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The Barn Swallow Concert Series!!

13 May

 

 

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The Barn Swallow Concert Series!!

 

MY LONG LOST FRIENDS!

I am so sorry I have been absent for many months. I have been incredibly busy, acting as a fully functioning musician. I have gone through some significant life changes, and I live in a new house just north of downtown Ann Arbor, where I will be hosting an amazing, charitable concert series this summer!

In order to accomplish this, I have launched an indiegogo fundraiser to cover the costs required to begin this small business and bring in this amazing talent. Please take a minute to watch the video, donate what you can, and share as much as possible!

And please join us this summer! On that note, I will be merging my food blogging endeavors with my Barn Swallow endeavors, and I will now be blogging at www.barnswallowconcerts.com  (and I’ll actually be POSTING!! I’ve been making craaaazy things in the kitchen…I miss telling you about it!)

Please take a look! Forgive me for my absence, and join me over at the new site shortly!

Much love,

Katie

I’m Baaaaack!

5 Dec

Considering the consistency with which I blog, one might think that I should just set my expectations much lower so as to not set myself up for failure (failure being NOT blogging, which is what I have been doing). Basically what happens is that I get lazy/forget about it/just want to eat the damn food instead of coaxing it to model for the camera and then I cook and bake and cook and bake and totally keep all of it to myself and the people eating it and don’t post it on the internet. Now, I acknowledge that the second half of that sentence refers to what normal people do. I, however, am obsessed with food and therefore do not consider myself to have normal interactions with it. I HAVE REALLY AWESOME INTERACTIONS WITH FOOD. So there.

Anyways, I am not one content with failure. I do often talk myself out of blogging with all kinds of good excuses. This worked very well in college because there were due dates, so I eventually did have to do the work, and I did it really well. I just didn’t try that hard because I didn’t have to. However, blogging is different. I’m supposed to do it because I want to. And I like it! I do. I’m not entirely sure why I slack so hard on it sometimes. I think perhaps once I finish cooking something it’s often for an actual meal so I don’t usually feel like I have endless hours to toy with lighting and scene setting like it seems some bloggers do.

I admire many bloggers and consistently peruse their pages. It’s very impressive and sometimes intimidating. If there are already so many awesome food blogs, why should mine be anything to shake a stick at? This is not the correct attitude. The correct attitude is: I like to cook, I like to write, I like to make art, now I share it with you! This is what I’m working on–reminding myself that I have a blog so I can share my passion with people. And then I can stare at my food pictures and drool over them even though I probably just ate whatever it is I also photographed.

If I can have a blog half as hilarious as Hyperbole and a Half, and a blog half as pretty as Roost, then I will feel like I have succeeded. If I promise to post more, will you promise to share my work? Let’s collectively commit to success as the Appleseed Collective likes so often to say.

We begin now. This is a small taste of what I’ve been up to in my absence:

I went to Florida

I made really good key lime pie

Ate lots of fresh seafood

i had some of the best gluten-free pizza yet

I made practice pies before Thanksgiving (that ended up being better than on T-day)

I made cake (and ate it too)

and soup

and cookies

and huevos rancheros

gluten-free stuffing

so many tasty breakfasts

shepherd’s pie for 8 (there were 3 of us)

and this lovely tempeh creation.

See? I wasn’t slacking. I just wasn’t spending my time on the internet doing productive things. If I blogged as consistently as I send food picture messages to my mom then I’d really be on to something. But that’s enough self-motivation and affirmation for now. I shall leave you with the following:

I will blog at LEAST once a week.

I will stop taking pictures with my iPhone when I’m feeling lazy and use the brilliant DSLR I have. DUH.

I will bring new and exciting things to you that you won’t find on other food blogs (THINK ENTERTAINMENT! I am a musician after all)

Ta ta for now and love to all!

