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Showing posts from March, 2012

Joy the Baker at Brooklyn Kitchen

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Today I went to see Joy the Baker at her book signing at Brooklyn Kitchen in Greenpoint. It was ridiculously fun. Check us out:


Check out her adorable message signed inside my book:


I love her. I was on the fence whether to go or not, and I happened to watch the video on her about page again. I have got to say - the story about her dad and the pie crust gets me every time! Also "I hope you like it - I made it for you!" Ahhh! I just wanted to go so bad! I met some elderly women on the train who couldn't understand why I was on a trip by myself (perhaps that is a generational difference) and also could not understand me traveling a few hours to see a food blogger. "She has a blog." Then they said "Is she on PBS?" "No." "The Food Network?" "No, there is a blog." "So this is her first book?" "Yes" "But it is all desserts!" "That's not true, there are a couple of smoothies." (I frant…

Tara Kitchen, Schenectady

We've lived here almost three years, and up until last Saturday I had only been to Schenectady three times. Once when we first moved here, we missed the turn off for Crossgates and accidentally got on I-90 the same day someone had recommended the Appian Way to us so we ended up there mostly by accident. I checked out Erin Harkes at the Moon and River Cafe once while planning our wedding and looking for a singer for our first dance. A couple weeks ago we saw the RPI/Union hockey game and because none of us knew any restaurants in Schenectady worth going to (including our friend who lives there) we went to Garden Bistro 24 in Colonie. Well, I threw off my annual schedule of visiting the fair city by going again this past weekend because my friend, Jessica, was working back stage at Fiddler on the Roof at the Schenectady Light Opera Company.

My husband was out of town, and past times when he has been out of town I've made lavender sorbet for dinner, watched every movie on the On…

Dragon City Chinese Take-out

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We like Dragon City Chinese Restaurant on Western Avenue for take-out. Here is the Times Union review I read posted on the wall as I waited for our food. Here is what is good about it:

Very cheap. We got enough for like 4 meals for under $20. (Pictured above is the curry beef and the broccoli with garlic sauce, not pictured is the hot and sour soup which my husband, a connoisseur of hot and sour soup, seemed to really enjoy.)Unlike lesser Chinese restaurants you actually get a good amount of fresh tasting vegetables (the above linked Times Union review notes this fact). In this way, Chinese food can be a really cheap take out option that actually offers real vegetables (maybe Wendy's and Taco Bell should offer a side of broccoli?).They are fast too. I browsed their Time magazines from around the time of Hurricane Katrina and when Jonathan Franzen's Freedom came out (far from current), and before I knew it my order was ready. This is good since it can be hard to know what to do…

TWD, Baking with Julia: Irish Soda Bread

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie using the book Baking with Julia I made Irish soda bread. Check out the discussion about the recipe here. You can read the recipe here. Here's mine:


And served with bacon, eggs, and salad:


Here is what I thought about the recipe:

It was super easy, took about an hour to make, and has little fat in it. All wins. Mark Bittman has a yeast bread recipe that just rises while the oven preheats, and I never thought it was that great of a recipe since it did not have time to develop. With this soda bread it isn't like you are hurrying it along, it is just meant to not take that much time to make.We love buttermilk (like in buttermilk poundcake!) and we are always looking for ways to use leftover buttermilk. We think it adds a good flavor without a lot of fat. Next time I have 2 extra cups of buttermilk I will just make this.The recipe says it is only good for a few hours, but I made mine on Sunday and it was still good for breakfast this morning. My husba…

The Allure of the Pioneer Woman

I've been talking a bit about the Pioneer Woman lately. I met her in NYC and I made her doughnuts. Here is a really interesting article about her from the New York Times magazine.  I love all this talk of "Real Housewives" and peeling open the plastic on the tapioca pudding as a huge contrast to Ree Drummond's life:

" It takes only a few minutes of voyeuristically perusing Drummond’s pastoral pleasuredome, with its gorgeous photographs of Drummond cooking dinner for her rugged cowboy husband or home-schooling her four towheaded children, before you realize that you are a failure. Gazing at photos of Drummond’s kids riding their horses under a cloud-dappled Maxfield Parrish sky, you can see that, in comparison, you fail your brood every day. Because as you grumble and boil mac and cheese from a box and your kids beg to watch the latest Katy Perry video on your laptop, this woman fries chicken and teaches her children algebra and shakes her luscious mane …

March Food Swap

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Today I went to the food swap with the From Scratch Club over in Troy. I would say that maybe I got a little more used to things, and that for me it went a little smoother than last time. This time I decided to make doughnuts. Here they are all packaged up and ready to go.



These doughnuts were a bit of an epic experience for me. I went through a lot of ideas for what to make for the food swap. I think it was down to bagels, doughnuts, cake pops, and onion potato chips. I think for next time I will make hot sauce. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to do a couple different kinds of doughnuts. This was fun because I got to compare some recipes. First I made Joy the Baker's chocolate doughnuts. These were a bit like biscuits and easy and quick to make. Then, I made doughnuts with vanilla glaze in the new Pioneer Woman cookbook. These were very epic. Actually the dough reminded me of Joy the Baker's cinnamon rolls and Dorie Greenspan's white loaves. I could tell from early on …

Happy to be in the 518

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We spent the weekend in NYC, and I hung around until yesterday to get to see the Pioneer Woman at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. We had a fun filled weekend which included Rangers/Islanders at Madison Square Garden, Colicchio & Sons, a pub George Washington frequented, Brooklyn Flea, and then I went to Alice's Tea Cup with my friend (more specific run downs of these activities may follow).

