Saturday, November 15, 2008

leftover pumpkin oatmeal pancakes

Sorry, I ate these already, so no picture. I had a huge batch of steel cut oats sitting in my fridge, and the thought of eating hot oatmeal on an 80-degree day was just too much to handle. So I decided to use them to make pancakes. I had added a cup of pumpkin puree to my steel cut oats so I wanted something that would remind me of pumpkin chocolate chip cake. Unfortunately, Trader Joe's has been out of chocolate chips for the last two weeks. So I decided to substitue...frozen corn. Yup! The corn was so sweet and the pancakes turned out delicious! So here is the recipe so that I don't forget and can make these next week because I'm sure I'll have barely made a dent in those damn oats.


0.5 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


1 cup cooked steel-cut oatmeal (mine had pumpkin puree mixed in, but it is fine without)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp pumpkin butter
2 tbsp sour cream
0.5 cup frozen corn (or chocolate chips)

Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients, then combine with dry. Butter a griddle pan and cook like you would cook normal pancakes, but watch the heat because the batter is more "goopy" than regular pancake batter and the pancakes brown a little faster.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banana Layer Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Picture from Food and Wine website (which is acting screwy right now, so I'm copying the recipe here instead of linking to it.)

It was Kevin's birthday on Monday, so today I baked him a cake. I would have had it ready by Monday except the bananas weren't ripe until yesterday, and then I forgot all my butter was in the freezer, and I would have been awake until 3am baking this thing, which I am too old (but not as old as Kevin, ha ha!) to do...

The cake part? Absolutely delicious. The frosting? Blech. Seriously, do yourself a favor and make this cake, but use cream cheese frosting instead. The sweetness of the bananas and the cake (I might actually cut down the sugar to half a cup the next time I make this) really need the tang that only cream cheese can provide. We ended up scraping off the top layer of frosting and eating our slices with a side of peanut butter, which was heavenly.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (1 1/2 large), plus 2 large bananas, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 large egg whites


1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper; butter the parchment paper. Dust the pan all over with flour, tapping out any excess. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add the mashed bananas and beat the mixture until smooth. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the batter is moistened. Beat in half of the buttermilk, then add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Beat one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter at low speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; the top will be very slightly cracked. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
4. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place the top layer, cut side up on a cake plate and spread with frosting. Arrange half of the bananas in a single layer on the frosting. Top with the middle cake layer. Cover the layer with more frosting and top with the remaining bananas. Cover with the bottom cake layer, cut side down, and frost the top. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. (We skipped that part!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
...make this granola. Switch out the vegetable oil with extra virgin coconut oil. Douse it with cold milk and sprinkle on some pomegranate, and you have the best breakfast ever.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things I am currently loving....

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Getting a random email or text message from a college friend, saying they are in town, then meeting up with them here or here.

Roasting pumpkins.

Hot tea with milk and agave nectar.

The yogurt shallot dip at Lavash on Irving.

Barbecue and babies.

Nippy fall weather.

Wii Fit.

Dexter on DVD.

The fact that people actually look at my pictures on flickr. One of my photos is on Schmap!

Truffle oil from my trip to Italy.

Google Reader

Split pea soup.

Things I could currently do without:

Narcissistic, self-absorbed, and/or passive-aggressive people.

Bug bites.

Low back pain.

Watching my IRA shrink and shrink and shrink.

Having to wait an extra eight months for the new Harry Potter movie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Atlanta split pea soup

So this soup actually has nothing to do with Atlanta except for the fact that I bought the smoked turkey neck at Your Dekalb Farmers Market, a delightful place near my brother's apartment where my mother and I oohed and aahed over the large variety of spices and meats and grains. I went there twice in three days (the first time with my brother to buy the many items my mother needed to cook and freeze food for the next four years my brother is in med school and the second time because my mother was jealous we went without her) and brought back smoked turkey neck, weisswurst, extra virgin coconut oil, celery seed, and whole wheat cream cheese croissants.

This soup turned out delicious, although the turkey neck smelled a lot better than it actually tasted, which was like plain old turkey neck. So next time I make this I'll probably use ham hocks. Maybe my brother could bring me back some when he comes home for thanksgiving??

