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Bangor, Maine
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New York, New York
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My Favorite Food Blogs:

Bento TV
Diary of the Food Whore
A Finger in Every Pie
Le hamburger et le croissant
My Little Kitchen
The Red Kitchen
Super Eggplant
Vegan Lunchbox

Other Sites I Frequent:

Delicious TV
Food Network
Food Porn Watch
Knitting Sunshine
Stories from the Gymrat
The Way Life Is

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Thursday, June 30, 2005
My Boyfriend Went to France, and All I Got Was...

... exactly what I requested.  =)

First, a little history: I am weird. OK, anyone who knows me knows that. But in this particular instance, I am referring to the fact that I don't shop fanatically for shoes, CDs, DVDs, purses, or clothes. My fascinations lie within The Grocery Store. Whenever I travel, no matter the city, state, or country, I absolutely must check out the local grocery stores.

More history: two years ago, Kevin spent the spring semester studying at the Sorbonne (what's better than alliteration? unintentional alliteration!). Yes, it completely sucked that he was gone for five months, but it gave me an excuse to go to Paris four times in five months! Man, I had kick-ass vacation benefits at the TV station. Of course, I also had to work a lot of holidays. But I digress...

The grocery store closest to where Kev lived is called Casino. I so totally fell in love with it. Don't get me wrong -- I can't walk past an outdoor market in Paris... the fruit, the bread, the cheese, the potato gallettes... but Casino is fun. It has big vats of various and assorted olives, Aperifrais cheese, and the best cereal I've ever had in my life (sometimes it really is the simple things, is it not?).

Muesli Croustillant is not your average muesli. Nor is it your average granola. It is its own entity. The flavors you see pictured above are "Fruits Rouges" et "Fruits du Verger," a.k.a. red berries and orchard fruits. This is a very light, crisp cereal, not the total jaw workout like so many American muesli/granola-type cereals. It's hard to describe, but I'll try. Imagine Rice Crispies, very small corn flakes, and tiny, delicate little granola clusters mixed with tons of freeze-dried fruit. We're talking whole raspberries here! The cereal also has a slightly coconutty flavor. It's amazing mixed with coconut yogurt. Damn you, Dannon -- why is your European yogurt so much better than that American slop you try to sell to us? And why, oh, why, don't you make COCONUT YOGURT for us? I'd eat coconut flavored slop! >SIGH<

(Muesli Croustillant also comes in chocolate-banana flavor, but neither Kev nor I has ever had the heart to try it.)

Now that he's back, I'm not afraid to tell you that Kev just spent two weeks in France with his family. When I was in Orrington I had no problem admitting that I lived alone, but here in the Big City, you never know what kinds of whackos are out there! I didn't feel the need to advertise to the world that I was all alone here for two whole weeks.

So, yes -- part of Kev's time in France was spent in Paris, and he went back to The Old Neighborhood, paid a little visit to Casino, and bought me four bags(!) of Muesli Croustillant. And the goodies in the tubes with the Prince on them. You'll meet him next time.

If only coconut yogurt travelled well.

Posted at 6/30/2005 8:54:49 pm by KelliMelli
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Outrageous BotW

Baked last Thursday during my "Kamikaze Baking" session, this week's Bread of the Week:

Kev's lunch today: PB & J and a bit of milk! He usually uses a glass -- really!! -- but there was very little left in the jug.  =)

Outrageously Oatmeal Bread
adapted from "
Electric Bread" by Suzan Nightingale and I.C.E., Inc.
makes 2-1lb. loaves

1-1/2 cups water
2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp dry milk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp active dry yeast

As usual, I baked these loaves at 350 for about 40 minutes. But you can always let the machine do all the work!

