Hello world!

October 2, 2009

Word Press: “Welcome to WordPress.com. ”

Me: “Why thank ya’ll.”

I started a blog several years ago when I had my son, largely about staying creative in the kitchen and focusing on bargains and things that just taste good. I took a break in April and have decided to get back at it but in a new venue. I decided to include a few past posts from the old blog that … well, should help introduce me, I guess but also shows a little of what I did with the time I spent writing the old blog. 

First, my family joined a CSA in June, 2008 which has since greatly enriched our lives both in the kitchen and out.  As of this October 2008, I contribute blog posts and in general help with updates to the blog for the CSA. Investing in a small farm, belonging to a community organization and giving back through volunteering has been a high point for me in my life in NYC. The enjoyment we’ve had of CSA produce led to our family focusing more on where our food comes from and paying attention to things like “buying local”, “environmentally friendly packaging”, “supporting small farmers”, etc. and so forth. Like everyone else, I guess, I started reading Bittman and Pollan and then taking to heart what I was reading. But more than that I re-discovered my roots as a Southern farmer’s daughter and realized that knowing where my food comes from is important to me.

That being said, Pollan didn’t make me forget my love of Mrs. Julia Child and I can’t live without a little Ruth Reichl-like food in my life from time to time. But being a foodie and considering the source can go hand in hand and should.

The second really important thing I did with those months of  “old blog” was start a ladies dining group which is still going strong almost 2 years later. With a core group of four women, including myself, we’ve challenged each other’s creativity and formed a close bond of friendship over beautiful monthly meals. Each month a different core member hosts, comes up with and delivers the menu and other members/guests are given a choice by the hostess of what to bring. There is always a great time had by all.

So…why “Stinky Cheese”? I dunno. It is a food and one of my favorites but I also plan to have regular “Cheese Corner” and “This Week in Crazy Cheese” postings.  I also hope to pepper this site with plenty of posts about local food, farmers markets, access to small farm products, healthy eating, kid-centric food ideas, my own recipes, recipes I come across and simply must share and how I use food efficiently and creatively in my own kitchen.

Thanks for Reading and ya’ll come back,



Muffin (wo)Man

October 27, 2008

This weekend I made a LOT of muffins. Boogie enjoys these for breakfast with some yogurt and fruit so I like to keep my freezer stocked. I had a few bananas stowed in the freezer (to avoid wasting a too ripe banana, toss in the freezer and make banana bread/muffins with them). I also had a can of pumpkin puree.

I made this recipe:


However, I carmelized the pecans taking 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup pecans and 2 tbsp turbinado sugar and simmering for a few minutes in a skillet. I made half without nuts for Boogie and then the other half were for various guests that came through this weekend as well as for me! They were all good but the pecans were decadent.

I also made pumpkin cornmeal muffins:


I used the above recipe but added 1 tsp of cinnamon (so 2 total), 1/8 tsp of ground ginger and 1/8 tsp of nutmeg. After trying these I would probably make them again with a crumbled sugar topping and a bit more clove. Maybe a full tsp. The carmelized pecans would also be good! This recipe actually made 12 muffins and two mini-loafs of bread, too. The freezer is stocked and I sent my friend Jessica home to D.C. with a few muffins and a mini-loaf for her and her husband to enjoy.

Muffins are really fairly cheap to make and SERIOUSLY easy. I think it takes serious skills to mess muffins up. The banana muffins (with the pecans) will make you look like the greatest cook ever, by the by. We are talking Ina Garten level, here.

I had a lot of zucchini from the CSA last week. OMG! And after making zucchini pasta, I basically wanted to hurl at the site of the stuff….just TOO much! SO, I decided to make some baked goods to stock the freezer with and feed the toddler for breakfast. Here is a very happy, healthy zucchini bread recipe I adapted from about 3 different sources and added my own completely made up ingredients (specifically ricotta and instant oatmeal) :).

Boogie’s Zucchini Breakfast Loaf

3 large eggs
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup ricotta, part-skim
1/4 cup either half & half or heavy cream
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
6 tbsp of dark brown sugar
2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
1 cup instant plain oatmeal
2  teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
*1 cup dried cherries or currants (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl. Fold together and then gently incorporate zucchini (don’t whisk or otherwise be harsh with batter). Pour into one normal sized well-greased loaf pan or 5 to 6 well-greased mini-loaf pans. With normal size loaf pan in 400 degree oven this takes about 30 to 40 minutes but keep your eye on them. As for mini-loafs, those take approximately 20 minutes or less. A toothpick coming out of the center of the bread clean will indicated they are done. Let cool a few minutes before removing from pan. You can freeze this.