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped

In a 6 quart dutch oven, saute these ingredients with a little olive oil until they are shiny and smell really good. Then add:

2 three-inch pieces of smoked turkey neck
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp celery seed

Saute another minute or so. Then add:

1.5 cup dried split peas
6 cups water

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for half an hour, partially covered. Start checking to see if the peas are getting cooked/mushy. Once they are done, you can fish out the turkey necks and shred the meat into the soup. You can also leave the soup chunky or use a stick blender. The soup will seem too runny, but it will thicken up a lot as it cools down. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

The difference between men and women...

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Saturday night Kevin and I met up with Matt and Chari, who had a baby girl in December. They now live in the same town as my parents, so when we went out there to set up my dad's Wii and Wii Fit, we all met up for dinner at Bo's Barbecue.

For a mere $25, you get a whole lot of meat (links, brisket, and super yummy ribs), sweet potato, salad, bread, and some sort of potato thing.

While that was all very delicious, the REAL star of the evening was...

(from Matt and Chari's camera)

Would you look at that smile? Is she not the cutest most adorable thing you've ever seen?? She is just starting to walk, and toddled around, making everybody in the restaurant fall in love with her. Kevin and I could not believe how happy and social she was, and basically talked about how cute she is the entire way home.

And here is now where the fundamental difference between men and women comes into play...the following is an actual conversation that happened, but names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Boy: You know, being around such a cute and happy and well-behaved baby like that makes me think...
Girl: ...that you can't wait to have one of your own??
Boy: Uh, actually, that I'm GLAD I don't have one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This was my dinner last Thursday night...

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
...right after I had seen The Bonesetter's Daughter with the SF Opera.

Damn I'm a classy lady.

I didn't show you the waffle I had for dessert...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Soon-to-be Mrs. Savory Bread Pudding

Yesterday was Kevin's first day of teaching at USF, and to celebrate, I took him to Serpentine. Having had a rather large snack at 3pm then promptly falling asleep, I was neither alert nor hungry by the time our 7:45pm reservation rolled around. But reading the menu perked me right up so we dug in to:

Baked Marinated Local Anchovies
flageolet & gigante beans - levain breadcrumbs - scallions -
cherry tomatoes - pickled fennel

I think I could eat pickled fennel all day long. Actually, any form of fennel....

Roasted Mary's Half Chicken
summer succotash of white beans - cranberry beans -
corn - summer squash - salsa verde

Savory Bread Pudding
heirloom tomatoes - garlic confit - swiss - oregano
with roasted summer squash - mixed greens

I loved this so much, I'm going to marry it. You're all invited to the wedding. Except for the fig tart we had for dessert. What a letdown to an otherwise wonderful meal.

Incidentally, there was a couple sitting next to us who, based on their awkward conversation, appeared to be on a first date of some sort. Except the guy was wearing this really awful hat. Like, Robin Hood awful. That's fine if you want to dress like one of his Merry Men, but on a first date?? Really??

The reason I've been so tired is that this last weekend I flew to Wisconsin for a huge family reunion. It was awesome to be able to see everybody, catch up, and slide down The Hurricane (twice) at America's largest waterpark, but getting there was a bit of an ordeal:

4 am - leave house to get to airport
5 am - arrive airport
6:20 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
8:50 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
9:59 am - don't make flight to Chicago because it is overbooked
10:15 am - decide to double-list ourselves for both Chicago and Denver. Dad waits at gate 81, mom and I wait at gate 89.
10:50 am - Mom and I are instructed to wait by the gate in case we get on the Chicago flight, which is supposed to leave at 10:49am but has been delayed to noon.
11:10 am - Dad calls, we made it on the Denver flight, mom and I sprint to gate 81
3:10 pm - arrive Denver at gate B32. Need to make it to gate B88 by 3:25. Run really fast. Realize I am super out of shape, but cut myself slack because I am wearing three-inch heels
3:23 pm - arrive at gate, but they won't let us get on the plane. Next flight to Madison, WI is at 9:20 pm. !!!!

Meanwhile, in Atlanta....

