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so i realize this picture looks pretty rank. kind of like a combination of rabbit turds, some mucus-y foaming puff, with a good sprinkle of course sand or something. do not be alarmed, dear reader. this is, in fact, a wild concoction of chocolate-y fibrous delight. this wild mix, once pureed and combined with 1/4 cup oats, is actually brownies. 1 can beans, 1/4 cup cocoa, a banana, 1/3 cup honey, a tablespoon of cinnamon + a quick trip in the food processor = B R O W N I E S. shocking, right? i thought so, too. bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
spring is here. sunshine and warm weather graced detroit this past week, giggling and shimmering the skies with bright blue and the world with new hope.
weeks such as this ideally coincided with the beginnings of the farming season. needless to say, work weather was great. my body definitely felt spring’s call to action: muscles rediscovered, residual tightness from the activity building, then numbing as the days sunk by.
and, while this week was ideal, it was quite the week for ms. gwen marie meyer. i admit, i am not a fan of talking in third person. but these events happened to me. by me. and because of me. and oh were they classic, in a way that can only be defined by me.
first, my camera got run over by a car. please see exhibit (a).
after yesterday’s delightful highlight of my dear roommate tara’s fantastic take on the oh-so-loved ham & cheese, i felt the need to share another tasty sandwich: i’ll call it the magenta focaccia melt.
to be honest, i am not even 100% sure what went in this sandwich. but i do know it smelled great, tasted even better, and was coupled with even better conversation with my dear friend seema.
in town for a stint before heading to visit her parents, seema witnessed the whirlwind i am in the kitchen. wild, unsure, but somehow confident. also, i really like to clean up after myself (keeps me one step ahead for the next time).
our dinner? well it started with a simple cheese melt. i had made fingerling focaccia the weekend before, so we cut two squares of that off the loaf, and sliced them in half. after lovingly layering some cheese, some roasted tomatoes, some mustard, into the toaster over those babies went.
meanwhile, we decided our meal really needed something green to make it well-balanced and more sustaining. well from green we went to magenta and sauteed up some beet greens with some onion and a little curry powder, if i’m not mistaken.
the sandwiches came out before the greens were done, and were originally assembled as their own separate entity. but, once those beet greens sizzled and smacked the sides of their pan, seema cleverly stuffed the greens into her tomato-cheese-focaccia melt. the result? shear genius.
last week, tara and i got ambitious. for some time now, we’ve admired this recipe on the back cover of martha stewart’s february edition (this edition featuring chocolate, hearts & roses! … please refer here for further details about my own valentine’s day). la grande enjoys the bounty of martha (and her amazing staff) in her magazine. the pictures, the layouts, the recipes. how does she do it? well, tara and i set off to find out. adventure pear and strawberry love!
martha’s original recipe calls for pears and raspberries. we inserted straw for rasp and came out with these lovely pie pockets of love. as you know, i have a great love for strawberries. here is another tasty way to savor those summer sweets that you’ve frozen away in your deep freeze.
now, i do believe our technique as a team may not quite meet ms. martha’s caliber. but for ms. tara and myself, we were quite pleased. as were the many mouths our happy pie pockets filled!
pear and strawberry love
(adapted from martha stewart’s magazine, pear-raspberry heart pies)
for the pastry:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
for the filling:
2 firm ripe pears (we used anjou), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (go for the freshly grated nutmeg here, it’s totally worth it)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
sugar for sprinkling
1. make the pastry. tara did this, so i will fill in as i can. pulse flour, salt, and granulated sugar in a food processor until combined (alternatively, i’d say whisk it all together in a large bowl). add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 5 seconds (alternatively, i’d use a pastry mixture). essentially, you’re making pie crust here.
focaccia. who ever’d thought it would be so easy to make. and so easy to eat! this is the tale of a young woman’s adventures to northern michigan and back to detroit, coming out the other end with fingerling focaccia (homemade!) en tow. what could be better? some really yummy, melty cheese, slabbed inside a hunk of this, roasted tomatoes layered in. now there’s an idea…
i realized i had never traveled alone. well, that’s a lie. i travel alone all the time, but always to see family and friends. never to, well, just be. no longer can i claim such innocence! friends, family, foe alike, let it be known: i’ve tasted the fruit of solitary travel, and i like it!
my parents have a lovely place in northern michigan. (right now i am pointing to the mid-upper section of my left ring finger. this is how michiganders relate location in the great mitten state). i have been going up to this lake, in fact, since i was a kid. great family friends of ours have a place up north, too, which is how the meyer clan became introduced, seduced, and generally fell in love with the place. blue water, white birches, evergreens galore. even on cloudy, winter days, the turquoise blue calms and soothes.
well, i decided it was about time that i went there. alone. sola. just me myself and i. i must admit, i am pretty entertaining!
i went on a mission: not just did i want to be alone with that great lake, i also wanted to bake some focaccia. we have all these potatoes from our fresh food share. simultaneously, la grande’s lacked us some good bread for a good week now. solution? potatoes into bread! fingerlings spread on top! simplicity meets beauty meets fresh bread. (also, there’s a working dryer there. mission numero three? laundry.)
so saturday i dedicated my day around the bread making. ha, what an overstatement! this bread was really low maintenance, and the breaks between action gave me time to get creative in some other kitchen adventures, knit, read, and dance to some oldies.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds small fingerling potatoes