Thursday, April 29, 2010

White Bean and Tomato Gratin

Item # 2 in my "eating down the pantry" project. Dried White Beans. Did I already rant on here about how scarce the black bean supply is here in France? I believe I did. They just don't use them. No black bean burgers - no black bean quesadillas. Just not done. Tant Pis - I've got tons of white beans. Too much in fact.

So I set about eating them this week. Fun fact about white beans (more often referred to as cannellini beans at home) is that one serving of these magical little fruits has twice as much iron in it than a serving of beef. Eat that moo cow. Or beans instead of moo cows!

White Bean Tomato Gratin
3/4 cup dried white beans
1/2 cup veggie stock
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded gruyere
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder (or I bet this would be excellent with several liberal squirts of Shriracha instead of chili powder!)
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano or dried.
black pepper

1. Soak the white beans overnight (12ish hours). Normally I skip the soaking step for bean dishes - mostly because I puree a lot of stuff so it doesn't matter - but this time it does matter unfortch. They are the star of the show.
2. In a large saucepan, in new cold water, bring the soaked beans to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes then reduce the heat and let them simmer for up to an hour or until they are tender.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 (150-170 C)
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the pepper and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until they soften and start to turn a nice golden color. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, oregano and the chili powder or sauce. Bring the whole mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, moving it around so nothing gets overly browned, for the next 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the beans, gruyere and black pepper to taste.
5. Put the whole mixture into a glass casserole or loaf dish. Top with the 1/4 cup of parmesan.
6. Let the gratin cook until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melty. Enjoy.

The next day when you have extra, spread a corn or wheat tortilla with a liberal amount of salsa, then several spoonfuls of leftover gratin, fold the tortilla in half and cook it 2-3 minutes on each side in a frying pan with a bit of pre-heated olive oil. Perfect quesadilla filling.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Week 16 Coast to Cote

Pang: April showers bring May flowers...that has never been more true. It has rained cats and dogs for the past two days. We were even on a tornado watch on Sunday! We were at a cook out and most people migrated to the basement for safety. Anywho, rainy days are especially hard when it comes to babysitting. Nothing dampens your plans more, especially if there is no TV/movie involved. My poor little buddy was dying to be outdoors (although it doesn't look it in the photograph, it was pouring) and just sat there staring, looking super sorry. Poor thing.

Me: Im pretty much convinced now that the only way to learn a langauge is to live in a place where the language is spoken. I really really love it here in France and I have yet to get over the novelty that everything is written in French and all you hear on the street (for the most part) is French. I am going to miss this place so much - so I have been taking more pictures of everyday mundane things - just to have them to look back at one day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shiitake and Pepper Barley Salad

So a while back I stumbled upon the eating down the fridge project on someone's blog (can't remember who) and thought that was a great idea. Now that I am down to my last 4ish weeks in France I have liked that idea more and more but for me, since we have a fridge the size of a breadbox, its going to be "eating down the pantry." I started with the barley. I brought this barley all the way from 'Merica! I couldn't think of anyone to give it to at home before leaving so I just brought it with me.

This salad is super versatile. You can serve it hot or cold (I prefer cold actually), with sauteed veggies or roasted, or just as marinated barley if you so wish it! The firs few times I made it I used roasted tomatoes, peppers, red onion and garlic and it turned out swell. I will give you directions for making the barley salad pictured here and the dressing but really you can put anything veggie wise on this.

Barley Salad
1 cup Barley
package of shiitake, cleaned with a damp rag, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil

Note: Barley is a 3 to 1 ratio. For two people 1 cup of barley boiled in 3 cups of water should be more than enough. But should you want to feed a lot of people just remember the ratio and work from there.