5 pm (eastern time) - Brother arrives at airport
5:15 pm - Brother realizes he relinquished his MA driver's license to get a GA one, and now has no government-issued photo ID, just a temporary license.
5:16 pm - Brother drives to apartment in crazy rush hour traffic to get passport. Once at home, looks at mail, and there is his new driver's license. Gah.
6:30 pm - Brother nervously high-tails it through ATL (ie, worst EVER) security line to make his 7pm flight.
6:45 pm - Brother finds out flight is delayed, and will get him to O'Hare at 9:12 pm. His flight to Madison leaves at 9:13 pm. AWESOME.

Luckily, his flight was delayed so he arrived safe and sound. Our flight was also delayed, so we stumbled into the airport at around 1:30am. The super nice Hertz guy was waiting for us, and we got into our rental car and drove to Wisconsin Dells. After about 24 hours of fun with the fam, we left at 2:45am to make our 5:15am flight out of Madison back home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just in time...

Have you seen those new commercials from the Corn Refiners Association? The ones that make you feel guilty for trying not to eat high fructose corn syrup? The first time I saw one I almost thought it was a joke - really? They're trying to make us feel like judgemental jerks for not eating HFCS? But then after a couple more viewings (which is not hard, they are on like every five minutes) the gullible part of me started to feel guilty. Luckily, I read this today.

Lest you think I have broken into the narrow-minded side of everything San-Francisco-hippie, let me just say this. If you eat HFCS I will not judge you. I hope this is true for most of us folks who have made the personal decision to try and cut it out of their diets completely, or at least reduce their consumption of it as much as possible. But honestly, when the craving for a Twinkie hits, nothing will stop me. And the damn stuff really is everywhere. If you choose to buy the $2 loaf of bread on sale that has HFCS over the $5 organic froufy loaf without, that is totally awesome by me. What bothers me about those commercials is that they really try to make you think that HFCS is exactly the same as sugar (which I'm not saying you should be rolling around in either, but still) with a few general facts about its taste and nutritional "value" - same amount of calories per gram, comes from natural sources, fine in "moderation"'s like arguing that poison oak is just as safe as ivy because they are both leafy and grow on the ground. And the issues with HFCS are not merely nutritional...

Also, the people in the commercials who avoid HFCS are portrayed as lemmings who don't know anything about the issue...I think you'll find that because HFCS is so prevalent in our diets, people who have chosen to avoid it have actually read up on the subject, or at the very least, can give several good reasons as to why they made that choice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Road trip, part 2

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (hey! We're on vacation!) we stumbled outside to the gazebo where a pot of coffee was waiting for us. We chatted with a lovely older couple who were making their way south to Monterey. Requisite weather small take ensued (it was very cold outside) and I warned them that San Francisco was just as cold when we left the day before. Seeing the disappointed look on their faces, I quickly assured them that I heard it was supposed to warm up (I completely made that up, and it came true! I also heard I'm going to win the lottery next week...) and felt a little better.

Next on our agenda: a beautiful morning stroll through the Lady Bird Johnson Grove at Redwood National Park. Then a stop to see the elk. Driving up the coast, we stopped at Meyers Creek beach and got whipped around by the wind.

Our morning's hard work left us a little hungry, so consulting our handy little Oregon coast guide magazine, we decided we would be crazy to NOT go to The Crazy Norweigian's Fish and Chips in Port Orford. Given our Dynamo Donuts fiasco, it should have come as no surprise that it was CLOSED. What is going on here?

The rest is a blur. Lunch. Yum. Driving. Woo hoo. And finally, a stop at the sea lion cave. Yay! Here we saw the sign telling us to positively stay on trails and established walkways. No grumpies!

Finally we made it to Woodburn, where a king size bed was waiting for us. Except there was no blanket. So we called and they brought us....the world's largest mattress pad! We spread it out and almost decided it was okay. But then we decided to suck it up and call the front desk yet again and hope for the best.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Road trip, part 1

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
I picked up Liv from Caltrain at 9am and then we went in search of Dynamo Donuts. I had read somewhere about its maple apple bacon donut, and thought it fitting to start our roadtrip with these in our bellies. Thanks to my stubbornness ("we don't need to use the GPS! I live here!") it took us awhile to find it. We found a parking spot and walked up and down the block looking for it. Unfortunately, we had parked right in front of it, but seeing as it was CLOSED and it is a tiny storefront with a teeny tiny sign, we completely missed it.

