Barbecue in a Box

>> Thursday, May 29, 2008

1. barbecued chicken leg
2. corn
3. one perfect apricot
4. strawberries
5. baked beans

I wrapped aluminum foil (decidedly not as cute as the printed stuff)around the "handle" end of the chicken leg ala Biggie and kept my little fingers all nice and clean. Now that's one sweet lunch packin' tip!

There's only a few hours left to Haiku that Blog! Remember all you have to do is write a haiku about Isolated Foodie. Post it in the comments here and you could be the winner of a brand new thermal lunchbucket. With stickers!


Daring Baker #6 Coconut & Kumquat Opera Cake

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is a slice of Opera Cake.

This is most of the whole cake. Minus the trimmings.

I made it but I don't know why it's called an Opera Cake.

I do know why I made it.

Lis and Ivonne and Fran and Shea all got together and cooked up a 9 page Daring Baker challenge for us this month.

And Opera Cake was the result.

The recipe was long long long long. And very long. So I won't type it out here. Because I suffer from sloth. And it's long.

The cake layers are made from almonds. Apparently almond meal is only sold by prescription in Arizona because I couldn't manage to score any and ended up grinding up sliced almonds I bought in bulk - thank God I finally got a food processor! Note to self: those scoops in the bulk bins at Sprouts hold twice as much as you think they do. You're supposed to add melted butter at the end. I suggest adding it prior to spreading the batter out in the pans but you go your own way.

The whole cake was liquored up pretty good with a Amaretto infused syrup and Cointreau in the kumquat buttercream. Oh, if you ever need to get back at your spouse for something; ask him to stop in at Whole Foods after hockey and see if they happen to have any kumquats. If you're lucky your spouse won't really know what a kumquat is and will in fact feel shame at even saying the word. If you're really lucky he'll then get berated and belittled by the help for asking for something that's -clearly- not. in. season. Oh yes, fun times. Anyway, back to the cake.

I made a vanilla buttercream for the bottom layer, then added kumquat preserves to the buttercream for the second layer. Oh my lands was that spoon-lickin' good! Oh alright, I put my whole face in the mixing bowl. Like you don't. The third layer is what I'm choosing to call coconut mousse. I suppose in reality it's more like coconut flavored whipped cream but whatever - freakin' delicious is what it was. I made it by reducing a can of coconut milk down to about half and folding it into lightly sweetened whipped cream. It was absolutely perfect and I'm sure to find another excuse to make it.

The whole she-bang is covered in a white chocolate glaze and topped with some toasted coconut. The mousse was supposed to be white chocolate but I cheaped out when I found I would have to buy a whole nother 14 ounce block of the stuff to have enough for the mousse and the glaze. Heck I'd already spent 40 bucks on liquor! Not that I'm complaining. I guess when it comes to having either extra liquor or extra white chocolate around the house my vote is with the alcohol.

Much like your own private Cheesecake Factory this cake is a testament to excess. The butter, the cream, the eggs, the butter, the chocolate, the butter. All in all this wasn't a difficult recipe despite the lengthy recipe but the sum of the parts didn't really add up to much more than the sum of the parts. In other words it didn't transcend. I'd make it again but only if someone asked for it, and only if I get a square cake plate.

Check out the rest of the crowd @ the Daring Baker's Blogroll.


Big Blue Burger and Sweet Sweet Cherry Love

>> Tuesday, May 27, 2008

1. famous blue cheese burger
2. cherries
3. mayo on the side
4. MYSTERY item

There was no discussion about our Memorial Day dinner. Big ass blue cheese burgers all the way. Luckily there was one left for my lunch today. Tragically there was no bacon. And the cherries oh my word the cherries - I could eat a bushel of that sweet sweet cherry love. As for the mystery item ... come back tomorrow, when all will be revealed.

There's only 2 days left to Haiku that Blog! Don't miss you chance to show DJM a little love and maybe pick up a sweet pink lunchbucket all your own.