1. Place 1 cup of pearled barley in a small pot with 3 cups cold water. Bring the barley to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Know this: Usually barley is simmered for an hour and 15 minutes! This makes it...well mushy in my opinion. I like to boil it for 30-40 and that way it still has a chewy texture - but do whatever you prefer here.
2. While the barley is cooking heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over med high heat in a pan. Add the shiitake. Cook the shiitake until they release their juice, then reduce the heat and let them simmer for the next 20 minutes or so.
3. In a separate pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the onions and yellow pepper first. After a few minutes add the garlic. Sauté until the veggies are soft and golden.
4. When the barley is done (it will have tripled in size and soaked up and boiled off the water it was originally in) fluff it with a fork. Prepare the dressing(see below). Divide the barley up onto your plates, top with the shiitakes, peppers, and finally the dressing. Mix well.

Barley Salad Dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a wisk, or throw it in a cup with a lid and shake.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Murphy's Law of Lacey in Italyland Part 2

So where did we leave off? Oh yeah - we headed out into the city for some dinner - leaving our suitcases in a pile in the kitchen.

We had picked a restaurant and chose the most direct route, then set out. Katie and Jamie came prepared with laminated colorful maps of the city. Ryan and I brought nothing. So we followed along like nonchalant children, enjoying the setting sun against the scattered ruins and statues, snapping pictures, catching up, while Katie and Jamie navigated us to the restaurant. Periodically the head of the line would stop to check a street sign and verify our position on the map. The periodic stops became more frequent and the nonchalant children began to wonder if they should offer to look at the map with the responsible map-bearer. We had missed our turn. Jamie had highlighted the route on the map but I suppose we were all feeling a little nonchalant and or fatigued. We ended up walking towards Firenze (according to the sign) and had to turn around. Then we came upon a huge ruin. This must be the Colosseum! No....I dont remember it looking like this. True its a greyish brown mass of building thats mostly all fallen to rubble but I do remember it being a bit more..... round...and surrounded by tourists. It was not the Colosseum. We walked a bit further and low and behold...the Colosseum! At this point we had given up on the fancy restaurant (I believe we had spent close to two hours walking kinda in a oblong? Am I exaggerating? In any case it felt long and we were already tired) so we decided to jump the metro at the Colosseum and go to the Spanish Steps where there were sure to be restaurants.

The sky an ever darkening blue when we got off the metro, we stumbled out in to the big square next to the Spanish Steps. Jamie had a place marked that we had found on the internet so we wound our way down the small streets towards our destination. I'd like to insert here that this area is IMO one of the prettiest of Rome. We found ourselves in a back alley street covered in ivy vines and romantic yellow street lights and stumbled upon the restaurant we were looking for. It looked perfect. Eclectic. Small intimate tables covered in bright red tablecloths with little white doilies topped with clear blue plates and art posters and mirrors everywehre and a wall made of horseshoes, plus several different cakes sitting up on the bar ready to be whisked out into the dining room to temp the patrons. We walked in and timidly held up 4 fingers. Reservations? we don't. All booked? Ugh.

We sadly walked back down the romantic alleyway. I had seen a street that looked bustling and foody, so we walked down that way and chose one of the first we came upon (our moral was a bit low at the point as was our energy). The waiter pointed us to a long table at the back of the restaurant and we took our seats and quickly decided on our meals. Then we waited. I was hungry and thus a little impatient but knew from experience that things in European restaurants just dont move that fast compared to American ones. It seems to me that Europeans spend 80 percent of the time talking and socializing and 20 percent of the time actually eating or dealing with the menu or check. Not so back in 'Merica. If I come to a restaurant I want food, and I want it fast.

Our orders we taken by a waiter who seemed a bit stiff and bored and without too much of a wait our food came out. An amazing meal would have lifted our spirits and prepared us for the night in the living room. Instead we got a mediocre tourist dinner (insert a comment made by Ryan about me being a food snob). Jamie's even had a bonus hair in it. We chowed it all in no more than 15 minutes and were ready for the bill. After waiting a bit I prodded Ryan into asking for the bill. Our waiter appeared again, making a bee-line for the kitchen and Ryan waved him down and asked if we could please have the check. The waiter scoffed, turned his head, and kept walking. You will have to ask Ryan for a recreation of this action. I didn't see it as well as he did. Suffice it to say it wasn't very polite or waiterly of him. He then proceeded to make us wait a good while before he brought it around. Grazie.