Yours,

Bippity Boppity Bi Bim Bop

28 Aug

If you are gluten-free or have any common sense whatsoever, you know that quinoa is AWESOME (unless you can’t eat it in which case I’m sure you are still intelligent, just at a slight disadvantage in quinoa-eating competitions and similar matters). I squeem, you squeem, we all squeem for (s)quinoa. It’s a pure protein, it’s got a delicious flavor, it blends well but stays confident as a flour, it looks pretty…it’s an all-around winner. If Brandon and I are actually home for the week we probably eat it at least 2-3 times in the span of a few days. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be addicted to quinoa. The bad news is that I’m addicted to quinoa. Anyways, it fits well with most anything it’s paired with, which in this case is my own version of bi bim bop. Bibimbap. B-bop. Betty boop…buhhh…whatever you want to call it. I feel slightly sacreligious calling this bi bim bop because it is not being delivered to me by my favorite Korean lady at Bell’s Diner in Ann Arbor and it’s not covered in “special Korean hot sauce” which looks exactly like ketchup but tastes like magic.

Anyways, I looked it up, and bibimbop basically suggests a dish mixed with rice. Now, if you experienced any part of my childhood, pretty much everything could hypothetically have been called bibimbop since it all got mixed together in the rice bowl. Reading that back, I feel like I am suggesting more Asian-ness than is really accurate. For goodness sake, my favorite preparation of rice included solely (lots of) butter and soy sauce. I still sometimes eat that when I need comfort food. My family called it “Katie rice” which actually is more like “it’s ok cause you’re only half Asian” rice. I infinitely digress! Bibimbop has been amazing everywhere I’ve eaten it and I have non-deliberately Americanized it for my own purposes (those purposes mostly being “I have these ingredients and I am going to mix them all together eventually but if I display them nicely and put a fried egg on top I can call them bibimbop”). Bibimbop seems like a pretty flexible concept to me. Some people put raw seafood on it, some prefer marinated beef; I like mine with a healthy dose of (Brinery) kimchi and a runny egg. Unfortunately on this day of bibimbop creation we were out of pickled foods (FOR SHAAAAME!) so while my stomach was greatly satisfied it still wept a little for its long lost best friend.

So here’s what I ended up with:

QUI-BIM-BOP (heh, sorry)

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa (in these photos, I was trying out a blend of grains including quinoas and wild rice)

2 large carrots, julienned and cooked to your preference (steamed or pan-fried…buttery carrots are always tasty)

1 cup cooked spinach (I steamed mine and then mixed it with Tamari)

2 small zucchini, cubed and cooked to your preference (pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

1/2 lb tempeh, cubed and cooked however you want (this would be a great use of maple/Tamari marinated tempeh–just cube some fresh tempeh and soak it in a 3:2ish mixture of Tamari to maple syrup with a clove or two of minced garlic for at least 30 min, then pan-fried)

1 cup sugar snap peas, steamed

2 large eggs, cooked to order

seasonings I would suggest you try out to taste, not necessarily all together: salt & pepper, olive oil, Tamari, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), rice wine vinaigrette

As I mentioned, bibimbop is a mixed rice dish. So, simply split the cooked quinoa between two bowls and top with your ingredients. I assembled mine to look nice, then covered it all in Sriracha and made a delicious mess of it. This is a perfect dish to get creative with. Instead of marinated beef or seafood, Brandon and I (naturally) opted for tempeh (yet another thing I may be addicted to…it could be worse!). I had zucchini on hand, so they went in the bowl. Mung bean sprouts or julienned cucumber would be a super fresh, crunchy addition to this meal. Other things you can sub in might be short-grain brown rice for the quinoa or kale for the spinach. The opportunities are (gluten-free and) boundless.

Enjoy!

Detox.

9 Aug

Oh my. We have just returned from over a week in northern Michigan, frolicking in both the upper and lower peninsulas. We had a lovely time playing at Sleepy Bear Music Festival in Lake Ann, enjoyed a little beach time at Lake Michigan, then made our way (barely) to Marquette, up and up all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula for Farm Block Fest. It was a time full of ups and downs, camping and bug bites, amazing music and slightly less amazing food, totally badass storms and lots of time in the car. But we’re home now, gearing up for the BIG CD RELEASE SHOW TOMORROW AT THE ARK. Brandon and I have been eating deliciousness for the last few days, trying to shove as many vegetables into our bodies as we can to make up for the lack thereof experienced on the road (it’s hard to keep veggies fresh in your cooler for that long).

As we walked into the grocery store, wondering what to make for dinner, it suddenly smacked us right in the face:

collard green wraps.

I can’t say enough about these thangs. Really, though, the only words we seem to be able to get out while eating them are “dude…so good…” and then we both just make “mind blown” faces. We’re nerds, it’s true. In fact, the first words out of my mouth during dinner tonight were simply “I love food” (sorry for not initially acknowledging the lovely candlelit table, B).

So here’s what’s up.

COLLARD GREEN WRAPS (SHABANG!)

(Serves 2)

2 large collard green leafs

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber, sliced thin

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 heaping Tbsp baba ghanouj or hummus

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 brick of tempeh, cut into strips and cooked

handful of pickled carrots

handful of bean sprouts

2 Tbsp crumbled feta

To prepare the collard greens, slice them in half along the stem, removing the stem and leaving yourself with two wrap bases. Spread avocado and baba ghanouj in the center of each wrap, and pile on the toppings! I listed what I used/had around, but whatever you’re interested in would surely be delicious. Vegan burritos? Falafel and tabbouleh? Collard greens are a great (and gluten-free) replacement for tortillas or pitas in a sandwich-type situation. We used tempeh and pickled carrots from The Brinery right here in Ann Arbor, our favorite fermentation location. Both mixed well with the slight bitterness of the collard greens and all the fresh vegetables offer a very satisfying (and healthy) crunch.

What will we wrap up next?

……….that joke, surely. That’s a wrap on that joke, folks. Oh gosh, I can’t stop. Someone make it stop…oh look food pictures!

Enjoy!

Tis The Season For…Herbs and Sinusitis

22 Jun

So it was 95+ degrees out yesterday and I spent most of the day in the walk-in clinic with sinus pain that come on faster and stronger than normal. OH BOY, FUN! I know, everyone totally wants to spend their summer days in bed, sweating (more than normal), thermometer constantly in mouth checking to see if that fever has yet to break, eating soup because it hurts too much to chew, and in my case, pounding a mixture of hot water, honey, and apple cider vinegar. But that is quite enough of a sob story for now. The good news is that I took the opportunity of staying in bed to watch a nerdy science show about aliens, and convinced Brandon to make vegan/gluten-free “mac n cheese.” Now, I totally owe you a recipe for this, but I was barely able to help cook, let alone play photographer and lighting wizard (not like I’m even a lighting wizard when not having fever dreams…on that note, last night’s fever dream included “jazzy” salmon…). I will tell you this much, though: it was delicious, easy to chew, and not nearly as hard to make as one might imagine. AND we put this beet in it!

Is that not the beet to end all beets? I am determined to find more like it so their beauty shall not go to waste in such a concotion as pasta!
Anyways, that’s enough raving about g-free noodles for now, especially when I can’t even show you what we ate. In case you’re wondering, yes, the sauce DID turn pink. Very pink. To top off his evening of winning in the kitchen, Brandon surprised me with some MINT GALACTICA coconut milk ice cream. He’s a real keeper. OH! And truffle oil. He brought home truffle oil. And put it in the “mac n cheese.” Ok, now I really have to stop because this must be torture for you vegan, gluten-free folks out there with a mean hankering for a rich, creamy pasta (I probably need to widen my market eh?).
In other news, we have managed not to kill all of our herb plants, and in fact have just harvested some thyme! We’re going to dry it to have on hand in the cooler months. Here it is!

 

 

Ain’t it purty?
Well, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I did make some tiny, tasty lemon tarts with leftover curd from Brandon’s birthday cupcakes and I think they’re calling me. I’m planning to be beaming with health tomorrow as I perform my little heart out all day. Come catch me at The Ark or Woodruff’s and I promise I won’t breathe on you!
Yours,

 

 

Gluten-Free Lemon Curd-Filled Cupcakes, AKA Summer In Your Mouth

14 Jun

I’m going to stop beginning my posts by remarking how long it’s been since I posted. I think maybe I should cut myself a little slack…after all one can only be obsessed with so many things at once. I write to you now from the road, currently heading to Toronto with Orpheum Bell. We’re headed to play at a festival called North By North East (Think SXSW but with Canadian accents eh?). It’s my first show with them since my vocal cord surgery in March! That’s a whole story in itself. I could even tell you what I ate while all drugged up, totally silent, and nursing a very tender throat (non-dairy chocolate-spinach milkshakes and raw avocado/spinach/green everything soup while watching lots of movies…fun times for Brandon…). But that’s long past. What is important today is this:


Yep. Cupcakes. Cupcakes are starting to haunt my dreams. Brandon’s birthday was on Monday. I asked him if he had any preference for cupcake flavor, and he very ambivalently suggested “maybe something with chocolate…not a chocolate cupcake but like…chocolate in it…I don’t know.” I interpreted this as “I trust you darling! Make me something delicious” and went running far from chocolate chip cupcakes to the land of lemon. Inspired by some delicious lemon curd I tasted at the Portland Farmers Market, I decided to experiment with filled cupcakes, or “surprise cupcakes” as I like to call them. Perhaps you all can help me name these cupcakes. I can only think of cheesy things like “lemon clouds” or “lemon dream cupcakes” because they are so fluffy on the first bite and wonderfully smooth and tart upon reaching the surprise lemon curd in the center. Are you hungry yet? I am. I’m sitting at the border waiting to cross into Canada and all I want to do is eat a cupcake now that I’ve sat here and stared at pictures of them.

Well, dear reader, the odds of you being near your kitchen are probably pretty high, so you could be the lucky consumer of a delicious cupcake if you just follow your rumbling tummy down the rest of this page! I will warn you that these are not quick and dirty. You have to take your time and love them tenderly. So maybe have a snack and then get working on these.




LEMON ON LEMON CUPCAKE DELIGHTS (seriously, I need help with a name. Come on, people.)
*Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, altered by yours truly

So I woke up around 6 AM (naturally) on the day of Brandon’s birthday, like a kid on Christmas morning, except this time I was freakishly excited to make cupcakes. I waited til about 8 AM to appease my roommates then got to making lemon curd. It’s surprisingly easy! I will even tell you how to make it without straining it.

LEMON CURD

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp (Please don’t microwave this. Let it sit out and soften on its own.)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until somewhat smooth. Add in the eggs and egg yolks and beat for about a minute (this is what keeps you from straining later!). Mix in the lemon juice last. It may look a little funky, but no worries. The chunks will disappear as you cook and the butter melts.

Using a heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture on low heat until it smooths out. Increase the heat to an easy medium and stir constantly until the mixture thickens. It should reach about 170 degrees (F) but should not boil. This should take around 15 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and add in the lemon zest. Transfer to a covered container and let chill in the fridge for a few hours. And ta dah! You have delicious lemon curd. I made 24 cupcakes, filled them with lemon curd, and still had some curd left over.

"the fried egg"

LEMON LADY CUPCAKES (still trying with that name thing)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used C4C, I was lazy today and didn’t feel like mixing my own)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup yogurt (I used The Greek Gods honey flavored Greek yogurt…yum)

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and continue whisking until stiffer peaks form. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with your mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
Add in 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest and beat until fluffy.
Add the yolks, one at a time until combined. Then add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients until combined. Follow with half of the yogurt, then another third of the flour mix, the second half of the yogurt, and the remaining third of the flour mix until all combined.

Mix in one third of the egg whites, and then fold the rest gently into the batter.

Fill two lined muffin tins with the batter and bake for 15-20 minutes (they should get slightly browned on top–mine were big and needed a little more time since they’re dense). Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tins, and then let cool completely on a rack.

I’m sorry I didn’t take any process pictures! I was so consumed with getting these made that I just powered through.


When the cupcakes have cooled, remove a portion of their centers, as if coring an apple. This is where your lemon curd will go (and now you can sample the cupcake goodness).
Fill a pastry bag with lemon curd, and inject the curd into the center of the cupcakes til the curd reaches the top of the cupcake (think Ho-Ho but healthier and tastier).

Now, time to decide what to top the cupcakes with! I think a meringue would be really nice, but I didn’t have time for that and instead opted for a simple buttercream frosting.