Sexy Stuffed Crepes & Muhammara Hummus

>> Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1. stuffed crepes
2. pita chips and hummus

The crepes are stuffed with a mixture of cottage cheese, brown sugar and vanilla. They are topped with apricots and cherries that I poached in a simple syrup made with vanilla sugar. I had a little leftover muhammara that to put on top of the hummus, and some celery leaves as gratuitous garnish.

Don't forget to Haiku that Blog! Only 17 syllables stands between you and a fabulous thermal lunch bucket. Pink even! Get on over to Isolated Foodie to gather up some inspiration then come back here and leave a comment with your entry.


Haiku that Blog! v1.02

>> Saturday, May 17, 2008

EDIT: Please note deadline change!
It's time for the second installment of Haiku that Blog!

This month we will be creating word art celebrating the Isolated Foodie. The mysterious DJM grows, cooks, eats, and thinks about food in Desolationville, USA and was the winner of the first ever Haiku that Blog!

Here's what you have to do to have your own blog immortalized in verse -AND- win a cool prize.

1. write a haiku about Isolated Foodie
2. post it in the comments
3. wait to see if you win

Easy huh?

The winner will receive their very own Lunch Bucket! Wooohooo! The winner will also have the option of having their very. own. blog. featured in the the next edition of Haiku That Blog. If the winner does not have their very. own. blog. they will be strongly encouraged to start one. Failing that, the winner will be allowed to choose the next blog to be featured.

Entries will be accepted until midnight or so May 29, 2008. Winner will be chosen by a panel of people who live at or are visiting or walking past my house. Prize package worth less than $5. Now get Haikuing!

Please note: The Lunch Bucket prize shown has been customized with stickers, your Lunch Bucket will be tragically unadorned. But wait! I will include your choice of dots or Hello Kitty on a cupcake stickers and your Lunch Bucket will be all pimped out in no time at all!


Spices Repeated

Leftovers from one of our favorite places, Spices Mediterranean Kitchen.

1. falafel
2. salad
3. hummus
4. yellow peppers
5. gyro meat wrapped around grape tomatoes
6. rice


Ham & Cheese, Please

>> Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time for Margot's Healthy Lunchbox event!

1. ham slices rolled around cream cheese and bell pepper
2. grape tomatoes
3. vanilla yogurt with pomegranate arils
4. honey roasted almonds
5. peanut butter stuffed dates


More of a Good Thing

>> Monday, May 12, 2008

Not a Good Thing ®, but a good thing nevertheless.

1. salad
2. goat cheese
3. beets
4. smoked turkey
5. balsamic vinaigrette

Speaking of more of a good thing: Sharpen your pencils and get out your dictionary - it's almost time to Haiku that Blog!


That's so 2003

>> Sunday, May 11, 2008

A few weeks ago I was food shopping with the boy. He asked if he could pick the fish and I said sure. The last time I did this we had halibut. At 24 bucks a pound. But whatever. Anyway, one of the choices was orange roughy. He'd never heard of it and asked what it was like. I realized then that I hadn't seen orange roughy in years. It was one of those hot menu items back in the late 80's though. Remember? Every piece of fish slapped on a plate was either orange roughy or red snapper. Blackened. And then it was gone. Weird how that happens no? As it turns out we did get the roughy, and as it turns out the boy prefers halibut. Naturally. Not that I blame him, I've had tastier fish sticks.

Today I read Garrett at Vanilla Garlic describe theRockstar Ingredient Theory, the comments are interesting - seems everyone agrees that ROCKSTARS exist but no one really knows how something gets to be a ROCKSTAR to begin with. Like ramps. Seriously.

Of course sometimes things are popular and trendy because they just taste so damn good. Like beets and goat cheese. I do so love the two tastes together. (Even the beet hating boy agrees!) If beet and goat cheese salad hadn't achieved ROCKSTAR status I'd probably never tried it on my own. I suppose the same could be said for ramps, but did anyone ever really think orange roughy was good?

