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From the Formica Top #6: Test Kitchen (+ Other Things)
Saturday, January 26, 2008
From the Formica Top #6

Test Kitchen
I have gotten bored. Very bored. After a marathon of holiday baking (and some holiday eating), I'm ready to try something new and not eat the same old thing because I know it's healthy. It's time to find new healthy things!

By healthy, I do not mean creative salads. I mean using whole grains like millet and quinoa, seafood like salmon and scallops, leaner options for the fatty classics like turkey and chicken sausage instead of the greasy pork versions, trying new things like tempeh and all sorts of mushrooms.

This has translated into millet and quinoa whole wheat bread, portabella mushrooms stuffed with turkey sausage, pimentos, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese pizza and new bentos.

All of these, of course, will eventually end up here, but I thought I would fill you in lest you think me a lazy cook in the New Year. In fact, next week is a busy cooking week, but I'll talk about all that in the next sections.

Hold your breath for new features like Investigating, a series on trying things I've never tried before, Cook the Book: Tapas by Penelope Casas, which I got for the holidays, and, come full-blown farm season, recipes local to Connecticut, stories about the farms and other bits that I haven't come up for a name with yet.

I have big plans for this blog this year...

A Week of Cooking
I'm hosting a meeting at my center at work on Friday and I'm determined to provide not only coffee, but a nice little table of refreshments--understated but delicious. It's not a big deal of a meeting, but it is a little important, especially to me.

I think a dozen muffins, a yummy loaf of bread with jam and butter, coffee and juice would be just fine. But with Baking by Dorie Greenspan still checked out of the library (they very nicely allowed me to extend my check out, mostly because I begged and pleaded), the choices are never easy.

Then Saturday is Imbolc (or Candlemas), the first pagan sabbat of the year. I'm looking to a tapas inspired dinner that isn't too over the top. I've learned my lesson about making dinner parties hard for myself, so an affair of appetizers seems doable.

Penelope Casas has some lovely recipes in her Tapas book and I've tested a few things out lately that I'd like to share, like stuffed mushrooms and a leaner spinach artichoke "dip." There are a few recipes with Serrano ham that I'm dying to try.

Then a cake for a Superbowl party on Sunday. I might have watched too much of Ace of Cakes lately, but my plan is a football field with football players. Yes, Duff made a Superbowl cake and that episode aired recently, so I have ideas. Little football players, goal posts, shredded coconut for grass (which informs the flavor of the cake, really), precise work.

This will require a trip to a craft store for fondant and icing tips. I'll also need a cake pan, one of those 9x13 jobs with cornered edges, like my brownie pans. And, yeah, the grocery store. I'm planning on baking the cake during the week and doing little things, as well, so I don't end up with a crazy Sunday morning, after a nutty Saturday night.

Reports will come. I promise.

Functional Kitchen

So, at my more diary/journal like blog, I posted about using chalkboard paint in my kitchen. This idea hasn't died, I just need to do a little more hunting around for the actual paint. I'm excited about the idea of posting a dinner party menu on the board, like a restaurant menu, being creative with chalk, adding one more surface to write on, putting up poems and other things.

Since I'm doing a lot more experimenting with recipes, I got myself a new recipe "sketchbook" of sorts, where I can track attempts at different things and keep a handle of how many calories there are in certain things. If I know there's 250 calories in the cupcake than I'll eat it and account for it the rest of the day. But if I have no clue, than I'm less likely to eat it. And I'm sick of that.

Clipboards have also been added, with the idea being that I can Velcro them to the cabinets and put recipes on there, so I can read them while I cook and not have it be in the way or get completely filthy. A cookbook shelf will also be necessary, but I'm working out the construction of that. Probably a shelf with a lip in front and a clip to hold open the book.

I'll let you know how all these go...
posted by Rose @ 6:03 PM  
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Name: Starry Rose
Home: New Haven, CT

A writer, cook, book-addict, foodie and pagan

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