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The Freezer, the Single Cook’s Best Friend

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Yup, I’m going to say that I won’t need to cook anything for a while…. I didn’t even know that I could actually get this much in there.

Full Freezer

4 small containers goulash (each serves 2)
4 small containers bolongnese sauce (each serves 2)
5 small containers Coq au vin (each serves 2)
2 large containers tikka-masala base (each serves 4)
1 large container chicken pot pie filling (serves 2 or 3)
1 bag spätzle (serves 2)
5 quart bags spanikopita
1 pan manicotti (serves 4)
(above all homemade)

1 package uncooked shrimp
3 packages scallops (x12 each)
2 filet mingon steaks
2 new york strip steaks
3 chicken breasts
4 hamburgers patties
1 package bacon
1 bag chicken tenders from Trader Joes

2 packages lobster ravioli
2 packages naan from Dosa Factory in Central Square
2 Dr. Oetker pizzas (the “emergency pizzas”)
1 package flatbread
1 package hamburger rolls
1 box puff pastry
1 bag french fries
1 package maultashen
1 box spinach
1 box peas
1 bag cranberries
1 container guacamole from Trader Joes (which freezes remarkably well)
1/2 package pinenuts

2 martini glasses
4 trays + half full bucket ice cubes

Yeah, like you needed to know this, right?

Menu Planning for the Weekend

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I’m ‘catering’ a BBQ for my mum this weekend in Maine. How does this sound for a menu? Any suggestions?

Apps/nibbles: Mini-crab cakes with caper-garlic aioli, spanikopita triangles, caprese, antipasti (marinated mushrooms, olives, artichokes, peppers) all with baguette.

Main: letting Dad man the grill [grin]; thankfully not my department

Sides: Swabian potato salad (no, not ‘German’, no, not ‘Bavarian’… Swabian!), 2 types of pasta salad (pesto-jalapeno-goat-cheese and the other summer-veggie pasta salad), cucumber-ribbon salad

Dessert bites: vanilla custard-filled, chocolate-dipped mini-profiteroles and mini-lemon tarts with raspberry garnish (from their raspberry patch)

Tongue Tied

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Every once in a while, apparently I can’t speak English. At least a few dozen times this week (and I am not sure why particularly this week), I have:

1. completely forgotten the English word for something, yet know it in German and just blurt it out without realizing it is in the middle of an English sentence
2. have gotten completely tongue-tied with the whole accent thing, stumbling over Th’s, F’s V’s and W’s.
3. spoken English however used German sentence structure…

Oh well.

Hectic Weeks Make for Cranky Kats

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I’ve completely misjudged this week and have bitten off more than I can chew, I’m afraid. Ever have one of those weeks?

Here’s a run-down, not counting work related items (which are massive this week) and the fact that I am feeling under the weather (allergies? a spring cold? Who the hell knows….)

1. a sewing project, that while small, needs to be complete by Friday morning and hasn’t been started yet (should take about 2-3 hours)

2. a baking project that has three sub parts, needs to be complete by Friday morning as well; only one of which is started (and ultimately may get dropped; we’ll see)

3. a writing project with no concrete deadline, but I would love to spend all day working on

4. Spring cleaning, both apartment and Ludwig von Volkswagen; April 1 deadline

5. the sweater project; April 30 deadline and about one-third complete. Goal is to have one more piece done by Sunday

6. Need to run to the framing shop to have two large photographs matted and framed; One has a deadline of April 23 and it often takes 3 weeks without incurring rush charges, so I should get on this; Might have to push to weekend.

Seems like less when I write it down, but good thing that I am an insomniac and can actually knit or write all night. Maybe then I’ll get it all done.

Random things from my run yesterday afternoon

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

1. Harvard Square is great for reading the signs the homeless people hold to entice you to give them spare change. There are the usual “Spare Change”, “Homeless, Please help”, “Clean and Sober”, and “God Bless”. My favorites from yesterday were “I am the Marlboro Man. Can I bum a smoke or a quarter?” and “Too Ugly to Turn Tricks”, the latter being from a scrawny young 20-something and yeah, he was pretty sad looking.

2. The volume of broken umbrellas was phenomenal. I counted at least 20 before I got bored with the counting. Also, lots of sump pumps draining basements.

3. Between Inman and Harvard, along Cambridge Street, there was a steady stream of gummi bears littering the sidewalk every 6 to 10 feet, at random intervals. Then, between Porter and Inman, there was an equally steady stream of goldfish crackers on the sidewalk.

4. It’s March, yet apparently the first day of 50+ degree weather brought out all the flip-flop wearing fools. It’s March. It’s New England. Along the same lines, both Tory Row and Grafton Street pubs already were putting out the outdoor seating sections. Very optimistic of you people.

5. People in general and college students specifically still haven’t learned to share the sidewalk. I know, my own fault for running in the most congested areas in Cambridge and I should run next to the river like everyone else, but still.

What I am Giving Up for Lent

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

(even though I am not Catholic, or even religious in any-way-shape-or-form)

alcohol
aspartame (which means no “diet drinks” + switching to real sugar in my coffee)
cheese (= no pizza either)
chocolate
half + half

The lack of alcohol will be boring (or make me boring, one or the other). The rest of the stuff is in an attempt to make me healthier. Lent seemed like a not-so-arbitrary six weeks of heathiness. Besides, I did this for 365 days a few years ago; six weeks should be nothing.