Luckily, our place was right across the street. Fortified with pancakes and a fried egg sandwich, we headed back to my place, because, of course, I had forgotten something. Finally, on the road! We headed up 101.

Liv had a Coastal California guidebook, and as we were approaching Leggett, saw that we were not far from a drive-thru tree. Let's drive through a tree! That must be pretty special. Turns out...not really! There are tons of drive-thru trees along 101.

No matter, we still had the Avenue of Giants to look forward to. We stopped at several places to walk around and take in the yummy-smelling air. We also learned quite a bit about old-growth redwoods in general, thanks to the brochures provided and our ability to read.

Finally, we decided that perhaps we should look for a place to sleep for the night. Out comes the GPS. We are in Trinidad, and pull into the first "motel" we see - a collection of small cottages. They had one available for the night, but alas, the advertised free wireless internet was only available at the bar. (??!!) I needed to email a cover letter and buy plane tickets to Atlanta but didn't feel comfortable doing this while drinking a Stella (and possibly spilling it all over my precious MacBook), so we pulled out our phones to call a few other places. Thank god we did - Liv had a very nice conversation with one hotel that strongly suggested we NOT stay at our current location. Looking back, it did kinda look like a place where somebody would bring strippers to to murder them. So we ended up at the Trinidad Inn, a cute cozy place that thankfully we could afford since Liv and I are not squeamish about sharing a full-size bed.

Being two girls on a road trip, we decided to not sit down for a proper dinner but forage instead. That's how we ended up eating yogurt, snap peas, string cheese, and donuts for dinner. There's nothing more comfy than traveling with an old friend. :) As I tapped away on my computer (round trip tickets to Atlanta, $289 on United, are you kidding me???) we watched What a Girl Wants on the Oxygen network (or, the Oh!) then settled in for bed...

My brother is mean

Here is a conversation we had last night...

Brother: So, (the swingers at the bar) were only hitting on Olivia and not on you?
Me: Well, I never get hit on whenever I'm with Olivia. But I'm okay with that. Years of therapy has made me okay with that. This comment being a joke, since he knows I have not undergone years of therapy, only a couple free grad school sessions to figure out if I wanted to still be in grad school.
Brother: Years of therapy won't fix the fact that you're an uggo.

That's when I started laughing hysterically.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred, or, my very first meme (um, what's a meme?)

So here goes, with additional commentary....

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (I also italicized, since my weak eyes can't tell the difference between bold and not-bold.)
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'm about to get a PhD, yet can't figure out how to do this on blogger.)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (Should have rectified this when I went to Texas)
2. Nettle tea (Does a fabulous nettle pizza from Chez Panisse count??)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho (I wish I had started eating this sooner. My parents would always order it but I would get claypot rice. Gah!)
13. PB&J sandwich (Um, hi, peanut butter??)
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I probably have had this and didn't know it)
17. Black truffle (Thank you Italy!)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (And I enjoyed it immensely, so there!)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (Even the cooked stuff makes me nervous, but next time I find it, it will be done...)
27. Dulce de leche (Homemade!)
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (If you ever visit me in San Francisco, we will definitely eat this...)
33. Salted lassi (In Singapore, of all places)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Both separately, but never together. Might be difficult now that I know what a cigar tastes like...)
37. Clotted cream tea (Need to do this soon...)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (This was my very first foray into college drinking...)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (My favorite "mom food" when I'm sick)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Ew ew ew ew ew....the smell of steaming silkworm cocoons is permanently imprinted in my brain)
43. Phaal (Spicier than vindaloo?? Sign me up!)
44. Goat’s milk (Interesting, just goat yogurt and goat cheese, but never goat milk...)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (It was a tiny sip)
46. Fugu (At Tsukiji? But my lips did not tingle...)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone (I want to try diving for them one day)
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle (I ate this at least twice a week while studying in Germany - next time I go I gotta get one of the boards to make them)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (My first was a horrid french concoction called 9X, but five years later I had a lovely glass of Dogfish Head 90 min IPA)
59. Poutine (But I really really want to...)
60. Carob chips (Not by choice though...)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (You can eat this?? I've had it on my face....)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (Specifically not allowed on public transportation in Singapore)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (Better not get started on my love for fried dough....)
68. Haggis (It was here dad's had the real deal in Edinburgh)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (Although I'm told I would love this)
75. Roadkill (Unless I didn't know it was roadkill...)
76. Baijiu (Nope, but have had all incarnations of sake and soju)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (One of the first things I bought when I moved out of the house, because I could. I never ate another...)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (My favorite is the Men's Pocky. A box of this was in every college care package my mom sent me...)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. (When I graduate, who would like to take me to French Laundry??)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse (But I almost ate horse sushi in Japan)
90. Criollo chocolate (Richart counts, right? Or do I need to visit Switzerland?)
91. Spam (And I love it, too, dammit!)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (I have had one lobster my entire life. What can I say? I'm a California girl who loves Dungeness crab...)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (Cross this out! Thanks to my snake phobia, the very thought of putting snake meat in my mouth is making my heart race and eyes tear up...)

