Monthly Archives: January 2011

Delicious, Delicious Bean Snack

I’m making an effort to cook with more beans, because it seems like a responsible, healthy, and delicious thing to do. This is made a lot easier by the wide assortment of mind-blowingly delicious heirloom beans Rancho Gordo offers. Since Pookie first introduced me to Rancho Gordo a few years ago, I’ve become something of a bean variety-aholic; I just can’t stop trying all the different types. One of my very favorites so far is their runner cannellini, which is an enormous, creamy, gorgeous, outrageously delicious white bean. I’m not a very adventurous bean cook, so I’d been buying runner cannellinis for the sole purpose of making this simple summer salad with them.

June 9 2008

Aw! This picture is from so long ago! It’s so cute!

Perhaps because she was tired of only eating beans in my standard chili recipe and the aforementioned salad, Pookie got me the Rancho Gordo cookbook last Christmas, and this past week I dug the book out and decided that dammit, summer shouldn’t be the only season in which we eat runner cannellinis. I was going to make “Cannellini Bean Confetti Spread with Roasted Garlic”, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me!

Cannellini Beam Confetti Spread with Roasted Garlic, from Heirloom Beans

2 cups drained, cooked cannellini beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 roasted garlic cloves
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
assorted crackers and crostini for serving

In a large mortar with a pestle, or in a large bowl with a potato masher, mash together the beans, 1/4 cup olive oil, and roasted garlic until a thick, chunky paste forms. Work in the goat cheese until it is incorporated. Stir in the Parmesan, chives, and olives. Stir in a bit more olive oil, a little at a time, until the spread is thick but still moist. Season generously with salt and pepper. You will have about 3 cups. Serve at room temperature with assorted crackers and crostini for dipping.

January 29 2011

Oh my goodness. That? Was so good. We served it on slices of the world’s easiest-to-bake bread, and felt totally responsible and bean eat-y. This is a foodstuff that could easily become a habit.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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7 Comments

Filed under Carbo Loading, Veggie Perfection

iPad Pajamas

Schnookie and Boomer surprised me — and I mean completely surprised me — by giving me an iPad for Christmas! Woo-hoo! The thing is gorgeous and is especially awesome for looking at Flickr (and for playing Angry Birds, of course). ::happy sigh:: To make the whole thing ever better, Schnookie offered to make a case for it out of felt!

She decided she wanted to put a typewriter on it, and then did some research to find the coolest looking one she could. She ended up choosing some rare Japanese version of an Olympia. We originally thought it would be best in aqua on an orange background, but the felt supplies available to us dictated instead a green typewriter. I think in the end, that was a better choice and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, check it out:

January 9 2011

The combo of the green, orange, and gray is funky and and fun and fresh! I love it. And the workmanship on the typewriter is phenomenal. Schnookie is like a machine when it comes to teensy, tiny whipstitches.

iPad Pajamas Detail

The overall construction is just a basic envelope, with a velcro closure on the back flap. Schnookie picked out the perfect black button to accent the back flap.

iPad Pajamas Diptych

I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the whole thing. A co-worker got her iPad out during a meeting yesterday and I looked at the dull, gray leather case she had and laughed and laughed. Because should I ever bring mine to a meeting, my bright orange, be-typewritered iPad will kick her buttoned-up, professional iPad’s butt!

iPad Pajamas

{Posted by Pookie}

13 Comments

Filed under Pins and Needles, Pommerdoodling

The Best Brownies We’ve Ever Had (Recently)

Because she’s our designated cookie baker, Santa brought Pookie The Gourmet Cookie Book for Christmas. It’s a fun book that serves as a tour of all the cookie trends over the last 60 years, and after flipping through it Pookie decided the first recipe we should try from it is Gianduja Brownies. The description in the recipe said they would be the best brownies we’ve ever eaten; considering the ingredients included Nutella that gets melted with the chocolate and butter, and ground hazelnuts that get stirred in with the flour, we thought it sounded very hopeful that they would be that good.

