Our kind of Christmas

Happy Christmas and 6th night of Hanukkah to everyone!

Latke and pumpkin bread recipes in the tubes.

No wine for me this year, but I've got a date set for next year.


Thursday reminder

Today's mantra:

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Works wonders when working with the great unwashed public, especially those closest to our hearts.


End of Summer Soup

So good I only got pictures of one 1/2 eaten bowl

This hearty end of summer soup is a great low-attention one-pot meal for when the skies cloud over and the weather turns cold.

And for when your preggo taste-buds finally start responding to a wider range of flavors than fat and sweet.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (one yellow one red), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 3 springs thyme
  • 6 sage leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 4 cups chicken broth/ stock (veggie or mushroom as a substitute)
  • 1/2 cup roast turkey, roughly chopped or torn to bite-size pieces (baked tofu if making a vegetarian/vegan soup)
  • 4 cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes, heirloom, beefsteak, red, yellow, purple- doesn't matter, just don't bother peeling or seeding
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (pasteurized for us preggos, none for vegans!)
  • 1/2 cup dry egg noodles (substitute with orecchiette if going vegan)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (vegans leave this out, obviously)
  • 4 cups well-washed spinach, dried and chopped
  • green olive bread, lightly toasted and buttered
  1. in large non-reactive stock pot heat oil at medium high. add chopped onion and saute until fragrant & translucent
  2. add celery and carrot and saute a few more minutes
  3. add jalapeno, bell peppers, sage, thyme and turkey (tofu) saute until peppers are fragrant and soft, giving a good stir every minute or two. the goal here is to get a light coat of brown on as many veggies as possible. however, your pot might be a bit crowded, so don't worry if it doesn't work out
  4. toss in all the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low, cover and let cook until tomatoes are thoroughly broken down, stirring occasionally. this will probably take around an hour. here's where your laziness in not peeling or seeding pays off- the confetti of colorful skins adds visual interest and texture to the soup
  5. once the tomatoes have broken down into an easy liquid, stir in your broth and bring back to a simmer, let simmer another 10-15 minutes covered
  6. thoroughly mix your crumbled feta, egg noodles and beaten egg in to the soup. cover and set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes
  7. when the alarm goes off stir in basil and 1/2 the chopped spinach, leave uncovered and set alarm for another 5 minutes
  8. when the alarm goes off again, remove your soup from the heat and fold in the remaining spinach. keep soup covered, away from heat until it's cool enough to dish up
  9. if you can find one, serve with a green (or black) olive baguette- the combination of sweet, salty, spicy soup and sour bread is heavenly.


This is happening?

Today is J & my four-year anniversary!*
And an excuse to post.

The recipe posting has been negligible over the last few months because I haven't really been interested in food.

In fact, I've only been eating capital B Boring foods.

Cottage cheese, roast turkey, avocado, string cheese, plums, yogurt, and more cottage cheese.

I've also been incredibly lazy about cooking.
Thank god the Trader Joe's in Davis opened; I didn't really miss not having one around for the last eight years, but their frozen dinners have been a savior to the overly sleepy cook with suddenly, horrifyingly, bland taste-buds.

Last night I had wilted spinach with 2% milk poured over it for dinner. Really.

Three weeks in Asia was truly great, but having to be careful about every bite I ate, and extra-vigilant against food poisoning left me feeling more than a hair on the wrong side of boring.

For a naturally shy girl, not going out for drinks with colleagues, or having Perrier with a twist of lime as my "fun" beverage, was a new experience.

Good thing I seek out new experiences.

Since a lot right now is falling under that category...

And if you haven't guessed it already...

If everything goes according to plan...
(and the whole thing has so far)

The July 8 post was a clue...

In March our lives are really going to change.

(This picture of our bean is almost a month old, but it's another month til we get a new one)

Life is surreal.

I am so happy and lucky to have four years of marriage with the best husband ever, and excited for what the future years will bring.

Happy anniversary love of my life ♥

*Blogger has it's time zones wrong- this was posted 2011.09.30 even though Blogger thinks it's the evening of Sept 29, no where on the planet is it still the 29th.



I'm so excited to be home for the cool weather and first rain of autumn!


Where is Amelia? September 2011 edition

For those following along at home:

View East Asia 2011 in a larger map

So I've joined the ranks of long-abandoned blogs at last.