So...82 down, 17 to go? I'll pretty much try anything....

Monday, August 18, 2008

How can I be jetlagged...

...when Belize is only one hour ahead? This is where we took a picture of this guy. She's a nurse shark, which are supposed to be very friendly.

A full trip recap is in the works!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vegan Cookie Airline

A loooong time ago, back when airlines were serving food on planes so you could actually order a diabetic or vegan or kosher meal, I ate the best chocolate chip cookie of my life. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who had love for these cookies, and some commenters revealed that if you called the company, they might send you some cookies if you were willing to buy 100 and fork over the cash. I definitely am, but each time I called I got the voicemail for the company (at least, I HOPE Ono Foods is the company responsible for Miyoko's Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie.) I left a message and I really really really hope they call me and can send me some cookies. See? It is three years later and I'm STILL obsessing about this cookie....

Update: They called back! What I really need to figure out is if I want to pay a gazillion dollars in shipping...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

more projects to leave unfinished...

When I fake-graduated in May, Kevin bought me a graduation gift. This was a very sweet gesture, since as a fellow grad student and labmate, he understands more than anybody that I have, in fact, NOT graduated - actually, I am nowhere NEAR being done with my thesis. That's because I have many distractions. Like cleaning my room. And going to Mexico. And now, thanks to Kevin, reading 1001 books. Well, not all at once, I have before I die....

I wonder why these people decided to name a series of guides "1001 ____ to read/do/see before you DIE." It seems too fatalistic to me. Why not " the next 50 years"? What happens when I've read all 1001 books?

Well, I've decided to try to read a book a week and see where I stand. The suggested books are divided into time periods, and while I have already made a sizeable dent in the 1800s, 1900s, and 2000s, I have woefully neglected the pre-1700s and 1700s. So this week's book is Aesop's fables. When I have kids I'm gonna read them the real thing. They leave all the good stuff out of the illustrated childrens books! Sections like "Aetiologies of the Animals" and "Bathroom Humor" and "Jokes about Bald Men." I'm not even kidding.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

more crowd-pleasers...

I am at my parents' house right now, celebrating all things mom, and while looking through her immense cookbook collection, noticed an old spiral-bound book put together by my elementary school district as a fundraiser. One recipe, for crab dip, has been made many many times, and is *almost* as popular as my mom's spinach dip. (It comes off the back of the Knorr vegetable soup mix box, but try telling that to the thousands of people who have promised my mom their first-born children if she would just reveal the secret of the miraculous spinach dip.) Back to the crab dip. This is my personal favorite, and the only reason I don't make it more often is because if I have it sitting around I won't even try to pretend to put it on vegetables to make it more "healthy" - I'll just take a spoon and eat is straight. Not so great for the arteries.

Another recipe I dug up is the marinade for flank steak. This comes from a book called "Sunset All-Time Favorite Recipes" - my brother and I used to pore over this, looking for recipes we could make with the ingredients we had in the house. This was before either of us could drive, of course, and sometimes we would call my mom at work with questions such as "Mom? Do we have light brown sugar hidden somewhere?" Or "Hey Mom, were you gonna use the green onions for anything tonight?" Anyways, this marinated flank steak makes everybody go crazy.

