Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thai Essence!

For those who don't know, I started waitressing at Thai Essence this summer. I love my job! If you live in town, stop by and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. If you live far away, check out the new facebook page for Thai Essence to see what you're missing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Cold Toes

The definition of a good Wednesday: two Mark Bittman articles in the Dining section of the Times.

This weekend, the weather suddenly turned colder. I don't mind it when I'm wearing slippers and drinking tea, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to see my breath in the morning on my way to school. 

(picture from May)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Brunch, No. 2

Perhaps posting Sunday's breakfast will have to become a tradition. (Too bad this was secretly lunch!)

Scrambling eggs with arugula and bits of bacon. The bacon was extra from a delicious BLT salad with tomatoes, arugula, and potatoes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Fall Market

Farmer's Market Purchases:
(to feed two people for a week)

pattypan squash
tomatoes, yellow cherry
tomatoes, big red

Today, I didn't study and didn't work on college applications. I did manage to learn a few things anyways, like that chopping parsley takes a whole lot longer when the camera is out. 

The parsley was for a salad for the Yes We Can Tippecanoe picnic. Sadly, I couldn't go, but I'm sure that it was a lot of fun. This was taken before it was mixed with arugula and nasturtiums were added on top, but so far there are potatoes, olives, tomatoes, basil, parsley, and vinaigrette.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Photographic Ode to Pocky

Thank you to Takeshi for the pocky! They were delicious and so photogenic. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

I was waiting downstairs to ask my mom if she'd like to share some French toast, when she asked me if I'd like French toast for breakfast. We're just great minds, I suppose.

We only had our farmer's market Great Harvest whole wheat bread, which is great for regular toast, but not so hot for French toast. I changed into real clothes (okay fine, sweats, but that's better than pajamas) and popped off to Payless, where I picked up some orange juice and bananas as well as lighter bread.

My single-minded French toast expedition was put on hold when I stopped at a yard sale on my way home. There wasn't much of interest, but I did buy Clueless for a dollar.

Back at home, the egg mixture was already waiting, so the toast was ready in just a few minutes. What a perfect and classic Sunday breakfast.

I'm audi.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Green Globs

Oh what to do with arugula today?

Make arugula pesto, of course!

We used a few cups of basil from Kitti's garden and a few cups of fresh arugula plus garlic, lemon zest, freshly grated parmesan, walnuts, and olive oil.

I definitely loved this pesto. As a change from normal basil pesto, the lemon and arugula gave it a kick and made it much more refreshing.

We froze a large amount of the pesto, but the rest we mixed with gnocchi for dinner. On a bed of arugula and with toasted walnuts and parmesan on top, this was a perfect (and oh so green) dinner.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Farm Fresh

It's almost hard to imagine going to the store to buy a carton of cloned albino eggs, because for years I've been eating gorgeous multi-colored eggs from my neighbor's chickens. Well- my ex-neighbors. I still think of Emily's family as my neighbors, but they moved away almost nine years ago. Now they live on a beautiful farm where they raise prize-winning goats, chickens, and ducks. As well as their lovely eggs, I've had amazing home-made goat cheese, frozen duck, and smoked duck (which made this soup).

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Good Psychologist!

We had a book party yesterday for The Good Psychologist. I wanted to, but didn't take pictures of the platters of figs and champagne grapes or the delicious roasted red pepper and basil that I rolled around cubes of feta. You will have to use your imagination.

I thought that it was a great success. Many people came to listen to Noam as he told the story of how the book came to be and read its opening pages. People brought food, like this delicious cake that my neighbor made. Mostly people drank wine and sangria and sparkling juices and talked.

After the party, I was so tired, but I decided to start working on the page that I've been meaning to write for a while now. Before I collapsed into bed, I had written a draft and published it. It's not perfect, but it fits the bill, so please read it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Midnight Snack

The perpetrators are fast asleep in the basement as I type this.

Zoe invited her friends for a sleepover to celebrate the end of their summer together before everyone goes back to school. No get-together for them is complete without baking something that belongs at a toddler's birthday party (remember the gingerbread house?).

Last night's concoction was an ice cream pie complete with a candle to celebrate Shruti's MCATs. The base was like a rice-crispy treat, but made with karo syrup and butter. There was a thin layer of peanut butter-chocolate sauce-karo syrup mix, then a thick spread of softened ice cream. Then the whole pie hardened in the freezer. What a perfectly evil after-midnight snack!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Littles, Middles, and Bigs

Except that this doesn't qualify as a picture of something I ate, because we bought none of these three. Still, I have had all three from Ginny at some point. These are from the farmer's market, specifically from Markle Farms.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And Savory, Too

I went to Boston this weekend. What did I do? Take pictures of figs! Well, fine, I did lots of other fun things, too, but that's besides the point. The point of this post is figs figs and more figs.

I'm not sure if I had ever had a real fresh fig before. Maybe once, but it must not have been very memorable. There was some giant sale on them, so Diane came home with two flats of figs, which opened up a whole new world. But after a few days of munching on figs plain and wrapped in prosciutto, I knew it was time for something big with the figs.

We were planning lunch for my grandparents and some cousins, and needed a dessert. Fig tart seemed perfect. After browsing old school cookbooks and and various scattered recipes online, the sweet fig tart underwent mitosis and emerged as two tarts: a savory goat cheese fig tart and a sweet marscapone fruit tart.

