Thursday, March 18, 2010

urb garden

Another new adventure! I planted some herbs in my kitchen. I had a west-facing window. I got some pots and some dirt and some seeds from the hardware store. I planted them, watered them every day, and three weeks later, here they are! From left to right, you'll see: cilantro, rosemary, thyme, and basil (purple and large-leaf Italian). Taking a page out of Nonnie's book, again, I'm hoping to have a healthy harvest all summer long from my herban urb garden.


Not hugely creative, here, but I had to share my latest favorite lunch. Tuna & white bean salad, inspired by standby Senate-side eatery Neb's.

Despite my budding future plans to open a pommes frites shop in DC, I have a distinct fear of mayonnaise. Most tuna salad uses mayonnaise. Therefore, I don't eat much tuna salad. Neb's is different, they don't. This is a great salad that is packed with protein and fiber, and it definitely won't break the bank. Hope you enjoy!

Tuna & White Bean Salad
Servings: 1

For tuna salad:
  • 1 can white albacore tuna in water
  • 1/4 C. white beans, drained (cannellini)
  • 1 t. capers
  • 1 t. mustard
  • 1 t. balsamic vinegar
  • Greens (3-4 oz.)
  • Tomatoes
  • Other toppings as you like (i.e. bell peppers, kalamata olives, tomatoes)

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

In a bowl, combine tuna, cannellini beans, capers, mustard, balsamic vinegar. Mix well until combined. Dress greens with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, top with tuna, add other toppings as you like. I eat this salad with a few stoned-wheat crackers - tuna & white beans make a great topping for those, too! Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spreading the Gospel of Pioneer Woman

I first learned about Pioneer Woman through my friend Hilary who can do it all: blog, chef, plus hold down a sweet life in NYC. So began my love affair with PW. I came for the carbonara, I stayed for the love story. I've been hooked ever since. Last weekend I attended a ladies-only brunch affair (read: mimosas, mimosas, mimosas, maybe a bar crawl). I brought Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs (mostly because they looked like the most feasible thing to make without a stand mixer, which I don't own. Yet.) So, In an ode to PW, here's her recipe, with some sad, low-res iPhoto photos:

First, you have to measure the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Mix 'em up. That was a boring picture. Then you have to mix together (shudder) Crisco and sugar. That was an unappetizing picture. Then you have to cream them together while gradually adding milk, which is what I was doing here.

And then add some more flour, stir until your arm gets tired/batter is smooth.

This seemed to match the photo in PW's coobook, so I called it quits. At this point in real life behind the lens, Bram was annoyed I wasn't paying any attention to him, so he popped into the kitchen wearing an outfit that matched mine. Nobody tell him he's not funny.

Then I measured everything into mini muffin tins. The real recipe says to use regular sized muffin cups but I really don't like big muffins so I put the kibosh on that one. The next few parts are the best:

Bake for 18-20 minutes in a 350 oven. The nutmeg smells amazing at this point.

Then, while they're still warm, dunk them into a vat of melted butter. After that, roll them around in a vat of cinnamon sugar. It was a messy job, but someone had to do it.

In conclusion, these were pretty good if you like butter and cinnamon sugar and muffins, which apparently all women like as I learned at the ladies'-only brunch.

Here's the real recipe with better photos and fewer stories about Bram:

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 12
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks Butter
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a different bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix again. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

In a bowl, melt 2 sticks butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.