Monday, June 14, 2010

freebie day

Julie Powell has given me the cooking bug (even more than I normally do). I read Julie and Julia last week and loved all the food verbiage. I read her two novels in the wrong sequence and I wasn't going to read this at all after I finished her second novel; Cleaving. It's not worth your time unless you really love reading very detailed descriptions of butchering meat (the better writing in the novel) or the infuriating and sordid details of this average woman's infidelity (ugh! TMI). I finished the second novel disliking Julie Powell very much. It's a good thing my reading selection is getting scarce because I decided, on last resort, to pick up Julie and Julia. I'm liking this much better and it's persuading me to cook. I like that Julie cooks to give herself some purpose and drive in her novel. So there you go. I think that paragraph was some serious verbiage too-sorry!

I cooked my way through Philippine Independence Day Monday. Justin had the day off and took Addie to a birthday party while Bella attempted to take a nap at home with me. In between trying to get her to sleep I attempted making my very first yeast rolls. I can't believe I haven't done this before and quickly did some research (online and calling my Dad, the bread man, on Skype). I found out that Cora had been using our instant yeast as if it was active dry yeast. I was thrilled to skip the first rising step but completely nervous during the hour that the rolls were rising in the muffin tin. Sure enough they doubled in size. I baked them a tad overdone but they are still super yummy.On Saturday we tried the Corner Tree Cafe for an early dinner with the girls. It's a delicious vegetarian place. I had fried polenta patties with a creamy mushroom sauce. The spinach and feta croquettes and sweet potato fries were great. The banana toffee cream pie was amazing. Last night I did a mental check of what I thought was in the pie; sure enough we had all those ingredients in the kitchen so I decided to, without any idea how Corner Tree Cafe made their pie, copy it. Mine wasn't nearly as pretty. In fact, it was tough to slice, but it tasted awesome. Not just like the restaurants but the same flavor combination. Here's what I did (on a whim):

In the food processor I combined graham crackers, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter until the right consistency for a crust. I pushed it into the pie pan and froze it. Meanwhile, I combined butter with brown sugar on the stove until it was thick and forming a semi-hard ball toffee. I pulled off the candy into a bowl. Most of it stuck to my metal whisk. In the pan I warmed some leftover cooking cream and about a 1/2 cup of leftover whipped cream (just using what I had in the fridge). I then put the toffee globs back in the pan and using my candy crusted whisk started slowly melting the toffee into the cream. Yum! I was finally getting somewhere. I combined the toffee until the cream was sufficiently toffee flavored. I then removed the remaining toffee pieces and chopped them up roughly with a knife. I peeled and cut thick banana rounds (about six small Philippine bananas, maybe three big American size) I stirred the bananas in with the toffee flavored cream and then added the toffee chunks. I poured it all in the pie crust and topped it with a thick layer of freshly made whip cream. Last, I topped it with a dust of cinnamon. The girls didn't qualify for dessert last night so Justin and I both had two pieces after the girls were in bed. It was a perfect combination of flavors. I love it when my whims turn out yummy.For dinner I made coconut chicken chili which was pretty good. I used a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens that had a tad too much coconut milk for me. I made the recipe sans spice and took out the girls' portion before I could add the chili and cayenne pepper for Justin and I. In the end, Addie didn't eat one bite of it and our portions were bright pink from adding the spices last in the recipe. Ah well. I've made better chicken dishes to go over rice. Everything can't be awesome all the time.

My sweet husband let me indulge in my desire to cook on his day off. He never has much of a problem tasting the results so it's win-win. I was in the kitchen cooking and doing dishes for what seemed like most of the afternoon. Bella kept sneaking in to be with me and I even stepped on her little feet a few times not realizing she was behind me. After dinner I ignored the dishes for awhile so we could all play together. A storm was coming in and we all huddled up in Addie's room being silly. It's inevitable that after dinner both girls are going to be down to their skivvies. Arabella is so happy after she's eaten (who isn't really). The girls are starting to play really nicely together. Often Addie will make up a game and Bella will try to play right along with her.


Melinda Renee said...

I love the movie Julie & Julia, and last Memorial Day at the cabin my friend's hubby read the book, he liked it too! (of course, Rick said he felt the urge to put on a dress and pearls, but that's just Rick)

Good tip to avoid the second book, I wouldn't want to picture Amy Adams in a character role of infidelity! She's my idol right now. :-)

Emily Joy said...

I recognize the bear hook thingy, didn't you paint that?

Terry said...

Is there a Sara & Sara Lee in the future?

Sara said...

Yes, I totally painted that at my toll painting classes when I was like 10 or something. Mom sent it to me so the girls can use it.