Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Food Photos...Recipes to Come

Wow, I can't believe how long its been since my last post! But unfortunately there isn't much time to share many recipes but I did at the very least want to post some photos of the yummy food that I've been cooking here in San Diego. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get my act together and start posting a bit more regularly. Enjoy!


Here's something I cooked with my mom. It's boiled plantains with a yummy coconut tapioca sauce. I really need to figure out this recipe and write it down for everyone. Super easy and super tasty!


And here's the turkey Bobby made for our early Thanksgiving feast. It's an organic free range turkey simply cooked with just some salt and pepper and butter and it was PERFECT!

And next to the turkey, these were the star of that dinner party. Bobby's broccoli and sweet potato casserole. Seriously divine. I had everyone tricked into thinking that I made them. =)

I'm hoping to get a lot more cooking once I get settled into work and life. Hope everyone is doing well and I can't wait to hear about all of your cooking adventures!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Berry Pudding Cake

Over the summer my mom sent me this recipe from Cooking Light, and I’ve made it a couple of times since then -- it’s really good! I especially like the leftovers after a day in the fridge, when they're a little bit soggy. Mmm :)

I'm not sure why it's called a *pudding* cake, because the batter cooks up like normal cake. Maybe because the berries keep it so moist.



****

Berry Pudding Cake, from Cooking Light magazine

About 2 cups each fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350

Toss berries with 1/4 cup of sugar. If the berries are pretty sweet to begin with, you can use less sugar. Spread the berries in an ungreased 9x13 pan.

In a bowl whisk eggs, oil, orange peel, vanilla and 1 cup sugar. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Pour batter evenly over berry mixture and gently spread to just cover the berries

Bake cake at 350 for 28-35 minutes, until just slightly browned. The top should spring back when touched. Let cool ten minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm or cold.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Michael Phelps Diet: Saturday Night Live

Did you guys watch Michael Phelps host SNL this Saturday? While he wasn't the funniest person ever, this little bit about the MP Diet was HILARIOUS! Enjoy!



And...on a more important note...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELLY!!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Carrot Ginger Soup - MmMm Good

So along with my seasonal hankering for all things pumpkin (as I know Mel concurs), the fall also brings with it my soup filled days in an attempt to not succumb to the hypothermia in my ridiculously drafty apartment and to not to pack on the pounds and go into reclusive hibernation. Last year, I became completely OB-SESSED with a carrot ginger soup made by Whole Foods in their special refridgerated section. Imagine my delight when I gleefully found it back on the shelves after a long, hot summer. As I jauntily skipped (in my mind, really it was more of a brisk walk), making my way to the cashier purchasing not one, but two plastic pints of the delectible concoction. After all, it always sold out quickly. What if I came back the following week or two and found the shelves bare? It wasn't until I got home and poured myself a bowl that I saw and tasted something anew. No longer were there delicious chunks of carrots. No longer was there a sweetness coupled with the salty. Alas, could my 70 calories, 2 g fat/serving have been a complete and utter lie? Perhaps I dreamt of the gingery bite that accompanied every hearty slurp. This "new" batch, although the label remained the same listing all of the familiar ingredients, fell short of satisfactory to say the least. Such was my horror that a friend of mine who lives in Chelsea and is also a huge fan of the Whole Foods CGS emailed me saying that her batch from her nearby Whole Foods had befallen the same fate. Thus began my journey to find a CGS of my very own making.

One of the things that I loved about the Whole Foods CGS was the low calorie, fat content and delicious, filling texture. I began to search high and low, scouring the internet for hours, ok, well, maybe minutes, thinking of the exact combination of flavors to achieve the near perfection of the 2007 Whole Foods CGS. Somehow I lucked out and found this:

Curried Carrot Ginger Soup

1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 T minced garlic
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 t salt
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 t yellow curry powder
6 oz lite silken tofu

In a medium sized pot, bring the carrots, onion, garlic, broth, and ginger to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add the curry powder and salt and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. Add the tofu and puree (I cracked out the immersion blender for the first time, and it scared the be-jeeeeesus out of me) to desired thickness.

Makes 3-4 servings.

That's all she wrote. Next time I will add a little cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick, and while I do love curry and understand that not everyone shares this flavor, I'm sure you could try it without (as the Whole Foods recipe never contained curry), though the taste is incredibly mild in this recipe.

I didn't have my camera to post pictures, but just imagie a very orange chunky soupy puree. Yum-o!

All I can say is, butternut squash, you better BRING IT! You've got some hefty competition.

Tuna Fish Sandwiches

So right before Justin went on deployment, he and I along with his dad and another crew delivered his dad's sailboat from Seattle to San Diego. It was a very long and rocky 10 day passage but we did fit in some fresh tuna fishing off the coast of Oregon and I thought I'd share some photos and the "recipe" for these delicious tuna fish sandwiches.

Tuna Fish Sandwiches

First, you should catch some fish. We caught some albacore tuna here.


Once you catch the fish, tie them onto a line attached to the sailboat until they bleed out a bit before filleting the fish.

Then, fillet the fish. And an interesting thing to note here is that Justin is filleting the tuna as the boat is flying along at 8-10 knots while the waves are pretty huge.


Next, season the tuna fillets with olive oil, salt and pepper before throwing them onto the grill and cook to desired doneness. Since this is albacore tuna, we cooked them medium to medium well.

Then serve the tuna fillets with some toasted whole grain bread, good mayonnaise, swiss cheese, and tomato slices. Then viola! A fantastic tuna sandwich that went from the ocean to table within an hour.

And your view? The pacific ocean with an occasional humpback whale breaching in the background. =)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Strawberry Muffins



So sorry that I've been MIA for so long. I've been cooking and taking photos but have utterly failed at posting. Oi oi oi. Well here is my attempt to get back into the game before I leave for Australia on Tuesday. (by the way...you crazy kids who have been traveling really need to post photos!)

Now that I'm back in San Diego I've been hanging out with my nephews a lot. I went over to their house a few days ago to bake some blueberry muffins. (Cooking with kids is SO FUN!) My sister in law insisted that she had some fresh blueberries. Unfortunately they were all moldy when we pulled them out of the fridge. But since I'm not one to accept defeat, we substituted some fresh strawberries instead and made strawberry muffins. Well...they turned out beautiful and the muffin cake itself was DELICIOUS. But the strawberries given the recipe I had were just too tart for the muffin. So, my nephews and I are determined to give it another try later but for now, here are some photos for you to enjoy.



By the way, the recipe we used is one that I'm testing for America's Test Kitchen. I love calling myself a "recipe tester." =) And here is the original recipe we were supposed to use for the blueberry muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins
from America's Test Kitchen
Makes 12

Turbinado sugar is commonly sold as Sugar In The Raw. Demerara, sanding sugar, or other coarse grain sugar can be substituted.

2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.

2. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar, zest, and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogenous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining fresh uncooked berries into flour mixture until just moistened (batter will be very lumpy). Do not overmix.

3. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide half of batter equally among muffin cups (cups should be about third filled). Place teaspoon of cooked berry mixture on top of batter. Scoop remaining batter on top of berry filling. (Batter should fill muffin cups almost to the top). Using butter knife, gently swirl berry filling into muffin batter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of muffins.

4. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

**ADDENDUM**

So I just made these blueberry muffins tonight again with my nephews again. Unfortunately, they really didn't live up to the expectations and I'm going to have to withdraw my suggestion to make these muffins. Accordingly, I also gave a pretty negative review of the recipe to America's Test Kitchen. The second time round, the overall muffin was still way too tart and it just didn't rise like I would expect a bakery style muffin too. Additionally, there wasn't an ultra crispy top to the blueberry muffin, as expected. So...I'll be on a search for a better muffin but until then, I'll try the recipe that Karen suggested from Eggs on Sunday.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Delicious summer appetizer: herb-marinated goat cheese and rosemary flatbread

I made this about a month ago—I believe it was the day before the day before the bar exam. It is a delicious appetizer—really great, fresh, summer flavors. Just looking at these pictures, I'm thinking that I need to make it again soon!



Here is a link to the recipe, which comes from Eggs On Sunday, one of my very favorite food blogs:

Herb-marinated goat cheese with rosemary flatbread


I used fresh basil, chives, and rosemary for the goat cheese and marinated for about 3 hours. The lemon zest is key—don't leave it out, and be generous with salt and pepper as well.

I was nervous about making the flatbread (the idea of “bread” just intimidates me, I think), but it was very easy and quick.

I served the goat cheese and flatbread with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and a glass of sauvignon blanc. Heaven!





(Thanks Henry for the pictures!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Into the cavernous silence

Congratulations to all of you have now completed various bar exams! Three cheers for you and yours. Hip hip hooray! I have a fabulous two and a half weeks remaining before I begin classes again. In the interim I'm getting to see fun friends (like Erin Kaderly and her beau Mike last week. We went to Pepe's -- good as always) and catching up on reading and writing. I still see asparagus at the markets here and there because we in the Northern half of the country had a cold spring, so here's my favorite new way to eat asparagus. Amazing mouth effect.

- 1 bunch asparagus sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 1 clove garlic minced
olive oil

Heat frying pan to medium hot. Add oil and veggies. Cook until asparagus is bright green on the outside and most of the white has disappeared from the inside.

Yum.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Inner Asian: Elephant Spouts and Kung Fu Dumplings

So it's like 5:30 am and I just made Justin's morning coffee and strawberry, banana, orange, and pomegranate smoothie. He leave for work and I sit down with my coffee and check google reader for any updates from my favorite blogs (including this one!) and i see these two posts on Serious Eats. They're awesome. So awesome that you need to read them.


First, this grapeseed oil bottle is SO COOL that it's spout looks like an elephant. I mean, I think should become the next biggest trend. Seriously! So awesome, I would take a photo with the person came up with the idea.



And secondly, I will admit. The movie Kung Fu panda sounded pretty stupid to me. I haven't seen the previews but the title itself is a bit ridiculous. (I know, this is coming from the girl who loves all movies with Amanda Bynes.) But I read this post about a dumpling battle and I think I might have to get to the movie theater pretty soon. The 2.5 minute clip is on there and it's awesome! I can totally relate, especially when we're at Ivy Noodle and there's only one dumpling left. Oh yeah...

Sigh...okay, off to do a practice performance test before "lecture" on community property.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bar Food 6. Strawberry Ice Cream

It's been a while since I've posted anything. Sorry! Well, the Fourth of July weekend was my last weekend of fun and I've decided that from this point forward, I'm going to be studying extra smart. We'll see how it goes. I've noticed that I'm good at making resolutions but really bad at keeping them.

Anyways, two weekends ago, Justin and I hosted a dinner party for some Yalies and Naval Academy alums. Okay, so the only Yalies were Minh (TD '02) and I with way too many naval officers, but it was a good time nonetheless. All of Justin's college roommates were there and it was extra celebratory because one of his friends had just come home from deployment that very afternoon!

I cooked a little bit here and there throughout the week to accommodate my study schedule. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the excitement, I forgot to take lots of food photos. =( But here's the menu nonetheless and I thought I'd highlight the recipe for strawberry ice cream. Super easy and a great way to take advantages of those super sweet strawberries this summer!

~MENU~

Starter
Kettle Potato Chips and Vegetable Crudites with Sun Dried Tomato Dip
Cheese Platter with Gouda and Brie

Entree
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Steamed White Rice
JalapeƱo Cheddar Corn Bread

Dessert
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Strawberry Ice Cream
Triple Chocolate Cookies

***

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

Makes one quart. The secret to making the best strawberry ice cream is to start with the juiciest, ripest, and most flavorful fruits. When added to the rich custard base during the last few minutes of churning, the chopped berries retain their texture and intensely fruity flavor and punctuate the pale pink ice cream with bright flecks.