Other life events have kept me relatively uninspired in the kitchen (can anyone say spruced-up Trader Joe's frozen foods?) but those will get their fair address when I'm back from these three weeks in Asia.

In the meantime I'll try to update from the road as time and firewalls permit!


Friday Beautiful

In honor of all the pollinators out there that help the produce in my Friday farm-box:

Have a fantastic weekend, and enjoy the beauty around you.


Weekend Adventure (3 days to enjoy home)

landing in Sea-Tac
J & I had a weekend mini-adventure before I head off again for a few days in Santa Barbara, right on the tail of my few days in Tacoma, WA.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Tacoma Narrows Bridge, taken at the Tacoma History Museum

Saturday we explored the Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area north of Davis

View Larger Map

I'm pretty sure I flew in over the reserve Friday on my way home.

Photoed over at our joint Tumblr, ManyIrishTears.net (there is a story behind that name) and on my Flickr.

We also ventured to the 19th annual Pacific Rim Street Festival in Old Sac Sunday, where we had some unfortunately mediocre Asian street food (great Lumpia though) saw some Taiko, Hawaiian dancing, and Tai Chi.

Now it's time to move my clothes from one suitcase to another and enjoy some down-time together.


weekend awesome

It's the weekend, yay!

I have a few days off to pretend I'll post some of my recipes dating back to Easter brunch, catch up on house-cleaning, and hopefully play like this owl & cat.

If you've got a weekend I hope you enjoy it as much.


Sweet & Sour request

Does anyone out there in the internets have a good recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce from scratch; like using fresh tomatoes and pineapples, rather than cans of tomato (or god forbid, ketchup) and pineapple?

This is something I'll be experimenting with once tomatoes come in season.


The sidewalks of Brazil

I'm a big fan any society/ culture that considers the aesthetics of the mundane.

Everywhere I went in Brazil -except Brasilia, which is a 60's modernist fantasy- there were fantastic mosaic sidewalks. It's called Portuguese Pavement and found, obviously in Portugal, as well as the prior colonies.

bird sidewalk

flower sidewalk

wave sidewalk
Ribbon Waves (note that anyone with money had security)

Sidewalks of Brazil

Intersecting designs

brazil 350
Famous Copacabana waves

Hearsay has it the white tiles represent European immigrants, the black tiles represent Africans brought as slaves, and the red tiles represent the native population; in sidewalks and life it looks like the natives got screwed in representation.

How great would it be if all our steps were on public art?


Pão de Queijo

These delicious cheesy doughy balls were everywhere in Brazil- every meal included them and the airports smelled of them.
Even more than the endless amounts of charred cow, Pão de Queijo will always remind me of my first trip to Brazil; I knew they'd be the first thing I tried making after getting home (and almost everything else was just seared meat anyways...)

Pão de Queijo
  • 500 grams- about 3.5-4 cups Tapioca flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated/crumbled cheeses
  • few pinches extra salt
  1. Measure Tapioca flour into a heat-proof, large (it will hold everything) bowl
  2. Boil milk, oil and salt together
  3. Pour milk/oil mixture into the tapioca flour (you may not need all the liquid) and stir until it becomes a big pasty mess, similar to choux
  4. Set aside the mixture to cool while you grate and/or crumble your 2 cups of cheeses- I used 1 cup Greek feta, 1.5 cups Parmesan and .5 cups sharp Irish cheddar
  5. Preheat oven to 360 degrees
  6. Beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, then add 1/2 the cheese
  7. Beat in the 3rd egg, if it's looking too watery omit the 4th egg, if not, beat it in too, stir in the remaining cheese
  8. You should now have a thick, smooth dough
  9. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of dough onto lined cookie sheets, keeping in mind that Pão de Queijo will grow close to 25%
  10. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and bake at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes
  11. Pão de Queijo is best served hot fresh from the oven, but good reheated too.

The recipe I've posted is slightly tweaked from the one I used- my batter was a bit too liquid* and my dough-balls flattened too much as a result, see above; if anyone tries making these let me know how Pão de Queijo turns out for you!

*UPDATE- on a second making it turns out mine was liquidy just because the milk/oil mixture cooled too much before I added it, pour it into the flour while still boiling and you'll be fine.


