Thursday, February 24, 2011


As you can probably tell I have quite a collection of cookbooks. I really love reading them. If I'm not in the middle of a novel, I tend to grab a couple at night and read through them before bed.
I was in the market for a mexican cookbook. I checked out some from the library by the very respected Diane Kennedy, but she'll have you growing the corn to grind your own masa if you follow her too closely. I decided I needed to own one of Rick Bayless's cookbooks on Mexican cooking. I researched them all and decided on Mexican Everyday.
He has lots of wonderful information between the recipes, so it makes for good late night reading. I haven't made anything from it yet but it inspired me to make tostados. We make a lot of quesadillas around here at lunch time. It's a great way to use up any leftover meat, vegetables or rice and I always have refried beans and cheese around. Then everyone makes them to their liking with or without hot sauce, salsa, sour cream, or avocados etc. You get the picture. I just never thought to do that with tostados, but they're great! Everyone loved them and you can't beat that crunch. My regular grocery store carries them, and the hispanic markets of course. They keep for awhile in the bread box too.
I'm still riding on my high of visiting India and love love love the food.
I heard about this book The Indian Slow Cooker  from a couple of different places, so I finally ordered it.
The recipes are so easy because you simple put all of the ingredients into your slow cooker. It uses a lot of Indian spices, but once you have those on hand it's so simple. Everything I've made so far has been fantastic.
I will work my way through the whole book. I did have to cut down on the amount of salt and chili's in most of the recipes.
I highly recommend it if you love Indian food.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Real or Rumor?

Could it be that the famous, yet elusive chef, Peter Chang is back in Charlottesville and opening a restaurant! Some friends told me they saw a sign up, so I went by to see for myself.
Sure enough there was lots of building activity and a sign in the window.
They had a sign up for hiring too, so it must be getting close. It's in the Barracks Road Shopping Center where Wild Greens used to be. I bet it'll do really well because good chinese food is really lacking in Charlottesville. We have excellent Indian and Thai but a great chinese restaurant will be very welcome. Can't wait!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

For a fun project and a special treat for Valentines Day try a batch of homemade marshmallows. I've made them for the holidays too, to give with hot cocoa. One of my daughters wanted to take them to her class for Valentines Day.
You start by soaking the gelatin in water in the mixing bowl. Then boil the corn syrup and sugar mixture and when it reaches the soft ball stage, you pour it slowly into the gelatin.
Then whip it for about 15 minutes. We added some red food coloring for a pale pink effect.
Then spread it in a pan sprinkled with powdered sugar to dry overnight.
Then have a cute little girl cut out heart shaped marshmallows with a cookie cutter. Nice squares work too.
Roll the sticky edges in more powdered sugar.
Then pack in red box.
Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baking for stress release

"When the going gets crazy, the crazy bake cookies."
That's me, the busier and more stressed I am, the more I want to hide in my kitchen and bake a big chocolate cake or loaves of bread. There's something so grounding and nurturing about it. I had a crazy day friday, with a big event that night but somehow I squeezed in time for a batch of peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies. It helped me deal with the stress of the day.

Love this bumper sticker I got in the bag from my Penzey's Spices shopping spree this weekend.
 To get through an occasional crazy day I reach for my espresso maker. I made some for a cousin recently and when he saw my stovetop model he said, "Cool, espresso old school"! Made me laugh.
I'm sure those super expensive machines out there make some amazing coffee but for the occasional cup of espresso, I love my little Bialetti.
I serve it in little espresso cups with sugar hearts and sometimes a splash of cream.
A perfect pick me up for another overcast winter day.