Crab Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 lb fresh crab meat (we use canned crab meat and it still kills)
1 c mayonnaise
0.5 c sour cream
0.25 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (very important!)
0.25 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper

Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend. (That last step rarely happens.)

Flank Steak Marinade

0.25 c soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vinegar (I like apple cider)
1.5 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger (or 1.5 tsp ground ginger)
0.75 c olive oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Mix all ingredients, and pour over a 1.5 lb piece of flank steak in a shallow dish. Alternatively, put everything and the steak in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the next day.

You can grill the meat, but we always broiled it so that it was nice and brown and charred on the inside and pink and juicy on the inside...

Monday, May 05, 2008

crunchy granola

You wouldn't believe the number of times I try out a recipe I that I have tweaked somehow because I'm either missing an ingredient or don't want to use real sugar or something like that, then completely forget what I have done so that next time I go to make that recipe again, I have no idea what I did the last time that made it taste so good.

That ends here. I just had dinner yet I am restraining myself from inhaling handfuls of granola that just came out of the oven. And now when I finish it in three days, I'll be able to come back here and see what I did so that I can make it again.

Oh, I suppose now you can make it too. :)

Crunchy Granola

2.5 c rolled oats
1.5 c pecans
1 c puffed kamut cereal
0.25 c sunflower seeds
0.5 c pumpkin seeds
0.25 c sesame seeds
0.25 c brown sugar (not packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ginger
0.5 tsp salt

Mix all of these ingredients well in a large bowl. In a pyrex measuring cup, mix together:

0.33 c agave nectar
4 oz unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp canola oil

Then pour over dry ingredients and mix together.

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 50 minutes, mixing the granola around every 15 minutes or so. After 50 minutes it should be nice and brown. It will be a teeny bit soft, but will get crispier as it cools down.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
This was my lunch last Friday - mmmmm. It doesn't even show the delicious basket of hush puppies, which had to come on the side because it didn't fit on the plate. It is amazing I didn't come back 10 pounds heavier, what with all the eating (barbeque, fried okra, chili frito pie, quesadillas at 3am) and lack of physical exertion ("toobing" down the river was probably the most exercise I got in the last few weeks) but I can't wait to have an excuse to go back to Texas.

The reason I was in Texas is because a very dear college roommate of mine has decided to up and get married. Married! So we subjected her to all manner of embarrasing tasks and the fine folks of San Marcos were so obliging. It is crazy to think of my friends growing up and getting married, but I should remind myself it has been many years since we have graduated, and even though I am in the exact same place I have been in since we all first left, my friends have all gotten themselves jobs and bought houses and whatnot. But the exciting news is that I just talked to my boss and he gave me the thesis green light - I'm done experimenting and now I can write. This freaks me out, but I just have to remember that the sooner I hunker down, the sooner I can start life in the real world - yay job! Yay living by myself because I can afford to!

Or maybe I'll just put my laptop away and hide somewhere.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

peep peep!

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
So it has been awhile. Not much to say about that, except that school has really been giving me a few more white hairs, and since I have black hair and I'm not even frickin' thirty that sucks. Hopefully that should be over soon - I'm typing this post on my shiny new MacBook, which means I am ready to start *the thesis* but knowing my god-awful work situation, who knows? I could be here for another three years.

At the beginning of March, my family went on a trip to Munich (one day, and it was a Sunday), Florence, and Rome. I am now completely ruined as far as espresso and pasta. Why can't restaurants here make it truly al dente? And in a weak moment yesterday trying to overcome jet lag I ordered an americano from Peet's. Shame on me. I thought maybe at least Peet's would get it right (Starbucks is abysmal) and even with two shots of espresso they added way too much water so it was a watery bland mess.

In Europe everything right now is all about Easter, hence these elaborate chocolate eggs in the window of Panella, in Rome. We went inside to pick up a few snacks - thanks to the awesome exchange rate we spent a gazillion dollars on four tiny things, one of them a little tart that was six euros - or ten dollars. Ouch.

I should have more pictures and posts up soon once flickr decides to upload my pictures at a rate faster than one picture per hour - only 114 more to go!