Electric Bread" and its sequel, "More Electric Bread," are fun books that I don't use nearly often enough. It's not their fault... they were some of the first bread machine books I bought and tend to get a bit lost behind the newer ones. I'm sorry, books! But now they're in my newly appointed cookbooks only bookcase, so they'll be more easily spotted, and hopefully more often used! A lot of the recipes are quite unique. My favorites include Pepper Corn, 100% Crunch, Cherry Yogurt, Pepper Jack Ties, Fall Harvest... the list goes on! The books are also chock-full of useful info: troubleshooting, dough techniques, ingredient sources... again, the list goes on. I love these books! Could you tell?

I bought these long before I became an Internet Junkie. In fact, I think I bought them long beofre I'd even heard of the Internet! So I paid full retail prices for them. Anyone looking for them these days are in luck. There are lots of copies to be had from
amazon.com and various other websites, at much lower prices! They're books that are well worth hunting down.

Posted at 6/28/2005 8:12:52 pm by KelliMelli
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Saturday, June 25, 2005
I'm It!

I've been tagged by Alice for the "Cook Next Door" meme. Since today is too hot too exist, let alone cook, it's a perfect day for a meme.  =)  So, here goes!

One of my first cookbooks!

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?

I had a Disney cookbook that I loved (I so wish I could find it now. I'm sure it's packed away and either at my parents' house, or at my dad's store...), and there was a rolled sugar cookie recipe that my brother and I liked to make. The book even included patterns of Disney characters that we traced and cut around. Who needs cookie cutters? We thought it was the greatest thing ever.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?

Hmmm... my mom used to cook a lot of really cool things when I was a kid (homemade doughnuts, anyone?), but I never truly appreciated those things until adulthood, long after she got bored with cooking. Ah, nostalgia. But I think I'll have to say (without sounding vain, I hope!) that I have the most influence over my cooking. I fell in love with baking and cooking about ten years ago, shortly after "going veg." I had to learn a whole new way of life, having been brought up on a meat and potatoes diet. Now I have a fascination with vegetarian food, of course, as well as ethnic cuisine, organic foods, and nutrition.

I guess I should add that in more recent years,
Food TV has had a profound effect on me, too.  =)

Do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?

I don't know that any pictures of me cooking even exist... and if they do, my parents would have custody of them... 240 miles away.  =(

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?

Deep frying. I made some of Sara Moulton's Parsley Fried Onion Rings a couple years ago, and I am still reeling from the experience. They were good -- Kevin especially loved them -- but all that bubbling fat was just terrifying to me. My kitchen was greasy for months.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?

I have far too many gadgets! I'll try to narrow it down, though. My purple mixer -- I mean robot (a term I picked up from Estelle)-- of course, my bread machine, my Braun coffee/spice grinder, my Silpats, my cookie dough scoops (in varying sizes!), and the ever-popular Microplane grater. My Microplane is cooler than anyone else's, though: it has two interchangeable blades! I got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond a couple years ago, and I've never seen another one since.

As far as disappointments... hand blenders. You know, the things Emeril calls "boat motors." I've owned two or three of varying technology and power, and just never fell in love with any of them. I prefer a Foley Food Mill or a ricer. Or my good old Oster purple blender.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!

I like to take apart my Oreos, spread on a little peanut butter, reassemble, and enjoy. I've been doing it for 15 years. Now Nabisco makes PB creme Oreos, but I bet they're not half as good. Also, I like to dip my french fries in sweet and sour sauce. And when I was a kid, I dipped everything in French dressing: chicken, hamburgers, carrots...

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?

Bread, fruit, and cheese (doin' it European Market style!).

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!

Three quickies:
Your favorite ice-cream?

No question: Gifford's of Maine's Almond Joy. Vanilla ice cream, coconut, and chocolate-covered almonds. Don't try to fake me out with any chocolate chips and uncoated almonds, anyone!

You will probably never eat?

Duh -- meat!!! And goat cheese. Yuck.

Your own signature dish?

"Spicy Fu!"

Question added by Zarah
: On average, how many times a week would you cook something to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Twice. At least. Anyone who reads this blog knows that!  =)

Question added by Cathy: What do you usually eat for breakfast?

