Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mr Tony

This is the type of thing that happens if I leave any of my drawers open. I wish I didn't have to use flash because he was so adorable and the flash makes it look kind of harsh. In other news, it has been millions of degrees below zero here in Philadelphia and winds of maybe 1000 mph. I might be exaggerating a bit, but not by much! This is too much weather for me to handle. I'm ready to move back to milder climes.
Posted by Picasa

Burnt Sugar Cake

Oh man. So I've been on vacation all week (minus the couple of times I had to dash into lab to take care of a timepoint, my cells and a paper I'm reviewing) and enjoyed myself thoroughly. As my final vacation act, I decided to bake a cake. This is one of my favorite cakes because texture-wise it's great, flavor-wise it is perfect: not too sweet but not bland somehow. The recipe is out of Joy of Cooking. Now, even if I was a better photographer, this cake wouldn't really look like much because I like to bake it in a single layer and I eschew all frosting. It's not the simplest cake to make (for me), because first you have to make some caramel-ish thing on the stove and then you have to separate eggs and beat egg whites. I'm kind of lazy so I usually prep everything, beat the egg whites and then beat my butter and sugar and hope the egg whites will still be fluffy when I finally use them. They always flatten out a bit, but it's worth not having to wash my beaters in between steps. Lazy lazy, oh well. Whenever I've made this, I've cut the sugar by 1/4 cup and the time by 5 minutes. And if you will excuse me, I think it's cooled enough to eat!
Posted by Picasa

Pizza Updates!

Since my last pizza post, I've been making more pizzas and experimenting. My first batch of pizzas were pesto, goat cheese and grape tomatoes as toppings (occasionally with some stray olives) and a scattering of cheddar cheese over it all. It was getting to be a bit much to be making pesto all the time though (mostly bc basil just doesn't stay fresh that long in my fridge) so I started experimenting with tomato sauce pizzas. Started with store-bought pizza sauce and then scattered anything from chopped mushrooms to chopped bell peppers to italian sausage crumbles to all of the above. They were pretty heavily laden pizzas and totally tasty. At some point, I started making my own pizza sauce using the recipe I found here and things were good.

Recently, I found myself without pizza sauce or any tomato paste so I decided to experiment with sauce-less pizzas. My first attempt was better in theory than in practice. See below, the apple and zucchini pizza, before cheese and before cooking. Cheese topping was a mix of gruyere and cheddar (leftover from mac n cheese making).

I envisioned a some sort of flatbread-ish affair with sweet bites of crunchy apple. Unfortunately, my golden delicious slices dissolved to practically nothing and I could barely tell they were there. The zucchini slices were good though, but I wished there was more layers. So for my second attempt (each pizza dough recipe makes two pizzas), I added two layers of thinly sliced zucchini, another layer of chopped bell pepper and topped it all with crumbled italian sausage and scattered the gruyere and cheddar. This time, it was just divine. I'm not saying I'll never use sauce again, but it's nice to know that it's not always necessary. (where is the picture of this second pizza you ask? be grateful I had any pictures at all!).
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Toor Dal

I've been trying to make this for a while now and have not been super pleased with the results. I threw a few things together today and it wasn't so bad. Enjoyed this with my chicken biryani.

1 cup toor dal, rinsed well
3 cups of water
2 garlic cloves

Cook the above together for a while (20 min?) until soft. Mashed the dal a bit with my spatula and cook the water off until it is creamy-ish. Toward the end, start adding salt and tasting until right (this is always hard for me, I perpetually underseason things).

in a separate little nonstick pan:

1/2 tbs oil (I don't really know how much I put in)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small onion, chopped

Heat oil, cook spices, add onion. Cook together until the onion is soft and brown. Add this mix to the dal. Maybe cook another minute together. Eat with some chopped parsley or cilantro on top.