Wednesday, September 23, 2009

La Radio du Jazz

Our venue told us that we can bring in our own music to play over their system when the musician(s) aren't playing. We have a ton of songs that we like but we listen to over and over again...sometimes I just want to hear something that's not on our iPod.

I don't know why it's so hard to think of music...I guess I just have to hear it to remember it. And so I've been listening to the radio through iTunes while working and jotting down songs that would make good reception music.

My favorite station is Linas Jazz - it's a French station that plays the best jazz and blues. Like this fabulous tune...

I've also been listening to KCSM, The Bay Area's Jazz Station. Another great place to find music that you're not sick of hearing is the NPR World Cafe, which is also on iTunes through the NPR Program Stream. Please let me know if you have favorite stations!

This one is fun too...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fruity Goodness

I don't know why I do this, but I always seem to take fresh, good-for-you fruit and mix it with flour, butter, sugar, and any other number of ingredients to make delicious, warm, not-so-good-for-you treats. It's a rare day when a fruit from my kitchen gets eaten in its full nutritional glory. But at this point, it's research. I'm still learning about cooking, baking, and food...and putting together a list of recipes that I will return to year after year. And so, in the name of research, I present 2 keepers and one that needs work.

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
adapted from Joy the Baker's Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 28g. (2 T.) melted butter, cooled
  • 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. flour (I used wheat-white combo)
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4. t. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 banana, sliced
Mix together eggs, buttermilk, cooled melted butter and vanilla. Add flour, bp, bs, salt, spices, sugar and oats. You can fold in banana now or add later. Coat pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat before adding batter - 2 T. per pancake. I like to add the banana slices into the cooking pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. The batter is very oatmeal cookie-ish! This makes plenty of pancakes for 2 hungry eaters.

Banana Strawberry Muffins
from The Joy of Baking

  • 113 g. (1 stick) melted butter
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 c. fresh strawberries, sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 1/4 c. flour (I used wheat-white combo)
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
Whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Stir in melted butter until combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold in the berries, making sure they are coated with flour. This helps to prevent the berries from sinking during baking. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix the batter or tough muffins will result. Bake at 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes.

This recipe is brilliant, the muffins were delicious!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
from Recipe Lover

  • 1 1/2 c. strawberries
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. plain yogurt (or buttermilk, or sour cream)
  • 1 egg
  • About 50g. (3/4 T.) melted butter
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
Combine strawberries and sugar and let sit for at least an hour so that the juices come out. Combine flour, bs, bp, and salt. Strain liquid from strawberries and mix well with cooled melted butter, egg, and yogurt. Stir into flour mixture. Add strawberries and chocolate. Bake at 200C (400F) for 20-30 minutes.

These didn't turn out so hot for me. Maybe the wheat flour overshadowed the strawberry flavor or maybe it's because I used buttermilk instead of yogurt. But these didn't seem sweet enough and were a little rubbery. Gotta tweak this one.

Well, that's a few for the recipe file!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wedding Workout #1

Weed pulling is a fun and enjoyable sport...I just love the pop that the root makes when it's yanked from the ground. I recommend this exercise for targeting arm, butt, and thigh'll definitely feel it the next day, ouch.

Clearly, I've given up on the gym - it smelled like sweaty boys and was way too hot, making it even less desirable for me to exercise. I'm supplementing my weed pulling with pilates for my current workout - I'll let you know how it goes - possible before & after pics. Until then, enjoy these hints of spring!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Here's the Date!

Initially, we didn't expect any Americans at our wedding. And since my parents didn't plan on coming at first, I wasn't planning on inviting anyone else from home. The plan was to have a series of receptions when we visited at Christmas.

But since my family is coming, we're not going home for Christmas. And so, all reception plans were canceled, along with marriage announcement/reception invitations. But I still wanted a way to announce our wedding date, without obligating anyone to come, so I sent out a few small cards with a handwritten note:

We're getting married
November 26, 2009
Rosario, Argentina.

Please save the date
to join us or
toast us from afar.