I rotate through phases. My most popular? 1) Toast. 2) Yogurt, fruit, and granola. 3) Brown Sugar and Oat Total with milk and bananas. And 4) pancakes or waffles on the occasional wekend.

Question added by Alice:  What are your stand-by dinner options when you don't have the time or the inclination to follow or create a new recipe?

Spaghetti. Or grilled cheese. Or Freschetta pizza.

And, last but not least: Tag three people!

I'll try
Ali, Ana, and The Baker who Cooks. Wish me luck!

Posted at 6/25/2005 7:54:38 pm by KelliMelli
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Thursday, June 23, 2005
Kamikaze Baking

Since the next 3+ days are supposed to be hotter than eight bitches in a bitch boat (bonus points to anyone who can identify the source of that phrase!), and I had the day off today, I thought I'd get a head start on heating up the apartment. Much baking was in order. I was feeling the need to stock up! I made spiced applesauce bread, two loaves of next week's Bread of the Week (to be frozen until needed), and some yummy delicious cookies! I'll blog about the bread next week, of course, but here's the recipe for the cookies. It's another one (slightly modified by me, of course) from the Betty Crocker book I borrowed from my mom.  =)  Apparently I'm on a spicy-sweet kick...

Ginger Creams

1/4 cup shortening (I'm out, so I used butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves (I used allspice)
1/2 cup water

Cream together shortening (or butter) and sugar; beat in egg. Stir in molasses. Sift dry ingredients; add alternately with water. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cooky (I love the way they spell that!) sheet. Bake at 400 about 8 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

Aren't they just the cutest little things? I guess I made them a little smaller than Betty Crocker did, because I ended up with four dozen cookies about the same size as 'Nilla Wafers.

The recipe suggested frosting, but I just didn't feel like frosting. Instead, I sprinkled the unbaked cookies with some turbinado sugar. It made them just a little sparkly (bling) and just a little crunchy. Other than the crunch of the sugar, these are soft, cakey, spicy little cookies -- just the thing for a spicy-sweet phase!
Note: DO NOT OVERBAKE the cookies, or they will be hard and dry. I know this because I overbaked my first batch just a little. I think it was because they were smaller than the recipe suggested. I found that 6 or 7 minutes was plenty for the remaining batches.

Posted at 6/23/2005 10:30:14 pm by KelliMelli
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005
"Bread of the Week"

It has come to my attention that as of late, I have been posting about bread quite frequently. I realized the other day that I may as well start a new feature called "Bread of the Week." I could have gone with something cutesier, like "Our Weekly Bread" or something, but I decided to keep it simple. I'm not going to lock in a specific day of the week -- my bread baking depends on my work schedule and our bread needs. All I can tell you is that there will most likely be a bread post each week.  =)  So, without further ado, I present this week's bread:

Honey-Butter-Wheat Bread

I know, it looks an awful lot like last week's bread (flat though it was!). But it's really quite different. There's something very special about this bread. I am so in love. The dough started out a typical whole-wheat bread shade of tan, turned a gorgeous saffron yellow partway through baking, and progressed into the perfect golden brown you see above. The crust is the perfect thickness. The crumb is amazingly soft and light. And, as the title suggests, it's an extremely flavorful bread. The original recipe came from one of my favorite websites (that I won't even bother to mention today), but since when do I leave a recipe alone? Here's what I did:

1 cup Cambridge tap water (can you believe I drink it?!? it's not half bad for city water) 
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons
Maine raspberry honey 
1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour 
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt 
2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Load ingredients into bread machine pan according to manufacturer's instructions. Mix and bake in machine set to your favorite crust setting, or just use dough cycle and bake bread in a 350 oven for 35 - 45 minutes.

I think I need some toast now... with organic butter... and maybe a touch of  
Maine cranberry honey. Mmm...

Posted at 6/22/2005 9:28:34 pm by KelliMelli
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