Monday, August 29, 2016

cookies - chocolate chip

Round two of trying out the new countertop convection oven.

I forget how glorious a homemade fresh baked chocolate chip cookie is until i have one. Then i feel like banging my head on the wall wondering why oh why did i veer from this delight for so long.

i went with a tried and true recipe. Thank you Martha. I realize that the Martha Stewart soft and chewy recipe is essentially the toll house recipe minus the nuts, but I don't include nuts in my cookies anyway.

I didn't even take out my hand mixer. I went old school and mixed the batch by hand in a stainless steel bowl with a wooden spoon. Nothing complicated about it and people have been baking long before kitchenaid existed. Don't get me wrong. I love my stand mixer and hand mixer. And i will use them forever. But i'm not fully unpacked from the move and my kitchen isn't really done so i have to go sans electricity on the prep of this.

I baked a few batches - between 8-9 minutes. 8 minutes was still gooey in the middle. 9 was crispy but had that delicious brown butter flavor.

I love the cookie base on this. I need to try some additions though. I'm thinking of adding some coconut next time. 

Martha Stewart Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t vanilla ( as always, i am heavy handed with the vanilla)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips (just dump the bag in)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

cookies - coconut macaroons

I love this recipe. It's been a staple at my house for atleast 10 years. I'm gonna guess longer, but who knows.

My husband doesn't like coconut, so I don't always get a chance to make them for just "house eating" cookies, but they make an appearance every year around christmas.

I made them as the inaugural baked good at our new house. Mostly because they're super simple, don't require any appliances, and joe's out of town for work, so i can eat 'em by myself and take some to the family tomorrow.

This is really a test for the mini convection oven I got from joe for christmas, and as a gift for our wedding..yes, we got it as a gift, joe didn't realize it, and bought me another one for christmas. Bed bath and beyond is so wonderful for when things like this happen. They gladly take one back and give us a gift card.

preheat oven to 350


1 14 oz bag sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup flour
1-2 T vanilla (i'm ALWAYS heavy handed with the vanilla)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
pinch + salt

  1. combine flour and salt in medium bowl
  2. add coconut, toss to coat
  3. stir in vanilla and condensed milk until well combined
  4. place golf ball sized rounds on lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. These don't spread, but you don't want them to steam too close to one another. I like the crisp outside with the chewy insides.  (I recommend using a cookie dough scoop for this process. it makes things worlds easier. I don't know where mine is right now and tried to do this by hand. It was a sticky mess. Not difficult to clean up, but they are definitely not precise and the cooking cannot really be measured accurately because of this.)
  5. bake for 20 minutes. They should start getting dark around the edges and top. Delicious carmelized coconut bits.
  6. Let cool and enjoy

**okay - so the batch in the picture was balled by hand. That was the sticky mess i refer to in step 4. I also tried the "just scrape off a spoon with a rubber spatula" method. They were bigger, and not ball shaped at all. But it turns out they are just as delicious. There is more surface area and less precise rounding making for more crispy goodness in all the nooks and crannies. Everything cooked wonderfully in 20 minutes.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

I've decided to start trying to make more soups. It started about a month ago when Joe was sick and I made chicken noodle soup...but i had made so much broth we also made a thai soup. YUM!!! Will definitely be making those again.

I had bought a bag of broccoli at costco and it just lasted too long. There was only so much broccoli salad I could eat.

I started by sauteing a shopped onion in about 2 T butter, and added some salt and pepper

Add about 3 T flour to the mix and cook off the flour

I went ahead and added about 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cube of chicken broth.

I cup up some broccoli. About 3 cups and not too chopped since i just wanted to cook it down, but not be super mushy...i was gonna blend it later.

Once the broccoli was cooked. I took the pan off the heat and used the immersion blender. Just a warning - this guy can get messy, so be sure to use something with high sides as to not spray creamy not broccoli all over the kitchen. 

Once blended, return to low heat and add about 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

stir stir stir. melt melt melt until done.

I would have liked to add a little Tabasco to it, but we don't quite have a fully functional kitchen or pantry yet, so i'll take what i can get.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thumbalistening - Matt Minigell and Annabelle Lord Patey at Junior High 8/12/16

I didn't know if I was actually going to end up going to this show. I'll be honest. I hadn't listened to one lick of either of their music. But it was Friday night, an early show, I'm alone all night, and it's Mary Lou Lord's kid so I figured, why not. Maybe I'll catch a good Pokemon in this area of town I'm not usually in. (and no. i didn't)

Lets get this straight. Junior High isn't exactly what most would consider a "venue". Its a non-profit with a galley style brick and morter - the front 1/3 selling artists goods, the rear 2/3 has a table and chairs for audience and a small area with PAs set up for live acts. There were only about 20 people in the room and all seats were taken. I'm guessing most has heard about the site from Annabelle's parents. At 36 years old I was the youngest person there. Okay, some people had brought their small children, so I was the youngest person who chose to be there up until Matt started. Then two more of us "youngsters" arrived.

Matt performed first.