1. steak, rare
2. *'burnt potatoes'
3. vanilla yogurt with blackberries
4. retro salad with beets, goat cheese and walnuts with, wait for it, balsamic vinaigrette on the side

*burnt potatoes aren't really burned, it's just what we call them to differentiate between other kinds of fried potatoes. They are sort of pan fried with onions, but not really messed with so the bottom gets brown and crispy and the middle steams.


Lunch Bucket o' Curry

>> Friday, May 9, 2008

Look! I got a lunch bucket! I customized it with stickers :)

Look! I got a lunch bucket! I customized it with stickers :) I'm so excited I said it twice!

To celebrate the occasion, I made a curry. Of course!

1. chicken korma
2. basmati rice
3. apple berry skillet crumble
4. pomegranate raita

About that curry....I used a Patak sauce. It kinda sucked - which was disappointing! I've used that brand many times and have always been pleased, but this one ... meh. Not so much. I tried to dress it up - caramelized some onions, added garlic and ginger - added coriander, cumin, and garam masala. At this point it did cross my mind that I should have just made the damn stuff from scratch - anyway, it ended up okay in the end. You know why? Cause of the raita.

I've been hoarding one last pomegranate in the fridge for weeks now, and it was starting to look a little ... well, like it had been hoarded in the fridge for weeks. I don't know where I first heard of pomegranate raita, cucumber is the only kind I've really ever had before, but I knew I need some. Thinking that I surely saw it in someone's blog, a quick search didn't really turn up anything that looked familiar. The Girl Next Kitchen has one, so does Enjoy Indian Food (uhm, okay!!!) Milee's Dinners & Such made a raita she saw on a Nigella show, but mentions it was sweet. I didn't really want sweet. Finally I used a recipe from Mamta's Kitchen with some modifications. Cheeky, no?

It elevated the not so great korma to a pretty freakin' good meal. I'd already toasted and ground some cumin for the curry and I really didn't want to mess with doing more, so I left it out. Oh, I added the onions too, and used less pomegranate. I was lucky to have on hand a big container of Abali yogurt to use, it's pretty much my favorite. I believe that the quality of your yogurt makes a big difference in a recipe like this, it just wouldn't be the same with a regular supermarket yogurt. Also, if anyone could please tell me how to pronounce raita I will be forever grateful. You know, until I forget.

Pomegranate Raita

1 cup yogurt
tops of 2 green onions - sliced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and sugar
arils from 1 pom - minus the ones I snacked on

Stir it up and eat it.

Apple Berry Skillet Crumble

Chop up all your apples (I used 4 Pink Lady's) that are beginning to look a little sad and fry them in an oven safe skillet with butter. Yes. Fry the apples in butter. Trust me. Cook them covered over medium heat and they will soften up and start to brown. When you like the way it feels when you poke them with a fork take the pan off the heat and throw in any berries that got lost behind the pickles and stir in a tablespoon or two of sugar (I used white, but brown works too). Stick the lid back on and preheat the oven to "broil". Make up a crumb topping like you'd make for muffins (I processed about 1/4 cup each of flour, butter and white sugar with a pinch of salt)and sprinkle on top. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the topping is lightly browned. I served it with yogurt that I sweetened and vanillaed but I wished for ice cream.


No Cook Lunch - Hold the Arbovirus Please!

>> Thursday, May 8, 2008

People, I have been sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. Plague, I think. Or dengue fever. Oddly enough it didn't really affect my appetite, just my will to live. And to cook.

1. yogurt
2. berries
3. granola
4. tangelo

So I've been eating a lot of stuff like this. Oh, and tacos. Lots of tacos. You wouldn't believe how many tacos if I told you. So I won't.


Chicken & Chard and Sweet Mayonnaise Love

>> Thursday, May 1, 2008

1. chicken salad stuffed in a pepper
2. little toasts
3. swiss chard
4. Peanut Butter Goo Goo Cluster

Underneath the chard is another small container full of mayonnaise. I was already cooking the chicken when I realized we didn't have any mayo in the fridge. So I made some. It wasn't quite enough, so I made some more. Then I had too much. Too much delicious creamy lemony decadent homemade mayonnaise is so not a good thing. There's nothing to worry about any more ...



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