Friday, August 9, 2013


This is Bertie.  The only tomato to grow on my tomato plant, Bert.  The lone ranger.  The solitary fruit.  The chosen one.

He better taste good, because after the pot, the soil, the starter, and the cage, at this point he's basically a $20 tomato.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New tools

Several weeks ago my cookie scoop (Farberware, purchased for $5.99 at Big Lots, one tablespoon measure) broke. Like, totally just quit. The little blade had somehow come unhinged and despite much sweat, cursing, and assistance from T., that thing was not going back into its place. Alas, all good things come to an end.

That cookie scoop probably scooped over a dozen dozen cookies. maybe twenty dozen cookies. I'm not super good at math but I'm pretty sure that comes out to about almost no cents a dozen. Despite the incontrovertible economy of the scoop I resisted buying another...and regretted it deeply when, last weekend, I had to drop chocolate chip cookies onto baking sheets using the ancient art of "two spoons." Such rudimentary technique simply could not stand. I resolved to purchase another cookie scoop (aka disher, to my less cookie minded friends) as soon as I was able.

Well, the baking gods had their kind eye in guiding my non-buying hand, because my angel of a mother in law sent me a brand! new! cookie scoop! in her birthday gift to me, opened last Thursday and triumphantly wielded by me this night as I bake a late night batch of peanut butter cookies while keeping T. company as he slogs through document review.

In short: I vow to never bake cookies without a cookie scoop again. The sheer efficiency is unbelievable and the uniform results far more pleasing to the eye. As Scarlett said "I'll never go [without a cookie scoop] again!"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recent Projects

I'm growing a tomato plant. Well, attempting to grow. My previous experience with green things (Basel, my basil plant from three summers past; my orchid from last year; our three indoor trees (Nicki, Layla, and I forget); the list goes on. I don't know if Bert (that's his name, Bert) will bear any fruit but so far he's doing ok. A few of his leaves look peaky but since I am not a gardener I have resorted to alternating watering days and also giving him words of encouragement. He lives in a pot on the deck.

I've also found the one chocolate chip cookie; yes, the one. It is Alice Currah's recipe from Sweet Savory Life and it hasn't failed me yet. I'm getting perilously close to having the recipe totally memorized.

I bought several varieties of dried chiles at a Mexican grocery (which also has super good tacos that are served at a handful of tables in the back). I'm gearing up for the day when I make some real deal Texas chili (no beans, all meat). My window is closing because chili is most definitely not a summer food.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Adventures, lately

Having not checked in here in quite some time, I thought I would just make a brief record of some of the things I have (semi) successfully attempted in the kitchen.

1) Fish.  I am usually quite leery of cooking fish, but a growing consciousness of how important it is to maintain one's health led me to pick up a package of tilapia filets at the store.  I steamed them in foil packets with thin slices of lemon, onion, potato, and chopped kale on top.  T. loved it and said he could eat it twice a week! Baby steps.

2) Soft pretzels.  I made them! I did it! And they taste great, dipped in mustard or just ripped up and eaten out of hand.

3) Innumerable cookies. I tried a number of different recipes and they've all been great (duh, they're cookies).  Although I've made cookies twice now and forgotten some kind of random ingredient (once salt, once vanilla). It really just goes to show you that even as I have grown much more comfortable in the kitchen, a little complacency can lead to a little inattention can lead to cookies missing that subtle kiss of salt.

4) New banana bread recipe.  My go-to recipe has changed several times: I was a devotee of Molly Wizenberg's (Orangette) chocolate chip banana bread with cinnamon crumb topping. Then I started using Florence Chang's recipe from Flour bakery.  Now I use a recipe I got from a copy of Williams-Sonoma's Home-Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw called Super Banana Bread.  It's awesome.

5) Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Manchego cheese.  Do I need to say anything else about these?