Baby Beans

September 16, 2008

Am trying to get Boogie into more table foods and in the meantime and plying him with some pureed veggies just to keep him, you know, alive!

This weekend I made a puree that could easily be turned into a fairly AWESOME soup:

– simmer for 1/2 hour one 10 oz. package of frozen lima beans (aka "butter beans")
Drain and then put cooked beans in food processor or blender with 1 to 1.5 cups of chicken broth and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Puree and then salt to taste. Serve with a crusty piece of bread. You can add some sauteed, finely chopped pancetta or slab bacon to this OR grated parm or romano cheese.

Portland Trip

August 18, 2008

 We just returned late last night from five days in Portland, Oregon with Kevin’s immediate family. I’ve never been before and I was so impressed. They were having a BIG BAD heat wave but still…Portland is a lovely city and we had some really fun experiences there and most of them, yes, were culinary.
NOW…getting there and back was a bit rough. First off, I have to fly…which is never a good thing but I do it because well, I like to go places. Second, the “Boogie” has to fly. This turned out to be (surprise! ha!) not so great either. I mean…we really should swing for a SEAT next time. Yeah! He really was pretty good for the flight there but coming back I swear I thought he was going to kill himself riggling and screaming and trying to get away from us during things like…landing! and taking off! and turbulence and well, the whole dang flight except when he passed out due to exhaustion from crying for about an HOUR of the 4.5 we were in the air. I should really rush right home and hug him again…was really hard on the little guy:(. Major guilt, frankly.

And …could air travel in this country suck just a little bit more? I MEAN REALLY! I cannot begin to tell you how $1600 went down the metaphorical customer service toilet that is…well, any airline I’ve flown lately. I still like Delta. I tend to be ok on Delta. It might be out of some sort of weird southern denial thingy feelings though. I admit that as a possibility. And, well, I’m good with all international airlines except “Air Chance” (note: at least Air France serves real food and decent wine without charging! I will certainly give them that!). Anyway…our airline companies, as a giant GUILTYSUCKY group, are being SHAMED by such airlines as Air CANADA! That is right. Canadians are kicking our dumb rears. I will never for get the time I flew Air Canada and seriously thought I’d accidentally stumbled into First Class. It was NICE, people ( you know…the 5 people possibly reading this..;).

Yeah, so our “flying experience” sucked, ya know. Cramped. Crappy food. barely water to drink. TSA confiscated the thingy keeping the baby’s milk cold (really. because the baby was going to make a WMD out of a cooler insert and the silicone nipple on his bottle after having his milk. idjiots!%*&)… we had a stewardess on each flight that clearly hated all families with small children and said so in so many words… One really core thing is that if you are taking milk that needs to be cooled, you best take ICE in a plastic baggie with that instead of those cooler insert things cause otherwise, yeah, curdle city (The TSA was under the impression that airlines are making milk available to toddlers by the by… WRONG!). 

Well that is enough of complaining:)! On to the most important thing…the food. Of course wine and berries were EVERYWHERE and in very fine condition but I had NO IDEA how amazing the BEER is in Portland. Of the samplings, this was my fave:


SO tasty. We also, of course had lovely wine while there. We had a classic pinot noir (like ya doo) from a vineyard called A to Z that was great and affordable. We also had a nice voignier with our big “family meal” on Saturday night.

Saturday morning we hit the big Portland farmer’s market as a family and bought/ate our way through it. The prepared food stands are to DIE yum. Boogie and I shared a big buttermilk biscuit. He was in the Ergo on my chest and kept moving my hand from my mouth to his so he could have MY bites as well as his own! Was funny:)! I had some yummy sausage made by a farm that was making “whole breakfasts” as well as selling sausages to take home and cook on the side…yum again. There was a good coffee stand and well, a lot more and then…everything else. I’ll be mentioning one of my purchases in a few days as it is a surprise for Wednesday’s “Ladies who dine” but Kevin and I purchased some lovely corn, breads from a booth by Pearl Bakery (an excellent local bakery), the “mystery purchase”, blueberries for snacking and strawberries for snacking. Our evening meal included grilled corn, the breads, grilled peaches over ice cream, grilled squash, eggplant and fennel, green salad, brats (which we purchased from a LOVELY German specialty store called Edelweiss that was hard to find but worth the trip. Get the smoke roasted chickens as a nice picnic treat!) and:

Grilled Sockeye Salmon
– one five-ish pound sockey salmon (head off, tail on, skin on, cut for stuffing)
– lemon and orange slices
– copious amounts of fennel fronds

Sprinkle inside with sea salt and then layer orange and lemon slices and then fennel fronds inside fish. Roast on grill on medium low heat. After turning, cover with extra fennel fronds if desired. enjoy…

Purple’s a fruit

July 23, 2008

 CSA Share – July 22nd

7 pounds of stone fruit. 