With love,
Meag & Guille

I like to call them my "Here's the Date"s, since it's really an announcement more than a calendar event. I found the cards at one of my favorite little artisty shops - Peccata Minuta (objects irresistibles) - which is hidden away in a passageway off of Cordoba (954). Oh, and its violet season :) Happy Sunday Morning!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lentil Burgers: Take One

Wow, I've been incredibly busy with work. At some point this past week, I can't honestly remember which day since it's all a blur, I whipped up these lentil burgers from The VeggieTable. I made half of the following recipe and ended up with 6.

Lentil Burgers
  • 1 c. dry lentils, rinsed
  • 2 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 t. soy sauce
  • 3/4 c. rolled oats, finely ground
  • 3/4 c. bread crumbs
In a sauce pan, salt water, add lentils and bring to a boil. Drop to low and simmer 45 minutes or until tender. Separately, saute onion and carrot in EVOO for 5-10 minutes. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, mash slightly, and form mixture into patties.

You can either fry these for a few minutes on each side in a small amount of oil or you can bake them at 200C (400F) for 15-20 minutes. You can also keep these in the fridge for a few days before cooking.

I baked the burgers, flipping half way through. Mine came out a little dry, so I didn't eat it on a bun but served on top of a light salad with mashed potatoes as a side. For Take 2, I'll add more water to the lentils and maybe throw in some sunflower seeds and red pepper. Still, they turned out to be yummy, healthy, and easy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In the cocina, Out of the world

My Spanish homework assignment this week was to make a list of things in my kitchen that I have/need/want. My teacher has taken a very practical approach to my learning. At first, we were going to learn the verb tenses, but I think it became obvious that I needed a bigger vocabulary before I could ever put a sentence together. Thus, we discuss everyday situational vocabulary so that I can become more participative in the world in which I live. Last week, she pretended to be an underwear store clerk and I had to do some shopping. You don't want to know.

As my independence (or lack there of) is dependent on my ability (or inability) to communicate, I'm completely surprised by my disinterest in the language. I've always considered myself to be extremely independent, and offended by the notion that I need any help. A few years ago, I told Guille that he could do things for me but I didn't need him. How rude of me! Now I hardly do anything without him.

I seem to have turned "Ignorance is Bliss" into my personal motto. You know how sometimes when you're trying to enjoy your dinner you can't help but overhear some awful conversation at the table next to you? I don't have that problem. It's also nice not having to carry around money (honestly, I don't want to get robbed) and worry about it. Pesos just don't seem real anyway. But I realize that these are also indications that I've given up elements of my own independence. So I wonder: at what point does it become unhealthy to live in a bubble?

Maybe I should stop pretending that I'm not a part of this society (although, legally, I'm not). Maybe I'll appreciate it more once I stop avoiding it. And maybe I should think about Guille - he's probably sick of translating. So here's my homework:

Tengo (un/una/unos/unas)....
horno = oven
cocina = stove
bol para batir = mixing bowl

toastadora = toaster
rallador de queso = cheese grater

tazas = mugs
jarrita = coffee cup (taller than a cortado, might be specific to Rosario)
pocillo = cup & saucer (for espresso)
pava = kettle

pitcher = jarra

azucarera = sugar bowl
salero y pimentero = salt & pepper shaker (mine are from Fishs Eddy)

aceitera y vinagerera = oil & vinegar bottles
tabla de cortar = cutting board
frascos = jars

panera de mimbre = bread basket
copas de vino = wine glasses
colador = colander
espátula = spatula

Necesito (un/una/unos/unas)....
soporte para Roli Sec = paper towel holder (Roli Sec is a brand name)
especieros = spice containers
licuadora = blender
pirotines o moldes de papel para muffins = muffin cups

Me gustaría (un/una/unos/unas)....
(Well, you could just look at my wish list)
ensaladera = salad bowl
bombonera = candy jar
tetera = tea pot
tazas de té = tea cups
batidora de pie = stand mixer
agarraderas = pot holders