Monday, December 3, 2007

car, schmar

I have to say, for my first car-less weekend, and weather that was not necessarily ideal, I had a heck of a good time! Friday I went about my shopping with determination and ferocity. I hit the co-op first, then the Giant Eagle, and then...well, by then the room in my backseat and my patience were pretty much gone, so I headed home. I put all the groceries away, made some breakfast-for-dinner and retired to watch some netflixes and cable. Good times.

Breakfast-for-Dinner was roasted potatoes, fried eggs and toast. I got these beautiful little local fingerling potatoes at the co-op. They were gorgeous! The flesh was brilliantly golden and the skin was red, so while I was cutting them up I kept thinking that they looked so much like peaches that my mouth kept watering for juicy peachiness, and then I'd remember that they were potatoes. Seriously, look!
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So, I heated up the oven to 350, tossed the potatoes with some herbs de Provence, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and put them in for about 15 minutes. At that time, I took them out, tossed them again with some onions, garlic and fresh parsley and rosemary, and stuck them back in for another 15 minutes. In the meantime, I chopped up more parsley, and mixed that with some lemon zest and coarse sea salt, and topped the potatoes with that when they came out of the oven.
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So, here's my breakfast-for-dinner:
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Saturday was a lovely day! E-dawg picked me up in the morning, and we hit the East Liberty Farmers Market, which operates indoor year-round. It was small, but fantastic! I got so much good stuff. Check it:
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l-r, clockwise:
sweet potato gnocchi, sweet potatoes, black walnuts, garlic (two kinds, one regular, one that's little and supposedly stronger, but I forget the name), turnips, dried sweet corn, brussels sprouts. Now, that's a good haul from a wintertime farmers market in the 'Burgh, you know?

Then we hit the Strip for oodles of more delights. I didn't photo them, but I got a bunch of cheese from Penn Mac (brie de meux, beemster, Black Diamond sharp white cheddar), some almonds, some baguette, some beautiful fluffy tortillas from Reyna's, and some treats from Cafe Richard. I got a spinach-feta-sundried tomato quiche, a couple croissant and a coconut tart. All fantastic. And, when I got home, I got a call from a WV friend, Jeffron, who was in Pittsburgh for a few hours, so he came over and shared my quiche and some of my leftover roasted potatoes, and we sat around drinking coffee and playing cards for a few hours.

Then Hurd and I hit the town early-evening, old lady-style. We went to Verdetto's 'cause Hurd had a hankering for their delectable mac-n-cheese triangles, but alas, they're not serving food on the weekends (whack). But some old guys bought us shots of some Slovokian liquor that tasted a little like Jaegermeister. Then, we continued our downward spiral by hitting up Donny's for dinner. Yes, you read that correctly: Donny's for dinner. (Thankfully) their kitchen was also not open. Then we rolled up to my 'hood, and went to Billy's. Now, it's only a mere five-ish blocks from my house, but I don't frequent it. But, we had a really nice time! We got some pretty good pub grub, cheap beer, and friendly service. I have decided that this will be our gang's new hang-out since I can walk to it. Pass it on. Billy's is where it's at.
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Sunday was an inside day. The weather was cruddy, but I had cable to keep me warm. And, I've been craving a veggie version of biscuits and gravy for a while. Leslie told me about some gravy a friend of hers makes, and gave me an outline of how to make it. So, I made a recipe of Heidi's cornmeal biscuits from Cook 1.0. They are tender and delicious!

Cornmeal Biscuts [ek: this is not a "light" recipe by any stretch, but good enough to splurge!]
(from Heidi Swanson's Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen)
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Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Into a large bowl or food processor, sift:
3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/2 c. finely ground cornmeal

To dry ingredients add:
1 c. chilled butter, cut into 1/4" chunks.
Using a pastry cutter or 25 quick pulses of a food processor, blend until mixture resembles tiny, sandy pebbles.

With a fork, stir in the following until just combined:
2 c. milk (lowfat is fine)

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased nonstick baking sheet. Brush the biscuit tops with a bit of egg white and sprinkle with a dusting of cornmeal.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the tops and bottoms are golden, roughly 12 minutes. [ek - I got about 2 dozen biscuits out of this]


And, for the gravy, Leslie said that her friend Mary makes it by:

(from Leslie's email description)
First sauté some onion, garlic, mushrooms and chopped up frozen veggie sausage links (don't thaw) until nice and browned. Remove from pan. Then make a roux with butter and flour. Toast your roux for a few minutes over medium heat, then toss in a good sized handful of brewers' yeast. Toast in pan for a few minutes until fragrant.

Slowly add milk (maybe ½ - 1 cup…see how it looks in the pan, depending on how much brewers yeast you use), cayenne pepper (if you like a nice kick), black pepper and white pepper (I like a spicy gravy). Get crazy and add a little sage or thyme, if you like.

Stir until thickened, serve on sweet potato biscuits! (my favorite)

So, here's what I did:
Sauteed 1/2 an onion with a clove of garlic and about 8oz of white mushrooms (stems removed), diced, with a little butter. I added some (about half the package) Gimme Lean (sausage-style) and browned/chunked it up. And some fresh thyme. In another pan, I made a roux with some butter and flour, then stirred in some Brewer's yeast. You may remember that I am afraid of making roux, and with good reason. It always turns too thick and pasty and floury. This time was no exception. When I started adding in the milk, it just turned into a thick paste., I got a larger skillet, and warmed the milk in there, then slowly added little bits of the butter/flour mixture (the roux, sorta), and just whisked until there were no lumps and it was a nice thickness/viscosity. Then added in the brewers yeast, cayenne and black/pink pepper. Oh, and some freshly ground nutmeg! I love nutmeg in cream sauces. Then, added in my sausage-mushroom mixture (with a splash of marsala), and cooked it a little longer. It was still a little too thick, so I added a little water until it was the right consistency. Salt to taste. It is sooooooooo good! Exactly what I'd been wanting! And, I felt like a champ for rescuing the roux.
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Seriously, it is so good that my stomach just growled writing about it, and I have more (yay!), and I'm really excited to have it for dinner tonight. The biscuit recipe made enough biscuits to share, and put a few up in the freezer for another time. When you heat up the gravy, you'll have to thin it a bit again with a little water or milk.

Expect more lovin' from the oven this week as I bought enough groceries on Friday to last me though the winter!

1 comment:

Jess said...

will you teach me how to make eggs like that? also - i will be attempting that biscuits and gravy soon!

as always - thanks for you blog.
you are my food inspiration!