Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things I Have Made Recently That Isn't Rice Pudding

I think I'm pretty predictable. By now you've probably figured out that one of the most reoccurring themes of my blog is food. As of late, not only have I been into eating food but I've also been into cooking/baking food too. And that, my bloggy readers, is what brings me to the subject of this post: "Things I Have Made Recently That Isn't Rice Pudding."

I have mentioned my favorite cooking blog Smitten Kitchen a few times thus far. I think the reason I love it so much because she provides pictures. Not only pictures of the final product but the various steps along the way. The pictures make the recipes seem doable. Not to mention I love her commentary. (I told Wyatt that Deb (aka: The Smitten Kitchen) and I would probably be bff's if she lived next door. We do share one major thing in common and that is our love for food. I could actually relate to her excitement for tomato season. I too drool at the thought of the delectable Sun Gold tomatoes Wyatt's dad plants for me each year. I can hardly contain myself as I count down the months until I get to eat them again. I think it's the feeling most people have about Christmas.) Okay, major tangent...

Anyway, here are some of the things I've made as of late:

Nectarine Galette
I have NO idea how to pronounce the latter word of this dish but could hardly resist the need (yes, I mean NEED) to make this. It's so beautiful. Plus it seems like nectarines are always overshadowed by their sister the peach when it comes to desserts. I had to bring them to the center stage. I've also been looking for the opportunity to brush-up on my homemade pie crust making skills.

The result was, well, if you'll excuse my pride - STUNNING! I have NEVER made a pie crust so perfect in taste and texture. The secret - I used a cheese grater (yes, cheese grater) to grate a frozen (yes, frozen) stick of butter into the flour mixture. I got this idea from the local newspaper the Oregonian. What a BRILLIANT idea! That was my huge issue before - trying to get the mixture to look like "coarse corn meal". Grating the butter into the flour automatically makes it like corn meal! I also learned that the less you mix/handle the pie dough the better the crust.

(the perfect pie crust - may have to enlarge to see the full effect)

The final product was, I'm sad to say, good. Just good, not great. The pie crust was perfect, the almond/sugar mixture was very tasty, it was the nectarines that didn't shine. Perhaps if they were more ripe... I don't know. Perhaps this is why peaches seem to get all the attention?

Next up, Ratatouille
Ever since the movie about the cute little chef rat came out I wanted to make this. Who knew that a cartoon could make something look so good? My oldest brother Harold served his mission in France said that it was in fact, not good. I dismissed his opinion since he has a reputation for not liking vegetables; and since he told me not to order the pizza while we were in Paris (which he did end up ordering and RAVING about as I tried to choke down my cooked brie pasta).

I decided now was a better time then ever since I have accesses to all the vegetables from Wyatt's parent's garden. As much as I hate to admit it, Harold was right. Despite it's array of colors that make it so appealing, it does not taste good. I tried. I really tried to like it. I wanted to, desperately! But leftovers don't lie and they sat in the fridge for nearly a week without any desire from Wyatt or me to polish them off. I can't tell you why exactly I didn't like it. I like all the ingredients otherwise. Maybe it's the combination of them?

Last, but not least: Tomato and Corn Pie
I've never had (nor heard of) tomato pie before. Again, it was the pictures that sold me on it. Plus the abundance of tomatoes that I have access to (Wyatt's dad planted 14 tomato plants this year). I again took the opportunity to improve my pie crust making skills and successfully made my very own tomato pie! Again, the crust turned out perfect (I love my frozen butter cheese grater trick!) and the final product was delish! Well, except for the part at the very end when Wyatt asked me if I used "old" cheese because he had a bite that tasted like old cheese. My heart sunk. I swear the cheese looked (and tasted) fine to me!

(Wyatt's winking. Not giving pirate face.)

Other recent food adventures include the Sun Gold tomatoes that I roasted (I knew I should've took them out of the oven when I checked on them!) and proceeded to char. What a disappointment when the air is filled with tomato-garlicy goodness, only to discover the culprit of the wonderful smell passed its prime 45-minutes prior. My only redemption is that I have two more weeks of tomato season.

I also spent nine-hours canning salsa with my friend Phoebe on Friday. "I'll be home at 5pm Wyatt." 6pm that night, "Um, do you want to come over to Phoebe's and have pizza while we finish canning?" We finally left at 11pm. It was quite the adventure and my it was my first stab at canning using a canning pot. Sorry I trashed your kitchen've got to admit, it was fun! Too bad we didn't take any pictures to document the day.

If you've made it this far, I'm sorry I'm always talking about food. It's just something I think about all the time. Even as I'm drifting off to sleep... Hopefully for your sake I'll have a kid some day and dedicate my blog to life as a mom and not as a pseudo chef.


Jeff said...

Wow Britty! You totally rock! I wished I lived closer so that I could invite myself over and try some of these dishes. I am truly impressed. Maybe you should go to culinary school.....I'm just saying.....

Jeanna said...

I'm loving the grating the frozen butter trick....I'm gonna try it! We have some apples off our very own tree that are begging to be made into an apple pie or maybe a gallette! (pronounced "guy-ette"

Too bad about the nectarines, you and I both know they are good, they are GOOD!

Too bad about the rat---- also. It looked beautiful!

I better check out the tomato pie, we got a bunch of those that are begging to be put into a yummy recipe. Smitten Kitchen, here I come!

Anonymous said...

Impressive! You got the "love food and eating" from me. You did not get the wanting to "fix it" from me. My results in the kitchen were too prone to failure, especially when it was important for the result to be successful. Hence, Dad's telling me when it WAS perfect "too bad we aren't having company tonight" because he knew how difficult it was for me to spend sooooo much time fixing and have it turn out crappy. It was his way of cheering me up that people should see the times it was great, not just the times it wasn't.

Rock on with the food! I will send you the recipe Dad used for powdered sugar pie crust. See what you can do with it using your grater. Who knows? May be the next new thing for all good cooks!

Love, Momma

Josette said...

way to go brit. however, i do not see the fixation of the "pie crust". this is one thing i don't ever want to make from scratch. BUT, you are a pie girl and i am not. i like graham cracker crust better than real pie crust, but i don't think graham cracker crust would go with tomato pie. hmmm. speaking of pies, billy and i have just started watching "pushing daisies" on dvd. i like it so far. i love the main characters.

Phoebe said...

I am so intrigued by the Tomato Pie...
Ia m so happy that we made Salsa. Have you tried it? We opened a jar Sunday afternoon and it lasted maybe 15 minutes. The entire family devoured it. I think I need to track down 45 more tomatoes:)

AJ said...

Can I just tell you that I wish I was married to you? I wish we still had our awesome husbands but that I got to be married to you as well. I really want all that food right NOW. Can I hire you (philippino wages) to come cook for me? Let me know.


Brenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenna said...

The trick to making fruit that isn't so ripe or sweet yet is to speed up its process. Next time you make a galette (since it's now apple season, try apples!), just quickly saute them on very high heat with olive oil(seriously, get the oil hot until it makes a sheen, toss them in, swirl them about, give them a flip, then put them back on a cookie sheet after 30 seconds) or even some butter. I like to use a pinch of salt and pepper, too. You don't want them to cook into mush, but you also don't want them raw and under ripe. Once they've cooled, arrange them in the crust as you would normally. I hope this helps.

Heidi Quist said...

I've made ratatouille and eaten some made by another francophile that actually wasn't bad, maybe even good. And I'm not a big vegetable person. But neither recipe looked like the one pictured here, so maybe there are better recipes than others? I don't remember where I got my recipe or I'd share. But yummy other stuff here too! Good for you!