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I’m awake at this late (for me) hour waiting to turn my biscotti.

My son’s preschool is having a bake sale tomorrow, with the proceeds going towards gifts for kids through the Christmas Giving Tree program. Isn’t that a great idea? They’re hoping to sponsor seven or eight kids this year. I’m so proud of them and so glad that my children are going to such a wonderful place during the day.

I chose to make cranberry and pistachio biscotti for a couple of reasons.

  1. I figured there would be lots of really sweet things and that maybe people want to change it up a bit (or maybe that’s just me).
  2. I haven’t made biscotti in a long time and (selfishly) want some for myself. That’s okay, right?

This recipe is super easy and I used to make it on a more regular basis…until the incident.

I’m not sure if you’re a biscotti-making individual so let me explain just a bit.

Biscotti is very easy to pull together, but it’s a bit more labor intensive than other baked goods when it comes to said baking. You first bake it as a log for 25 minutes. You then take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then you slice it, tip to one side, and return the lovelies to the oven for another 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes, you rotate the little buggers so the other sliced side gets its chance to firm up for another 10 minutes. Then you let the puppies cool before putting them in a container.

See what I mean? A little more crazy than good old chocolate chip cookies and their 12 minute bake time.

Now that you know the logistics of the situation, I present to you…the incident.

I was on the second biscotti bake of the routine after slicing the logs and tipping them up. I returned to the couch to await the next buzzer (I could clean or something during this time but I prefer to couch it up with some good old NBC late night shows).

Only I didn’t hear the buzzer after 10 minutes.

Or 20 minutes.

Or 30 minutes.

Or 40 minutes.

50 minutes later I stirred from the couch to a most peculiar smell. I thought and thought…ACK!!!

I ran to the kitchen where I could see smoke billowing inside the oven. Oh man.

I turned on the microwave fan, grabbed a potholder for each hand, and braced myself before opening the oven.

Finally I threw open the door, stuck in my arms, plucked up my beloved stoneware, and ran to the door.

My darling biscottis (biscotties? biscotti? biscottae?) where absolutely black. Just charred to their posthumous sweet innards.

There was no saving them.

I let them cool before depositing them in the garbage can (I always fear that placing hot things in a garbage can will cause them to combust internally and start a fire. I drown used matches in water for minutes upon minutes before throwing them away. I prefer cautious to weird.) and then tried to salvage my stoneware.

Years later and I can still see biscotti markings on it. (Kind of like those chalk lines on CSI or Law & Order. Okay, nothing like them.)

So…tonight I’ve been hyper vigilant, keeping myself busy with Facebook, Twitter, and this post.

If only Facebook, Twitter, and this blog existed back in the day…

If you’d like to live on the edge as well, check out the cranberry and pistachio biscotti receipe here. Be vigilant, friends, and success in the form of delicious biscotti will be yours!

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My favorite magazine (well, besides the one that I produce for work, that is) is Real Simple.

I adore this magazine and let out a giddy shriek each time month when I find it in my entryway.

I was even IN the magazine once. It was so superbly cool.

5 Minutes of Fame! 

I totally want to put that copy in a vault to preserve it’s magazineness.

Much to my delight, last friday was Real Simple day. The cover offered me a ray of hope, sunshine, and love:

A month of easy dinners: Your stress-free plan for delicious weeknight meals

Now the other thing that I love about Real Simple is that they are almost always true to their name, with simple tips, recipes, and design ideas.

You might think that I tore through the mag to get to that section, but that’s not how I roll.

I read every single page in order.

(I prefer logical over boring or predictable.)

When I hit page 200 I started to drool a bit with the anticipation of the nummy meals I’d find. My good buddy Melissa blogged about this same phenomena recently, but determined that her growing boys wouldn’t be digging the dishes as much as she would.

For once I was glad that I could make chocolate chip cookies for dinner and my 4-year-old STILL wouldn’t want what we’re having (the baby is much more obliging of our meals – until she’s ready to get out of her high chair, then she dumps whatever is left on the floor immediately and starts signing and saying “all done”).

But I digress…

I filled in the hubby with my plan and took my magazine to the store to get my wares for a week’s worth of meals, courtesy of the handy-dandy list right in the magazine, sorted by week. (Oh – and another thing that those smarties did for me – I don’t have to freeze ANY of the meats I purchased if we eat them in the order published. Bonus!)

We did jumble the order a bit and decided to start with Day Two’s Beef and Bok Choy Stir-fry.

Now I’m going to be honest. I had no idea what bok choy was prior to this dish and I certainly would have never come up with this meal on my own.

I wouldn’t say I was skeptical, but I admit I wasn’t 100% confident in how this would turn out. I hoped for the best, but definitely didn’t take pictures with the goal to share my progress with y’all later.

Less than 30 minutes later (bonus x 10!), we were at the table. Casey and I had a lovely serving of the stir-fry, Peter had rice and peanut buttered bread, and Charlotte had rice, peaches, and some beef.

Oh my.

It. Was. Amazing.

So amazing that I gobbled mine up immediately (I am the world’s fastest eater) and grabbed my camera so I could take a picture of Casey’s half-eaten dish while it still looked more than half-way presentable.

Here’s the result.

beef and bok choy stir-fry

This was the kind of meal that wished we had two dinners in an evening.

Or that my husband and I were capable of leaving leftovers (we’re both what grandmas the world over call “good eaters”).

This bugger will be making it into our regular line up.

I’m almost glad that Peter won’t touch our food.

I’m not sure I’d let him.

—————

Recipe for Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry (also found here)
Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced (1 pound served two of us. My husband is a meat man. If you’re serving more than two adults, I would add more meat.)
kosher salt and black pepper
4 heads baby bok choy, quartered (I used 1 head for the two of us. I’ll likely use 2 next time.)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I used 2 tablespoons – it was extra zingy, just the way I like it.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the steak with 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, turning often, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the steak to a plate.
  2. Wipe out the skillet. Add the bok choy and 1⁄4 cup water and simmer, covered, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and sugar. Add to the bok choy in the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the steak and any accumulated juices and cook, tossing, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve over the rice.

Up Wednesday: Spicy Orange-glazed Drumsticks with Green Beans and Corn Muffins