Saturday, November 25, 2006

i'm thankful for chocolate and Nigella

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I had several family gatherings with lots of yummy food. On Thanksgiving I was to bring a dessert other than pie...Preferably chocolate. I decided to make Nigella's Triple Chocolate Brownies from Nigella Feasts. I have never made brownies from scratch...the box stuff is usually a crowd pleaser. But the recipe looked awesome, and I've been building up my baking skills little by little lately, so I gave 'em a shot. They were pretty easy to make...and they turned out AWESOME if I do say so myself. Actually, Jack said they were the best brownies he's ever had, so take his word for it. He doesn't say stuff like that unless he means it. Here's some brownie porn:

Yeah, they are wonderful brownies. Super-duper rich (with 3 sticks of butter, 6 eggs and 3 kinds of chocolate, what do you expect?!?), and I'll definitely make them again for a special occasion. And I'm not allowed to make my usual Krusteaz Fat-Free brownies with stuff added again...after Nigella's recipe, those just won't do.

Friday, November 17, 2006

well read, well fed (installment 4)

The book I'm reading now is called Insatiable, by Gael Greene. I really got into at first, but now I think my attention span has shrunken, because I haven't been reading lately. Anyway, the book is good. All about food, sex and famous people. How could it be bad? And there are recipes interspersed throughout as well. I like Gael. Her life sounds like a fun one. She is a food columnist for New York Magazine. Here is an excerpt from Insatiable.

Last weekend, I went to a housewarming party of some friends of mine. As a host/housewarming gift I got them Amy Sedaris' I Like You. It's a book all about entertaining, with recipes, tips and such. It is freakin hilarious. Seriously funny. I will have to get myself a copy this weekend. It's great fun to flip through this book.

I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Italian Escape show on the Travel channel every Wednesday night, and it's very interesting. I might have to get this book as well.

Speaking of books about Italian food, Bookslut links to several articles, etc. from food author Claudia Roden, whom I've not heard of. Her books look great (and Bookslut is usually a reliable source for good writers/books). So I will be looking into her books more, via the library.

Looks like I have a lot of reading and eating to do. Yay!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Last night I tried this millet,tomato & olive stuffed zucchini recipe from CHOW (my new favoritest food site). It turned out pretty good. I over-herbed it a bit. I didn't rosemary or marjoram so I just used more thyme and oregano. I have a bunch of the stuffing left. I think I'll add chopped up mushrooms and use it in zucchini again. Jack had the mushroom idea. He's so smart. I had the zucchini along with some baked chicken...herbs, olive oil and some whole cloves of garlic and a couple quartered shallots. I am gonna add whole cloves of garlic every time I bake/roast chicken or veggies, because man are those morsels of sweet garlic are AWESOME! Here's some pictures of the meal:

Now I need to come up with some ways to use the rest of the millet I bought. It's new to me, but I think it has some yummy possibilities.

chocolate chunks (installment 1)

A quick couple bites of chocolate goodness...

On an impulse, I bought one of these Green & Black's Mayan Chocolate Bars a few nights ago. Though I enjoy those chocolate orange things, they aren't my first choice for a chocolate treat. But this Mayan bar had other spices in it as well, and holy cow is it yummy. Such a sensual blend of slightly bitter, rich chocolate, bright warm orange and comforting cinnamon and spices. I've been having a few squares of it every night this week, and I still have lots left. You don't need much to satisfy your chocolate craving. It does overpower wine (or at least the Valpiocella I tried it with), but it goes quite well with pumpkin beer.

Speaking of chocolate cravings, I caught a wee bit of Nigella's show over the weekend. It was the chocolate episode. While everything she made looked worth trying, I was especially excited about the last thing she chocolate...with Rum innit!! It looked sooo good. There was also cinnamon and honey in it...two of my favorite flavors at the moment. I will be making this. And I need to learn more about seems like something I should like. Dark rum. My new winter drink of choice? We'll see. Here's some intro to rum web pages and some recommendations from Forbes to get me started.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Naked in Italy

I was watching No Reservations the other night *of course* and what came on but a commercial for a new show, which starts tonight. This got me very excited and happy. Why? Because it’s a new JAMIE OLIVER show! We have not been getting enough Jamie Oliver here in the states for a looooong time. TLC showed his “School Dinners” show one week, but that was it.

The new show is “Jamie’s Great Italian Escapes” and it’s on tonight (Wednesday) at 7 (central). Dare I forgo my embarrassing habit of watching America’s Next Top Model? I think that I should. Jamie is much much better for my brain.

This reminds me, a month ago or so someone sent me an e-mail with a Word document attached which claimed to be Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook “Naked Chef 2.” It said it was released by an angry insider at the publisher before the book was to be rsomethingr aomething. The word document is indeed filled with more than 100 Jamie Oliver recipes (I recognized some of them from teevee), but I hadn’t heard anything about a so-called “Naked Chef 2,” so I put my goodies gumshoe hat on and, well, I just checked it out at Yeah, they are all Jamie Oliver recipes, but it’s not an actual book. Someone just compiled a bunch of his recipes, which were available all over the internet already, and put them on one document.

And remember, TONIGHT! New show! *squeeeee!*

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

a dinner to start november

i'm doing my best to embrace the colder weather and shorter bleaker days of fall. Food helps, of course. Tonight I made a very fall-appropriate dinner to ring in November (where the heck did October go, anyway?!?). It was a simple dinner of sweet potatoes, fennel, garlic cloves, onions and shallots dressed in some olive oil and seasoned simply with salt, pepper and paprika and roasted in the oven. While those were starting to roast, I rubbed olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion salt on so chicken breasts, then browned them a bit in butter in the skillet. Then I put the seared chicken on top of the veggies and continued roasting everything together (oh and I poured the chicken-y butter into the roasting dish as well).

I sauteed some swiss chard in butter, olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, pepper and sugar for a bright green side dish. I ate everything with a dark ale. It made me like the season that much more. Although I really could use some work on my swiss chard remained a little too bitter. My roasting skilzz, however...heck yes.

Without further ado, here's some pictures: