I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Stone

Late last summer when I tried to remove my old pizza stone from the oven, I ended up with half of it in each hand. Like so many things around here, it was old and getting a replacement turned into such a pain that I just gave up.

The hardest part was finding a stone that fit my shallow oven, one absolutely no deeper than 14 inches. The one I had is no longer made of course, but those I found that were the right size were reviewed with a lot of complaints about breakage in shipping or usage shortly after purchase.

Finally in my most recent effort I stumbled across Breadtopia and their endorsement of FibraMent baking stones. It was pretty much a done deal as soon as I read that FibraMent stones have a ten-year warranty and include a stone for home bakers in a size that fits my oven perfectly.

I only hope I didn't take too many years off my life during the preliminary oven drying of the stone when it off-gased some pretty strange odors.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Good Year for the Ramps

Excellent ramps this year. They came on early like everything else and then the temps dropped to extend the season. We've had them with homemade spaghetti, mixed into cacio e pepe, in the traditional Appalacian taters n ramps and this weekend I'm going to try a Saveur recipe for Ramp and Buttermilk Biscuits with Cracked Coriander!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Zinio Rocks

I have fallen in love all over again with Saveur, the website and the magazine.

But this time I'm getting the magazine in the digital format and reading it offline with the Zinio reader. It's amazing. Fabulous resolution, easy to navigate and so damn easy to store.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I can identify with the ladies this week. The merry widow in Cleveland is only a few days ahead of Fancy this year and they've both been incubating for almost two weeks.

I'm also sittin'. I seem to have hit the trifecta. I'm experiencing a prolonged recovery from a difficult dental implant, wicked seasonal allergies and what is now clearly an upper respiratory infection. At least this morning I feel less stress because I'm not fighting any of it anymore.

It's also less stressful if I stay home alone and away from people. I am no longer able to be civil when people tell me how wonderful this unseasonably warm weather is. IT'S NOT!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Sprout

First sprout this year at 3 days was the Isis Candy. About half of the tomatoes have germinated as of this morning and they're under lights on this cloudy day when the rain is watering in the seed I put out yesterday. And so it begins.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bargain Condimento

A few weeks ago when I went to Maines for the best price on my favorite utilitarian olive oil I checked out their vinegar inventory. There was simply no way I could pass up this jug of balsamic condimento for $12.99. As I checked out I thought the total was less than I'd expected but there have been additional price reductions at the register before and there was a line behind me so it wasn't until I'd lugged everything to the car that I checked the receipt and discovered the vinegar hadn't scanned. I hate to admit it but I did not go back in part because I didn't really expect the vinegar to be very good.

But it is. Very good. If I go back for another jug I will tell someone about the first. But who knows if they'll have it then. It's a 5 liter jug. I use 150ml for a batch of vinaigrette so that's 33 batches and I use only olive oils for the homegrown salad greens.

Some of which have been sown along with the fava beans, rapa and some radishes. I've been reluctant to plant salad greens this year with the memory of the mess the slugs made of last year's crop still painfully fresh. And the slugs are out there now just waiting for something to sprout.

fava Supersette
cime di rapa Centoventina, Novantina, Toscana
radish Easter Egg
lettuce Johnny's Wildfire Lettuce Mix

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mates for 2010

Black Krim
Pineapple (back by popular demand)
Paragon Livingston (first time, a nod to my Ohio roots)
Jaune Flammé
Costoluto Fiorentino
San Marzano 3
Golden Mama
cherry tomato: Sugar Sweetie, Mirabell, Isis Candy,
Super Snow White, Green Grape, Chocolate Cherry
eggplant: Nadia, Beatrice, Rosa Bianca, Purple Rain
pepper: Islander, California Wonder

Alright then. After a very strange disorienting week, ending with record-breaking warm temps, I have the tomato-eggplant-pepper flat sown. But NO cardoons! I thought I still had seed. Shoot.

update: I knew I had some...
cardoon: Cordo Pieno Inerme


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guinness Cake

I am so bummed. Everyone in both dental offices made this implant business sound like a piece of cake, so to speak, but it's been 48 hours and I still feel like someone took a 2x4 to my jaw. Yesterday I made another Guinness cake (#3) and now I'm surviving on cake and Fage Total 0% to try to mitigate the effects the damned Clindamycin.

The cake I'm eating this week is the second stab at a recipe attributed to Green & Black's but like the first there's a dense layer at the bottom. I'm beginning to suspect the recipe was meant for a two layer cake instead of one but I'm done experimenting. For now.

Nigella Lawson's recipe, on the other hand, seems foolproof. I used Green & Black's Dutched cocoa but I think the next time I'll use Lindt & Sprügli's Ghiradelli or Hershey's Scharffen Berger for a darker, less reddish color and some additional bitterness.