I guess what I really just wanted to say though is how happy I was to come back to Albany at the end of it. New York City made me feel after a weekend just like I had felt after 4 and a half years - that it was dirty, expensive, and crowded.

A few weeks on the radio I heard Kristi talking about what she liked most about the Capital Region. She was trying to defend the photo of Sheridan Avenue on Jeopardy where the associated question was "What is city plight?". But instead of coming up with ways we could help people in that neighborhood, all she could come up with were thi…

Birthday breakfast cinnamon rolls with buttermilk icing

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I'm quickly developing a huge girl-crush on Joy the Baker, and I think if you make her recipes you will too. From her new cookbook, I made her cinnamon rolls with buttermilk icing for my husband's birthday weekend. All I can say is wow. I could tell these were going to be amazing from very early on in the recipe. The dough was very similar in technique and ingredients to the Dorie Greenspan white loaves recipe. Check them out:



And then layer after layer of flaky goodness:


Then there were presents, including a cookbook he was browsing at our friend's house last weekend.


Let it be known these cinnamon rolls are very, very special.

Garden Bistro 24, Colonie

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Garden Bistro 24 is a case where we're pretty much the last people on the bandwagon -- its reputation among Albany foodies is verystrong. Since we met friends in Schenectady to see the playoff game between Union and RPI and were looking for a dinner spot on the western edge of Albany County, it seemed like it was time to try it. We will definitely concur with the consensus.

The first thing worth mentioning is the service. We didn't arrive until after 10, and given that the only remaining patrons were two women sharing a drink at the bar, I couldn't have blamed a small restaurant for turning us away. But we were seated without hesitation, and the service was very friendly and efficient without being rushed.

Good service doesn't mean much without quality food, but in this case it was more than a match. Ms. Garlic, one of our companions and me wanted a salad as an appetizer, and the entree-size salad was more than sufficient for the three of us:


The countryside…

Waving at the Spring from over here

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It's getting a little warmer round here and it makes me feel like looking forward to the next few months. I've got some fun ideas and then our 1 year wedding anniversary. Yay!

Next week I'm going to the book signing for The Pioneer Woman in NYC. Sure, she is goofy sometimes and wants to put in way too much butter, but there is something I like about her - relatability, unparelled success out of just typing about food from her living room computer, those mushrooms? March 31st Joy the Baker is going to be in NYC also for a cookbook signing.  Do you read her blog? Emma Stone does! I bought her cookbook last night and fell in love with her all over again. You really feel like she is right there with you. I think there is some balance in blogging - you want to disclose enough about yourself that there is something there to relate to, but not too much that it would be awkward if readers were to meet you in person. It is not a journal, right? Somehow, she really strikes the right…

Gastronomica Event

This sounds like a really interesting event as part of the Berkshire Women Writer's Festival 2012. I have plans that evening, and as I have mentioned a few times Ruth Reichl was once sort of rude to me, but I'm sure it will be a great event.

TWD, Baking With Julia: Rugelach

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie, using the book Baking with Julia I made rugelach. You can find the recipe here and here. You can read many comments from other bakers talking about their rugelach here. Check out some pictures of mine, and I'll tell you what I thought about them!

Since my husband is allergic to nuts I just completed left those out of the recipe. Also, as far as the spread in the middle I had some prunes, but I underestimated the measurement of them and ended up using two cups of dates and one cup of the prunes. This sort of date/prune butter concoction is great. It would be great to eat on toast, or to take in cans to a food swap.


After spreading on the date/prune mixture, and sprinkling on a brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon mixture on the dough I made and rolled out, I included some cranberries and cherries. The tip on page 10 on the book to steam dried fruits under simmering water worked out great. I have never thought of that before, but it really did work…

Naan and Indian dinner party

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We went to a dinner party tonight at our friend's house who did a great job at putting together an Indian meal. We have a couple Indian cookbooks, but we have only made two things. We made a swordfish with a yogurt-ginger marinade once that gets thrown on the grill, and I made chicken tikka back when we first moved in together. For some reason, I've had some weird idea that we'd have to go to an Indian market to get certain items, or that it would be really complicated.

I offered to make naan for the dinner, and I used the cookbook An Invitation to Indian Cooking. I'm quickly becoming the girl who offers to make a bread that goes along with the meal you are making for me, which is kind of funny. Here's what I think about making naan:

It's got yogurt in it and warmed milk, and you can immediately tell the texture is going to be different than other breads - flakier and not hugely doughy (not like the way the challah rose all over everything and looked like it co…

Breaking news on the marshmallow front

I discussed my fondness for marshmallows in this post and I made some for half the people I know for Christmas. I love them! Fluffy, fun to eat, what is not to love? Check out these Mugtoppers, which are cut in the shape of your mug so that they melt evenly over your hot chocolate or other hot drink. Brilliant!

Empire State Plaza Art Collection

I previously mentioned that I am auditing a class at the art conservation lab. Last week we took a field trip to the Empire State Plaza Art collection. I had never been down there before. Another blogger discussed the collection here.

The conservator told us about all the awful things that have happened to these paintings, including vandalism in the 1980s. You can read an article about that event here. A man took a serrated steak knife to eight different paintings, sawed at them, pulled the canvas forward, and wrote on them in magic marker. It was at three a.m., the plaza police were off somewhere, and the only reason the man got caught was that he turned himself in the next morning. There were other incidences over the years with these paintings - kids lodging spitballs on them with straws from the nearby McDonald's, coffee spills, soy sauce packets sprayed on the Jackson Pollock, a Jazzercise instructor using a painting as the jumping off point for her exercise, kids climbing o…