreadable wads of ecru nutrition. To me, it tastes like a deconstructed pillow, tacky with satisfaction. Then again, cheese may be my most favorite thing in the world. You may have a different experience.

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Hi [Friend]!

Just thought you might be interested in a couple more Orland Farm/Milk Pail fromage blanc serving ideas that I came up with! :) It’s just so inexpensive to cook with, that the possibilities really should be endless.

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24

Oct

I have always loved savory things for breakfast. Maybe it’s my Korean genes, but the thought of my first meal being a sickly sweet donut or danish makes me cringe. I had purchased ridiculous amounts of the most wonderful puff pastry at the Milk Pail Market in Mountain View a while back, and needed to use it before it was lost to the freezer. In an effort to use it up, I thawed some for breakfast on a Friday that didn’t require me to be at the cafe at 7 am. Looking at my pastry the next morning, I decided I would make my version of a tarte au jambon, with the crust folded over so it would resemble a pizza. While I’ve always loved cold traditional pizza, the thought of sauces and puff pasty conjured up images of garbage disposals and a gooey gluey disaster. So, after rolling out the pastry with a can of tj’s fire-roasted tomatoes (I couldn’t find the rolling pin), I decided to make an extra thick (mostly) gruyere and roasted garlic béchamel, layered on strips of french ham and caramelized walla walla sweet onions and dropped one speckled pink egg from my friend’s urban chicken coop over the top. Then, I folded over the edges of the pastry, cracked fresh pepper, sea salt and grains of paradise over the top and baked it for 10 minutes on 450. Voila, my 20 minute project resulting in a breakfast pizzetta!

I have always loved savory things for breakfast. Maybe it’s my Korean genes, but the thought of my first meal being a sickly sweet donut or danish makes me cringe. I had purchased ridiculous amounts of the most wonderful puff pastry at the Milk Pail Market in Mountain View a while back, and needed to use it before it was lost to the freezer. In an effort to use it up, I thawed some for breakfast on a Friday that didn’t require me to be at the cafe at 7 am. Looking at my pastry the next morning, I decided I would make my version of a tarte au jambon, with the crust folded over so it would resemble a pizza. While I’ve always loved cold traditional pizza, the thought of sauces and puff pasty conjured up images of garbage disposals and a gooey gluey disaster. So, after rolling out the pastry with a can of tj’s fire-roasted tomatoes (I couldn’t find the rolling pin), I decided to make an extra thick (mostly) gruyere and roasted garlic béchamel, layered on strips of french ham and caramelized walla walla sweet onions and dropped one speckled pink egg from my friend’s urban chicken coop over the top. Then, I folded over the edges of the pastry, cracked fresh pepper, sea salt and grains of paradise over the top and baked it for 10 minutes on 450. Voila, my 20 minute project resulting in a breakfast pizzetta!

23

Oct

Fraîche Yogurt’s Yogurt Spice Muffins

the only reason i drop in on the now over-priced yoghurt shop in palo alto, ca, is these muffins. the froyo itself has become icy and inconsistent, although the snark from the faux sfhipsters rationing my toppings is always less than a treat. really, what stanford or paly/gunn student can claim disdain for the man, when they belong to the bourgeois themselves. padma put the recipe out for the interwebs, so here i am sharing this gem.

*Special shoutouts to Fraîche for utilizing local producers and businesses. We share a milk provider, Michal the Milkman. And, we share Clover organic milk, once known simply as the family dairy, Stornetta.

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08

May

Mrs. Bochnig’s Book of Household Management

rouladin

Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world! According to a youtube video, without you there would be much less clean underwear floating around the world. As my mother is located 2,100 miles away, I did not have brunch with her and my grandmother. However, I heard it was a lovely brunch of assorted meats, gravies, potatoes, sweet tea, fried things and red velvet cake to finish. Truly classic South Carolina fare, though I would have appreciated the offering of my most favorite southern breakfast item, heavily buttered grits. I spent a whole summer living with my mom at my dad’s Irish Catholic parents’ house eating grits/sleeping in them, in the high chair that all seven of my dad’s siblings and the grandchildren before me, sat in. In seventh grade, my mom’s dad introduced me to instant cheese grits, which completely rocked my 12-year-old mind. I brought home Florida seashells and a blue canister of cheese grits that trip.

But on the subject of Mother’s Day, I decided to spend this post honoring my mother and her mother in the best way I know how, praising their cooking skills.

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25

Apr

The Art of Chicken Cookery, Made Plain and Easy

Task One: Roast a Chicken

Two random kitchen facts about me. 1.) I am notoriously terrible at following recipe directions and measurements. 2.) I have never successfully roasted a whole chicken. Turkeys, ducks, check and check. But juicy, tender, moist, golden, crispy-skinned, flavorful chickens elude me. Is it possible that those two things could maybe sorta kinda itty bitty be related?

For my first day of falling back in love with cooking, I decided to tackle my nemesis: the chicken. I read Alice Waters’ recipe, Thomas Keller’s, Anthony Bourdain’s, Alton Brown’s, Mario Batali’s, Jamie Oliver’s, The Barefoot Contessa’s….. The only things I concluded were dry your chicken after you rinse it, remove the giblets and they all like 4-4.5 lb chickens.  Too bad I purchased a 6 lb. chook. Then I remembered a beautiful lemony herbed chicken that I saw resting happily on the stove of a family that I babysit for. I immediately emailed and asked for their guidance. Within a day I had my chicken game plan. And then when I was at the store, I saw things that looked good and had to amend my decisions a bit. Of course….

Here is the Axelrod Family Roast Chicken Recipe absolutely verbatim.

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24

Apr

For The Joy of Cooking

I tried to start this blog months ago—well, it has been many years in the making, through encouragement and desire—but had no direction or vision for it. I have been off cooking recently, wanting only to sample the ingenuity and effort of other culinary enthusiasts. I find myself still critical, able to think of improvements and flavor flaws. Rather than being inspired to do it better, I have only found myself disappointed. People have shot recipes at me from all over, and upon asking what I thought, I feel guilty like I must lie about my reasons for not even purchasing the ingredients. It is my dirty little secret that I cannot bring myself to sauté. I even went as far as The French Laundry to cure my malaise, and came back fuller than I have ever been, but not inspired to pick up my japanese steel and Le Creuset.

It is a strange phenomenon for me, as usually I dream recipes and wake up needing to try them out for memory and also curiosity’s sake. For instance, can I make a walnut pesto with desiccated cranberries and a sticky maytag bleu? Can I make crackers from slices of white stilton stuffed figs wrapped in prosciutto for my Hennesey and cacao infused fromage blanc? Or would is be better served on crimini rubbed sweet baguettes, grilled to a perfect crunch with good orange olive oil from the farm I sponsor in Tuscany? These are recipes from my dreams…

Maybe it is the clean up, perhaps the prospect of cooking for garbage disposals; I cannot fathom why cooking has become tiresome. Still, my favorite reading materials include recipes, togo menus and The Sun.

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