I couldn't find a recipe for a goat cheese tart that I liked, so I merged aspects of several. 

The crust was a cheat (frozen pie crust), but I did roll it out with a large quantity of whole wheat flour, which I'll pretend makes it more delicious than usual. I baked it first, just for ten minutes or so.

On top I spread a mixture of goat cheese that I had mixed with a bit of marscapone to make it smoother and some fresh rosemary. Next was a few dots of fig jam for sweetness.

After I arranged slices of figs to cover the entire top, I put it in the oven. I took it back out later to scatter some goat cheese across the top.

It was a little bit scary serving this to my family, because I had absolutely no idea how it would turn out. I warned them that it would either be insanely delicious or a complete and utter disaster. I'd like to think it was the former.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This tart is hard to classify as a success or a failure. Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it was easy. But I would certainly not call it a perfect recipe. If I make it again, I will definitely be making changes.

It was certainly easy and fun to make, though. It required no baking whatsoever. The crust was graham-cracker crumbs with melted butter; we added gingersnaps to the graham crackers for a little extra fun. We patted down the crumbs into a big tart pan, and set it in the fridge. The recipe didn't say to cook it at all, but if I was to repeat this, I would probably pop the crust by itself into the oven for a few minutes, like the crust of key lime pie. I think that would help the crust stay crisp and together.

On top of the crust was a marscapone layer. It started with a yolk and some sugar, which made a thick paste, which we blended with lots of marscapone. After folding in one whipped egg white, it was soft and smooth and oh so creamy. I squeezed in some lemon juice and mixed everything together. This part actually reminded me quite a bit of the fool that we made earlier in the summer. 
I spread that mix across the crust in a thick layer, then Zoe arranged the beautiful berries. The original recipe called for white currants and blackberries, which I think would be amazing, but we used what we had. 

While the tart looked stunning, it was not so much to look at once it was served. The crust wasn't hard, so it just fell apart and would not sit in pretty slices on our plates. I think if I did this again, I would do it in individual ramekins to avoid serving problems. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Matzo Remix

One of our wonderful no-one-else-has-ever-or-will-ever-eat-this meals.
The broth was duck soup that my mom made from a smoked duck that was raised and smoked by some friends who own a farm. It gave the matzo balls and the whole soup a completely distinctive smoky taste. In with the matzo balls are kale and frozen peas. With the kale and hearty flavored broth and the fat matzo balls, the soup was substantial and warming, though perhaps more suited to a chilly winter night.

I wish I could take credit....

Brace yourself. You are about to take a peek at something so rare that many believe it doesn't exist. Though each year's math teacher has confirmed its presence, I was beginning to doubt it. I have officially been proven wrong. So, are you ready? Here it is. The Real World Application.

If you do your math homework every night, little boys and girls, then you too can use your knowledge for practical purposes. I have proof! 
Here is what you are getting when you buy your Stanford education.  And if you decide to study at Princeton, you too can make this:
Yes, my sister and her friends decided to make a giant gingerbread castle just for fun, because they are simply that kind of college students. The windows and shingles are melted Jolly Ranchers; the rest is decorated with pretzel rods, rainbow Twizzlers, and mini M&Ms. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The End

For an entire month, I have been attempting to write down the end. Between the daily parade of school assignments, the thick fog of college applications steadily rolling towards me, and a thousand other stresses that distract me, I have put off writing this page again and again. But as there is no time like the present and the present is one month overdue, I am just going to begin and see where this goes.

School started a month ago. I’m finding it hard to believe that I’m a senior, let alone that I’m so far into my senior year. Even though according to the calendar, summer is still around for another week, my summer has long since ended. With the end of free time and relaxation came the end of my summer food project.

On the first day of school, I wasn’t just getting used to seeing old classmates and studying new subjects, I was also getting used to eating without photographing. How strange to be able to bring a sandwich to school without also bringing a camera! In general, I didn’t find my project this summer to be inconvenient, but it’s end has made me realize the perks of eating without constant camera action. Now I can eat my toast while it is still hot and my cereal before it gets soggy. I can grab an apple to eat in the car without worrying about driving, eating, and photographing all at once. At parties, I don’t have to stand around awkwardly snapping pictures of buffets or paper plates piled with chips and dips.

Quitting food photography cold turkey at the beginning of school was shocking, because overnight, the significance of each piece of food plummeted. Now a plate of pasta is just a plate of pasta, not a subject to be recorded and filed away; a peach is just a peach, not a model turning this way and that to capture the light. I still carry Ellis Avery almost everywhere, and I photograph all of my particularily interesting or beautiful food. For that reason, I’ve still been trying to post here fairly regularly, as I hope you have noticed, because even if I don’t take ten food photographs each day, I still generate quite a few photographs that I’d like to share with the world.

Taking pictures of everything I eat for an entire summer was my crash course in food photography. I’ve never taken a photography class or a cooking class, but I feel that through experience, I have grown and improved. While at some point in the future I would love to take classes in both of those areas, before that time I hope that I continue to take pictures of my food and post them here. I’ve found great pleasure in creating this blog, and I hope that at least a few people read what I write and take some small amount of pleasure from it.

So there we have it. Perhaps at some point in the future, I will go back and rewrite this more eloquently, but it's late, I'm tired, I have a whole week of school ahead of me, and this will suffice for now.

(September, 2010)