Kimchi Noodle Soup

I promise I'll get to the Brazilian recipes soon, but for now it's last night's dinner.

I'd had some kimchi fermenting in the fridge for, oh, 5+ months, and decides it was time to clear up space and use it up. Since kimchi is pretty potent stuff I needed a recipe that would survive adding 3-4 cups of kimchi, which isn't exactly something you can top a delicate salad with. A restaurant near us has kimchi soup on the menu, and I decided to try a variation on the idea.

Warning: there is nothing at all, in any way authentic about this soup, it came straight from my palate-brain connection.

Kimchi Noodle Soup, serves 2-4 depending on hunger levels.

For the soup:
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3-4 cups kimchi
  • 4 cups broth
  • Udon noodles for 2
  • 2 eggs beaten with some water
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. In large stock pot heat sesame oil, then saute onion until fragrant, but still green
  2. Add kimchi and broth to pot ( I had chicken on hand, but imagine fish, mushroom or a mild vegetable broth would all be good, and easily adjustable to any dietary restrictions), season with black pepper and turn off heat
  3. Let the flavors marinate at room temperature while you make your own noodles, or for 1/2 hour or so to mellow out the kimchi
  4. Turn stove-top to high heat and bring soup to a rapid boil
  5. Add noodles and reduce heat slightly
  6. When noodles are almost done add egg mixture to soup and cook one minute
  7. Let soup cool ever so slightly
  8. Serve steaming, garnished with red pepper flakes and Brag's amino acids or a drop of soy sauce.
Unfortunately, we ate all this up before I took a picture, but it was good.

If you're feeling ambitious, or like planning ahead for several months, here are the complete steps.

For kimchi:

You could use store-bought kimchi, but the stuff made at home has more personality. I know there are many many variations on kimchi, since I'm allergic to shrimps I leave them out, and make it as follows.

In large, seal-able glass or ceramic bowl combine:
  • white vinegar
  • rice wine vinegar
  • lots of chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp + red pepper flakes
  • fish sauce
  • thinly sliced Napa / green cabbage, as for a slaw
  • mung bean sprouts
You'll want to taste the sauce as you go, making sure it's not too vinegary, is very spicy, and has plenty of fish sauce. You don't need to cover the cabbage and sprouts completely as they'll wilt over time, and a thorough tossing once in a while ensures even flavoring/ fermentation. I keep the bowl in the back of the fridge, using bits of the kimchi over time, and adding leftover sprouts and bits of cabbage from other recipes. I'm not sure of the real use-by timeline on this as I'm partial to pickled and fermented food anyways, but I think it lasts a long time.

For noodles:

I also attempted to make my own noodles for this soup, what I made turned out pretty good for a first try, but you might just want to stick with store-bought udon or rice noodles.
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • .5 cup AP wheat flour
  • water egg mixture as needed
  1. in large bowl combine tapioca and wheat flours, making a well in the middle
  2. start moistening the flours with water, no more that a 1/4 cup to begin with; be warned that tapioca flour is just like cornstarch- it melts when you're not touching it and crumbles when you apply any force
  3. once you have a slightly sticky but coherent dough ball, knead the hell out of it
  4. let dough rest a while
  5. using AP flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, roll sections of dough out to as close to 1/8 an inch think as you can get- in full disclosure I always fail at that part, and am lucking for a chunky 1/5 inch thick noodle.
  6. let noodles rest/dry for at least an hour before using.
  7. If unlike me you're not pulling a recipe out of your back-side, I suggest using that instead.


Isn't this enough?

Storm, a 10-minute poem/story by Tim Minchin


Home again, again

More details forthcoming.


Where am I?


My crazy travel season has begun, again.

View Brazil 2011 in a larger map

Four down and three to go; though I doubt I can convince them to send me to Antarctica.


Kale & Salami Pizza

Kale & Salami Pizza

Last fall I when I was in Seattle for a week, I went to Salumi at the urging of my friend Jason, and this famous chef guy that I may or may not have had a crush on back since this book came out.

Normally, salami can be a bit of a turn off, strange processed meat stuff with fat particles that get stuck in your teeth--ugh.

Not the case with Salumi Salami, it is amazing; complex flavors, well-balanced texture- I'm never going back to the Costco stuff.