I have to say I was impressed. I don't know what I really expected.

Even as young as he is, in such an awkward place, he handled live performance well. 

And he can actually play. I know. That sounds like such an asinine comment, but there are so many people that love music, that want to make music, but just don't have the time in, experience, or sometimes plain flat out, the talent to do it.  

Just to be clear, he is not one of those. He can play. He has stage presence. He can write. I just love seeing young talent make good music.  ahhhh.

Now, you have to be into that brooding, singer songwriter thing to know what I'm talking about. It took me back to the late 1990's. When I was a late teen finding my way through my own musical tastes. Listening to Sonic Youth, Elliott Smith, Pavement, Ben Lee, and Weezer all in one go.
 Honestly, things with me haven't evolved that much. 

Throughout his performance I just kept thinking "I'm so glad kids like this are out there" and "man, that boy can play a guitar". But I also thought things like "where is he going with this music" as in, this style of music, though beautiful, haunting, and oh so relate-able, has such a hard time being sold. But Thanks Mary Lou for the heads up on this one. I'll be listening for him.

Then along came Annabelle 

She is such a tiny thing, at only 17 - I would be scared shitless. 

Her voice is delicate, and sometimes the nature of the lyrics seem bigger than her. But I hear more to her than that. I hear her in a few years, being more comfortable and loud with the world around her. 

By now the sun was set and the kids in the crowd were growing more restless so she had some things going against her in this small room. 

I'm excited to watch her too. I want to see her in 5 years. A little more time and exposure under her belt. 

These two were a joy to watch. Seriously, i think i was smiling the whole time. Not just from listening to good music. But knowing that there is a youth culture out there, listening and writing, When its so hard for me to see and find, they've got it in their hands.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Music to my ears - nice as fuck

I've been listening to the nice as fuck station on iHeartRadio recently. I need to research how they do their algorithms.

I won't mention any names, but some things make sense. Some things don't.

Worth giving a listen to:
Jenny Lewis 
Au Revoir Simone
The Like

Monday, August 1, 2016

Portugal 2015

In November, we were able to go to Portugal on a semi- spur of the moment trip.  Friends asked us if we wanted to go with them to a time share, but we'd have to stay on the couch in the living room. Fine. We'll do it. It'll be a fun trip and we probably wouldn't have gone otherwise. Then we realized, well shoot, you can get decent airbnb's for cheap - like $34 a night cheap near the beach and really nice places for just a few dollars more. Sorry friends, we'll meet you in Portugal, but we'll be finding our own accommodations not on a couch - in an awesome multi-bedroom apartment in the thick of things.

we had a layover in Germany (necessary beer and brats)

We landed in Faro. From there we rented a car and drove up to Lisbon.  The streets are crazy. Small, one way, hills, paved with hand placed and chiseled stones. We found our apartment, our home for the next few days, looking down on the city.

joe on the narrow steep steps leading to the apartment

The host of our airbnb said to go to a place nearby for dinner. Locals type of place, but they have good food. After walking around the surrounding blocks and not finding what she was talking about at all, we decided to stop in here. Tiny place, with a grill, and that's about it. Buy some chicken and rice and go home to eat. No one there spoke any english, but they were so friendly and willing to deal with us...and the food was delicious. Went back to the apartment to realize this was the place the host was talking about. Lucky!!

pastel de nata - oh how i wish there were pastry shops everywhere at home like there are here

murals and paintings are everywhere

This is the door to a TINY glove shop in Lisbon. Go here. The place has history. They grab your hand and know your glove size. They fit you on the spot. And there's always the smell of leather. And if you happen to go when Joe and I did, there will be a ridiculously attractive male (even Joe mentioned it when we walked away), who was very friendly and spoke english,  waiting to buy gloves with his German Shepherd. 

we stumbled into this amazing alley - covered in murals

cinco lounge - the place was empty when we got there, but it had an interesting vibe so we decided to stay for a drink. Best Decision Ever. The bartenders were super friendly, spoke english, and made great drinks. We ordered off the menu, but gave them freedom to make us whatever they liked and it was awesome. Drinks served under herb smoked glass domes, fresh grilled peppers (yes, that is a stovetop in front of me at the bar), things ablaze! We were lucky that they had the time to treat us so personally. I don't doubt that the drinks are as good on a busy night, but the showmanship couldn't nearly be as one-on-one.

We started our drive back down to the Algarve, taking a ferry across at setubal, just because.

stopping at isolated beaches along the way

until we made it to our apartment in Olhos de Agua

view from the room

had to stop for lunch in Lagos

sunset and dinner in Sagres

beers in Albufeira - so inexpensive!!
view from our apartment in Olhos de Agua near Albufeira

Beach near old Albufeira

We met up with our friends for a day in old Albufeira. The streets had been flooded a few months prior and the damages are still prevalent. Many businesses are not open - pumping water from their basements. The stone roads being re-made by hand. Empty spaces where pavers had been being filled in with concrete.

But this guy - his bar along the beach was open. Tiny place. Great guy. Came here from Africa and stayed.