Friday, May 30, 2008

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

See the cute kitties in the sunbeam? I put them there to distract you from the fact that I have no "real" May finished object. I'm hoping the cute kitties will help you agree with me that the little project I finished on June 1 can count for May :) I had been whining about my bangs (my hair stylist loves me in bangs, and I do, too, but since I can't remember the last time I had time to style my hair beyond getting it damp so it's not sticking up, the bangs drive me nuts), so I made a headband. This delightful number with some stash Pakucho organic cotton. I quite liked the pattern, although the Pakucho was extra splitty this time, and every ssk was miserable. This is why it wasn't done on May 31. I came very close because Flashdance was on TV Land and I was watching it and knitting, but Matt is less enamored of that film genre, particularly when Lilah's sleeping is awful and it's late, so I skipped the end of the movie and the last few rows.

Reading: I keep re-posting my reviews that are on On My Bookshelf, a blog that a friend of mine started and to which I contribute (so much fun!). I'm thinking that's inefficient, so I'm going to try just linking directly to my reviews over there instead of cutting and pasting. I'll still list the books I've read, but I'll send you there for reviews now.

Candy Cane Murders by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier
Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle, A Late Phoenix by Catherine Aird, A Bicycle Built for Murder by Kate Kingsbury, and Withering Heights by Dorothy Cannell
Death Is In The Air and For Whom Death Tolls by Kate Kingbury, Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

Writing; Not much to report here, sadly. Lilah slept through the night two nights ago, though, which I'm hoping she'll start doing regularly so I'm not tired all the time.

Cooking: Wow, do I have a lot to post here. I made two different coffee cake recipes from the Cafe Nervosa Cookbook, a Frasier-inspired book that I've posted about before--Deep Dish Cheesecake Coffee Cake (yes, it's as good as it sounds) and Silken Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I made some changes to the sour cream one, and I was very pleased with how it turned out, so I'll post the recipe at the end.

I made Hedonistic Fudgies, which are in fact both hedonistic and fudgy. The instructions don't say, but bake at 350. I used unsalted butter, so I added 1/2 tsp salt. I used Ghirardelli's 60% chocolate chips, my favorite. These were absolutely amazing. They took 7-9 minutes in my oven. Keep an eye on them so you don't overbake. I scooped out the batter with a tablespoon and ended up with 2 1/2 dozen cookies. These have received rave reviews from everyone who's tried them, and they are wonderful, slightly crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, and unbelievably chocolatey.

I made Pasta With White Beans, Greens, and Lemon and a Malaysian noodle recipe, two standards from Cooking Light. I also made pesto from the bounty of basil at the store right now. I froze half. If it stays cheap or my own plants grow any faster, I'll make more. It's always nice to have pesto once the weather is cool again, and freezing it works well. We had friends over for dinner, and I wanted to show off a bit, so I made:

Crema de Guacamole Soup from Super Natural Cooking
Roasted Chile-Jack Cheese Tamales With Tomatillo Salsa
My cheating Mexican Pinto Beans (made with two cans of pinto beans, liquid and all, a pressed clove of garlic, a bay leaf, and a bit of cumin, simmered for 30 minutes)
Margarita Angel Cake (from Cooking Light) with Strawberry Lime Sauce (from Professional Pastry Chef)

I was really happy with how well everything turned out. Lilah loved the soup (wow, that soup is good), the tomatillo salsa, beans, and the cake, but I think tamale was too dry for her. For the soup, you're supposed to fry strips of corn tortilla for the topping, but I hate frying and I had pumpkin seeds on hand, so I toasted them for the crunch factor. If you've never made tamales, it's really fun and people are always impressed!

I also made this curry recipe. Well, sort of. Matt's a yellow curry fan and I'm a red curry person, and since neither of us is really into green curry, I used yellow. I served it with rice noodles instead of rice. I used green beans instead of asparagus. With all those changes, it's hard to say why exactly it wasn't a big hit with us, but looking back at the picture, it's a light, brothy kind of meal, and that's sort of why we didn't like it. It was okay, just not great.

Silken Sour Cream Coffee Cake
adapted from Cafe Nervosa: The Connoisseur's Cookbook

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 TBL sugar
1 tsp cardamon
Sifted powdered sugar

Beat butter until fluffy at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and beat until incorporated. Add eggs and beat until pale yellow. Stir in sour cream until blended.

Combine flour and next three ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture until well blended, then stir in extracts. Spoon half of batter into a greased and floured 8-inch tube pan.

Combine almonds, sugar, and cardamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle half over batter in pan. Top with remaining batter, then sprinkle remaining almond mixture over batter.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

1 comment:

YarnThrower said...

My mouth is watering just reading your post! I wish I had your knack and love for cooking...

The headband pattern is adorable! I am wondering if it stays in place on your head. I have struggled with store bought head bands not staying in place and eventually working their way off the back of my head, so I am wondering if your pretty knit one behaves any better...

So glad to hear that Lilah slept through a full night. I'm hoping that is a new trend for her. I remember what a relief that was when my first son started sleeping through the night, though it also spooked me because I worried something might be wrong since he **didn't** awaken me in the middle of the night.