Some four months later recipe inspiration struck.
A week later I had Finocchiona and Salumi Salami in hand, Kale had returned to my farm box, and I was ready for Kale & Salami Pizza.

You will need:
  • Pizza dough for one pizza, from your favorite recipe, or your amazing local bakery (mine sells both raw and par-baked pizza dough)
  • one bunch dinosaur kale, washed and chopped ( I only used 2/3 a bunch, and will definitely use and entire bunch next time- it really shrinks)
  • high quality salami
  • 1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • parmesan cheese, grated
Four sauce
  • one can tomato sauce, normal size
  • one can tomato paste, the teeny cans
  • paprika
  • oregano, fresh or dried or both
  • garlic powder
  • several cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
Kale & Salami Slice
  1. Preheat oven with pizza stone (if you have one) to 510 degrees
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients, spicing to taste, in a large bowl and set aside
  3. If you're using raw dough, wrestle in to shape. If you're lazy like me and using shaped par-baked dough, make sure it's thawed and set aside
  4. In large bowl toss chopped kale with salt, pepper and just enough olive oil to lightly coat, set aside
  5. Grate mozzarella cheese, enough to mostly cover your dough with a thin sprinkling
  6. Slice your salami very thinly, I used both varieties, seven thin slices of each I then cut in half for 28 thin half-rounds total
  7. Gently spread dough with pizza sauce. You want it to just moisten and flavor your pizza, not drown it
  8. Sprinkle mozzarella over pizza, reserving 1/2 handful for later
  9. Hand grate some parmesan over pizza
  10. Evenly distribute sliced salami, onion and kale over the pizza
  11. Toss remaining mozzarella over the pizza to hold kale down, this should be just a bit, don't smother the kale and salami
  12. Finally, hand grate more parmesan over the top, this will give it an extra flavorful crispy top.
  13. Bake pizza at 510 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crust is desired crispness, checking regularly after six.
  14. Let pizza cool until it's approachable, slice and serve.


Manchurian Vegetables

Welcome to Amelia's blog which is rapidly becoming about only foods that taste good but photograph terribly.

Today's installment is a variation on Manchurian Cauliflower;

again, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
  • 4 petite or 2 normal heads cauliflower, 4-5 cups worth, trimmed of stem and greens
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and chopped
  • 1Tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 4 stalks green garlic, chopped (2-3 cloves normal garlic works too)
  • 2/3 cup ketchup- homemade is preferred, but who would I be kidding? I used Heinz Once you stop gagging trust me, or rather trust Bittman- it's good
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha or other hot chili sauce
  • 1/8 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  1. Blanch or steam cauliflower (and carrots) until tender and no longer "cabbagey."
  2. In wok heat sesame oil over medium heat and saute green garlic until it is fragrant and begins to brown.
  3. Stir in ketchup, Sriracha, anise, cinnamon and soy sauce with garlic and cook until sauce begins to bubble.
  4. Meanwhile separate cauliflower into chopstick-manageable size pieces and chop carrots into 1/3 inch thick rounds
  5. Gently fold cauliflower, carrots and spinach into sauce.
  6. Cook until spinach is wilted.
  7. Let vegetables cool a bit, and serve over brown rice.


Welsh Rarebit

J was stuck in Vegas for a week. Yes, stuck. I went for a long weekend with him, and the scene there? Not really (more diametrically opposed to) our style.

His flight home was delayed, it was cold, raining- some comfort food was is order. The hotel we stayed at had a "cheddar stout soup" on the menu, and rarebit was on my mind.