Walking back to the metro I could already feel the pressure mounting in me. Oh my god - I talked a bunch of my friends into the trip from hell. I was starting to feel pretty anxious and guilty. While I couldn't say that I was responsible for the things that had so far been going wrong - I did kinda feel responsible for the happiness of the group. The trip was my idea to begin with and as I had been living in Europe I was kinda supposed to be our resident "expert" and, regardless if it makes any sense or not, at the moment I feel like Europe is my home. And I'm kinda proud of it. I love it here. And I wanted them to love it. But Italy just wasn't selling it. I hoped things would be smoother for the rest of the trip.

Back at Alice in Wonderland we found a new group of poor tourists in the living room. We learned that they were waiting to be taken somewhere that night. No sign of Maxi. No sign of the beds he had promised. We resigned ourselves to the inevitable. As soon as the group in the living room left we pulled all the cushions off the chairs and couches and threw them on the floor. I pilfered the linen closet for sheets and towels. Ryan took advantage of the bathroom being open and hoped in the shower. Another group showed up of two travelers. Seems they were also staying the night. They pitched camp in the kitchen on small couches we had just derobed. We felt bad a gave some pillows back. As soon as Ryan got out of the shower it was siezed by the lucky group of American girls who DID get rooms. Poor Katie was determined to have her shower and sat up reading for a long long long time until finally she got her turn to take a shower. Exhausted Ryan and I awkwardly curled up on the cushions of the floor while Katie and Jamie shared the slouching couch. At 2 in the morning some American girl was still plugging away at the computer in the next room.

I woke up early the next morning, very briefly, when someone came in. The cushions had all slid out from under me during my sleep. Katie was perched precariously on the very edge of the couch while Jamie had sunk into the depths of the back of the couch. And, as usual, Ryan had rolled as far away from me as possible - which mind you wasn't very far this time as he was already sleeping up against the protective wall of suitcases we had erected the night before.

I couldn't wait to see what surprise "arrangements" Maxi had made for us, but as it was still too early to be up, I pulled some cushions under my sore limbs, scooted closer to Ryan (now he really couldn't get away) and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carrot Top Dressing

During the trip in Italy Katie and I got to talking about using your greens. Beet greens is what we discussed I think, but then I got back to France, salivating at just the thought of grocery shopping, and fell upon these pretty little carrots, avec greens. Well why not carrot greens? So I did some googling (and photoshooting as you can see) and came across a recipe posted a while back by the New York Times for a carrot top vinaigrette. Parfait.

Yeah they look scary but let me tell you the benefits! For one - carrot greens are packed with vitamin K - something you wont find in carrots themselves. Plus, when you buy carrots with their tops, you are cutting down on the amount of processing they go through (think saved energy plus less people and machines messing with your food) and you also know for sure that they are fresh. If you buy a bag of carrots already peeled, decapitated and washed..well you might get home to find some woody gross carrots in that bag. If you buy a bunch of green attached carrots you can't go wrong. If the greens are mushy or limp you know they aren't fresh. If they are vibrant and pretty - well what do you think?

Carrot Top Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped carrot top
pinch or two of salt

1. Put the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until the ingredients are emulsified.
2. Add the carrot top and some salt and pulse until you have a creamy green sauce with tiny flecks of green leaf.
3. Taste - salt more if you like. Serve

Do note - carrot tops are a bit bitter, so pair it with things that perhaps are not - sweet red cabbage, avocados, beets, maybe strawberries?

Week 15 Coat to Cote

Pang: Who doesn't love bubbles? There's something so magical about them...adults love them and kids can't get enough of them. Yesterday I felt like everywhere I turned, some one was blowing bubbles, so I couldn't help myself to a picture of them.