Oh, and here are a few things that I should also be giving up but am not:

caffeine
red meat
workaholism

I’ve made all these mistakes

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

I was looking through the new issue of Cooking Light that arrived today and they had this list of “25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes”. It rang pretty true; I think that I have done most of these at some point. Now that I have read the list (the article itself is how to avoid making them and what to do once you’ve done them), there’s a good chance I won’t make them again, though. (Damn photographic memory; I’m going to have those 6 pages stuck in my head for-evah)

1. You don’t taste as you go.
2. You don’t read the entire recipe before you start cooking.
3. You make unwise substitutions in baking.
4. You boil when you should simmer.
5. You overheat chocolate.
6. You oversoften butter.
7. You overheat low-fat milk products.
8. You don’t know your oven’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.
9. You’re too casual about measuring ingredients.
10. You overcrowd the pan.
11. You mishandle egg whites.
12. You turn the food too often.
13. You don’t get the pan hot enough before you add the food.
14. You slice meat with – instead of against – the grain.
15. You underbake cakes and breads.
16. You don’t use a meat thermometer.
17. Meat gets no chance to rest after cooking.
18. You try to rush the cooking of caramelized onions.
19. You overwork lower-fat dough.
20. You neglect the nuts that you’re toasting.
21. You don’t shock vegetables when they’ve reached the desired texture.
22. You put all the salt in the marinade or breading.
23. You put meat straight from the fridge into the oven or onto the grill.
24. You don’t know when to abandon ship and start over.
25. You use inferior ingredients.

Virtual Retail Therapy

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Here is a list of seven random things I intend to buy for myself, when I have extra cash. They are all a little on the pricier side, so a little advanced budgeting is in order. Because these are “bigger” ideas for shopping, I have to think of seven appropriate goals for myself to earn them. I have three goals; now I need to think of four more. These are in no particular order.

1. Saddleback Leather Medium Briefcase Bag, Dark Tabacco Brown

2. Pottery Barn Tall Tibetan Barstool, Black

3. Crate and Barrel White Belmont Kitchen Island, White

4. Domaine Coteau, case of 2007 Pinot Noir (favorite wine ever!)

5. The absolutely amazingly lovely Tourron Dinnerware, in Avocado for 8 plus all the serving stuff, from Didriks

6. Amazon Kindle

7. Sundance Catalogue Candelabrum (which I think would make a great alternative to a Christmas Tree; yes, I am silly)

And no, this does not include an Audi A5 [grin].

Cookies Cookies and more Cookies

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Here is this year’s list of Christmas cookies; pretty similar to last year with two new kinds thrown in. The madness starts today: 16 kinds, 36 batches (they all get made twice or more), approximately 3100-3400 cookies in total… on top of that pesky thing called work, I’ll be baking 8 to 10 hours per day for the next 11 days. No sleep ’til Brooklyn (or in my case, no sleep ’til Munich, and even then, sleeping won’t be high on the agenda)!

Ausstecherle (Sugar Cookies / “Cookie Cutter Cookies”)
Butterzimtschnecken (Cinnamon Swirls)
Cappuccinnosterne (Cappuccino Stars)
Heidesand (Cinnamon Sandies)
Julkuchen (Swedish Marzipan Slices)
Kokosmakrönchen (Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons)
Lebkuchen (Molasses Crinkles)
Mandelherzen (Almond Hearts)
Mandelschnitten (Chocolate-dipped Almond Slices)
Nougatkipferl (Chocolate-dipped Nougat Crescents)
Schartzweißgebäck (Black/White Checkerboards)
Schokoabdrücke (Chocolate Drops)
Schoko-Orangen-Espresso-Schnitten (Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins)
Spitzbuben (Raspberry Linzer Cookies)
Terassenplätzchen (Lemon Terraces)
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

If anyone wants recipes, let me know. I’ve translated most of them already, except for the new two.

A Very Long Shopping List, Already Shopped

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Presently in my kitchen… taking up pretty much all available pantry, counter, table and refrigerator space:

1 pound blanched almond slices
1 bottle almond extract
5000 grams almond flour
German baking powder
American baking powder
Baking soda
15 pounds brown sugar
25 pounds butter (93% fat content)
20 packages chocolate glaze
1 jar cinnamon
1 jar cloves
1 pound unsweetened cocoa
2 pounds shredded coconut
1/2 pound dried cranberries
5 dozen large free-range eggs
35 pounds unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
1 jar powdered ginger
1 kg hagelzucker
1 pound hazelnuts
1 jar instant coffee
1 jar instant espresso
1 jar instant mocha powder
3 jars lemon curd
6 lemons
1 kg marzipan
1 quart milk
1 jar molasses
1 kg nougat
1 quart orange juice
6 oranges
2 pounds blanched almonds
15 pounds powdered sugar
500 grams raisins
3 jars seedless raspberry jam
1 bottle dark rum
500 g sanding sugar
1 box salt
2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 pounds granulated sugar
1 large bottle vanilla extract
500 g vanille-zucker
5 cups / containers plain yogurt

Thanks to a little advanced planning, this wasn’t all one shopping list, because not only would the shop have laughed at me for buying 25 pounds of butter all at once, but the price tag would have been enormous!