Welsh Rarebit
from Mark Bitman's How to Cook Everything

For sauce:
  • 1lb cheddar, shredded; Irish, sharp, aged--something strong enough to stand up to the stout
  • 3/4+ cup stout; I used Guiness
  • Worcestershire sauce; 2 Tbsp or to taste
  • Dash cayenne; I was out (shocking!) so used hot paprika
  • 1 Tbsp mustard; should be dry, but I used Dijon
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. In heavy-bottomed sauce pan heat butter over medium-low until melted
  2. Gently add in flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it's golden brown. 3-4 minutes.
  3. Whisk in cayenne and mustard
  4. Slowly pour in stout, whisking until texture is homogeneous
  5. Reduce heat to low and whisk in handfuls of cheese until completely melted
  6. Be careful not to overheat, or yours will breakdown like mine. Also, don't be lazy and chop cheese instead of shredding- it makes it heat unevenly and breakdown, like mine.
  7. Remove sauce from heat; it will keep a day.
  8. When you're reheating don't forget and leave sauce on the stove while you go to get husband from the airport; it'll overheat and breakdown like mine.
  9. If this does happen, you can kinda rescue the sauce with careful additions of more flour, beer and cheese. I do not recommend getting your sauce in a situation where it needs rescuing.
To Serve:
  1. Have grand ambitions to do this eggs benedict style.
  2. Realize it's late and you don't have the time for a multi-dish broiling process.
  3. Toast both sides of thick bread slices under the broiler until pretty dry
  4. roast any veggies you have on hand (I had leeks, broccoli and cauliflower) until tender
  5. poach one egg per person
  6. Put toasts on large cookie sheet and spread each lightly with sauce
  7. top toasts with a few of the roasted vegetables, and a healthy (really not healthy) scoop of sauce and broil until bubbly
  8. place toasts in bowl or on plate with remaining veggies and top with egg
  9. serve immediately

Las Vegas 081


Linguine with Chorizo + Clams

Hey look- it's a post!

I have lots of recipes to update with...

See, I'm not lying!

It's just hard to spend that many more hours at the computer. I guess you could say I'm suffering from a motivation problem. Even worse, most of my winter recipes are now out-of-season; I was just bemoaning the end of Kale.

Mourning the passing of kale from my farm box- the one food I'd be happy eating every meal.7:42 PM Feb 11th via Echofon

Which at least half my winter recipes have used, dammit.

We usually fancy it up for Christmas, but this (technically last) year I didn't have a damn thing planned for our usual romantic feast. Lucky for me, there's almost nothing seasonal in the recipe, so I can post it 2+ months after the fact, and not feel like anyone reading this would need to wait a year to try out the recipe.

Really I was just craving clams again (which always seem like a "fancy" special food to me) when I saw chorizo at the store and thought "mmm spicy" and was inspired. I googled around for some recipes using both and found the two below. I had a suspicion it'd be a bit too much flavor, but turned out fantastic!

Though it's not a meal worthy of the tittle "feast" the idea seemed like it needed sharing, so we invited a friend over for some pre-Christmas wine & wii; a good time was had by all.

Linguine with Clams & Chorizo

Linguine with Chorizo + Clams
inspired by Emeril and Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 lb fresh linguine (I used two-color because that's what the store had, but would prefer normal)
  • 1 lb little neck clams, fresh in shells
  • 4.5 oz chorizo, about 1 1/2 sausages
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp saffron threads
  • dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • olive oil
  • chicken broth
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
  • handful roughly chopped parsley
  • Parmesan for garnish
  1. in heavy bottomed sauce pan saute chorizo in just a splash of olive oil until it releases its fat
  2. add in garlic, onion and red pepper flakes
  3. when onion is soft and fragrant add a half cup of white wine or broth, use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan
  4. add clams to pan
  5. pour in enough, equal parts, chicken broth & white wine (or one or the other) to not quite cover the clams. this will be your sauce for the pasta, so keep in mind how wet or dry you'd like it to be- as long as there's enough liquid for the clams to steam you'll be ok. stir in the saffron threads
  6. cover clams and let them steam in broth
  7. after clams open (discard any who don't) add parsley and lemon juice to broth
  8. distribute pasta, clams and broth evenly between 3-4 bowls, garnish with freshly grates parmesan
  9. serve with a robust red wine and crusty french bread
The process


MLK Day 2011

We had the best meeting-anniversary weekend this year.

MLK Cake 2011

Among other things, a return to simple, tasty, unambitious, portrait stencil cake. (Those cupcakes? Nearly the death of me.)

sliced MLK Cake 2011

Coated in whipped cream, cocoa stencil.

MLK Cake 2011 interior

Vanilla & chocolate genoise cake.

MLK Cake 2011 slices

Cakes layered with chocolate ganache and multi-berry whipped cream.

Recipe when (if) I get to it, may be 2012!

adorable baker

And the best co-baker anyone could hope for.