(Uh-Huh. What am I??? eh. My son seems to think peaches are reaaaaally weird. And they are. Like…they are squishy and slimy, really. And they have fur on the outside…like…that seems very close to rabbit on the page, doesn’t it? It just. Yeah. Can’t blame him. Except for the part where they TASTE good and they smell SO Good!! So…yeah, what is wrong with my child? Husband doesn’t like them. Also doesn’t like plums. oh. That is what is wrong with my child. right. So…in the end I’m gonna end up making a peach pie that I serve, probably, to some set of girlfriends that come to visit sometime or at a dinner gathering. The plums will mostly be given away. But hey. )

– 1 head of lettuce (Green Crisp)
– 1 pd. of green beans
– 1 head of radichio (sp?)
– 1 small bag of snow peas
– 1 bunch of GORGEOUS carrots

yea. hurray.

Jailhouse Rock

April 14, 2008

Our son is propping himself up on his haunches and trying to escape the crib. We finally had to set the crib on the third setting which makes it seem like he is just sleeping in a regular bed…with a waste-high rail to bend over to get to him. Fun fun. Our backs are going to die! BUT I guess that is better than letting our child run off to join the circus.

While child slept this weekend, I made a few repeats and then made up a few good recipes. However it wasn’t all a success. I’m having a problem with mac n’ cheese. The last two times I’ve made it have been very weird…just… not turning out right. I think I’m trying too hard. Made a really very strange mac n’ cheese this weekend. I don’t understand how you can mess up…perhaps too many types of cheese? I put in 7 this time and I think that is where things went terribly wrong. It wasn’t HORRIBLE.  It was tasty but SO RICH (ya think?!). So rich I don’t want any more. I may never eat Mac N’ Cheese AGAIN. Then I made the home fries again…they were SO DANG GOOD! THAT is a never fail recipe. I also made a Curry Carrot soup, which is lovely (even though I went a bit too spicy with it the first time around) and a lamb stew.

Curry Carrot Soup (inspired by my friend, Shweta, who made her’s for me and then well, I guessed how to put it together from there)

1 and 1/2 pds. of organic carrots peeled and cut into like sized chunks (roughly 10 carrots)
1 container of broth (I used chicken but veggie broth is good…I’d use one that is mushroom based)
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 medium size onion diced
1 and 1/2 tbsp. curry powder (you could go up to 2 tbsp. but don’t go to 2 1/2…I speak from experience:)
salt and pepper to taste

Take carrot chunks and boil in broth until soft. Meanwhile, bring olive oil to medium heat in skillet, saute curry powder and onion for about 1 minute (cooking onion slightly and “toasting” the curry). Add skillet contents to broth and carrots. Once carrots are soft, ladle carrots and small amount of broth into a blender. Puree carrots and then add them back into the broth. Blend over heat for a minute and then serve. I would suggest creme fraiche with this. You could also pick up some green coriander relish in the Indian section of your grocery store…that is nice OR you could make your own, of sorts, with cilantro, green onion and maybe some red pepper (run in a mini-prep). This is obviously something you could use as a vegetarian or vegan option for guests when you have a dinner party. This is something you can freeze easily. This is a VERY cheap recipe to make.

Note: I got and used in the above this STUNNING “Madras Curry Powder” (medium heat) from http://www.kalustyans.com/ and it is SO good. You need a jar of this stuff!

Lamb stew (I made this up but it is obviously based on many classic stew and braising recipes)

1 pd. lamb stew meat
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1/2 medium onion roughly chopped
2 medium red potatoes cleaned and cut into like-sized pieces. Set aside in lemon water.
1/3 to 1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a syrah I had left over from 3 or 4 days before)
8 oz. of beef broth
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp. of fresh chopped herbs (I used a little of rosemary, thyme, marjoram and sage)
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 dashes of cayenne pepper
ground red and black pepper
kosher salt
2 tbsp. of flour

Season meat with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and then saute in large saute pan over medium heat (in olive oil). Remove meat when browned and add onions, salt and chopped herbs. Saute for one minute and then add liquids, all seasonings and meat. Turn down to a low simmer and cook (while monitoring and occasionally stirring) for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Drain potatoes and add. Then cook for another 1/2 to full hour. The meat should be very tender. You can add corn starch to thicken if you like but I didn’t. This makes 6 servings.

Also, I ended up finally making the Farmer’s Daughter. It is NOT my bag. I took two sips and poured it down the drain. Ended up having a lovely “Purple Haze” beer. Tasty but glad I didn’t drink it with food. Wouldn’t go.