Lacey: Went for a long walk today for several reasons. 1. Its super nice out. 2. I wanted to do some scouting by the river because I'm taking pictures of Nadia and Yohan soon. 3. Ryan bought me jeans for Christmas and you would not believe how tight and stiff they are. He assures me the more I wear them the more they will loosen up. During the walk I came across this willow tree and decided to take a few pictures. I also decided to work on my smile face, because as Pang has so kindly pointed out, its usually too cheesy. Or just mean looking. What do you think? Needs more work huh?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Murphy's Law of Lacey in Italyland

This will be a several part series in which I describe the mishaps of my most recent adventure. I would like to preface this tirade by saying I had an awesome time on this trip. Traveling is stressful and requires much patience and planning and even with healthy doses of both, there is so much that can go wrong. I couldn't have picked better travel companions though - they each had their merits. Katie was the optimist of the group, putting a good light on it all. Plus we discovered a shared passion for the lesser-loved veggies - namely beets and brussels, a passion our boyfriends are strongly against sharing. Jamie was on top of all the reservation and booking and shared my opinion that only amazing food should be consumed while on vacation. And Ryan had the (difficult) job of keeping me in line every time I wanted to despair, feel guilty for Europe's downfalls, or crank.

So,on to the tirade. I just got back from Italy a few days ago where I spent a week and a half with my boyfriend and two of our friends, seeing the sights, eating great food, and....running into several ridiculous problems. While I am counting on my pictures to convey the positive aspects of the trip, a few words are required to express the lower points.

As the trip was approaching I started to set about packing. I had decided to send a large suitcase full of books and winter clothes back with Ryan because I was a total idiot and brought 3 large suitcases with me to France, and now that it's almost time to move home, I was starting to regret it. Thus, a large suitcase wass crammed. Getting it up to Paris on my own would be a hassel I knew (because contrary to what you might believe, my giant arm muscels are just for show) but it seemed like it would be worth it when come 6 weeks I only had 2 giant suitcases to wrassel by myself.

Arms acheing and legs bruised from constantly banging my bag against it going up and down strairs (elevators aren't in fashion here yet) I got to the airport in Paris with the bag intact and a duffel bag of clothes to wear in Italy. Surprise! Found out my duffel was too big (according to this airliner) to be a carryon so I had to check it. Well I was only allowed one piece of luggage and only up to 20kg. Both bags combined were 31kg. I" You will have to pay for the overage" the man said in crisp French. ""Ugh.....ok," I said in pitiful scraping the bottom of my bank account English.The man behind the counter gave me a sad little smile as he filled out the form for me to take to another desk. I watched as he wrote on the form in big bold letters 31KG.

Flustered and upset I made my way to the counter he had vaugely pointed out and in usual fashion I walked 10 feet, looked back to make sure he was no longer watching and then asked someone else where I should be going. I guiltily handed my form to the woman behind the counter (once I finally found it) and she started plugging away at her calculator. "Well Miss, you will have to pay per kilo that makes.....620 euros. Will you be paying in cash?"

Yeah I pretty much died. My eyes filled up with tears (I can always count on those little pathetic beads of weakness to pearl up at the smallest sign of confrontation) and insisted that there must be a mistake while in my head I was wildly searching for an escape...could I just go out in the parking lot and burn the damn suitcase? She sighed and picked up the phone to call the man with the sad smile to verify the numbers. Putting down the phone she mumbled to herself , scribbling out the 620 and replacing it with a 220. "Voila." I still wanted to cry. I forked over the money, via bankcard, and dejectedly rolled my obese suitcase back to the man with the sad smile, and watched as it slowly rolled down the conveyor belt.

Fast Forward a bit. I got to Rome and easily found the others and we headed to the hostel. It was located in a seemlingly convenient part of the city and in really cool old building. The wooden door stretched up to the second floor and there was a beautiful hole in the sky courtyard in the middle of the building. The woman had said to take the elevator up to the top floor, the 5th. In front of us loomed the cage of an ancient elevator.

But for some reaons my eys followed the woman who had come in before us, who quickly ducked into a side door and disappeared into a small elevator. Lets follow her shall we? In any case I figured they went to the same place. Katie and I squeezed our bags into the tiny elevator and just managed to squish ourselves in next to it. I pushed the 5 button, remarking that there was also a 6 . She had said 5...but she had also said the top floor. We got off the elevator and waited around for Jamie and Ryan to repeate the same tetris adventure that is the european elevator. 5th floor. No signs for our hostel, cutely named Alice in Wonderland. So we started ringing doorbellls. I had that old childhood itch to run away (my poor neighbors in Gaithersburg) but I staid put and eventually a tiny, stooped Italian woman opened the door. I explained the situation, fighting the urge to speak loudly,. She spoke back to me in perfect (I can only assume) Italian. I realized this was going nowhere. She smiled and shut the door.

Ryan volunteered to run up to the 6th floor and scout. He yelled back down saying there was only one door and he could see a statue through the keyhole. He was convinced we had found it. Statue = Hotel Reception. The rest of us voiced our doubts, sighting for example, that the sign on the buzzer clearly said it was a doctors office, and that the woman had said it was on the 5th floor. Not wanting to disturb another old resident we opted to go back down and try the buzzer again and get the directions again.

Directions had. We tried the more obvious elevator. The one clearly visable when you walk in the big imposing front door, not the one hidden behind a side door. Success! I went up first with my bag to make sure. Stepping off the elevator I noticed the big sign on the door in front of me reading Alice in Wonderland and seconds later the door opened and a woman came out. "You already made a reservation yes?" she asked. "Yup" I repleid. "Do you have the confirmation." "I don't but Katie, who is coming up in the elevator, does." "Oh there are two of you" "No actually there are 4 of us and we reserved two rooms." Her face remained fairly blank through this entire exchange but her voice took on more and more of a stressed high pitched tone. The others arrived, one by one, and we handed over our booked confirmation. She lead us in, telling us to leave our bags in the hallway and wait in the living room. We sat at an empty table in the living room as the couch was already occupied by a bored looking couple. I noticed a pile of luggage heaped in a corner of the room.

My travel companions looked...well like they had been traveling. Rumpled and tired but putting forth an effort. We waited for a while, discussing our strange reception and remarking on the pile of abandoned luggage. Other groups filtered in from somewhere else in the apartment. They asked if we had a place to stay. far as we knew....

We waited some more. Pilfered some blood oranges from a bowl on the table. Waited. Talked with other people coming in and out. Finally Maxi, one of the owners, came to talk to us. Here's the scoop he gave us: messed up...and maybe he was a little sloppy too. In short, there are no rooms for us. Nor are there rooms for the 5-6 other groups (that we saw) that also made reservations here.

"But I emailed you personally two days ago and you confirmed the booking" Jamie said. Maxi looked embarrassed. We quickly realized that there was nothing we could do about it. But smooth talking Maxi had it all under control. "I've got this great place I can take you to, but its not ready tonight, it will be ready for tomorrow. So....for tonight you can stay here (meaning the living room), no charge. We will set you up with some beds. and tomorrow I will take you to the other place.

Not ideal but what could we say? He gave us some towels and Jamie went to take a shower while the rest of us lounged on the freed up couch and contemplated a night in the living room. Jetlagged and red-eyed I could tell all Ryan wanted to do was take a nap, well and he said so several times, but since no one was interested in my idea (find out where the prostis hang out and rent a hotel for a few hours....what?) there was no napping to be had for any of us. So we consulted our list of vegetarian restaurants, put our luggage in the kitchen in a corner, and went out into the city to get dinner.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Week 14 + Pictures from Capri

Pang: Sunday was the annual Thai New Year/Songkran Festival at Wat Thai DC. I pretty much go there every year with my family to stuff my face. This one wasn't much different except I went with two of my American co workers...and with my very red hair...we kinda stuck out like a sore thumb. We ate like Kings and Queens and ended up broke, yet satisfied. Honestly, I wish I had brought more money so I could have taken more food home. Can someone say gluttonous? This is one of my very favorite Thai dessert/snack, which I forgot to even buy, I bee lined it to the main course line and forgot to grab these before we left. Why can't everyday be Thai New Year festival?

Me: During our stay in Rome we decided to spend a day in Capri. Getting off the train in Naples you would never know that this beautiful island is just a 40 minute ferry ride away. Naples is loud and crowded and dirty due to (we learned this by eavesdropping on a conversation) the fact that the Mob runs the trash system there, and sometimes they just decide to go a month or two without picking it up. Lovely. But, supposedly Naples has the best Italian food, and I can at least vouch for their pizza! In any case should you ever get the chance to go to Capri, DO IT! Its pretty much paradise. The water is this beautiful clear turquoise, there are so many different kinds of birds and plants, and you can't really take a bad picture. We stayed on Capri for only a few hours and unfortunately didn't get to see the Blue Grottos or take a massive hike like we had planned but maybe one day we will go back.

I was pretty blown away from the start.

Take the funicular up the hill to get a spectacular view of the island. Also up top is lots of swanky expensive shops, terrace restaurants, and of course, gelato. From here you can go in several different directions. Look here for different walking tours (not guided) you can do. I would have liked to try the perilous one to the blue grottos.

There are tiny covered streets that go between buildings and take you higher up on the mountain. While on one of these paths we were surprised by the all the different plants growing on the island, like these giant cacti!

I can only imagine what this place is like in full summer.

The water is so pretty here!

Back over at Naples, be sure to check out Castel dell'Ovo, which translates to Egg Castle. Why Egg? From what I could find out, there is a legend that somewhere inside the castle there is a hidden magical egg. The egg's fate is linked with that of the city of Naples. So long as the egg rests hidden and intact, the city will be at peace. Should the egg break, catastrophe will strike the city.

Also in Naples is the New Castle....built because Egg castle just wasn't big enough. Really.

PS! Try the pizza with friarielli at Pizzeria Trianon da Ciro on Via P. Colletta, 46> Friarielli is sprouted broccoli that only grows in the region of Naples. It has a light flavor of broccoli but the look and texture of spinach.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gadget Wishlist

Another wishlist? Gosh doesn't this topic sound exciting?! No? Just me? Alright, well. I was thinking after I posted about the books I want to get eventually that there are also lots of kitcheny tools I'd like/need to have.

I've started making my own veggie stocks and quinoa is cooking at least once a week and I've realized how indispensable a fine mesh strainer is. Lucky for me, the tiny Donzelot kitchenette came with a strainer, but my home collection is sadly lacking this useful little tool. Feast your eyes on this Fancy Strainer. Its only fancy in price from what I can tell.

Speaking of stock....Le Creuset if it wasn't obvious.

As the end of my time here approaches I'm starting to think of all the great baked goods I will have to painstakingly search for, do without, or make for myself. Madeleines are way high up on my list of treats here (beat out only by Visitandines and Jam Cookies) and gotta have the Madeleine Pan to make them! This Chicago Brand pan got good reviews. Some people said the little treats basically fell out of the pan without it even being greased or floured. I will believe that when I see it. Which will hopefully be soon! Williams-Sonoma also has a fancy one, but I'm already accused of being a snob on a pretty regular basis and I can't see that helping.

Is it totally old ladyish of me to want Fiestaware? Really, I'm asking. I've gotten kinda used to using tiny cups here in France and just having a pitcher of water on the table all the time for frequent refills. This actually helps me not gulp food down with a big swig of water because I have to pause to refill. This is a very easy ebay or antique store find. My habitual downtown Frederick haunt has a whole section of these things. This color on ebay is also quite nice.