2 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped strawberries
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mis en place. Everything in its place.

1. Puree the strawberries. Put half of the chopped strawberries in a food processor along with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Puree the strawberries until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside the purred berries and remaining chopped berries.

2. Prepare the custard ingredients. Put the milk, ¾ cup of the cream, and the remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup cream until they are blended and a pale buttery yellow, about 1 minute.

3. Temper the egg yolks. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until bubbles form around the edges, the liquid just begins to ripple in the center, and the sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes. Do not allow the liquid to come to a boil. Remove from the heat. Begin whisking the egg yolk mixture with one hand while slowly pouring ¼ of the hot milk mixture into the yolks. When the mixture has been blended, start pouring the warmed yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly until well blended.

4. Cook the custard. Place the saucepan with the milk and yolk mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 4-5 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. While the custard cooks it is important to stir it constantly, taking care to reach all areas of the bottom of the saucepan so that it does not scorch or curdle. The custard should come to a bare simmer, with steam rising from the surface and the surface rippling, but it should not actually bubble or come to a boil.

5. Add the pureed fruit and strain the custard. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the pureed strawberries and vanilla extract. Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Pour the hot custard through the sieve, gently pressing the liquid through with the back of the spoon and leaving any grainy solids and strawberry seeds in the sieve.

6. Cool the custard. Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with ice cubes and enough water just to cover the ice cubs. Place the bowl with the custard into the larger bowl, nestling the medium bowl into the ice cubs. Let the custard cool, stirring occasionally, until it reaches room temperature, 30-45 minutes. As the ice melts, be sure the water level does not rise to flood into the custard. Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, remove the medium bowl from the ice water bath.

7. Chill the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, which will prevent a “skin” from forming as the custard chills. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until it is well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.

8. Churn the ice cream and add the fruit. Churn the ice cream according the manufacturer’s directions. During the last few minutes of churing, when the custard has reached the consistency of thick whipped cream, add the reserved 1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries and churn until just incorporated.

9. Store the ice cream. The ice cream can be served immediately but it will have a very soft consistency and mild flavor. For a fuller flavor and firmer consistency, use a rubber spatula to transfer the ice cream to a plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. It is best served 3 to6 hours after being transferred to the freezer.




Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bar Food 5. Quick and Easy Vietnamese Sticky Rice

So I've always dreamed of being able to take traditional Vietnamese recipes, which are often highly involved and intense, and simplifying them for people like us - young busy professionals who love to make great food but just don't have much time. Well, I'm a long way from that goal but I think this is a good first step.

I read a post about Cheat's Sticky Rice on Serious Eats (a fabulous food blog) and it got me inspired. The Vietnamese sticky rice I grew up has NO mushrooms (I HATE rehydrated Shitake mushrooms) and is overflowing with salty dried shrimp, lap xuong (Chinese sausage), and homemade fried shallots. Thankfully, you can also buy premade fried shallots in almost any Asian grocery store.

I think this recipe still has room for improvement but for now, it's awfully tasty. Justin ate almost the ENTIRE thing in one sitting.

***

QUICK AND EASY VIETNAMESE STICKY RICE (XOI NEP)

3 cups glutinous rice, soaked for 3 hours and drained (this is also called sweet rice)
1 cup dried shrimp, soaked for 10 minutes (drain and reserve soaking water)
5 lap xuong (Chinese sausage) links, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup fried shallot chips

1. Soak a piece of cheese cloth in the shrimp soaking liquid and lay it at the bottom of your steaming basket.

2. Mix all the ingredients except the shallot chips and spread it across the bottom of the steaming basket, pouring any reserved soaking liquid from the shrimp over the rice.

