Pin Me Down, Tie Me Up, and Eat Me

For the longest time I was fairly out of the loop on the whole social media scene. Not to say I was illiterate in it, simply that I chose to browse the library databases rather than the ramblings of the people with which I would be forced to acknowledge once I got a Facebook page. Yes, I’m aware you can be selective. But, no, I’m not one to blatantly say “I think you’re stupid, THAT’S why.”

Now that the universe has seen fit to give me more time to spend on such things (probably more than should be allotted to any one person) I’ve been working on my virtual presence. Like one grows their credit rating in order to eventually, one day, buy a house.

With the start of this blog I’ve also started a Pinterest account within which I have been keeping a lot of my online findings. This weekend I have reached over 400 pins and am now sharing it with you, my readership. While I eventually plan to further categorize everything I have tried to categorize the images, recipes, and ideas into manageable sections for anyone looking to find specific recipes or ideas.

I think it would be interesting to do a virtually organized set of themed cookbooks using something like Pinterest. I think it should go in courses starting with Welcome Drinks & Appetizers. Here (using my now burgeoning Pinterest collection) are some ideas for that:

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

Sophie Dahl’s Iced Tea

Strawberry Basil Sangria

Asparagus Phyllo Appetizers

Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Rolls

Millefeuille d’Aubergines And Chèvre Frais

You can find me and my boards on Pinterest by following the link below.

The Big Blueberry

The other day we were back over at my grandma’s house to harvest berries. After the great DC power outages, which hit her area but not ours, and our trip to Chicago it had been a while since we’d gone to collect our blue-ty.

There were 6 of us down in the blueberry patch this time instead of the usual three and we were all excited to get picking. Unfortunately something happened over the last week or so and the crop was not doing so well. Instead of our usual 5-6 quarts of blueberries the size of dimes we ended up with a scrawny and all too reddish-in-hue 1.5 quarts and that was pushing it. My grandma made a pie with that harvest and each slice is requiring a rather large amount of doctoring.

While we’re not sure what happened to that last batch, which should have been ripe, there are still many many berries yet to ripen so we’re hoping that this was just some fluke of nature. Perhaps a bird got in through a tiny hole in the net and ate up all the good ones while we were away or the storm caused the process to slow. I’m no expert.

What I do know is that there are 3 different types of blueberry bushes in my grandpa’s garden and that the last three to get ripe also happen to be the sweetest variety of blueberry. In anticipation I’ve begun collecting a selection of potential recipes to try with the berries we look forward to harvesting after this weekend.

Another recipe I hope to dig up and make for myself during the summer is my Gpa’s blueberry jam recipe. It’s simply to die for with our family’s scone recipe (which can be found in “Tea Time, Nap Time, Fun Times“) and a dollop of homemade whipped cream. We have one or two bottles left from a large batch we made many years ago while he was still alive and I want to make sure we keep up recipes like that in the family.

But until I find his recipe book somewhere amongst his things I have this list:

Blueberry Pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lavender Mojito

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Blueberry Mojito

“Perfect” Blueberry Syrup

Failure of the Foodie Police

Have you ever walked down a city street, seen some new bakery or treat shop and been drawn in by the pretty food in the window? Of course, most of us have. We get into the mood of the city life where one goes into a shop and buys this gorgeous looking little pastry like the page out of some urban chick lit novel where you walk down the sidewalk on a bright spring afternoon eating that delicious little treat just as you round the corner and crash face to chest with the suited man of your dreams who just at that moment happens to be in jogging gear and thus begins the biggest drama your life will ever know.

But it isn’t delicious. You buy that calorie laden little piece of tiramisu and it tastes like oily ash in your mouth and the face you make causes little old grandmas to cackle at your misfortune and small babies to cry from the pure negative energy you are now projecting into the universe because it feels like you just paid to eat shit. And when you look up you see your Mr. Suit crashing into someone prettier with an obviously lower IQ than you across the street (where you would have been if you weren’t still standing there making that weird face and running your tongue across your palate trying to scrap off that oily film that you know tiramisu should NOT leave behind).

This is all a romaticized version of a tiramisu experience I had last weekend in Chicago, where my family was for my brother’s big National Competition for Irish Dancers. I love Chicago but I really have to wonder about a city that allows tiramisu like this to exist within it’s city limits.

Back in college I got to spend some time in Italy during a winter break. Of course I had to pay penance for my extravagant lifestyle there by working in a Romanian orphanage for an equal amount of time (a stipulation made by my parents) but when I think about the whole experience it was just worth it. My roommate at the time and I were staying in Rome for a few days with a friend of my aunt, a super sweet lady with two little boys who tried to teach us how to count in Italian. When we told her that after living on the streets eating bread and cheese to save money (not a bad way to live in most of Europe, actually) we wanted to use all those saved up funds to go out one night and do it all. We wanted every course possible and we wanted it with wine followed by coffee in the plaza. The works. She told us that in Rome, unless you’re in some sort of tourist joint, you can pretty much never go wrong because if I place isn’t good the locals will pretty much shut it down.

I only wish American tastebuds were cultured enough to know when to shut something down. Junk food and comfort foods aside, think about it. We often put up with sub-par food from fancy restaurants. I took someone out to the Queen Mary out in Long Beach last year for dinner and paid quite a lot for a salmon that could, at the most, be dubbed “OK”. How is that acceptable?

Of course, I know, I’m a picky person. If I’m giving you $50 for my food I expect my food to taste like you spent $45 on it (I’m happy to pay a small amount of overhead as long as its reasonable). The company that night on the QM was great, the atmosphere was all right, but the food… the food was a disappointment.

Back to that street corner somewhere on the border betwen the Greek and Italian sectors of DC I realized that the tiramisu from Costco tastes like fluffy yumminess from heaven compared to what I was eating and I think that’s a problem. I had a friend from Austria who made a tiramisu without coffee, liquer, or ladies fingers and it still tasted amazing. I tried making ladies fingers before and boy was that a bitch and a half. Had to change the entire dessert course for my senior Honors’ Project to be pound cake based and when compared to light and fluffy tiramisu pound cake seems like a bit of a downer.

So here are some recipes I’ve found for Tiramisu  that I feel the need to try now:

Green Tea Tiramisu

Tiramisu Cupcake

Classic Tiramisu – Party Style

Tiramisu Pancakes

Individual Tiramisu

GastroPorn Menu – July.2012

‘Tis the season for fresh fruits and berries! In honor of the upcoming (and in some areas upon us) season of fresh yummies I hereby dub this menu “Berry Brunch”.

Crème brûlée french toasts (with “How To” Photos)

Blueberry-Lime Parfaits (I would use a fat free Greek Yogurt instead)

Wild Berry Mimosa (There are some other good ideas on the site where I found this)