Know what else I like? Salad!. This website (Branch Homes) is one of my favorites (thanks Tess!). They use recycled or organic materials and this particular product, the organic bamboo salad bowl is made by the company Bambu in China that is dedicated to sustainable practice and fair labor practices. Paired with these cute servers also by may make friends?

Alright Im sure there are tons of other things I want, but that will do for the moment.


How did I forget this?! I NEED Le Creuset Crepe Pan. Crepe People.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birthday (Cook)Books

Its the time of year again. Twice a year I can drop hints and to what exactly my little heart has been desiring. Lately, with anticipation of coming home and having access to full size kitchens, my food processor, and an oven, I have been pretty hooked on cookbooks. Here are a few I have my eye on.

I found Vegan Brunch when I was searching and copying recipes (a favorite past-time of mine, I have word docs for every type of food or meal). Obviously the thought of cutting out all dairy and eggs is a scary thought (eggs would be so hard for me!) but seeing books like this does spark my interest. I already have one of her recipes from the book, a vegan tempeh crab cake, which I am eager to try when I get home, so I really cant wait to see what else she has in here!

Also as some of your lucky lads and ladies might know, I love to bake. Some of you more intimate lads and ladies will also know that I am a total failure when it comes to cookies, except for these which turned out amazing (though a little wonky looking) and were finished in no time flat. So maybe I should try Vegan Cookies. Its worth a shot AND my favorite cookies are already vegan.

While we are at it lets to cupcakes too!

Another thing I miss about my kitchen back home is my crock pot. Thus, the Vegetarian Slow Cooker would be a welcome addition to my cookbook collection. I like that this book is split into types of food like Asian, Middle Easter, ect.

Another book that is divided like that, and which would be helpful when cooking for a certain someone who puts sriracha on everything is Vegan Fire and Spice.

Vegan Table is divided into dinners for two, special occasions, and feasts and then subsplit in each category into seasons. Pretty cool.

And last but certainly not least is Heidi Swanson's (of the wonderful blog 101 cookbooks) book Cook 1.0 which has gotten rave reviews. What I love about her blog/book, aside from the great food ideas, is that she is a photographer, so all the pictures are her own in the book. Inspiration.

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Coast to Cote Week 13

Pang: Brian and I went exploring over the weekend. Sometimes, we like to walk around town and take photographs together and this time, he suggested we visit some cemeteries within walking distance. We visited a couple before heading to Rosehill Cemetary, a peculiar little space that housed a good mixture of really old and new tombstones. The odd thing about this place was that parts of it were not kept up, so there were trees and vines all growing over it and there were tombstones on hillsides and then one just off my itself...this one. I tried to Google his name, but I was really unable to find any solid evidence of who he was, what he was doing in Shepherdstown, and why he passed so young. You know, just curious. Rest in Peace, Mr. McElroy.

Lacey: Vacationing at Rome at the minute (poor me I know) and spent a day walking around the Forum and seeing the Colosseum. Rome is filled with old churches and at one of them I stopped to take pictures of the candles. More vacation pictures next week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Coast to Cote Week 12

Sorry Im late this week!

Pang: This is the week for Cherry Blossoms to bloom at it's least that's what the Post says. In Shepherdstown, Cherry Blossom trees are sprinkled throughout, mostly in people's backyards where I can't just wander in for a quick snap. Today was the first beautiful day in a little while. It was rather windy, but I didn't mind it too much since it was blowing all the clouds and the ickiness out of this area. I went for a little stroll and rested underneath this blossom tree. It was perfect. The wind was blowing it's delicate little pedals (you can slightly tell in the photograph), but they held on for dear life!

Me: I have been excessively tired this weekend (maybe one of those darn kids gave me a virus) so I have been sleeping at odd hours and awake at times I should be asleep. It rained almost all this week and the clouds (both white and puffy and dark and rainy) have been moving through Limoges night and day. One night while I was awake when I should have been sleeping I opened my window to snap this.