3. All the rice to steam for 30-40 minutes until al dente. Right before serving, mix in the shallot chips so they wilt.


**I know...this needs a lot more work but I wanted to make sure to at least make a preliminary post.**

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Food for the future and a brew buzz

I just spent a while talking to Charlie Pillsbury's wife. Charlie, who was known as Doone in college, was Gary Trudeau's suitemate (D-port maybe?). Anyway, Charlie, the inspiration for Doone and their other suitemate Scot (the half inspiration for Scot Sloane in Doonesbury) and their other suitemates all still get together for Labor Day every year. It gives me such joy to think that we could be having New Years or some other holiday dinner for years into the future.

Also -- here's a recipe for Cold Brew Coffee, my new favorite thing. It's kind of like sun tea in that it cold brews, but the benefits are many -- non-acidic because it hasn't been hot-brewed, very concentrated stuff that can be re-constituted using hot or cold water/milk depending on whether you want hot or iced coffee, and it lasts in the fridge for upwards of two weeks. It's pretty great. I make half-decaf/half-regular blend.

- 1 lb coffee (ground)
- 12 cups cold water

Let sit 24 hours or more. Strain. (To strain I line a collander with 2 layers of paper towel).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bar Food 4. Pasta Caprese

So I'm now about a month into studying for the bar and I think it's catching up with me. I'm starting to realize just how much there is to learn and memorize. oi oi oi. Anyways, the complexity of my cooking has decreased by a bit but as so many great chefs say, the simplest food is often the most delicious.

Here is a recipe for pasta caprese which I made for dinner tonight. I saw this recipe while watching America's Test Kitchen, a fantastic cooking show on PBSHD, and adapted it slightly given what I had around the house. Because the recipe includes so few ingredients, its really important to use very high quality food. So it was the perfect opportunity for me to use my basil plant.

I grew these guys from seed starting back in March and despite the unbearable Virginia weather and my long trips away from home, they have continued to persevere (while everything else has shriveled up dry). Hope you enjoy the recipe!

***

PASTA CAPRESE

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 lb ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound short tubular or curly pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar, optional depending on ripeness of tomatoes

1. Whisk oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.

3. Bring water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well. Combine pasta, mozzarella, and tomato and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil.

4. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and sugar (if desired) and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, HENRY!


Henry's Cake
Originally uploaded by jetrotz
Okay, so this isn't my photo and I unfortunately didn't make you a cake. But don't they say it's the thought that counts? =) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This is food related

And, deliciously random.



Andy Samberg is hilarious.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reunited and it tastes so good...

As fun as it was to see everyone last weekend for our 5th Reunion at Yale, it was almost as fun to revisit all our favorite food haunts. Food played such an integral role in our college lives, from spending a lazy Sunday brunch in the dining hall doing crossword puzzles and recounting our weekends, to making late night runs for pan fried dumplings at the Ivy Noodle or clogging our arteries with fried donuts from the Yankee Doodle. And, surprisingly, New Haven has great food for a town its size.

Sadly, the weekend wasn't long enough, and there weren't enough meals in the day, to hit all our favorite spots. But here's a photo tour of the places we did manage to hit:

Friday Night Dinner and Drinks - Mory's
IMG_6931IMG_6940
Mory's... the food is mediocre and way overpriced, but where else can you drink mysterious colored libations from giant trophy cups? Full of tradition, ceremony, and singing, it's a quintessential Yale experience.
IMG_6995

1am Snack - Yorkside Pizza
IMG_7009IMG_7012
Our go-to snack at 1am was usually the Ivy Noodle, but unfortunately, the Ivy Noodle was on summer hours, meaning they closed at 12am, so instead, we went to Yorkside, another late night mainstay. Some people like Yorkside's pizza, but I don't. There's much better pizza in New Haven. Their calzones, however, are unbeatable.
IMG_7014
These baked monstrosities might not seem like much from the outside, but these doughy vessels hide a cheesy goodness that oozes forth when you slice them open. Though I used to polish these off single-handedly, that night Van and Mel helped me out (we had, after all, just had dinner).
IMG_7016
The deliciousness you see here is the mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, meatballs and mushrooms that fill the calzone. The creaminess of the ricotta and the chewiness of the mozzarella complement each other perfectly. These calzones are still a regular craving of mine that, sadly, cannot be satisfied anywhere but New Haven.