"the brain"

EASY BUTTERCREAM
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks or 1/2 lb butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
up to 4 Tbsp milk (I used flax milk)

Beat the butter using an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar in a few batches until incorporated. Then add in the salt, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp milk. Beat until smooth. If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too stiff, add more milk!

You can pipe the frosting on or spread it, you decide! I played with a little of both. It was a little too hot outside, though, and my frosting quickly decided it no longer wanted to play. I just acquired frosting bag tips, so bear with me as I experiment.

"underwater basket weaving"

"the poodle"

These were the perfect dessert to come home to after a spicy Indian dinner with the Brandon’s family. I spelled out “happy birthday b!” in (homemade) marzipan letters and lit about 7 candles in the cupcakes, my reasoning being that that’s probably closer to Brandon’s age “on the inside.”

I hope you like these cupcakes as much as we did.

Enjoy!

 

The Most Glorious Farmers Market

4 Jun

 

So I’ve been a little behind since we arrived in Portland. This time I’ll blame it on non-stop adventuring and leaving the iPad in the hotel room safe. However, I have no shortage of things to share with you! I will dedicate this post solely to the Portland Farmers Market because it was wholly incredible. This was definitely the biggest farmers market I’ve been to, complete with any kind of artisan food product you could think of (we were introduced to drinking vinegars), gorgeous organic and local produce (the brightest, sweetest strawberries), a locally-renowned biscuit vendor, and even a few gluten-free bakery stands.

 

Brandon and I were looking for a tasty, healthy, gluten-free breakfast and after many tasty samples and laps around the market, we first stopped at Pure. They were sampling both fresh-pressed almond milk (which had a nice hint of cinnamon) and an apple-mint-kale juice. Both were delicious, but the green juice won out and we got a bottle. We’re suckers for kale at any time, and the fresh mint flavor was to die for.

 

Just a few stands away we found Eatin’ Alive, purveyors of delicious raw (vegan and gluten-free) food. They had a totally awesome custom-made bike cart made by Rejuiced Bikes which held totally awesome raw goodies like kale and beet crisps, strawberry rhubarb strudel, zucchini lasagna, and more. After sampling almost everything, we ended up with a bag of “pizza” crisps (sundried tomato, etc.), a small jar of dandelion pesto, and a “falafel” wrap (sunflower seed patties and veggies in a collard green wrap). The pizza crisps were a perfect match for the dandelion pesto–the salty, thicker crisp held up to the sweet and slightly bitter flavor of the dandelions. And the faux-falafel was impeccably light and delicious, paired with a sesame tahini dressing alongside shredded fresh vegetables. We’ll definitely be making wraps with greens when we get home, so keep an eye out for those.

 

After forcing all of our companions to sample our breakfast, we set out to see the second half of the market (it was so big we had to explore it in rounds). Aside from the sheer size of the market, the most memorable part for me is the kindness of the people working there. We talked for a while with Emma, who had recently dubbed herself the Swedish princess of cheese (she had acquired a crown of fresh flowers, been dubbed royalty by a Swedish friend, and was working at a lovely cheese stand). We also established that she and I were twins since we had matching Birkenstocks.

A side note about footwear in Portland: I had no idea I would fit in so well wearing my clogs! There must be a bit about clogs on Portlandia…there must!

 

Moving on, we quickly found Divine Pies. These gorgeous little pies are gluten and dairy free, raw, and whole food. Made with a crust of local hazlenuts, they have a selection of their own twists on classic flavors like chocolate mint cheesecake, key lime, rosewater cardamom cheesecake, and more. With the owner’s recommendation, we decided to share a strawberry pie. The filling was light and smooth, and just sweet enough with fresh Oregon strawberries. The crust, loosely made with finely blended hazlenuts, was a perfect companion for the sweet center.

 

We tried tons of tasty treats (I couldn’t resist the alliteration just now) and I had to resist buying something at every gluten-free bakery. The sheer existence of their booths was too exciting for my g-free tummy and tastebuds. The rest of the weekend continued to center around food (as is par for the course for my foodie family). I’ll save the rest of our adventures for later, though. We’re in the airport now, waiting to head to San Francisco, where the fun continues. See you later, Portland!

 

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