January 7 2011

Alas, they weren’t that good. They were a tiny bit off texturally, and the flavor was just… not outstanding. They were okay, getting described as “like something someone else would bake — you know, when you have a friend who bakes differently than you,” and “like a cross between a high-end Tastykake and something you’d get at a hotel,” and “I guess they’re getting better the more I eat them.” When you have to psych yourself up to enjoy eating a brownie, it’s time to cut the brownie loose and move on.

So we moved on to our current favorite brownie recipe, Martha Stewart’s peanut butter swirl brownies. This is a recipe that we first tried when we discovered that Martha Stewart’s chocolate gingerbread is not good, so it’s clearly a solid backup plan. Are they the best brownies of all time? Probably not. But right now, in January 2011, they’re the ones we like best.

The Makeup Brownie

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (from Martha Stewart’s Cookies)

For the batter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the pan
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for the filling:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).

2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well combined.

4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

5. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining peanut butter mixture on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool completely ion a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to three days.

4 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods

Scavenger Hunt 101 Wrap Up and Introducing SMERSH!

One of our on-going projects for 2010 was Scavenger Hunt 101 on Flickr. It was an easy-going, gently-paced photography motivator for us. We each did own projects (Schnookie’s is here and Pookie’s is here) and had a total blast. The items on the list were constantly in the backs of our minds, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear shouts of “hey, don’t you need a boat without a motor? There’s one!” or “rats, another ambulance and I don’t have my camera!” We’ve picked out a few of our favorites to share.

First up, item #11, a handwritten sign:

Pink Roses, Orange Tent

By Schnookie, taken in the Netherlands

Sing Out, Canary!

By Pookie, taken in NYC

Next time, #66, a dog. We both figured we’d be able to fall back on taking pictures of our friends’ dog, Pippin, but instead we ended up scoring major dog awesomeness on a Scavenger Hunt 101 trip to Asbury Park with Elizabeth.

A Dog

By Schnookie

A Dog

By Pookie (although it was Elizabeth who brilliantly suggested this should count as a dog instead of the “item that represents your region” which Pookie was planning on)

We also both liked what we got for item #7, a puddle:

Puddle

By Pookie, taken nearby after an expected snow day

Puddle And A Goose

By Schnookie, taken at the local living history farm

When we started the project, we were sure we’d be able to strike a lot of the items off the list by going to our favorite museums. We did just that with #86, a shadow:

Shadow

By Schnookie, taken in the big blue whale room at the American Museum of Natural History

Me And My Sword-Wielding Shadow

By Pookie, taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Of course, we were also entirely confident, for no good reason, that we would both find the most troublesome of all the items — #4, a waterfall — on our vacation to Columbus. Turns out we were right! (Although Pookie later switched hers to a better picture of a waterfall found… on our vacation to Dallas. Heh.)

Inside The Waterfall

By Schnookie, taken at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus

Waterfall

By Pookie, taken at the Dallas Arboretum

We cracked ourselves up by discovering after the fact that we both used roses for #12, a cliche:

One Perfect Rose

By Pookie, taken in the Netherlands

A Cliche

By Schnookie, taken in Texas, of course

The final item was a self-portrait:

A Self Portrait

Pookie By Pookie

Schnookie's Self Portrait

Schnookie by Schnookie

And here are a few of our other favorites:

Food Growing

#74: Food Growing, by Pookie, taken in the garden

An Exotic Creature

#79: An Exotic Animal, by Schnookie, taken in the Netherlands

Italia Bike

#65: A Bicycle, by Pookie, taken in Princeton

Wouldn’t you like to do a project as fun as this?! YOU CAN! Join us for the Super Mega Exciting Radical Scavenger Hunt (a.k.a. SMERSH)! We’ve made our own list of 101 (+1) items that we’re going to be looking for. There’s no time limit and no pressure, just fun fun fun!

10 Comments

Filed under Pictures Worth A Thousand Words