Saturday Lunch - Thai Taste
IMG_7049IMG_7054
For lunch Saturday, a large group of us went to Thai Taste, a Thai restaurant underneath a hotel on Chapel St. This was the first place I had ever had Thai food, and it's a good one. I had the drunken noodles, which were generously portioned and deliciously chewy.

Morse Dining Hall
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We didn't eat there, but the door was unlocked so we did get to go inside and check out the dining hall where we spent so much of our time procrastinating with 2 hour meals. They got an impressive new Morse banner that livens the place up a bit.

Class Dinner - Yale Commons
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We had our class dinner at the grandiose Commons dining hall (which doubles for a library in the new Indiana Jones movie). This was definitely the best meal I have ever had at Commons (not a high bar to meet). But the steak was surprisingly delicious.
IMG_7230

Midnight Snack - Ivy Noodle
IMG_7244IMG_7245
We managed to just make it to the Ivy Noodle in time to grab some food to go before their 12am summer closing time. My favorite things at the Noodle are the pan fried dumplings and the scallion pancakes. Their roast pork on rice and chow fun are also good. But don't get the fried rice... they don't actually fry it (and as Van found out, if you ask them to, you just end up with no peas).

Though we managed to hit most of the places that were at the top of my list of favorites, other favorites that I missed out on:
Nirvana - now called Zaroka, but it'll always be Nirvana to us. The best of the many Indian places around campus.
Louie's Lunch - supposedly the birthplace of the hamburger. Their burgers are tasty, and so is their potato salad.
The Educated Burgher - great burgers and breakfast food at great prices.

But, the most tragic of all the places that I didn't get to eat at... the Yankee Doodle. The Doodle was a mainstay on the Yale campus for generations, yet it was forced to close because of financial problems.
IMG_7127IMG_7130
It's a travesty that such a Yale institution was allowed to go under. Who else would be able to make such great use of such a tiny space (their one-counter restaurant was almost as small as my dorm room). Their greasy burgers, fried donuts and old school atmosphere are greatly missed.

Bar Food 3. Italian Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Potato Soup

So while the recipe for this post is the sausage, squash, and potato soup, I also wanted to take a moment to RAVE about my new Cuisinart Smart Stick. It's an immersion blender/ whisk/ mini chop all in one. I've been in the market for an immersion blender for a few months now and most of the reviews erred away from these multi-purpose hand blenders. But the ones they suggested were usually $50-$100. I already have overflown our little kitchen with all of my cooking toys so I felt guilty buying something I didn't necessarily "need," since I already have a fantastic blender and a food processor (which I'm hoping will die sooner than later so I can be justified in buying a new one). But when I saw that Costco finally had a hand blender for only $30, I immediately got it and have just loved it.


I used the mini-chop to make a small batch of arugula and basil pesto. Instead of dirtying my kitchen aid standing mixer for just one egg, I used the smart stick whisk attachment to beat an egg white for some super light waffles. And the blender? Well let's just say I've been making soups like crazy, like this one. This recipe was inspired by Emeril's recipe for Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage Soup. My adaptations: I used hot Italian sausage, added potatoes, and eliminated the cream. I was skeptical at first about a pureed soup with sausage. But I must admit, it's pretty darn good. And I also used my homemade chicken stock, which I personally think makes a big difference. Enjoy!

***

ITALIAN SAUSAGE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, AND POTATO SOUP

3 cups butternut squash, diced into 1 inch cubes
3 cups
(about 3-4) red potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 hot Italian sausage links, removed from casings
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 12 whole leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade.

In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and, when hot but not smoking, add the sausage. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until the onions wilted and starting to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, sage and marjoram, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the squash and potatoes, stirring for another 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes and squash are cooked through.

With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, puree the soup. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

Since I made this yesterday, I had some leftovers for lunch today with a spinach, quinoa, butternut squash, and red pepper salad. Delightful. Okay, back to studying criminal procedure. Ugh.