Saturday, March 29, 2014
I picked up photography at the ripe old age of 10. Signing up for 4-H for the first time my mom allowed us two choices each for our first year to keep us from getting bogged down and for some reason the camera called my name. Over the years I took classes and workshops, even attended photography camp. I spent hours and hours in the darkroom with fellow 4-H'er Kendra--that time led us to become best friends (a title we hold for each other to this day). I shot for the newspaper and yearbook in high school.
Once college rolled around, however, my focus turned toward theater. Sure, I carried my camera to parties and contributed significant numbers of pics to the annual theater banquet slide show, but I no longer was a student of the form. After college I stopped even carrying a camera most of the time.
Yet last fall as I trudged through the Food Media intensive that I was involved in, my love for photography pushed itself back to the surface. I remembered the thrill I get from capturing a fleeting moment and preserving it for the future. I even realized that I can get some of the same joy out of working in the digital Lightroom as I did the old school darkroom (though I do miss the company). Somehow this old hobby has slowly reemerged as a strong component of my current and future career. It's something I never expected.
As I relearn and continue to evolve my craft, I've embarked on a Project 365 that started on January 1: posting a photo a day to force myself to think with a photographic eye, to make sure I'm carrying my camera more often, and to help capture the moments that make up my year. You can follow the project on my Tumblr or check out all the photos so far on my Flickr.
Bean and Cheese Taquitos
Regardless of changes in life it's always nice to come home to a simple meal. Canned beans get a bump in flavor by cooking with some onions and spices then get mashed and rolled up in tortillas with plenty of cheese. Baking them adds crispness without too much oil. Then they are served topped off with a homemade chunky salsa, whipped avocado, and sour cream.
5 TB cooking oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 large can black beans
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. seasoned salt
1/4 c. stock (or water)
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c. cotija cheese, shredded
12 flour tortillas
for the salsa:
1 c. chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2-1 jalapeno, chopped (depending on heat preference)
2 TB cilantro, chopped
1 TB lime juice
for the whipped avocado
2 TB sour cream
Sour cream, for serving
Heat the oven to 400.
Drain the beans and rinse them under water.
Heat 2 TB cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Add the beans and the cumin, chili powder, and seasoned salt. Stir together and cook until the beans are warmed through. Add the stock or water and mash the beans slightly. Remove from the heat.
Place the remaining 3 TB cooking oil in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the bottom sides of the tortillas with the oil. Spread a couple of tablespoons of beans on the inside of each tortilla and then sprinkle with cheddar and cotija cheese. Roll up tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake until browned and crispy, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the salsa. Mix together the chopped cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
For the whipped avocado, scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a bowl and beat vigorously with the sour cream.
Serve the taquitos topped off with the salsa, whipped avocado, and a dollop of sour cream.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Chicken Noodle Soup
Smashed Roasted Potatoes
Hot Buttered Rum
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I think it is impossible to watch Julia or read about her without feeling infected by her passion for food and cooking. It just flows out of her with pure joy. Do you ever feel that way when you are cooking? I've found that I'm constantly in awe of how a certain technique will turn random ingredients into something completely different--sugar melting into a rich caramel or flour becoming bread. Or how the addition of just a pinch of an ingredient, say red chili flakes or lemon juice, can completely make a dish. The way science and art combine in the kitchen always surprises me and makes me happy. It helps make the act of preparing a meal a relaxing, enjoyable endeavor.
It wasn't always so. If you remember, I recently discussed how before I discovered the art of mis en place there was a lot of profanity being thrown about while dinner was cooked. Part of that anger/frustration also came from the lack of knowledge. I think anyone who spends much time in the kitchen remembers the time before it was second nature--when you worried over every detail and were never quite sure how a dish would turn out. Often times people who don't cook much don't realize that everyone who does started out at this place and that practice, practice, and more practice is the only way to move past it. It's wonderful to now be at that level where more or less I know a dish will turn out thanks to all that time spent screwing up in the past. This knowledge also leads to the comfort of preparing dinner. It's almost like playing an instrument at a concert--the movements just come out of you naturally as you beat out the rhythms of the recipe. It flows through your body without a thought, even when preparing a dish that is new to you.
This corn salsa is my own invention and I had made it once before, but didn't have a recipe to follow the second time around, a couple of years after the first batch. The memory of how the dish tasted was still there, however, and the ingredients and quantities came together without hardly a thought. It seemed natural that this was the way this salsa was supposed to come together.
Now I will finally get it down "on paper" and share it with others in hopes that they will enjoy it as much as I have, and perhaps one day prepare it from their own taste memory and experience.
Bon apetit, indeed!
Corn and Bell Pepper Salsa
3 ears of bi-color corn
2 small to medium purple bell peppers
1/4-1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped onion or shallot
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Shuck the corn and clean well. Cut off the kernels and place into a medium mixing bowl.
Cut the purple bell peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Chop into small cubes. Toss into the bowl with the corn. Add the chopped cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed and more jalapeno if you want a bit more heat. Keep chilled until ready to serve with tortilla chips as a dip or on top of tacos.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
|My beautiful little sister and her husband.|
Joe and I arrived back from Austin to an extra rainy, dreary week here in NYC. To settle back in and to waste away a relaxing Monday off together, we whipped up a batch of tortilla soup. This is my favorite version we've made to date, so I'm sharing it with you even though I didn't get any pictures to go along with the recipe. I hope you get the opportunity to prepare this comforting soup and share it with your own loved ones soon.
Vegetable Tortilla Soup
2 TB cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks green garlic or green onions, whites and greens chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 c. water
32 oz. chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 c. sliced kale
10 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 t. seasoned salt
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 avocado, sliced
shredded cheddar cheese
Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Add the onion and cook until slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the green garlic and bell pepper and cook until these are also slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the frozen corn and stir for a minute, then add in the enchilada sauce, water and chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Then add the cremini mushrooms, kale, kidney beans, seasoned salt, chili powder and cumin. Cook until it all comes to a boil and the mushrooms are slightly tender and the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as you please.
Serve in bowls topped off with the sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, a good handful of cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Thursday, February 21, 2008
3 pounds flank steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 white onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 dried New Mexico chile pods
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1 (32 ounce) package corn tortillas
2 cups grated cotija cheese (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges
Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast chile pods in the skillet for a few minutes, then remove to a bowl of water to soak for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Place the tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapenos, and 4 cloves of garlic onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until toasted but not burnt. Place the roasted vegetables, and soaked chile pods into a blender or food processor, along with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the marinated flank steak into cubes or strips. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Warm the tortillas in a skillet for about a minute on each side to make them pliable. Tortillas may also be warmed in a microwave oven. Arrange two or three tortillas on a plate, and lay a generous amount of beef over them. Top with a sprinkle of the onion relish and a large spoonful of the pureed salsa. Add as much cheese as you like. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Banana Bread (BH & G)
Crazy Quilt Crust Pie (from my mom)
(for the Crust)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. shortening
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2-3/4 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 package taco seasoning
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. refried beans
3/4 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease and flower bottom and sides of a 9X9 casserole dish. Combine all ingredients for the crust and stir until blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spread batter thinly on the bottom and thickly up the sides of the casserole dish. Spread refried beans for first layer on the dough. Next, mix together the hamburger, sour cream and taco seasoning and spread as the second layer on top of the refried beans. Top with cheese and then with the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 25 minutes.
1/3 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB instant coffee granules
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg whites and yogurt till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by a teaspoon into sugar and roll into balls. Place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese (I only had about 1/8 c. of mozzarella cheese, but it tasted delicious anyway!).
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.